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Everything posted by Smoo

  1. Glad you liked Magus of Cattalon, and the way I understood it, pretty much all of my stuff. Could I have just set the scenario in the past to begin with? Sure, but didn't wanna. Why? Well, like I mentioned earlier, the intended audience for my scenarios was pretty much just me. The way I see it, the party that enters MoC is the one that has gone through all the prepacked scenarios, or maybe they've leveled up organically through third party scenarios. The point is, I like to think that all the scenarios (unless specifically set in another universe) are set in the same universe and can thus be completed by the same party forming a connected narrative between the scenarios. This was certainly a core designing principle for me which is why all my scenarios have some kind of references to Jeff's scenarios and Avernum games. If I'd just set the scenario in the past, it would have made the scenario unconnected thus violating this core rule of mine. I also want to be very clear about one thing. I like the way the scenario switches from one plot to the other. The time travel stuff was supposed to blindside the player. The player was supposed to think that the scenario was shorter than it is. Now, is this "good" story-telling? Maybe not, but again, I liked it. Also, your playthrough actually jogged my memory about what Polonius's "Bless the Children" ritual was originally really about. You pointed out the stairways in the Magi Tower leading down to what remains of Blood Citadel. Polonius found the ruins and discovered the remains of the giants portal, was good enough to sort of reverse engineer his own portal, but not good/patient enough to do it right which is why the portal is kind of busted from the get go. He also found enough ancient knowledge to manipulate time in other ways. His "blessing" of the cattle? That was his way of slowing the aging process in the cows and, in case of older specimen, he also managed to reinvigorate them, making them young again. So, what he tried to do with the children was do the same thing, to slow down their aging so that they could live to be 200 years old, or whatever. He failed, because again, he wasn't as good as he thought he was and couldn't bother to put in the hours to work out the ritual right. Because of this, the time warping energies he manipulated went out of his control and homed in on the internal organs of the children, causing them to de-age so much that they warped out of existence. I think this was what the ritual was originally supposed to be, before I decided that "Nah, that's not really important, is it?" By the sound of things, you are about to start playing Ephesos's scenarios. I don't think at least that you've played them yet? Ephesos, for what it's worth, is actually my favorite designer overall. I like his style.
  2. While we're on the subject of conscious design choices that can infuriate some players, you’ve been running around a few episodes now trying to find a place to sell all your loot. Now I understand that some real time might have passed between episodes and I don’t assume that you remember everything you did in game a week or so ago. Still, it was the innkeeper in Ferrow! You talked to him at one point and said something to the effect of “this isn’t the guy I sell loot to.” But yes, that was him! That was the guy. Not only did you forget it, but you also forgot that Adrian told you who would buy stuff from you. That was one of Adrian’s functions, to inform the player where to sell stuff. I understand if someone is annoyed by the lack of places to sell your loot. This is, however, a case where I sacrificed game play convenience for world building. I never explicitly stated this in game (seems to be a problem of mine), but Feral Lake is in a state of barter economy right now. You are carrying, at the moment, something like several thousand coins worth of loot? The recently freed slaves and opportunists around do not have that kind of cash lying around which is also why your breaking and entering usually yields only a few copper coins. So yes, when you enter Feral Lake there is only one man who buys items from you. Now, had you gone south instead of north when you left Ferrow and done Theseus’s quest right away, all of this could have been avoided. Now on to the Moonstone quest which will be behind spoiler tags since this, more than anything I’ve written here, is nothing but a self-indulgent man explaining an inside joke that no-one else thinks is funny.
  3. Doomguards are probably the only standard enemies that are interesting to me in BoA, so when I was making MoC, I just knew I had to include them somehow. Also, about the whole shovel and rope thing. I think I was stuck in 90s adventure game frame of mind when designing those bits. What I mean by that is that I created a standard item puzzle (need item to proceed) and only made the item available in one specific location. No workarounds. Since it appears that I never did change it, were I to release a patch now, I would definitely add at least two ropes and shovels somewhere in friendly towns and dungeons. This way there wouldn't be only one way to progress.
  4. Hooray! The Moonstone is in the fourth and final location... unless there's a bug and it's nowhere. There's no bug... I hope. Whenever I've played MoC it's never been in the final location. When I was alpha testing the scenario I had to save scum to force the random number generator to not put it in the first three. Considering what's in the last location, I'll explain myself when the LP gets there. For now, I'll say this about Tampere. It's named after a town in Finland, pronounced something like Tam-puh-ruh. Stress on the first syllable. The way your saying it is fine in terms of in universe shenanigans since, obviously, nobody speaks Finnish in Feral Lake.
  5. Lol. Tampere. Moonstone. Myrthral the Myst. Oh, what fun. I might add more when I'm not at work, but for now, I'll just comment that when you were looking for the Moonstone in the swamp the scenario checked your Nature Lore. Had your skill been high enough, you would have realized that the tracks are leading North. Edit: Oh! And the Moonstone location, like the rattlesnake quest, is random. I hope you had to go to all four possible Moonstone locations, since you got lucky and found the snake in the first bush.
  6. This is another longer post so I am placing it in spoiler tags again.
  7. So, regarding Polonius and his bless the children ritual. Your theory was that the magi had killed the children and used their souls to animate the golems. When I heard you say it I thought to myself, yes, that would be a pretty good villain move. The problem is that I never envisioned Polonius to be a traditional "villain". I am putting the rest of my post behind spoiler tags, not because of spoilers, but because of the wall of text that ensues.
  8. I couldn't find anything about the INN action advancing time in the documentation either, so I just added "print_num(get_current_tick()) into the scenario script's START_STATE and went to the inn to sleep. Sleeping advanced the time forward 800 ticks.
  9. MoC uses the "INN" dialog action which appears to advance the time forward 800 ticks. I can't see anything wrong with the script, so the bug Chessrook encountered must have something to do with the version of BoA he has (Humble Bundle games aren't pre-patched, are they?), or just one of those fabulous Windows things where different versions of Windows break the game in new and amazing ways. I am fairly certain that the version of MoC in the scenario database is the same I have, although I am almost positive that I have fixed a bunch of typos and possibly a minor bug or two in my own version. Regarding the Wand of Teleportation, the marker is cleared once the player leaves town, so the wand is considerably less useful than you originally thought, Chessrook. The wand was added to the scenario after a comment from a beta tester that the Empire should give the player more toys to play with. Had it been in the scenario from the early planning stages, I would have probably made it more integral to the puzzles or town design. The Empire also initially gave the player a sword that blessed and shielded its wielder, but this made the already easy combat ludicrously easy so I removed it from the scenario. The code for it is still in the scenario script, though.
  10. Interesting theory about the children and the golem. Now if it was Polonius's right hand man who was in charge then I could retroactively say that, yes, that is exactly what the magi were doing. However, since the more common criticism of the scenario was that the player never really finds out what the deal with the magi and their ritual is, I must reluctantly say that nope, that wasn't it. I'll get back to the ritual once your LP gets to Polonius. Shame about the day/night cycle bugging out on you. Obviously the coding couldn't handle the game skipping past the point of sunrise. I am actually surprised that this is the first time I heard about this bug. I mean, that's the whole point of sleeping at an inn so that you don't have to wait. Gah! Edit: So, I entered the scenario myself and resting at the inn in Beohram's Keep worked fine for me. The shops closed and opened as intended depending on the time of day. What version of Magus of Cattalon do you have? For that matter, what version of Blades of Avernum do you have?
  11. Well. I'm glad that you enjoyed Backwater Calls. Like I mentioned earlier, the scenario does have its fans and the reviews for it were actually generally positive. It is what it is. I just have this memory in my head of what it was supposed to be and what's there, is not exactly it. On that note, if Backwater Calls is my least favorite scenario (out of my own stuff) then Magus of Cattalon is probably my favorite.
  12. Right. It wasn't Curing, but since I remembered that there was something that removed Webbed status, I had to go and check. Divine Restoration removes it.
  13. I think a high level of Curing clears webbing. Also, waiting does clean webbing in combat too but I think it's only about half as effective.
  14. As the designer, I've seen a lot of bugs in these last few episodes. For example, Marnok, the Mung Demon from the Iron Mines was supposed to ambush you in the Small Pond, but I figured he wouldn't since you got two of his "death" messages in the mines already. Tsk tsk tsk. Bad form on the designer's part. Also, that whole bit of Ossso being statuesque while dying is probably the worst piece of exposition out of all the scenarios. I'll just go ahead and award myself that accolade as well.
  15. Well, that's a bit funny. The correct sequence for the levers in the rebel cave is rock-paper-scissors-rock. The fourth lever resets the sequence, since basically the player can jam the whole thing if they just flip random levers and the sequence does not reset automatically when exiting the cave. You, my friend, managed to first flip three random levers in the correct order then on your second entry, on accident, pulled the final correct lever. I was not surprised that what followed was buggy, but at least I'd somewhat anticipated that happening. Hopefully, the guys you just killed didn't show up to help you later on, but I'm guessing they did.
  16. Okay. My rating of A Large Rebellion always bothered me. Even when the score was numeric (6.9 I think), I thought I had been way too generous in hindsight. When the scores were converted to fit the current system, my score for ALR was the lowest a scenario could get while being interpreted as "good". Is A Large Rebellion "good", then? No. Nonono. Nope. Definitely not. Oh, no. I replayed a portion of the scenario a while back and it is broken. Both times I played it, there was a game-breaking bug right in the first town. You could not get further than the first town out of maybe a few dozen. Later on the are several other bugs that crash the game outright. The worst offender being talking to a random unimportant NPC. This too would force quit the scenario almost every time. The thing is, though, when I first played it I think I actually enjoyed diving into the scripts and figuring out what was wrong this time. It was, for me, kind of what Edit Them Dead (if that was the name of the scenario) was supposed to be. A scenario that the player had to edit in order to progress and eventually beat the scenario. Assuming that ALR is bug free, is it good then? No. Were the scenario functional, it would be average at best. The plot is uninspired and trite. Gameplaywise, it is sometimes confusing to know where you are supposed to go next. The outdoors are empty and oftentimes ugly. The towns are not much better, although they have their moments. Combat is minimal and bland. The scripting is sometimes innovative and inspiring, but the scenario doesn't win any points for it, because of the aforementioned bugs. Dialog is pretty bad with poor grammar, typos and out of place Lord of the Rings references and what have you. Vahnatai make an appearance, because why not. While all of this can be explained by the fact that the scenario was made by a fourteen-year-old non-native speaker, it does not make the scenario any more enjoyable. As things stand, it would be fair to call A Large Rebellion poor. Personally, I rate it as SUBSTANDARD mainly for the idea, scope and the perverse pleasure I derived out of trying to fix the scenario. This review is, naturally, supposed to replace my previous review, so it should be deleted when someone has the time.
  17. This is true for at least all BoA scenarios if not all of the older Avernum games. Funnily enough, I didn't know this either for the longest time. I certainly didn't know it when designing BC. I remember playing another scenario with a party that had Manslaughter and suddenly realizing that it was a one-handed weapon.
  18. You know, the way BC checks if you have slith or nephil in party is actually a lot better than I remembered. When I replayed the scenario I had an all human party. I will now make a bold claim that Backwater Calls has the best use of the call species_in_party() or whatever it was called out of all BoA scenarios. I am confident that nobody will challenge this claim. Also, Slith spears are one handed. Pikes are two handed. That's the difference.
  19. Bearworth teaching you Magery, is a bit buggy still, it would seem, but Draco probably got a level of Magery despite all the dialog options showing there. Regarding Kenny, the heavily armored soldier guarding the mayor's office. He is supposed to be the same character from A Small Rebellion. Yes, the one that got killed. But since he was obviously a South Park reference, I thought it would be funny to make the reference even more obvious, while also referencing the fact that he showed up in ASR. That is, if you had managed to talk to him before he was killed you would have seen the reference. Incidentally, many of the dumb jokes I could not fit in Backwater Calls or Magus of Cattalon were eventually put in Rats Aplenty.
  20. Ah, Backwater Calls. I think I called it terrible earlier and while I certainly don't care much for it, the scenario did have its fans. The thing is that out of all my stuff, BC somehow manages to be worse than I remembered every time I play it. I replayed it a few months ago and was shocked at how poorly I'd connected the various plot threads together and how many of the characters were a lot weaker than I recalled. In my defense, I was seventeen when I made BC and was only trying to learn how the scenario editor and scripting worked when I was making it. I made Magus of Cattalon for the same level range precisely because it was supposed to replace BC and make it obsolete.
  21. Your reaction to finding Passton destroyed is pretty much the intended player reaction I was hoping to get if they choose to rush to the ogre village. So, yay! Designer fulfillment comes many years after the release of the scenario! In case it isn't obvious already, I like branching paths and alternative methods of getting things done in my rpgs. This is why in Rats Aplenty you can also talk Attorosi down and there are, if I remember correctly, four or five different ways you can do the loot the manor quest. In Outpost Valley the are actually three different ways to escape from the prison and you can take the captain with you if you like getting stabbed in the back. Quarhag Pass has four different endings and, unfortunately, you are/were on the worst path. This path (barring bugs) won't even let you know the Witch's backstory.
  22. Welp, I'm not exactly sure when the bad ending for the diplomacy route is triggered. But if you're already there at the end of this episode, you kind of have nobody to blame but you. Let's explore a bit before going back to Passton indeed. Incidentally, the BoA community was pretty much dead when Quarhag Pass was released, so I never got that much feedback for it. But one of the recurring comments was that it was unclear how to get the best ending if you choose diplomacy. I'm not sure if I ever spelled it out, so hear goes. Passton has no gate. Passton has only about a dozen, ill-equipped defenders with poor morale. The ogres swarm into Passton after diplomacy fails. You are supposed to go back to Passton immediately after you crawl out of the tunnels Angerfist drops you into. Also, after you completed Outpost Valley you commented how it was clearly shorter than Rats Aplenty. Well, I did say RA was one of my shorter ones, not the shortest. Although now that I think about it, in terms of play time, RA is actually right in the middle out of my scenarios. Another also, I probably didn't account for the player killing Angerfist before releasing Chainhound from captivity. I hope Graybeard doesn't mention Chainhound if you haven't met the latter. This almost makes me want to come out of retirement to tweak my scenarios a bit, maybe fix some of the bugs and typos you've uncovered. Almost.
  23. Yeah. One of the things I didn't account for when designing that curious rat puzzle was that the player would just get up and leave. In fact, in previous versions of the scenario you could solve the puzzle by leaving Lost City and coming back. The bridge would have been restored then. This is just me trying to explain why the puzzle is acting a bit funky.
  24. In case you never figured it out, The Rat Essence from Kuno heals its wearer for two hit points for each rat he/she kills. Hence the healing sound whenever Fawkes kills a rat. Also, Kuno either provides training or gives you the amulet. He won't do both. At least that's how I think I did it.
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