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The Black Crown, Part 1



Author: Duck

Difficulty: 5-10

Version: 1.0.0



Composite Score: 2.7/5.0


Best: 0.00% (0/3)

Good: 0.00% (0/3)

Average: 66.67% (2/3)

Substandard: 33.33% (1/3)

Poor: 0.00% (0/3)





Keywords: Designer-Specific Universe, Linear, Mystery, Short, First in a Series

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium
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Well, I don't know what to say. I haven't played it since the beta version, so I'll try to be fair, but I don't see the "real" version surpassing a few major complaints.


One, there's no real plot. There's some very secretive organization that has lots of resources, and for some reason, an interest in sending wolves to attack people... it's all quite diffuse, and this is probably because of the requirements of the contest. His requirements are thus:


Make a scenario where the party has to stop a monster plague.

The scenario will take place in a river or lake system.

The party will spend most of the time fighting wild beasts.

Three things will be important to the plot: a trap or ambush, a container of mysterious contents, and the mastermind behind it all.


And, well, it has all of these things. Except, there's no theme tying them all together: It's as if they all overlap in the simplest way they could be jammed together. Like, "Ok, I'll have a mastermind interested in a container of mysterious contents create a plague of wild beasts that ambush the party in a river or lake system." And that is basically the entire scenario.


I don't want to be too harsh. The combat isn't bad, especially the final fight--some interesting twists are tossed in. And, having the innkeeper clean up the floor was pretty awesome. Scripting here is well done. However, there were some places with silly town design. And, generally, it's too short to really leave an impression. It's pretty bloodless. :-/ [rating]Substandard[/rating]

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  • 4 months later...

While I agree with what Handyman said, I still this this scenario is pretty good.


I'd personally like to see something more complete (this scenario is something like 1/3 of a story), but that's the only thing holding me back from giving this a better rating.


This scenario is worth a playthrough. It's a big step up from Duck's previous work and sits on par with good scenarios, its only drawback being its diminutive length.



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Duck’s best offering yet, this has the makings of a good scenario for a level 1-5 party. I’m looking forward to playing the whole thing. This is a slightly edited version of the review I did for the contest.





It’s hard to judge the plot when we’ve only seen half of it. So far, there’s a vault with some unnamed treasure, 3 crystal keys, a chest, and a black crown. There’s Medwyn, a prince from the previous century; Mayor Jenson (deceased), a thief; and Captain Jackson, a drunk. Also Hopkins, the beastmaster. There’s the Black Sun—a secret society? A cult? There’s a Box which may or may not be the chest. Jenson stole something—the keys, presumably—from Medwyn. how or why we don’t know, and Medwyn is concerned that Jackson will get the “Box” back.


This all sounds interesting, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. But I have to grade this on what we have right now: it’s way too complicated for the size of the scenario, and obviously unresolved.



There’s a surprising amount of dialogue, considering that most of the scenario takes place in hostile territory.

The writing is basically good, with only a couple of typos. I’m not sure that the humour in the Hopkins dialogue really works, though. It would have been right at home in a scenario like Oops, but here it jars.



I started to wonder if my level 5 party was somehow overpowered, so I started over with a level 1 party and had a lot more fun. I’m not one of those hard-core gluttons for punishment, but playing at the lower level actually made it necessary for me to use almost all of the resources that were provided, which was a nice change. Otherwise, the potions and scrolls were really excessive.



The boss fight was ambitious and interesting, but actually much easier than the Jarod fight. Jarod was hard for my L1 fighters to hit or damage, so I had to chip away at him slowly; this was where I used most of the scrolls, and my lead fighter would probably have died without the invulnerability potion. With Medwyn, in contrast, and despite all the special effects, it was just a simple matter of picking away at him and his clones with arrows until they died, which didn’t take long. The forcecage was little more than a nuisance, and the final incarnation was even easier to take out, since it was vulnerable to Repel Spirit. Though admittedly I was down to my last few spell points by then, so it did feel like an accomplishment. At level 1, mind you. Sorry, level 2 by then; I’d gained one.



Town and Outdoor design:

The outdoors looked nice. And I was glad to get a chance to rest.

The boat was pretty cool. I liked the idea of a mobile staging area for whatever it is the Black Sun is doing.

All the teleportation and disconnected areas reinforce the impression of secrecy and concealment, though you’d think they’d keep a better watch on them. But it functions.

Oh, and I know that doors close themselves when you leave a town in BoA, but I wish that the door to my room had not magically repaired itself while I was upstairs. I don’t know if there’s a feasible way to arrange that, though.



No obvious bugs, although I’m not sure how the boss fight is really intended to go.



My experience was that the clones didn’t do much.


The designer should be aware, however, that many players will routinely open doors and enter rooms in combat mode when in hostile territory. Or enter combat mode at the first hint of danger—like the sound of something ramming the door of the room, for example. This can cause them to miss plot-relevant dialogue, and/or make message dialogs appear after the fact. There was nothing game-breaking, but it’s a little odd to read that



the wolf bursts into the room, after I’ve already chased it out, for example. And since it’s easy to shoot Medwyn from the doorway, it’s very strange to have a whole conversation after I’ve already killed him and two of his clones. That last could be prevented by simply moving him back out of missile range of the door, but I don’t know how you fix the rest. Some of the experienced designers might have some advice on that.



Score: [rating]Average[/rating]

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