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Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Lets Play Blades of Avernum

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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:23 AM #141 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 12 March 2017 - 04:51 AM #142 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 12 March 2017 - 05:37 PM #143 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 13 March 2017 - 12:38 AM #144 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 14 March 2017 - 04:09 AM #145 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 12:42 AM #146 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 16 March 2017 - 12:30 AM #147 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 12:37 AM #148 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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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Posted 18 March 2017 - 03:39 AM #149 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 01:57 PM #150 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

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.
VCH: I believe we settled this way back when: Kelandon was the most attractive.
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Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 04:04 AM #151 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Golems golems everywhere... but this slog isn't quite frustrating yet.

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:39 AM #152 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

And of course, the nice easy time doesn't last long as more frustrating golems show up.

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:35 AM #153 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Deeper into the mountain we go, dealing with golems... and more.

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:46 AM #154 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Once again, the scenario is making me irritated... yeah.  It's beginning again.

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:37 AM #155 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Further exploration, as we clear a "puzzle" and find some prisoners.

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 12:36 AM #156 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Why does this place have a farm?  I didn't think dragons really ate mushrooms and the like...

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 03:49 AM #157 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Oh goodie, the dragon has a cult of necromantic and undead followers.  Let's kill them!

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 04:27 AM #158 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Ithik?  Where are you?  I've searched almost the whole place for you, couldn't you have left a few bread crumbs or something?

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 12:44 AM #159 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

The frustration came back, people!  It bloody came back!

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 12:32 AM #160 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Okay, that punch thing is a bit silly and amusing but come on... you're breaking the rules with it!

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 12:41 AM #161 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

One of the last things to deal with in this mountain is ahead of us... and of course, it is ridiculously hard.

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 12:24 PM #162 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

I fell off for a while, but I started watching again. I'm not quite caught up, but I'm getting there. Man, there is so much whining in these episodes! It makes it less fun to watch.

There are a few fairly important things that have screwed you up from time to time in Mount Galthrax (although you do still seem to be improving, e.g., the Vishanth fight!). One of them is spacing. Phaedra is far and away your best tank, but you keep blocking the path for her to get to the enemies! You also start combat with her behind walls so that she can't see the enemies. One bug in BoA generally is that joined NPCs use their default scripts rather than any custom scripts they're given, so joined NPCs all have the same behavior. Generally, they join combat when they can see an enemy and have a path to get to it. If you block them or leave them behind a wall, they'll hang back and do nothing. I don't think many scenarios have joined NPCs, but a few others do, so it's worth learning how to use them well.

Also, on spacing, there's no reason to have your healer — who is an incredibly weak melee fighter — run up to be next to your other characters. If your healer keeps getting forcecaged, keep your healer back behind a wall. Your healer won't get forcecaged if she's out of range. (This will continue to be important in Exodus, but for somewhat different reasons.)

You also fairly frequently put yourself in positions where only one or two people can attack when you want three or four to be attacking. Pay attention to the shape of the room! Don't box people out, or else you'll be half as strong as you want to be.

Another fairly fundamental thing is that you keep getting distracted by weak summons and not fighting the main enemies. You're high-level at this point; cave giants can't do anything to you. But a level-edited spirit (these undead are generally at least level 50!) can still do some serious damage. Unless the summons are literally blocking your way to the main enemy, you really ought to just ignore them. Focusing on them and ignoring the main enemy can get you killed or, just as bad, cause you to use up a ton of spell energy healing/whatever as the main enemy keeps blasting you while you ignore the relevant enemy. Besides, you kill a few summons and the mage will just summon more, so it becomes this never-ending onslaught of killing meaningless monsters.

A third thing is that if you're going to be reloading so much — and in BoA, you're going to be reloading a lot — you need to save more frequently. I save after pretty much every fight, before opening any door, before talking to anyone, before pressing any buttons or pulling any levers, etc. You had to fight the same fight around the Mount Galthrax farms three times in episode 102 because you didn't save after you finished the first part of it!

A few other random thoughts:

I did like the sporadic use of Arcane Shield and Heroic Brews when you were up against something that was doing a ton of damage, but only for one turn (the exploding golems, for example). That's definitely something to keep in mind as you go forward in BoA.

Those few times when you did cast Haste on Phaedra, she became much, much more effective. I'm surprised that you didn't make use of that more frequently.

It's also sort of weird when you say things like, "Let's see if a Slow will work," and then you don't check whether it actually worked or not. (The printed text actually tells you this.) That fits with my advice earlier to check things' immunities; magic-resistant monsters (i.e., those who also resist Lightning Spray and Arcane Blow) will resist Slow, and non-magic-resistant monsters won't, and you'll have an easier time if you determine which is which. More generally, it's worth watching the text that gets printed to see what pops up — you were surprised when Phaedra was paralyzed, but the printed text explicitly said that she had been paralyzed.

In episode 101, in the northeast corner of Mount Galthrax L2, you didn't read one of the dialogs that was supposed to help you! It told you that you were supposed to talk to the frozen lich that you didn't try to talk to. Oh well.

At about 2:10 of episode 102, you ask how you're supposed to know that there are undead behind the barriers. That's what the dialog box that you just read was warning you about! It talked about "dangerous undead" nearby! Right after this, though, you made use of the room shape in a useful way — you stood in such a way that only one ghoul could attack you at a time. This is handy — keep doing this kind of thing. Hilariously, right after that, you say that the narrow tunnels don't help, even though they just helped you! Oh well again.
VCH: I believe we settled this way back when: Kelandon was the most attractive.
SoT: You'd be happy, too, if you were such a clever spider.
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:28 PM #163 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostKelandon, on 29 March 2017 - 12:24 PM, said:

There are a few fairly important things that have screwed you up from time to time in Mount Galthrax (although you do still seem to be improving, e.g., the Vishanth fight!). One of them is spacing. Phaedra is far and away your best tank, but you keep blocking the path for her to get to the enemies! You also start combat with her behind walls so that she can't see the enemies. One bug in BoA generally is that joined NPCs use their default scripts rather than any custom scripts they're given, so joined NPCs all have the same behavior. Generally, they join combat when they can see an enemy and have a path to get to it. If you block them or leave them behind a wall, they'll hang back and do nothing. I don't think many scenarios have joined NPCs, but a few others do, so it's worth learning how to use them well.

Agreed, I do need to try to work on it more, but I DO try to get her in when I can.  Many times when you find me preparing for a fight, you see me position my team in a way that Fawkes and Shiek in the front, Bonnie and Draco behind them, and Phaedra behind that.  Yes Phaedra should be in front of Bonnie, but I'm not sure how to adjust positioning well enough in that case.  Something to work on.

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Also, on spacing, there's no reason to have your healer — who is an incredibly weak melee fighter — run up to be next to your other characters. If your healer keeps getting forcecaged, keep your healer back behind a wall. Your healer won't get forcecaged if she's out of range. (This will continue to be important in Exodus, but for somewhat different reasons.)

I'll grant you this.  Often, the only times I run her up is because of the awkward moment of not wanting her to not be doing anything for several turns if healing isn't required.  Perhaps I need to work out of that.

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Another fairly fundamental thing is that you keep getting distracted by weak summons and not fighting the main enemies. You're high-level at this point; cave giants can't do anything to you. But a level-edited spirit (these undead are generally at least level 50!) can still do some serious damage. Unless the summons are literally blocking your way to the main enemy, you really ought to just ignore them. Focusing on them and ignoring the main enemy can get you killed or, just as bad, cause you to use up a ton of spell energy healing/whatever as the main enemy keeps blasting you while you ignore the relevant enemy. Besides, you kill a few summons and the mage will just summon more, so it becomes this never-ending onslaught of killing meaningless monsters.

This is... yes I'm aware I do this.  I think part of the reason I do it is a mix of the large amount of summons filling the amount of space I can move in and wanting to literally carve my way in, as well as the whole "Attack of Opportunity" thing enemies get when I move out of squares they threaten.  Plus of course, there's the ever present threat of "death of a thousand cuts".  But I will grant I should focus on them more.

For the most part I've started switching so that my heavy-hitters focus on the threats, while my weaker hitters focus on the weaker summons.  That seems a relatively fair balance, especially for Draco.  Draco can take being hit by summons and does a decent amount of outgoing damage.  He's perfect for the task.

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It's also sort of weird when you say things like, "Let's see if a Slow will work," and then you don't check whether it actually worked or not. (The printed text actually tells you this.) That fits with my advice earlier to check things' immunities; magic-resistant monsters (i.e., those who also resist Lightning Spray and Arcane Blow) will resist Slow, and non-magic-resistant monsters won't, and you'll have an easier time if you determine which is which. More generally, it's worth watching the text that gets printed to see what pops up — you were surprised when Phaedra was paralyzed, but the printed text explicitly said that she had been paralyzed.

Yeah I admit, I tend not to look in the text box down there, especially on the enemy turn as it scrolls back SO fast.  I look more on the visual cues and the like to see the results of what happens.

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In episode 101, in the northeast corner of Mount Galthrax L2, you didn't read one of the dialogs that was supposed to help you! It told you that you were supposed to talk to the frozen lich that you didn't try to talk to. Oh well.

I also forgot to use the phoenix egg, which I noticed when editing the episode where I found the Undead Factory... LONG after I finished.

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At about 2:10 of episode 102, you ask how you're supposed to know that there are undead behind the barriers. That's what the dialog box that you just read was warning you about! It talked about "dangerous undead" nearby! Right after this, though, you made use of the room shape in a useful way — you stood in such a way that only one ghoul could attack you at a time. This is handy — keep doing this kind of thing. Hilariously, right after that, you say that the narrow tunnels don't help, even though they just helped you! Oh well again.
See, the way I said it was that yes, it's good when narrowing the enemy down to only one foe... not as good when you are ALSO narrowed down to only one person... and pointless when you're only dealing with one foe and you can only bring one to the fight.  It's all conditional.

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:36 AM #164 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Galthrax lies ahead, and it is time at last to deal with him.

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 07:03 AM #165 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostChessrook44, on 29 March 2017 - 02:28 PM, said:

Yeah I admit, I tend not to look in the text box down there, especially on the enemy turn as it scrolls back SO fast.  I look more on the visual cues and the like to see the results of what happens.
It's probably a flaw in BoA (less than optimal design) that you can't tell what's going on with statuses by looking at the main screen — you have to look down at the text. But that is how BoA works.

Watching the Galthrax fight, I was struck by how Cloud of Blades is what won the battle. You won on the last try because you cast it on Galthrax twice right before the end. This will continue to be significant going forward; Cloud of Blades not only is the only spell that does melee damage, but also it's the only spell that does damage as a percent of the creature's health rather than as a specific number of dice. So as creatures get higher and higher level, other spells become less and less useful, but Cloud of Blades continues to work well.
VCH: I believe we settled this way back when: Kelandon was the most attractive.
SoT: You'd be happy, too, if you were such a clever spider.
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:45 AM #166 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostKelandon, on 30 March 2017 - 07:03 AM, said:

Watching the Galthrax fight, I was struck by how Cloud of Blades is what won the battle. You won on the last try because you cast it on Galthrax twice right before the end. This will continue to be significant going forward; Cloud of Blades not only is the only spell that does melee damage, but also it's the only spell that does damage as a percent of the creature's health rather than as a specific number of dice. So as creatures get higher and higher level, other spells become less and less useful, but Cloud of Blades continues to work well.
Aside from the fact that casting Cloud of Blades often means my fighters, my hardest hitters, can't get close to my enemies to damage them without being hurt themselves.  Which is part of the reason why I rarely every use it, unless I can cast it in JUST the right position to not be too damaging for my own guys.  And in the next scenario, I get a NEW reason...

Finally we've made it through the mountain, and to the homeland... quite a journey, hasn't it been?

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 04:01 AM #167 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

With Bahssikava done, we move right on to continue the second half of the story, Exodus.  Let's see how difficult this trial will be...

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:28 AM #168 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

And as happens in most games, right at the start things go quite wrong.  And yet...

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 01:19 PM #169 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

"Holy crap, he's Moses!" LOL! That is exactly the response I was going for.

It's always entertaining to see when/how people respond to the realization that Exodus is, you know, the Exodus. I still always treasure one of the comments that one player made to the effect of, "I was put off by all the religious allegory. I wasn't expecting that." You know, in a scenario entitled 'Exodus.'

Also, more generally, it is striking how much cleaner and better the design is as soon as we hit Exodus. I actually knew how to script and what the plot was going to be as soon as I started Exodus, whereas Bahs was really me trying to figure all of that out.
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SoT: You'd be happy, too, if you were such a clever spider.
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 12:43 AM #170 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostKelandon, on 02 April 2017 - 01:19 PM, said:

It's always entertaining to see when/how people respond to the realization that Exodus is, you know, the Exodus. I still always treasure one of the comments that one player made to the effect of, "I was put off by all the religious allegory. I wasn't expecting that." You know, in a scenario entitled 'Exodus.'
Well I mean, "Exodus" is a word a bit similar to "Exile" so some might consider it a callback.  Plus of course it's entirely possible to name something without it necessarily referencing something.  Unfortunately I don't really know much about the Exodus, so I won't be able to draw as many parallels.

The army has been dealt with, and with only the journey before us, the others seem to be having shaken faith...

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 09:31 PM #171 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostChessrook44, on 03 April 2017 - 12:43 AM, said:

Unfortunately I don't really know much about the Exodus, so I won't be able to draw as many parallels.
What disappoints me the most about Exodus is that at no point does Legare's wife circumcise their son with a flint knife and drop the foreskin at Legare's feet in order to stave off the wrath of the Goddess. 0/10, worst scenario ever.
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Posted 04 April 2017 - 12:35 AM #172 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

View PostDintiradan, on 03 April 2017 - 09:31 PM, said:

What disappoints me the most about Exodus is that at no point does Legare's wife circumcise their son with a flint knife and drop the foreskin at Legare's feet in order to stave off the wrath of the Goddess. 0/10, worst scenario ever.
Well I mean, they're lizard-people.  Possible that they don't have that.

The journey into the homeland begins, as we find the first examples of the natives.

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:43 AM #173 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Well, seems I'm starting to get used to fighting this type of creature... that's a plus!

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:01 PM #174 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

You mentioned not being sure which skills were prereqs for other special skills, so here's a list: http://kppp.webs.com/skills.html
VCH: I believe we settled this way back when: Kelandon was the most attractive.
SoT: You'd be happy, too, if you were such a clever spider.
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:17 PM #175 Let's Play Blades of Avernum!

Totally separately from the above, I had forgotten about the "combat slowdown" that I devised in Exodus — your fights with the frost lizards reminded me.

The impetus for the combat slowdown was that at the time that I was designing the combat for Exodus — more or less the year following Bahssikava — a lot of scenarios, especially TM scenarios, had combat that was extremely difficult for about two or three turns, and if you could survive those turns (and kill off whatever you needed to), then you could make it the rest of the way basically just mopping up. There were few combats that were interesting all the way through. But I liked Avernums 1 and 2 a lot more than Avernum 3/default BoA, and the combat progressed more slowly in the earlier Avernums: monsters did less damage, the PCs did less damage, etc. So I tried to slow the combat down, to keep it interesting over the course of more turns. Less reloading, more discovering stuff as the combat evolves — which puts you at some risk, but doesn't instantly kill you.

The way I tried to pull this off was to give monsters considerable resistances to pretty much everything (including melee — which is why Cloud of Blades isn't quite as good in this scenario) but also to make them less able to do damage. You will find lots of high-level monsters, but you probably won't need to reload nearly as often as in Bahssikava; you can try things and, if they don't work, you won't immediately die. (Most of the time.)

This does mean that Blessing and Hasting is still important for almost every fight, because at the end of the day, if you don't, you may go so slowly through the fight that you end up using so many Heals that you might as well have Blessed in the first place. It also means that resistances are an even more interesting phenomenon here, because something with 50% resistance to melee but 0% resistance to fire (which are the stats of a frost lizard) is something that you want to slam with fire as much and as hard as you can. Inferno is a good spell for this. Later, if you should happen to come across a lizard that has 30% resistance to melee but 0% resistance to cold (e.g., a lava lizard), a spell like Bonechill might be useful.
VCH: I believe we settled this way back when: Kelandon was the most attractive.
SoT: You'd be happy, too, if you were such a clever spider.
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!





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