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How did I end up in Avernum?


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Erika Willow Redmark Erika Willow Redmark

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 12:40 PM #1 How did I end up in Avernum?

Erika Redmark is my actual name. I should probably get the Avernum series shouldn't I? Then I can talk to myself.

If the wiki is anything to go by, I sound pretty awesome.

[ Spoilers for Avernum 3, apparently ]





Except the whole dying part. That isn't as fun.

Dorikas Dorikas

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 12:48 PM #2 How did I end up in Avernum?

It is said that Erika ended up on the wrong side of a "political disagreement" on the surface.
The games don't elaborate much on the details, but all notable wizards of Avernum (such as the members of the Triad) were banished because of the outcome of that event.
It is subtly mentioned that Garzahd had feelings for Erika, he may have been in love with her, but her feelings weren't reciprocal.
Probably this played a considerable role in Erika's banishment.
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 02:38 PM #3 How did I end up in Avernum?

View PostDorikas, on 08 January 2017 - 12:48 PM, said:

It is subtly mentioned that Garzahd had feelings for Erika, he may have been in love with her, but her feelings weren't reciprocal.
No, that is not mentioned.  You're thinking of Enla, not Erika.

What the games do say: Erika and some of the other notable mages (including at least Solberg, Rone, and Patrick, and likely others) were all on the wrong end of political struggle amongst mages.  (There were probably other mages who were exiled later, for other reasons, that also involved Garzahd.)  Erika was likely the leader of her faction, but either way she was the primary target of Garzahd's concern and anger, which led to the curse that was placed on her (and only on her).
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Erika Willow Redmark Erika Willow Redmark

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 02:52 PM #4 How did I end up in Avernum?

Garzahd sounds like a real jackass.

How is it that I never... errrm... Lady Redmark never figured out how to break the curse? She sounds like a real badass. Is the end of Avernum 3 one of those 'If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine' moments or did she really vampire out?

Or she could have replaced the Sun with a different star of similar composition. Granted, that's a very roundabout way of getting around it but it could've worked.

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 03:14 PM #5 How did I end up in Avernum?

Erika discusses the unbreakability of the curse in the first game.  Her death at the end of Avernum 3 is an actual death, but it is both heroic and appropriate: she dies as a result of a particular weakness, despite the fact that she is winning a magical struggle against her foe, and that said struggle is partly responsible for the salvation of an entire continent.
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 04:24 PM #6 How did I end up in Avernum?

Erika is incapable of breaking the curse, because if she could, the ending of Avernum 3 would be kind of boring. (If she's so smart how come she didn't bring like an umbrella or something to the fight?) (Also, it's possible, though very difficult, to finish the game without Erika's help, in which case I guess she just stays in one of her towers and sulks.) (Alternate timeline fanfic idea: this happens, then Erika dies of intense shame when Manfred becomes emperor.)

(The weird disconnect between the plot logic/game mechanics and what's intended to be a big climactic emotional event might usefully be contrasted with Solberg's fate in Avernum 6, which, while not entirely perfect, feels a lot more satisfying in terms of character and plot, and is written better in general.)

Erika Willow Redmark Erika Willow Redmark

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:18 PM #7 How did I end up in Avernum?

An unbreakable curse? Sort of like an unsinkable ship?

Funny, I always bring an umbrella with me even on sunny days for sun protection for my skin (and I like the style personally, very 7th Doctor), although at this point learning about the underground world and the surface, maybe Erika should have just blown up the sun. I mean, that would take care of the one weakness she had, and they would all be underground anyway. Sure, it would send the surface into a severe fallout world, but hey, you win some you lose some. It sure would learn them Empire guys a thing or two. And from what I read, it's not like I was abo..... she was above petty vengeance. And here I thought my name was unique.....

... alternate timeline fanfic: Erika sidesteps the curse despite 'dying' by using Time Lord technology and regenerates in a parallel world in a way that causes her to be reborn, literally. Then she becomes me and plays a game recounting the plot elements of her life and complains about her characterisation on their message board.

Funnily enough I meant to phrase my question as 'Why am I in the game" but I think it was interpreted as 'why was the character banished to Avernum'. Having said that I appreciate the information, it sounds interesting. I've always dreamt of underground cities, I mean expansive, huge open cave underground cities. Kind of like the ones that Minecraft doesn't have.

Okay, serious time: do the remakes have any majour plot differences from the originals? If I had to choose between the two (plot/gameplay) which one to play? One thing I notice immediately upon looking things up is that the original seems to never have 'permanently' explored areas, as in if a character can't see something, it is black, whereas the remake seems to have areas that I am guessing once explored once are always lit up? Have to admit I kind of like the original implementation better, but I am sure there are plenty of other differences and my analysis is probably flawed anyway.

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:24 PM #8 How did I end up in Avernum?

A slight bit of material has been added in the remakes and re-remakes (the first two games have been re-made twice and the third game is in the process of getting its second re-make).  The modern versions are also a lot easier to play in terms of running on a modern OS and having more modern RPG things like an automap, journal, junk bag, etc.  The only thing that I like better about the original is the six character party instead of four in the current remakes.  That said, I would play the modern versions (A:EFTP and A:CS).  They still have enough of an old school feel with modern enhancements.

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:27 PM #9 How did I end up in Avernum?

There are no meaningful plot differences.  The new ones add minor supplementary material that isn't directly related to the plot (and none of it is related to Erika).

If you like old games as much as you seem to, it might be worth downloading the old ones (Exile: EFTP) as well as the latest remake (Avernum: EFTP) and trying both out.  That'll give you a better answer than anyone here can.
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:49 PM #10 How did I end up in Avernum?

A few names get changed of minor NPCs, but it doesn't change their stories.

Avernum: Escape from the Pit (re-remake) has the largest changes with a new town and extra levels in the older towns.

Avernum 1 (remake) has a new Slith town as the major change.
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:44 PM #11 How did I end up in Avernum?

View PostGauze, on 08 January 2017 - 05:27 PM, said:

There are no meaningful plot differences.  The new ones add minor supplementary material that isn't directly related to the plot (and none of it is related to Erika).

I'd argue that there are some fairly significant plot alterations in the first new remake: (spoilers I guess) the retconned characterizations of Garzahd and Hawthorne are pretty different, and the Kyass subplot casts the Kingdom of Avernum in a different light, in a way that isn't really displayed again until 5.

The re-remake of 2 doesn't really change anything except swapping the lovable hydras for the irritating omnipresent hellhounds.

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 07:49 PM #12 How did I end up in Avernum?

I will never forgive the removal of hydras. I love hydras. :( I have a corduroy hydra, probably hand-made as a gift for someone, which I bought on Ebay.
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 08:40 PM #13 How did I end up in Avernum?

View Postgoogoogjoob, on 08 January 2017 - 07:44 PM, said:

I'd argue that there are some fairly significant plot alterations in the first new remake: (spoilers I guess) the retconned characterizations of Garzahd and Hawthorne are pretty different, and the Kyass subplot casts the Kingdom of Avernum in a different light, in a way that isn't really displayed again until 5.
The Kyass "subplot" consists of 1 new, entirely optional town plopped down in a previously empty area, and which is disconnected from everything else, except for one or two sidequests.  It never touches the main plot threads.

I wouldn't call slightly shifted characterizations a major plot change either -- and "slightly" does seem like the appropriate word here.  (There is also the question of whether a change solely in characterization -- that doesn't affect the way anything unfolds -- is actually a change in plot, but either way I don't think the change is significant.)
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Posted 08 January 2017 - 09:26 PM #14 How did I end up in Avernum?

The Kyass thing is optional, but then, so is slaying Grah-Hoth, theoretically... the first Avernum is the only one where the player characters aren't actually charged with any task or quest (at first anyway). I think it's a significant change in that it shows a sort of dark underbelly to the governance of Avernum that really isn't at all present in the earlier versions of the game.

The changes in characterization don't really materially change the plot- essentially the same events take place in the same order etc- but they retroactively cast the plot of Avernum 2 (and part of the plot of 1) as a giant power-grab by Garzahd, whereas in the originals/first remakes, I don't recall anything implying that Garzahd was anything other than loyal to the throne, and acting in what he believed were the throne's best interests. (He was still horrible and evil, just in a different way.)

I actually kind of wonder why this change was made... either somebody pointed out to Jeff that it was weird that this archmage guy didn't show up to protect the Emperor at the end of 1 (in reality, because he probably hadn't been invented at the time the first game was written), or he was altered in an a weird ham-handed attempt to put some foreshadowing in the first game (a la the Star Wars "special edition" rereleases adding Jabba the Hutt into A New Hope), or both. IIRC he makes some ominous foreshadow-y remarks at the end of the re-remake of 2, too. (Too bad the heroes of 1/2 apparently never got around to telling anyone about all this foreshadowing: Avernum would've been a lot better prepared for the events of 2/3 if they had.)

Also: I really liked the hydras because 1) they were a unique thing in the river-descent sequence area, which helped give it a different flavor; 2) you could kill them for meat, which mattered a lot more before the re-remake; and 3) there was that one cave where you helped some friendly hydras fight off the despicable, abhorrent, nightmarish chitrachs, which was pretty unique and memorable, despite the relative scarcity of hydras in the rest of the game. The hellhounds/rockhounds (whatever they are) are a lot less interesting, tho maybe I just feel like this cause I've played all the other SW games, and have grown to loathe that big red dog sprite set almost as much as I hate the chitrach one. (Okay, well. It's a distant second, maybe tied with the weird headless buff monster thing, which I never could tell whether it had three or four legs. But still.)

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 01:02 AM #15 How did I end up in Avernum?

View Postgoogoogjoob, on 08 January 2017 - 09:26 PM, said:

The changes in characterization don't really materially change the plot- essentially the same events take place in the same order etc- but they retroactively cast the plot of Avernum 2 (and part of the plot of 1) as a giant power-grab by Garzahd, whereas in the originals/first remakes, I don't recall anything implying that Garzahd was anything other than loyal to the throne, and acting in what he believed were the throne's best interests. (He was still horrible and evil, just in a different way.)

Exile 1 also describes Hawthorne as a brilliant strategist rather than the aging puppet we see him as in EftP, although he doesn't exactly get any dialogue in the original so we have to take the game's word for it.

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 04:07 AM #16 How did I end up in Avernum?

View Postgoogoogjoob, on 08 January 2017 - 09:26 PM, said:

Also: I really liked the hydras because [...] there was that one cave where you helped some friendly hydras fight off the despicable, abhorrent, nightmarish chitrachs, which was pretty unique and memorable, despite the relative scarcity of hydras in the rest of the game.

The hydra nest was my favorite part of Exile 2. This probably shows my frustration with Exile 2 as a whole compared to Exile 1, I guess. I never finished 2.
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Posted 09 January 2017 - 02:40 PM #17 How did I end up in Avernum?

View Postgoogoogjoob, on 08 January 2017 - 09:26 PM, said:

The Kyass thing is optional

or he was altered in an a weird ham-handed attempt to put some foreshadowing in the first game (a la the Star Wars "special edition" rereleases adding Jabba the Hutt into A New Hope), or both.

Kyass is even more optional in A:CS.  

Jabba was part of the original story boards for Star Wars Episode IV (I have a copy of a licensed sketch book somewhere in my basement that I purchased in the late 70s or early 80s).  He appeared substantially different than he did in Episode VI and I don't know if they actually shot any footage based on the original concept, but if they had they couldn't have used it.

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 03:43 PM #18 How did I end up in Avernum?

In the original A New Hope principal photography, Jabba appears as just a fat dude in a fur coat. They did in fact shoot the scene with Jabba talking to Han outside the Falcon, but did not include the scene in the final cut.

20 years later, they digitally composited a CGI Jabba the Hutt (that is, the big worm thing) into the existing footage, over the fur coat man, overdubbed some alien language stuff to replace the original English Jabba dialogue, and edited the resulting scene into the film.

Basically, "Jabba the Hutt" was a name for some sort of crime lord that George Lucas had floating around, and 6 years on he re-applied the name to the giant worm man in Jedi. Then, they re-edited A New Hope to awkwardly insert some foreshadowing by making use of the convenient fact that this already-shot cut scene used the name "Jabba" for a creditor of Han's, despite the fact that this Jabba was just a guy in a coat.

(Star Wars history lesson over.)

Anyway, the result, as far as the moviegoing public is concerned, is that foreshadowing was awkwardly smooshed into the original film, complete with unconvincing, inappropriate CGI.

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:10 PM #19 How did I end up in Avernum?

Funnily enough I actually just recently watched an sfdebris review on the original Star Wars Episode IV and for the first time saw those scenes with the old Jabba actor. I have the originals and have since refused to watch the special editions for any reason.

Okay, to confirm, there are three versions of Avernum: There is Exile (the first) Avernum (the second) and Avernum: Escape from the Pit (the third). Goldilocks logic says I should grab the second, because I do prefer isometrics anyway, but since I want to actually run the game without problems I'll pick the last one. It seems there is some polarisation on how much of an effect on the plot certain things have, but on the whole it isn't all that different form what I gather. I intend to play both (I'll skip the original Exile because I don't actually care for top-down views all that much, and I think playing a game 2 times in a row is already enough) so I guess I'll see anyway.

I can't play it now; I have a lot of work to get done in the coming weeks, but when I get a break, I'll take a look at this and purchase it. Look forward to talking to myself.

Edit: What's Blades of Avernum? Scenario editors sound fun, and I'm a software engineer anyway, but it sounds like it would take a lot of effort and time that I don't have :(
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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:20 PM #20 How did I end up in Avernum?

Blades of Exile and Blades of Avernum were scenario editor/creators that came with a few scenarios created by Jeff.  There used to be an active community that made content for them and there are still a few people who are trying to modernize them.  Certainly none of the fan made scenarios are canon, I am not sure about the four that Jeff made.

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:31 PM #21 How did I end up in Avernum?

To elaborate.

Exile, Exile 2, and Exile 3 were the originals, along with Blades of Exile.

Then Avernum, Avernum 2, and Avernum 3 were made, followed by Blades of Avernum.

Then Avernum 4, Avernum 5, and Avernum 6 were made with a slightly different engine.

Then Avernum: Escape from the Pit and Avernum 2: Crystal Souls were made, remakes of Avernum 1 and 2.  The remake of Avernum 3 is due out... later this year, I think?

That's the order of all the games.  All the games are isometric except for the Exile games, so you're good with any of the Avernums.  Admittedly personally I like Avernum 1-3 due to the artstyle, and how the engine allows for a very natural way to include things like invisible enemies and hidden doors.  But that's me.  In addition, the games should be pretty stable to my knowledge, even this long after they were made.  The way I'd personally put it, play Avernum 1-3 if you want to play all three NOW without waiting for the remake of 3 and be able to move on to 4-6 without waiting, or play EftP and CS now if you'd like to try the more recent versions.

Either way, there is ALSO the fact that you can Try Before You Buy.  EVERY SINGLE Spiderweb Software game has a free demo available, so you can give it a try to see if it runs smoothly and if you like it.

Blades of Avernum was indeed intended as a program to not just edit/create scenarios, but also play scenarios that others have made, and there's a lot of fan-made scenarios to run through.  I'm actually a Let's Player, and am currently running through the BoA scenarios myself (and have run through all the Avernums as well.  Insert shameless plug here.).  As for how canon they are... I believe one scenario is referenced in the later Avernums, but am unsure about that.  If you truly wish, you can probably skip Blades of Avernum without worry.

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:38 PM #22 How did I end up in Avernum?

View PostChessrook44, on 10 January 2017 - 03:31 PM, said:

As for how canon they are... I believe one scenario is referenced in the later Avernums, but am unsure about that.  If you truly wish, you can probably skip Blades of Avernum without worry.

A character in one of the later games mentions having been posted to the Za-Khazi Run IIRC, though this doesn't necessarily mean that all the plot elements of that scenario (many of which are optional) are canon.

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:53 PM #23 How did I end up in Avernum?

There are multiple references to events described in the Za-Khazi Run in the second Avernum trilogy.  I don't see any reason to exclude it from canon.  It is, after all, a work by the same creator as all the others, set in the same world, and not disavowed.

There are some wacky statements being made in this thread.  However, I need to at least correct the strange assertion that isolated sidequests (like everything involving Kyass) are somehow "optional" in the same sense that the three major, game-winning quests are "optional".  Although the game gives you a nice "congrats" each time you finish one, you don't actually get the complete ending message until after you have completed ALL THREE game-winning quests.  Whatever you think about the way this is presented, it is clearly distinct from the way an isolated sidequest is optional.
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Posted 10 January 2017 - 03:57 PM #24 How did I end up in Avernum?

Blades of Avernum  has Valley of the Dying Things scenario by Jeff has one of the School of Magery doors with Redmark on the nameplate. :)
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Posted 10 January 2017 - 06:30 PM #25 How did I end up in Avernum?

View PostGauze, on 10 January 2017 - 03:53 PM, said:

Although the game gives you a nice "congrats" each time you finish one, you don't actually get the complete ending message until after you have completed ALL THREE game-winning quests.  Whatever you think about the way this is presented, it is clearly distinct from the way an isolated sidequest is optional.

What I mean is more like... generally, the games assume that the protagonists have done all the optional sidequests. Every Avernum after 1 assumes that the protagonists reforged Demonslayer and used it to slay Grah-Hoth. Every Avernum after 3 assumes that the protagonists purged the Tower of Magi and dealt with Linda. Whether or not a specific player on a specific playthrough does these things, they're canon insofar as the subsequent games assume them.

So, although you don't have to interact with Kyass to win the game (I think? been a while since I played the new remake), "optionality" doesn't really have any bearing on the relevance of events or their importance to canon.

Basically, I consider the Kyass stuff an important change in terms of narrative and thematic heft, rather than simply in gameplay terms.

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 08:51 PM #26 How did I end up in Avernum?

View Postgoogoogjoob, on 10 January 2017 - 06:30 PM, said:

generally, the games assume that the protagonists have done all the optional sidequests. Every Avernum after 1 assumes that the protagonists reforged Demonslayer and used it to slay Grah-Hoth...
You're not hearing me.  Slaying Grah-Hoth in Avernum 1 is not a side-quest.  It is one of the three primary "game-winning" quests.


By contrast, Kyass's area has no direct connections to any of the main plot threads that go on in the game.  The actual plot events in the game are identical whether you play a version with or without Kyass.  He has some relevance in terms of atmosphere and color, sure, but he's surprisingly isolated, and mentioned by few, like a modular addition, so even there the effect is limited.
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Posted 11 January 2017 - 01:49 AM #27 How did I end up in Avernum?

I, uh. I meant that you can actually kill Grah-Hoth without having Demonslayer, can't you? It's not a good idea, but it's doable. Reforging Demonslayer is a sidequest, killing Grah-Hoth is a main quest.

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:21 AM #28 How did I end up in Avernum?

Reforging Demonslayer is a major, involved quest that is directly related to the Grah-Hoth quest.  It isn't a required quest, but I would hesitate to call it a sidequest given its importance, and the number of people and places involved in making it happen.  Regardless of what you call it, though, it is pretty clearly a lot more tied in to the main plot than Kyass's area.
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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:59 AM #29 How did I end up in Avernum?

Shrug. This is a debate about the relative importance of an addition to the game, rather than anything factual, and is inherently subjective, so "agree to disagree" etc etc.

I wonder if, to people entirely new to the series, the Kyass stuff sticks out as obviously as it does to those more familiar with it. Most of the text in the re-remake is grandfathered in from the older versions, and most of the additions are relatively seamless, but I felt that the Kyass area and writing were pretty different, tonally and thematically, emphasizing its enclaved-off-ness.

Maybe noticing this made it stand out in my experience of the game more strongly? I don't know.




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