Monday, February 9, 2009

My Romances - Part 1

My Computer Game Romances, Part 1: You're so vain
Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn, and expansion Throne of Bhaal
Anomen Delryn

SPOILERS

I met Anomen at an inn called the Copper Coronet in the Slums district of Athkatla, the capital of Amn, shortly after I had been brought to the unfamiliar city against my will by the evil mage Irenicus and had escaped from his dungeon. I was in need of friends in that unfriendly city; I needed to amass a great deal of gold to save my childhood friend Imoen from the island prison run by Athkatla's Cowled Wizards, and to earn that gold, I needed a team to help me with lucrative adventurers' quests. My first impression of Anomen was that he was a pompous fool. Still, I needed another fighter and healer on my team, and I preferred the noble prick to the crazy, bloodthirsty dwarf in the room, so I welcomed Anomen into my party.


I must admit that I was initially more charmed by the sweet words of Haer'Dalis, our bard companion, than the boastful stories that Anomen liked to tell. But Haer'Dalis called me raven, while the elf Aerie was his dove, and over time I came to see that Anomen's bombastic manner was just a facade to hide his insecurities and his guilt. The adventuring profession, you see, is a magnet for troubled souls. It also naturally attracts trouble, and when Anomen received word that the sister he had left at home with his drunkard father had been murdered, it tore him apart, his thirst for vengeance nearly ruining his chances of becoming a knight. I was experiencing my own troubles around that time (oh, Irenicus just stole my soul), but through our love we were able to help each other overcome these obstacles.

After the defeat of Irenicus, our quest shifted to preventing the children of the late god of murder Bhaal from killing each other (particularly since the Bhaalspawn included Imoen and me), as well as the rest of the world that was in the way. During this time, my love for Anomen grew. He gave me a golden ring, and he promised that after it was all over, after we had stopped all the Bhaalspawn killings and the plots to resurrect a new god of murder, he would marry me. But in the end, I was forced to make the most tortuous choice of my life: I could either release the god essence collected from all the children of Bhaal so that no god would ever rise in his place, or take it as my own and become a god myself. While I wanted nothing more than to be done with the legacy of Bhaal and to marry Anomen and live a normal life with him until I died, I knew that fate never meant for me to live a simple, happy life. The world and all the planes needed me as another powerful force for good, so I traded my desires for the obligation of godhood. The decision tore Anomen and me apart, but he is strong and will endure. And I will always wear the gold ring he gave me, so that I might remember the love that I once shared with a mortal man.

Oh, god, is that some good, sappy soap opera material there. I actually completely missed out on the Anomen romance on my first playthrough of BG2. As I said, I was more interested in the charming Haer'Dalis and thought that Anomen was an obnoxious prick. I pretty sure what happened was that in the first "romance conversation" with Anomen, I told him to his face that he was very vain, and that was the end of that. If you know it's there, though, the Anomen romance isn't so hard. When he talks to you, with trumpets playing a sweet melody in the background, be nice to him. Don't trade him out of your party, and don't let him fall to the dark side--that is, don't let him kill Saerk out of vengeance. Do all those things and it's easy; he initiates the necessary conversations in due time.

As with most things in Baldur's Gate 2, this romance is better developed than the romances in the other games I have played. And while Anomen did not on the surface seem to be my ideal kind of man, my imagination was able to fill out enough of his character to make the romance make sense. Thanks to the great writers of BG2, this romance did not disappoint. I was, however, a little disappointed that they scrapped the Haer'Dalis romance (male player characters got three women to choose from to romance--not fair). Luckily, I got to have my tiefling fling in a later game...

3 comments:

Sebastian said...

I can't recall having a romance in that one (but I only played the BG games through once, and my memory definitely doesn't seem to be as good as yours). Which girls could I choose from?

But I do remember the dwarf... Korgan, wasn't it?

He was such a fantastic character. Crude, but fantastic. Not to mention he had demi-God constitution...

He might even be comparable to... Minsc.

Eleni said...

Yeah, Korgan. Very crude. I didn't find him that memorable, but I only had him in my party when I played an evil character through ToB, so I would have missed out on any SoA Korgan side quests. He's not in the same field as Minsc in my mind.

And as for the romances for male PCs, I understand the choices were Aerie, Jaheira, and Viconia.

Sebastian said...

Obviously not a reference to Aeris...

I recall him being quite well built-up when I played with him -- he was the main 'tank' in my group, so he was always with me. Very tricky to manage him in a chaotic/good group though!

The occasional justified slaughter would keep him happy.