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Chessrook44

Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

305 posts in this topic

I haven't been this angry at a game on screen in a very, VERY long time, if ever. Well done Kelandon.

 

 

 

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After all the rage and anger from the last three episodes, this one I'm just... tired and frustrated.

 

 

 

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So I fell off watching for a bit, but I started getting curious because of all the, you know, rage. I have a few comments.

 

* There's a walkthrough packaged with the scenario (HINTS.txt). You may want to look at it.

 

* The current version of Bahssikava has a kind of raw, not totally polished feel to it. (For example, being able to rest in the Deeps but not being told anywhere in Ancient Bahs that you can rest in the Deeps.) The reason for this is the sort of odd creation history of the scenario; it was my first, and I didn't really know what I was doing, and I added a bunch of things after release to respond to various criticisms. Pushing on every corner, backtracking a lot just to check on things, and that kind of thing will definitely be a part of what you have to do.

 

* This scenario wants you to be pretty darn sneaky and not accept much of anything at face value. That thing you did where you just ran past the slith avatars to get to the Catacombs? Do more of that kind of thing. Try to figure out what you actually must do (e.g., get to the Catacombs) and what you can skip past (e.g., fighting the slith avatars). This will become much, much more important as you work your way through the Catacombs.

 

* Put another way, the usual signals from Spiderweb games don't work here. If you find that as you walk a particular way, you encounter something that kills you, that doesn't mean you shouldn't walk that way (as it ordinarily would in a Spidweb game). Instead, it means that you need to be sneakier about how you walk that way. A few reloads will inevitably be necessary, especially in the Catacombs.

 

* You're going to encounter more slith avatars very soon. Remember how you dealt with them the first time you encountered them.

 

* The scenario is a lot easier at level 45 or even level 50. You don't have to do the same kind of sneaking. (To be honest, at this point, my favorite way to play Bahs is with a god party.) But you will be able to finish it at level 35.

 

* Your tactics are getting better, but they're still sub-optimal. Acid doesn't really do anything for high-level parties and high-level monsters. Summoning is of limited use; I would rarely recommend it. Buffs are critical; you need to be blessed and hasted basically every moment of every combat. Invulnerability is incredibly powerful for high-level parties; you can get it from your potions and from Arcane Shield (albeit very temporarily). Where they can be used, Capture Mind and Simulacrum are very powerful for high-level parties. (You should be using Simulacrum way, way more.) Cloud of Blades, as you're finding, also does pretty well for long combats at high levels.

 

* At the beginning of fighting new types of enemies (e.g., your first encounter with slith ghosts), take a minute to experiment with spells to figure out the enemies' immunities. If I remember correctly, the slith ghosts are almost entirely immune to magic and poison/acid, but they're pretty vulnerable to fire. So, right now, spells like Divine Fire and Fireblast will do much more for you than, say, Lightning Spray or Divine Retribution. (They're also vulnerable to melee, as nearly everything in this scenario is, so Cloud of Blades is pretty much always a good first offensive spell.) But this will change as you encounter new types of enemies later on.

 

* As you found in the fight at the entrance to the library in Ancient Bahssikava, taking advantage of the shape of the room is important. If you are fighting monsters that are very strong in melee but not strong at range — as is generally true of nearly everything in this scenario — then getting them trapped in a cramped corridor will prevent them from doing tons of damage to you. Even better if you have bows or slings or something — then I might actually summon some stuff to get bodies in the way while I snipe at them from a distance. But generally tight corridors are going to be your friend here. You don't have to fight monsters where they are; see if you can lure them into a corner where they can't attack you as easily.

 

* I was just so accustomed to head-bashing on every possible wall at the time that I made Bahssikava that it didn't even occur to me that a person wouldn't find the tunnel from the Deeps to Ancient Bahssikava. I don't think there is anything else like that in this scenario, but you'd probably do well to step into every nook and cranny you find, just in case.

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I've just been catching up on these latest Bahssikava episodes. It's funny hearing how people pronounce names so differently with stresses on different parts of the word.

 

I'm surprised how much trouble you have been having though. I vaguely remember having some frustration in a few areas my first time playing too, but nothing like what you are having. I don't think I have ever taken a new party straight from Diplomacy to Bahssikava though. I would always play some other scenarios first. I haven't played Bahss at the recommended level in a long time.

 

Kelandon is right about your tactics. The completely straight-forward and simple approach that got you through the early scenarios isn't going to work very well in the player made scenarios. Player mods for games are almost always harder than the original, and BoA is no exception. There are more difficult combats ahead in just this scenario, and much harder in other scenarios. I remember having an incredibly difficult time with the combat in Frostbite. If you are having this much trouble already, consider making some changes. Use the character editor to raise yourself 5 or more extra levels. Or try lowering the game difficulty. I would think no less of you if you did. And I wouldn't even think of taking your party straight from Bahssikava into Exodus as it is.

 

Depending on how far you have already recorded, there will be a laser puzzle in your future. It will be far more pleasant to deal with if you turn off the sound in the options of BoA.

 

As for your complaints about the design other than the combat, you are partly right, but also partly exaggerating here. Like the altar fight, yes it is true that you weren't explicitly told you had a ritual of stinkification, but as someone who played the other Avernum games, when you see an evil altar you should automatically think of the ritual. That was my experience anyway. And the tunnel you had trouble finding. Yes, it probably should have been made more obvious, but if you look at the map, that area does stick out kind of conspicuously. Or finding out you could rest there. No, the player isn't told, but when I played I wasn't expecting to be able to rest deep into the caves, and when I did find out, it was a welcome relief not a point of frustration.

 

You are moving into the player made scenarios now and you need to adjust your expectations. You probably know this already, but I still feel the need to say it. Most designers were very young when they made these, and had never done anything like it before. They weren't seasoned, professional game designers. It's just like Kel said, it was his first scenario and he didn't know what he was doing. You are going to find a lot of rough edges the more scenarios you play, and in more than one area of design. Just wait till you see the writing in TM's scenarios.

 

I don't know how much you know about the history of BoA, but it suffered a lot of negativity in it's prime. People flippantly trashing something an author put hundreds or thousands of hours of work into making. Bahssikava and Exodus in particular received more than their fair share of that negativity already. In these late days, the BoA community is on life support (I refuse to call it dead yet). The last thing it needs is a fresh dose of vitriol. Sorry if this sounds like a lecture.

 

Also, about your lets play, you might consider changing the order of the scenarios you are planning to play. If you want to play all the ones that are directly related to each other first, you will be front-loading your lets play with some of the biggest, meatiest, and best (I think) scenarios. You should definitely follow their order, but you don't have to play them back-to-back. You might want to play some fluffier and smaller scenarios in between. If I remember right, Bahssikava and Exodus are the two longest player made scenarios. Smaller but still meaty are Canopy, Echoes, Magus, Backwater, Where the Rivers Meet, Tales and Frostbite. I'm pretty sure Of Good and Evil is long too, but I still haven't played through it myself (sorry Bain). Actually, let me contradict myself a little, HIM and HIM Wolf should probably be back-to-back.

 

One last thing. Just chill out squire. If you are already this pissed off so early into your first scenario, you are going to give yourself a hernia by the end of the lets play.

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Appreciate all the information and comments from you two. For a note, I create a backlog of videos and at this moment I have another 10 episodes (Plus today's) filmed, so I'm a BIT ahead of where you are. I film on weekends, though, so you'll be more up to date with what I've seen soon. As for what you said, let's see...

 

* Your tactics are getting better, but they're still sub-optimal. Acid doesn't really do anything for high-level parties and high-level monsters. Summoning is of limited use; I would rarely recommend it. Buffs are critical; you need to be blessed and hasted basically every moment of every combat. Invulnerability is incredibly powerful for high-level parties; you can get it from your potions and from Arcane Shield (albeit very temporarily). Where they can be used, Capture Mind and Simulacrum are very powerful for high-level parties. (You should be using Simulacrum way, way more.) Cloud of Blades, as you're finding, also does pretty well for long combats at high levels.

 

This thing about spells is something that's always bothered me. Spells CAN be useful, yes, but I so rarely use the powerful ones because, especially here, spell points are a very valuable resource, and the most powerful spells get swallowed up VERY quickly. Because of this, I rarely ever use the most powerful spells, especially on my cleric as I NEED those spell points for other spells, namely healing (especially constant healing on many of these fights.). Requiring buffs on your characters 24/7 is also something I find annoying as it basically means your mage and cleric are always starting at a handicap in a fight, with less spell points than normal, and it also tells you "Your units cannot survive on their own, every fight is a BIG effort" which just doesn't seem right to me. And as for summoning... as I've seen in my experimentation, Arcane Summon and possibly Divine Host are about the only spells of use now as sometimes you can end up with a very powerful unit, such as drakes. Then again, sometimes you end up with a pair of sliths. It's a gamble.

 

You are moving into the player made scenarios now and you need to adjust your expectations. You probably know this already, but I still feel the need to say it. Most designers were very young when they made these, and had never done anything like it before. They weren't seasoned, professional game designers. It's just like Kel said, it was his first scenario and he didn't know what he was doing. You are going to find a lot of rough edges the more scenarios you play, and in more than one area of design. Just wait till you see the writing in TM's scenarios.

 

This... you make a good point, and I really should have taken note of this. I'll have to make a few comments appologizing for a bit of a rant I took later on in the LP over this scenario and refer to this sort of comment, as well as adjust how I go into these, with expectations and the like.

 

Also, about your lets play, you might consider changing the order of the scenarios you are planning to play. If you want to play all the ones that are directly related to each other first, you will be front-loading your lets play with some of the biggest, meatiest, and best (I think) scenarios. You should definitely follow their order, but you don't have to play them back-to-back.

 

My current plan had been to play the scenarios in the following order: First every utility (Done, as you saw), then every scenario with sequels meant to be played in order, then all the scenarios in order of level suggestion from lowest to highest, then every scenario with a level requirement of "Any", then any prefab scenarios, and finally the few scenarios I have that don't have any recommended level. This means the ones I was going to start with was Bahssikava/Exodous/Nobody's Heroes/The Magic, then HIM/HIM 2, then Mad Ambition/Echoes Renegade, then Frostbite/Tales, then Turn That Frown Upside Down 1/2. In that order. Then I'd move on to the rest, as those were the only ones I was told had sequels. Perhaps I am front-loading, but I had hoped getting them out of the way would make it easier for me to keep track of things. Let me know if I'm wrong, or if you want to see the full list I'll be doing.

 

Depending on how far you have already recorded, there will be a laser puzzle in your future. It will be far more pleasant to deal with if you turn off the sound in the options of BoA.

 

Wouldn't you know it, that's actually the very next episode. I skip the catacombs temporarily for a little break from the fighting, and check out the machinery below.

 

 

 

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Blessing and hasting at least your warriors in basically every combat is going to be very useful in most BoA scenarios. Bahssikava and Exodus (and most of the rest of BoA scenarios) have the potential to be extremely frustrating if you don't bless and haste most of the time. It doesn't require much spell energy, given your level (8 to bless both warriors, 12 to haste both warriors).

 

I don't think you rarely use the high-level (Arcane/Divine-branded) spells. You've used them in almost every combat that I've seen. I would recommend using them a lot less than that. Most of them are not worth it most of the time. For example, if you're fighting something that is stronger than what Arcane Summon summons, then Simulacrum is better than Arcane Summon (unless Simulacrum can't be used), and Simulacrum uses fewer spell points. Divine Host is almost always a bad idea, because it uses as many spell points as three Cloud of Blades spells or two Divine Fire spells (or 15 Healing spells), which are almost always better. Healing and Bolt of Fire are basically free; everything else should be rationed.

 

And yes, I'd also recommend putting some other high-level scenario in between Bahssikava and Exodus so as to strengthen your party before you deal with the monstrosity that is Exodus. Maybe Canopy and/or Backwater Calls? They were both high-level scenarios released around the same time as Bahssikava (late 2004/early 2005), which might give a flavor of what BoA was like at the time.

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That was a pretty funny episode for me. :lol: I will be looking forward to the laser puzzle in A Perfect Forest.

 

I guess it doesn't really matter if you front load the scenarios or not. It will all be recorded at some point.

 

I would like to see a list of the 10 or so scenarios you added to the earlier list though. I might want to add them to my own. I can try to make a list to give a general idea of each scenarios length if that would help. Though I haven't played every single scenario, I would have to guess at some.

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A very quiet episode as we maneuver our way towards solving the puzzles down here.

 

I appologize for the late upload today. I slept through my alarm and had to run to catch a train for work.

 

 

 

 

And in regards to Tarsus' question, this is the list of scenarios I will be playing, in the order I will be doing them.

 

 

UTILITY

 

Special - Magic Lab (Niemand)

Special - High Level Party Maker (Kelandon)

Special - Nine Variations of Point B (Alec, ported by Kelandon)

Special - Artifacts Hall (Terror's Martyr)

 

PLAY IN ORDER

 

35-45 - Bahssikava (Kelandon)

55-70 - Exodus (Kelandon)

Any - Nobody's Heroes (Kelandon)

??? - The Magic (Kelandon)

 

15-25 - HIM (Thralni)

23-27 - HIM Wolf at the Door (Thralni)

 

10-18 - Mad Ambition (Terror's Martyr)

20-25 - Echoes Renegade (Terror's Martyr)

 

Any - Frostbite (Lazarus)

Any - Tales from the Tabard Inn (Lazarus)

 

??? - Turn That Frown Upside-Down (Duck)

??? - Turn That Frown Upside-Down 2 (Duck)

 

OTHER SCENARIOS

 

1-1 - Oops (Dintiradan)

1-3 - A Good Beginning (Nikki)

1-3 - Babysitting (Khoth)

1-4 - Restless Souls (Excalibur)

1-5 - Rats Aplenty (Smoo)

1-5 - Adrift (Ephesos)

1-5 - Witch Hunt (Nioca)

1-5 - Incorruptable (Tridash)

1-5 - Empire's New Grove (Nikki)

1-5 - Gluckcluck (Enraged Slith)

1-5 - Settlers (Terror's Martyr)

1-6 - Roses of Reckoning (Terror's Martyr)

1-7 - Cave of No Return (Eldiran)

1-8 - Beechford (Michael Haensel)

1-10 - A Perfect Forest (Stareye)

1-10 - Aphobia (Terror's Martyr)

1-40 - Bovill (Michael Slack)

2-4 - Wilderness (Jemand)

5-10 - Enemy at the Gates (Metatron)

5-10 - Kill Them Dead (Enraged Slith)

5-10 - Black Crown Part One (Duck in a Top Hat)

5-10 - Siege of Copperpeak (Ephesos)

5-10 - Xerch'de (Zxquez)

5-15 - Express Delivery (Arancaytar)

10-15 - Embers of Rebellion (Ephesos)

10-15 - Of Good and Evil (Alcitras, ported by BainIhrno)

10-15 - Outpost Valley (Smoo)

10-15 - The Eternal (Nikki)

10-18 - Quarhag Pass (Smoo)

10-20 - Melliput Mobsters (Celtic Minstrel)

13-18 - Strange Gildra (B.J. Earles)

15-18 - The Cradle (B.J. Earles)

15-20 - Warp (Ephesos)

15-20 - The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Niemand)

15-20 - A Visit to the Madhouse (Niemand)

15-20 - A Defiant Land (Vox)

15-20 - Emerald Mountain (Terror's Martyr)

18-23 - Out of Sight (Nikki)

20-30 - Druids of Krell (Ephesos)

20-25 - Shades of Gray (Ephesos)

25-40 - Crescent Valley (Michael Slack) (Scenario Database)

30-45 - Backwater Calls (Smoo)

30-46 - Magus of Cattalon (Smoo)

35-45 - Where the Rivers Meet (Thralni)

35-45 - Dilecia (Lazarus)

35-50 - Canopy: Manufactured Womb (Terror's Martyr)

40-45 - Muffins n' Hell (Iffy)

40-50 - In the Shadow of Dragons (Nemesis)

45-75 - Undead Valley (Archmagi Micael) (Scenario Database)

 

Any - The Staff (Michael Slack)

Any - Three Twenty-Three (Nikki)

Any - Threnody (Lazarus)

Any - Twilight Valley (Nikki)

Any - Kingdom Hall (Nikki)

Any - Kill Prize, Win Ogre (Dintiradan)

Any - Imagine This Scenario (Terror's Martyr)

Any - Ruby Nose (Michael Slack)

Any - El Presidente (Nikki and Thralni)

Any - Mystery Manor (Michael Slack)

Any - Always on Your Day Off (Nicothodes)

Any - Amnesia (Michael Slack)

Any - Avatar (Terror's Martyr)

Any - Bonus Army (Terror's Martyr)

 

Prefab - Stairway (Niemand)

Prefab - Secrets (Seasons of Destiny)

Prefab - Lord Putidus (Kelandon)

 

??? - The Battle for Gale (Cpt Charles)

??? - Blades of Rogue (Niemand)

??? - Darkness (Ephesos)

??? - Death at Chapman's (Erik Westra)

??? - Foul Hordes (Sam Harada)

??? - A Large Rebellion (Otto Holmèn)

??? - Nephilim Mystery (Seletine)

??? - Playground for the Pyromaniac (Cpt Charles)

??? - Proving Grounds (Michael Slack)

??? - The Ritual of Registration (Nemesis)

??? - River and Leaf (Akhronath, ported to BoA by Ishad Nha)

??? - Shipwrecked (Seletine)

??? - To Hell in a Handbasket (Nemesis)

??? - The Triple Valley (Iffy)

??? - Waterweb (Handyman)

 

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There HAS to be a way to shut off all these traps in the machinery area.... right? (I know the answer I've recorded ahead.)

 

 

 

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I've made a general database for the length of each scenario. It was made from memory, so some if it may be off, but it will give you a general idea. I was surprised to find there were also a fair number I haven't played. I made a guess about about how long they would be.

 

I also added some levels to the ones you had missing. I'm not sure about Shipwrecked though. It claims to be for level 1, but I'm not sure that I believe that. I should also add if you don't know, that some scenarios are infamously bad. I have never heard a good thing said about Nephilim Mystery, Foul Hordes or Undead Valley. I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting too. Just forewarning.

 

 

1-1 - The Magic (Kelandon)

50-75 - Foul Hordes (Sam Harada)

20-30 - Darkness (Ephesos)

1-6 - Death at Chapman's (Erik Westra)

50-70 Nephilim Mystery (Seletine)

10-100 - Playground for the Pyromaniac (Cpt Charles)

25-40 - Proving Grounds (Michael Slack)

15-20 - River and Leaf (Akhronath, ported to BoA by Ishad Nha)

1-1 Shipwrecked (Seletine)

1-5 - Ritual of Registration (Nemesis)

30-40 - Triple Valley (Iffy)

Any - To Hell in a Handbasket (Nemesis)

5-10 - Turn That Frown Upside-Down (Duck in a Top-Hat)

5-10 - Turn theat Frown Upside-Down 2 (Duck in a Top-Hat)

25-35 - A Large Rebellion (Otto Holman)

 

 

 

Less than 1 Hour

 

1-5 - Adrift (Ephesos)

1-5 - Empire's New Grove (Nikki)

1-5 - Settlers (Terror's Martyr)

1-1 - Oops (Dintiradan)

1-5 - Incorruptable (Tridash)

1-10 - Aphobia (Terror's Martyr)

2-4 - Wilderness (Jemand)

5-10 - Kill Them Dead (Enraged Slith)

5-10 - Xerch'de (Zxquez)

5-15 - Express Delivery (Arancaytar)

10-15 - Eternal (Nikki)

15-20 - Warp (Ephesos)

15-25 - HIM (Thralni)

Any - Staff (Michael Slack)

Any - Three Twenty-Three (Nikki)

Any - Kill Prize, Win Ogre (Dintiradan)

Any - Imagine This Scenario (Terror's Martyr)

Any - El Presidente (Nikki and Thralni)

Any - Avatar (Terror's Martyr)

Prefab - Stairway (Niemand)

Any - Mystery Manor (Michael Slack)

1-5 - Gluckcluck (Enraged Slith)

1-5 - Ritual of Registration (Nemesis)

 

 

1-2 Hours

 

1-3 - The Dead are Revolting (Enraged Slith)

1-4 - Restless Souls (Excalibur)

5-10 - Siege of Copperpeak (Ephesos)

10-15 - Embers of Rebellion (Ephesos)

10-15 - Discord (Nikki)

10-18 - Quarhag Pass (Smoo)

10-18 - Mad Ambition (Terror's Martyr)

15-20 - A Visit to the Madhouse (Niemand)

15-20 - Emerald Mountain (Terror's Martyr)

23-27 - HIM Wolf at the Door (Thralni)

40-50 - In the Shadow of Dragons (Nemesis)

Any - Twilight Valley (Nikki)

Any - Nobody's Heroes (Kelandon)

Prefab - Lord Putidus (Kelandon)

1-7 - Cave of No Return (Eldiran)

1-3 - A Good Beginning (Nikki)

1-3 - Babysitting (Khoth)

1-5 - Witch Hunt (Nioca)

1-6 - Roses of Reckoning (Terror's Martyr)

1-8 - Beechford (Michael Haensel)

20-30 - Darkness (Ephesos)

1-6 - Death at Chapman's (Erik Westra)

 

 

3-5 Hours

 

1-5 - Rats Aplenty (Smoo)

15-20 - A Defiant Land (Vox)

30-45 - Backwater Calls (Smoo)

35-45 - Where the Rivers Meet (Thralni)

35-45 - Dilecia (Lazarus)

35-50 - Canopy (Terror's Martyr)

Any - Tales from the Tabard Inn (Lazarus)

Any - Frostbite (Lazarus)

1-10 - A Perfect Forest (Stareye)

1-1 - The Magic (Kelandon)

 

 

6 or More Hours

 

30-46 - Magus of Cattalon (Smoo)

35-45 - Bahssikava (Kelandon)

55-70 - Exodus (Kelandon)

 

 

Haven't Played Probably Short

 

1-40 - Bovill (Michael Slack)

10-15 - Outpost Valley (Smoo)

13-18 - Strange Gildra (B.J. Earles)

15-18 - Cradle (B.J. Earles)

15-20 - Sorcerer's Apprentice (Niemand)

35-35 - Battle for Gale (Cpt Charles)

35-35 - Skirmish in the Tunnels (Cpt Charles)

40-45 - Muffins n' Hell (Iffy)

Any - Kingdom Hall (Nikki)

Any - Ruby Nose (Michael Slack)

Any - Always on Your Day Off (Nicothodes)

Any - Amnesia (Michael Slack)

Any - Bonus Army (Terror's Martyr)

Prefab - Secrets (Seasons of Destiny)

10-100 - Playground for the Pyromaniac (Cpt Charles)

5-10 - Turn That Frown Upside-Down (Duck in a Top-Hat)

5-10 - Turn theat Frown Upside-Down 2 (Duck in a Top-Hat)

Any - To Hell in a Handbasket (Nemesis)

 

 

Haven't Played Probably Over 2 Hours

 

5-10 - Enemy at the Gates (Metatron)

5-10 - Black Crown Part One (Duck in a Top Hat)

10-15 - Of Good and Evil (Alcitras, ported by BainIhrno)

10-20 - Melliput Mobsters (Celtic Minstrel)

15-22 - Waterweb (Handyman)

Any - Threnody (Lazarus)

50-75 - Foul Hordes (Sam Harada)

50-50 Nephilim Mystery (Seletine)

25-40 - Proving Grounds (Michael Slack)

15-20 - River and Leaf (Akhronath, ported to BoA by Ishad Nha)

1-1 Shipwrecked (Seletine)

30-40 - Triple Valley (Iffy)

25-35 - A Large Rebellion (Otto Holman)

 

 

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I should also add if you don't know, that some scenarios are infamously bad. I have never heard a good thing said about Nephilim Mystery, Foul Hordes or Undead Valley.

 

But you have heard good things about Shipwrecked? :p

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But you have heard good things about Shipwrecked? :p

 

Oh, nothing but. Who doesn't love Shipwrecked? That's the real question here. :lol:

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For the record by the way, the list consists of every scenario that is located in the official database and on the Spiderweb Software scenario list. I was only going to be downloading from there (partly for safety reasons, I can be a bit paranoid) but I appreciate the help with the levels there.

 

After investigation, it turns out the way through is kinda clever... but quite tricky. And still not at all easy.

 

 

 

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I'm probably going to stop making comments to this effect soon, because I'm not sure that it's helpful, but I'm going to toss this in one more time.

 

I understand that you're becoming frustrated at points, and part of it is that I probably overdid the difficulty of certain parts. If I ever were to make a kind of decade-later bug-and-continuity-and-balance fix version of Bahs (which I've toyed with from time to time), I'd tone down the Catacombs. I would tinker with one other part that you probably haven't gotten to yet, too.

 

But part of it is how you're approaching things. For example, there was a moment in the most recent episode when you said, "I don't really care about the shades," and then you spent the entire next turn fighting shades instead of fighting the enemies that you cared about. I thought this was weird. Sometimes you're making things harder for yourself than they need to be.

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Oh yeah, toning down the catacombs (and the entire area with the Slith Ghosts) would be a suggestion I would personally give. But that's me. As said, I've gone a bit further than that and it's gotten a bit easier. As for how I'm approaching things? Mmm, I'm unsure of the specific point you're referring to, and wish I did so I could try to see my reasoning. That said, I admit I've never been perfect in my methods. I'm no expert at the game after all. Hell I've never even tackled Insanity on any Spiderweb Game.

 

Further we go through the catacombs... closer and closer towards where we must go.

 

 

 

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I don't remember exactly how long Melliput Mobsters is, but I know it's short. If I recall correctly, you basically go through three dungeons. Whether that takes more than 2 hours as Tarsus suggests though, I can't remember.

 

I think there were also one or two unfinished but non-essential features in the main town, including the ability to play a card game and something about a hotel. So you may want to avoid those, or at least save before trying them in case something goes wrong.

 

Someday I'll probably come back to it and finish them. Probably. We can hope.

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It's been so long since I played BoA that I forgot about the awesome power of the Divinely Touched status. It's also very useful for high-level parties (because with Hasted and Divinely Touched you get three attacks per turn instead of two, and I think the attacks also do a lot more damage and are more likely to hit). It's hard to render the Divinely Touched status, though; characters with the Divinely Touched trait can get it with a special ability, and Heroic Brews do it, but BoA doesn't have a spell that does it, like Divine Warrior in Avernum 1 and 2. So it helps a lot when you can get it, but I didn't rely on it much as I was working through Bahs, because you either have to have created characters with the right trait in the first place or you have to burn consumables.

Mmm, I'm unsure of the specific point you're referring to, and wish I did so I could try to see my reasoning.

It was at about 27:05 in Episode 80. By that point, you were in no real danger, so it didn't really matter, but it seemed emblematic of some of the shortcomings of your tactics to that point.

 

That said, I think by Episode 81 your tactics have improved enough that you're probably not going to have serious problems getting through the rest of the Catacombs. (Although I'm expecting the next episode to be hilarious.)

nikki. likes this

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Once again, we find an area in here that just gets me filled with tired anger. Possibly not the part Kelandon expects though.

 

 

 

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Just a bit more of the catacombs to explore... those triangles HAVE to be in here somewhere, don't they?

 

 

 

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Finally we find the last of the metal triangles, and move to investigate the Doors of Bahssikava.

 

 

 

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In the previous episode, it occurred to me that it's possible that I accidentally nerfed all the major summoning spells in Bahssikava. On the back end, monsters have summoning classes in order to be summonable, and I tinkered with a few of them to fix bugs. (Some were inherent to default BoA — by default, vampires can summon vampires in an infinite loop — and some of them had to do with monster imports that I had done.) The result may be that summoning spells are weaker in Bahssikava (and, presumably, in Exodus) than in other scenarios.

 

In relation to your five-minute rant at the end of this episode, hey, you got through the northeast of the Catacombs on the first try. Guzzling a Heroic Brew and firing off a bunch of Cloud of Blades spells works wonders! Your tactics continue to improve! Although you're still relying way, way too much on Arcane Summon and not enough on Simulacrum — Arcane Summon usually gives you sliths or lizards, but Simulacrum gives you slith avatars. Much stronger. And why would you ever cast Spray Acid, unless confronted with something that is immune to all other forms of damage? Bolt of Fire cost less spell energy and does more damage to anything not immune to fire.

 

But presumably that will all continue to get better in the southbound quest. Looking forward to it.

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I suppose part of the reason I don't cast Simulacrum as much is because I often am left with the thought of I'd end up with a creature that isn't SUPPOSED to be as powerful as me, or has spells or abilities that are useful against me, but not as useful against enemies. The equivalent of, say, Simulacrumming a fire hydra against a bunch of fire hydras. Half of its attacks will do absolutely nothing. At least with Arcane Summon I have a chance of drakes.

 

Having finally reached the other side of the doors, we take a look at our new base to see what we can find.

 

 

 

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I suppose part of the reason I don't cast Simulacrum as much is because I often am left with the thought of I'd end up with a creature that isn't SUPPOSED to be as powerful as me, or has spells or abilities that are useful against me, but not as useful against enemies. The equivalent of, say, Simulacrumming a fire hydra against a bunch of fire hydras. Half of its attacks will do absolutely nothing. At least with Arcane Summon I have a chance of drakes.

I mean, that makes sense when you're fighting fire hydras. But it doesn't make sense when you're fighting slith avatars. Arcane Summon gives you a chance of two drakes (but more likely something weaker). Simulacrum gives you the certainty of a slith avatar. A slith avatar is much, much stronger (against sliths or anything else) than two drakes.

 

(To be specific: A drake is level 25. Its attacks are 9d7, 9d5, and 9d5, and its health is a bit over 200. A slith avatar is level 60. Its attacks are — I think — 21d6, 21d6, and 21d6, so on each attack, it will do a good deal more than twice as much damage as a drake. It also has two bonus action points, so it can attack twice per round. Finally, its health is about 1100. I cannot imagine a situation in which two drakes would be better than a slith avatar.)

 

I don't think this matters as much in later parts of the scenario, because you're not fighting slith avatars again. But I think it demonstrates a larger point, which is that considering choices that you don't ordinarily employ — varying your tactics by the situation, as you started to do by the end of the Catacombs — can make combats go much more smoothly.

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Onwards we move on our exploration, and thankfully things seem a little bit easier now.

 

 

 

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In hindsight, the river fights are boring, and the Catacombs was not. If I were to release an updated version of this, I would beef up the river combats (and probably the combats you're about to come to).

 

I'm a little baffled by a moment in the most recent episode. You tried Divine Retribution on the eyebeasts. You determined that they were immune to it. You then tried Arcane Blow — which does the same type of damage as Divine Retribution. Seeing that they were immune to that, you then tried Lightning Spray — which again does the same type of damage! If something's immune to one of those spells, it will be immune to all of those spells. It would be like trying Bolt of Fire and then Divine Fire and then Fireblast — they're all fire, so an immunity to fire makes something immune to all of those.

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In hindsight, the river fights are boring, and the Catacombs was not. If I were to release an updated version of this, I would beef up the river combats (and probably the combats you're about to come to).

 

I would strongly disagree with that. It sounds like you are considering the encounters in isolation, but think about the experience as a whole. The player just came through an intense slog in the catacombs, it is good to have a more gentle experience for a while to rest up. It's a big mistake to make every single combat a struggle. And consider the setting here. You are basically fighting animals in the wilderness, it shouldn't be that organized or difficult. It fits the atmosphere of this muddy river area to be quieter.

 

To Chessrook, I was also suprised by some of your tactical decisions in this last episode. I'm sure you have had an earful about your tactics by now, but I have a few more suggestions.

 

First, the nimble ring. I was confused when you didn't immediately put it on, but I was stunned when you went and sold it! Maybe others would disagree, but I say bonus action points are far and away the best boost you can get from an item. It is less powerful in BoA than in previous Avernums, because it only gives a chance of bonus points, but it still makes a massive difference. Being able to make 2 attacks in a round without a haste spell is way more useful than a slight buff to your weapon damage. Or the freedom to move more before attacking. These boosts stack across multiple sources too. You could have given it to your mage since they already get bonus points sometimes. You could be casting 2 spells in a round without a haste. An endgame singleton with multiple boosting items could be getting as high as 10 or more action points without haste in a round if they got lucky. Add haste and divine warrior to that, and it can be in the high 20s or maybe in to the 30s.

 

Speaking of spells, you never once cast repel spirit in the catacombs even though you were up to your eyeballs in undead spirits. Repel spirit is both cheap and effective, yet I saw you charge your priest into melee rather than use it. You should try using it more. It is effective against demons too. You might want to use divine restoration once in a while as well. It may be expensive, but it is a full heal. There were quite a few situations where that would have been useful. If you have two people about to go down, you could bring them both up to full health and maybe save the combat.

 

You should also consider some cross-training for your spellcasters. If I were you, I would give the priest enough mage skill to cast haste, and more importantly give the mage some priest skills up through at least war blessing, or better, through repel spirit. Even putting one point into priest skills will them cast healing. Having a second healer would have saved your bacon a lot of times in the catacomb, even better if they could have been casting repel spirit. Being able to cast war blessing on multiple people in a pinch is useful. I think war blessings stack a bit too. I can't remember how much it helps, but you might experiment with multiple castings on one character.

 

There is also managing action points in a tight combat situation. If your fighters have 4 action points but are only going to attack an enemy right next to them, they could drink a healing elixir for 3 action points then still be able to attack.

 

Also, try managing your enemies a little more. You keep just charging in and fighting big mobs. Use missile weapons and draw them towards you, fight less at a time.

 

And finally the most important thing you are ignoring, the wait/delay action command, which is not to be confused with the defend command.This can make things so much easier for you. I haven't watched your other Avernum lets plays, so I don't know if you know about it or not. But if you use this command, the character will delay their actions until the end of the turn, but the combat won't progress to next turn until they go. So all enemies and allies will make their moves, then you do. If you are drawing enemies towards you, after they approach you can attack them before the next round, which can have the effect of giving you 2 turns in a row. But it is useful if you are charging in too! For example if the enemies are just out of range, or behind a closed door. You would enter combat mode, then use the wait command on all your characters. Since you used wait, the enemy will have "used" their turn even though they did nothing, then you are free to open to door or move in and attack with impunity. You could even cast simulacrum and have it ready to go in the next turn without the delayed summon turn.

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I'm a little baffled by a moment in the most recent episode. You tried Divine Retribution on the eyebeasts. You determined that they were immune to it. You then tried Arcane Blow — which does the same type of damage as Divine Retribution. Seeing that they were immune to that, you then tried Lightning Spray — which again does the same type of damage! If something's immune to one of those spells, it will be immune to all of those spells. It would be like trying Bolt of Fire and then Divine Fire and then Fireblast — they're all fire, so an immunity to fire makes something immune to all of those.

I don't think that's quite the same situation. Bolt of Fire, Divine Fire, and Fireblast very obviously deal the same type of damage. Divine Retribution, Arcane Blow, and Lightning Spray do not obviously deal the same type of damage. In fact, while I could understand expecting the first two to do the same type of damage (magic damage), it would be quite reasonable to expect Lightning Spray to deal a different type of damage (electricity).

 

Basically, the fact that those three spells deal the same type of damage just isn't as obvious as it is with the three fire spells, so it shouldn't be so surprising to see someone trying all three on the same monster.

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In fact, while I could understand expecting the first two to do the same type of damage (magic damage), it would be quite reasonable to expect Lightning Spray to deal a different type of damage (electricity).

Sure, but only if you don't know that electricity isn't its own damage type in Spiderweb games, and Chessrook44 has done an LP of nearly all Spiderweb games (including the original Avernum Trilogy).

 

Anyway, going forward in BoA, it's worth knowing the six immunities (fire, cold, magic, mental, poison/acid, and melee) and which spells do which type of damage. One of the reasons that Cloud of Blades is so useful throughout Bahssikava (and, to some extent, in Exodus) is that it's the only spell that does melee damage, to which almost all creatures are vulnerable. One of the reasons that Spray Acid is so terrible is that most high-level monsters are mostly or entirely immune to poison/acid. (The other reason is that it doesn't do much damage even to monsters that aren't immune.)

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I've been playing SW games for almost two decades, and I never realized lightning spray just does magical damage.

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I too was one who didn't realize those three spells did the same type of damage. Lightning Spray, logically, would be shocking people with electricity, not blasting them with arcane power or divine holiness (Which is what I thought the other two were.)

 

Regarding Tarsus' comment about my build... well... I'm not someone who really focuses on Builds. I take what improves my stats over other things, more likely. After all, if I load up on equipment that boosts the amount of times I can act, but neglect to use anything that boosts my damage output or resistance, I become like a bee... zipping around doing pittances of damage while being crushed in quick sweeps. Not that good in my opinion. But again, no expert on builds.

 

Regarding Tarsus' comment on spells... there is a very specific reason I didn't use Repel Spirit, or Divine Restoration. And that was because of the fact that I have a VERY limited mana pool, and I frequently needed ALL of it in order to keep my men alive with Heal Spells. Which is more efficient, casting two 2-mana heal spells to bring two members of my party to near-full health, or casting a 10-cost Group Heal or a 20-cost (or however much it is) Divine Restoration to bring them to full? Not to mention that while Repel Spirit DOES do damage, one casting removes my ability to cast two heal spells that I will likely need MORE quite soon. It's one of my flaws, admittedly, that also measures into why I have so many potions, scrolls, and wands that I never use. I hold onto it and don't use it because what if I need it MORE later?

 

Regarding Tarsus' comment on cross-training... I have considered it once or twice in the past, and then discarded it. When I did it, I found that a cleric that gains Bolt of Fire is using up critical spell points on a spell that does too little damage to be worth it. Similarly with the mage. While I don't use the mage as often, training him in a heal spell isn't worth it as it generally healed less than the amount of damage enemies are doing. For the most part, I'm learning to take points in those skills more for cheaper Spell Points than anything else.

 

And regarding Tarsus' comment on Waiting, you are right in that it is good so that you don't have to charge in, so you can fire arrows or such at enemies, but there's a problem. So, SO many times those enemies have ranged abilities themselves. Thus, waiting will often just mean THEY get a free hit in while my warriors stand back doing nothing and my spellcasters... MAY do damage, or may not. And before you say "use arrows and javelins", I have the same issue there as I do with potions, etc.. And Kelandon has not left me ANY arrows ANYWHERE in this game. ONLY the occasional 4 or 5 razordisks. That is NOT sufficient for a ranged-focused character.

 

EDIT: One thing I'd like to add to my "charge in and attack" strategy. The reason I charge in is because my general strategy is "Kill the mages first". This is because mages, ranged attackers, use a lot of summons and cast spells that do a LOT of damage. However, these mages are often resistant to spells... but vulnerable to being stabbed in the face. Because of this, I charge right in, aiming to kill them before they start annoyingly kiting me, only going after melee guys if they get in the way. Plus, since mage units TEND to try to keep distance, it also means I either get a free hit in when they run, OR they sacrifice casting their annoying powerful spells in exchange for a much weaker attempt to slap me (which often misses).

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Haha. Fair enough. Play in the way you that makes you comfortable.

 

It is funny to me though. Your thinking in this really does seem to live up to your namesake. Sticking rigidly to only straight lines.

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You know, I really should've put in some ghosts or demons somewhere that were immune to all damage types so that you had to use Repel Spirit because it's the only spell that does unblockable damage. That would've been a good puzzle.

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Ah, the chitrach. Bugs from deep, deep beneath even Avernum, who swarm and infest everywhere. And we have new ones now. Yay.

 

 

 

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And Kelandon has not left me ANY arrows ANYWHERE in this game. ONLY the occasional 4 or 5 razordisks. That is NOT sufficient for a ranged-focused character.
Heh, I think I know the reason for this. Bahs was released early on, and there was only a small handful of scenarios that came out before it. One of those was Canopy, which level-wise came between Diplomacy with the Dead and Bahs. Canopy had a collection of (in my opinion, overpowered) magic items, one of which was a very strong bow that did not require ammunition. Since most people played Canopy before Bahs, it's entirely possible that testing was done with parties that had gone through Canopy first.

 

In fact, one of my first interactions with this community was complaining how difficult Bahs was compared to Vogel scenarios, especially for my archer, and being chastised for not playing Canopy first for the bow.

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Eh, the reason I didn't put in a lot of arrows is that I never used archery much myself. I could've sworn that I added somewhere to buy arrows in v1.0.6, because not having enough ranged stuff was a complaint from early players, but I honestly can't remember where and I can't find it now. Maybe I didn't.

 

There are a bajillion razordisks, though, and slings (like Adlerauge from Canopy) don't need ammo.

 

EDIT: Just watched the most recent episode. Lol, total immunity to melee is a good gimmick. I should've used that more.

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EDIT: Just watched the most recent episode. Lol, total immunity to melee is a good gimmick. I should've used that more.

 

Personally don't want to recommend it. While a nice idea, it becomes a problem if you end up facing such enemies without any Spell Points and having used your last Energy Elixirs. THEN you're screwed.

 

Although I do have to grant for this episode: Clever way to end this battle.

 

 

 

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Knowledge is gained, and then we move south again, to see what comes of this whispering voice...

 

 

 

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The Nolagh-Khar quest is probably my favorite part of the scenario. I enjoyed the most recent episode a lot.

 

It occurred to me during this episode that the community consensus, more or less circa 2005 or 2006, was that the default BoA combat system was probably the worst that Spiderweb has ever designed. If a scenario designer just creates a few dungeons and progresses characters through the normal level progression, the game kind of sucks. It's a little hard to explain why; part of it has to do with a lack of balance (the Divinely Touched ability is way overpowered, the Spray Acid spell is way underpowered, etc.), but that's not really the key. I'm sure one of the other Blades designers of the era could articulate it better than I could.

 

Anyway, I dealt with this in a few ways in my scenarios. Most of them — LP, Exodus, The Magic — dramatically change the combat system so as to make it more interesting. (LP and The Magic basically trash the existing system entirely and create new systems.) One — Nobody's Heroes — has almost no combat at all, just to avoid the issue. Bahssikava handled things somewhat differently; up to more or less the Catacombs, it just made fights really hard, so that you have to figure out high-level exploits and such in order to make it through. Starting with the Nolagh-Khar quest, though, Bahssikava ties puzzles and sidequests to combats so that a combat is essentially unbeatable unless you explore in the right places thoroughly, and if you've explored thoroughly, it's pretty easy. (Which seems more like your style, so you may like the second and third parts of Bahs more than the first.)

 

Anyway, it reminds me of how, a decade ago, I realized that BoE combat was, by default, pretty good, but BoA combat was, by default, pretty awful. All scenario designers had to face this one way or another.

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I admit, the only part of BoA (Or Avernum in general) combat that I really found annoying was companions and summoned creatures. If they didn't have enemies in sight, they would remain in place and do nothing ever. Thus a summon that ended up randomly putting someone behind a wall ended up a complete waste of a spell, and entering combat and running in many times would leave your companions standing and doing nothing if they didn't control you. This was another reason to use summoning spells over Simulacrum, as summoning two creatures has less of a chance of leaving all summoned creatures out of range and thus useless, wasting precious spell points.

 

Now I don't like people being kept as slaves.... keeping them as slaves even after they're dead? That's low. Let's do something about it.

 

 

 

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That's certainly one way in which BoE was better, as it allowed you to place your summons when in combat. (When summoning from town mode they would still appear randomly, though.) I'm guessing the issue here for BoA is that the engine has no way to target an empty space... which I guess is also why spells like Unlock and Move Mountains(?) were changed to radius spells.

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Once again, a very difficult and frustrating fight. This time, the composition of the room plays a bit of a part in it.

 

 

 

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In relation to one of your more recently posted diatribes: Yes, I am watching, but I essentially disagree with your complaints. Bahssikava is meant to challenge expert players. If you don't like that, then you probably won't like the combats, but they are what they are, and they do what they are meant to do. Many of my other scenarios (Nobody's Heroes, The Magic) are nowhere near as challenging, and you might like them better (when you get to them).

 

I have to admit, I was surprised that you struggled so much with the Flamer haakai. (Flamer is the name of the script that he uses. It's essentially a generalized version of the script of Kimzahn from The Za-Khazi Run.) I remember thinking that the fight was sort of uninterestingly easy when I played it for the first time; I think I stayed farther back from him until I was ready to engage him specifically, so I didn't take as many explosions as you did, and I probably had more resistance to fire at the time. If I remember correctly, I used the Flamer script more than once in Bahssikava/Exodus, so you may want to reconsider your tactics the next time around.

 

Also, I imagine you've figured this out by now, but if you want Phaedra to come fight alongside you, you have to make sure she has a clear path to do so. She won't charge through your priest and mage. Even then, she sometimes might not, though. Bahssikava is my only scenario with joined NPCs, partly because it was hard to get them to do what you wanted.

 

(And yes, the reappearance of the slaves in the mine is a bug; that's not supposed to happen.)

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If I want Phaedra to join me in the fight, not only do I need to have a path, but I also need to ensure that the enemies are close enough to trigger her. A frustrating thing.

 

Well... as I said, I AM still against slaves. Even in this case.

 

 

 

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I do admit, this is a fairly decent puzzle. Straightforward, but nice.

 

 

 

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Further puzzles appear, including another somewhat tricky one... but once again, I manage to figure it out. I'm liking the puzzle parts... more please.

 

 

 

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Into the fort we go and, as one might expect, it is FILLED with demons.

 

 

 

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The demon lord has been torturing spirits and lesser demons, and has many minions of his own. One thing I will say... this is QUITE a battle.

 

 

 

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Finally we hear the story of what happened to these ruins so long ago. And find out another concerning thing...

 

 

 

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Enjoying these most recent episodes immensely. I have a soft spot for huge battles with many allies and many foes, like the Nolagh-Khar fight. More of those are coming.

 

Also enjoying your concerns about Legare and this "Goddess" of his. You are very much having the right thoughts. Doubts are appropriate at the moment.

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