Characters:Dun Barethsol:Kidalethil

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Character Synopsis

Portrait Kidalethil.png
Kidalethil, the youngest son of Lord Pelargir, foresaw the death and the decay of Dun Barethsol, so he refused to leave the place he loved so much. His father took the warning seriously, but he was also unafraid and certain of his own strength. He made the promise to Kidalethil that he would return from the battle to end his days in Dun Barethsol. For this reason, Kidalethil felt ashamed of his fear and went with his family into battle.

During the battle, Kidalethil received a deadly wound, but because of the promise, his soul remained bound to the world. Most of the House of Pelargir was killed in the battle, whil others were scattered across the land as the war went on. Only Kidalethil returned to DB, but although he could appear to people in his former shape, he had no more physical influence on the living world. So he could do nothing against the slow decline of his beloved home.

Elves that have lived by the Tower tell of a strange young Elf who seemed normal at times only to go completely insane the next minute. He told them that he was the watcher over the Tower and welcomed them. But when they settled down in Dun Barethsol and began to form the place to their liking, he returned and went mad at them. After a while, fewer and fewer people came to live at DB, and none of them stayed for long. But without care, the Tower began to fall into ruin. Only Kidalethil remained, mourning over what was lost and cursing those that he deemed responsible.

So, we have Kidalethil, who is cursed to remain in DB, forced to watch as it crumbles to dust. He's a mad spirit. He still takes the form of a young, noble Elf, but without much power. He may be able to influence the minds of lesser beings though, and convince intelligent people with his words. Therefore, he uses Grendal as a sort of tool, whenever it becomes necessary to act in the physical world. He has two major goals: to keep DB in the shape that it originally had when he lived there and to take revenge on those that killed his family and their consorts. The first one is already beyond reach, so all he can do is try to preserve what is left of DB, even if it means that somebody like Albrecht has to use the place.

However, in Albrecht he has also found somebody he can use to take revenge. Albrecht is interested in alchemy and magic, and who if not an Elf can teach those best? Kidalethil has a pleasant shape, and even though he may behave odd at times, he could pass for an eccentric elvish noble. So it wouldn't be hard for him to trick Albrecht (and the Forestkeepers). Obviously, he is about to corrupt Albrecht, to bring war amongst those Men that once fought against his people.

This was his original plan. As Kidalethil watched Albrecht's power and evil grow, he began to regret his decision.

One breeder in his Tower would be tolerable, but the likes of Alek and the Enders near it would be much more provocative. Kidalethil is under no illusions about Albrecht, I think, and probably has a much more pessimistic view of humans than do many living Elves. He might even enjoy using Marcella to clear out the Enders. However, this would depend on what kind of person Marcella is becoming. If she's remaining 'Human' by becoming a 'Man' of the Mace, a thief, etc, then he would use her with the intent of getting the Enders dealt with and maybe getting Marcella killed as well. If she's becoming more Half-Elvish (as a Sister or an ally of the Forestkeepers or Yetins), then he would be more likely to truly help her by showing her the best way into the situation. After all, if she's good enough, she might just clear the place out and then leave. Kidalethil, for all his hatred of Humans, might still have some appreciation for Half-Elves or Humans who sincerely act like Half-Elves.

I have another question: Do you think the house of Pelagir had any specialities in magick? I suppose that after several millenia to himself, Kidalethil has probably created an Art all his own, but I wonder what influence his family's former duties had on his growth in the Art. I suppose that those who manned Dun Barethsol would have given a great deal of attention to the Arts of Earth and Water, whereas Kidalethil would probably make more use of Air, Water, and Fire

One thing to keep in mind though is that Kidalethil would probably have a greater knowledge of the Art than nowadays Elves would have, as their power has dwindled with the years. So even if he died a rather young age, he might have learned more by that time than today's wise ones in their whole lives, though he might have lacked their wisdom in general. I am not sure whether he would be able to learn new things as a spirit, though, at least not the normal way by reading books or attending lessons. While that is not overly important for v0.4, it might be interesting when he turns up again later.

Background Discussion

In terms of the game, I am not sure how important Kidalethil should be. If he is Albrecht's mentor, then dealing with him should be obligatory. But if he has hardly any connection to Albrecht and is merely the being behind Grendal, then he'd be probably optional. Anyway, I can imagine two solutions to this quest. One would be to kill him outright, although I don't know what it might take to kill a spirit. The other alternative is of course to release him of his curse, so that he can finally find peace.

I think that by corrupting (or perhaps simply controlling Albrecht), Kidalethil hopes for the restoration of the Tower. Kidalethil, as you describe him, is a spirit bound to the past. He can tolerate it when others inhabit the Tower, but only as long as they don't do any remodelling. Once they begin to make the Tower truly home, they begin changing it in ways that Kidalethil cannot allow.

I think that Kidalethil is as actively involved in Albrecht's studies as he ever is involved in anything. I imagine that Kidalethil is the type to appear and disappear without warning or even reason. He does mentor Albrecht, mostly for the sake of making him strong enough to rebuild the Tower confidently and then confidently move his main base of operations elsewhere, but I think that he would do so more by giving calculated nudges to Albrecht's studies than by active, regular instruction.

I think, however, that we should leave Kidalethil out of the game. The plot as it now stands is focused on dealing with Albrecht. Adding Kidalethil might amount to the story-telling equivalent of feature-creep. I think we should have the full story well in mind, though. It may become important to later versions, after all.

True. That would make sense, although Albrecht's actions don't suggest that the Tower will be restored soon. OTOH, the dragon could also be used to carry and lift material once the rebuilding has started. So Kidalethil's plans for the dragon could be entirely different from what he told Albrecht.

Yeah, that might be best. That also means that we could make Kidalethil stronger than I first imagined him, since Marcella needs not deal with him directly. However, we should at least hint at his presence. Either some Forestkeeper could mention a strange Elf that is seen at the Tower sometimes, or Marcella could actually meet him. I'm not sure what would come of that; it would probably just leave the player puzzled. But that is Kidalethil's way.

I think that Kidalethil would be operating under the assumption that if his student is going to be taking up long-term residence in the Tower, he would be forced to restore it. After all, there is no sense living and studing in a Tower which lacks a roof or flooring, etc.

I suppose our handling of Kidalethil would depend on the number of possible ways into the castle. It would seem from the plot diagram that Alek and his Enders are out of the picture by the time Marcella needs to get into the castle, so they won't be able to serve as the obstacle around which Kidalethil would lead her.

I think that in order to to decide Kidalethil's role, we must decide how the Tower could play out. How many levels does it have? Are any of Alek's men still defending the lower levels? Is anything else defending them? Are there any traps that Kidalethil could lead Marcella past? Is there an entrance that Albrecht doesn't know about or hasn't prepared himself to defend?

True. I wanted to leave the looks of the Tower to the artists, but I had imagined that the huge main tower would be almost completely destroyed, whereas some side buildings, smaller towers are still fairly upright.

Well, for one there is the swamp, which should be somewhat hard to cross. As it is part of Kidalethils domain, an encounter with him there wouldn't be out of place. Just a bit surprising.

There could be a secret entrance into the compaund that is not guarded. (I imagine that at least one or two trusted servants would be staying at DB.) Not sure whether there would be any other threats or obstacles. But then again, Albrecht has to be somewhat cautious, that no Forestkeeper accidently discovers his work or the dragon.

I was wondering earlier how Marcella could learn about the way to tame the dragon, if she wants to. Kidalethil could teach her, I think. He'd have told Albrecht too.

He might also have some training available for her, if she is to his liking.

I wanted to suggest something for the various Towers of Guard, as far as architecture goes. I think that they should all have observatories at the top. It makes sense for Elves, as enamored of the upper sky as they are, to build astronomical observatories into many of their tall buildings, even their military outposts.

Do you think we can write his dialog so that everything about him is a bit surprising, disjointed, or not immediately logical? I'd like Kidalethil's character to contain a sizable dose of the bizarre. Not too bizarre, but bizarre enough to create some contrast between his character and the rest.

I thought that we might have him pop up once before he really begins helping her out, if only so that his help doesn't come out of the clear blue sky. He might, in particular, help her get rid of Alek, if she wants help. I envisioned him showing up in the woods, nearer to Waste's Edge. I think one could place everything east of Erinsford in his domain, particularly as he sees it.

I like the secret entrance idea. Perhaps a network of tunnels connecting the outer buildings and a sub-basement of the main tower?

I think that the compound probably wouldn't be trapped. It seems to me that bbothering to actively trap something that's already isolated on the far side of a swamp would attract undue attention on the part of the Forestkeepers. They would probably begin asking questions about what he had to hide if he was found trapping such an isolated location.

That was what I imagined as well. He should leave the player with the impression that something is not quite right. There might even be slight hints that he is actually a spirit. But the whole truth about him shouldn't be revealed in v0.4.

Right. Having him appear once before would be good. As I said before, people like the Forestkeepers might also mention him briefly.

Yeah. Some storage rooms and workshops might have been built below ground. With parts of them collapsed, we could have a sort of labyrinth.

I am also wondering whether the dragon is kept in a room below ground. I wanted to give players the possibility to speak to the dragon before encountering Albrecht. I guess when they enter the Tower the normal way, they'd meet Albrecht first. But if Kidalethil leads them through the secret tunnels, they might come across the dragon before.

How would he manifest himself? Does he always appear to be solid matter (or at least opaque) despite the fact that he can no longer interact with normal matter? I would imagine that he manifests in a number of ways, including apparently solid, ephermeal, and dis-embodied voice. I'm asking as much for the artists sake as anything else. Drawing a translucent Kidalethil might be challenging with the art style we're using.

Do you plan to work him into later releases?

I would imagine that the dragon would want to be near the top of the Tower. There might be a few floors near the top with partial flooring or walls, giving the baby dragon enough space to get in and out like a giant birdhourse. If she wants to get to the dragon first, on the upper floors, she would have to find a way to get into the tower somewhere in the middle of it. Do you think there might also be a few surviving loft bridges between the towers which are still standing? If so, we might end up with a labyrinth in 3 dimensions. However, I realize that this makes the secret udnerground entrance rather superfluous...

Well, an opaque Kidalethil could be made translucent by simply setting an alpha value other than 0 (or was it 255). I guess with a bit of scripting we could even have him morph from totally opaque to totally transparent. But the point is, that this would give away his true nature. And I am not sure whether Kidalethil himself would want to do that. Not being able to interact with the world is one thing, but telling others about that is another.

We might have him walking through a tree or so, however. Something that a player might notice and wonder about, if he happens to notice.

Right now I do not really see a way to add him since he is sitting near DB, which probably won't be part of v1.0. OTOH, his story has some potential for an interesting subplot, and so far we've always found ways to include what we wanted. So yeah, I would like to see him again later.

True, but you'll have to take into account that it is not under Albrecht's control yet, so he wouldn't want to let it escape. That aside, it would probably cause quite a lot of attention if suddenly a dragon is seen flying around near DB. I assume that no living dragons are known to people of that period of time.

So Albrecht has to keep the dragon contained. That's why I thought somewhere down below would be a good place for that.

Well, it would still make sense if the first floors of the main tower and the main entrance to the compound are guarded. In that case, one could use the secret tunnels to sneak into the compound. But those that fight there way in through the main entrance, could still avoid further fighting if they sought there way to Albrecht's lab, which might be set up in the observatory, given that the top floor of the main tower is still intact. Kai

I think this would depend on what Kidalethil is trying to accomplish (or thinks he is trying to accomplish, since his insanity might lead him to do thinks which seem to further his ends, but which in fact set him back). If he's going for intimidation, letting humans observe him as he morphs between a voice on the wind and fully opaque would probably do the trick.

Having him walk through trees and such would be a nice touch. I can imagine him intercepting Marcella on the edge of the swamp by strolling calmly up out of a bog and then turning around to bid the fish good day.

We might include him in another tech demo, particularly if any of them have anything to do with the Towers of Guard.