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Magus of Cattalon



Author: Smoo


Version: 1.0.3



Composite Score: 4.3/5.0


Best: 33.33% (4/12)

Good: 58.33% (7/12)

Average: 8.33% (1/12)

Substandard: 0.00% (0/12)

Poor: 0.00% (0/12)





Keywords: Avernum Universe, Branching Plot, Long

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium
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You know, I recall when Smoo first made Backwater Calls, and I was not impressed. In part because it beat Druids of Krell in the first design contest, but also because it was just too... big. Unnecessarily big, with huge swaths of empty terrain. It kind of felt like a much emptier A3, complete with monster plagues.


Anyway, Magus of Cattalon is nothing like that. At all. It has a great story, wonderful towns, interesting characters (and an awesome joinable NPC), and intriguing combat. There are interesting scripting tricks employed (the Giant Maulers, for example), and there’s just an overall higher level of polish. Oh, and it’s still fairly large, but this time, the meat is there too.


A massive improvement, a fun play, and a substantial play.


Rating: [rating]Best[/rating]

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  • 5 months later...

It's big. But then again, it's two scenarios packaged into one. Personally, I think the guff about the mages could be dropped. Although then we wouldn't have the amazing intro graphics...


The second half of the scenario was okay. The giant mauler's trick was nice, but otherwise they were just another monster. Humour was nice and always subtle enough that I didn't roll my eyes. My main gripe was that there was just a bunch of sidequests that didn't actually have anything to do with the plot. I mean "push my rocks for me even though they don't affect anything" is fine (and by the way, was nicely scripted), but the same puzzle could've been moved to a dungeon and made a part of the main quest (like the Aerie in Nethergate).


Overall, I liked it. It just seemed to drag in the middle, and my interest waned a lot after the first giant fight.


Score: [rating]Good[/rating].

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  • 3 months later...

This scenario was pretty so-so. It had some cool tricks with the coding (such as monsters that can heal themselves) and such. I find the whole concept of time travel a bit.. overrated. It just seems like a cheap way to be different. Not to mention, the two plots had pretty much nothing to do with one another.


It's been a while since I've played this, though, my memory could be fading, but I remember my criticisms from the first time I played..


I rate this scenario [rating]Average[/rating].

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  • 1 year later...

From Salmon on the CSR:


I've not had a chance to play through the release version due to work, but I did get a chance to look at the intro graphics and was blown away. Amazing job spy.there!


I'll not put up any spoilers, and will just rate from what I remember as a beta-tester.


Combat - I must suck at combat because my HLPM level 30 party had huge problems with this scenario. But, the scripting was good, the combat was believable (I hope Smoo changed the one thing in the giant fortress) and I did enjoy the combat. Limiting the movement of territorial creatures was a good move.


Loot balance - Well done, I had a bunch of stuff to sell and not once was I worried about how much I could carry out of the scenario.


Story - Very interesting story, well executed cut-scenes, but I would have liked to see more engaging dialogue with the major players. I wanted to know motivations, and I instead got a boring "I can't be bothered to explain it to you." This struck me as laziness, but I kept reminding myself that Smoo is writing this in a foriegn language. Overall, once those bugs were cleaned up, the storyline flowed, I didn't get lost in a bunch of sidequests, and I basically knew what had to get done without being reminded.


Logic - The premise is there, and it certainly could happen. I enjoyed that several secondary characters (like Whoopi in Ghost) seemed to know more about plot advancement than the major characters. There was still normal life going on (rustlers) despite the giant issue, which seemed both logical and realistic.


Score? Bah!


7.5 Because it wasn't as good as Mad Ambition, but it was an improvement over BC. Additional character development would have paid dividends with the score. Oh. +.5 for the scripting to have conversations with your guest NPC. That was a brilliant method to get the party "in the know" about each place they visited.


So final score of 8.0 ([rating]GOOD[/rating])

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From Thralni on the CSR:


To be honest, I didn't play the whole thing, as I got pretty tired half way. However, I can give a rating about what I did see, and I was quite impressed. First the good things:


+ I liked the apparent atmosphere in the towns. Espacially the starter town was nice, with the mayor, or whatever it was, in that room. he burried under scrolls. For some reason that made me laugh. Other towns simply looked good.

+ The travelling back in time, though I didn't understand the connection with the rest of the scenario, I really liked. Just the idea already I found wonderful. Also the execution, that the party lands in the cart of hay, I found brilliant.

+ The cutscenes, espacially the blowing up of the wall at the tower of magi I thought was well done.

+ the whole atmosphere also in the outdoors was good. I really felt like being in a devastated part of the Empire, and after the time travel I actually felt like being back in time.


And now the bad stuff:


- The main thing was that after I travelled back in time, I just didn't know what to do. One moment I was fighting giants, the other I was in a cell in some fort, and then I was in a huge world, in which I had no orientatin whatsoever.

- Some towns I just didn't like. the emipre fort (the second town you encounter, if I recall correctly) felt very empty. I also didn't like all the braziers and such.

- I also had some problems with knowing what to do with certain items. For example, you got this wand from the mage that was killed, in the magi tower. I walked round and round the tower, without knowing what to do with it.


My rating will be [rating]GOOD[/rating], mostly for the idea which I really liked.

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From S M Adventurer on the CSR:


Hey, I didn't review this one yet? Well, I'll do so now.


I played it twice, that's right twice. Why? Well, because I liked it.


I'll first state the positives, then move onto the negatives.


+ Interesting town design.

+ Nice attempt at time traveling. I always wanted to try something like that in my own scenarios, if I ever work on one.

+ Adrian, a very interesting PC that introduces you around to the new parts of the region. He had some interesting information about towns and stuff.

+ The cutscene about setting off the explosive at Polonius' Fortress interesting.

+ Spacious outdoors with many things to do. Help a local town find somebody who's hiding. Nice. My kind of scenario.

+ Interesting sequence used with Hill Giant Maulers.




You know what, I can't think of any to add to what everybody else said.


Overall, it's a nice scenario.



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From Jemand on the CSR:


Magus of Cattalon is a great scenario. It has many things to recommend it: it has more than 20 towns, which makes it as big or bigger than the 4 prepackaged scenarios. It has several main quests, but also a plethora of side quests to do. It isn't tremendously linear, which is good to me at least. The outdoors is interesting, and isn't just completely empty and there are secret things to find. It was also nice that Adrian could join your party.

The plot before you go back in time was kind of dumb, how is it that the Empire didn't just send thousands of troops to mash the bunch of incompetent rogue mages? Many of the dungeons weren't to well put together. The nephlim fort was just like the mines in Avernum 2. The giant bases were all oddly empty and peculiarly constructed. The fiend's lair was just wierd, and the rock traps were annoying. So was the rest of the dungeon for that matter.

Magus of Cattalon is a good, large, and well made scenario.



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From TM on the CSR:


I really liked it, at first. Well, almost at first. The actual Magus of Cattalon really has nothing to do with the plot, and I'd have been perfectly fine just discovering a random wormhole rather than going on a mission that frankly wasn't that interesting.


But enough about that-- the REAL reason for the scenario is great. The transition feels real. The talking NPC was also a great development. Heck, even the first giant encounter is promising-- a small town being attacked, a custom script that knocks you back...


Then things go downhill. The nephils are egregiously pointless, as are those exploding doo-hickeys. And even the most interesting giants just turn out to be general evil-doing wads of HP. I remember an interesting-looking bones-and-blood tapestry, but that's it for custom graphics. No Ephesosian towns here.


So what's the moral? If we don't learn from crappy combat in the past, we're bound to repeat it in scenarios set in the present? Was Nikki right-- does combat suck at all times?


Not really. Smoo just needs to minimalize his random crap so that the truly wonderful aspects of the scenario can shine through.



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From Nioca on the CSR:


Truly, this is one thing that Smoo is top-notch at doing. He rarely makes just a scenario; he makes an entire game world full of side-quests, secrets, and general stuff to find. Magus of Cattalon is no exception. The start is fairly standard (magical experiment goes wrong; clean up the mess by slaughtering the perpetrators in a hackneyed tower with golems and stuff defending it). However, once the time travel sequence starts, the scenario turns golden. At first, I didn't even realize I had traveled in time, just thinking something had gone hay-wire during the apparent final fight and I was teleported somewhere else. Essentially, the transition between present and past was well-done. All of the connections between the two-halves of the plot were interesting as well. The fights were hard, yet balanced. And, on the topic of the game world, I'd like to add that, despite multiple playthroughs, I still haven't found everything.


The recruit/free-spirit choice was fairly interesting. You could choose, once in the past, to either sign up with the army or travel on your own as proper adventurers. There was multiple ways to do stuff most of the time, somewhat following the above main choice.


There are several negatives, however. First, typos. There's dozens of them everywhere you look; dialogue and dialog alike are frequently riddled with the annoying little errors. Furthermore, there were a couple of places where you walk clean into a potential deathtrap. The top of the Magi Tower was one such place. There was also some unusual errors that'd pop up now and then.


Overall, this scenario has fought its way valiantly to the current elite.



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  • 1 year later...

I thought this was an awesome scenario. Like Backwater Calls, it was big, but was much more fleshed out. It felt realistic, in that you could explore an entirely new world and different plotlines. In some sense it had linearity, but it seemed open-ended. The scripting was great, and fitted well into the combat, it didn't unbalance it.


I love random crap. I thought pushing those boulders around was hilarious. Maybe I'm just broken.


My only complaint was in the giant's tower, there was a cask of ale that seemed to make you drunk indefinitely. It seemed excessive, though I guess I should've backed up my save file.


All in all, it was a great scenario. Although time travel is a bit cliched in most things, this was the first BoA scenario I'd seen it in, and it made a very interesting and engaging story.



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