Morte

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Mortimer "Morte" Rictusgrin
Planescape: Torment character
Morte Planescape.jpg
Created by Chris Avellone
Voiced by Rob Paulsen
Information
Gender Male

Mortimer "Morte" Rictusgrin is a fictional character in the role-playing video game Planescape: Torment. He accompanies the protagonist, The Nameless One, from early in the game.

Character biography[edit]

Morte is a "Chaotic Good" floating human skull with an acerbic attitude. Despite his lack of a body, he is a capable warrior in many respects; biting with his teeth and distracting foes with taunts. His small 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 is in the party from the very beginning of the game and he can help The Nameless One learn much about his previous incarnations, unless the player first removes him from the party. His taunts are also very useful as they can prevent a fleeing character from escaping and can also silence spell-casting characters, forcing them into melee combat. However, his taunts do not work on the undead, creatures possessing low intelligence, or creatures lacking wills of their own. Morte is the source of much of the game's humor, not the least being the random conversations between him and the Nameless One, whom he calls "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 from the pillar by the Practical Incarnation. The pillar is composed of the skulls of all the people who died and have caused another to die through their lies. Morte is tormented by the fact that prior to his death he lied to the Good Incarnation 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.

Gameplay[edit]

Being 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.[1] 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."[1]

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."[2]

Reception[edit]

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."[3] Eurogamer gave him the Gaming Globes 2000 award in the category Male Supporting Character.[4]

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."[2] In 2004, he barely "didn't make the cut" for a similar list by GameSpy, rejected for his awkward habit of "hitting it" on "other dead people."[5] 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.[6] 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."[7] 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."[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Moret | PlanetBaldursGate - A Member of the GameSpy Network". PlanetBaldursGate. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  2. ^ a b "The Ten Best Sidekicks | GameSpot". Web.archive.org. 2005-04-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  3. ^ "1999 Vault Network Awards | IGN". Web.archive.org. 2001-02-04. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  4. ^ "Gaming Globes 2000 - (6/19) | Eurogamer". Web.archive.org. 2001-01-11. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  5. ^ "Top 10 - Top Ten Videogame Sidekicks". GameSpy. Archived from the original on March 3, 2007. 
  6. ^ "PC Feature: PC Gaming's Best, And Worst, Characters". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  7. ^ "Thanks Buddy!: 25 of Gaming's Greatest Sidekicks". Maximum PC. 2011-11-22. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  8. ^ "Morte — The Top 25 Pervs In Video Games". Complex. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03.