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    Lack of advisors potentially gamebreaking & suggested solutions (SPOILERS)

    Hello fellow forumgoers.

    I recently stumbled upon a gamebreaking issue in my first blind lawful evil playthrough. From what I’ve read, permanently losing all advisors from a position essentially equals to a soft game over since apparently you get permanently ticking problem events later on that can be only solved by Councilors. Getting to this point is especially easy to do if you’re on a blind (without walkthrough) playthrough as a lawful evil character.

    First I'd like to present some design issues with Councilor position advisors in particular from the viewpoint of a first time player, and offer some possible solutions to the problem of low advisor count in general. The aim of these proposed solutions is to make certain blind decisions less gamebreaking. Hopefully any of the devs are reading this because I feel this issue is a big blemish on an otherwise fantastic game.




    Shandra's issues:

    She is one of the envoy choices at the beginning, the Surtova representative. Problem is, you get that choice before the game has even introduced any of the kingdom management gameplay mechanics. Even if the game had introduced them already, your choice never alludes to what role each envoy is able to fulfill. Getting her services is thus basically a random 1/3 coin toss, as the only thing a new player is selecting at the beginning (as far as they are able to know) is whether they want to garner the support of the Swordlords, Surtova or go independent.

    Tsanna's issues:

    Tsanna doesn't have a portrait or a voice when you get the choice of whether to spare her or not. Nothing in the game alludes to her being important, much less in any way tied to barony management. To my knowing she's the only actually evil Councilor, yet sparing her is framed as an exclusively GOOD and forgiving option that any lawful or non-good character would ignore in favor of punishment, which is extremely counterintuitive to say the least. Apparently this is fixed in the beta patch by also adding a chaotic evil sparing option for the quest, but there’s still a good chance a player will simply exile or execute the hostile portraitless / voiceless character, making it a blind choice with unpredictable consequences akin to Shandra.

    Tristian's issues:

    He leaves and if you didn't happen to luck out on picking the other two non-good Councilors, which you probably didn't as a non-good or lawful character, you're shit out of luck unless you roleplay out of character and decide to forgive him.

    Additionally, Maegar Varn / Vordakai's issues:

    These guys feel like a total kick in your face since you get one of them as an advisor in the same exact quest where Tristian leaves. Like, why would you give the player a new advisor at the same exact moment where you lose your likely only Councilor, if not for the express purpose of replacing said Councilor? I actually thought this was going to be the case and happily strutted to my capital only to discover Vordakai could only be used as a Magister.

    Unlike Tsanna, you even get a properly laid out good vs. evil choice here where the evil option actually helps you get an evil advisor. Handing out a guaranteed Treasurer or Magister at this point feels weird, especially considering how easily missable the other two Councilors are.




    These are just issues for the Councilor role, but I wager you can easily lose other characters as well during your blind playthrough, especially when playing a non-good character.

    From what I’ve read, Ekun can apparently leave permanently depending on your troll quest choices and it’s possible you haven’t even unlocked warden position by that point to know the repercussions, while Kesten can die during main quest, and the player has no way of knowing they can end up sacrificing either him or Jhod in that quest (barring a Lawful dialogue check), making Regongar the only possible candidate for the position, which additionally leaves Amiri the only possible candidate for the General position if you didn’t happen to luck out on blindly picking the right envoy at the beginning of the game… hopefully you get my drift.

    I’m fine with difficult and punishing games, but not with blind coin toss decisions, especially since in this case they can end up permanently ruining a playthrough consisting of several dozens of hours of playtime. At the very worst, since many of these are blind decisions, or decisions involving certain alignment choices, there should be at least *some* way to stave off this permanent losing spiral.




    Possible solutions

    I came up with few ideas that could help the lack of advisors. I feel that implementing any one of these could greatly help with the low number of advisors.

    1. Use existing characters for more advisor roles

    Let existing companions fill several more roles than they currently can. This obviously requires the developers to write new dialogue for the characters' new advisor roles, but not the creation of wholly new characters. Also, since advisor skill rolls are derived from character stats in case they’re party members, I feel that making this change also makes the game more interesting by creating new character building opportunities if you decide to build your party members differently; this way you're not only building a competent party member for a specific adventuring role, you're also building them into a competent advisor.

    Perhaps this idea could be extended to non-party member advisors as well, as there's a several NPC advisors who only currently can fill one role and one role only. Vordakai and Maegar Varn spring to mind. Like I already mentioned, both can only fill one role, whereas it would make so much more sense if they could also act as a Councilors to replace Tristian.

    2. Have one permanent, low skill advisor for each role

    Have one generic / neutral, unlosable advisor for each role. Ideally these characters should be inferior at their job compared to all other characters, but better than nothing. This means the player is still heavily incentivized into seeking out proper advisors and losing those characters is still a great hit to your barony, but also ensures that you can’t permanently break your several dozen hour playthrough if you happen to lose the mere handful of advisors the game hands you for each role.

    Alternatively, let us solve problems without an advisor but with a penalty to rolls against event DC. I feel this also makes sense from a storytelling point since a wealthy and influential baron should be able to find at least one or two yes-men to serve as a last resort advisor who can at least get the minimal amount done.

    3. More advisors in general

    I wager this solution would require the largest number of new portrait graphics and dialogue for each advisor (and most development time), but hopefully ensures that there’s more available advisors suited to different alignment players and lessens the chance of a player ending up with no advisors whatsoever for a certain role.

    This ended up being a mighty long rant but hopefully it's of any use to remedying this issue.
    Last edited by hera35; 01-08-2019 at 12:37 PM.

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