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Mod idea: A djinni companion

npc genie seventh party member

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#1 Argent77

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:09 AM

I already thought of this mod idea two years ago, but I actually started to work on it only recently.

My mod introduces the djinni Afaaq who is bound to a magical lamp. Afaaq is a djinn - a genie of the Elemental Plane of Air - and he will accompany the protagonist throughout his SOA and ToB adventures. You can "acquire" him as soon as you leave Chateau Irenicus. But it is possible to delay it until chapter 6 (although it will be more difficult afterwards).

Character sheet:
AfaaqM.png

Name: Afaaq
Age: unknown
Gender: Male
Race: Genie (Djinn)
Class: Fighter/Mage
Alignment: Chaotic Good


Strength: 15
Dexterity: 16
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 15
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 11

Background:
Afaaq is old, even in genie terms. As a young genie he took part in the Dawn War, the war between the primordials and the gods when the earth was still young. Later he served a local caliph who lived in the Elemental Plane of Air for millennia before he followed the noble djinni Calim to Faerûn. He served under Calim for centuries and took part in many campaigns, including the devastating battle against Memnon and his efreet army. Calim and Memnon were eventually captured and disembodied by elves and bound to the earth and sky in a region which became the Calim Desert. Afaaq, however, survived and continued to serve at the court of another caliph. At this time Afaaq became convinced that violent conflicts only lead to more destruction, and he retreated from his life as a warrior.

Spoiler


Personality:
When living for such a long time, you get tired of the schemes and petty squabbles of the mortal races eventually. So he keeps a certain emotional distance to them and appears cool and somewhat detached from the world. Those around him cam sometimes feel his melancholic or even gloomy aura, but also his irrepressible optimism and unshakable belief in the future.
It is difficult to gain his trust, but he is a loyal friend when you get through to him. When you talk to him, you sometimes get the feeling that he still misses the old times, when his race was still strong and his life had a purpose.

Abilities:
Spoiler


The djinni won't join the party the usual way. You can get a hold of his lamp and he will accompany you as long as you have it with you. Think of him as your seventh party member.
In the course of his adventure with the protagonist, Afaaq has the opportunity to get back his full power and be released from his magical lamp. It all depends on the path the protagonist will choose. This will be a mod which rewards good-aligned players the most, but it is also possible to play evil and have fun.
There will be five quests, up to three take place in SoA, one starts in SoA and might end in ToB, and one quest is ToB only.

 

 

What do you think about it? Is it too ambitious? Do you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions? Any feedback is welcome.
 
Edit: Updated Background and Abilities of the djinni.


Edited by Argent77, 14 February 2013 - 02:06 AM.


#2 Rhaella

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 01:21 PM

Oooh, djinn. I love outsiders. I'd probably be wary of giving him too many powers later on, since full powered genie may be a bit... much, but unlimited invisibility seems pretty nice. Kind of like hide in shadows anyway.

One thing I would suggest, especially since you're not particularly comfortable with it: start writing the dialogues early. You've got a dawn-of-time type djinni. Which could be pretty interesting, but the believability of a character that ancient is going to ride extremely heavily on the writing, so you'd probably be better off working on that sooner rather than later. If you find you need to drop parts of the story, you may need to rewrite those quests anyway.

#3 Argent77

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:15 AM

I'd probably be wary of giving him too many powers later on, since full powered genie may be a bit... much,

Yes, balancing out his powers is a big challenge. Unlike party members he doesn't earn XP or level up. So he starts out strong but "gets weaker" in the course of the game. In the end he'll probably be your most useless character in the party. One plus is his inability to die though, but that's just a nessessary evil not to break the game mechanics (for the moment).
I counteract with the story element of his sealed powers which he regains at a certain point in the game, but this will only work once.

One thing I would suggest, especially since you're not particularly comfortable with it: start writing the dialogues early. You've got a dawn-of-time type djinni. Which could be pretty interesting, but the believability of a character that ancient is going to ride extremely heavily on the writing, so you'd probably be better off working on that sooner rather than later. If you find you need to drop parts of the story, you may need to rewrite those quests anyway.

At the moment I put very rough versions of my dialog lines into the mod, but they are getting better each time I rewrite them. I guess if/when I complete the mod someday they will sound right. :P

Edited by Argent77, 30 January 2012 - 02:18 AM.


#4 theacefes

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:07 AM

"And for my second wish, I wish to beat the game!"

Interesting concept. You should have outsiders react when they see the player talking to a lamp.
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#5 Argent77

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:16 AM

Interesting concept. You should have outsiders react when they see the player talking to a lamp.

There will be a quest which involves other groups of outsiders.

Short update:
I plan to do at least five quests, including the one to "acquire" the djinni. (Almost) each quest will have more than one option how to complete it. The way you handle the quests may have consequences how future quests work out and how your relationship to the djinni is developing.

I also thought about different thematic threads to follow for the banters between the djinni and some of the Bioware NPCs, maybe even a friendship path with a selected few (Aerie comes to my mind). But this part is still very sketchy. My first priority is to find enough topics to talk about, however.


And I have a final question which I'm still thinking about. What is more common in Faerûn, a djinni lamp or a djinni bottle? I have created both kinds of items and it is easy to replace one with the other, but I'm still unsure what to use.

Edited by Argent77, 31 January 2012 - 06:01 AM.


#6 Quester

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:28 AM

Unlike party members he doesn't earn XP or level up. So he starts out strong but "gets weaker" in the course of the game. In the end he'll probably be your most useless character in the party.


I think it's an interesting idea for an NPC but I'm not sure I like the above part. I think Afaaq would work better if you managed to integrate him into the game like a normal joinable NPC, who earns XP and can improve over time.

#7 Argent77

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:37 AM

I think Afaaq would work better if you managed to integrate him into the game like a normal joinable NPC,

I thought about making him a party member when I started thinking about this mod (the larger portrait in my first post is a leftover from that time). But there are at least three points (I can think of) which speak against a full-fletched party member.

First, the creature animation of the djinni has a limited number of animation sequences, it wouldn't look right if he'd wield a halberd or bow and uses his scimitar animation, also armor wouldn't change his appearance in any way.
The second point relates to his lamp which he is bound to. Will he count as dead or otherwise inaccessible when he's inside? The fact that he's bound to his lamp is also a pivotal story element in most of his quests. He also got scripted special abilities which would break if the player had full control over him. And to stay in character I have limited his spell selection to non-elemental or air-related spells.
And last but not least, he is a character with his own mind. He doesn't always support your PC's decisions and might act on his own sometimes. It would look odd when you lose control of him now and then.

...who earns XP and can improve over time.

He will improve at a certain point in the game, but this isn't set in stone yet. Maybe I find a better way to distribute his development more evenly over the game.

Edited by Argent77, 31 January 2012 - 09:42 AM.


#8 Argent77

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 08:08 AM

Short Update:

Three out of five quests are more or less done. One of them contains mass combat between two drow houses where you are free to decide whether to help one side, attack both sides or stay passive (writing the combat scripts was a pain).

I have decided to let the djinni's power grow gradually to simulate gaining XP and levels. This will affect his HP, THAC0 and AC (and maybe APR) but his spell selection will stay the same. The improvements will be triggered as his banters with the protagonist advance and also at certain points in the game progression every time the protagonist reaches a certain amount of XP (that way it's more evenly distributed).

There will be a major upgrade of his powers at a certain point in the game, however, which will also affect his spell selection, innate abilities and weapons (it's part of a quest).

I'm thinking about giving his TOB version an unlimited innate ability to haste himself for a limited period of time (only his movement), so he can keep up with my party members who will probably all have Boots of Speed at that point in the game. But I don't know yet if it will make him too powerful. :unsure:

He will also have the ability (via dialog options) to receive potions from party members if he is hurt, poisoned, etc. (maybe even the possibility to store potions, wands or items in his quickslots, have to think about it...).

Edited by Argent77, 17 February 2012 - 12:10 PM.


#9 Elrin

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:27 PM

Yup,
I think your character is interesting and original, you can deal with various things with it.
If currently you need some help/ideas for quest, story, character ability, ..... i've always something to give, and if you master coding, I think we could make a big thing together. I'm really bad in coding part so the only thing i can do for you is writing.
Good luck!

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#10 Argent77

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 04:31 AM

Thanks for your offer. At the moment I'm busy coding quests and adding functionality to the djinni. But if you are talented in writing believable dialogs, I'd like to get back to you once I have fleshed out the djinni's character traits.

#11 Elrin

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 05:09 AM

Sounds good.
However I think that when time will come, it will be a thing that we'll have to do together because I want to respect as possible your mind about this, I think it will be the way that we should proceed to be effective as possible. I hope it will suit you.

Edited by Elrin, 18 February 2012 - 05:14 AM.

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#12 Qlon

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:28 AM

Although my own mod ideas are horrible, I *can* write dialogues fairly well. If you'd like my assistance, you have it. =)
For every puzzle, there is a solution. Except for my best friend, Puzzle. She's hopeless! =x

#13 Argent77

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:30 AM

Although my own mod ideas are horrible, I *can* write dialogues fairly well. If you'd like my assistance, you have it. =)

Your help would be very much appreciated.
Although I could come up with topics of conversation, I have trouble putting it into words because english isn't my native language.

I think it will take a couple of weeks to collect ideas, fleshing out the djinni's personality and finishing the remaining quests, but if you are still interested in a month or so, I would gladly accept your help.

Edited by Argent77, 18 February 2012 - 10:31 AM.


#14 Qlon

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 12:52 PM

Sure! Just send me a PM when you're ready. =)
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#15 Argent77

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:06 AM

Hello everyone,

after taking a break for a few months, I have returned to this project. The djinni character and the quests have been more or less completed, only a bunch of dialog lines need to be written yet.

I have finally started to work on Afaaq's banters and there arises a small problem. An interesting character should have something very personal to overcome in the course of his adventure.
As I have written in my opening post, Afaaq is an ancient genie who has witnessed more than mortals can dream of over the course of time.

 

For now, I have more or less sketched out the "lighter" topics, like getting to know each other, talking about past, present and future, and so on.
The quests, which are triggered in both the SoA and ToB part of the game, are linked to recent and not-so-recent events in Afaaq's life and play an integral part to outline his personal background.

My question is: Are there any obstacles or undeveloped aspects left in a life as ancient as Afaaq's which are worth developing? Or what else could make a character like him more interesting?
 



#16 Mario

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

Mmmm, maybe a long lost love? A revenge not fullfiled? Some mission/order he didn't finish/obey and something really bad happened?

He may have his opinion about the Time of Troubles, about Bhaal's plan....

Good luck finishing it, will play it for sure.



#17 Argent77

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:28 AM

Mmmm, maybe a long lost love? A revenge not fullfiled? Some mission/order he didn't finish/obey and something really bad happened?

A revenge-based quest is already implemented. However, it's happening rather late in the game, so the time to talk about will be very short.

Relationships are always intriguing. But I haven't seen anything in my sources which suggests that genies can have romantic relationships. In the few stories where relationships of some kind have been mentioned, they were more like intellectual pastimes or means to gain status and prestige. There are male and female genies, however, so maybe it is possible.

 

He may have his opinion about the Time of Troubles, about Bhaal's plan....

The idea about the Time of Troubles is great, it should have affected the djinni as well. I'll definitely add it to my list.

 



#18 Mario

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

I'm sure you are going to make he talk about it but, being a djinni and thinking about Aladdin..... his freedom? I don't know a thing about Djinnis in D&D but you have talked about his past and he was imprisoned, so he's likely wanting his freedom back. If not he should talk about regaining his freedom a lot.



#19 Argent77

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

Both Aladdin and the D&D djinnis have been inspired by the arabian mythology, so there are many similarities.
The central theme of the mod is to release the djinni from his imprisonment(s), so I guess you have a point. Talking about yet another major topic doesn't necessarily make Afaaq more interesting.
I'll focus on his desire to regain his freedom. There is a lot of ground to cover and the majority of his quests already center around his freedom (or lack of). Together with all the minor conversation topics he will discuss with all of the party members, he's got enough material for the whole game.


Now that that's settled, I should better get back to work or the djinni will never be finished. ;)



#20 Argent77

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:19 AM

Now that I'm busy working on all the dialogs, I'd like to complete my work on the djinni Afaaq himself.

 

As I have mentioned in my opening post, the djinni will accompany the player in an unusual way. Because he is bound to his lamp, making him a normal party member doesn't work. He'll be more like a seventh member of your party.

That means you won't have full control over him. For example, you cannot access his inventory or modify his spell selection. I have compensated most parts of the limitations via scripts and dialog options, but there are still a few things he can't do.

 

I have attached a file which contains the djinni Afaaq in a stripped down version without banters and quests as a simple WeiDU mod. Could you try it out and give me feedback whether he is playable or what additional functionality you'd like to see?

 

Link: Attached File  DjinniLight-0.1.7z   1.03MB   262 downloads

 

 

Edit: The mod assumes, that you start a new game (in either SoA or ToB). If you want to add the djinni lamp in mid-game, use the command CLUAConsole:CreateItem("A7DJLMP") in the debug console.


Edited by Argent77, 24 January 2013 - 09:02 AM.






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