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Trias/Vhailor: The Good Option


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Poll: Trias/Vhailor: The Good Option (30 member(s) have cast votes)

What is the best way to resolve the missing Good option in the Vhailor/Trias exchange?

  1. Do nothing. (3 votes [10.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.00%

  2. Absolute minimal impact. (3 votes [10.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.00%

  3. Balanced impact with choices and consequences, see below. (24 votes [80.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 80.00%

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#1 Qwinn

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:34 PM

Okay. Thanks to Nevill in his UB post for giving me this idea.

As I mentioned before in the Sounds thread, I consider the player's options during the Trias/Vhailor exchange to be incomplete to the point of broken. There are no responses when redeeming Trias that make any sense. Rather than explain, I'll just show u it.

SPOILERS, of course.

Upon redeeming Trias:

Trias: He opens his mouth for an angry retort... and pauses, reflecting. He bows his head. "You speak convincing words, mortal, and their wisdom pierces me. I shall seek the forgiveness of my fathers, and accept any retribution they choose. Take this, and farewell, mortal. If we meet again, it is my hope that I will be redeemed."
TNO: "Best of luck, Trias. Farewell." (no other option)
Vhailor: "*The deva shall NOT walk free. No matter your vow, JUSTICE must be SERVED.*"
TNO: "Watch." or "Attack the deva." (Both lead to same result, and not fitting at all, IMO. I hate this part.)
Trias: Vhailor strikes him down, shattering the bones of his proud face, bloodying his immaculate form. With his dying strength, Trias says, "Know that you have damned yourself. In killing me, you have shattered the last shield that you have against the horrors that will consume you. The fiend I tricked... he is now free..." His weak chuckle trickles off, and the light vanishes from his eyes.
TNO: "Just die already." (no other option. This after you -had- to say "Best of luck, Trias." BLEAH.)



Now, I propose that, very clearly, there is a missing option in the TNO response that I bolded. I base this on two things. One is - well, the obvious one. You can clearly get to this state along TNO's "good path", you just redeemed Trias, and now suddenly all your response options are basically, blatantly evil. It's totally out of sync. What else do I base it on? This bit, pulled directly from the dialog.tlk. This is the sequence of STRREFS in which the above lines are set up.

@54781 = ~*The deva shall NOT walk free. No matter your vow, JUSTICE must be SERVED.*~
@54782 = ~Watch.~
@54783 = ~~
@54784 = ~Attack the deva, despite your vow.~
@54785 = ~Attack the deva.~

See that empty 54783? It is the only empty STTREF anywhere near that section of the dialog.tlk, and it is precisely where a "good" option should be in this conversation. There are no other empty strrefs for hundreds, possibly thousands of lines before or after this point in the dialog.tlk. This area of the dialog.tlk is -crowded-, and yet there it is, an empty strref precisely where this glaring continuity hole needs to be filled.

think between those two things, it is clear that there was an intent to have another option there that for some reason just never got implemented. And even if there isn't proof of intent, I think there's proof of -necessity-.

So. At this point, I'm hoping people will agree, yes, there's a big unfinished hole in the game right where STRREF 54783 is supposed to be, and it's clear that it's supposed to be a "good" response that isn't totally illogical following the fact that you just redeemed Trias. If you don't agree, if you still think it is as intended despite my arguments, then vote for option 1 in the poll.

The rest of this is for those who agree, that's a hole that needs to be filled as part of the Fixpack, the game simply isn't finished with that hole there.

At this point, I have two options. The total minimal impact way, which is just to have you say "Vhailor, STOP!" or something to that effect, and Vhailor simply ignores you.

The other option is to go for balanced, fun, interesting impact. I mean, we can be minimalist, and can plug the hole with the above dull and boring line, or we can fill the hole with an attempt at the same level of depth and freedom of action that exists in most of the rest of the game. So, instead, it's ~Stop Vhailor.~ At this point, you drop out of dialogue, and Vhailor is dropped from the party and goes hostile (Trias is blue). He focuses on Trias, and you can attack him. Trias at this point is almost dead. I propose that when Vhailor does another 40 hit points of damage, Trias dies (and actually gets to gurgle his unused ""In time, my cause shall be honored." dying voiced line), and then Vhailor turns on you and must be killed. Or, you can kill Vhailor before he does that damage, thereby saving Trias's life. At this point, I add a single line of dialogue wherein Trias, in astonishment at the charity of your act, gives you Celestial Fire before going back to Mount Celestia to confront his father. (This is done so the options are somewhat balanced... the let Vhailor kill Trias option is still the powergamer's choice as you get to keep Vhailor as a party member.

Actually, if we were to go this route, I would also propose fixing the fact that by letting Vhailor kill Trias you can get both the Tattoo of the Redeemer and the Tattoo of the Betrayer, and only allow you to keep the one that makes sense based on these outcomes. Cause it's also pretty messed up that, despite Vhailor killing Trias, him cursing you, and your muttering "Just die already", you can still get the tattoo that says:

This tattoo tells the story of the redemption of Trias the Betrayer, and how you steered him from the path of evil into forgiveness. It reflects your wisdom and your persuasive skills, and carries the blessing of Trias with it.


The description of the tattoo of the betrayer is also kinda incompatible with your attempting to redeem him, when it is Vhailor who really betrays him and you have no real choice about it.

As for the line he says when you've saved him and he gives you the sword, my proposal is:

"You have redeemed me twice this day, mortal. After all I have done, after I tried to end your existence, you slew your own companion in order to allow me the chance to atone for my deeds. I will not waste this opportunity that you have bought for me at such cost to yourself." A look of shame crosses his face. "Your actions have reminded me of what I once knew to be the meaning of goodness and law. You deserve this blade more than I. Perhaps, if my father forgives me, I may someday earn the right to wield another. Farewell, mortal." TNO Response existing line: "Best of luck, Trias. Farewell."

If anyone with better writing skills than me would like to improve on that, please, feel free, I'm open to all suggestions.

Anyways, whatcha all think? Leave the big gaping hole in the dialogue, OR just add a useless "Vhailor, stop!" line, or implement what I have just described here as an attempt to fill the hole with content worthy of the rest of the game?

Again, you all hopefully know by now that I -hate- adding lines to the Fixpack, but in this case I think there's compelling reason to do so. The question is, do we plug holes in the most bare minimum way possible, or do we try to make it an actually fun and balanced option?

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 03 June 2009 - 04:44 PM.


#2 Philiposophy

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:06 PM

I'm undecided at the moment. I think the safe option that you should definitely do is add the "Vhailor, STOP!" option but I can't decide if it would be better to let you stop him. In addition, another, sympathetic line to go with "just die already" is essential.

The whole thing about Vhailor killing Trias seems right in many ways as it shows the problem with Vhailor - he can't be controlled and will always do what fits in with his twisted and hardline sense of justice. It also seems like it's meant to catch you off guard - it certainly catches TNO by surprise. I can certainly see the positives of implementing a way of stopping him and I think your idea is pretty good for that, except I think that you should have the option to remain neutral - you just watch him kill Trias (can this be done when they're both blue?) and then ask him to rejoin your party.

So right now, I really don't know what's best. I'll mull over it though and if I have anything significant to say, I'll post it here.

#3 Qwinn

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:08 PM

Since Ghostdog already suggested it as a UB component in Nevill's thread, let me explain why I'm not content with that option here.

To me, the Fixpack isn't just about fixing the game, it's about finishing it. The game really did release before it was ready. Now, 99.9% of the time, I finish it just by fixing bugs, but this is a rare case where I think it's clearly unfinished in more than a "this optional stuff didn't make it in" way. And I want someone who decides to just install the Fixpack to have a -finished- game.

Now, the name I happened to choose for the Unfinished Business component is a bit unfortunate here, as that suggests it's the true home for finishing unfinished content. And in most cases, it is. But I see it as restoring non-critical content. Extra side quests, neat little sounds and lines, stuff like that.

But this unfinished hole in the dialogue is right along the critical path, it can't be avoided, and it's clearly unfinished. I don't think an install where someone patches with just the Fixpack can consider the game finished with that hole (not to mention the weirdness of getting the two tattoos) a truly finished game. Make sense?

Qwinn

#4 Qwinn

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:13 PM

I can certainly see the positives of implementing a way of stopping him and I think your idea is pretty good for that, except I think that you should have the option to remain neutral - you just watch him kill Trias (can this be done when they're both blue?) and then ask him to rejoin your party.


The "Watch." and "Attack the deva." options are both already in game. Actually, there's a third, "Attack the deva despite your vow.", which you only get if you made the vow, obviously, and that one gets you a strong chaotic alignment hit. None of the three drops you out of combat, they both lead to the same dialogue of Vhailor striking him down as I quoted up above.

Qwinn

#5 scient

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:31 PM

PST can always use more C&C. Isn't that one of complaints some folks have about PST that it's lacking a lot of C&C?. It's one of those things that most likely dropped to way side due to time constraints. Did you make a topic about this on Codex yet? I think there you'll have strongest critics regarding any changes so debate might be useful.

I'll have to think over about any changes I would make to what you have already. Off hand, it looks good and I agree with how you plan on fixing it.

Those interested in the classic TBS game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossover should check out the unofficial patch I work on here.


#6 gothemasticator

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:21 PM

I agree with your logic, Qwinn, concerning the blank line. I would consider it a fix to fill that line with a "good" option. I think your writing of Trias' new lines is perfect--fits the character and situation and game. So, I say, go for your plan whole-hog.

However, I have to ask: would it be possible to do a more minimal fix to be added to the Fixpack, while leaving your fully fixed option for the UB? I mean something like this:

Fixpack: Added missing "good" option in Trias dialogue. ("Stop, Vhailor!" Vhailor does not stop, but Trias does not curse you for betrayal. You only get the tattoo of the Redeemer.)

Unfinished Business: Furnished new "good" option, with Choice and Consequence and new dialogue, to Trias and Vhailor showdown. (Your whole plan including new dialogue.)

A split like this would probably please the most players. I would be happy with the whole shebang put into the Fixpack, but I admit I am not much of a purist.

gothemasticator

#7 Qwinn

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 09:55 PM

Yeah, I was considering that option, gtm. Probably would be best.

Qwinn

#8 nevill

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 12:37 AM

I can't help but feel that the third option is for UB. I also understand that the way it is now is just... unfitting (and 2nd option doesn't help it much). It seems that what you are suggesting (different routes for FP&UB) would be best.

Actually, if you are at it, you can make it a bit clearer. I think the line ~Stop Vhailor.~ should lead to a Vhailor's response which should make it obvious that he won't step aside (and then the player would get to make a final decision). Unless you want players to be caught by surprise, of course. :D See, when they have come this far through the dialogue tree they aren't going to just let Trias die and there is nothing to suggest that choosing that line will result in a loss of party member.

Edited by nevill, 04 June 2009 - 12:37 AM.


#9 Philiposophy

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 05:32 AM

After pondering it, I agree with gothemasticator, it's more of a fix to be able to not be a total bastard to Trias under the circumstances.

Fighting Vhailor to save Trias should be an optional component.

#10 Kulyok

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 06:41 AM

You mean, adding it into fixpack, non-optional, forcing it on people? Essentially, changing the story of the game, the emotion behind "I stood there and I could do nothing. Vhailor killed the deva"?

I can understand a tweak, or an extra quest, sure - that's why UB is so popular. But putting it into fixpack is a no-no for me.

#11 ghostdog

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:35 AM

Qwinn, I really like the new lines you've written and I'd love to see this in the game, but I still think it should be a UB component. Thus, I haven't yet voted.

#12 taplonaplo

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 10:10 AM

I like the C&C option, but it should definitely be part of the unfinished business.
The part that should be in the fixpack IMO is that if Vhailor kills Trias you don't get access to both tattoos.

#13 Qwinn

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 11:11 AM

Almost everyone seems to agree, so okay, 2nd option in Fixpack, 3rd option in UB.

Just curious, who voted for "Do nothing"? Was that you, Kulyok? If so, just wondering what you find wrong with the "Minimal" option. I'm quite curious what the logic is that explains why you have to go ultra-belligerent on Trias just after redeeming him. The game as it is doesn't just force you to "stand back and watch helplessly" after you've redeemed him, it pretty much forces you to kick the corpse.

With the minimal change, the emotion is -still- "I could do nothing, Vhailor killed the deva", all that option does is give you a dialogue response other than "Cheer Vhailor on", basically.

Not trying to be mean or call anyone out or anything, I'd just very much like to know what it is about the 2nd option going in the Fixpack that might actually bother anyone, or to hopefully just correct a misconception if that's all that it is.

And also, curious if there -is- some plausible explanation for why one should be forced to say "Just die, already." under all circumstances after redeeming him. If that is in fact plausible, then yes, I might in fact not do anything at all, but I'd need to at least understand the logic behind that plausibility.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 04 June 2009 - 11:29 AM.


#14 Qwinn

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 11:22 AM

As for fixing getting the two tattoos, Tap, honestly, I don't know. If the 3rd option isn't Fixpack material, I don't see how fixing getting the two tats can be either. I'll do that as part of the UB implementation of option 3, but, well, why take away your Redeemer tat (or give you a Betrayer tat) if you have -no choice- of stopping Vhailor, and yet how do you get to -keep- the Redeemer tat if Trias is no longer around to convey its blessing on you?

That's really another reason why I thought about it going in the Fixpack. The lack of any real choice there is what makes the two tats so problematic.

If you -are- getting a choice, then which tat you get becomes easy. If you have the actual ability to stop Vhailor and choose not to, then yes, you betrayed him and deserve just that tat, and if you save him obviously you deserve just the redeemer tat.

Frankly, the way it is -now-, logically I don't think you should get -either- tat (you didn't choose to betray him, and you failed in redeeming him), but they chose to give you both. Without introducing a choice, I might as well leave it that way.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 04 June 2009 - 11:37 AM.


#15 Qwinn

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:13 PM

By the way, here's the description of the Betrayer tattoo:

This tattoo describes the defeat of Trias the Betrayer, and how you dealt the death stroke to the corrupted deva. It represents the strength necessary to defeat him and the smarts required to outwit a deva.


Arrrrgh!

I could see how "the death stroke" could be your allowing Vhailor to do it for you, IF you really had the choice, but without the choice, that's pretty much nonsensical. Sigh.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 04 June 2009 - 01:16 PM.


#16 Qwinn

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:34 PM

Okay, how to actually implement the 2nd option in the Fixpack, hopefully being able to reuse existing dialogue strings.

First, add STRREF 54779 ~"Vhailor, stop!"~ as a response option to the line I bolded up in the first post. I would make it ignored in the Fixpack, and goes to the same step as all the other options, with Vhailor cutting the deva down. The original use of that "Vhailor, stop!" line is when you first meet Trias, BEFORE the fight, Vhailor can force the fight to start before you get any conversation in. It's ignored then as well.

(Note, the difference in the third UB option would be, instead of saying ~"Vhailor, stop!"~, the option would be ~Stop Vhailor.~ Not in quotes, not something you say, but a description of what you actually try to do. At that point, the consequences would be fixed, one way or the other - either Vhailor, or Trias and Vhailor, have to die.)

Anyways, so we get the next step where Vhailor cuts Trias down and Trias curses you:

Vhailor strikes him down, shattering the bones of his proud face, bloodying his immaculate form. With his dying strength, Trias says, "Know that you have damned yourself. In killing me, you have shattered the last shield that you have against the horrors that will consume you. The fiend I tricked... he is now free..." His weak chuckle trickles off, and the light vanishes from his eyes.


This is where you are forced to say "Just die, already." This is where we really need to add a response. Looking in the dialog.tlk, the best existing line I've found (and it's not great) is: @54533 = ~"That's enough. Farewell, Trias."~. Or, you can repeat ~"Best of luck, Trias. Farewell."~, which is the line you give after redeeming him. Neither is great, I'd probably go with the first one.

Qwinn

#17 taplonaplo

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 01:41 PM

Technically you betray him (and do redeem him, but that doesn't last long) even if you have no choice, i don't like the idea of "hitting two flies with one swat", getting both the good alignment bumps, and the fancy loots.... Alternatively Vhailor could intercept before you could redeem him but i see how this solution is inferior to adding an extra option to intervene, especially with celestial fire being LG only.

#18 Qwinn

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 06:48 PM

Again someone has voted "Do nothing." Again I request that one of the people doing so can kindly explain how they envision the current state of the dialogue as plausibly intended. Why does TNO wish Trias the best of luck and then watch him get cut down and respond only with "Just die, already."? Especially given the literal hole in the dialog.tlk where another option should be.

I'm not trying to start a fight. I'm just trying to understand the perspective.

Qwinn

#19 Tolknaz

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 07:20 AM

Voted for the third option. I think however, that it should be part of unfinished business mod rather than fixpack.

#20 Gumby

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:02 AM

Voted for the third option. I think however, that it should be part of unfinished business mod rather than fixpack.


Same here.


Nice catch, Qwinn! Make it so. :D

Edited by Gumby, 08 June 2009 - 02:03 AM.