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BG2 - Saerileth NPC Mod Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by SuperNovice, May 25, 2006.

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  1. SuperNovice Gems: 1/31
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    Saerileth NPC Mod
    Version: 13
    Review first posted on: 5/20/06
    Review updated:
    Mod download location: http://www.gilalion.com/saerilethmod.htm
    Download size: 26 MB

    Overview:
    Saerileth is a 15-year-old human paladin of Tyr. She hails from Mount Celestia in the Outer Planes. She is young, romanceable (for good-aligned humans, elves, and half-elves), and beautiful. She is complete through ToB, and she has quests and a flirt/chatpack. She brings with her three new areas for SoA, two SoA quests, and a ToB quest. Saerileth is a young woman of deep religious conviction and certainty. She has extensive voicing, banters, and interjections. And Saerileth will love you like no other. We hope you will play her mod repeatedly.


    First Thoughts:
    There isn’t really too much to say here. This is a WEIDU mod so the install was painless. It’s a bit longer than a standard NPC mod but that’s to be expected when loading new zones. It’s hardly excessive in any case. Her Readme is pretty standard fare. It contains a few game play tips related to the mod as well as a version and fix history. Overall, pretty standard and about what I’d expect.

    There is one major item worth noting in her Readme file. It’s clear that Saerileth is not a BG2 paladin. She is definitely based upon the Forgotten Realms PnP standard. For those unfamiliar with the PnP rules, paladins are more than simply ‘slightly better than the average person’ good. They strive to be good personified. Even a single evil act, knowingly committed, is enough to jeopardize a paladin’s status. Personally, I prefer those rules for paladins as it makes them into the rare and heroic figures they are meant to be. And it leaves me interested to see how they will pull that off given the BG2 storyline.


    Storyline and Characterization
    One of the first things that struck me in this area is that, despite her strong personality, I never had the feeling that she was taking over the spotlight. While there are a large number of character building banters, these are balanced against a number that put the spotlight back on the PC. This is an interesting, and potentially risky tactic as, if done poorly, the character can easily come across as judgmental and domineering. Fortunately, it’s handled very well and the nature of her questions reveals a great deal about who she is without stealing the show.

    Another thing about this character that stands out immediately is that she is truly exceptional in her own right. Aside from her other-planar birth, she is a Chosen of Tyr. In the D&D universe, this is the equivalent of being the favored of a god and commonly results in ascension to Deva or Avatar status for those that survive. Additionally, she is remarkably competent and self-confident. All of this alone would be noteworthy but she is also very young to have achieved so much. I believe this is the effect her creators were going for in setting her age at 15. Whatever the reason, it left with the impression of someone touched by fate and an appropriate companion for a child of prophecy.

    As to her actual personality, she is deeply religious and is unafraid to voice and act upon her opinions. This does not mean you will find yourself being dragged along by her choices. In general, she’ll voice her opinion then live by your decision but be warned, there are exceptions to this. Some things paladins just won’t do. She is also true to her word and she will leave if you stray too far from the ‘good’ path and again, being patterned upon the PnP standard, she is nowhere near as forgiving as Keldorn. A nice added touch here is the attention to detail shown in her reaction to various items, both good and evil.

    As mentioned in the introduction, she is a romancable character. For those of you used to Bioware romances, this character will be a definite change. First, her romance is definitely a ‘love at first sight’ story. Second, she does not come with loads of emotional baggage. She is confident and capable in her own right and the romance proceeds as a union of equals. This is as opposed to the BG2 standard in which the PC (despite his truly terrible situation) is forced to coddle and support his partner through their emotional dramas. Another notable difference with this mod is found in the character of her relationship with the PC. The romance is passionate without being sexual. It’s clear that the PC and Saerileth are deeply in love but the relationship is completely chaste until ToB. Even then, any sexuality is only hinted at and never overt. It’s a very well done and welcome change that only added to my enjoyment of the mod.

    Given the limited space available in writing a short review, I’m really not able to do justice to her character. Of all the various NPC mods I’ve played over the years, I’ve found this character to be easily among my favorites. The attention to the small details that give her depth and make her believable is truly incredible. She is, in my opinion, a rival for Kelsey and Valen in terms of both storyline and character.


    Game play and Balance
    Despite her storyline and background, don’t expect to get an exceptionally overpowered NPC. She is powerful by virtue of being a cavalier but she gains no special abilities beyond that. By the same token, her gear is mostly unremarkable. She comes with an unremovable holy symbol that acts as a helm with permanent Protection from Evil. Beyond that, she has no special gear or abilities.

    There are two things that are going to stand out to players here:

    First, this mod introduces a third, more paladin- and good PC-friendly method of getting to Spellhold. For this reason alone, I will always install this mod. I always hated the choice between allying with the Thieves’ Guild or Bodhi. This mod adds a third option that allows you to get there through allying with the Radiant Heart. Of course, you’ll need to do something appropriately heroic before you are offered that choice but it’s not difficult to find. Simply pursue the quests you receive from them and you’ll be given the option.

    Second, her quest leads you to a number of newly created zones. Combat in these new areas is nearly non-existent but they are fully populated with NPCs and contain at least one shop you should visit. The design of the zones is well-done and well-integrated. They could easily pass as a part of the unmodded game. The existence of the zones alone would have been exceptional in my opinion. The fact that they are so well done is the proverbial ‘icing on the cake.’ These zones were a very nice surprise and are yet another indication of the effort put into this mod’s creation.

    I do have a minor complaint in this area. The main enemy in Saerileth’s SoA quest is WAY too hard if you get this quest early. This isn’t really a big deal on its own but you aren’t given a choice. The quest starts on its own and once the quest starts, you must beat him to complete it. Given the length of her storyline, you really should pick her up very early…which means you’ll probably be too weak to beat this guy. Fortunately, you receive some help in the form on an unkillable NPC who can beat the enemy by himself but I would have preferred to be a bit more involved.


    Final Thoughts
    This mod is a definite ‘must play’. From beginning to end, this mod maintains a commitment to delivering a believable and playable NPC. There are loads of small details throughout the game that left me with a clear vision of a fully-developed and in-depth character. It’s that attention to detail which sets the truly exceptional apart from the merely good.

    Most mods get specific aspects correct but, so far, I’ve only played one other mod which got the complete package right. It’s for that reason that I put Saerileth at the top of the list, next to Kelsey, on my list of favorite mods.


    Rating: 10/10
     
  2. Bion Gems: 21/31
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    Thanks, very helpful review! :thumb:
     
  3. Maurolava

    Maurolava Neither to go back, nor to take impulse

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    Excellent review SuperNovice. :thumb:

    It does sound very interesting, I should downloaded next time thru the game.
     
  4. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    I'd like to add a little something that (along with the extra areas it added, a detraction for me) prevented me from even thinking about installing this mod. She doesn't match up to the Cavalier standards, PnP-wise. She fits neither the requirements for the Cavalier fighter kit (STR, DEX, & CON 15; INT & WIS 10), supposedly an expert at mounted combat, nor the more likely Chevalier paladin kit (STR, CON, & WIS 15), the paladins' "rich kit".

    However, this was only the 'last straw'. My primary beef was with the new areas, but this:
    makes me reconsider my position. (Especially seeing as stats can always be switched around via SK.)
     
  5. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Excellent review!

    I'm getting the urge to resintall the game and play with this mod now...
     
  6. Shaitan

    Shaitan Always forgive your enemies; it annoys them so

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    I didn't like her sounds, wich I found awful annoying. So much that when installed I quickly remember her voice and uninstall her. Thats my 2 cents on this mod.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    I refuse to play this mod on the grounds that it features a romance between a 20 year male (charname) and a 15 year old girl.
     
  8. Shaitan

    Shaitan Always forgive your enemies; it annoys them so

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    Can you enlighten me a bit more here on your wievpoints Drew, 'cause I don't get that argument...
     
  9. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    At 15, she's underage. But you don't have to romance her if you play the mod. Shake it off as a teenage crush and ignore that part of the mod.
     
  10. Shaitan

    Shaitan Always forgive your enemies; it annoys them so

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    That's probably why, 'cause it's below 15 here.
     
  11. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Actually considering that BG II is a medieval setting she is not underage. She would be considered a woman not a child. A five year difference between a man and a woman is nothing.

    The mod does sound interesting and I normally don't care for Paladins. Something to check out.
     
  12. Gregor Gems: 7/31
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    @ Fel:

    Be warned: the "main enemy" encounter that Supernovice mentions takes place IN one of the new areas. While it's true that there is no other combat in these areas, there is one EXTREMELY tough (and frustrating) fight there.

    I do recommend the mod, though. Very entertaining, and well-crafted.
     
  13. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Oh, it's not not wanting more fights. I just don't want another pointless battlefest like the Oasis or Small Tooth Pass. The dozen in the vanilla game are more than enough for me. :p But so long as it's actually justifiable, I'm up for any challenge you can throw at me. :evil:
     
  14. Brallrock Gems: 23/31
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    Excelent review, I think I may try this next run through after I try UB.
     
  15. Cúchulainn Gems: 28/31
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    The legal age limit here is 17, but I am sure as hell not going to have relations with someone that young.

    Good point, but then again, you would be hard pushed to find a female Paladin in a medieval setting.
     
  16. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    :) Quite true, Cúchulainn, but this is medieval fantasy and if we start applying modern standards to it imo we might as well stick modern games. Scrabble anyone?
     
  17. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I thought Charname was a kid too... I may be mistaken. Anyway I'm thinking about giving this mod a try going the goody two shoes way for a change.
     
  18. LeFleur Gems: 5/31
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    Nice review, but is there no-one who is annoyed by her spoken dialogue? I found her voice so annoying that I dropped her after a few hours...
     
  19. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    You are 20 at the start of BG1.

    Women had no rights, either, in the medieval setting. They were treated like property. FR is most certainly not a medieval setting. Never was there a period in history in which all of the weapon choices you have were actually in use. Homosexuality and promiscuity are also "acceptable" in FR. FR is actually a quasi-historical setting with "modern viewpoints on equality, sexuality, and morality. Given that, on every other level, the morality of our modern day culture is the norm in Faerun I have a hard time imagining sexual relations between 20 year olds and 15 year olds would be an exception.
     
  20. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Drew, you are correct in that this type of fantasy is not historically correct but I have to disagree with your conclusion. I was about to post my thoughts but realized we are getting way off topic.

    So all I say is: Yes, it is fantasy and a RP Game. So RP as you like and the Mod is optional. No one has to use it.

    Must say the age doesn't bother me but I was born in to a society rather different from you 'modern' folk.
     
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