The Temple of Elemento Evil: A Picturebook Journey - Part 00

So. Any followers of mine who also follow VGK, which I imagine is most of you (I'm picturing a Venn diagram with my circle of followers being inside the much bigger circle of his followers, like Jupiter's red spot), should have read by now his first blog about Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil. In it, he explains that he and I are currently engaged in a blog duel about this game, set up (with two generously donated virtual copies of ToEE) by fellow CRPG enthusiast ArbitraryWater.

While we might be in direct competition with each other, his seems like it'll be a slower-paced, more expansive look at Troika's perhaps best-received game without vampires in it. Unless there are vampires in this one too. Oh man, and I'm still grappling with all the saving throw rules here. My blogs will of course, be more of a visual abridged version of some of the games highlights. Also the battles where I die a lot. Those were fun, so look out for those. Both will no doubt contain heavy spoilers, so I guess you should also be aware of that. Being aware of things is definitely how to go about your beeswax in this game.

I shall now introduce the Mento Mob Players, as dictated by ArbitraryWater when he gave me the unlock code. You'll recognize a few familiar faces here, I'll bet:

Here's me. Standard fighter and vanguard, intended to be more of a burly meatshield than anything else. I'll be doing all the cleaving and the damage soaking. I have almost no skills because Intelligence is pretty low, so I'll be there to growl at everything that doesn't need whacking.

VGK is our resident spellslinger, a half-elf who is (supposedly) not evil but seems rather prone to random spouts of insanity, such as claiming he's some ancient moon monarch. He's specialized in Conjuration (summoning shit, though not Aeons unfortunately) and his forbidden schools are Transmutation (making shit go all shiny) and Illusion (making shit that ain't there). I figure as long as I got Evocation (fireballs'n shit) and Abjuration (magical shields and defenses that block shit) I'll be all set. Prove me wrong, ToEE! I know you want to!

ahoodedfigure is our party cleric, with the domains of knowledge and healing. Hence the "smartypants cleric". He'll be instrumental in keeping the team alive, which is why I fully expect him to set off every trap and be the first to get eaten by every monster. Because that is what this game seems to be alllll about.

Claude is our wise dwarven friend, a barbarian (later barbarian/rogue) who worships an unpronounceable god "of the road", which I think suits a dude who looks a bit like Willie Nelson. I gave him this super mellow elderly wizard voice so he's always a soothing influence over the party. Sort of makes me feel less mad about losing half my party to another giant spider ambush. Looking forward to hearing his barbarian rage activated with that same voice.

Finally, ArbitraryWater, with whom I was given carte blanche. It sounded like a good idea to have another solid melee fighter presence in the party, but one more engineered towards doing harm than being a big old wall like myself and thus is getting all the weapon focus/specialization feats. I mean, I could've gone that route with another spellcaster, but I am so bad at managing spells in these games. I'm just about okay now, while VGK only has level 1 magic and cantrips, but it'll get hairy before too long especially if I have to keep track of two whole sets of spells. Arbitrary rolled really highly on his stats for whatever reason, so I'm using him as my rearguard because I am totally jelly.

Starting Out

So that's it for my party. Next blog will feature my first few awkward steps in the game as I attempt to overcome the dreaded curse of being first level, where all my characters are apparently made out of tissue paper. This'll involve a bunch of fetch quests in the starting village of Hommlet, which I will discover almost always requires a high Diplomacy skill or some other skillset I neglected to put points into. Then it's off for more fun times in the swamplands moathouse, with all its horrible archer bandits and monsters. See you there!

Oh, and here's a comic about the introductory shop process. I failed at it! Spectacularly!

I do not have a head for finances. Protip: The first chapter moves reeeeeally slowly if you don't have any starting cash left over.
6 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by Mento

So. Any followers of mine who also follow VGK, which I imagine is most of you (I'm picturing a Venn diagram with my circle of followers being inside the much bigger circle of his followers, like Jupiter's red spot), should have read by now his first blog about Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil. In it, he explains that he and I are currently engaged in a blog duel about this game, set up (with two generously donated virtual copies of ToEE) by fellow CRPG enthusiast ArbitraryWater.

While we might be in direct competition with each other, his seems like it'll be a slower-paced, more expansive look at Troika's perhaps best-received game without vampires in it. Unless there are vampires in this one too. Oh man, and I'm still grappling with all the saving throw rules here. My blogs will of course, be more of a visual abridged version of some of the games highlights. Also the battles where I die a lot. Those were fun, so look out for those. Both will no doubt contain heavy spoilers, so I guess you should also be aware of that. Being aware of things is definitely how to go about your beeswax in this game.

I shall now introduce the Mento Mob Players, as dictated by ArbitraryWater when he gave me the unlock code. You'll recognize a few familiar faces here, I'll bet:

Here's me. Standard fighter and vanguard, intended to be more of a burly meatshield than anything else. I'll be doing all the cleaving and the damage soaking. I have almost no skills because Intelligence is pretty low, so I'll be there to growl at everything that doesn't need whacking.

VGK is our resident spellslinger, a half-elf who is (supposedly) not evil but seems rather prone to random spouts of insanity, such as claiming he's some ancient moon monarch. He's specialized in Conjuration (summoning shit, though not Aeons unfortunately) and his forbidden schools are Transmutation (making shit go all shiny) and Illusion (making shit that ain't there). I figure as long as I got Evocation (fireballs'n shit) and Abjuration (magical shields and defenses that block shit) I'll be all set. Prove me wrong, ToEE! I know you want to!

ahoodedfigure is our party cleric, with the domains of knowledge and healing. Hence the "smartypants cleric". He'll be instrumental in keeping the team alive, which is why I fully expect him to set off every trap and be the first to get eaten by every monster. Because that is what this game seems to be alllll about.

Claude is our wise dwarven friend, a barbarian (later barbarian/rogue) who worships an unpronounceable god "of the road", which I think suits a dude who looks a bit like Willie Nelson. I gave him this super mellow elderly wizard voice so he's always a soothing influence over the party. Sort of makes me feel less mad about losing half my party to another giant spider ambush. Looking forward to hearing his barbarian rage activated with that same voice.

Finally, ArbitraryWater, with whom I was given carte blanche. It sounded like a good idea to have another solid melee fighter presence in the party, but one more engineered towards doing harm than being a big old wall like myself and thus is getting all the weapon focus/specialization feats. I mean, I could've gone that route with another spellcaster, but I am so bad at managing spells in these games. I'm just about okay now, while VGK only has level 1 magic and cantrips, but it'll get hairy before too long especially if I have to keep track of two whole sets of spells. Arbitrary rolled really highly on his stats for whatever reason, so I'm using him as my rearguard because I am totally jelly.

Starting Out

So that's it for my party. Next blog will feature my first few awkward steps in the game as I attempt to overcome the dreaded curse of being first level, where all my characters are apparently made out of tissue paper. This'll involve a bunch of fetch quests in the starting village of Hommlet, which I will discover almost always requires a high Diplomacy skill or some other skillset I neglected to put points into. Then it's off for more fun times in the swamplands moathouse, with all its horrible archer bandits and monsters. See you there!

Oh, and here's a comic about the introductory shop process. I failed at it! Spectacularly!

I do not have a head for finances. Protip: The first chapter moves reeeeeally slowly if you don't have any starting cash left over.
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Posted by Video_Game_King

Ooh, this should be a fun warning of things to come. However, I should say right now that I've had similar bad luck with my shopping experiences. Falior's been eying Sexyface's crotch like crazy the entire time. A preview or a warning? You decide!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Yeah, that's a pretty good representation of what that initial shopping trip is like. Of course, the best part about the weapons in TOEE is that while the majority of the high-level weapons are almost always going to be some variety of sword (though, there is a very good enchanted spike chain that you get in the temple proper), you can simply make your own once your main casters have the proper feats and are high enough levels. I mean, there is the detriment of it all costing experience, but the level cap in this game without the NC mod is 10, so once you get "Craft Magical Arms and Armor" feel free to go to town.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

I guess I'm a bit wordy at times :) (Though if anything I'm an underachiever :) )
 
Old ArbitraryWater's told me a lot about this game, at least through his blog. I guess there are mods that decrease wall eats and increase monster eats, but I'm always hesitant to play games that got abandoned. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around Xenonauts actually happening to think about much else at the moment, but looking forward to seeing how far you get :)

Edited by Tennmuerti

I still have my dudes somewhere around the starting town. Gotta pick ToEE again at some point in a slow season.
The crafting in lieu of leveling is kinda scaring me off a bit tho.
 
Correct me if I'm wrong but the impression I got from ToEE is that due to low level cap and high item cap the crafting basically becomes your power progression at some point. And a relatively low level party crafting +6 swords of destruction feels wierd. I did install that big important mod that also raises the cap to 20 but from what I can tell the spells/skills are not properly developed for actual high level characters. Which is the most gimpy to casters whom I love so dearly.
 
Edit: Also why am I not surprised by the people taking part in this debauchery?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Tennmuerti: It's kind of true, though the highest enchantment level a level 10 wizard or cleric can put on a weapon is +3. Still, for as powerful as a +3 keen flameburst greatsword can be, I guarantee you that it won't make that fight against the Balor any less challenging, not to mention that the XP costs for item crafting are significant enough to make it not your party's singular source of item power.

Although, I am going through my own playthrough of the game now (ironic, yes, but I feel like I should refresh myself on what I have unleashed upon the world) with the New Content version of the mod installed, so I should be able to comment on the higher-level rules implementation in detail. Easily though, the best part about the NC mod is that it gives you another avenue to reach level 2 without doing all those silly fetch quests.

Posted by Tordah

Never played the game myself, but looking forward to reading this.

Was this game ever available on Steam, or am I just imagining that I've seen it there?