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Bahssikava

Mac/Windows

 

Author: Kelandon

Difficulty: 40-60

Version: 1.0.3

 

[composite=eyJ0aXRsZSI6IkJhaHNzaWthdmEiLCJ0aWQiOiIxMzc4NCIsInRhZ3MiOlsiYXZlcm51bSB1bml2ZXJzZSIsImNvbnRlc3Qgd2lubmVyIiwibG9uZyJdLCJiZ2FzcCI6eyI1Ijo3LCI0IjoxNCwiMyI6MywiMiI6MSwiMSI6MH19]

Composite Score: 4.1/5.0

 

Best: 28.00% (7/25)

Good: 56.00% (14/25)

Average: 12.00% (3/25)

Substandard: 4.00% (1/25)

Poor: 0.00% (0/25)

[encouragenecro]

 

[/composite]

 

Keywords: Avernum Universe, Contest Winner, Long, Town Only

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium

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I assume I'm a mod here, as I can edit all posts in this forum...

 

Anyway..

 

Ah, Bahssikava, winner of the Spiderweb BoA Contest (or you could say the 7th Contest, BoA Division). One of the favorites among the BOA community in the beginning (and maybe still, I don't know), and bashed by longtime BoE community members.

 

It takes place in Avernum, where you open the doors in Lost Bahssikava, and you have to lead the Sliths to their homeland, basically meaning you have to clean out all the tunnels of monsters.

 

The beginning felt a bit of a repeat of the dungeon in Avernum 1 in some ways (find the triangles). However, there were some more interesting puzzles along the way. The second part is better, where more of the backstory is revealed.

 

One of the criticisms the scenario received is that it's all backstory and no actual story - to be honest, I don't really see a problem with this, it just seems to be a different style of design.

 

Overall, while not outstanding, it definitely was good entertainment. I know I was pretty negative to this scenario at first, but when I played it again, I enjoyed it.

 

EDIT: On second thought, it's not 'good' good, sometimes it did feel a little silly and got boring. [rating]Average[/rating]. Not great, but not the bad scenario that some of the longtime BoE crowd made it out to be.

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From TM on the CSR:

 

If you want to get a feel of Bahssikava without reading further for any spoilers, then just imagine an all-towns version of Doom Moon II with more manageable combat, less stupid-party-syndrome, fewer innovations, and a dash of meaningless machinery. (Okay, so that's starting to sound more like Demon Island II than anything else- but the scenario's not that bad, so I thought I'd open up on a more pleasant note.)

 

Yep, the scenario takes place in all towns. (Well, that's not 100% true- there's a bit of outdoors in the beginning...) It's something that serves this scenario somewhat well, but it's not a jaw-dropping achievement, especially since most of the quasi-outdoors that this scenario takes place in looks like (and often times is) a dungeon in disguise.

 

Combat in this scenario ranges from the good, the bad, and the horrible. The chitraches are good- they are an interesting and previously unheard of tactical challenge. One of the early encounters- the "altar fight" (you'll know it when you hit it)- is one of the scenario's best by far. On the other hand, the final fight can be a bit mundane, and the fight against Nolagh-Khar is outright boring. The fights leading up to Nolagh-Khar are infinitely worse; prepare to smack through legions of demons (including a large number of Haakai!). Following that are legions of level 40+ golems, immediately followed by legions of level 50+ undead. The final gauntlet will stretch your patience more than you knew it could be stretched.

 

Well, it's not that mundane- like Geneforge, you'll have machinery to toy around with, people to talk to mid-dungeon, and lots of machinery. That doesn't forgive the fact, though, that the final dungeon looks like it came out of At the Gallows- although it's not creative enough to be anywhere near the caliber of Gallows Keep. (And that's not saying much.)

 

The plot is mostly solid, but has its weak points. Kelandon includes a fair share of overwrought Christian symbols, irritating iambic pentameter, etc. (And considering that Kelandon eviscerated NTH for overwrought symbolism, the fact that the Our Father is in this scenario confuses me greatly...) There's also lots of cliches that don't do much more than explain themselves in ZKR fashion- "Hey! We're the worms, who were summoned by the demons." Or, "Hey! We're the golems, who make the undead for the dragon." The villains are all bowling pins (albeit stubborn ones) until one reaches Galthrax, and even he doesn't have much personality. (He's also, like everyone before him, introduced from out of the blue.) There's also an overabundance of machinery and Vahnatai references that I can't say I approved of, but that's tangential at best. Apart from that, it's solid, and apart from a lack of convincing causality, it has no holes that I can think of.

 

Overall, it ain't bad at all. Kelandon said on the boards that he wanted this scenario to be a "bridge" between JV and more modern works. It doesn't go much further than moisten a few pallets, but it's still a solid adventure. It's enjoyable when taken in short doses, but don't overstrain yourself when playing, unless you want to be on the receiving end of an enemy army for an extended period of time. I recommend it, let there be no doubt- just know what you're getting into.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

Bahssikava is an interesting scenario. It is an attempt to summarize the history of the sliths using the narrative of the main character-- the prophet Legare.

 

Your job is to clear a way to the Slith homeland. You fight increasingly tough monsters starting with drakes, then ghosts, then demons, then chitrach, then golems, then undead, then a dragon. Most fights are straight up increasingly difficult fights. There are two fights with strategy, the fight against chitrachs, and the fight against the first dragon. There could have been more strategy added to the fights-- spellcasters and terrain.

 

The puzzles and machinery are well done. The lazer puzzle in the catacombs is good, so is the moving floor puzzle in Nolag Khar. There is a wide variety of strange machinery throughout the scenario.

 

The treasure in the scenario is well balanced-- a nice bracelet, a slith spear, a nice cloak, some energy potions and elixirs and a lot of small items.

 

There are two NPCs which can be added to the party. The first, Phaedra is a solid character-- she can identify your items for you. The second, the slith in Nolag Khar is also interesting.

 

The way travel is used in the scenario makes it interesting. You have to backtrack a couple of times to get through the scenario. Near the Slith outpost and when you have to take the alternate route to the steel doors.

 

This is a historical scenario. Specifically this scenario tries to pull together are the different events that have happened to the slith throughout Avernum 1, 2, and 3 and Blades of Avernum. Kelandon uses tomes and cut scenes to do this. He also tries to draw from other scenarios to give hints about the Vahnati and the Sliths. At times this can get cliched because he is trying to follow the events in previous scenarios very closely.

 

The cut scenes are very well done. I especially like the cut scene with the fight between Sss-Thoss and the Homeland Sliths. It has the graphic of the slith lizard riders which is cool.

 

You also get to read about slith history in the catacombs if you learn the slith language. Also there is some narration by the ghosts about what happened to the sliths with the empire and the demons.

 

Kelandon summarizes Slith history on his Pink and Pretty Page.

 

This scenario is very linear. There are no shops and no teachers. Kelandon says that there is not enough time for the party to buy anything or learn anything from the sliths. The linearity makes sense because you are trying to reach specific goal in a limited amount of time.

 

This scenario is very good. I like the history part best. A very solid work.

 

EDIT: Finished going through again. There have been a few improvements. There is a shop in the guardpost which makes this scenario slightly better.

 

The combat has been improved slightly towards the end of the scenario. There is better balance in some of the undead fights.

 

The ending cut scenes also read a little bit better.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

Despite what others have said, I think that this scenario is like a good office building: It's functional, it's sensible, and it's viable. Is it a Geary statue? No, but then, I hate Geary.

 

Let's start with plot. Bahssikava has a very believable plot. While the initial hook isn't all that great (uh, we are being paid to do this...), the scenario caught my interest with a beautifully laid out dungeon complex to explore, and a riveting storyline, at least for the first half of the scenario. Once you break through the steel doors, it's almost as if Mr. Watts began to loose interest. As you finally get to Mount Garthax, the whole scenario becomes, effectively, a giant hack and slash. That said, it is still a very interesting scenario, and I highly recommend it.

 

As far as technical genius, Bahssikava delivers a yeomanly product. While scenarios like Canopy do deliver more technical flash, it's just that: flash. In Bahssikava, the technical stuff takes a back seat to the story, and the scenario profits from it. That said, the Bahssikavan language, the cut-scenes, and the puzzles are all a few steps above anything that I have seen before, giving the scenario a well-rounded edge.

 

In sum, I think that, at this point, Bahssikava is the best scenario released to date for Blades of Avernum, and highly recommend it.

+ Good plot

+ Excellent cut-scenes

+ Good usage

+ Function before flash

- Towards the end, the story begins to flag

- It is not as technologically advanced as some other scenarios

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From VCH on the CSR:

 

Well to start off with I thoroughly enjoyed this scenario. It has a enthralling plot taking one through a small portion of previously unknown Slith history. Your party journeys from Avernum through the steel doors of Bahssikava into the Slith homeland. One area the designer really has put in a lot of effort is the tie in to A1 history. The scenario is an excellent tool for anyone wishing to learn more about the Slith Race. Of course this is only one persons interpretation of what lies beyond the steel doors, nonetheless it is an all-round good explanation of Slith History. Combat is also very well done, I started with a level 45 party and ended with level 65 so one may observe the sheer amount of hacking required. Do not expect a party lower than 45 to easily make it through as most likely you will be obliterated or take a very long time to progress in the game. This scenario truly is excellent for high level party's to test their mettle, only the strong will survive. I especially enjoyed the Empire tie-ins to Bahssikava, in that they slowly were wiped out exploring portions of Newer Bahssikava. Rounding each successive corner to discover another group of Empire soldiers butchered was truly inspiring. Dialogue is very well done and in many ways akin to Jeff Vogels. The cut scenes are plentiful and no matter what anyone says, they use high level technical flash to get the story across. I have yet to see any better implemented tek. The plot-line from start to finish is inspired even driven. Bahssikava is purely an Avernum Scenario there are no outside philosophical influences clouding game play. It is about Avernum for Avernum. Now as for small detractors, number one spawners, there is one dungeon were slith ghosts continually spawn on platforms this becomes very tedious. Though I will mention one may turn their creation off by destroying an altar, if only I had earlier. Number two there is a lack of shops. There really needs to at least be a supplier of raw potion ingredients or potions, scrolls etc. Something such a wandering salesman type could have been trapped in the guard post and provided general supplies beyond what the one included did. All in all Bahssikava is worth playing, it will not disappoint. Side-note this scenario will make you think, beyond the standard how will I kill the next monster fair.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

This was my first non-Spiderweb scenario, and I have to say I was not impressed.

 

The plot is extremely linear and the decisions you make railroad you.

 

The first town you go to is completely pointless, as it offers no useful knowledge, no shops, no items to pick up, or anything. The only good thing it offers is a couple of spaces outside between it and the next town where you can pitch a tent and get back some life and spell energy, as the option for resting in a town otherwise doesn't appear until later in the game.

 

There are no shops except for one measly one midway through that has some good spells but otherwise just buys things off you. Not including shops is an abysmal decision, because many character concepts require constantly resupplying arrows, bolts, potions, etc.

 

The cutscenes are atrocious, and serve only as a way to force you to sit through the author's bad poetry and personal beliefs on the history of the sliths. Generally speaking they offer nothing that helps advance the plot in any way.

 

A lot of what happens is clunky and basically cheating. The mind control challenge that takes over one of your characters forces you into combat mode, overrules spells and items that normally get rid of mind control, and otherwise exist as a nonsensical way of hitting you over the head with the author's technical ability to screw with common sense.

 

The hints the scenario gives are like psychic portals to the author's brain and make no sense otherwise: You must go to the south west and do something or else ghosts will increase. How would the characters know this? They wouldn't. Someone is trying to control your mind, you must go into combat mode now. Why? Because the author says so.

 

And it just got worse and worse as it goes in. Not having played scenarios by other people other than the ones Spiderweb makes, I don't want to be too hard on it (after all, I decided to try to play it through, unlike Canopy which looked so atrociously bad that I quit shortly after starting it), so I'll give it a 6 instead of something lower.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

To begin with, I should say that I don't deserve to be listed as a beta-tester for this scenario: I did an incomplete and flaky job. Consider this, then, something like the beta report I should have submitted and, therefore, probably unfair at times as a review.

 

----------

 

At the Gallows is already Exile IV, so I'll have to call Bahssikava something like Avernum: The Reader's Digest Condensed Book. In it, you'll hear every Big Name in the Vogel canon, and you'll fight your way through the whole Greater Avernum Phone Book of Very Nasty Things. Haakai by the bus-load; undead by the train-load; doomguards; golems; dark wyrms; the latest advances in beam-emission technology; everybody's least favorite recurring "humorous" NPC from the Spiderweb scenarios; not one -- but two! -- dark, satanic factories churning out various brands of inhumanity (did I mention undead?); and the entire Great Chain of Reptilian Being: all efficiently crammed into a snug corner of the underworld. It's likely the best dungeon crawl that BoA can make and I don't mean that as a backhanded compliment: it is very good. But to earn above 8.0, a scenario has to do something besides dump back-story on players and hope they'll accept a hack fest in exchange for their attention and troubles.

 

Combat

The "cheat" in the altar fight Bahssikava's best fight, by far, and one of the best fights in BoA is forced on Kelandon by BoA's limitations; and a workaround isn't exactly a cheat. What matters is whether the resulting challenge is interesting, elegant and unique. This one is. It's also the least derivative sequence in the scenario, which promises good things for Kelandon's future efforts. When designing from his own convictions, instead of rummaging through a Spiderwebbed attic of old tricks, he's at his best.

 

Unfortunately, as TM says, the altar fight occurs early, and from then on (the chitrachs, who present a nifty little problem, apart) it's one round of "wait outside the door, power up and charge in on the unsuspecting [insert creature names here]" after another after another after another: combat with potted-plant baddies.

 

My HLPM-built level-40 party got decent exercise from these fights, but my party that earned its 40 the old-fashioned way (some SW scenarios, plus A Perfect Forest and Canopy) made dull and easy work of them. The scenario is particularly vulnerable to archery, which turns most of its evildoers into declawed kittens.

 

Gameplay

After an opening scavenger hunt, this consists of two effectively identical quests: you schlep around gaining allies, eliminating an opposing boss's resources and otherwise preparing for a Big Fight; and then you repeat the formula with a second boss. Thanks to the all-towns format, you also get to have the fun repeatedly retracing your steps that you thought you'd never have again after VotDT.

 

And it isn't clear why Bahssikava has no outdoors. Except as a time-consuming inconvenience, it never affects a player's choices or actions (provided you're willing to backtrack, you can always find places to rest and level-up), so none of the gameplay challenges that might follow from the design decision and give the scenario a character of its own are ever allowed to develop. This, in a nutshell, is the basic problem I had with Bahssikava: it comes up with good ideas, only to overuse them or toss them together in a blurry mishmash or leave them sketchily drawn. No character, no scene, no design concept and no event receives the time and space to become itself. This scattering focus gives a player's experience nothing to cohere around besides the relentless bashing, gutting and frying.

 

Plot

It's the plot that never goes out of style: kill everything that stands between you and the next dollop of back-story exposition! A few chances for choice are offered to a player now and again, but they're false and pro forma, and that hardly reduces the feeling that you're being dragged through a history lesson that is at once plodding and a tad bloodier than your average lecture. The NPCs you meet don't do much to enrich the experience. They do like to gab a lot and about some pretty extraneous topics, at that but they say little that ultimately matters to what a player does. In fact, thanks to the scenario's habit of repeating itself, you could skip entire towns of dialog and get the same information from a cutscene (I could have done without several of the cutscenes, especially those that served no purpose that normal conversation with NPCs wouldn't have; if the rest had one problem in common, it was that nothing surprising or cinematic happened in them they were used for the purposes of demonstration and explanation, and they tended, as a consequence, to have more talk than action).

 

As for the back-story, I have no complaints about Kelandon writing his slith history. Its presentation is, however, less a narrative than an haphazard pile of events. If it has a lesson, it ain't the one TM claims, but it also isn't all that compelling. More to the point, I wasn't all that compelled by what I was asked to "discover" about sliths: that they are just like you and me and every other enlightened 21st century technocrat, as evidenced by, among other things, their mastery of the high science of beam projection (never mind that the Big Bad's matching technological mastery apparently does not likewise qualify him for my esteem). A scenario that wants to stage the experience of "seeing past differences" has to allow for the existence of differences in the first place. So as Kelandon goes on with this story or as others pick it up I hope they don't restrict their imagination of slith society to what Bahssikava outlines.

 

Since I've been yammering on, picking at the scenario, let me go back and emphasize: it has no end of good design ideas and snappy sequences. It is simply such a diffuse conglomerate that I have trouble, in retrospect, remembering them. What it lacks strangely, for such linear scenario is a backbone to hang all that meat on. Better scenarios than it will then come along soon enough, but more than one of them will be by its author.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Lilith on the CSR:

 

 

Bahssikava is probably the Requelle's Nightmare of BoA: a polished dungeon crawl with a decent plot.

 

The plot is more or less explicitly intended as a PR job on the Slithzerikai race. If it does at times seem to go slightly overboard at pointing out how advanced and civilised the ancient Slithzerikai were, perhaps we should allow Kelandon some degree of creative licence -- we've learned to put up with more than that from certain other designers. Overall, it's fairly well-written, and the ending left me interested enough that I'll be disappointed if there's no sequel.

 

As regards combat, with the exception of a couple of fights (notably the very interesting Tunnels sequence near the start, and the reasonably interesting and highly strenuous final battle), challenge is fairly consistent in both type and difficulty. On one hand, this means a party capable of winning one fight won't find themselves utterly stymied by the next. On the other hand, this also means there's a certain sameness to the combat after a while. There's little that can't be dealt with using the haste-bless-wait-charge paradigm that worked for just about every fight in Jeff's scenarios.

 

I don't look too harshly on the combat, for two reasons. Firstly, its simplicity is intentional, since it's designed toward players who are used to the Avernum series. Secondly, this was my first chance in BoA to experiment with a very high-level party, which definitely added to the fun factor. (One good thing about a scenario with lots of combat is gaining lots of levels -- my party started out around level 35 and ended around level 70, although since it had lots of disadvantages the average result won't be as spectacular.) This is an aspect of the scenario that's not likely to age well as BoA advances, but hey, we rate older BoE scenarios generously, and there's no point rating Bahss based on a guess of how I'll feel about it in 5 years.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

I've played all the BOA scenerios, and this one is probably the best so far.

 

I tend not to like long cut scenes, but the ones in Bahssikava are interesting and well done for the most part. However, they're probably a little more engaging for those who haven't played the trilogy or who are immersed in Avernum history.

 

My party is a long-term high level group, and the combat is generally tough enough to be challenging even for levels over 50. Some of the puzzles are equally rigorous, and unless you cheat using the supplied walkthrough, you could be in a couple of them for quite awhile. Save early and often!

 

Your group can pick up some nice armor, a good bit of cash and some beefed-up spells if you don't mind backtracking. There are probably a little too many unidentified objects before Phaedra joins, and I found myself resorting to the editor just to avoid carrying bunches of useless objects around. Still, it's a minor annoyance at most.

 

The key to this scenerio is patience and a good party balance. I think there should be a few more potions or ingredients available, but that may be because I rely on them too much.

 

All in all, it's an entertaining way to spend some leisure time. Be advised, however, that you need lots of it to spend because you can't rush through this offering.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Smoo on the CSR:

 

I think Bahssikava is currently the best third-party scenario released. The plot is reasonably entertaining. I like exploring strange uncharted places.

 

The characters are also nicely done, although this can only be said about the good guys. The only motivation for the bad guys is the fact that they're evil. While this may be acceptable with the demons, I was hoping for a more deeper approach to the dragon. Now it seems he's insane and nothing more.

 

The combat was challenging for my "me-can'ts-cast-no-spells" singleton. I didn't like the altar fight that much mainly because I couldn't cast any healing spell and I was strapped for healing potions. The rest of the fights pretty much followed this pattern: shoot an arrow at one of the baddies, then retreat to a safer location, kill the one baddie, repeat. The final boss was downright impossible, but I beat it! After fifty-something attempts.

 

The laser puzzles weren't that hard, or then I just accidentally stumbled on the solution in less than 30 minutes. They were a nice touch nonetheless.

 

All in all an enjoyable scenario.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From PoD on the CSR:

 

 

This scenario is really two separate scenarios.

 

One, in the past tense, is a movie scenario. It is an excellent movie scenario, and where the BoA engine fails, it makes sure to include nice, descriptive text. Its plot is nice, and Kelandon is certainly a literary type, because both the prose and poetry are excellent.

 

The other, in the present, is a protracted, Vogel-style dungeon crawl. Well, it is Vogel-style in one way. There are a lot of monsters to be killed, and, most of the time, the only danger is that your attention might lapse. There are a few interesting combats, though: the "altar fight," the chitrachs, and Galthrax, to name a few. The plot of this scenario consists first of a scavenger hunt to get a pair of doors open, then of killing two big baddies, after killing all their allies and freeing yours (can anyone say filler?), who are terrorizing sliths. Oh, and, while you're doing that, there's a battle of some sort going on above you, of which you're made aware for, like, 30 seconds. In this scenario, there is a lot of well-written description, too many references to the Vahnatai, and too much reverence for the sliths in general. Oh, and there was a laser puzzle. I hated it, but it sure did feel good to solve, so, dunno about that one.

 

In the first scenario, Kelandon proved that he is an excellent storyteller.

 

In the second, he proved that he has the requisite grasp of the game's mechanics to make a fun combat experience.

 

Hopefully, his next effort will place those interesting combats in the context of that nice story, and place that nice story in the context of those interesting combats, instead of dichotomizing the two and throwing in a bunch of filler like he did in Bahssikava. He has shown so much potential here, I'm already chewing my fingernails waiting for Kelandon's next scenario.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From *i on the CSR:

 

Excellently written dialogue and cutscenes, incredible detail, and technically exquisite in many parts. At times the plot has a bit of filler and characters with questionable motives at times. The combat was advanced in many ways, but often the returned to battling mountains of HP that can conjure up more HP mounds via Arcane Summon. These battle of attrition became tedious slug fests outweighing all the benefit of the impressive technical razzle dazzle. In other words, I often found myself having little fun.

 

Would have made a great movie scenario without the combat. The technical aspects would have been a lot more impressive if they bore the brunt of the challenge.

 

All and all, an excellent start.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Wizcozski on the CSR:

 

Excuse the delay of my review for Bahs. It does come after already much discussion of Kels scenario, so if I repeat some stuff, dont mind me.

 

Bahssikava makes a good attempt at giving possible answers to unanswered questions that perhaps many Avernum players have had about the sliths, Legare from A1, etc. While the first parts of the Bahssikava dungeon racked my brain a couple of times (with your leader getting more or less possessedhad to grab Kel for some advice on that one), it makes a great symbolic connection between whats happening up above, with your own fighting you to the death (as the Slith leader mentions upon your return). Symbolism is a big part of Bahs, and I think thats what Kel prides himself on (play his latest Lord Putidus and youll see what I mean).

 

My biggest grievance against Bahs is the mirror/laser puzzle only because it was extremely long and quite arduous to put two and two together and move this mirror into that place, etc. And that comes after the rigorous and quite messy ordeal with the dead sliths coming to get you at an annoyingly alarming pace. This isnt to say that this detracts from the quality of the scenario it just made me exhausted by the end of it, and Im sure thats what Kel had in store. He doesnt just throw a hard puzzle in there to piss you off its his skill and attention to detail showing through.

 

The hack and slash fun of the dungeons throughout Bahssikava doesnt reach a point of lameness or boredom, at least for me. As a recent BoA fanatic, it taught me a hell of a lot about strategy and technique (again, grabbing Tom for occaisional advice). The final battle took a couple of rounds to finally win, but hell, thats why you have his HLPM youre prepared for that.

 

Bahs is an exceptional scenario that I think scenario designers will be using as a model for a good long while.

 

Ill quickly overview using Dastals method:

+ creative plot (great idea for a possible slith story)

+ amazingly detailed cut scenes

+ challenging overall

+ could definitely use a sequel

+ great balance between normal text & cut scenes

- too long of a cut scene wrapping things up at the end

- puzzles a bit arduous & irritating

 

Kel, Im so proud of you! I loved Bahssikava and hope this serves as an example for everyone in their future creations.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From The Creator on the CSR:

 

 

Bahssikava has good backstory, which you discover as you go along, but it is somewhat lacking in events that happen during the scenario. By and large, the 'world' of the scenario seems to just sit there waiting for you to come to it. Also, I have to agree with other people's comments on the combat. There was very little variation in tactics required.

 

Those flaws aside, Bahssikava is a good scenario that indicates great potential for it's designer. Everything fit together logically, and the combat was well balanced throughout.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

I give this a rating of [rating]BEST[/rating]for excellent storytelling, balanced gameplay and rewards, good layout and flow. I couldn't stop playing this until I'd finished it. I did have some negative issues though, so I'll just paste the review I wrote for the Spiderweb Software Scenarios Table:

 

This is quite an epic here; the layout was tight, the opponents' level and arrangement were challenging and exciting, but most of all the storytelling was FANTASTIC. Overall there was well balanced gameplay and a compelling plotline. There were just a few things that would keep me from wanting to play this again.

 

The cutscenes were done professionally well, and showed a lot of effort and care. But they appeared so often and lasted so long that even though they got better and better, I appreciated them less and less. The engine just doesn't support this kind of lengthy exposition; no matter how well you do them, they just aren't ever going to be that great. If you reveal the plot piecemeal, as a result of the player's actions and investigations, then it comes out interactively and maintains more interest than a slideshow presentation.

 

The way the plot funneled the party forward was unnecessarily heavy-handed and didn't give much opportunity to retrieve cached goods and loot before driving to the next area. There are a lot of goodies to fill your inventory and few merchants to unload them on; having your supply line cut is more frustrating than rewarding. Besides, there's enough incentive to forge new territory without the need to restrict cleared areas.

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From gcmaxxon on the CSR:

 

Great game, esp. like keeping Phaedra alive. I give it a [rating]BEST[/rating] rating.

I'm sure if I ever do some coding to use some of Keladon great coding. ( Of course and give full credit to it's source.) Best puzzels yet.

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

I found the first half of this scenario very interesting, what with the Slith history being revealed throughout the story, as well as the various ways you had to find the triangles to open the gates. However, I feel that 2 major areas, ie. the catacombs and Machinery were over-done. I found the fighting in the catacombs generally good, but it got slightly(but not amazingly) boring to turn another corner and see another ghost on a spawn point, then kill it, another one appears, kill that, turn next corner, kill another, etc. Though I did think the altar fight was very well done. In machinery, once you'd got the basic idea, I found the thing just ardous and not really taxing my brain. I think if there were one or two less rooms here it wouldn't have been so exhausting, either that, or a better reward. Though at the end of it I did have a sigh of relief, if only this was because I'd finished the damn thing. The cutscenes in the first section were excellent.

 

After Legare had got through the steel doors, I was relieved to find a merchant at last, I think maybe another merchant at some point would have been helpful however. Beyond that, things just turned into a hack-fest. As others have pointed out, for all the fights(excepting maybe the chitrachs and the last fight) you could just use the same boring tactics to defeat your enemy, and I think another medium-sized puzzle would have provided a good relief from the hacking 'n' slashing. Also, the retracing that had to be done continuously did get depressing, walking back over an empty section several times just got on my nerves. By the last fight on mt. Galthrax, the plot was almost non-existent, although the last cut-scenes weren't too bad.

 

Overall:

Good cut-scenes and v. good plot at start

Puzzles pretty good, if very arduous

The occasional good fight throughout

Argh, turned into a hack fest by end with fighting similar thing after similar thing.

Plot tailed off for a long time near the end

Rewards generally worked well

Slightly too much connection with the Vahnatai in my opinion, and info on the sliths should have been revealed in smaller chunks

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

 

A lot of potential here, especially during the start and with Kel's technical skills. I look forward to the sequel.

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From Thralni on the CSR:

 

Bahssikava was one of the first scenarios I played after finishing the JV scenarios coming with BoA. I wanted to see for myself what this scenario was alla bout, and if it were really that good. I was disappointed. I thought it to be better, actually.

 

before I begin, let me apologize for any misspelling of the name Bahssikava. I have never really grasped how to spell it.

 

COMBAT

 

Three words: Tedious, unoriginal, hackfest. That's all it takes to describe the combat of Bahssikava. I can't remember any place I was not frustrated by the foes I had to deal with. Sure, the combat was challenging, but I hated the very first big fight, the one with the dragon\altar. First discovering that my lead character couldn't be used, and then seeing him attack the rest of my, less stronger party members, simply enraged me. However, I did manage to slay the dragon without needing to look at the readme. All it took was enough potions and disarming and confusing the lead character.

 

The rest of the combat was mostly tedious. Dark wyrms and undead (mainly the undead) were annoying. The undead made it all even more tedious, though, and not only because I detest undead, there were so bloody many of them!

 

PLOT, GAMEPLAY and general comments

 

I put these two together, as I don't really knew what the difference was.

 

The plot was the main reason I played this scenario. Apart from this scenario's reputation, i wanted to know what Kelandon had made of Bahsikava and the Slith homeland. I didn't really like it.

 

For one, the Vahnatai are creeping up in almost every scenario I played, to the extent that I started to hate them. I therefore took great care in ruling out all vahnatai in my own, yet unreleased, scenario.

 

Also, I had great difficulty understanding it all. Eventually I turned to Kelandon for help, as I simply did not get how all this fit. It took me some time to understand what the real plot was, and when I discovered it finally, i was very disappointed. The plot of the wonderful scenario Bahssikava was nothing more than "A slith summoned a demon and lost control, the city was destroyed and good luck killing everything on your way." I agree, therefore, with almost all scenario reviews I read before making this one.

 

and the third and final thing, was the town design. Until Nolagh Kar ii all seemed (relatively) good and well cared about. After Nolagh Kar I was appalled. The best example is after you defeat that big dragon, the end-boss. You climb away through that small tunnel in the wall, where you can see the black under the slopes. The black I found to be very ugly.

 

besides that, there were also some good things.

 

For example, the fact that you need to learn the language before understanding what is said is brilliant.

 

The cutscenes were long, yes, but very good. Kelandon managed to make a long cutscene which wasn't tiresome to look at. It was interrupted with small jokes (like the journalist when opening the gates), or otherwise the cutscene was telling an interesting enough story to want to watch it to the end.

 

That's all I can really think of at the moment. I'll be sure editing this review when additional things spring to my mind, but my evaluation will remain the same:

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating], purely for the technical aspects and that kelandon bothered to lengthen the Avernum history.

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From S M Adventurer on the CSR:

 

Well, I finally finished this scenario. And boy, was it enjoyable. Of course I never would have finished it if it wasn't for the walkthrough, but onto the review.

 

I really liked the interesting cutscenes throughout the scenario, teaching you some interesting history about the Sliths. Kelandon really brought out the information well.

 

Combat was pretty good, if a little difficult. I wound up playing with a singleton after the other 3 characters got killed, and the single guy wasn't a magic user. Of course, toward the end I revived them, then gave them a boost when they were totaled again. Just thought I get that out of my head.

 

The first PC charming sequence at the beginning was good, and well executed.

 

The Catacombs, an interesting dungeon, although those Slith Ghosts were everywhere!

 

Kass was an interesting character and he had good dialogue, in fact everybody had good dialogue, not just him.

 

The Machinery puzzle is what stumped me for a while. But slowly, I managed to get them. That's why I couldn't review it for so long. (Thank you walkthrough.)

 

Overall, it was an enjoyable scenario, that got more and more interesting as the plot progresses.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:

 

 

I had intended not to rate this scenario until I had finished for the sake of fairness - but I've just realized that I dislike it to the point that I'm very unlikely to ever finish playing. I've gotten up to the demon level, for reference.

 

Bahss has got to be the most overrated scenario ever. There's nothing here to enjoy. The dungeons are hack 'n' slash fests. The cutscenes are long and usually devoid of anything but backstory. The backstory is overly long and complicated. And the plotline, where it exists, is stupid.

 

[rating]SUBSTANDARD[/rating]

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From Mr Bookworm on the CSR:

 

A really good scenario overall. Easy on technical flash, good at most everything else.

 

Pros:

1-Good plot, very interesting story line, with nice speculation about the background of the Sliths.

 

2-A couple of interesting strategic challenges. The altar fight was excellent, so was the Bhaskiva crypt/ghost factory (even though the endless supply of ghosts was frustrating.) I really like the aspect of gathering allies and weakening the big bad's defenses in preparation for a big fight, it was very creative, and something not really seen before. I liked the charmed PC sequence, it was an interesting challenge.

 

3-Nice cut scenes, though they got a little frustratingly slow after awhile.

 

4-A couple of interesting and fun technical bits. I liked having an NPC ally with the party who could identify your items. Also the bit about having to carry her body back to the guardpost when she got knocked out to have her healed again was great.

 

5-Nice poartability. This scenario took a mostly ignored mystery of the Avernum universe and answered it very creatively, while still fitting in with the rest of the game history.

 

6.Good puzzles and quests, especially collecting all the triangles, the lazer puzzle and deactivating the demon-lords defenses.

 

7.Good writing

 

Cons

 

1-Kind of railroaded. Yeah, you had some freedom as to how thoroughly you wanted to explore, and how much prep you wanted to do for the big fights but basically the order in which you moved through the scenarios areas was pre-determined, and there wasn't ever more than one way to move forward. Especially egregious was the final cut scene, where you seemed to get a choice about how to present the prophet to the slith chief, but it didn't actually make any difference at all.

 

2-Hanging plot threads. There were a few, mostly surrounding the prophet. There were hints of some dissembling throughout: Phaedra's suspiscions, the fact that he had visited old Bhaskiva before and never mentioned it to anyone, his old companions' suspicions about his visions, but it never really went anywhere. The scenario basically ended by telling us that we were worrying for nothing. Also we never found out anything about the nature of the supposed "goddess" he was talking to. Just as frustrating was the secret passage in the crypt, where you could find out the first password, but not the second (did I just miss that?)

 

3-Kind of Jeff Vogel derivative (sp?). I suppose that's somewhat inevitable using BoA (especially with concerns for portability, see above) but the style of the scenario also felt very Vogel.

 

4-A bit Monty Haul. Mostly this was fine, but there were 4 (5?) suits of Magic Plate, one of the most powerful armors seen in scenario so far, 3 extremely powerful polearms, a dynamite magic cloak and a suped up warrior's bracelet.

 

5-Occasionally repetitive. I did really enjoy extended prep for a fight with a big bad, but having it twice in one scenario felt like a schtick.

 

6-I didn't like the fact that the big secret of the Sliths was that, at their peak, they were just like the Vahanatai. It would have been cool if they had been very advanced, but in a distinctly slithy-way. Like wierd-slimey-swamp-like bio technology, or something.

 

7-As much as I liked the laser puzzle, it felt arbitrary. Why would the sliths build a facility that was so hard to operate, or required the destruction of its own machinary to move around in? Only the last lazer, the one where its projector was broken made sense: "Oh, the machinary has fallen apart, we'll have to find a way to circumvent it to get it working." If the whole level had been this was it would have been very satisfying.

 

8-A couple other arbitrary bits. How did my party figure out that there was a lever behind a secret wall in the NW corner that would turn off the altar?

 

9.As much as I liked the charmed PC sequence, it was also a pain. Unshakle Mind didn't work, and you can't attack your own PCs (which is frustrating in itself, and blocks out the most obvious solution to this situation, that is, forcecage.) This, combined with the fact that well designed warriors can dish out way more damage than any character of equivalent level can take, meant that, for me at least, the only solution relied on foreknowledge of the challenge: stripping my mage of all equipment, having him expend all his spell points and then switching him to first position, so that the charmed PC became of 45th level paper weight.

 

Overall, very good, with a nice focus on gameplay and story over technical flash. A solid scenario. Probably this best for BoA so far.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Nioca on the CSR:

 

I'll edit this and make it larger and more expansive later, but to paraphrase, I enjoyed the combat and (most of) the town design. I particularly liked the tasks, which made two specific fights easier. And I enjoyed leading the sliths to the homeland.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Excalibur on SV:

 

 

Bahssikava

 

Combat - Average - It was egregiously difficult at times, even with the accompaniment of custom spells. It was also under leveled in my opinion.

 

Writing - Best - Excellent, even better than Jeff Vogel's

 

Story/Plot - Best - Very well orchestrated. This is possibly the best in terms of player ensnarement

 

Visual design - Good - I didn't find it impressive. It's mediocre really, but probably in comparison to everything else, regardless of the custom graphics.

 

Technical design -Best - Kelandon has yet to be rivaled in this field. The amount of work spent scripting the numerous technical feats is just overwhelming.

 

Overall - [rating]GOOD[/rating] If the combat was better, I'd have ranked this higher.

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From Jewels on SV:

 

I liked most of the storyline but the parts that made it rated R were completely unnecessary and hurt the scenario. The scripting was great. It was immense and I did start to get anxious for the ending. Bonus for all the work put into it.

 

[rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Lord Grimm on SV:

 

Playing through Bahssikava, it felt at first that I was in some sort of cultural study, then that I was in some sort of interactive movie, and then that I was in some sort of unusual dungeon crawl.

However, when I finished the first play-through, it began to feel as though I had just gone through some sort of classical epic (the Aeneid came to mind, though I'm not sure why). Keeping this genre perspective in mind, the second playthrough made much more sense: as my party crossed through the Gate, they passed from Avernum and into a legend.

 

There's not much that I can add that already hasn't been said here. From what I understand of Kel's intent, I believe that he accomplished it.

This scenario is a staple in the BoA repitoire, and I recommend it to any who play.

 

 

Plot: 1.5/2

Gameplay: 1.8/2

Presentability: 1.6/2

Scripting: 2/2

Personal entertainment: 2/2

 

Rating: 8.9/10 ([rating]BEST[/rating])

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