Author Topic: Solaufein Romance (BG2)  (Read 9419 times)

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Offline Amy

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Solaufein Romance (BG2)
« on: August 12, 2010, 12:56:46 PM »
By: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Solaufein Romance Modification Pack
Version: v100
Review First Posted On: April 8, 2004
Review Updated On:
Download the Mod here:

I guess we need a few preliminaries before we get into anything. There is so much work that goes into the creation of a successful mod that it is nearly impossible to touch upon all aspects of it in a quick easy-to-read review. With that in mind, I am going to try to touch upon the major points that many serious BG2 players would be most interested in when making a decision to try a new mod or not. For Solaufein, the main points I will be considering include the integration of his character into the game, the playability of his character, and Solaufein-specific quests.

Solaufein is integrated into the game seamlessly, but the timing of when you pick him up is important. To get the most out of the mod, I highly recommend that you get to him as soon as possible. You will be able to pick up Solaufein at the end of Chapter 5. As this is rather late in SoA, you should do as few of the optional quests as possible in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 before leaving for Spellhold. Solaufein has several banters with every other original NPC (except Yoshimo), and some specific dialogs for nearly every optional quest you encounter, as well as with some merchants and other characters that are not directly related to the story-line. There are also banters with Kelsey (a Compton mod), but he does not have banters for the majority of the other NPC mods. The level of emersion you get with Solaufein is entirely up to you, so get him as early as possible if you want the full experience.

As far as the playability is concerned, Solaufeinâ??s a whole lot of fun. For those of you who donâ??t know, Solaufein is a male drow elf, multi-classed fighter/mage, who can be romanced regardless of gender or alignment. Anyone who has played a multi-classed fighter/mage or a dual-classed kensai/mage knows how fun these characters are to play. If you havenâ??t played one of these combinations, prepare to enjoy the experience.

Solaufein comes locked and loaded so thereâ??s no need to immediately run to a merchant as soon as he joins your party. In addition to being fully equipped, he has some really high stats, with 18â??s in strength, dexterity, and intelligence. He already has most of the spells that players tend to use most often in his spell book, and he has proficiencies (2 stars) in long swords, flails, and two weapon style.

One of the best points about the Solaufein character is he readily fits into any party or any PC that you are playing. When you download the mod, the Solaufein character you encounter in the game depends upon your main characterâ??s alignment and experience points at the time that he joins. First, his experience points are tailored to be about the same as the rest of your party. For me, most of my NPCs had about 1.8 million XP at the end of chapter 5 and were single-classed characters. Solaufein joined with 1 million XP in each class, which would correspond to 2 million XP if he were single-classed. So he actually came in a little higher than most of the NPCs that were with me. The other unusual thing about Solaufein is his alignment is based on your PCâ??s alignment. If you are playing a good or neutral PC, Solaufein will be chaotic good. If you are playing an evil PC, Solaufein will be chaotic neutral. As far as I know, this is a unique characteristic among NPCs.

There are also Solaufein-specific quests in SoA, and this is where Solaufein shines the most. The Solaufein-specific quests are nothing like the other NPC-specific quests you have encountered up to this point. They all involve combat, and they are all moderately to extremely difficult encounters. You will have to be quite the expert at combat in BG2 to handle some of these battles, especially on your first try. New BG2 players will find the battles nearly impossible, and even seasoned BG2 players will find themselves getting reacquainted with the reload button.

The Solaufein-specific quests are another reason why it is highly recommended that you get him as early as possible. The quests occur at an interval of about one week of game time, with the first encounter occurring about one week after Solaufein joins your party. So, if youâ??ve already completed all of the Chapter 2 quests, finished your stronghold quests, and only have to do the core story-line of Chapters 6 and 7, it is highly unlikely that you will get through all of the Solaufein-specific quests before you reach the end of SoA. You can also completely forget about completing the romance. The rewards you get at the end of the Solaufein-specific quests include a Solaufein-specific item, innate abilities and a considerable amount of XPs. So skipping the Solaufein-specific quests is not advisable. His quests are arguably the best part of the mod, so skipping them is really going to cut down on a lot of the enjoyment (or frustration depending upon your point of view).

Once you reach ToB, itâ??s more of the same. There are some additional banters and encounters that you only get with Solaufein, with a similar level of difficulty as you encountered in SoA. I do not know if the encounters you get in SoA carry over into ToB if you didnâ??t finish all of them during SoA, as Iâ??ve always picked up Solaufein early enough to complete them.

Overall, I enjoyed the mod. I would rate it at 7 of a possible 10. The only mod that I enjoyed more was the Kelsey mod. Solaufein rates lower for a few reasons. First, the fact that you canâ??t get him until the end of Chapter 5 is a real bummer. It requires you to either only take 5 NPCs with you, or drop an NPC that you have already invested a considerable amount of time and effort into by the time you get to Solaufein. The other thing that I didnâ??t like is the Solaufein-specific items and innate abilities make Solaufein very overpowered. Letâ??s put it this way, even before I buff up Solaufein before a major battle, the icons on his portrait on the side of the screen completely cover his face. You literally have three or four full rows of modifiers on him just from his equipment and abilities. When I buff him up, you canâ??t even see all of the icons on his picture because they donâ??t fit in the room provided, although they do show up if you right-click on his portrait to get a detailed look at his character sheet. The fact that the encounters you need to complete to get these items are very difficult erases some of the pangs of guilt you would otherwise feel for using some of these items. Still, it doesnâ??t seem right that even though Solaufein is multi-classed, he can very well be the most powerful fighter and most powerful mage in your party, even if you have single-classed variants who are of a considerably higher level. Even if you powergame, Solaufein will put your PC to shame by the end of SoA.

None of these criticisms I have are big enough reasons to not try out the mod. Overall, I enjoyed the mod, and while I am in no hurry to go through it again, I eventually will just to see the interactions he has with some of the other NPCs that werenâ??t in one of my previous parties. To sum it up, the mod was very good, but not quite great.


Offline Amy

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Re: Solaufein Romance (BG2)
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 03:11:21 PM »
By: Rodman49

Name: Solaufein (SoA & ToB)
Version: 102
Type: NPC
Score: 70%
The Solaufein NPC mod makes Solaufein of Ust Natha a possible party member. Solaufein is a chaotic neutral or chaotic good, male, drow, fighter/mage with some innate powers and high stats. Additionally Solaufein has a romance track for the PC regardless of gender or race. Of important note is that the Solaufein NPC mod is very challenging, especially for new players (like me) so Iâ??d only recommend him to veteran players.
Balance: 6/10
Initially you may look at the wealth of 18â??s in Solaufeinâ??s statline and think he is overpowered. In my game this hardly happened to be the case as Solaufein at low levels isnâ??t particularly powerful and many of his specific encounters are insanely difficult. One Solaufein specific battle took me a grand sixteen attempts to beat it, not a particularly fun or entertaining experience. Supposedly at high levels Solaufein becomes very powerful, but you have to get to that level first. Also Solaufein seemed to lose his innate Dimension Door in the expansion Throne of Bhaal.
Creativity: 20/20
The addition of another Drow to the game helps give more background to the Drow race for those who do not have much background in forgotten realms. Solaufeinâ??s class is also not duplicated by any other Bioware NPC giving the PC a new option for a party member. Weimer, the modâ??s author, uses Solaufein to ask complex questions about philosophy and expound poetry giving Solaufein a deeper and more somber feel. Solaufeinâ??s odd background as a Drow in addition to his deep dialogue make him arguably the most creative NPC available.
Dialogue & Quests: 13/20
Solaufeinâ??s dialogue is well written and deep with its poetry and philosophical questions but it does not fit in terribly well with what his character seems like in normal Shadows of Amn nor his class as a fighter/mage (I find his poetry more derserving of a bard class). Besides the dialogue seemingly uncharacteristic of a Drow fighter/mage there also seems to be an excess of poetry, some poetry may serve as a refreshing sidetrack to the game, but Solaufein expounds his incessant ramblings constantly â?? Iâ??d personally like to see less poetry and more interactive philosophical questions. Solaufeinâ??s quests are very difficult, to the point of frustration if you are at low-level, but are well thought out and expand upon Solaufeinâ??s character, certainly if you are looking for mods to make the game more challenging, pick up the Solaufein mod. (I never completely finished Solaufeinâ??s quests as I became stuck on one of them, however the score for the Dialogues and Quests has not been docked for the content I was unable to evaluate.)
Integration: 35/50
Solaufeinâ??s character integrates fairly well with the normal Bioware NPCs and the atmosphere of Baldurâ??s Gate II (his normal character was already in the game, just not joinable). The most striking examples of his lack of integration is that his graphic changes from when you are in the Underdark to when you can accept him into your party on the surface world, and his dialogue, although good, does not fit in particularly well the dialogue of other characters. The upgraded difficultly of Solaufein encounters compared to the normal encounters also makes Solaufein stick out as a mod character (his first quest was much harder than the final battle).
Portrait: 6/10
Most people may think it odd that I rate portraits when I rate a mod, but what is the most eye-catching part of any NPC mod? What initially grabs your interest? What gets you to click on that link to a site to learn more about the NPC? Thatâ??s right, it's the portrait! I normally pick my class, race, and gender for a PC based on the most interesting portrait I kind find, in a large sense the portrait of a character is just as defining as his/her/its dialogue. Solaufeinâ??s initial portrait is terrible, it is horribly out of proportion with other Baldurâ??s Gate II NPC portraits. The only thing redeeming about the initial portrait is in fits in marginally with the poet/philosophical view of Solaufein. Given the poor quality of Solaufeinâ??s initial portrait and the relative popularity of the mod, there are a multitude of alternate portraits available, I prefer one found by Kairos at the Pocket Plane Group Forums â?? I went ahead and cropped it as best I could, just extract this zip into the â??overrideâ? folder in your Baldurâ??s Gate II directory â?? (The original portrait is used for scoring, but a +1 bonus was given to the score based on Weimer providing a decent selection of alternates.)
Voicing: 11/20
The Solaufein mod features almost no voicing, although the romance does have appropriate music when romance dialogue comes up. The voicing (select commands) for Solaufein comes from his original soundest and is passable overall.