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True Animal Companions (Familiars) for Rangers.

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#1 Ulb

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 03:18 AM

Heya,

 

first off, I've done a quick search but couldn't find anything but old announcements and ideas for familiar / ranger pet mods, which seemingly never got finished.

 

If you know of any mod that already does what I intend to do, please let me know and spare me the unnecessary effort. :)

 

So the basic idea is pretty simple: Allow rangers to choose one of a wide range of animal companions that work more or less exactly like 'mage familiars' work right now, but are a little more useful/durable. (They probably won't go into your backpack and neither will they die permanently, but I guess that's not really relevant right now.. :))

 

I haven't yet looked to much into familiars, but it seems there is a lot of hard coded stuff involved.

 

For example, simply making a .cre global via makeglobal() and setting it to the familiar allegiance category won't allow it to switch areas with the party.

 

So unless I'm missing something here, I think the best way is probably to 'override' (new script, new dialogue, new stat items ...) one of the standard familiars as soon as it is spawned via the findfamiliar effect. (Note: I'm not planing to override the familiar .cre file, but just the specific familiar that is spawned for the ranger. That way, the standard 'Find Familiar' spell would stay untouched for mages / sorcerers.)

 

I've posted this in the Modding Discussion instead of the Ideas forum, since it is more of an inquiry than a simple idea thread.



#2 Eric P.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:10 AM

You might want to check out how Azure (a druid NPC) is set up for this idea. She has an animal friend, a wolf named Sharo. This is the only mod I'm aware of that uses the idea of a nature-based animal companion (with the possible exception of another mod that, if memory serves, adds a leopard animal companion for a ranger, or something like that).

 

Of course, animal companions are different from wizard familiars in that they're more-or-less natural animals that just decide to be friends with rangers, and will do things like scout and hunt, even fight, and you could add the concept of enhancing/improving the animal companion as the ranger increases in level.


Working and playing on a Mac Pro 6,1 running Mac OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, and a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#3 Argent77

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:09 AM

As the main character in my djinni companion mod I'm working on is a familiar-type creature, I have learned much about the pros and cons of familiars (the hard way). Familiars have to deal with A LOT of hard-coded, buggy and badly supported features you normally wouldn't think about when coding a conventional NPC (which has driven me crazy more than once :twisted: ). For example, familiars can't leave an area on its own (except in very special situations), they can't pick up stuff or start a store, even transferring items between your party members and familiars is very complicated and buggy. And if you think about giving them magic abilities, avoid contingency spells or sequencers like the plague, because they will lock the game.

Creating a familiar is very simple however. You just have to call the required script action in the right order. E.g.

CreateCreatureObject("MyFamiliar", Player1, 0, 0, 0)
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", MakeGlobal())
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", ChangeEnemyAlly(Myself, FAMILIAR))
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", AddFamiliar())

creates the globally registered creature "MyFamiliar" next to Player1. The familiar is able to initiate dialogs, follow your party into other areas automatically and the protagonist won't lose a constitution point when it dies (that only happens if you create a familiar via opcode effect).


Edited by Argent77, 24 April 2013 - 07:12 AM.


#4 dabus

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:24 AM

Maybe you can look at haiass. That's not a familiar, but I guess it's close.
I also don't think it would be bad that it cannot leave the area. Creating some creatures X times a day would be ok for me.
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#5 Ulb

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

You might want to check out how Azure (a druid NPC) is set up for this idea. She has an animal friend, a wolf named Sharo. This is the only mod I'm aware of that uses the idea of a nature-based animal companion (with the possible exception of another mod that, if memory serves, adds a leopard animal companion for a ranger, or something like that).

 

Of course, animal companions are different from wizard familiars in that they're more-or-less natural animals that just decide to be friends with rangers, and will do things like scout and hunt, even fight, and you could add the concept of enhancing/improving the animal companion as the ranger increases in level.

 

I definitely plan on having them improve as the player levels, shouldn't be hard to implement either

 

Does that Azure npc implement that wolf as a true familiar or as a summon spell? If it's the former, it might very well be worth a look.

As for the leopard animal companion, I think that one is actually a character kit to turn a multi-player character into an animal companion. Not really what I'm looking to do. :P

 

As the main character in my djinni companion mod I'm working on is a familiar-type creature, I have learned much about the pros and cons of familiars (the hard way). Familiars have to deal with A LOT of hard-coded, buggy and badly supported features you normally wouldn't think about when coding a conventional NPC (which has driven me crazy more than once :twisted: ). For example, familiars can't leave an area on its own (except in very special situations), they can't pick up stuff or start a store, even transferring items between your party members and familiars is very complicated and buggy. And if you think about giving them magic abilities, avoid contingency spells or sequencers like the plague, because they will lock the game.

 

You certainly have my compassion for all the troubles you're facing, I'm really looking forward to your djinni companion. :)

Lucky for me, animal companions aren't supposed to be able to do any of those things, so I guess most of those buggy mechanics won't trouble me too much. :D

 

CreateCreatureObject("MyFamiliar", Player1, 0, 0, 0) 
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", MakeGlobal()) 
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", ChangeEnemyAlly(Myself, FAMILIAR)) 
ActionOverride("MyFamiliar", AddFamiliar())

 

Seems like I was only missing the AddFamiliar part (I should start reading my action.ids file more carefully...), anyway, when it didn't work for me, I gave up and started to work on converting an existing familiar into a new animal companion.

 

If your code is really working (which I don't doubt), that will make things so much easier! (It also means I've wasted half a day of my life with assimilating a pseudo dragon into a brown bear pet – Borg-esque style. :P)

Seems almost like a pattern to me: Me not knowing what the heck I'm doing and you showing up and explaining, thanks again. :D

 

Maybe you can look at haiass. That's not a familiar, but I guess it's close.
I also don't think it would be bad that it cannot leave the area. Creating some creatures X times a day would be ok for me.

 

Hm, to be honest that sounds kinda underwhelming to me.

 

Personally, I don't want to do this mod to 'beef up' rangers in terms of combat abilities, but to give the class a -  more or less - unique feature, which adds to it's role-playing flavor.

An other 'simple' summoning spell probably won't achieve that.

 

 

Anyway, thank you all for your input, I really appreciate it. :)

 

I'll keep you posted on my progress, thought that could actually take a while, since I'm still thinking on the lyca variable and also want to do another lycanthropy character kit, oh and real life stuff, that too... :P



#6 Eric P.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:02 AM

Sharo is set up as a "normal" animal, not a summon. There's a script for him to follow Azure from one area to another, when she's in the party.


Working and playing on a Mac Pro 6,1 running Mac OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, and a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#7 dabus

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:40 AM

Hmm, you could also look for packmule if the familiar does not really have to act as one.
If I remind correctly. there were not so many orders you could give and kicking/petting your familiar wasn't such a killer feature from my point of view. I was more after the additional hitpoints.

Maybe I recall it wrong but I guess you could influence animals in NWN. Maybe something like that would make the ranger more unique, as familiars are not unique. ;)
Guess something like calming animals down or get them to act on your side... in a way like the evil clerics "ban undead". I also liked the idea of the ranger in IWD2, but looking for some tracks at the ground wasn't really helpful. I'd also view the familiar more related to the druid and the ranger more to "path-finding".
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#8 Ulb

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:41 AM

In that case, it probably won't be very helpful to me.

 

But thanks again for informing me. :)

 

*edit*

 

@dabus

 

Rangers already have a 'charm animal' innate ability, which works exactly as you describe it. :D

 

As for the pack mule, it's a very interesting mod (from the a mechanic wise point of view), might be worth a look.

 

I think you've got a point about druids being actually more of an 'animal companion class'. Makes me think about whether I should expand the animal companions to druids as well? (Thought that kinda undermines the whole unique feature intent.)

 

I guess I'll have to contemplate about that for a while ... in my bed. :)

 

gn8 everyone


Edited by Ulb, 24 April 2013 - 11:49 AM.


#9 Sam.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:51 AM

Oh please oh please oh please I want there to be a moose companion for my Ranger!! :)

You may be interested in CuChoinneach's Shadow Wolf Companion in Dark Side of the Sword Coast once it is released for BGEE. I believe it may do exactly what you are intending.

"Ok, I've just about had my FILL of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart-arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer ANYWHERE in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster AND his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the nine hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I MADE myself perfectly CLEAR?!"

--<CHARNAME> to Portalbendarwinden

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#10 dabus

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:48 PM

@Ulb: Ah, guess I forgot some things through the years. :P

@Sam: Moose get killed too fast to be a good companion if you want them for battle, don't they?

I you'd add familiars, wouldn't you need some disadvantage(s)? Maybe something like the transformation of spells to healing-spells for clerics. Maybe getting a follower for 8 hours for a level 1 spell or something like that. Adding some powers to the ranger depending on your pet would also be a neat feature. Like increasing your speed when summoning a leopard, adding strength when you have a bear, no poisoning when you got a spider or something like fire damage when summoning salamanders on level two or three spells. I'd like to have 1 or 2 points of additional elemental damage at least, You could also add some passive feats like resistances when summoning jelly or maybe a short ranged eye when you got an eagle as a companion. ;)
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#11 Argent77

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:00 PM

Maybe you could expand your mod and give Minsc a proper miniature giant space hamster familiar (what a name). :P



#12 Eric P.

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:30 PM

It would be cool to see animal companions for druids as well, since that follows canon (it does, doesn't it?).


Working and playing on a Mac Pro 6,1 running Mac OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, and a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#13 Ulb

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 11:07 PM

@ Sam

What's your ranger called, Benjen? :P

A moose companion would be pretty cool, thought I'm not sure the original BG2 moose has fighting animations and stuff like that. (I think it's more of an 'environment animation'.)

I you'd add familiars, wouldn't you need some disadvantage(s)? Maybe something like the transformation of spells to healing-spells for clerics. Maybe getting a follower for 8 hours for a level 1 spell or something like that. Adding some powers to the ranger depending on your pet would also be a neat feature. Like increasing your speed when summoning a leopard, adding strength when you have a bear, no poisoning when you got a spider or something like fire damage when summoning salamanders on level two or three spells. I'd like to have 1 or 2 points of additional elemental damage at least, You could also add some passive feats like resistances when summoning jelly or maybe a short ranged eye when you got an eagle as a companion. ;)

I have an experience penalty as a disadvantage in mind. Since the animal companion would be more or less like a 7th party member (or 8th if Argent77's djinn companion is already out :D) it seems to be only fair to apply such a penalty. (Either a permanent %xp reduction if that is doable, or the party members will just lose a chunk of their experience whenever the animal companion 'levels up' (which will probably be tied to payer1's experience).

 

As for the passive bonuses for the party, I have actually thought about that too. :P

But really, I think it would be extremely hard to add such a feature and still keep things more or less balanced, in terms of game mechanics.

So it's probably a no.

(Thought, I'm thinking about giving them something like a unique high level ability, which could of course affect the whole party. E.g.: Let's say the pets will 'level up' 4 times and the third 'level up' happens when player1 reaches 2 million xp. At that point, the animal companion would not only gain a stat boost, but also a once per day special ability like 'Roar Of Courage', which would increase the strength of the hole party and also work like a remove fear spell.)

Maybe you could expand your mod and give Minsc a proper miniature giant space hamster familiar (what a name). :P

That has already been done in NeJ I think. :P

It would be cool to see animal companions for druids as well, since that follows canon (it does, doesn't it?).

It does I guess, thought to be honest I see druids more as the guys that can pretty much summon the whole forest when ever someone messes with them, instead of having that really close bound with a single animal. Such a bound sounds more like a ranger to me.

 

I'm not sure how 'canon' my picture of those two classes is thought. :P



#14 Oracle

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:00 AM

Like Azure . The Krondor Mod over at Ganing nerds R us has a Worg that follows the party in the same way has Sharo. I believe the Worgas NPC mod has A Gauth has a famliar and allows Boo to be summonable and attack enemies.

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#15 Eric P.

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 05:24 AM

@ Sam

What's your ranger called, Benjen? :P

A moose companion would be pretty cool, thought I'm not sure the original BG2 moose has fighting animations and stuff like that. (I think it's more of an 'environment animation'.)

I you'd add familiars, wouldn't you need some disadvantage(s)? Maybe something like the transformation of spells to healing-spells for clerics. Maybe getting a follower for 8 hours for a level 1 spell or something like that. Adding some powers to the ranger depending on your pet would also be a neat feature. Like increasing your speed when summoning a leopard, adding strength when you have a bear, no poisoning when you got a spider or something like fire damage when summoning salamanders on level two or three spells. I'd like to have 1 or 2 points of additional elemental damage at least, You could also add some passive feats like resistances when summoning jelly or maybe a short ranged eye when you got an eagle as a companion. ;)

I have an experience penalty as a disadvantage in mind. Since the animal companion would be more or less like a 7th party member (or 8th if Argent77's djinn companion is already out :D) it seems to be only fair to apply such a penalty. (Either a permanent %xp reduction if that is doable, or the party members will just lose a chunk of their experience whenever the animal companion 'levels up' (which will probably be tied to payer1's experience).

 

As for the passive bonuses for the party, I have actually thought about that too. :P

But really, I think it would be extremely hard to add such a feature and still keep things more or less balanced, in terms of game mechanics.

So it's probably a no.

(Thought, I'm thinking about giving them something like a unique high level ability, which could of course affect the whole party. E.g.: Let's say the pets will 'level up' 4 times and the third 'level up' happens when player1 reaches 2 million xp. At that point, the animal companion would not only gain a stat boost, but also a once per day special ability like 'Roar Of Courage', which would increase the strength of the hole party and also work like a remove fear spell.)

Maybe you could expand your mod and give Minsc a proper miniature giant space hamster familiar (what a name). :P

That has already been done in NeJ I think. :P

It would be cool to see animal companions for druids as well, since that follows canon (it does, doesn't it?).

It does I guess, thought to be honest I see druids more as the guys that can pretty much summon the whole forest when ever someone messes with them, instead of having that really close bound with a single animal. Such a bound sounds more like a ranger to me.

 

I'm not sure how 'canon' my picture of those two classes is thought. :P

That makes sense. The druid's #1 claim to fame is wildshape, so you could limit animal companions to rangers without breaking any hearts, I think :) A moose would not be a good choice for a companion *L* Any penalty should be slight, as an animal companion is not as powerful as a familiar, and is not a mystical extension of the character, as a familiar is (remember, familiars and animal companions are Two Separate Things!). It's just a natural animal that feels like being a pal :) A higher-level improvement to a familiar might be a "dire transformation" (but maybe not a vorpal bunny ;) ). Just a thought.


Edited by Eric P., 25 April 2013 - 05:31 AM.

Working and playing on a Mac Pro 6,1 running Mac OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, and a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?


#16 Sam.

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:35 AM

A moose would not be a good choice for a companion
I'm not looking for a 7th party member, and I'm so powerful of a fighter I don't need any other fighter class NPCs, much less an animal capable of melee combat (I practically solo the game anyway). What I'm looking for is just
a natural animal that feels like being a pal :)
and for my role-playing purposes there is nothing I would rather have than a moose as a friend :P . The moose attack animations aren't overwhelming , but it's not like they crash the game either... All I did was make a request :)

"Ok, I've just about had my FILL of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart-arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer ANYWHERE in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster AND his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the nine hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I MADE myself perfectly CLEAR?!"

--<CHARNAME> to Portalbendarwinden

--------------------

post-10485-0-15080600-1348188745.jpg
___________Old pen and paper modules of the 70s and 80s.___________

CA Forums CA Homepage


#17 salomonkane

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 11:33 AM

True Animal Companions (Familiars) for Rangers ... ?

 

Hello, Ulb


As you can see there are some pretenders here ... : )

 

668434anim212.gif

 

And here are some links (concerning familiar too) :

 

CODE

http://forums.blackw...art=#entry13040

 

 

Azure NPC Romance Mod adds to the game a new NPC - the druid Azure, and her wolf guardian, Sharo.

http://balduran.blackwyrmlair.net/


Edited by salomonkane, 26 April 2013 - 12:08 PM.

Quo Vadis ?

#18 Ulb

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:30 PM

@ Sam

No promises on the moose, though I haven't yet spend too much time thinking about a complete list of animals to include.. :)

 

@ salomonkane

Thanks for the links, I might take a look or two, if I get stuck with my script. :)

 

I'm a little confused about the .gif though.

 

Are those fully ported animations, and if so, where are they from?

If they are, the lion, snake and especially the eagle would be very nice additions to implement via I.A. (Yoda and 'Kung Fu Guy' .. not so much :P )

 

As for my progress, I didn't yet find too much time to work on this, so there isn't much.

The only thing that's finished (or even started for that matter) is the 'invisible creature script' which handles the animal companion creation, as well as the 'call animal companion' ability. (Players will be able to send the animal away and re-summon it via a special ability or inventory item.)

 

Anyway, thanks a lot for the input. I'll keep you posted. :)

 



#19 salomonkane

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 04:59 AM

1)Are those fully ported animations, and if so,

2)where are they from?

 

1) - Yes and No,

a) Bipeds sprites  have animations that could quite suitable for the type of infinity engine sequences (and a lot more),

b) For animals, yes, like those from Neverwinter, (and for good reason, sic), but for some others it would be necessary to create them especially for _sleep and _dead & _attack (for more diversity) .

 

2) - From various pipeline & community works (daz/poser/iclone/3dxchange, xnlara, unreal viewer, unity 3d, garry mod, xentax, nexus, NWN/Arcanum/Fallout/Diablo/AOW ...)

 

But with some knowledge in 3d animation & with the infinity engine tools revisited, it would be a easy  to repopulated the Realms with wildlife/fauna, (familiars, companions, mount and pets...) and a piece of cake with biped/humanoid people .

 

Cause the most big problem here it's the obsolescence  of bam editing tools, like Bamworkshop 1 & 2 (with all the shadow, indexed palette, transparency, truncatures, pixelization, maximum size/split, etc,  bugs/issues) ...

 

And not to mention the special effects that will add later.
Even armor (yes for animals too) and other artifacts ...

 

In the opposite the plethora of tools available on the web (*), give an "infinity" possibility to create sprites from 3d Model games with mocap, fbx, BVH ...  native or exported animation format .
 

Here few new examples :

 

A fox from one Nwn Mod :

 

5ydk9.gif

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/5ydk9

 

A phoenix from one Unreal Engine Game :

 

981107fenixf2.gif
http://img15.hosting...1107fenixf2.gif

 

A lion & tiger (full available sequences) from Daz/Iclone template :

 

623173lion.gif
http://www.hostingpi...=623173lion.gif

 

708313tigrez.gif

http://www.hostingpi...8069tigrefz.gif

P.S. :
It should be noted than as the original assets from BG are being "lost", perhaps exported & integrated animations sequences  from NWN on our favorites models (especially for the quadruped & birds), in .FBX format,  could  be a good work hypothesis ... ?

 

NB :

Moose, Moose family ;) , in .obj (rigged), By Lyne's creation freebies :

http://www.lynescrea.../lynesfree3.htm

& More :

http://www.lynescrea...m/lynesfree.htm


(*) : (for 3d : unreal viewer, noesis, 3d ripper, ninja ripper, emulator, 3ds/gmax/blender scripts/ plug in, xbox kinect ;

or for 2d/3d isometric games ripping : MergeDccV2 by eg   ... )

 

BTW Ulb,

Do you plan to integrate diablo's raven as shapeshift / familiar / companion ?

TY .

 

109723Sans-titre.gif

 

More sources :

Is there a familiar mod ?

http://forums.gibber...showtopic=22345

 

[Edit] : About,

http://forums.blackw...id=49189&st=0


Edited by salomonkane, 01 May 2013 - 04:06 AM.

Quo Vadis ?

#20 Eric P.

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 06:43 AM

Appropriate animal companions for rangers are: badger, camel, dire rat, dog, riding dog, eagle, hawk, horse (light or heavy), owl, pony, snake (small or medium viper), or wolf. For an elf, there's also the elven hound (cooshie).


Working and playing on a Mac Pro 6,1 running Mac OS X 10.13.6 High Sierra, and a Mac Pro 3,1 running Mac OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan.

~Buion na 'ell! I serve with joy! Your eyes and ears I shall be. Let us hunt together!~
- Erysseril Gwaethorien: a joinable, romanceable NPC mod for BGII - SoA/ToB, in sporadic development.

A female elf warrior of nature and a Bhaalspawn cross paths during their quests, joining forces to share adventure and companionship. Will they find more?






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: familiar, familiars, ranger, companion, animal companion