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Thaeris

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  1. Another random thought for the writer, daydreamer, and anyone else who contemplates Avernum: BIRDS IN THE CAVES ...I'm curious about thoughts on this. Mammals (rats and bats, and also cats!), bugs, and lizards seem to do well enough in the underworld of Ermarian. The former were either always there or managed to make the trek into the lands below - I like my thoughts on this manner from a different post I made some time ago: Source: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/26054-a-few-lore-questions/?tab=comments#comment-313122 ...In the case of birds, I imagine several species would do just fine. Unlike rats, bats, or perhaps goblins, birds would definitely have to be sent down to the caves intentionally, much in the same way cows would be sent into the caves. The only exceptions to this might be in Upper Avernum, where direct access to a cave system might be attainable. I imagine you'd potentially end up with "cave sparrows" or "cave swallows," especially the latter if you want to borrow from the likes of Dwarf Fortress. Otherwise, a deep cave just doesn't seem to be the habitat where a bird would venture in further... but then, I'm not an ornithologist. Cave owls would be a natural choice to consider for cave fauna, but much like my questions about huge bugs... they are probably more in line with the written, literary part of the adventure rather than the part one interacts with. Unless the bugs are attacking the player, they tend to be something which could be there, but they have to be written about in dialogue for any acknowledgement of them to be made. I presume the same thing of birds.
  2. You know, if there's going to be a great speculative lore derailment here, I want in! I made this comment in another thread some time ago: Source: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/26054-a-few-lore-questions/?tab=comments#comment-313122 In terms of real weapons, there are variations all the time. There tends to be things within the center of the bell curve, and then there are outliers which are so out-there that some might have a hard time believing that they could have existed at all. Like, you know, that Slith trident, for example! I like reading about the flavor and variety added to the game, as it brings it that much closer to reality, as fantastic as the game itself might be.
  3. Heh - I'm chuckling at the OP's opening comments. They remind me of the good-old-days of the internets, and it makes me smile. ...With regards to said comments, the first thing that comes to mind is the Vahnatai swordsmith in Olgai. He certainly reflects those "cultural superiority" sentiments that have either been ascribed by the Japanese themselves, or been ascribed by others for them. That he also represents part of the Vahnatai "sword culture" while holding these sentiments makes for quite the double-dose of the phenomena waterstrider is describing. As those more knowledgeable than I have noted, it's impossible to know if the Vahnatai were supposed to have anything to do with Japan. However, now that it's been mentioned, the Vahnatai definitely fit into the trope of the mysterious land with untrusting people who see little or no reason to accept you as part of their world. Obviously that's not entirely true, but I think what I'm getting at is clear enough. Otherwise, the "mysterious" part encompasses an old and well-tested culture with an arcane knowledge of things which is deeply fascinating. Is the latter superior? One can't say for certain, but because it's something you are kept from having, it draws you in. All of those tropes kind of work for Asia at large, including Japan. That said, I kind of like your thoughts on the matter, waterstrider. Shoot - the Vahnatai throw shurikens (razordisks) for Pete's sake! Intentional or not, I'd say that the Vahnatai certainly have something in common with contemporary thoughts on Japanese culture from way-back-when (NOT including your grandfather's bad experiences in the war... more like samurai movie stuff). It's a neat connection I never thought to make before!
  4. That's a great point Slarty. Same to you, TriRodent. Just figured it would be worth the mention.
  5. Well, therefore... can I make a formal request? Is it possible to get an Avernum General Discussion subforum in the General Discussion forum? I recall a fellow was writing a very long - and pretty well written - fan fiction of a different region of the underworld. That was trapped in the original Avernum boards. A lot of my posts were again, really general. It would be pretty spiffy if there was a more appropriate spot to drop or move that stuff to that could work for everybody, regardless of the particular series of Exile or Avernum they happen to fancy the most. 😀
  6. I have another question - or perhaps just something else to throw in here for the sake of conversation: If we're musing on what one could make missile weapons into, could range be made into a factor? Again consider javelins - no, they're not quite like a pilum, but anything that big that gets stuck in you will do a lot more than just hurt - they have rather limited range, because they tend to be really heavy. How far you can effectively throw those things would logically be a function of a character's strength, and how accurate they would be should be a function of dexterity and thrown weapon skill, etc. If you're throwing outside of the effective range, the efficacy should drop. And, if you have a minimum range - like being charged while aiming a bow, or something like that (also note that arrows tend to snake a lot at close range), you could have an accuracy penalty, or something like that. ...Not sure how you could do things like this, unless you write a supplement ruleset that would be checked on by the author when writing the scenario.
  7. That is probably the right answer. However, is a man wrong for dreaming? 😄
  8. You know, it's been quite some time since playing Blades, but I don't think I ever noticed that missile weapons were bad! Instead, having the ability to do stand-off damage was always something I felt was needed, and so my parties always had chaps (and chapettes) who could shoot. I suppose I never played enough to notice that the bows and crossbows were so miserable in terms of performance. I guess I learned something here... ...I also want to chime in that I don't have a problem with things having a weight to them. If balance was an issue in general, I'd say the problem was that everything is too heavy to begin with, and next that you can probably carry more weight than you should. Big Renaissance swords don't weigh 20 lbs in real life - 10 lbs would have been heavy for these, and 6 to 8 lbs is more likely in general. Everything in Avernum and Exile is like that - not sure Jeff changed any of those details with the re-remake series. At the same time, packing 30 arrows or bolts would be a lot of ammo to haul around in real life, so if bows or crossbows don't work very well in the game, then the weight of everything should be tweaked such that the weight of all those missiles would be worth it. Interesting you note javelins and throwing spears. I started another thread not too long ago about pen-and-paper game systems. One of the things I considered for my current project was having certain tags for certain weapons. For instance, one thing a javelin might very well do in real life is render a shield ineffective - consider what Roman pilum were used for. So, if you get an effective hit, it would be really cool if a javelin would reduce the armor of a target until is uses a turn to take care of the problem. Think of this as being webbed - you're in trouble until you use a turn to clean the webs. Likewise, you're out of a shield until you take care of that little spear stuck in it. Or, you might just have some sort of flag in place for when an "effective" javelin hit sticks, reducing the effectiveness of the target's armor until they do something about it.
  9. Hello Friends, Just a general question about a general topic - at least here. In fact, I'm sure this question has been asked before, in some way or another! Do we have an Avernum General Discussion area? Most of the time, Avernum questions get posted in the Avernum boards, which makes perfect sense. The problem becomes that there are... several boards now, as Avernum / Exile have been re-made several times! Therefore, general questions just related to the setting can get stuck in one of these boards, when the subject matter is really universal to Avernum or Exile at large - I've had several topics or posts like this. Consider that I live in the past, so I play the original (as far as remakes go) 90's / early 2000's games, and therefore post in those areas. New players probably play the new games. So, either my musings are just not interesting or worthwhile, or the sections of the forums I'm posting in just aren't really relevant. In any sense, with all the remakes of Avernum and Exile out there (and now Geneforge), will there ever be general series boards for games like these, or will there just continue to be a "choose which board you want to post a general topic in" and hope it sticks?
  10. I played the Geneforge demo a long, long time ago and quite liked it. However, really knowing the game well enough to apply it to a pen-and-paper system is beyond me. Let alone any other game - I am a tinkerer first and foremost! But someday, I will get there. ...RPG-wargame hybrids are neat and make perfect sense. RPGs were of course born from wargames, after all. Bringing the two formats back together is what I'd term "adventure wargaming." And, for that matter, it might be worth a look into the system I was suggesting in the original post... 😉 Mind you that a LOT of surgery is needed to perfectly match the system to the setting. Heck, you see similar issues in the game modding scene all the time! As per making your own "adventure wargaming" engine (if such sounds like a plan), that makes me think about my conversation with my cousin the other day. Shadowrun, which seems to be what he played a lot of, is basically an OSR (old-school rules) and wargame hybrid. The wargame part is basically seen in the dicing system, which consists of non-cumulative D6's. It's been a very long time since I worked on the following project, but I started it to get a better idea of how to do simulation in a traditional game system. And most of the game systems I was looking at use non-cumulative D6's. The statistics might be interesting to check out - just don't ask me about them, as I've not messed with any of it for some time: http://codex.masterplanfoundation.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=3061&sid=879868b3a0b300d07ec186d54af97e2e ...Another system I should look at again is Osprey's Broken Legions. When I was reading it the first time, it did not really gel, if you will. But, it reminded me of Nethergate, which is why I bought it. It's another game that would fall into the "adventure wargaming" or skirmish game family, but probably with a greater emphasis on wargaming. Unless Geneforge changed a lot from when I played the demo so many years ago, you have finite energy to devote to your creations, do you not? This does not sound all that unlike points you have towards the creation of a party or unit in a wargame or "adventure wargame," if you will. Perhaps you should investigate some of the skirmish games out on the market right now? I've not tried Joseph McCullough's other and more notable game, Frostgrave, but that might be just what you're looking for.
  11. So, I went to visit my cousin today, because humanity. We discussed traditional games for a while, as they can have the complexities of software while also having the benefits of whims and easy artistic manipulation. That, of course, is the theory. Now the question becomes, "which game system suits your preferences?" For me, the one which I bear the most interest in to wrapping around something like, say, Avernum, would be Rangers of Shadow Deep by Joseph McCullough. It's a very simple but elegant system that would need a lot of contortions to work ideally, but you can read about why I like it so much here: https://www.codexintegrum.com/forums/topic/rangers-of-shadow-deep/ ...I'd be happy to discuss my musings further on that matter further if pressed, but that's all WIP and sloppy even now. It was fun to get it all fresh on the mind again, however. That said, I wonder what you other fine chaps (and chapettes) think about various traditional game engines, which ones you like, and which ones you'd bend to this setting or that setting? As per Avernum, there have been a few older threads on this board about that matter, such as this one here: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/23835-avernum-tabletop-rpg/?tab=comments#comment-297340 Anyway, just kind of wanted to throw something on this topic out there again - might make for a good conversation!
  12. Thanks, Randomizer! Turns out I just had a really good spat of luck when using the kits when I started the game. There was ultimately no boost with higher or lower tool use levels when testing the efficacy of the first aid skill. This is actually a bit disappointing, really: it would make sense if being better with tools made you better at first aid! However, that's just the way it goes. :)
  13. Bit of a necro here - hope no one minds. I recently decided I'd start a new game of A2, and opted to create a character that was supposed to be a bit of a technical or scholarly type, that was also a sort of soldier in a former life. As such, this character has fairly high starting tool use stats as well as a high first aid stat. I'll try and run some tests later, but does anyone know if tool use boosts first aid? I was surprised at how well first aid has worked so far - the only shortcoming is the original Avernums' sense of time and space, which limits the frequency at which you can use first aid. I cannot remember the stats off-hand, but starting off with a new party on Torment, the skill has been better than a L1 priest in most cases - when you can use it, of course.
  14. I see there was not much of an interest in investigating insects, but no matter - I saw this some time ago, and I'm going to make a case for it now: Avernum has a lot of swamps near its great underground lakes. Avernum also has its occasional amphibians - mostly the magical fiery salamanders. But what if there was also something more akin to rats in the underground, but of the amphibian variety? I therefore propose that Avernum should in fact have giant killer murdertoads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6YnSXVKUiw ...That is a Giant African Bullfrog. THESE THINGS HAVE TEETH. And they also eat rodents if they can... (For more fun, watch that while listening to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM5DOSC0jUo) Look, if there can be giant killer mushrooms, dog-sized rats, and pony-sized slugs, you really should have horrifying bullfrogs in your underground swamps. Just sayin'.
  15. As an interesting aside regarding martial culture and the Sliths, consider again the spear as a utilitarian weapon. We know the Sliths enjoy fish and are good swimmers. Slith spears, on that note, are rather comparable in design to fishing spears. It's possible this was an active design decision by Jeff, though Jeff might offer up that he in turn borrowed the idea from somewhere else. The latter is fine and happens in fantasy all the time, but regardless of the origins of that design decision, it kinda works out - and, if you take to that idea, it says a lot about the Sliths (and it's not bad, either!). Great notes on the speculated dates, by the way - I really should work on firing up the games once more! Regardless, it's again rather clear from Avernum 2 that Sliths were known to the Vahnatai, at least those of the Olgai tribe. The note on the Nephils in the caves at the time of the first expedition is interesting, and it ties into some of my other musings in the Cave Fauna thread (Original Avernum Series Board). I get the impression that the caves were always hard to get into, but they were never cut off from the surface until there was an active push to do so. So, various groups (like people, even) could go down there if they were so inclined. I like to imagine that the uppermost caves on Ermarian are not unlike caves on Earth, and follow the same general "zone" patterns and life cycle patterns as we are familiar with. Crossing an extended "dark zone" would be dangerous and quite challenging, but it would certainly be possible. Eventually crossing into what could be considered Exile would probably be quite a surprise - suddenly, there's somehow some semblance of light (I don't buy into the "Exile used to be dark before people" bit), and there seems to be this transition from no light and life to just the opposite. Think of it like reversing the cave zones - kinda - after a really long and treacherous walk: https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/biology-fields/cave-biology2.htm ...So, if there were Nephil down in Exile during the time of the First Expedition, they or their ancestors would have had a good reason to make that trek: the Empire was certainly busy killing them off at that time. That concept alone would make for a great story: the Nephil tribe that risked everything fleeing into an endless cavern or face extermination at the hands of the Empire. Other creatures would have also been able to make that journey if you take to that idea: bats, rats, goblins, etc. However, there is also something to the idea of the Empire sending down pests... just to make the Avernites all the more miserable (with the sick twist of potentially also keeping them fed).
  16. Lore questions are fun! And, a lot of the answers are speculation, which is also fun! Allow me to curb my enthusiasm at this point... As of this point, I am only familiar with the original Avernum trilogy, so bear that in mind. However, speculation on the Slith and the Vahnatai is a really interesting subject to delve into. I assume the statement on the Slith being invaders has something to do with them being "new arrivals" into caves which the Vahnatai consider being their territory. Note that while the Slith are known to the Vahnatai, humans and Nephil are a bit more of a mystery to them. So, there seems to be a certain level of interaction between the two species, but the nature of that interaction is unknown. ...If you want start speculating, a good question to ask is when the violent Sliths were first exiled from their caves. I know Encyclopedia Ermariana has some dates pertaining to that event, but I'm not sure how much of that is canon. If none of it is canon, and the violent Sliths were forced into the Lands of Exile - what were then Vahnatai lands - just prior to the beginning of the last Resting Period, then that is an interesting scenario to consider. OR, perhaps in general, the Slith and Vahnatai do not always get along well together. This makes sense, of course. Why would either species need a martial culture (which they both clearly have) if there is not the occasional scuffle between members of their own species as well as other species? Of course, there are other hostile creatures down in the caves, but look at it this way: you can argue that spears (which the Slith employ almost exclusively) are utilitarian arms for all circumstances, but a sword is not an ideal implement for dealing with beasts - it is a distinctly martial arm which is made to be used against martial targets, if you will. There's definitely room for some interesting stories on that front.
  17. This is a wee bit of a threadjack, but were the Celts able to wear any sort of armor (aside from torcs and shields) in the original Nethergate? I don't remember them being able to do so at all.
  18. Back in the day, you could get the games as physical media. In fact, I bought Av 1 & 3 directly from Spiderweb with the hopes of getting them on disk, but that time had sadly already passed. ...The original Nethergate and Avernum 2 artwork does look really cool printed directly to the CD, however. I'm not open for sales, mind you.
  19. Oh man... an Avernum mysteries split-topic would be welcome right about now. :D
  20. If you're playing Resurrection, this input may be of no use, but for the original game, the "commonly shared" circles should be fully accessible. The trick is finding someone to teach you the spells! Also, you may have a harder time training in the spell circles as well - Romans take to certain training better than the Celts and vise-versa. I believe the "unlockable" circles for the Romans are Craft and Beast circles, at least in the original game. You cannot train in those circles at all - instead, you have to get special items to train one character in their use. I don't believe there are any trainers for the higher spells in those circles concerning the Romans, but a few places will impart to you the knowledge of Stone Guardian, or perhaps the high-level equivalent in the Beast Circle. So, when it comes time to go to Annwyn, you probably will not have use of the "create food" spell, or, I at least never found it. ...The Spirit Circle is completely inaccessible for the Romans. If you ever learn Doom, you'll never be able to cast it.
  21. Another item of interest to consider: insect life. The giant spiders - not technically insects - are noted to consume very LARGE insects in the caves. What these insects are is not always defined. So on that note, I would ask this: when were giant roaches introduced? I know these only first appeared in Avernum 3, but did they appear earlier in the Exile series? Just filling in a knowledge gap here on that one... Otherwise, there are chitrachs from the lower caves. Encyclopedia Ermariana gives some notes on their lifecycle, though I am not sure from memory how much of that might be "canon." I only bring up the mention of "canon" as I don't recall the bits about their breeding cycle, though their nests can be fairly well distributed in the "hive cluster" areas - I want to say the best example of that was in the Resting Cell... whateveritscalled... in Exile / Avernum 2. Regardless, the entry there is still great for developing a setting or scenario. That said, are there any ideas on what the "giant bugs" might actually be in the upper caves? Are we dealing with dipterans (giant, nasty flies), beetles, or even ants or wasps? If these organisms are prevalent enough to feed very large spiders - or maybe even goblins - it seems strange that they are not of more note in normal gameplay. I figure this can be attributed to either oversight or a conscientious decision to avoid some rather serious "nightmare fuel" in the games.
  22. I have an item of curiosity to tag onto this: how does Blades of Avernum deal with item limits? With my limited programming experience, one thing I would state is that a fairly conventional means of dealing with data storage is to create a fixed matrix into which values are stored or exchanged, etc. Once the program is complied, the size of the matrix cannot change. The question I have on this front, as it seems to be what's going on in Avernum, is how that matrix changes from area to area. For instance, when a dungeon is created, is an item matrix created proportional in size to the dungeon, or is it fixed in size? Or, is that a control feature that is not accessible for the end user? ...I ask about this, as BoA - which I have not tinkered with - because (a.) people might be aware of such a feature by some means and (b.) it's likely very similar to what is used in Avernums 1-3. On an additional technical note, if you wanted to get past item limits and you were using C++ (maybe just straight C as well), you'd use the vector library, which can create dynamically-sized arrays on the fly. I suppose you'd have some additional risks of memory leaks or other such shenanigans that I'm not experienced enough to have encountered when writing console-window applications.
  23. That's fine, and it's probably the right definition! However, it was the only term which came to mind which seemed to convey what I was trying to get across. I assume I've done the latter, maybe? Again, hole digging on my end. I suppose I'd call something "skill-based" when you have direct involvement in the "simulation," if you will (we can call all games some form of abstract simulation, can't we?). Alternately, I'd call something "stat-based" when you have table values or routines determine the outcome of a given instance. I... am not sure I excluded games that involved statistics. Instead, I was merely trying to convey that I like the premise of using both aspects in a game, and that use of a skill-based system is a means of bypassing some of the restrictions of a purely (or very heavily) stat-based system. Unfortunately, it seems that I made the mistake of using the term "twitch" to describe this. In my defense, my item of reference was Mount & Blade; in which, "twitch" is an applicable term. ...And yes, execution is key! A game should either be fun or otherwise draw your interest to keep you playing - even if it's not necessarily "fun." If you fail to do either, you end up with a chore on your hands. And indeed, something like the old Avernum games were in fact very simple, and that made them very approachable. If you cannot make some extra degree of finesse in something like that fun, you're not going to get much of a following.
  24. Ha! I am watching / listening to this right now. Jeff just had a character die, and instead of rolling with it, he reloaded the game to an earlier point. I laugh at this, as this is exactly what I do, and I'm pretty sure it's what everyone else does as well. 😛
  25. Perhaps I am lacking on the definition of "twitch" myself. Sorry about that. To my mind, you might have a system which is principally based on statistics, probability, etc., while another is based principally in a skill-based input, and may have very little to do with those statistics, etc. I think "twitch" systems fall into the latter. Waving hands is, from what I can tell, purely skill-based input, despite being turn based. I might be digging myself a hole here. I am certainly not trying to confuse anyone in the process, however.
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