The Let's Play Archive

Neverwinter Nights 2

by Lt. Danger

Part 31: Act One Chapter Twenty-Eight - Bishop

Bishop is voiced by Asa Seigel (Listen here).

Bishop's gonna be a very important character in this LP. He's our Ranger companion; our second romantic interest (sort of); he's almost as disdainful of our companions as we are.

He's also our first Evil companion. (About damn time.)

He looks a lot younger in the concept art, but the basic idea is the same - grizzled, scarred, untidy, almost androgynous... he has a sort of boyish charm that's taken a few knocks here and there.


Our status with Bishop is almost a foregone conclusion; as one of the few truly evil companions in the game (as opposed to Neutral Selfish, like Neeshka and Qara), we're pretty much bound to gain Influence with him. A lot of his Influence gains are opposed with Casavir's as well; Bishop will make some snarky comment, Casavir will object on grounds of decency, and you get to choose between them. This is partly a romance issue (Elanee and Neeshka had a similar relationship, although the Neeshka romance was cut) but male PCs will have to deal with their bickering as well.

Scratch that - Bishop's Influence gains are opposed with everyone in the party. I'm fairly certain he has a go at every other companion at least once and sometimes several times throughout the campaign. However, he targets Casavir and Elanee the most, so if you want to be friends with Bishop be prepared to wave goodbye to the more saintly companions.

(Which is what we already did, of course. The thread concluded that Bishop is abrasive, but well-suited to an Evil playthrough - Ed.)

Bishop's a Ranger, and a strong character. If Paladins are a Fighter/Cleric hybrid, then Rangers are the equivalent for Druids. Rangers are the third nature-orientated class we've encountered, but instead of being a product of the wilderness or its servitor, they use it as a tool. Rangers are woodsmen, hunters, trackers and survival experts.

While Paladins are very much about spells, holy powers, plate mail and maces, Rangers are more attuned to skills, stealth and weapons expertise. Dexterity is more important to Rangers than it is to Paladins, since Rangers more often wear Light Armor in order to use stealth, and usually use ranged weapons or dual-wield light weapons. High-level Rangers can cast Druid spells, although they don't get access to the nastier powers. Rangers are also accompanied by animal companions, giving them a little extra bite.

Rangers choose one of two weapon paths: archery or two-weapon fighting. This provides them with free combat feats (e.g. Point Blank Shot, or Greater Two-Weapon Fighting) in their chosen path so long as they do not wear Medium or Heavy Armor. These two weapon paths are based on two great literary archetypes: classic folk hero Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, and Drizzt Do'Urden.

Bishop comes with the archery path, which was a bit of a mistake since ranged weapons aren't particularly good in NWN2. Fortunately he's strong enough to fight in close combat: if you look closely, you'll notice he has more statistics points than is legally allowed. Besides, a melee fighter will allow Calliope to flank enemies more often.

* * *

Would you also say that it's quiet? Maybe even too quiet?

: We're on the trail of our friends, though. They're moving fast, but it looks like we've closed in a bit.

Qara - as usual - wants to dive in head first.

And Bishop wastes no time in putting her down. This is what Bishop does, all through the campaign.

No sooner does Bishop say that than...

...a hundred githyanki leap out of the shadows and charge us.

This battle's a tough one. It's a wide open area, with enemies attacking from all sides. Fighters close in quickly while mages and archers pelt you from afar.

It's worth throwing your spellcaster to the wolves if they can get rid of the mages. At mid- to high-levels, wizards can really dominate the battleground with their spells. Even the puniest of 1st-level magics can really hurt us at this stage - Magic Missile is a guaranteed 8-25 points of damage when cast by a level 10 Wizard, and Calliope can't shrug that kind of damage off just yet.

As typical, Calliope and Qara take all the damage while the two tanks are in perfect health.

Bishop providing us with an expert opinion. How does Duncan know this guy?

Actually, Bishop's been hanging about the Sunken Flagon since the beginning. Unfortunately, try to talk to him and you get rebuffed:

A cut conversation with Duncan sheds a little more light:


: What's with that ranger, Bishop?
: Bishop? Well, not surprised he treated you like dirt - dirt's his life, he spends most of his time digging through it, looking for tracks.
: Still, even his insults are a step up from how he greets most people - who he usually just grinds beneath his boot.
: {Snorts} Comes with being a tracker, I suppose - and being one of the best. He thinks it's rank and privilege of a sort.
: Where does he track?
: Well, he's smuggled goods up and down the Coast... and he knows the Luskan territory like the back of his hand.
: As long as you keep an eye on him, he'll get your goods - or you - where they need to go. Or if someone or something needs finding... well, he can sniff them out.
: {Shrugs} To be honest, if he wasn't so at home tracking and killing things, I think he'd be a Luskan native - but walls and stink aren't for him, even if they're the only things in his heart.
: What is he doing here?
: {Dismissive at end} He... owes me, so I keep him on retainer, like a dog on a leash. It's a long story, not worth going into.
: But if he gets too rude for you, let me know, and I'll club him a good one. Won't take him insulting one of my kin.

Must've run up one hell of a bar tab to be kept on retainer by the local innkeeper.

Oh yes, the ambush.

Qara makes a valiant effort to stand up, but the githyanki spawn in right on top of us.

While Calliope takes care of the archers on the other side of the square, Bishop and Casavir team up for some diametrically-opposed butt-kicking. Perhaps they'll become friends through the power of violence!

"In the feel-good comedy of the year..."

Of course, not so long ago Bishop wouldn't have been allowed to be Chaotic Evil. In previous editions, all Rangers had to be good-aligned; the original inspiration for the class was Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and the general interpretation of the class was that Rangers were 'defenders of the wilds', much like Druids.

Then 3rd Edition came along and loosed a lot of the alignment and racial restrictions. Just as well; I wouldn't want Khelgar to be level-capped at Level 11 or something.

We don't actually have much of a Wisdom score, but we can also get the dialogue option if we have high Intelligence (which we do) or levels in Ranger or Druid (no).

Casavir leaps in to defend us...

...and Bishop twists his words around on him.

: It was not my intention to speak for her.
: Yeah? Then don't - and maybe next time you'll sound convincing.
: What I was going to say is our leader's right... and what's more, our friends won't be leaving an obvious trail this time, since they don't have the men to bait any more ambushes.

Kill, maim, burn! Kill, maim, burn!

: The githyanki are not common soldiers, and the villagers are not veterans of battle like we are.
: This is not the first time the githyanki have appeared at a village unawares - surprise and ambushes favor them. I think the behavior of the villagers can be forgiven.

: Fighting is not the only option - and a willingness to die is not always a testament to what one believes.

I'm fairly certain Bishop is metagaming at this point. He's playing Casavir like a fiddle.

C'mon, Cas, you have 18 Charisma! Step it up a notch!

: Did you see her?
: Those creatures, we heard her screaming as they were carrying her off - I tried to call out to her, but...
: I didn't realize they had her at first, but she makes a merchant run through Ember and Port Llast during harvest season. We hadn't seen her yet this year, though, and-

: And thank you for saving us from those creatures, I can't th-

Out of character? Perhaps. But it's worth it for this next exchange.


And for once we don't get an Influence loss with a companion. That's the kind of person Bishop is - shit just roll off his back, y'all.

: Now, can we go without more mewling dogs getting in our way? Every moment we wait, the trail gets colder.

Hmmph. Well, he's still as bossy as the other party members.

Maybe if we talk to him he'll chill out a bit.

Eek. Hostile right off the bat - and we barely know each other.

Hmm. Actually...

: [Diplomacy] How about twenty gold?
: [Success] All right, maybe I was wrong... although you aren't getting much for that amount.

Oh yes, Bishop, you really burned us there.

Bishop's not really shorter than us - I'm pretty certain that's just the slope of the terrain we're standing on. Pretty certain.

Well, even so, it gives a Rorschach air about him, wouldn't you say?

: And tell Duncan the next time he opens his trap, I'm going to close it for him. Worthless drunk.
: How do you know Luskan territory so well?
: Not a big fan of those low justice-loving murderers. The whole city's like a big thieves' guild, crushed under the Hosttower mages.

You... didn't really answer my question, Bishop.

It doesn't matter. The real answer is that Luskan is Evil and anyone to do with Luskan is Evil by association. Also, it's a plot device to get Bishop into the party.

: You think a little gold and honeyed words is going to soften me up, show you my tender side?

It's worked for every other companion so far.

Aaah. Bishop won't be played so easily.

If you want to gain Influence with Bishop, it's not enough to just run around performing random acts of madness - you have to take it, bloody and raw, out of the rest of the party. We've picked up four or five Influence points with Bishop in this update alone, and that's almost all from disagreeing with Casavir and shutting Qara down. Bishop picks fights with everyone in the party and he'll expect you to back him up.

Some companions he fights more often than others, of course.

Oh yes, make sure you finish up your line of questioning while talking with Bishop in Ember. End the conversation and he'll demand another twenty gold fee in 'conversational expenses'.

On our way out of town we are accosted by a beggar child.

: That boy's got a lot of power streaming off of him - I almost can't see him, he's burning so bright... it's blurring the air around him.
: Wait... no... I was mistaken. Strange... the killer looks like you, but isn't.
: Ember cannot be saved. All within the village when the time comes will perish except one - me.

Judging from Qara's words, this kid (Marcus... or Sixer as he was originally known, which is a lot more mysterious and intriguing)... he's the real deal. What that deal is exactly, however, is beyond me.

: Ember's fate is set in stone, but mine is not. However, I will share Ember's fate unless you help me.
: Very well. Have a look and see if there's anything you can use.

Hey! I have a ton of useful crap!

: Fine. Try to take anything and I'll take both your hands as trophies. Got it?
: Your knife - it is... different. I believe it can save me.

Bishop doesn't have a dagger or anything in his inventory, so it must be part of the fluffy 'non-inventory' that every character has. You know, stuff like rations, tinder, bedrolls, spare changes of clothing, 100,000 solid gold coins...

: There is a power sleeping in it, but it will not awaken while it is in your hands.
: I see. Bishop, give him the knife.

Up until now it's been all fun and games with Bishop, but the man needs to learn his place.

: You're pretty quick to give me orders sometimes. I'd be careful about that.
: As for you... here, take the knife.

He didn't like it (-3 Influence!), but the sooner he knuckles down and submits to my authority, the better. A dog needs to know to sit when told.

In the meantime, we have a long journey ahead of us.