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- "You are nameless. You awoke on a slab in the Mortuary in Sigil, covered in scars and tattoos, your memory gone. Who has done this to you, and why? You don't know... yet. But you're going to find out."
The being now known only as The Nameless One is one of the closest things the multiverse has to an immortal. Precisely how long he has lived or how many reincarnations he has had is unknown, but judging from some of the contacts he has made (Lum the Mad, among others) he is probably at least several thousand years old, and a former "incarnation" notes that he has died several thousand times.
Planescape: Torment begins in medias res, with the character awakening from his previous death experience, on a Mortuary slab in Sigil, without his memories. He sets out on a quest to regain his lost memories and discover why he is immortal. He slowly learns about the varying personalities of his previous incarnations, and the influence they have had on the planes and the people that surround him. The character has an expansive back story, spanning thousands of years, through a multitude of incarnations, benevolent and evil.
His place of birth and early history have been lost, but at some point he committed a horrible crime. The precise nature of this crime is never expressed directly, though it was clearly severe enough to damn his soul even if he spent the rest of his life doing nothing but good. Hoping to avoid the horrors of an eternity in the Blood War, he sought out the night hag Ravel Puzzlewell and presented her with the challenge to make him immortal, planning to spend the rest of his existence trying to atone for what he had done. As payment, he presented her with the riddle: "What can change the nature of a man?" Judging from his current appearance, he was likely around thirty at the time. Ravel's immortality ritual succeeded, though, rather than granting him eternal life, Ravel simply stripped away his mortality (likely in addition to other enchantments that regenerate his body). To test her ritual, Ravel immediately killed The Nameless One, and, when he recovered, he had lost all of his memories. He no longer remembered the crime that caused him to seek immortality, or that he was immortal at all, or his own name.
Over the centuries, The Nameless One has taken myriad life-paths. According to Morte (WP), his longtime companion, his personality often changes with each death. He has been virtually everything, from mighty wizard to petty thief, a paragon of virtue and a heartless villain. This merges nicely with the game conventions of giving the player the choice of which class to level and which attribute to gain. Breaking with Dungeons & Dragons rules, the Nameless One can switch classes at any time just by talking to one of the members of his party (fighter, mage, or thief). At the beginning of the game, The Nameless One awakens in yet another incarnation, remembering nothing of his long and complex history. This time around, however, he finally possesses the ability to recover from death without a memory loss. Several options present in conversations with Nordom (WP) and The Transcendent One (WP) make it quite clear that The Nameless One retains all of his memories gained since the beginning of the game.
As it may become evident to the player, if The Nameless One is killed in the game, he will arise from death where his body was brought; the location is dependent on the hero's location at death, and can be anywhere from a metal slab at the Mortuary to a bed at an Inn.
Early in the game, the Nameless One can learn how to speak to the dead; a useful skill. If he chooses to be a mage, he can learn spells from Ignus (WP) and Dak'kon (WP). What is especially ironic is the Nameless One later learns that he taught Ignus and created the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon: therefore he's being taught spells he himself created.
Each time The Nameless One dies, another innocent person in the multiverse dies to fuel his resurrection. This other soul becomes a shadow and travels to the Fortress of Regrets on the Negative Material Plane for a time. The energies of the Fortress and the Plane give them power, and the oldest shadows have grown far larger and stronger than they were before. Eventually, some escape (or are released) and attempt to track down The Nameless One and slay him in revenge to the torment he has put them through, however unwillingly.
A popular theory among fans is that The Nameless One is actually Zerthimon, creator of the Githzerai (WP) faction of the Forerunners. His unknown "great crime" was causing the division of the Forerunners. The theory that the protagonist is himself Zerthimon is bolstered by the fact that, near the end of the game, one the protagonist's previous incarnations, the Practical one, says he created the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon, the "Bible" of the followers of Zerthimon as a forgery, and that he doesn't know or care whether it contains truth or not. However, the developers have flatly denied that he is Zerthimon. Characters (PS:T)(WP)
In the official novelization of the game, which is only loosely based on its plot, The Nameless One was a human being who made a pact with the Baatezu Fhjull Forked-Tongue—an NPC met late in the game—offering his service as a soldier in the Blood War in exchange for his town being spared. He then sought a way to become immortal to avoid the Blood War entirely, and all of his most recent struggles are in fact the culmination of the machinations of Fhjull to claim The Nameless One's soul. In the book, The Nameless One's ability to remember memories from prior incarnations (beginning with the one that wakes up in the Mortuary) is due to being dosed prior to awakening in the Mortuary with a special elixir derived from the waters of the River Styx by Fhjull Forked-Tongue.
Animation and voice files Edit
In addition to unique fighting moves, each character has their own running animation, 'breathing' animation, and intermittent 'fidget' animation.
Most have a 'miss' comment, and a 'critical hit' comment. They have an appeal when they are at very low HP, less than 15%, and when they die. And they all have a 'level up' comment.
After a period of no activity by the player with mouse or keyboard, characters will randomly speak 'bored' pronouncements. They will occasionally speak dialogue expressing their mood or sentiments, particularly in relation to other companions, or a particular location. And they will engage in conversations with certain of their fellow party members.
- TNO has two 'Fidget' animations: TNO twists his torso to the left, and raises his left arm, or bends both forearms across his chest
- 'Bored' pronouncement: "What's the holdup?"
- TNO has no Selection file
- Command: "Done.", "I'm gone.", "All right."
- Critical Miss: "Damn!". Critical Hit: "Die!" Appeal: "I'm hurt." Death: "Don't let it end like this."
- Level Up: "I feel stronger."
- Moody: none
- Interactive dialogue: none
TNO's unique ability to resurrect has sound files associated with it: "Aaagh. Worse than last time.", "Feels like I've been through a shredder.", "Urf. Ugh. Feels like I've been strained through someone's bowels.", "Oooh. Feel all stiff."
TNO has voice files indicating surprise at being teleported, to the Lady's Maze/Player Maze, and within the Tomb of the Nameless One, but not to the Modron Maze.
TNO has some thief skill hiding voice files when in thief class, including one for each level of backstab damage multiplier.
Characters also have 'Inventory full', 'Encumbered, cannot run', 'Encumbered, cannot move', 'Bash success', 'Bash fail', 'Target immune to weapon', a comment when they leave the party, a statement when approached again after they have been removed from the party, and a greeting when they rejoin the party
As other characters, TNO has a file that activates if the player attempts to remove his default 'fist' weapon: "Can't let that go.", but also his eye: "Don't want to part with that."
All characters have files for when the player repeatedly selects them (such as hitting the number keys over and over): "Hate to wake up from the dead in a place like this.", "I must be hallucinating all this.", "One foot in the grave, the other in hell.", "I wonder what it was I said that made death reject me."
There are many files that were created for the game and never used, files that are in the game engine and were never used, and files that were not implemented at release but have been restored by patches.
The Nameless One's origins have been lost through time and as a result his history is shrouded in mystery. The Nameless One was once human. He sought the advice of a man named Morte, who ended up tricking him into committing the most terrible crime imaginable, even though the crime itself is unknown, save the implication that the planes are still slowly dying because of it. At the same time, The Nameless One was contracted to a lifetime of servitude in the Blood War.
In order to escape his punishment of being damned to an eternity in the Blood Wars and perhaps to atone for his crime, he sought the help of someone powerful enough to make him immortal, so that he could spend the rest of his life doing nothing but good. Morte, also trying to atone for his actions, directed him to the Gray Wastes, where he would find the night hag, Ravel Puzzlewell. The Nameless One travels to the Gray Wastes, to find the "Greatest of the Gray Sisters". Ravel tells him that he must pay for her services, and the Nameless One presents her with the challenge of answering the question: "What can change the nature of a man?". He manipulates her with the challenge of making him immortal and seduces her to bend her to his will. Ravel agreed and performed the ritual, out of love and succeeded in making the Nameless One immortal, but the ritual was flawed, for every time he died, he forgot his memories and became another person. Ravel, in order to perform the magic, split the Nameless One's essence in two, and stripped his mortality from him, which turned into "The Transcendent One". The Nameless One's immortality comes at the terrible price of suffering the torment of not bearing his mortality with him and he will pull tormented souls towards him because of it. In order to test that her spell had worked, Ravel stabbed the Nameless One to death and when he awoke, without his memories, she realised that she had not entirely succeeded in her spell.
From this point onwards, the Nameless One's many incarnations travelled the planes, trying to gather together information on who he was from the fragmented memory of past existences.
Previous Incarnations Edit
The word "incarnation" is frequently used in fandom, and briefly in the game, to refer to a period of time when the Nameless One consistently remembers who he is. An incarnation ends when the Nameless One loses his memory after a death.
Although there were many previous incarnations, possibly numbering in the thousands, the player only learns specific details about a few of them, this is because these are the three that somehow remained in his mind. The Nameless One also meets physical representations of three of his incarnations at the end of the game. (This is keeping with the notion of the "Rule of Three", which states that in Planescape everything happens in threes.)
The Good Incarnation Edit
The original and the first of The Nameless One incarnations. He committed crimes so severe that no amount of repentance and good deeds could save him from punishment after death, which led him to ask Ravel Puzzlewell for aid. The player can learn a wealth of information about his past as well as his true name from the Good Incarnation if he has the bronze sphere in his inventory. He believes that regret can change the nature of a man. He merges with The Nameless One (thus giving The Nameless One all his memories) with no qualms whatsoever.
The Second Incarnation Edit
The story of what happens after the Nameless One's mortality is stripped from him is told by Morte to Yves the Tale-Chaser. The Nameless One awakes from his "death", without his memories and is offered three wishes by Ravel Puzzlewell. Not knowing himself, the Nameless One asks "to know who he is", Ravel grants him his wish, but the truth of his crimes to the planes causes him so much pain that he asks Ravel immediately to make his second wish be to make him forget everything.
He awakens a second time, to find Ravel standing over him, and she asks him what his third wish will be, to which he asks "to know who he is" again, which Ravel grants and leaves telling him that "that was your first wish". Presumably, the incarnation spent the rest of his life haunted by his crimes until he died and forgot everything.
The Practical Incarnation Edit
The "Practical Incarnation" was the incarnation that came closest to defeating the Transcendent One. He was cold, ruthless and incredibly intelligent. He was always tense, suspicious and watchful of enemies. He was incredibly ruthless and a force to be reckoned with, Xachariah notes that "there was no denying that anybody who messed with you [The Practical Incarnation] ended up in the black chapters of the dead book.".
He kept very detailed notes in his journal and was the one to issue the tattooage of the instructions onto his own back so that future incarnations could more easily find out who they were. He was the one who tricked Pharod into searching for the Bronze Sphere for him, tricking him into believing it would save him from a terrible afterlife. He also imprisoned Vhailor in a cell, so that, in years to come, he could release Vhailor and exploit his abilities. He commissioned a dream machine from Xeno Xander and a portal to reach Ravel from the Godsmen, but was never able to make use of them. He attempted to thwart his hidden enemy, of whom he was forever suspicious.
In order to access the Fortress of Regrets, the Practical Incarnation enlisted help from companions. The Practical Incarnation used trickery and emotional manipulation to get them to follow him:
He pried Morte from the Pillar of Skulls and forced him to do his will,
He tricked Deionarra into loving him and left her to die in the Negative plane to serve as his eyes in the Fortress of Regrets.
He enlisted the help of Xachariah, and got him drunk enough to make him sign a Dead Contract with the Dustmen, which would mean that when he eventually died, he would be condemned to a lifetime of servitude as a zombie.
This incarnation also imprisoned Vhailor in Curst, knowing that someday he would be of some use to him (or them, if we refer to the next incarnations).
He also built the Nameless One's tomb beneath Ragpicker's Square to trap the Transcendent One: an attempt he freely admits was an abysmal failure. He was also the one who discovered the existence of the Bronze Sphere, and furthermore discerned what it truly was.
It is stated on many occasions that he mercilessly lied to, manipulated and lead many people to their deaths; on the other hand, it is implied was done only when it was absolutely necessary on the path of his ultimate goal of freeing himself of the curse of immortality.
With his party, he managed to enter the Fortress of Regrets and face the Transcendent One. (This is even more impressive because he did it without the help of Ravel.) It is implied that he died in the Fortress.
In the Maze of Reflection, he tries to force The Nameless One into surrendering his will and control of the body, but ultimately fails. Should he succeed, the player gets a Game Over screen, never knowing what happens afterwards.
It is implied that this incarnation was a powerful magician.
The Paranoid Incarnation Edit
The overly cautious and extremely insane incarnation of The Nameless One. He was the one that set up the traps within the Dodecahedron Journal and he was the incarnation that the Lady of Pain placed in her maze as punishment for killing people. He is also the incarnation that learned the language of Uyo and after mastering the language, killed off the linguist, Fin, to prevent people from being able to decode his journal writings. The Paranoid Incarnation also destroyed the meticulously kept journal that the Practical Incarnation kept (among others) to help his future incarnations.
This incarnation found the Nameless One's tomb beneath Ragpicker's Square and heavily improved upon its booby traps. He also discovered a way of getting into Ravel's maze using a portable portal generator, but never succeeded in doing so. He was killed in the Clerk's Ward by Aelwyn (an elf-like woman with the ability to impose her will upon reality), but it's unknown if this was his "true" death. Since this death took place 50 years ago, it's unlikely that the Paranoid Incarnation was the incarnation that died just previous to the events of the game. (Though the ramblings on the scrap of parchment Annah found on The Nameless One's body suggest otherwise.) According to his journal, he was told that three deaths after his current (the Paranoid) incarnation, he would no longer forget upon dying. Disbelieving this, he killed the person who told him so (said person's identity was never explored beyond foretelling this and subsequently being killed), accusing him/her of lying and being useless.
He merges with The Nameless One after some convincing. Failing that, he fights The Nameless One to the death by ripping his own arm off and trying to beat The Nameless One to death with it.
This incarnation's story (though his name's mentioned among the aliases of the Nameless One) can only be tracked through an item that didn't make it in the game (Pendant of Yemeth). According to this, Yemeth was a great warlock who, when time began to take its toll on him, created the Pendant to draw souls from dying mortals to power his waning life-force before he was finally slain in battle. There is some speculation about whether Yemeth is in fact the same as the Good Incarnation, though as with the above Zerthimon argument, the developers flatly deny it. It is also unlikely that he was the one who taught Ignus the Art, due to the nature of the timeline, with Ignus having lived somewhere in the last 100 years or so, given that his lover (from before becoming a conduit to the Plane of Fire) still lives.
The Lost Incarnation Edit
The Nameless One doesn't actually encounter this incarnation, but finds his arm in the tombs beneath Ragpicker's Square. This incarnation was a thief, and Fell inked tattoos of his experiences to his arm which increased his thieving skills. He also had tattoos representing the Practical Incarnation's four companions on that arm, indicating the Lost Incarnation came after the Practical one. Fell's tattoos explain that he was lost and abandoned on the streets of the Hive, barely able to make a living stealing from others. His crimes attracted the attention of Sigil authorities, forcing him to hide in the Weeping Stone catacombs, where he survived for almost a year. During that time, the Lost Incarnation lived like a shadow, hiding in darkness from not only Sigil authorities, but also the more dangerous inhabitants of the catacombs, and came to learn why the stones there weep. Eventually, the Lost Incarnation's arm was severed cleanly at the shoulder by a scythe blade, and he was killed in the catacombs after almost a year in hiding. The severed arm petrified and came into the possession of a man who fell down the trapdoor in the Crypt of Dismemberment and died there. The arm remained on his body until the Nameless One went down there and reclaimed it.
It's possible that this incarnation was the same as the Paranoid Incarnation, since the Paranoid Incarnation's arm is on the verge of coming off when you meet him. However, the contents of the hotel room the Paranoid Incarnation kept in the Clerk's Ward seem to suggest the Paranoid Incarnation was a mage, and not a thief.
A rebuttal, however, is that memories of the Paranoid incarnation are triggered when the player strangles people; this requires both dexterity, which is important to thieves, and strength, which is more important to a thief than to a mage.
Other incarnations Edit
According to Morte, after the Practical Incarnation died, there were others incarnations of the Nameless One, some of them mad, such as one that was so mad that when he returned from death, he believed Morte to be his own skull, thus chasing Morte around Sigil for days before being killed by a passing cart. Another, a lawful good incarnation tried to put Morte back into the Pillar of Skulls, considering that the Pillar is where Morte truly belongs. It is unknown how this incarnation died.
In the novel Edit
In the official novelization of the game, which is only loosely based on its plot, The Nameless One was an immortal being, who made a pact with the Baatezu Fhjull Forked-Tongue (an NPC encountered late in the game), offering his service as a soldier in the Blood War in exchange for his town being spared. He then sought a way to become immortal to avoid the Blood War entirely, and all of his most recent struggles are, in fact, the culmination of the machinations of Fhjull to claim The Nameless One's soul. In the book, The Nameless One's ability to recall memories from prior incarnations (beginning with the one that wakes up in the Mortuary) is due to being dosed prior to awakening in the Mortuary with a special elixir derived from the waters of the River Styx by Fhjull Forked-Tongue.
The Nameless One has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, being praised as an unorthodox role-playing game character and a unique and diverse protagonist. Eurogame gave him the Gaming Globes 2000 award in the category Male Lead Character. Empireonline.com placed "The Nameless One" as fourth on a list of "The 50 Greatest Video Game characters".
GameSpot gave the game an "Editor's Choice" score of 9.0 out of 10, noted that "the Nameless One" was nothing like the conventional main character of an RPG: "Even Torment 's protagonist, who is heavily scarred, entirely tattooed, and dressed in bones and animal hides, seems nothing like the usual role-playing game hero." Greg Kasavin of GameSpot also noted the diversity of the Nameless One's choices in dialogue: "... it's one of the few role-playing games to ever make good on the promise of letting you play your character however you prefer. Torment's dialogue often lets you choose to make promises, bluff, or play dumb; the game lets you perceive small details if your character is intelligent, understand philosophical implications if he's wise, and intimidate or charm if he's strong or charismatic. Your character's moral alignment and his affiliation with Sigil's different factions are openly flexible and have a noticeable impact on the course of the game." He also noted that the character's "perverse incapacity to permanently die" helps to maintain pacing. GameSpot also noted the possible changes of classes the character can go through, "your character can readily switch between fighter, thief, and magic-user classes and can rapidly advance to a high level of proficiency in any and all of these, which is justified within the game as not so much an acquiring of new skills as a remembrance of latent centuries-old talents."
Empireonline.com placed the character as fourth on a list of the greatest video game characters, stating that "if you're looking for one of the most original, inspired and fascinating characters since gaming began, then look no further than The Nameless One" and "rather than other RPGs of the era, which gave you a blank slate character to flesh out as you wanted, Torment's strength was in the detail and richness of its protagonist, who remains one of the very best more than ten years on."
RPGFan said that "as a character, The Nameless One exceeds every video game protagonist to date." Another review from RPGFan noted the diversity of the game: "Want to play the noble, yet tortured hero? The sarcastic and reluctant adventurer? The selfish scumbag? You can do all of those." In 2011, UGO.com ranked him at number two on the list of their favorite immortals, adding "sometimes, living forever just ain't worth the hassle."
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- ↑ Aihoshi, Richard "Jonric" (September 21, 1998). "Planescape: Torment Interview". RPG Vault. IGN. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. http://www.webcitation.org/5iqx3F0oH. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
- ↑ "RPG Planescape PC characters". shrines.rpgclassics.com. 2003-06-03. http://shrines.rpgclassics.com/pc/planescape/characters.shtml. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 IGN Staff (1999-03-03). "IGN PC game Review". Wikipedia:IGN. http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/129/129939p1.html. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 http://www.shsforums.net/topic/40799-comprehensive-analysis-of-sound-files/ Comprehensive Analysis of Sound Files, Stickied thread started by Qwinn, May 25, 2009 12:22 AM, Spellhold Studios
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 5.20 5.21 5.22 Hess, Rhys. "Torment Nameless One character history". Sorcerers.net. http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/Torment/hist_no.php. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ "Giantbomb- The Nameless One article". Giantbomb.com. http://www.giantbomb.com/the-nameless-one/94-659/. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Script error
- ↑ Script error
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Script error
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Tortolia (1999). "Planescape: Torment review". rpgfan.com. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/planescapetorment/Planescape_Torment.html. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Dyer, James; McComb David; Plumb, Alastair; Scarborough, David. "EmpireOnline List of 50 greatest VG characters". Empireonline.com. http://www.empireonline.com/features/50-greatest-video-game-characters/default.asp?film=4. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- ↑ Gaming Globes 2000 - (4/19) | Eurogamer
- ↑ D'Ari, Ybhan (1999). "Planescape: Torment review". rpgfan.com. http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/planescapetorment/Planescape_Torment-2.html. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- ↑ Favorite Immortals - UGO.com