In The Temple of Elemental Evil, in the town of Nulb, the player’s party meets a pirate named Bertram during The Pirate’s Life quest. If they speak to Bertram using a male party member, the player can flirt with him and he’ll mention he was kidnapped at a young age and forced to be a cabin boy for the pirate captain Tolub. The player can then confront Tolub, fight him, and upon defeating him ask for Bertram’s freedom (or 100 doubloons or gp). This is according to the path through the game, however, shown in some walkthroughs (here, here). The player then has the option of asking Bertram to join their party.
As other walkthroughs discuss, however, there are actually two Bertrams in the game (here, here, and here). One is outside (pictured above), dressed in purple, and will flirt with a male party member, resulting in the game path described above. If instead the player talk to him in the tavern first, he appears in a red bandana and says his name is Frederick Bertram. In that case, the side quest to save him can only be activated by talking to him with a female party member (this Bertram is not gay, apparently). Talking to one Bertram will make the other one disappear.
If Bertram is still in the player’s party at the end of the game, in the ending movie of the game he will be said to live happily ever after with whichever character offered to help him (i.e., the one the player used to trigger the Bertram’s Rescue side quest). So if the player rescued the Bertram who appears outside with a male party member, and keeps him in the party until the end of the game, he marries that party member at the end of the game (pictured below).
According to producer/designer Tim Cain in an interview by Matt Barton (2013) and excerpted here, producer/designer Tom Decker pointed out that the game had lots of heterosexual relationships, but no homosexual ones. In a no longer available but widely quoted interview with RPG Vault (see here, here, here, and here), Tom Decker stated:
“Doing some of the writing for the game, I had a lot of fun with creating some of the characters and quests in Nulb. I particularly felt strongly that since we had several heterosexual marriages available in Hommlet, we should include at least one homosexual encounter in the game (although there were actually two, one was in the brothel that was removed) and not to make it a stereotyped, over the top situation, but on par with the other relationships available in the game. I felt strongly about keeping the character of Bertram in the game, and I am glad we were allowed to keep him, despite any controversy it might cause. It’s been entertaining reading the boards about Bertram and reactions to him.”
In addition to Bertram, they also added a lesbian character “who was working at a brothel against her will.” The brothel was later removed at the insistence of publisher Atari.
Both options required an extra level of work however, as Cain states: “in both you had to work to get them…you’re not going to see it unless you make it happen. There’s a lot of dialogue paths you have to go down before Bertram is offered to you. It’s no accident that you’re character is married to another man. I like that.” Regardless, the addition of Bertram was seen as controversial by some players.
- Barton, M. (n.d.). Gay Characters in Videogames. Armchair Arcade. http://www.armchairarcade.com/neo/book/export/html/305
- Barton, M. (2013). Honoring the Code: Conversations with Great Game Designers. Boca Raton, FL: CBC Press.
- Crystal. (2012, June 19). GLBT History in Video Games: 2000s (Part One). Gaming Bus. http://www.gamingbus.com/2012/06/19/glbt-history-in-video-games-2000s/
- Flanagan, J. (2014, May 16). The complete history of LGBT video game characters. DailyDot. http://www.dailydot.com/geek/gay-characters-video-games-history/
- Fruit Brute. (2006, July 21). Top Gayest Video Game Characters- #6. GayGamer.Net. http://gaygamer.net/2006/07/top_20_gayest_video_game_chara_16.html
- GameBanshee. (n.d.). Temple of Elemental Evil. Retrieved from http://www.gamebanshee.com/templeofelementalevil/locations/pirateslife.php
- JaggedJIm. (2005, January 27). Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil FAQ/Walkthrough. Neoseeker. http://www.neoseeker.com/greyhawk-temple/faqs/79523-temple-of-elemental-evil.html
- Kadel, L. (2014). Temple of Elemental Evil Walkthrough. GameFAQs. http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/589356-the-temple-of-elemental-evil/faqs/68627
- Kunzelman, C. (2014, September 29). Tim Cain on same-sex marriage in The Temple of Elemental Evil. The Cage is Worms. http://thiscageisworms.com/2014/09/29/tim-cain-on-same-sex-marriage-in-the-temple-of-elemental-evil/
- LGBT characters in video games. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_characters_in_video_games
- Temple of Elemental Evil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Temple_of_Elemental_Evil
- Temple of Elemental Evil Wrap Report at the RPG Vault. (2003, November 27). Retrieved rfom http://www.sorcerers.net/community/index.php?threads/temple-of-elemental-evil-wrap-report-at-rpg-vault.71829/
- The Temple of Elemental Evil Walkthrough. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/ToEE/Walkthrough/Nulb/BoatTavern.php#quest2
- Thompson, C. (2004, April 7). The Game of Wife. Slate. http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/gaming/2004/04/the_game_of_wife.html
- Video_Game_King. (2011, November 6). Let’s Play Temple of Elemental Evil: Part 5: Gayer Than Ever. GiantBomb.com. http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/video_game_king/blog/lets-play-temple-of-elemental-evil-part-5-gayer-th/87916/