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Heightism in Arcanum: a Grimly Illuminating Study

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by Jojobobo, Nov 2, 2017.

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  1. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    As a halfling myself, I have long suspected a profound and disgusting case of heightism in the peoples of Arcanum. In order to test my hypothesis I was granted funding from the prestigious University of Tarant, with enough capital to hire individuals of each of the principal races and procure five score Shrink scrolls from Zaramin's House of Darke Magick.

    My findings proved most disturbing, as not only are the peoples of Arcanum acutely prejudiced against those of smaller stature, seeing a short individual also seemingly provokes vocalisation of their long held racist stereotypes. Here are the oral accounts of the brave individuals who subjected themselves to these diabolical tirades...

    A halfling gentleman

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    A half-ogre manservant

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    A gnomish nobleman

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    A dwarven miner

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    A half-orc factory worker

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    An elvish healer

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    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  2. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    A human shopkeeper

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    A half-elf innkeeper

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    And whatever the hell this means...

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    ~~~~
    In addition to this abuse from your average aggressive peasant, several renowned denizens of our fine land voiced their midget bigotry...

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    ~~~~
    It is the recommendation of this author, Charles Littlelington III, based on the shocking findings present in this research, that the University of Tarant publish a brochure without delay, in order to educate the ignorant masses on the plight of the small and how racism is never the answer (even if those gnomes do have comically large noses).

    If such literature is not printed posthaste, then it is my esteemed authorial opinion that the whole of Arcanum will erupt in a frenzy of heightist violence, where not a single diminutive individual, nor the adorable pairs of little booties they adorn, will survive!
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  3. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    I see, somebody's been frequenting /r/short.
     
    Jojobobo likes this.
  4. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    5'10 and under only please!

    I literally had no idea /r/short was a thing, but it sounds like someone was already very knowledgable about it Drog...

    On topic, I was genuinely surprised by the gnome comments. I guess it's known that the gnomes were supposed to mirror jews (wealthy, but hated and persecuted for it), and while they mention their big noses in the race description, I found it a bit surprising to see them making jokes about it in game. I suppose it's buried in a rare spell choice, but I'd say it'd easily be controversial in a modern RPG.

    Also, the voice acting behind Franklin Payne and Geoffrey Tarellond-Ashe was great. It's so weird that they would dedicate VO recording time to such throw-away lines.

    For anyone else interested, other people also have specific lines (e.g. Nasrudin and Gil Bates), but's it's more along the lines of stopping the magickal foolishness (in some cases the same as when you're casting Invisibility). I didn't check K'an Hua or Kerghan, but all other voiced characters had nothing to say about it at all (Arronax, Loghaire, Torian Kel, Simeon Tor). I also checked the notorious shit-talkers (Lukan, Sammy White), but it seemed like only Myrth would give me some midget-hating banter. Randver had a specific line, but it just wasn't very interesting so I didn't include it - nor any of the other the super generic lines about race/height.

    I'm sure there'd be other interesting dialogue to be found, but I wasn't willing to spend more than half a day of digging into it. I might play a proper character with Shrink soon, if I do I'll make sure to trawl all named NPCs for interesting chat with it.

    And... "Ods [sic] bodkins" means "God's dear body". It's an exclamation like zounds, kind of.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  5. Drog Alt

    Drog Alt Member

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    /r/short is a renown place of self-loathing and despair.

    Yeah, there are many triggers for these unique greeting lines, like being naked, wearing barbarian armor, having an elemental body spell on, having any summons active, etc. Low reaction rating would also result in racial slurs galore. NPCs discriminate on gender-vs-gender and race-vs-race. The most obscure trigger that they bothered writing many lines for (and probably recording some VO as well) is being polymorphed into a sheep. This is generally very hard to achieve in singleplayer, but NPCs can cast the spell on you in combat.

    There's also some rare and obscure dialog that can be triggered in combat when the NPC is fleeing. Just corner them, exit combat mode and try talking to them. Very few selected ones will display special dialog instead of the generic "don't hurt me" one-liners. Case in point, Gaylin, the herbalist in Shrouded Hills. In case Myrth is already dead and you lost the amulet and can't complete Gaylin's quest to unlock Qintarra, you can just beat her up and talk to her, this is a failsafe for advancing the main plot. But, of course, what if you kill her as well? She will respawn the next day. They kinda wrote themselves in the corner here, you gotta admit.

    And finally, use Virgil's Debug Menu to advance the story state beyond finishing the game. There will be unique rumor/story lines from most NPCs, plenty of those from the voiced characters. It's impossible to return from the void or continue playing after finishing the game, so it's really a waste of resources. But a pretty cool easter egg for cheaters, none the less.
     
  6. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like they need to grow up...

    I wash aware of at least some of these - nakedness, barbarism, and the summons, but I'd not heard of the elemental spells before. If I get bored I might investigate, I'd imagine people do like to see screenshots of these weird lines. I guess the polymorph would be tricky, possibly dominating the master of Morph in Tulla, then cancelling it and having sturdy followers to kill them off. I may try it, it'd be a more interesting follow-up to this thread.

    I'd heard of the Gaylin thing before, I think maybe Muro was a sadist enough to screenshot a load of dead Gaylin's all over the place. Something weird I noticed earlier was when I was trying to get Cynthia Boggs as a permanent follower, so I wanted to get to the Isle of Despair and have the option to fast travel back via Teach to test this. I think I still have the old version of the Virgil Debug menu installed (the one not requiring GB's ring) and for whatever reason I could achieve this by updating this to the appropriate story state when talking to Teach at Ashbury - or at least I don't think.

    Anyway, to try and circumvent this, I updated to the get to Gil Bates story state instead, and got the quest to explore the BMC mines. I got to the Pillar of Truth, but Gudmund wasn't there, and the Pillar of Truth was called (something like, but "obviously" was definitely there), "Obviously a Dwarven Pillar", when I clicked on it told me I took zero poison damage with a skull and crossbones icon, and it played a unique sound effect.

    I'm now curious to see if you get there before Bates or his journal gives you the quest, without using something like the Debug menu, if the quest is still broken like this. It seems weird, with all the devs plans for each eventuality (the good/bad Ring of Brodgar meet up for example, and going so far as to have Gaylin immortal) that they didn't have something more reasonable planned.

    I'm sure I've looked into this a little before, still it's unlikely I've tracked down all the voiced characters. Maybe something else I should put on my to do list at some point.
     
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