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BG2/ToB - Kelsey Modification Pack Mod Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    BG2/ToB Kelsey Modification Pack
    Versions: SoA – V2.1 ToB – V2.2 (both are the latest versions – no V2.2 for SoA)
    First Posted On: July 23, 2004
    Review Updated On: July 24, 2004
    Get the Mod: here

    Overview:

    Kelsey is a neutral good human sorcerer NPC, and is romancable if you are a female human, elf, half-elf or halfling. He can be found in the Government District of Athkatla, near Keldorn's family home. Kelsey is easily the most integrated NPC mod that I have seen for the BG series. There is voice acting for all of the love talks with the PC, and all of the banters with the party members have voice acting for Kelsey, although not for the other NPCs. To my knowledge, this is the only NPC mod available with all these features, and I have played a great many NPC mods. Some NPC mods don’t even have voice acting when you click on their portrait, never mind for individual banters, flirts, and lovetalks. The end result of this is Kelsey appears more like an original NPC than a mod, which I suppose should be the goal of any NPC mod. The only thing that it lacks, (and this is something that couldn’t be avoided) is there are no voice actors when Kelsey banters with the other NPCs – just Kelsey himself. Since the original voice actors obviously weren’t available for this mod, there was no way this could have been avoided. Of additional interest, if there is no active romance between the PC and Kelsey (if, for example, you are male), Kelsey will flirt with and romance Imoen once you get to ToB. I cannot confirm this personally, as I did romance Kelsey, but according to the Readme file, this is supposed to occur.

    Character Attributes:

    One thing that is immediately apparent with Kelsey’s attributes is how average they really are. Kelsey’s highest attributes are Dexterity at 16 and Constitution at 15 (although he has an item that raises it to 16). All the other attributes are tightly spaced between 12 and 14, so he is well balanced, being neither overly impressive nor deficient in any of his attributes. Kelsey is an overpowered character because of his class, but not because of his starting attributes.

    Strength: 12
    Dexterity: 16
    Constitution: 16
    Intelligence: 12
    Wisdom: 13
    Charisma: 14

    Starting Equipment:

    Kelsey starts with mostly standard equipment, although he does have one overpowered item. His equipment includes a non-magical sling and quarterstaff, Gladiator’s Bracers (they’re bracers AC6 – they have a special name, but don’t do anything beyond the standard bracers AC6) and his overpowered yet appropriately named, Kelsey’s Cloak. Kelsey’s Cloak is like a super Cloak of Protection +1. In addition to giving a +1 bonus to AC and saves, as a standard Cloak of Protection +1, it has several other effects. It gives Kelsey a +1 to Constitution. This is a big deal because Kelsey’s base Constitution is 15. With the cloak raising it to 16, it gives him +2 hp per level as opposed to +1 hp per level. As a result, Kelsey has 9 more hit points when this item is equipped compared to when it isn’t equipped. Quite frankly though, you won’t ever take off this cloak, because it has several other effects: 20% magic resistance, +1 level one spell, +1 level 2 spell, and Cast Fire Shield (Green) once per day. Technically, Fire Shield (Green) isn’t a spell available in the game. It works just like the Blue and Red versions of the spell, except it does acid damage instead of cold and fire damage, respectively. Also, as might be expected, the shield looks green, instead of blue or red.

    There is also one additional Kelsey-specific item that you can acquire, although you’ll only get it if you take Jan along with you. In one of the banters with Kelsey, Jan tells him that while he is very proficient in arcane magic, he isn’t nearly as “flashy” as he could be in combat. As a result, Jan gives Kelsey the “Jansen Sorcerer Visual Enhancement Sphere”. It is a blue sphere that can be placed in the helmet slot on the paper doll, so basically, it’s an ioun stone. In the item description it says (and I wish I was kidding here): Effects: Makes Kelsey more “flashy” in combat. Side-effects: Nothing that you need to worry about. Despite my gut feeling that it actually did something besides make Kelsey look more “flashy”, and my near certainty that there would be negative side effects when using this item, the description turns out to be completely accurate. When you activate it, Kelsey and his clothing shine with multi-colored hues that kind of sparkle and move during combat. Other than that, it has absolutely no beneficial or negative effects. That’s Jan for you – another piece of pretty much useless Adventurewear. EDIT: Jason Compton informs me the item has a small chance of elctrocuting Kelsey. I only used the item a couple of times, so I guess I got lucky.

    Starting Spell List:

    I picked up Kelsey right after I escaped from Irenicus, so naturally, I was low level, and Kelsey was correspondingly only at level 10. This turns out to actually be an advantage, as you get more control over his spell selection. Kelsey’s starting spell selection can only be described as odd, but yet, this fits in well to what Kelsey tells you about his past. Kelsey never intended to become a sorcerer, and developed all of his initial powers completely accidentally. This is why some of his spells would not typically be chosen if you were playing a PC sorcerer. For example, he has spells like Protection from Evil (level 1), Vocalize (level 2) and Slow (level 3). While none of these are horrible spells, given the fact that you only get five spell choices per level, these spells probably wouldn’t make the cut. Here’s the complete list:

    Level 1: Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil, Spook. Choices Remaining: None

    Level 2: Blur, Glitterdust, Melf’s Acid Arrow, Vocalize. Choices Remaining: One

    Level 3: Fireball, Flame Arrow, Slow. Choices Remaining: Two.

    Level 4: Fire Shield (Red), Stoneskin. Choice Remaining: Three

    It should also be noted that Fire Shield (Red) is also a wasted selection, seeing as how his cloak allows him to cast Fire Shield (Green). Plus, I never really saw the point of that spell for a character that does not get involved in melee, as it requires him to get hit for the full effects of the spell to be realized. The good part of getting Kelsey early on is that you get full control of all of his spell selections from Level 5 on up. Plus, with the exception of level 1, you have some control, and it’s not like all of his choices are horrible. For example, I definitely would have taken Magic Missile, Chromatic Orb, Melf’s Acid Arrow and Flame Arrow anyway.

    Character Specific Quests:

    Kelsey is hunted by a mage that is in need of a sorcerer for her research project. While it is not explicitly stated as such, she makes it quite clear that Kelsey will likely not survive the research she wishes to perform on him. Despite the obviously strange nature of this request, it appears that this rogue mage has a romantic interest in Kelsey as well, although she may have simply been trying to seduce him so that he would agree to help her. The hunt culminates in two encounters, spaced about one week after Kelsey joins the party, and one week after the first encounter. The first one is with some hired thugs that have come to bring Kelsey to her, and the second with the mage herself. The first encounter is mostly with fighters, and it is just a hack and slash battle, but the second encounter involves two fairly high-level mages. You also receive some strange unique equipment in the battle. For example you get a rod called Inquisitor’s Friend. The item description states the rod was initially created for Inquisitors, and has the following abilities: Cast Clairvoyance once per day (which I can say is one spell I don’t think I’ve ever used), and cast Remove Magic once per day. It’s not overpowered, and not even particularly useful, but it’s an item you haven’t seen before, so I suppose that counts for something.

    Strangely, an additional quest for Kelsey materializes in ToB. This is especially odd, seeing as how none of the original NPCs have individual quests in ToB. In the lovetalks and banters during SoA, Kelsey tells you a lot about his past, which actually results in him having a very deep history that you don’t get with the original NPCs. His family was in the merchant business, with his father running things, and he and his mother helping out. His father died, and shortly thereafter his uncle started running the business. Evidently, the uncle did not have the same business acumen as his father, as the business started going downhill. When Kelsey brought this to the attention of his mother, instead of letting Kelsey take over, they basically sent him out on the road so he would have very little involvement with the business. In Saradush Kelsey meets his brother, Kelvim, who ran away from home with his girlfriend, which starts a series of events that eventually leads to Kelsey and company resolving the problem, with battles along the way of course.

    Romance:

    Kelsey’s romance is extremely long, with literally dozens of lovetalks. Even after the romance is completed and active, and you’ve gone through all the lovetalks, Kelsey will continually flirt with the PC (as opposed to the original NPC romances where once all the lovetalks are finished the NPC says nothing further until he or she is kidnapped by Bodhi). Perhaps the best part of the romance is it finally gives the female PC an alternative to Anomen. In order to romance Kelsey you must be female, and be a human, elf, half-elf or halfling. There are no alignment restrictions for romancing Kelsey.

    Conclusion:

    This mod is without doubt the best BGII mod I’ve ever played. As integrated as any mod can ever hope to be. With a very detailed history of what Kelsey was like before he joined the party, and even having an additional character specific quest in ToB, it could be argued that the Kelsey mod actually outshines some of the original NPCs. Kelsey obviously fits in very well with a good party, but he didn’t have any trouble getting along with the neutral members of the party either, which included Jan and Jaheira. In fact, I even had Viconia in my party for a while, and there were no arguments there either. So it is highly probable that Kelsey would accompany any party, although he may balk if you ask him to do something particularly evil (like stealing from the Temple of Lathander, or joining Bodhi’s guild).

    In short, this mod is the real deal, and I’d recommend it to anyone.

    Final Score: 10 of 10

    EDITS: Added halfling to the list of races that can romance Kelsey.

    Added that “Jansen Sorcerer Visual Enhancement Sphere” can electrocute Kelsey. Thanks to Jason Compton for bringing this to my attention.

    [ August 10, 2004, 20:32: Message edited by: Taluntain ]
     
  2. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    I must say that I agree with this review completely. I have tried out the Kelsey-Imoen romance and it is also well written. I don't remember the Kelvim encounter - probably beacuse I have not actually played through the PC-Kelsey romance with the TOB portion installed. Oh well, I guess that means I will have to whip up a suitable female NPC - and include Jan in the party - I have to try out the new Adventurewear :lol: .

    Actually that brings to mind another nice feature of the mod, if you start in TOB with a suitable PC you can summon a romanced in SOA version of Kelsey. I can't say that I have ever actually started directly in TOB except to briefly try out different character classes but the feature is a great idea.
     
  3. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Thanks JSSB - I didn't know there was a romancable Kelsey that you could get if you were starting directly in ToB. I would have included that if I had known.

    Also one small thing to add. I'm going to be out of town starting tomorrow for the next week, so if there are comments posted after the 24th, I won't get them until the 31st. I'm not ignoring you, and I will respond to them eventually, I just will be without computer access for a week or so.

    EDIT - I have now returned and would be happy to answer any questions concerning the review.

    [ August 02, 2004, 16:33: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
     
  4. Drumheller Gems: 6/31
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    How is the voice acting quality compared to the game and other mods you've played?
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Better than any mod I've ever played before. Like I said:

     
  6. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    Kelsey is the jealous type! He is not satisfied with that I chose him over Anomen, now he wont even let me snuggle a bit on the side with Solaufein, and I havent even done anything with Sola except talk philosophy! I think I ended the romance when I asked Kelsey what did he care, the jealous little wimp. Now I am just wondering if the Kelsey encounters continues? I have wacked that crazy wizardess who had that medallion which cast Nahal's reckless dweomer, perhaps that was the last encounter. One would think that Kelsey could wait with being jealous until my PC actually did anything beyond talk with Sola.

    Agh! Kelsey split! Is there no way to end the Kelsey romance and proceed with the Solaufein one without Kelsey leaving? I am tired of the over horny little toad Kelsey and Solaufein is much more sophisticated. Man I'm gay. ;)

    [ October 25, 2004, 17:07: Message edited by: joacqin ]
     
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