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A Band of Wanderers

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I beta-tested it. I also did not play it again after the first time, so I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt (aka +.5 points to the total score). Of course, I do this because I'd be taking off .5 from the beta due to its buginess. The beta was more than a tad bit bugged, to put it gently. Of course, that's (hopefully) irrelevant. This scenario starts out on a fairly simple note. You start out in a forest village of do-gooders who are generally nice people. You're supposed to go out and do things for your initiation-type thing. The first few quests are fairly simple. The Circus one was imaginative, even though the combat was almost non-existant. The rest were somewhat disappointing, and the bug-infested fort could have been enriched by being larger. Most things needed more nodes in order to have a personality other than random places for monsters to hang out. The plot is simple, though, and this scenario isn't a complete waste if you're after a simple scenario to waste 30-60 minutes with. That's about it, though. Substandard

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Most people learn to walk before they run, this, however, is not always true of BoE scenario designers. A good example is Doom Moon I, one of the most technically innovative scenarios I have ever played, it blew me away. However, the story line was a little muddled, and the NPC conversation often left something to be desired. This, I must add, was later improved in Doom Moon II, and the innovation was even better, but the point remains that whilst Doom Moon I was brilliant and innovative, its speed caused it to trip up on several points. This is true of many first time scenarios, they try to do something new and creative, and sometimes succeed, but generally at a cost, they are either buggy, or lack in certain other areas. A Band of Wanderers, however, which (I believe) is a first scenario, does not run, but goes at a steady and sure pace. The result is a scenario that is not deficient in any single area, but lacks sparkle.


But let me get onto the details. The story is simple and appealing enough, you are young members of a people called the Wanderers. These people believe in respecting nature, in racial tolerance, and in doing good where they can. You have just reached a sort of ‘coming of age’ and are thus set a task to prove your worth to the tribe, and the scenario continues from there.


It’s not a terribly original idea, but nor is a preposterous or confusing one. I quite liked the idea of the Wanderers, I found it quite optimistic and uplifting to have some plain old ‘good guys’ in a scenario, and you can’t get much better than these. I hope they appear again. The writing as a whole is steady and readable, at no point in the game was I confused. The NPC’s were also all well written, with distinct personalities and something to say. Having said this, no single character really stood out at all, but as a whole they were quite good. Some of their responses were a bit odd, I had one priest tell me three things with no particular connection, which was strange, but at least he talks rather than just give his name, job, and service.


Towns were well made and quite aesthetically pleasing, all the services you could need were there, and there were some tiny side quests to do, such as one with the harbormaster’s son, Rob. This was fun as it made the characters and towns seem more alive, as well as congratulating a player for observance and kindness.


There are some custom graphics, but not many, and most of them could be seen in other scenarios, but they are all of a good standard. Item and monster level was about right, a little easy, perhaps, but not much.


There was no spectacular node-work here, but people responded to what you’d done, and towns changed to include new characters. There is nothing here to show great mastery of the use of special nodes, yet the game is remarkably bug free, or at least those bugs that exist are so small as to be nothing to worry about.


The scenario is rather small, with seven towns and two outdoor sections, it took me five game-days to complete, and two real-time days. However, it was quite a ‘full’ scenario, with a nice feeling of completeness at the end, whilst still leaving you wanting more. There was a lack of puzzles in it, but this was not particularly missed in such a small scenario. It also comes with a Read-Me file giving some useful information, which is appreciated; I hate not knowing what level party to use (it uses a beginning one, by the way.)


To conclude, A Band of Wanderers works fine in all areas, but works great in none. There’s nothing here to grab you by the neck and swing you round, but it’s all in order and satisfactory. It certainly shows some promise in a scenario designer, this person, if he/she keeps up like this, may well create some truly entertaining scenarios.


So, is A Band of Wanderers worth playing? If you want a short, but steady and entertaining scenario, definitely, just don’t expect anything spectacular.


Score: Average

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