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BG2/ToB - Tashia Modification Pack Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, May 20, 2004.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    BG2/ToB Tashia Modification Pack
    Version 2.05e
    First Posted On: May 20, 2004
    Review Updated On: May 24, 2004
    Get the Mod: here

    Tashia is a female elven neutral good sorcerer – or perhaps I should call her a sorceress. She can be found at the tavern in Trademeet, and is romanceable if your PC is male. There are no racial restrictions on the romance, however, as a neutral good character, Tashia will not join parties with a low reputation. As such, it doesn't matter what race your PC is, but if you're evil you may not get Tashia to join with you.

    First some general points on Tashia. Tashia will banter with all of the other NPCs in the game, as well as with your PC. The only voice acting in the mod is when you click on Tashia’s picture, or when she scores a critical hit or a critical miss. Obviously, since the voice actors of the original NPCs were not available for making the mod, there are no sound sets for the in-party banters. Additionally, there are no sound sets for the lovetalks either, although there is a new musical composition that plays during the lovetalks.

    One complaint that is frequently heard from many people who install NPC mods is that the new NPC is overpowered compared to the original NPCs. While it is possible to argue that Tashia’s class is overpowered (as all sorcerers tend to be), I do not think she is overpowered in terms of abilities, stats, or starting equipment. She has no special abilities beyond that which all elves receive, at least none that seem to affect gameplay.

    EDIT: Tashia starts with 25% magic resistnace and 10% cold resistance - thanks to Earl Grey for pointing this out - END EDIT

    She does mention that she is able to see other people’s dreams, but this didn’t do anything with regard to gameplay. Her stats are high, but not impossibly high. All of her stats are in the range of 11-16 except dexterity, which is 19. However, as an elf, a 19 in dexterity is possible. I’m sure many players have had a PC with stats that rival or exceed Tashia’s, so I view her stats as high, but not to the point that you couldn’t produce a PC with similar stats if you were willing to roll for about 5-10 minutes. There is nothing overly spectacular about her starting equipment either. She tells you she grew up in Icewind Dale, and as such she has items that give her resistance to cold – specifically a Robe of Cold Resistance, and Boots of the North. Her main weapon is a Staff Spear +2, and the only particularly good item she starts with is a Ring of Acuity, which gives her some extra spells.

    EDIT: Tashia also has a leopard figurine that summons the spirit leopard Peanelian once per day. It works just like the black spider figurine you get in the graveyard district. The figurine is very powerful, and Peanelian is on par with the improved black spider figurine available with the Item Upgrade Mod. - END EDIT

    None of these items far exceed what you would expect an 11th level sorcerer to possess. So if Tashia is overpowered, it is due to her class, not because she starts with outrageous stats or equipment.

    The gameplay with Tashia is the same as you would get with any other sorcerer. I picked her up at level 11, so I had complete control of all of her spell choices for level 6-9, and I was able to select several of her spells for levels 3-5. I do not remember all of the spells I chose, and which ones she came with.

    EDIT - Thanks again to Early Grey for this one. There seems to be some discepancy in Tashia's starting spell selection. The spells I started with were similar to Grey's in level 1, 3 and 4, but different for levels 2 and 5. I deleted my list of her starting spell selection from the review as it may not be consistent. Additionally, it appears that it is possible to pick up Tashia when she is in excess of 11th level (up to 1 million XP according to Grey), and so it is possible to have her come to the party with level 6 spells. I went immediately to Trademeet as soon as I got out of Irenicus' Dungeon, so most, if not all, of my party members had under 500,000 XP when I picked up Tashia. END EDIT

    The one complaint I have with Tashia is the way her romance works. In my case, the romance didn't work. Unfortunately, I did not realize that it wasn't working until I reached the end of SoA. For starters, there seems to be an excessively long time between lovetalks. I did all of the Chapter 2 quests prior to leaving for Spellhold, and she had approximately 12 lovetalks by the time I started Chapter 6. She typically talks about her past, and a previous love interest, who also happened to be a Bhaalspawn. At one point, the party was attacked by friends of this other Bhaalspawn, but her former love interest never showed up or attacked the party himself. Then, once I started Chapter 6, her love talks stopped altogether after the first one when I left the Underdark. I finished up my stronghold and did the newly opened map areas before fighting Bodhi, so there should have been an adequate amount of time for additional lovetalks, but Tashia didn’t say another word to me. On her last lovetalk that I heard (and these aren’t direct quotes – I’m paraphrasing here), she thanks you for being so supportive when she talks about her past, and how she feels she can trust you even though you’re a Bhaalspawn too. Then she says that without you she would have continued to dwell on her past, but now she feels she can get on with her life. To me, that sounded like the perfect cue for her old flame to show up, but nothing happened, and she didn’t speak beyond that. As it turns out, the other Bhaalspawn should have turned up (thanks JSSB) but for some reason or another, did not in my game. All of the correct responses in the lovetalks were painfully obvious, so there’s no way I could have said something that would have ended the romance. As a result, I am certain that I didn’t complete the romance, but I did not realize this until Bodhi didn’t kidnap her when I went to the Graveyard in Chapter 6.

    In closing, there is one more point I would like to touch on: The Tashia mod allows you to choose a Sorcerer besides Kelsey (another mod which happens to be extremely popular), and I would argue that her starting spell selection is actually more useful than Kelsey’s. Strangely enough, this similarity to Kelsey simultaneously strengthens and weakens the mod. The strength is that sorcerers are an extremely popular class, and that alone will gain interest for this mod. Unfortunately, other than their sex, there isn’t anything about Tashia that favorably compares to Kelsey. Very few people will argue that the Kelsey mod isn’t the most complete mod available, and by making the Tashia mod so similar, it was impossible to avoid comparisons. Not to beat a point to death, but the Tashia mod simply can’t compete with the Kelsey mod. Because Tashia and Kelsey are the same class, and both fit in well with good parties, there isn’t anything in the Tashia mod that makes you say “Wow!” as a reason for selecting her over Kelsey (unless you happen to want a female sorcerer). And the biggest flaw with all of this is it didn’t have to be that way. Based on her banters, I think she is somewhat miscast as a neutral good character, and an alignment of true neutral or possibly even chaotic neutral (given her mood swings) seems closer to the mark to me. That simple change would have separated her from Kelsey as she would have been an option for neutral or evil parties and would have greatly improved the mod.

    Overall, I thought the mod was decent, but based on what happened (or to be more accurate - what didn’t happen) with the romance, and the fact that this mod competes directly with the Kelsey mod, I can’t give it rave reviews. Some may argue that it isn’t fair to compare this mod to Kelsey, but honestly I cannot see any reason why you would choose Tashia over Kelsey other than a possible love interest. I will play this mod through again, in an effort to complete the romance, but right now, I can’t do better than give it a 5 out of 10.

    [ May 24, 2004, 18:06: Message edited by: Aldeth the Foppish Idiot ]
     
  2. Rednik Gems: 21/31
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    Nice review, I should download the mod. I was getting sick of kelsey.
     
  3. JSBB Gems: 31/31
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    I don't know what went wrong with the romance for you Aldeth but when I played this mod I did have Tashia's ex show up.

    It has been a while but if I remember correctly he claims to have reformed and she makes up with him and then leaves the party.

    You later see a cut scene (dream sequence maybe? I don't remember there being an explanation as to how/why you see the cut scene) that shows that he is still evil after which you can track him down and get Tashia back.
     
  4. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I have no way to confirm or rebuke JSSB's comments. Like I said in the review, it didn't seem like the romance was finished, and I don't know why Tashia stopped talking to me. My suspicion is that the last conversation should have spawned an encounter with her ex, but for whatever reason, it didn't. Obviously, having never played the mod before, I didn't know for certain if there was supposed to be an encounter. I will play through with Tashia again, and hopefully, see the encounter, at which point I will revise the mod.
     
  5. Earl Grey

    Earl Grey Mmm... hot tea! Veteran

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    [​IMG] In the review the starting spell selection is seriously wrong. I don't know why, since the readme file mentions nothing about changing this from 205e to 205g.
    Anyway, here is the spell selection Tashia began with in my game, using the latest version (205g):

    1
    Burning Hands
    Chromatic Orb
    Identify
    Magic Missile
    Spook

    2
    Blur
    Detect Invisibility
    Mirror Image
    Vocalize

    3
    Flame Arrow
    Skull Trap
    Slow

    4
    Greater Malison
    Stoneskin

    5
    Breach

    IMO the spell selection is very good. I would have chosen Melf's AA or Web instead of Detect Invisibility, but the rest is good.

    Tashia starts as a level 10 sorcerer (at 250k xp) and she gets extra "quest xp" the first time the party enters the Inn where she is. This "quest xp" can be +250k, +500k or +750k xp depending on the average party level. Thus, from my little testing, the most she will start with is 1,000,000 xp (250 + 750 quest xp).
    I assume she can get 0 quest xp if your party is of a low enough level.
    You then get to level her up.

    The only way in which I consider Tashia to be overpowered is her "spirit leopard" - Peanelian - which has some truly extreme immunities. Not using this little kitty is a good and easy solution to that though.

    Another thing which IMHO should have been noted in the review is that Tashia has a 25% innate magic resistance and a 10% innate cold resistance. The magic resistance is considerable and is arguably a bit unbalanced. Only drow should get MR.

    I have only recently started a game with Tashia and thus can't comment much on the romance progress.
    I chose Tashia because I wanted an NPC sorcerer so my protagonist could be something else. I love playing a sorcerer. :)

    Question: What is her CLUA code? I can't find her as Tashia in Infinity Explorer.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Thanks Earl Grey.

    I am going to update the review now to include some additional information on the mod. I don't know why your spell selection was so different than mine. From what you listed, our spells were the same or similar to levels 1, 3, and 4, but different for levels 2 and 5. I have no explanation for this.

    I did not notice that she had an innate magic resistance, and I assumed her cold resistance was from her starting items (cold based).

    Update coming shortly.
     
  7. Wordplay Gems: 29/31
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    I ran to the same problem as you did, when I gave it a shot; at one point the romance simply ceased. Of course it was a bit disappointing that she did not say a thing, but having Aerie/Viconia/Jaheira/etc. competiting of the place, I did not feel TOO disappointed. The fact is that Tashia, as a personality or story, isn't very interesting. It's bland. In fact, she does not even WANT to be a part of the story of BG2, but would had rather stayed in the bar where you meet her, drinking her beer. :shake:

    IMO, you should just leave her there. If you need sorcerers, get Shadow Keeper and alter some NPC a bit. ;)

    [ May 27, 2004, 19:51: Message edited by: Wirhe ]
     
  8. jcompton Gems: 9/31
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    Couple of quick comments in the interests of being thorough:

    While it's true enough that Kelsey and Tashia "compete" for that "mod NPC sorcerer slot", Tashia was actually initially released _before_ Kelsey (by about a month and a half, I forget the exact details.) It's true enough that the two mods had some influence on each other (the flirting concept I introduced in Kelsey was partially inspired by Tashia's riddles, and in turn Lyashenko added his own flirts when I mentioned to him that I was doing them) but I get the impression that you didn't realize Tashia made it to market first.

    Also, Kelsey's less-than-perfect spell selection is actually intentional, he mentions not being able to shape his spell selections in the early going. Tashia didn't seem to suffer the same sort of problem when she discovered she was a sorcerer... or if she did, she lucked out. :)
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    @jcompton

    Thanks for the info. I actually did know that the spell selection was intentional, because as you said, he couldn't control his powers initially. However, you were right in assuming that I thought Kelsey was released first.
     
  10. Earl Grey

    Earl Grey Mmm... hot tea! Veteran

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    [​IMG] Having now made to the end of SOA with Tashia I agree with JSBB's comment above about the romance. I didn't have a problem with the romance either.

    The instructions for mod reviewers state the following:
    This review is incomplete and needs a total overhaul.
     
  11. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    [​IMG] Yes, however those instructions are not meant to mean that if a bug with the mod prevents the reviewer from playing the mod through, they must start again, or spend hours trying to get around it. It is up to every mod reviewer whether they want to spend that much time on it or not. With the exception of the part of the romance, the review is accurate, and one can argue that since the romance did not work for Aldeth, it remains accurate.

    Aldeth might want to go to the effort of going through the whole thing again at some point, and update the review accordingly, but that's it. Calling for a total overhaul is hardly fair. And neither would anyone who downloaded the mod and experienced the same problems with it appreciate a review which only sang praises to the mod.
     
  12. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    OK, I currently am going through a BG1 game with a female gnome cleric/thief. I was initially going to attempt to do Kelsey on my run through with BG2, but it doesn't make sense to post another review without updating this one first. I will reinstall the "romance anyone" part of the Ease-of-Use Mod so that I can romance Tashia. Assuming that works, the romance should work (unless something in the Tashia mod would still prevent the romance from proceeding, but I don't see why it would).
     
  13. Earl Grey

    Earl Grey Mmm... hot tea! Veteran

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    Indeed, noting that a bug prevented the playing of the mod is very important in a review. From what I understand failing with the Tashia romance is not typical though.

    It is also important to include all major parts of a mod.
    The Tashia mod in SoA (I have not reached ToB with Tashia yet) can be divided into three parts:
    1. Tashia as a joinable NPC
    2. Romance
    3. Major encounter

    The review partially failed to account for the romance part (missing the SoA conclusion plus the cutscene) and completely fails with regard to the encounter which happens after Underdark.

    There is indeed a dilemma here. Faced with a bug, should the reviewer:
    - post what he has
    - try playing it again
    - abandon the review attempt
    :hmm:

    Slight spoiler on the encounter below
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    The equipment gained after the battle is IMO unbalancing. The reader of this review should be informed that the mod creator did not know how to make the encounter tough enough without giving out all those items - making them undroppable for instance.
    Cheese or not, that's quite the opportunity for a reviewer to state his opinion. :)
     
  14. Sydax Gems: 19/31
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    SPOILER
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    About Tashia romance, it was a time when I had nothing more to do and the romance seemed to not go further, so I try to talk to her, ask her riddles and so, then I leave my pc in pause for about 4 hs, then Arlistan showed up, she leaves, he is mad, then I didn't know what to do so I started to search in those caves that looks like the "dream" you have and yes, you got her back (after doing some things), then she knows that loves you, etc, BUT: when the last fight against Irenicus in hell is about she says something like Irenicus never dying and NO VALID REPLIES link than makes other NPCs say nothing.
    Worst for me, Irenicus does nothing and doesn't die.
    Start a new game? ohh man,...
     
  15. Silinrun Gems: 1/31
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    i loved it. Though I never got to finish the romance either. I had the same problem Aldeth had. I'll probably go back someday and try again though. BG series is my fav RPG of all time still.
     
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