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The Forsaken

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The storyline is good, I cannot complain there. The combat used was especially good- I could not discern that this was a first effort. Dungeon design... I never felt so sure about the last part of this scenario, with that huge outdoor section under the fountain, and all. And a few points extra for the bean pets. Good

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Not being a designer, I probably don't sufficiently appreciate how impressive this is as a first effort: any number of unique and well-crafted passages, but as a whole, the scenario exists for the sake of the programming, and not the other way around, so it can be a dull slog to play. I drivel on elsewhere at length about Drizzt's many strengths and few weaknesses, so I'll shut up here.

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IMO, great


Drizzt's town and dungeon design leaves little to be desired. You know that big metropolis? What was it called? Whenever I make a friendly town I look to three things: Creator's article 'Improving the Lines of Communication', Brett's 'shop' list and Drizzt's big city. Seriously, this adds a whole point, not a tenth of a point, a point. Also thought 'The Spine' was an interesting idea. A patchy scenario - excellent in parts - but still good in others. Somehow, even with this, it maintained fluidity.


A nice Good, Chris. You deserve it.

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Don't forsake The Forsaken


A good story and excellently designed dungeons, especially the main city of Keptus and the final dungeon, highlight this polished and well designed scenario. So many designers skimp on town design, but Drizzt created a believable and interesting city which was fun to explore. (As the designer of Independence City...thanks Creator...I appreciate good city design) And the graphic detail added a lot to his scenario. I especially liked the tiny portal graphic that you could see when looking "down" from up inside the tower.


The only sore spots were some of the puzzles, especially near the beginning. All were cleverly designed, but obscure hints or overlooking a tiny detail left this gamer scratching his head wondering what the heck he was supposed to do. Fighting my way through the well designed dam was challenging and fun, but I don't know how I could have won the final fight without use of the editor. It was just a bit too tough for my medium level party. Why do so many designers put the final boss at the end of a long, difficult dungeon so that when you finally get to him (her) (it), all your resources are used up and there's no way to leave to stock up or train some more. Reloading is just not an option for me at this point.


But aside from my grumbling (which is mandatory for me when reviewing a scenario) this is a good, medium sized scenario.


This gets a solid Good

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I used a beginner party in this scenario, because the first battles seemed so easy. Consequently, the later battles were all too difficult. I shall not rate combat difficulty until I've played the scenario with the recommended level party.


The plot was very entertaining. At least some of the puzzles were too difficult, especially the stalagmite thing. Many interesting details. Towns were maybe unevenly designed, but the big city was very nice and detailed.



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You are sent on a mission to deal with some bandits and as you mop up and return... you find yourself pursued by dark clad warriors formed of dark acid which occasionally splashes on you as they die and dissolve.


Who are these guys and why are they chasing you? This seems to be the core question behind The Forsaken by Chris “Drizzt” Risberg.


In this scenario you find yourself exploring a nice corner of the Empire, conveniently divided in half by a mountain range called “The Spine”. It gives little away to note that this mountain range forms one of the core challenges of the scenario, but so do a number of other encounters and areas. In fact, the scenario gives a good impression of providing a real world to explore, with coherent missions and tasks which have no direct link to the main story line. Exploring these smaller tales help keep the scenario alert and alive.


The docs which come with the scenario claim that “there is a great deal of conversation in this scenario, some of it quite important to your missions.” The first part of this statement is misleading while the second is accurate. This can lead to extensive bouts of frustration, for instance when people you encounter tell you to go look for someone but then don’t respond to that person’s name. I spent not an insignificant amount of time running up and back between people encountered, trying to guess what dialog would get me more information.


The puzzles which form a significant part of the scenario are of the same caliber. There are lots of them, some quite unique, but at times I felt I needed to be inside the head of the author in order to get the right solution. A number also rely on non-standard uses of graphics (looking at tables or windows for instance) which can be hair-pulling until you catch on that you have to look at everything. The scenario would definitely benefit from a well developed help file. Of course, there are also a number of areas on the order of the by now simply annoying teleporter puzzle, as well as the straight forward but tedious series of “levers which control a series of portals all of which need to be opened to get to the next area.” Why any intelligent creatures would build lairs almost entirely constructed of those kinds of mazes is beyond me.


Overall the scenario held my attention to its completion, a feat which in and of itself deserves recognition these days. The questions raised by the plot, as well as the interesting side missions and cultural allusions (including the best use of Beanie Babies in a scenario to date) make up for the areas where I got so stuck I had to write for help. I found a number of minor bugs (like the aforementioned acid splashing you even if the death occurs several rooms away) but nothing fatal.


While written for a medium level party, I ran it successfully with a three-character party with an average starting level of 8, finishing with an average level of around 12. Overall, I would give this scenario a score of Good

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I began this scenario with a level 14 singleton. By the time I gave up, he was level 26, and I failed to see how the above reviewer could have accomplished his feat. For the plot, especially the part with the evil sword, I would give this scenario a perfect 10, but because of various nuisance factors I'm going to have to settle for Good

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished this and I have mixed feelings about it.


The plot, generally, is fairly good. Yes, it's just another secret conspiracy of non-humans taking over a government agency for their own sinister taking-over-the-world ends, but with enough creativity to stop it being such a tired cliche. I thought it could do with a bit more to really stand out from all the other variants of this, though.


Some parts I rather liked...the hints that the Empire fort is up to something wrong weren't much different from all the other depictions of a cruel Empire, but enough to raise interest (I was expecting them to be making mutants made from captives, personally). I also liked how in the destroyed fort, most of the bodies are clustered next to the blocked off exit without a message about how they were trying to escape and couldn't. The creator just placed them there and left it at that, which worked fair better at being creepy.


I also liked hastily looking for the last survivors...though in part this was becuase I knew I only had until day 4, because I saw it while checking the walkthrough for something else...if this had been told to the player, it would have helped the tension alot, IMHO.


I wasn't quite sure about the setting...it was set quite definitely just north of Valorim, only they've got a dam for producing power, and modern seeming offices with air vents and cafeteria and message boards...was this set in the future of the Empire? Why didn't this group do anything of note during the Exile 3 time period, given that they are almost literally next door to the problems?


The conspirators, I thought, were fairly inventive. The acid splash thing got annoying very fast, though, especially as it did 20+ damage to everyone and the game mechanics weren't able to tie into the description (it affects everyone in the party, regardless of where they are, for example, not in an area centred on the dead thing). I liked how after you found out who they were, they became known as "hunters" rather than "dark warriors". Though...how they were able to wander round Kleptus without anyone noticing seemed a bit suspicious. They could have been explained as teleporting in or whatever, but this wasn't the case.


The "ordinary man" thing was a nice idea, but didn't make too much sense...he can blend into a crowd in a totally empty room even if you suspect everyone nearby is hostile.


Walkthroughs...absolutely ESSENTIAL. I spent most of the game wandering around, knowing there was something I was supposed to do so I could go onto the next thing, but not being able to figure out what it was. There was much swearing while in the Spire in particular. Wandering round not knowing what you are doing AND being drained AND being unable to go back AND monsters keep popping up AND it makes no logical sense AND you can get sent right to the very beginning again, right at the very end. But worst of all was that it didn't do anything to advance the plot, which was the strength of the scenario. All it did was make me wonder if it was worth persevering to see what happened afterwards.


The Lorax were almost as bad (the mega-lorax excepted), and the barrier bit and the end boss likewise. Almost literally had to end combat mode and save every round, to use the editor. 40 odd damage, then lose all positive conditions, get slowed and dumbfounded than 40 more EVERY round...that's no fun. Eventually I gave up on fighting him at all, summoned a bunch of low level monsters with my one action point remaining after drinking the invulnerability potion I needed to survive the next round. Everyone had to drink 1 more potion every round, and I still had to save and edit far too many times.


The custom graphics, I thought, were quite good.


Not too many bugs, one or two messages that should have been displayed once were displayed every time, some annoying "can't enter in combat" nodes in awkward places, but mostly ok.


Some parts were oddly repetitive; at least 6 characters had the same description about not looking like someone you'd want to mess with when you talked to them, and a number of chests with exactly 13 pieces of gold in the Spire.


Although it had some quite good bits and ideas, it also had too many insanely frustrating bits, so I'm going for AVERAGE.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 8 months later...

This scenario is like a James Bond novel written by C.S. Lewis.


No, really. It derives a lot from Christian concepts, and even from Christian conspiracy theories. The thing is that, while the latter would probably strike me as toxic in a modern setting, it seems entirely appropriate for epic fantasy; especially this epic fantasy, set as it is in a vast bureaucratic empire. The messianic story fits okayish; the creepy conspiracy notes fit like a glove. Or, rather, a steel gauntlet.


My main criticism is that there's too much of the messianic and too little of the conspiracy, especially towards the end.


The scenery is great, too. The city of Keptus feels legitimately old. The Prazac Dam all but hums with modern energy. The Spine really does feel like a beautiful-but-dangerous mountain landscape. For the limited scope of a 2D game, this is an impressive feat.


I would say this scenario definitely deserves a BEST rating, rough edges notwithstanding. Also I kind of hope the author found a career in writing or game design or something, because he has got some serious talent.

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