The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

by Lt. Danger

Part 27: National Lampoon's Homunculus House

Act Two Chapter Nineteen - Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

This is the Step 5 conversation for Safiya. For most companions most of the time, these dialogues are just little snapshots of what the companion thinks of the latest plot development. Generally they don't have much to say but that's entirely my fault for messing around with the Wells of Lurue and Ashenwood instead of just going to the Coven immediately.

Gann and Safiya both have some good content at this stage, however, so we'll spend the rest of the update talking to them.

: What were the dreams about?

: Interesting... this reinforces Lienna's part in the puzzle... even if it provides no answers. What happened in this dream?
: I was told to take the part of "The Betrayer" before the god Myrkul apprehended me.
: Myrkul... the old god of the dead. Kelemvor now rules in his place.
: The actors and the audience attacked me.
: Thespians can be so disagreeable... I wonder if their attacks were part of the play or due to your... acting.
: A demilich, a dragon and a celestial told me they would await my return and the opening of a door.
: That's a curious... trio. Those are three creatures that rarely get along. I wonder if they were images of actual beasts or figurative symbols. Hmmm...

: His name was Bishop. He was bound in the wall - and clearly in pain.
: Bishop... Hmmm... what was he like?
: A good man to have at your side in a fight. Too bad I had to kill him...
: I see. So what else did you see in the dream?

There's a couple of options we can use to get to open up about the Wall. Aside from Wisdom, there are the usual Bluff/Diplomacy/Intimidate options - and after that, there's an Influence check, or failing that more skill checks. Lots of ways to get this dialogue.

As you can guess, it's pretty important.

: I have... dreams - nightmares, really... of that wall.
: There's a sensation of being... stretched. And an unending scream - one long, composite scream of men, women and children.

: Thank you for telling me... it can be difficult, I know.
: You are most welcome. So, as for the rest of what you saw in the dream...

All right, now this is something we've been wanting to know more about since Ashenwood. Who is the Red Woman?

: I didn't catch the woman's name, but she spoke to me as if she knew me well.
: The only person I know who looks anything like me is... well, my mother...
: What would she be doing in your dream?
: The woman implied that Araman was hunting her.
: That sounds... oddly fitting. If you were dreaming of my mother... Araman wants her... dead.
: Araman spoke to me as if I were his brother.
: What? Brothers? How could you be related to that murdering... Of course... it was merely a dream... there is often no connection between slumbering thought and waking reality.
: Araman was waiting by a gate - he said it was where he stood with someone called the Betrayer.

Maybe earlier in the conversation, Safiya?

I like this particular dialogue. It's a nice way to recap some important plot development that occurs right in the middle of Gann's personal sidequest, and to segue into Safiya's part of the story. It's also a change from the usual 'bark questions at any nearby NPCs until dialogue tree is exhausted' approach to conversations.

: It seems my mother and Araman are both part of this puzzle... though I can't imagine how or why.
: Still... we will likely find some answers at the Academy.

Check this voice direction for one of the lines above:


: {Opening up - painfully} I have... dreams - nightmares, really... of that {says this word as if it's a swear} wall.

Safiya doesn't react well to mention of the Wall. First Kaelyn, now Safiya... who next?

: I know your curse to be true. If it has been spawned by one of your gods, then this Wall of the Faithless may be true as well.
: So?
: I have no desire to be imprisoned and face oblivion at the end of my days, that is all.

Well, well, well.

In some ways, I can't help but think Gann is skipping ahead. The dialogue makes sense, yes - Gann has just seen the Wall in the flesh in real life in a dream and can no longer dismiss it as a fable. On the other hand there's a major plot conversation coming up after the Academy that makes Gann's situation more definite, and I can't help but feel Gann's dialogue could potentially have gone there as well. Especially since a bug meant Gann could tell you about the spirit-eater curse before Act 1 was over, and also because this conversation:


: {Irritated} So this curse is a "blessing" from a dead god... of the dead?
: If nothing will show you the weaknesses of such pompous creatures as those "gods" you worship - the fact your former god of the dead now lies dead should be proof enough. May the spirits weep for the foolish beliefs of men!
: So you're not one of the faithful, then?
: {To himself} Filthy gods and their games. The spirits of Rashemen have no need of gods to guard the deadgates. Yet the humans... the Rashemi... {snorts}
: You should have more respect for the spirits. They come at my beck and call, and they are far more powerful than your "god of the dead," whichever version of him dances in his graveyard now.

was available after completing Ashenwood... when we knew the curse came from a god, but not which god or if it was even a god of the dead. If the Wood Man had told us this we could have guessed which god it was, since there's only one dead god of the dead: Myrkul.

Never mind the fact that Gann is incorrect - for starters, what was Okku if not the guardian of his spirit barrow? But that's good character development on Obsidian's part, not a whoopsy in revealing the plot.

* * *

The reason it was dark in Gann's conversation is because we were headed to Anya's house to resolve an old quest.

Anya and her father let Gann sleep in their barn a while back, in an act of gracious hospitality to a wandering dreamwalker. Gann took the opportunity to seduce Anya through her dreams, then left to continue his journey. When he returned to the Wells of Lurue with Calliope, he discovered that Anya was a nascent dreamwalker herself - and his selfish interference had triggered her powers before she could control them. Now she spends her days trapped in a waking dream, fantasising a bucolic romance with her true love, Sir Gannayev. We've returned with Gulk'aush's Hag Eye to set things right.

There's a known issue with this quest: we need Anya to be asleep before we can enter her dreams, but her script cycle can break so that she is always permanently awake. It doesn't always happen, but when it does there's no option but to cheat.

It's happened here, so I'll have to use the console to teleport myself into Anya's dream directly.

Here we are. Same map as the Red Woman dream in the Immil Vale, actually.

: Nothing. I simply love saying your name.
: And it pleases my ears to hear it, my love.

The biter bit, as they say. Now Gann can see how he appears to the rest of the (non-innocent-maiden) world.

: What? Who is there?
: Stand back, my love, I shall protect you.
: Protect her? By the spirits, she's the cause of all this! And you...
: Gannayev? How can there be two of you?
: Do you know this half-blooded mongrel, my love?
: Mongrel?! What does that make you? A half of a half?

: This is our home, where we are able to be alone without father seeing... I found this glade one night, while-
: While you walked the borders of sleeping and waking, yes, yes, I know how this came about.
: My mistake was that I didn't realize that you possessed such power, Anya - an oversight, but I cannot be perfect in all things.
: Now this fantasy of yours must end - that Gann there, he is a fantasy you have conjured up, and he is becoming a wedge between you and the waking world, Anya.

Bless you, Gann.

: I do not know who you are, but you are not the Sir Gannayev I know.
: I should hope not. You can't seem to get me right from the looks of it.
: Anya, I believe this thing is here to hurt us - stand away from him, I shall handle this.

There are a number of ways to rescue Anya, with varying outcomes. They all also play out rather differently, with different ideas coming to the surface. I'm picking the romantic option because it's fairly true to Gann's character and also, in this playthrough, Calliope fancies Gann something rotten.

: I would welcome a chance to prove myself. Bring on your "contest." I am not afraid!
: Then we will let "Sir Gannayev" begin.

You can't fail these checks...

...but Gann responds better to soft words than to threats.

: Ah, Anya...

: I need share her with no one!
: I would not fetter Anya's movements, I would allow all to gaze upon her - for even if they should, only I can appreciate her inner beauty.

Oh indeed.

: What? He tells lies! I love you! I am only whole when you are around.
: Anya, I am whole at all times - for you are with me always, no matter what distance separates us.
: Oh!

This is the best result for Anya: free from the dream, but still retaining her dreamwalking abilities.

: It is the fabric of thoughts, of dreams you are seeing.
: You will come to ignore it in time, and see it only when you wish. You... are strong, Anya. I am shamed I did not see it before.
: I am the one who feels shamed. I fooled myself with the idea of you, didn't I?

A remarkable gracious response from Gann. A changed man?

: And you will find the fields of the sleeping world are now yours to travel.
: But you will not be there, will you?
: Not as the Gann you imagined, no.

* * *

There's another way to free Anya and let her keep her powers, too. This requires 20 Wisdom:


: [Wisdom] Anya, please - you may be right, and if so, then your Gann is real and we have made a mistake.
: {Slightly surprised} Well, of course Sir Gannayev is real.
: Yes, she speaks truly.
: What in the name of the spirits are you doing? Don't give him any more reality, or we're in trouble.
: [Wisdom] Gann can walk in dreams - then let him do so now.
: Why, yes, Sir Gannayev can walk in dreams, he can come to me any time he wishes!
: But she is already dreaming, what are you doing?
: Trust me.
: Let me close my eyes...
: Now imagine if you will, walking in an empty field, with no Gann around you, he is gone, vanished.
: What? But I am right h-

{Sir Gannayev vanishes}

: Oh! Where is Sir Gannayev?
: He is right here - the real one, that is.
: But-
: Oh, cleverly played... now the girl sees what is a dream and what is reality.
: ...Anya, you are powerful, powerful enough to shape another me from your own dreams, which is no small feat considering how much of me there is to take in.
: But you are also powerful enough to unmake such doppelgangers, if you choose - but they are dream specters only, with no substance.
: I- but he was real, he was right h-

{Sir Gannayev reappears}

: What happened? Where did I go? Anya! Did they h-
: So he can simply go away when I choose?
: What? What do you m-

{Sir Gannayev vanishes again}

: Oh, that is fun. Don't strain yourself, though - shaping such an entity and letting him persist has dangers.
: So you were... you were never here at all?
: No, Anya, I was not.

Alternatively, we can fight Anya and Sir Gannayev, and force her out of the dream that way. Of course, this is a dream, so Anya will transform herself into a dragon and Sir Gannayev into a giant version of himself... and defeating her in this way permanently burns out Anya's dreamwalking abilities, and we get only half the reward for rescuing Anya.

The other option is to Intimidate the dream into becoming a nightmare; Anya will trick herself into creating nightmarish spiders, zombies and werewolves, then Sir Gannayev will turn himself into a troll-creature to defend his love, terrifying Anya even further. This doesn't actually help Anya - in fact, it sends her into a catatonic state, and her father will confront and attack us when we return to the real world.

There's another option again, but it's part of a quest I'm saving for the Evil playthrough, so you'll just have to wait to see it.

* * *

: I... what?
: Then I owe you an apology for my words before. They were spoken in haste, out of the love a father has for his child.
: It... your apology is taken, and I... as our leader said, I meant no harm with my actions.

That's the closest we're going to get to an apology from Gann. Oh well.

In a way, I think this is more of a close to Gann's character arc than meeting Gulk'aush and destroying the Coven was. Coveya Kurg'annis simply revealed the truth behind Gann's origins and corrected his misapprehensions about his parents. But the encounter with Anya offers a real opportunity to act differently to before; instead of simply taking what he wants and leaving (as he did when he seduced Anya before), he takes responsibility for his actions (and fixes Anya by teaching her about her powers).

However, the Gulk'aush sequence is absolutely critical if you want to romance Gannayev. In fact, if you don't bring Gann along to the Skein, you very nearly won't be able to romance him at all - because the following conversation triggers only after Gann has met his mother.

: All that time, wasted in judging her for something she had not done.
: She did the exact opposite of what I had believed all my life, felt the exact opposite. She loved me. And loved my father.
: I believe she did, yes.

Well, okay, maybe he was changed a bit just by the Gulk'aush sequence. He's grown up - no longer a petulant child, but an adult, aware of the obligations and promises that true love entails.

This is where it ends for males and females with low Influence. For friendly female characters, it continues:

: And if I am loved in return, then it shall only be the first vow of many.
: Are you in love, Gann?

Good point. Gulk'aush loved Gann even when he hated her without knowing her - and Anya loved Gann even when he was not really there. I'm sure we all agree that love is still love even when it is not requited or acknowledged... and perhaps also that such love has repercussions of its own, despite being unanswered.

We'll see more of this pattern later in the game.

: I do not know, but I shall know in time - you have already shown me one part of my world and allowed me to make peace with it... perhaps you will show me something else.
: My mother held too much, too long, in silence.
: So this is my promise, the first vow I have ever made.

: Then so be it - we will share dream and awareness together. That was all I needed to know.
: We shall be each other's anchor when all around us is in turmoil... when chaos floods over us, our strength shall shield us against it.

He's a funny guy. More than that, though, he's shown us his strength, his grace, his kindness... even if it needed a little prodding to come out.

If you're not feeling it with Gann, there are different ways to turn him down. One is a pre-existing romance with Casavir (or Bishop):


: Ah... so that was the undercurrent I have always felt in you. The pain... tinged with the bitter aftertaste of lost loves. Who was he, this one in death who you love still?
: A tracker, a ranger - his heart was black, but it was not irredeemable.
: Do not apologize to me, then. To feel such love, even when ones are apart in life and death, is something to be celebrated. It is what dreams are made of.
: And in this great multiverse, to be separated by death is a transitory thing.

There's also a "let's be friends" speech, or if you're feeling cruel there's even a withering put-down:


: I am not a surrogate for your broken feelings, hagspawn. Seek your ease of comfort elsewhere.

Accepting the romance grants a special feat in addition to Gann's normal Influence feats: Dreamer's Heart, which offers Spell Resistance 30 and immunity to mind-affecting spells.

Safiya is the romance for male characters. Like Gann, much of it is based on light-hearted flirting and teasing, rather than the heavier, more ponderous declarations of the NWN2 romances.


: {Bantering} Masked witches, eldritch hags, and a red wizard traveling alongside...
: {Teasing} I'm beginning to think you gave yourself this curse to meet exotic, arcane women.
: It's not my fault that hags and witches are so desirable.
: {Teasing} You certainly would have found your perfect woman amongst the coven.
: {Player is definitely flirting with her - she's not totally used to this but she trusts the player} Yes well... be careful. Magical women make for dangerous mates.

The Safiya romance triggers even later than Gann's - right at the end of the game, in fact (and there's a second opportunity to get together with Gann in case you did miss out on Gulk'aush). But up until then you'd be getting high Influence with Gann and Safiya anyway, so it's not an abrupt or jarring thing.

Both romances are low-key, but Gann's is more personal than Safiya's. Gann's romance path takes him from a callous serial-womaniser to a devoted mate. Safiya doesn't really change in personality, but there's a more direct link to the plot than Gann's. We'll find out more about that soon enough.