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The Adventurers Club 1: The Presence


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It was on my list of favorites before, and is still a great scenario, but some flaws keep it from being a masterpiece. But before that, I'll give it the praise it well deserves:

 

First off, the graphics add a truly unique feel. The Gumby town was fun, and many of the missions were fun and challenging. You start as some weak people who call themselves "The Adventurer's Club", hence the name. You gain skills along the way. The combat is challenging. I attempted to fight the Slith villages with a level 7 party, who knew level 1-3 spells only. Hard, but I did it. At the end of the scenario, I had a level 30 or so party, with level 6-7 spells. Gold is pretty scarce as well, until you become an Expert Alchemist.

 

Town design is amazing. Independence City had so much to see, and the other towns are pretty cool as well. The final fight with Mother was interesting as well. The one-on-one fight was pretty cool, too.

 

However, there are some holes in the scenario...

 

- The final quest is ridiculously hard, and the ending really isn't worth it. And if Brundig thinks you are a hero, wouldn't he reward you as well?

 

- The Ripper Beasts in the Catsclaw Mountains are plain annoying.

 

- The outdoor sections past the stockade (the gap past the Nephil lands and the Rakshasi lair) seem extremely bare. It only has grass, flowers, hills, and one obselisk.

 

- Some mountains aren't aligned properly, and there's a goblin cave facing the wrong way. The Hill Giant fort's name is 'Stockade.' Lancaster Simms can appear twice after you get him drunk. Ice Puddings have the ability "Paralysis Ray." The stairs from level 3 to level of the Mages' Guild says "Do you want to go down?"

 

- There only seems to be one place where you can get reagents for your Alchemist missions. Seriously, where does everyone else get them? (I could be wrong, but this is worth noting)

 

Overall, a great scenario, the "much better" Exile III. It took me about as long as Exile III, but this is much better. While this does have some amateurish design flaws, it has better graphics, better story, and is more fun to play. It was once one of my favorites, but not anymore.

 

Still...

 

I rate this scenario Best.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

BRUCE MITCHELL

 

Excellent.

 

The most unique way of developing different pcs I've come across, with the different guilds (e.g. thieves). Also, before that, experience gaining by doing errands (as opposed to killing) is refreshing. There are so many things you can do at any one time, the story is alive. Too many wandering monster encounters near the end. Nice puzzles. Excellent epic. Good.

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THE CREATOR

 

It takes far, far too long to find the main plot. I played for weeks before I stumbled over it. In the meantime, you do loads and loads of side quests. If you enjoy wandering around and doing unconnected stuff like in Exile 1 or The Wreck Of The Slug, you'll like this. I didn't.

 

Once found though, the plot's pretty darn good. Many sequences are superbly done, and more than a little chilling. The sequence after I got through the combination-locked door in the psych ward sticks in my mind as especially great. The presence itself is extremely well done - I could nearly feel it pressing down on me. Sadly, that went down the gurgler once I found the physical incarnation of it.

 

It wasn't that Mother was disappointing, it's that she for some bizarre reason decided that she wanted me to go looking for stuff, answering riddles and suchlike. Why? I don't know. All I know is the entire underground part near the end is incredibly aggravating. The ending itself isn't particularly bad (though not great), but it's not worth hacking through 2 million beefed-up chitraches for. A fast-paced finish would have been much more pleasing.

 

All faults aside, this was a good scenario that at times could match it with the best. Were all first scenarios this good, I would be a happy man indeed. Good

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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

Like I reviewed AC3, I will likewise review AC1. Which is to say, I will average the rubric by Brett, the graphics rubric, and a free-style score. In doing so, I hope to achieve something resembling an accurate score.

 

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Functionality: 3.8/4

- Does the graphic make sense? (1.8/2)

- Can the graphic be used easily in multiple circumstances? (2/2)

 

Aestheticism: 3.1/4

- Are the dimensions of the graphic suitable for use in Blades of Exile? (.6/1)

- Is the graphic shaded properly? (.8/1)

- Does the graphic have sufficient detail? (.8/1)

- Does the graphic look good on a variety of backgrounds? (1/1)

 

Necessity: 1.5/2

- Is the graphic really necessary? (.6/1)

- Is the graphic an improvement or on the same level as other graphics of similar design? (.6/1)

 

Bonus: +0

 

TOTAL- 8.1/10

 

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Again, a prophetic set of statements. Those above me have articulated my beliefs well enough- the main plot is good, but the mechanics of this scenario are pretty horrible. Nodes are used far less well than AC2 or AC3, but graphics are often new and surprising. Combat is mostly easy, never really challenging the party. The underground portions of the scenario are severely lacking, namely in their outdoor encounters. I never did finish legitimately- in fact, I brought in my god party, slew mother without the ritual of sanctification, and killed the girl I was supposed to rescue. The sheer annoyance of the riddle cave made me lose my desire to finish this scenario, although all things considering, I don't think that I lost any idea as to what the soul of the scenario is. Despite this, however, the plot moves swiftly and cleanly, and provides conclusive reasons as to why the party should be there. It was intriguing during the approach to the climax with the asylum scene and the unveiling of the badguy's henchmen, but unfortunately, the villain was revealed as being "evil magic". God almighty, could it have been a worse justification for a plot? Much like AC3, the "all of these events tie in to this being because etc..." paradigm is used. Despite this, it's not bad, and you should probably play it nonetheless. Keep in mind, however, that the beginning is mediocre- if I would have written this review without reaching mainland Mulasia, the tone of this review would be drastically different. Recommended, and perhaps one of the best First Efforts I have ever seen. Not a masterpiece, but I'm a lenient judge, and it's a darned good scenario by most standards.

 

8.0

 

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The storyline is a unique one, and not common or overused.

3 - The storyline is somewhat unique, but contains elements of other, well-recognized stories.

The storyline is cohesive; most major quests and encounters revolve around the storyline.

2 - Few of the quests and encounters revolve around the plot(s) of the story. (The guilds? Bah.)

The story reacts to actions taken by the player.

6- There are major changes in the scenario play depending of what the player does. (This is an outright lie, but I won't be punishing linear scenarios.)

The storyline contains enough richness, variety, suspense, etc. to be engaging to most players.

2 - The storyline is OK. It's not the best, but it keeps you interested. (This is also a lie- I quit towards the end.)

The storyline DOES NOT contain ethnic, sexual, or racial slurs that may be offensive to some players. The storyline does NOT contain foul language.

3 - No slurs OR foul language are present.

Tactical challenges are well-designed and reasonable for the party level expected.

2 - Most tactical challenges are good, but a few are not balanced properly. (Like AC3, the beginning was fairly easy.)

Logical challenges are well-designed and reasonable for the party level expected.These include traditional puzzles that may require the player to do something in a certain sequence, answer a riddle, find a key, etc. They also include navigational problems where the player must ascertain how to travel from point A to point B.

4 - The player feels a real sense of accomplishment upon successful completion of all logical challenges. (I hardly completed any, but that's 'cause I suck. Loads of excellent ones here!)

Quest rewards reflect the level of quest difficulty.

4 - All quest rewards match the level of quest difficulty.

Quests are reasonable given the expected party level.

4 - Quests challenge the party without overwhelming them.

The game is balanced in terms of tactical and logical challenges.

3 - There is a nice balance between tactical and logical challenges

The towns and dungeons are well-designed:

3 - They contain most to all of the elements above and are remarkable in their design. (Independence City isn't my favorite city around, but it's up there. Some things looked odd, but didn't come close to overriding the sheer coolness of the place)

The outdoor sections are well-designed:

2 - They contain most of the elements above (some inconsistencies or some have no real purpose). (There's outright far too many here, although I've seen abuses far more egregious than this.)

Encounters fit the storyline.

1 - Few of the encounters augment or add to the storyline. (You will most likely spend MORE time on side-quests than the main plot itself. IMO, that's a problem.)

Custom monsters fit the storyline.

2 - Most of the custom monsters augment or add to the storyline. (See above)

Custom items fit the storyline.

3 - All the custom items augment or add to the storyline. (And by "Storyline", I mean "Logic puzzles". Not that I care, mind you.)

Custom graphics are high quality.

4 - The graphics are of publishable quality, equal to or better than the built-in BoE graphics. (There are a few inconsistencies and oddities, but lots of real jewels here as well.)

Sounds are used appropriately.

3 - The sounds definitely match the current situation, and add to the overall enjoyment of the scenario.

Personality/Dialogue, both responses to queries and any related text, is interesting and in-depth.

3 - The major non-playing characters (NPCs) have depth to them, respond to obvious things they should know about, and add to the scenario in a significant way.

The scenario is free of spelling errors, as determined by the author's nationality, OR, spelling errors are intentional as part of the storyline.

3 - No spelling errors are detected.

The scenario is free of grammatical errors.

3 - No grammatical errors are detected.

The scenario comes with a ReadMe file(s) containing:

4 - The file contains all of the above information in sufficient detail.

Players can contact the scenario designer if necessary.

3 - The designer has provided a way for quick and timely feedback to occur. (Threats to leave aside, shyguy is usually present in the community.)

All necessary files to run the scenario are included in the scenario download, including:

2 - All files are included.

The scenario shows up in the Custom Scenarios Menu properly.

2- All the fields are completed properly.

The scenario is bug-free. Some examples:

10 - The scenario runs without flaw or known bugs and crashes that are a result of a BOE program bug are noted.

The scenario was beta tested prior to public release.

2 - The designer has indicated this and given appropriate credit. Several people were involved in the beta test. The test occurred on both Mac and PC platforms.

The scenario is updated when a bug is located.

3 - The designer has provided a way for quick and timely revisions to occur.

The scenario runs the same on both platforms.

2 - The scenario runs the same on both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

TOTAL- 88/100

 

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AVERAGE: 8.3

 

GOOD

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BEN 4808

 

I just got done after a long time playing, and I enjoyed it very much. I thought the outdoors were a little empty and sparse as far as encounters and exploability, but town design was good. I give it a little bonus for how long it must have took to make and the open-ended "do the quests at your own pace" style.

 

Good

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JEWELS

 

I had thought I'd gotten all my reviews eaten by the attack resubmitted, but apparently not. It's been so long since I actually played this scenario I don't think I can write a proper review without replaying it. Fortunately, I enjoyed this scenario and want to play it again. I'll edit this space later and leave my original rating for the score.

 

Good

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BRETT BIXLER

 

The Adventurer’s Club is one of those rare “first effort” scenarios that give us a glimpse of a budding author’s potential along with a solid scenario to boot. Indeed, this massive scenario hardly seems like a first effort. It’s big, with over 90+ towns. It covers a wide outside area that is thankfully NOT a wasteland. It has a definite story with a plot that moves smoothly forward and utilizes BoE programming features (like variable town entry) to provide a sense of change in time. It has interesting side adventures, involving joining guilds, acquiring spells, and learning the lay of the land.

 

 

It has high-quality original graphics and good use of sound.

 

Check out the shapes of some of the caverns!

 

 

It has good puzzles. The text was actually edited! It even has a plausible evil “boss.”

 

 

You start the scenario as a low-level party resting in a quiet town after you were shipwrecked. (Note: Even wonder why so many BoE adventures start this way?) You are looking for adventure, thus your name of “The Adventurer’s Club.” Not a great name, but in a way it reflects the naivety of a group of young people who don’t realize the dangers they are about to discover.

 

 

You start by performing simple tasks for your local innkeeper and others nearby, eventually reaching the main city on the island. There you have some more adventurers — some comical, some serious, until you find a way to leave the island. Many adventures would stop here, and that’s what I fully expected from a first effort. I was wrong. Leaving the island for the mainland is when things really start to get interesting! The many quests and side quests available here all build your strengths and skills so you are ready for the main plot when it rears its evil head. You can even be in the middle of one quest when you receive a request for assistance elsewhere, making you ponder your best course of action.

 

Upon conclusion of the main plot, you can still explore the entire area, searching for that one spell or sword that eluded you — and there’s plenty of them.

 

This is an excellent scenario, and an amazing first effort. It does have some flaws — minor ones — but in all fairness to this review they should be mentioned. I noticed several things occur seemingly out of sequence. For example, the first time I met the mayor of a certain city, he acted as if he knew me, even though I was repeatedly denied audience with him prior to my initial meeting. Apparently I missed a plot thread but the scenario thought otherwise.

 

I disagree with the weight of many unique (to the scenario) items. I can see a body weighing 250 pounds, but does a skeleton really weigh over 50 pounds? Would the fur pelt of a wolf really weigh 25 pounds?

 

The balance of the monsters in some areas is questionable. Outside, you can move from an area with Goblins to an area with Sliths quickly. There are no true barriers to keep the two apart, making me wonder why the Sliths didn’t conquer the Goblins long ago.

 

Underground, be very prepared for long hauls. Take PLENTY of potions, wands, scrolls, etc. You’ll need them. Towards the end of the scenario the monsters are so tough and so frequent you better have a large supply of magic with you, or the ability to create potions, or both. You’ll need plenty of Energy potions. You’ll never succeed otherwise.

 

 

The above negative observations are minor in comparison to the positive attributes. I recommend everyone play this scenario, and encourage the author to write another!

 

My score — Good

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S.M. ADVENTURER

 

Well, I just beat this scenario today. It was a very engaging adventure. It had a lot of interesting side quests and once you get into the main plot, it gets even better. The four guilds were designed very nicely and so were the quests to move up in rank in them. I also like the numerous customized graphics.

 

The scenario had very interesting dialogue as well. Everyone had plenty to say. Great noding sequences too, such as having to cast Ritual of Sanctification on the final boss. Mother was a very interesting villain by the way, the way she controlled all those people and everything. Trust me, once you get into the main plot line, the scenario really juices up.

 

Another amazing bit was the fact that each of the towns changed over time as you progress through the scenario. I wish I could learn to do that in my own scenarios.

 

Combat was very good, with plenty of new monsters mixed with plenty of old ones. Although at the end in the Hollows, I think the random encounters became a little too frequent for me, especially considering they were forced.

 

But anyway, AC1 is a very good scenario. You will definitely find yourself drawn to it. This one is definitely one of my favorites.

 

My Rating: Best

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MIRAMOR

 

I feel like giving this scenario both a 4 and an 8.

 

The good: interesting plot, once you find it.

 

The bad: flat characters, boring dungeons, filler, filler, filler, filler, filler, and more filler!

 

Too many wondering encounters. Too many and excessively tough generic monsters. Too many side quests necessary to have a hope of winning. And the final dungeon is far, far, far too big. When I read that I'd have to go through three more caves after meeting Mother, and then answer some riddles, and then get a key and go back... I just quit.

 

If you ask me, this scenario would be an idea candidate for an edited release. Just cut out half the filler at the end, and it would be great. As it is... Substandard

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