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Ess-Eschas

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  1. Thanks for pointing out the placement of the slith graphic! It looks like it might indeed be unique to the Windows version. The connection to Slith Avatars is a nice idea, but unfortunately it demonstrates the potential pitfalls of consulting the Avernum games to make comments about the Exile series. Usually, this is fine, since generally speaking the two series are very similar – they’re the same underlying games, after all! However, there are enough little differences under the surface that, sometimes, it’s possible to get caught out. I think this is one of those times. So far as I am aware, Slith Avatars are creatures unique to Avernum. They don’t appear in any installment of the Exile series. This includes Blades of Exile, released after the updated version of Exile I, so at least to me it seems unlikely that they were planned to be included in the first game. Indeed, I’m tempted to say that there aren’t any spectral sliths of any sort in Exile I, but I’m less sure about my memory on that point! So far as I can tell, Slith Avatars were created by Jeff as boss encounters for Bahssikava, a place unique to the Avernum games, and then ended up appearing in a few other places over the course of the series. Just to clarify, this creature is referred to as ‘Spider Lord’ in both versions of Exile I. I believe there’s no mention of a queen, or indeed any reference to that particular character being female. The Spider Lord might just be a particularly powerful aranea, with no more importance to the colony than that. Think, by way of comparison, of a Vahnatai Lord. It’s a fair assumption that Jeff might have intended the Spider Lord to be female, since he’s pretty knowledgable about spiders (the relevant idea in this case being the tendency of female spiders to be larger and stronger than males), but there’s no actual evidence of this in the game. Since I didn’t mention this before, I think linking these graphics to two boss encounters – the Spider Lord and Sss-Thsss – is reasonable. Both of these encounters feature multiple characters with the same sprite, and the only way the player can tell which is the stronger one as is is to ‘look’ at them. It can make the battles a little confusing. Having special sprites for the boss characters would solve that problem. Note that this has already been done for one of the other boss fights in Exile I – the fight with Grah-Hoth. Grah-Hoth has a unique sprite to distinguish him from the other demons in the same fight, even in the original version of the game, which makes the battle a little more intuitive. The original version of that graphic is rather neat, actually – he wears a chain, presumably denoting high office, and has golden horns, which makes it look a little like he is wearing a crown!
  2. Thanks Celtic! I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something obvious. Now that I’m writing, though, could you just confirm something for me? I currently only have access to the Mac version of Exile I – I don’t have a suitable system in place at the moment for running Windows programs from this era. Because of this, I can’t check the Windows MONST2 sheet myself. This is something else that’s probably obvious, but I just wanted to confirm that the sprite in this post is distinct from the slith sprite shown in the screenshot below (to the south of the player). This is resource number 926 in the Mac version. I imagine it is, since it’s different by sight, and is early enough in the listing to presumably be on MONST1, rather than MONST2. But I thought it worth checking. Basically, I want to rule out the possibility that this is a curious graphical anomaly!
  3. Hello digmo, I've just had a check, and you are indeed right. The fights with Sss-Thsss and the Spider Lord do not use special graphics for the important characters, even though it might seem like they should! The graphic used for the Spider Lord is that of a regular spider, and the graphic for Sss-Thsss is that of a Slith Chief, which makes sense. This is true for the Mac versions of the game, to clarify! The older versions of Exile I with the original graphics also had no special graphics for these characters. Your special spider graphic is placed at the end of the list of character graphics in the newer versions, which makes me think that it was intended for a special situation – the Spider Lord is an obvious choice – but that it was either never implemented, or it was tested, and Jeff didn't like the look of it. I'm less sure about your slith graphic, though. Do you have a number for the PICT resource showing that character, or could you let me know the characters that appear around it? I'm having trouble finding it in the graphics file. It's probably obvious, and I'm just missing it! Welcome to the forums, digmo! Please do stick around and have fun here! We're nice and friendly, and we enjoy answering questions. Incidentally, and this might be a little obscure, but I do hope your name is reference to Lode Runner 2 ...
  4. Yeah, this does keep getting more exciting. Congratulations, Kel! This is a major milestone indeed, and one worthy of celebration! Even if it’s in a slightly skeletal form, the Homeland trilogy (in four parts) is now in some senses complete from beginning to end. That’s a great thing – something I don’t imagine many on here would have anticipated even a few years ago – and it's a testament to your hard work. Hooray! While it would be unfair to say that the end is in sight, at least the top of the mountain range is coming into view ... Obligatory clipart below:
  5. While I can’t speak from a design perspective, this sounds awesome! Man, Kel, how do you keep making this scenario more exciting?
  6. Hello MaxRavenclaw, Sadly, I don't believe such functionality exists in the Avadon engine – although it would certainly be convenient if it did! If you want to check the values of flags, the only really practical way is to directly alter the scripts themselves. For instance, you can write in a series of little tests that display different messages depending on the value of a given flag. This is not very efficient, but it does allow you to manually check the values of flags, something that can be very useful when trying to trying to track down a problem! Is there a particular reason you want to read the flags? Depending on what you want to do, it's possible there might be an easier way to achieve the results you want by using some other approach!
  7. Hello Fireball Fodder, You’re correct, but with a slight caveat! In the Exile series, the location to which the nephilim teleport is never explicitly stated. The player can make several assumptions about where this might be, but there is no concrete evidence in the game itself. Personally, I’m of the opinion that the player never comes across the location. We know that, with the exception of one point in the caves, the Empire can only teleport into Exile using a pair of portals – one portal on the surface, and one in Exile. The portal in Fort Exile is interesting both because it is extremely powerful, but also because it prevents people in Exile from entering it. The player never comes across another portal even remotely like this, and given the power requirements it would probably be hard to hide away – powerful portals in Exile are described as casting unpleasant auras, after all. To my mind, it’s probably in a set of caves that the party never discovers. Since I mentioned it, the special teleportation point used by the Empire seems an unlikely option. This route is the one used by Empire spies and raiding parties, and it doesn't seem logical for them to teleport the nephilim there – after all, the nephilim would be decidedly hostile to the Empire, and I don't imagine they'd want such a hostile force clustered around their secret entryway! You made mention of the lower caves. Note that the idea of the lower caves appears every now and again in the Exile series. The ancient empire of the sliths heralds from these caves, as indeed do the vahnatai. Furthermore, the darkling sliths mentioned in the Za-Khazi Run also emerged from these lower caves. And, of course, the Za-Khazi Run also has the party travel far, far deeper into the caves than any other work Spiderweb wrote! It’s possible that the nephilim are teleported into a series of lower caves. After all, there are passages from these caves into the nation of Exile that have not yet been discovered (again, see the Za-Khazi run, amongst others). I could stop there, but this highlights an interesting recent change. As of the most recent remake of Exile, the 2011 Avernum: Escape from the Pit, this point of lore was slightly changed. Now, if you ask Janice the same question, she says: “They don't usually arrive at Fort Avernum, by the way. They tend to appear to the north.” So, not only do nephilim now occasionally appear through the portal we’re familiar with, but this ties down the location a little more. As shown in the games themselves, large groups of nephilim are clustered in the lands to the southwest of Formello, and in the northeastern parts of the Eastern Gallery. Maybe this gives an indication as to where this mysterious second portal might be?
  8. Ah, looks like I couldn’t get in before Kel! Still, here’s a slightly more wordy answer – which I put up just in case you’re not familiar with how dice rolls are handled in games like these. This question is probably best answered by a little reminder of how weapons work in Blades of Avernum. If you load up the game and hover your mouse over a weapon, underneath its name you’ll see a description that looks something like this (where I’m using arbitrary numbers for the purposes of demonstration): 5-25 dmg. + 1-5/level What this means is that there are two contributions to how much damage you do. The first number is a flat amount of damage. Whenever you successfully hit an foe, a number is selected at random from within this range. So, in this example, the first contribution will be somewhere between 5 and 25. The next number in the list is what’s important here. This contribution adds some extra damage that is multiplied by the ‘level’ of your character. This second contribution will add to your damage output a number randomly chosen within the range as multiplied by your ‘level’. So, let’s say, for this example, that you have a character who is ‘level’ 10. This second contribution will therefore add to your damage output a number between 1x10 = 10 and 5x10 = 50. We already know that the first contribution will add a number from between 5-25. This means that the range of damage you can do with your character is: Low: 5 + 10 = 15 High: 25 + 50 = 75 Now, the situation is actually a little more subtle than this – this is why I put ‘level’ in quotation marks. This parameter is actually made up of a combination of factors: Level = Strength + Weapon Skill + Item Increases where ‘Weapon Skill’ is a shorthand for Melee Weapons / Pole Weapons / Bows / Thrown Weapons, basically the skill associated with whatever weapon you are using. ‘Item Increases’ refers to what you’re asking about. If an item adds X levels of melee damage, then it adds X to your ‘level’ value. So, using the example above, it will add between X and 5X to your total damage output. If you’d like a little more information about the various skills, here’s a post that you might find helpful: http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/2523-the-abominable-party-building-topic/?do=findComment&comment=22575
  9. Yes! There's no special need to upgrade the display; everything it shows updates correctly. It's not entirely obvious at first blush that the number changes during gameplay, hence the need for this post, but the number shown on the training screen is always the one relevant to the decision you're making at the time!
  10. I'm just flagging up a small error in this, in the interests of transparency. The damage bonuses that arise from training to the top tier of the skill trees aren't actually flat increases, but instead vary depending on your level. Every sixth level, they increase by 1, starting at +1 at level 1. So, for instance, the bonuses are: Level 1: +1 Level 6: +2 Level 12: +3 Level 18: +4 It's not a huge change, but it ensures that the bonuses remain a little more relevant as your party levels up, and does more damage on average!
  11. Hello all, It’s been brought to my attention that several different posts have been giving some contradictory – and slightly inaccurate – information about the damage bonuses that arise from training to the top tiers of the skill tree. I’ll put a comment up on the strategy central advice thread about this, but I thought this was an important enough issue to flag up that it merited its own thread. When you train to the top tier of the ‘combat’ and ‘magic’ skill trees, one of the perks is an increase in your damage output – physical for the combat tree and magical for the magic tree. This is often reported as a flat increase to your damage by a single, fixed amount (for instance, +2), but that’s not actually the case. To make sure that this damage bonus stays relevant as your party levels up, and adds more damage as your party does more damage on average, this bonus scales discretely with your level! Every sixth level, these bonuses increase by 1. At the start of the game, both bonuses are only +1 (see this yourself with a new game!). When you reach level 6, they increase to +2. For completeness, the bonuses change like this: Level 1: +1 Level 6: +2 Level 12: +3 Level 18: +4 This increase keeps on going with increasing level, incidentally, but getting to the next increase at level 24 isn’t hugely practical in Queen’s Wish! In other words, just keep in mind that this bonus changes as you play!
  12. That's because the cause of the issue wasn't discovered in time to make it into this particular version, I'm afraid! It looks like there might be another update coming before too long that should fix this issue, along with anything else that needs addressing. In the meantime, I wouldn't worry too much about Mavlov's Laboratory. You've seen all there is to see (except for some rather worrying bloodstains that aren't spawning correctly – be sure to go back and visit after the next update!). This emphasises the importance of always being clear when reporting a problem, osnola! From what you've said here, it's now possible to piece together what you've been experiencing. The flag isn't being set correctly for that specific instance – when the stone is sent to your home fort, the part of the code that sets the flag is being skipped over, and that's not hugely obvious from just looking at the code. In other words, this is indeed a bug. Like the issue with Mavlov's Laboratory, it probably wasn't reported in time to make it into the current version. I'm assuming you mentioned that the stones were being sent to your home fort in your report – otherwise, it might be worth sending on a little update to your report that includes that point. Without that little bit of information, this is a problem that could easily be missed! For now, though, I'm simply imagining that Obro has a whole bunch of rocks that he wants to sell to whomever will buy them. You can't use any more than one during the game, so all that really happens here is the player spending money to build up a nice little rock collection!
  13. Ah, now I see what you mean! Your thoughts on the reasons for this are interesting but, just to prevent the spread of urban myths, Spiderweb’s games generally don’t check pack items for normal encounters. Rather, it only happens in very specific circumstances. The primary use is in item crafting, where the game will check whether you have the parts to make whatever you want to craft. Otherwise, for more normal encounters, different sorts of checks are used instead. Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about what your party is carrying in its pack! The way this encounter works is that you buy a stone, and a little checkmark (or ‘flag’) is set in the game. When you go into the conversation again, the game consults this checkmark, sees that it’s been marked, and doesn’t allow you to buy the stone again. It’s simple, and pretty hard to break. I’ve checked this myself in a variety of circumstances, and I’m afraid that I can’t replicate what you’re describing myself, at least not yet. What’s happening here is that you’ve either found a way to directly break some of the game’s flags – which shouldn’t happen under normal conditions – or you’re seeing a legacy bug from an old version that’s already been fixed – which I imagine is also somewhat unlikely. Either way, it’s good that this has been brought to Jeff’s attention! While it’s very unlikely that it's the cause, I’d hold off on visiting Mavlov’s Laboratory again until you’ve downloaded version 1.0.3, just to be on the safe side!
  14. Why not dig into Bassikava and Exodus (and The Magic, which is relevant) when you next have a run of free time, mikeprichard? These scenarios are some of the real high points of the output of BoA, and come very highly recommended. Indeed, there’s some speculation as to whether Jeff himself referenced these scenarios in the 2011 Escape from the Pit remake ... Although there’s a fair amount of time before Homeland reaches a testable stage, there’s no harm in getting started on the first games in the series early (especially if you've got Queen's Wish to work through first!). If you really stop and smell the roses, there’s an awful lot of meat to these scenarios, both in terms of the detail Kelandon has put in to the setting, but also in the continually interesting and varied combat situations. One of the things Bahssikava, Exodus and The Magic do really well is constantly putting the player into new and interesting battles, meaning that you may need to try a series of different strategies for different fights. Some of the fights might require some experimentation! Oh, and there are some extremely fine beam puzzles in Bahssikava, although most people don’t get quite as excited about those as I do ... To top it off, these scenarios are long. At least in my experience, they really benefit from a slow and steady playthrough over a long period. In fact, before diving in, I might suggest maybe warming up with a simpler scenario first – maybe something like Diplomacy with the Dead – just to get your BoA senses tingling again. Since you mentioned length, let’s put this into context. Homeland will have ~100 towns when it’s finished. Exodus was 60 towns long, with a vast outdoors. Bahssikava is formed of 22 towns and The Magic, the smallest of the bunch, has 13 towns overall. Avernum: Escape from the Pit has 80 towns in total. So, when taken together, the Homeland games have about two and a half times the number of towns as the first Avernum game! In fact, in terms of raw real estate, the series will probably be somewhat larger by comparison – this is because Kelandon’s towns seem to be more on the larger end of things compared to Avernum, and I imagine that won’t be changing in the third instalment. Do give these scenarios a try at some point. You won’t be disappointed!
  15. Hello Freedom Cobra, Sorry to hear that you’ve been having problems with Queen’s Wish. While there are those on these forums who might be able to help you with this issue, I suspect you’ll get a much quicker answer if you drop a line directly to the developer’s support email. The address is: support@spiderwebsoftware.com The developer is very good and prompt at answering support queries, which he does himself. And if this turns out to be a bug in the engine, he’ll be able to track down the cause and put out a quick fix, which might in turn help any other players experiencing the issue. Sorry not to be more helpful, and I hope that you manage to find a solution to your problem! Do try to stick with Queen’s Wish if you can, though. It’s an excellent game! And, of course, if you have any other queries at all, do feel free to ask!
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