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The Age of Decadence is killing me


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So, I finally got tired of replaying Geneforge and Avernum over and over again, so I tried again to find some RPGs made by someone other than Jeff that didn't seem pathetic in comparison to his stuff. I'm not joking here - I literally grew up on Spiderweb games, and every single time I have tried to find an isometric RPG not made by Spiderweb to enjoy, I have always been left dissatisfied. I don't know if it's because I grew up playing Geneforge obsessively or what, but even though I recognize Jeff's games are flawed in many ways, I just can't stomach anyone else's RPGs. Anyhow, so this time around I checked to see if these forums had any recommendations, and thus stumbled upon Age of Decadence, and immediately fell in love. But now it's killing me.

 

Age of Decadence has pretty much everything I could want in an RPG - great writing, interesting, multifaceted and non-linear plot, lots of leeway in deciding what to do next, a cool setting - I really love this game. But it's character building system pains me in the extreme, not because it's unbalanced, but because of how restrictive it seems to me. In growing up on Geneforge and Avernum, I have had engraved in the deepest depths of my being a need to min-max in such a way as to unlock as much game-content as possible - no door left unlocked, no side-quest left undone, you get the idea. But in Age of Decadence's system, this is impossible - you have to heavily specialize or find yourself unable to do anything, but this means that I can't complete everything in one playthrough. I get that you're supposed to have multiple run-throughs, and I'm okay with that, because I've ran through Spiderweb Software games multiple times to unlock different endings, but that's different - in Geneforge or Avernum or Avadon, you still get access to, if not all, nearly all side-quests or special areas no matter which ending you go for. In Age of Decadence, though, there is so much to do and so many different skills needed to do it, that you can't come anywhere close to fulfilling a majority of the game's content in a single run-through, and this fact physically pains me. I haven't been able to complete a single play-through of the game yet because I keep restarting trying to find that one character build that will let me juggle 7 skills at once and still be able to progress.

 

Help. How do I stop this?

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Age of Decadence has a -heavily- branching story, moreso than Spiderweb games. Even if you had infinite skills, you couldn't possibly see most of the game in a single playthrough. The story branches can sometimes seem almost unrelated to each other. You have to pick a path regardless of skills. Though the character progression economy doesn't naturally allow you to do even all of the universal sidequests, or make a character equally qualified for each branch.

 

That said, you could just cheat if you want more skill points.

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