|Mortimer "Morte" Rictusgrin|
|Planescape: Torment character|
|Created by||Chris Avellone|
|Voiced by||Rob Paulsen|
Mortimer "Morte" Rictusgrin is a gaming character in the role-playing video game Planescape: Torment, in which he accompanies The Nameless One starting from the beginning of the game. Morte is named after the Latin word meaning Death.
A floating human skull with an acerbic attitude, Morte is a Chaotic Good. Despite his lack of a body, he is a capable warrior in many respects; biting with his sharp fangs, and throwing foes off guard with taunts. His smaller size, lack of vital organs, and pseudo-undead nature protect him from attacks that would normally inflict serious wounds. Morte and The Nameless One have an extended history together.
Morte starts off in the party at the very beginning of the game and if the player does not remove him from the party, can help The Nameless One learn much about his previous incarnations. His taunts are also very useful as they enable him to prevent a fleeing character from escaping and also allow him to silence spellcasting characters, forcing them into going into melee combat. However, his taunts do not work on the undead, creatures that possess very low intelligence, or have no will of their own. Morte is the source of much of the game's humor, not the least being the random conversations that can result between him and the Nameless One, whom he refers to as Chief.
Towards the end of the game, The Nameless One finds out where Morte came from a Pillar of Skulls on the plane of Baator. Morte was pulled out by the Practical Incarnation from the pillar. The pile is composed of the skulls of all the people who died and have caused another to die through their lies. Morte's torment comes from the fact that he, prior to his death, lied to the Good Incarnation and told him that Ravel could make him immortal, and is thus responsible for the Nameless One's lamentable condition. If the Nameless One convinces Morte to reveal this history and forgives him, Morte becomes significantly stronger, his personal torment lessened.
Being just a levitating skull, Morte is difficult to hit but actually packs strong bite attacks. He also has a useful ability to taunt magic-user foes into engaging in melee combat with him. The game's lead designer, Chris Avellone, described Morte as "a smack-talkin' floating skull companion, who's kind of your compass, encyclopedia, friend, and resident jackass. His only real combat attack is his bite and the fact that he's gathered such a repertoire of insults over the centuries that he can literally taunt people to death."
Morte's weakness is female zombies. The game's initial project director Guido Henkel said: "Let's say you're trying to sneak out of an area, when all of a sudden there a female zombie shows up. Morte, our nice little sarcastic skull, has a total thing for female zombies. He just has to shack up with them. And although you are trying to sneak out somewhere, Morte will walk right up to the zombie and start talking her up. That, of course, destroys your whole plan because you have no control over his actions at that point."
The character was critically acclaimed upon the game's release. IGN gave Morte the 1999 Memorable Character of the Year award, stating that as an "unusual-looking character with a quirky personality to match as well as some completely unique attacks and special abilities, he is impossible to forget, and also plays an essential role in making the entire game a memorable." Eurogamer gave him the Gaming Globes 2000 award in the category Male Supporting Character.
In 2000, GameSpot included him on their list of top ten video game sidekicks for "his unique interpretations of friendship and loyalty, and the strange brand of comic relief." In 2004, he barely "didn't make the cut" into a similar list by GameSpy, rejected for his awkward habit of "hitting it" on "other dead people." In 2008, Computer and Video Games ranked him as the sixth best character overall in PC gaming, writing that "amongst a pack of memorable characters, Morte is the one you love Planescape for" and contrasting him with Tommy from Prey. In 2011, Maximum PC listed him as one of 25 of gaming's best sidekicks, writing that "whether he's chomping on your nearest foe, making lame pick-up attempts at your female party-mates, or cracking wise about his life as floating skull, Morte is head and shoulders—err, at least head, above other gaming sidekicks." In 2012, Complex ranked him as fourth on their list of top "pervs in games" for his "insatiable lust for the ladies, living or not."
- "Moret | PlanetBaldursGate - A Member of the GameSpy Network". PlanetBaldursGate. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "The Ten Best Sidekicks | GameSpot". Web.archive.org. 2005-04-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "1999 Vault Network Awards | IGN". Web.archive.org. 2001-02-04. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "Gaming Globes 2000 - (6/19) | Eurogamer". Web.archive.org. 2001-01-11. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "Top 10 - Top Ten Videogame Sidekicks". GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007.
- "PC Feature: PC Gaming's Best, And Worst, Characters". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "Thanks Buddy!: 25 of Gaming's Greatest Sidekicks". Maximum PC. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "Morte — The Top 25 Pervs In Video Games". Complex. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03.