Character Profile – Amicus


With the release of version 3, I want to talk about some of the new quests, which are a bit experimental at times, and perhaps require some discussion. The first of which is Idle Dreams, a quest I’m fond of much in the same way I’m fond of The Paper Mirror, but I’m not sure how well it will be received.

SPOILERS CONTAINED BELOW. If you haven’t played the quest, which is highly likely given it’s new, then I suggest you do that first, as this will make even less sense than it already doesn’t.


The word addiction is never meant to be a positive. Regardless of the consequences, it essentially amounts to a lack of control. An addict isn’t an addict because he uses. He’s an addict because given the choice, he can’t say no.

Amicus is an addict, and his choice of drug is a soft pillow and a warm bed. He spends every night and half the day in his own world, and shows no concern for the waking one. When he does manage to open his eyes, he directs them straight at a noble’s coin purse. When you first wake him from his slumber, he nearly throws a fit.  He gets angry at Haelga despite the fact she’s providing him with room and board. Amicus doesn’t care about the needs of others. For him, the only world that matters is his.

When Vaermina turns his gift into a curse, the larger metaphor is obvious. He is trapped within the walls of addiction. However, it’s his self-absorption that manifests itself first, in the form of a warrior coming to rescue him. Like the Falmer in the dungeon, the warrior wears his face, and moreover is Amicus’ betrothed. In this dream, he is literally making love to himself, over and over again.

When this realization hits him, with perhaps an assist from the player, Amicus tries to picture someone other than himself.  Yet all he can think of is Sadrin, who predictably, cares only about Haelga.  In the second chamber of his dream, it’s evident Amicus not only fails to make lasting and meaningful relationships, he can’t even fake them.

In the third and final chamber, Amicus retreats to his child-like fantasy of wanting to be a jester. The clowns once again wear his face, but the larger theme is that of immaturity. Amicus is a grown man who spends all his days in a child’s world. He enables this behavior by stealing from hard-working folks, and yet justifies it by saying his dreams hurt no one. When you speak to him about the doors, he will tell you he never managed to solve the riddle. That’s because Amicus has trouble growing up. He can’t find his way out.

Now, I’ve been asked, and with good reason, about the emotional aspect of this quest, or lack of it. In other words, do we care if Amicus overcomes his addiction?

For instance, in another quest, I gave the main character a wife and a child to add an emotional component to his behavior. That way, even if he continues his current path, the fact that someone loves him provides a measure of tragedy or success depending on the outcome. The player is given a reason to care, if not for the character, for his fate.

So it’s safe to say I took a risk when not doing the same with Amicus. Amicus has no family. He has no friends. He is completely lost in his own world. Which is sort of the point. I don’t know if there’s a reason to care about Amicus, but your concern for him wouldn’t be a solution. In fact, it’s part of the problem.

You see, in this quest the player is the enabler. Rather than overcome his childish behavior on his own, Amicus cheats his way out of the nightmare by enlisting the player’s help. It’s unclear, however, if he even has the mental fortitude to escape, as allowing the warrior to take him will have him shuddering in a corner for the foreseeable future – but I stress that that is a future I’ve left open-ended. It is not necessarily a bad ending.  It’s also unclear whether helping him will cause him to re-evaluate his behavior. He seems intent on returning to his dreamworld, but it’s possible that if he doesn’t change his ways, the nightmares will continue. After all, it’s his self-absorption, his indifference, his dream. He owns it until he proves otherwise.

Do we care if Amicus overcomes his addiction? The real question is, does Amicus?


7 thoughts on “Character Profile – Amicus

  1. I got stuck before the finish of quest …. Please help.


    I can’t return to Ivarstead when sleeping in bed, keys disappear but I am still in the ruins … and it’s rather annoying


      1. Hm…looking at the quest, I can definitely see why it’d be broken. The script tells the game to move the player to a bedroll, but the bedroll alias isn’t filled.

        What puzzles me is why it was working when both me and nonoodles tested. Well, either way, thanks for the report, I’ll fix it.

  2. I do believe that a narrative is strong only insofar as it does not need a lot of exposition to be understood. When we have to resort to consulting the oracle (as in this case), then well the quest simply didn’t convey its theme as clearly as it might have.

    That said, I was looking for bugs and emotionally more detached than during regular play. The whole thing did puzzle and bother me enough to raise questions about it lol. Who knows, maybe if I’d been paying more attention to the content and visual cues instead of keeping an eye out for skittery little critters, I might have felt very differently.

    The thing is, it’s still very hard to care about whether or not Amicus ever comes to a higher level of self-understanding. Seeing him as a woman was distracting and made me wonder if he was simply a secret transvestite…? Lol! But don’t let my sheer, head-smacking dumbness and utter failure to ‘get it’ stop you from experimentation. It’s an interesting quest, at the very least.

  3. In doing the quest Idle Dreams I get to the point where I am in the Abandoned Shack in Ivarstead. When I go to sleep using the unowned bedroll the game CTDs every time. Interesting NPCs is updated to version 3.03. I realize this is a new quest so I just thought I’d report it.

    1. It is likely due to a conflict with a body mod.

      I cannot reproduce it, but I remember someone had the same issue and discovered it occurs in cells that have gender swapped clothing(males wearing dresses, etc) due to the male body not conforming properly to the clothing – thus he also had the issue when trying to enter Rothvine Manor.

      you can try “COC 3dnpc_22” and try to enter the cell that way, although you might not spawn in the right place.

  4. I enjoyed the quest. One of the dreams reminded me of Arnold Rimmer in the Rimmer World episode on the British Sci-Fi TV show Red Dwarf. Rimmer made for Rimmer’s ideal woman.

    I also enjoyed running into Amicus later. Well done.

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