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I have a poll of sorts in the works, inspired by some recent conversations here, about characters from different games. For this poll, I'm trying to come up with a list of major characters from each Spiderweb series' stories.

 

For the most part, this is pretty straightforward. In general, characters must have importance (and/or plot-relevant dialogue trees) across a game, and not just in one specific part of it. For example, this obviously covers Erika and Redbeard, but it also covers Shanti and Anaximander. Additionally, I'm including characters with moderate dialogue and plot relevance spread over multiple games, like Khyryk or Athron.

 

This method is failing me in two cases, though, and I thought I'd ask for help in case there are characters I'm not thinking of.

 

First is the Second Avernum Trilogy (A4-6), where I basically only have:

 

Starrus, Solberg, Gladwell

Rentar-Ihrno

Manfred Redmark, Dorikas

Melanchion

 

That can't really be it for the whole trilogy, can it? What am I not thinking of?

 

Second is Nethergate. As it's an open-ended stand-alone I thought I might be more lenient with its characters, but even then I'm stuck. Sylak and the Crones are obvious, but beyond them I'm at a loss.

 

Thoughts, anyone?

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Well, the two chiefs of the Roman's and Celts are pretty important. More so the Celt chief I believe. Can't remember their names off hand though.

 

Is Kelner important though? I forget.

 

Lark would be a funny choice even though she is not very important plot wise. I think she appears through out the trilogy.

 

 

Oh, and Raven from nethergate! I really liked that bird even though I wished Vogel had been a bit less vauge on his back story.

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Yep, the two faction guys, whose names I also can't recall, are important as Bobs if nothing else. The most important Nethergate characters are the opposite party, but you don't actually get dialogue with them.

 

Kelner probably squeaks in. Lark doesn't. Neither does Raven; he shows up in one place and is more background than plot.

 

—Alorael, who agrees that neither Avernum trilogy is really heavy on characters, and neither is Nethergate. It's in Geneforge when Jeff started trying to put together important casts. Avernum is just too episodic. You deal with one area's characters and problems and then you move on.

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Yeah, I thought about Kelner. I'm not sure I feel good about letting him squeak in. He's in an awful lot of games, and he's occasionally sort of peripherally relevant to the plot, but only in an ancillary way. Unless I'm forgetting something. What about X? I can't remember what if his messing around ever amounts to anything in A6 or not. It *has* been some time, wow.

 

Good point about the Nethergate faction leaders. It says something that none of us remember their names, but I guess they make it in if anyone else from Shadow Vale does.

 

The First Avernum Trilogy actually fleshes out and uses a lot more characters throughout the world. With all the events and history of those years, you get Hawthorne, Garzahd, Prazac, Micah, Erika, Patrick, Rone, Solberg, Linda, Mahdavi, Motrax, Athron, Sulfras, Khoth, Anaximander, Rentar-Ihrno, and Bon-Ihrno, at least. I'm also including the Olgai Council and the 3 rescued Crystal Souls as group entries given how central they are to A2.

 

Houghton could probably make it in for Second Trilogy, now that I think of it. And maybe the Black Shades deserve an entry? Eeeeeh.

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Come on, you talk more to Lark than any other character in the trilogy!

 

 

(Okay, okay, I actually agree with you Aloreal. Just poking fun ;))

 

As for X, ehh. He's memorable, but he doesn't do anything. Never has... Except for making the most Awesome Spell Evar!!! :cry:

 

 

Edit: I think Nethergate suffers over here from simply being a relatively short standalone game. There is little time to really develop multiple complex characters. Despite Aloreal good point on Raven, I would like any such poll to include Raven as he's the best character of the game. (I find Sylak to be a bit of a jerk to be honest.)

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I suppose I may as well just post the whole lists I'm using thus far to give a better idea. Feedback on missing names (and anything here that looks inconsistent) is welcome.

 

Exile/Avernum 1-3

Emperor Hawthorne (1)

Garzahd (2)

Empress Prazac (3)

King Micah (1-2)

Anaximander (3)

Erika (1-3)

Patrick (1-2)

Rone (1-2)

Solberg (1-3)

Linda (1-3)

X (1-3)

Mahdavi (2-3)

Motrax (1-2)

Athron (1-3)

Sulfras (1-3)

Khoth (1-3)

Grah-Hoth (1, 3)

Sss-Thsss (1)

Bon-Ihrno (2-3)

Rentar-Ihrno (2-3)

Glantris, Elohi, and Prossis (2)

Caffren, Jekknol, and Vyvnas (2)

 

Avernum 4-6

Rentar-Ihrno (4)

Black Shades (4)

Houghton (4)

Manfred Redmark (5)

Dorikas (5)

Gladwell (5-6)

Melanchion (6)

King Starrus (4-6)

Solberg (4-6)

X (4-6)

 

Geneforge 1-2

Danette, Defniel, and Corata (1)

Trajkov (1)

Goettsch (1)

Leader Rydell (1)

Ellhrah (1)

Gnorrel (1-2)

Akkat, Rhakkus, and Syros (1-2)

Learned Pinner (1-2)

Zakary (2)

Barzahl (2)

Shanti (2)

 

Geneforge 3-5

Greta (3-5)

Alwan (3-5)

Litalia (3-5)

Khyryk (3-4)

Akhari Blaze (3)

Master Hoge (3)

Lord Rahul (3)

Miranda (4)

Ghaldring (4-5)

Rawal (5)

Astoria (5)

Taygen (5)

 

Nethergate

Sylak

The Crones

Cartumnus

Vibius

 

Avadon

Redbeard (1-2)

Heart Miranda (1-2)

Eye Leira (1-2)

Hand Callan (1-2)

Duke Gryfyn (1)

Sevilin (1)

Shima (1)

Jennell (1)

Nathalie (1)

Heart Protus (2)

Scout Rainer/Silke (2)

Dheless (2)

Khalida (2)

Yoshiria (2)

Dedrik (2)

Yannick (2)

Alcander (2)

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I remembered Vibius's name! For whatever that implies about his memorability.

 

I would agree that X deserves a nod for the 2nd Av. Trilogy. He actually plays a major role in defeating a big ol' demon in A6, as well as fulfilling the six-game metaplot of his spell research. Also for 2nd Av. trilogy: Asterios? The visiting imperial researcher whose brilliant work enables the destruction of Cotra in A6? Should Rone count for A4? What about Levitt for A4/6? I might suggest one of three Slith leaders you have to take out in A6 - the spymaster, the chief, and the mage - except that I don't remember any of their names. Your three confrontations with them are a big part of the story.

 

For Nethergate, a few probably irrelevant suggestions: what about Dolojan? I know she doesn't last long, but I always felt like she was memorable and kind of a big deal as your real encounter with the sidhe and your first clues to the contract and the larger plot. There's also the tragically memorable Pearlblossom, who probable doesn't deserve to get onto your list but still stands out as a character. I'd also consider Titus Vorenus, the Djinn-stealing rogue with whom you have multiple confrontations in N:R.

 

For G3-5: Shaper Monarch? He's a pretty huge figure in the plot, effectively bringing the entire war to a halt as everyone struggles to rein him in. Or General Crowley? He's one of the more reasonable shapers you meet, and you run into him several times throughout the game.

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The three Slith leaders with whom you have epic confrontations during the main plot of A6 are Khrez-Yss the spymaster, Ghavassa-Oss the big boss, and the lead mage Ess-Kalyn. Their names aren't easy to remember, but the more I think about it, the more I think they count as major characters for A6. I'd treat them as one item, the way you handled the Olgai council, rather than as separate characters.

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Probably, although it's really just the name that makes that connection -- he is not otherwise identifiable as the same character in any way. And his A4 appearance isn't even tangentially related to the stuff that earns him a spot on the list. Might as well give Rone A3 for the inaccurate memorial inscription he shows up on :p

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For Avernum 5, Cienna. She's not a powerful person (And you never said that had to be a requirement), but she is a major character in the plot. She's the woman who you constantly report to in the Portal fortress, and is integral with regards to what she DOES.

 

I'm also surprised that you didn't include Ahonar from Avernum 3. Sure he may not have been THAT plot-relevant then, however considering he formed the Anama, who were present in every game from then on, I'd say he's pretty important.

 

Also also, I agree with putting in X. His ending bit in A6 was the most memorable part of the game for me.

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Kyass, Cienna and Mehken are excellent catches.

 

Ahonar I'm not sure about. He's sort of like a faction leader, and I've been including faction leaders... except that's it's not really the ASR/Geneforge style factions where you must pick one, it's more like the Spire/Bargha style. He doesn't even intersect much with the A3 plot when you're *on* Bigail, let alone elsewhere. I dunno. I could be convinced, especially if there are more references to Ahonar outside of Bigail than I remember.

 

Correlea... does she ever do anything else along the lines of the Scepter/Shades bit? She's important for that but I think that's her main interaction with the plot/world.

 

Zhethron and Vardegras I'm not sure about either. They are dragons, but that doesn't automatically get them a spot, and in each case I remember their relevance as being limited to one region. (Compare to Athron or Sulfras who were discussed all through the cave system, have relevance to multiple major plot events, etc.) I'm leaving Pyrog and Reptrakos out for similar reasons.

 

Basically, if I included these folks I feel like I'd need to include a slew of minor characters -- Limoncelli and Elderan, Pathass and Ostoth, Shaftoe, Eliza and Moseh, the Burwood Infiltrators, etc., and all the lists would be unparseably long. But if I'm forgetting relevance for any of them please do pass it on.

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Ahonar I'm not sure about. He's sort of like a faction leader, and I've been including faction leaders... except that's it's not really the ASR/Geneforge style factions where you must pick one, it's more like the Spire/Bargha style. He doesn't even intersect much with the A3 plot when you're *on* Bigail, let alone elsewhere. I dunno. I could be convinced, especially if there are more references to Ahonar outside of Bigail than I remember.

 

Well... off the top of my head, aside from the fact that every other time you meet the Anama they speak of Ahonar, there's also Ahonaria, the Anama haven in the northern frontier in A5, which is named after him.

 

Correlea... does she ever do anything else along the lines of the Scepter/Shades bit? She's important for that but I think that's her main interaction with the plot/world.

 

Aside from that, actually, I have started my recordings in A6 and have encountered her in the castle, where she is trying to study and find ways to cure the Blight. She gave a quests to find blighted mushrooms from across other areas of Avernum.

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Quest-givers and loyalists with something to contribute are a dime a dozen in Avernum. I guess the question is, is she a major enough element in the plot that other plot elements interact with her and/or care about her?

 

Turning to grep, Correlea's name shows up 9 times in A4 and 16 times in A6... but never outside the Castle, and all but two or three of those are in her own dialogue tree. Ahonar gets 40 in A3, though exclusively by Bigail residents and Anama members. Hmm. I guess that's something.

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I think my approach to important characters is different. Which isn't a bad thing, or a "you're wrong" accusation, just something I'm noticing. A lot of these characters are plot points. The Shades are a great example. Lots of people talk about them and worry about the, but they don't actually have personality or motivation. They are essentially natural disasters.

 

Ahonar is important as setting. Again, he's not a character, he's just emblematic of a movement. The movement itself is largely background. Sure, you can join the Anama, but it's mostly for a challenge. It opens up a few things, but none are particularly interesting in a plot or character sense.

 

And some of these characters are really of local importance. Monarch's a big deal in his particular chapter of the story, and then he's irrelevant. Memorable, certainly, but not major! He could be cut from the game, or rendered very differently, and the game as a whole would be the same. That can be argued for almost all Spiderweb characters; these aren't really games heavy on characterization. Still, Erika not being Erika or especially Redbeard not being Redbeard would make for a very different experience. Greta, Alwan, and Litalia actually (gasp!) change over the course of the series. Lots of the other characters listed are of local significance and slightly less complete interchangeability than we expect from NPCs.

 

—Alorael, who actually thinks E1/A1 really set the bar high for minor characters. Random meat-sellers get surprising characterization. No, not always a life story, although sometimes even that, but you can get a sense of who random people are in the towns. A lot of that loses prominence in later games. No one cares about Merry. Or whats-his-name the kind of arrogant wizard/Shaper/whatever selling mid-tier spells.

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—Alorael, who actually thinks E1/A1 really set the bar high for minor characters. Random meat-sellers get surprising characterization. No, not always a life story, although sometimes even that, but you can get a sense of who random people are in the towns. A lot of that loses prominence in later games. No one cares about Merry. Or whats-his-name the kind of arrogant wizard/Shaper/whatever selling mid-tier spells.

 

Wasn't "Merry" any number of identical Merrys spread across Valorim? They can't be a character because there's lots of them, and they can't do anything about their towns because they are identical, barring what each of them sell.

 

Likewise that Archer that can't remember where he works, so he keeps ending up behind the counter at half of every archery store you visit in Valorim. Unless that's symbolic of archery being a useless skill best forgotten.

 

IIRC, the shopkeepers in Exile in E3 had a lot more character than the surface ones, but there were lots less of them.

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Maybe Dionicio in Avernum 5 and Vandrin in Avernum 6 would count as major characters? They follow you through the whole game and are present for some very important battles. That said, they only interact with your party and not with anyone else (maybe Vandrin talks with Solberg, can't remember). Neither of them are that important to the plot.

 

I thought Gladwell appeared in A4 as the wizard living under Spire in the Abyss that wanted GIFTS.

In A4 Gladwell lives in Bargha and wants you to feed his slimes in the basement.
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I think my approach to important characters is different. Which isn't a bad thing, or a "you're wrong" accusation, just something I'm noticing. A lot of these characters are plot points. The Shades are a great example. Lots of people talk about them and worry about the, but they don't actually have personality or motivation. They are essentially natural disasters.

I'm actually trying to avoid characters that are just plot points. Perhaps I should reconsider the Shades -- though they feel rather different to me than putting something equally plotful but less homunculal -- say, A2's Barriers or Mass Teleporter -- on the list. Outside of that, though, your analysis of important characters here sounds like pretty much an identical approach.

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The big difference I think is that they are a small, limited set of unique individuals, whose specific interactions with NPCs are described in the game story. So to use the Slime Plague as a point of comparison -- for me to consider the Slime Plague the same way, the Alien Slime would need to suddenly appear in the middle of Krizsan and have unique interactions with the townspeople there. I think the three Shades are more like the three kidnapped Crystal Souls, though admittedly the Crystal Souls do better by any possible criteria.

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Wasn't "Merry" any number of identical Merrys spread across Valorim? They can't be a character because there's lots of them, and they can't do anything about their towns because they are identical, barring what each of them sell.

 

Concerning Merries, I think there were about a dozen of them. Eleven or so. And the funny thing about them was that the shop items didn't vary (at least they didn't for me). Instead, every Merry had the same inventory of items. I guess they all had a magical chests which magically synchronized their inventory with each other whenever one of the Merrymen sold something or added a bought item there.

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I would also agree to exclude the Black Shades, as they lack any real character, but I would also think to exclude the three captured Crystal Souls. I mean, they're important to the plot but not in of themselves. That is to say, their entire purpose was just to be the object a fetch quest. After the fetch quest they pretty much become irrelevant and your actual interaction with them is limited. They could've just as well have been three pretty soulless crystals that the Vahanati wanted back and the quest still would've felt the same.

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True, but I think the fact that Slarty bundled them up together in the first place shows that they are not really important characters.

 

Actually, it could be argued that any grouped characters listed above are unimportant by the very fact they were bundled up instead of getting their own entry. After all, I could group a lot of these characters under one entry like Avadon's Companions. On the other hand maybe it's just Slarty make the list easier to understand.

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the crystal souls at least show up again to interact with you in later games in the series, though.

 

I agree with this. For example the mad Crystal Soul that you first encounter in Avernum 2, (in the Dark River if memory serves; could be some other place, too), and later you can find the same Crystal Soul in Avernum 3, in Ghikra.

 

Continuing to reply to Dragonboy, I'd say that the Crystal Souls do serve a purpose outside of quests -- as sources of lore and information on the Vahnatai. If I remember correctly, it is the Crystal Souls at various points in Dark River chapter of Avernum 2 that give you first background information on the Vahnatais' nature, i.e. their Resting.

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Perhaps it would be helpful to clarify that I'm looking for relatively significant characters. I am not looking for well-developed characters only. So broad ties to the game's background and atmosphere or to its ongoing situation will get a character in; tons of player interaction will get them in; any personal relationship with the PC(s) will get them in; but lack of development as a character is not cause for exclusion in and of itself.

 

(The first standard requires, again, a relevance that is felt in more than just one region and/or more than just one game.)

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Wasn't "Merry" any number of identical Merrys spread across Valorim? They can't be a character because there's lots of them, and they can't do anything about their towns because they are identical, barring what each of them sell.

 

Likewise that Archer that can't remember where he works, so he keeps ending up behind the counter at half of every archery store you visit in Valorim. Unless that's symbolic of archery being a useless skill best forgotten.

 

IIRC, the shopkeepers in Exile in E3 had a lot more character than the surface ones, but there were lots less of them.

That was exactly my point.

 

I agree that the Shades are significant. I'm still just not sure that they are actually characters. Do they actually talk, ever? People in A3 have interactions with the plagues, but aside from the plagues being multiple vs. singular entities there's really not much difference. I'm just not convinced that they count as characters in any meaningful way. But there's room for disagreement.

 

—Alorael, who supposes that on a character level they're really almost as significant as Garzahd, though. He's undeniably a speaking, intelligent, individual entity, and lots of people talk about him, but your personal interactions with him that aren't entirely murder-oriented also amount to nothing.

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You mean Tor right? He also appears in e2 near the beginning. I would count him as memorable. I would think he could be an inclusion.

 

Not sure, but I think that's the name, yeah.

 

Oh, and the Shareware Demon just came to mind. Memorable, appears in multiple games, and is important to the plot, in a way.

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Tor appears at least through A4, but he's completely minor each time. I'd have pages and pages of Johnsons and Kos and Mairwens and Chevyns and Nances and Elspeths and Julios and Carols and Vickies and Throndells and Boutells and Asps and Scabs and... if I did that.

 

The Shareware Demon, though, is almost too hilarious to leave out. I'm not sure he really meets the criteria though, hmm...

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"Okay that's it! You're Spider A, you're Spider B, you're Spider C, you're Spider D, you're Spider E and you can be Fred! Now! Which one of you is the Spider Chief!?"

 

(A moment of silence.)

 

"You're cute."

 

 

 

"This is ANN, Avernum's News Network, and I'm Amyee. This just in; A gruesome massacre has occurred just now in the GIFTS Cave several miles west of Fort Draco. Details are sketchy right now but one thing is for certain, these caves we call home just became a little saner."

 

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