The Temple of Elemento Evil: A Picturebook Journey - Part 02

Posted by Mento (2692 posts) -

Man, is it misleading of me to put "Part 02" with the double digits like that. I don't know how much more of this game I can take. Or to be less pessimistic, how much more of this game I have left to conquer mercilessly. Either way, I want to try something new with this week's continued coverage of Troika's underexposed D&D epic The Temple of Elemental Evil.

What we have below is a sort of play-by-play of just one of the many challenging combat scenarios you will have to deal with at some point in the game. Though to be more fair this one is entirely optional because of its difficulty, which is why I chose to cover it. The goal is to reach a place called Imeryd's Run just outside of the village of Nulb, locate and kill a large fish so a pirate will give you his personal peg-thumbs up, improving your relation with the other pirates and opening up some possible side-quests. This quest is available as soon as you reach Nulb, but is beyond impossible for the party I had at that point (which were level 4).

Now, I don't claim to be any kind of whiz at this game. In fact, I don't doubt that blog duel sponsor and ToEE veteran ArbitraryWater could probably point out half a dozen occasions where I took an inefficient course of action or recklessly endangered my poor, put-upon forumite crew. This is simply a demonstration of the process behind each of these battles: Learning from mistakes, learning how the AI of each opponent works, learning which spells and skills are effective and which are less so, and figuring out if there's a way to win without just depending on everyone busting out the mad crits. There usually is, but you sometimes have to look hard for it. When you do though, man, does it feel great. That's ToEE boiled down to its essence, which is hopefully given some justice with the account to follow:

The Battle of Imeryd's Run - A Swampy Swashbuckling Swing-Ding

Our Stalwart Heroes:

  • Mento, L5 Fighter. Feats: Longsword Focus/Specialization, Cleave, Power Attack.
  • ArbitraryWater, L5 Fighter. Feats: Archer suite (Point Blank Shot, Multi Arrow), Cleave, Power Attack.
  • Video_Game_King, L5 Wizard. Specializes in Conjuration (summoning), banned from Illusion/Transmutation. Currently capable of level 3 spells.
  • ahoodedfigure, L5 Cleric. Mostly stocked with healing spells, such as Cure Serious Wounds.
  • Claude, L3 Barbarian/L2 Rogue. Sneak Attacks and Barbarian Rage make for a useful combo.

The Enemy:

(A note about Challenge Rating, or CR: This tells you how tough an opponent is, with the CR number ideally matching that of your average party level. My party level is 5, so I should be able to take on enemies on CR5 or below for example. Anything higher and I'm in trouble, but I'll also get a XP bonus out of it too. It's a neat risk/reward system, though of course you have no way of knowing what an enemy's CR actually is until you've beaten it. Such is life in ToEE land.)

If I fighting frog. Him name is Goliath KingFrog. P.S. I'll kill this frog.
  • Large Frog: Always gets first attack. Generally fairly pathetic though; a low-level creature that mostly serves as an aperitif. CR 1.
  • 4x Lizardmen: Low-level Fighter grunts. Generally have around 10-20HP each. CR 1 each.
  • Lizardman Shaman: More HP, capable of curing unconscious enemy units. CR 3.
  • Lizardman Berserker: Same HP as Shaman, more when enraged. Hits very hard. CR 3.
  • The Sea Hag: About 50HP, does the same in damage per round to anyone within melee range. Will quickly kill anyone within two rounds. Also inflicts various poisons (which damage stats after a period) and a chance to paralyse. Absolutely brutal for characters of this level. CR 6.
  • Goliath KingFrog: It has about 140HP, emerges from somewhere underwater towards end of first round. Will "fixate" on a specific PC and hound him. After attacking the target once, the frog will then attempt to grapple them, and then subsequently swallow them with the next attack. Swallowed characters take humongous amounts of damage and can barely do anything. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, this chosen character is - without exception - the cleric. CR 6 as well.
  • Giant Gar: About 50HP, Quest target. About ten feet long, it hits hard and has a wide range. Isn't as tough as the Sea Hag or Goliath KingFrog, and actually stays out of combat as long as you avoid walking towards his lair, but is still a considerable threat and makes this battle significantly harder if provoked accidentally. CR 4 on its own.

The Rundown

The battle always begins with the Large Frog in the south part of this small, swampy area. Unfortunately, the Sea Hag, all four Lizardmen and the Lizardman Shaman are aware of your presence and will run in from the west to enter melee with whomever is closest (currently Mento, with my party formation). The Goliath KingFrog is hiding underwater near where the Large Frog is and will also appear and attack their chosen target before the end of the first round. This is actually something that was changed, whether by accident or design, in one of the newer Circle of Eight mods - previously, the Goliath KingFrog and Sea Hag/Lizardmen were two separate battles.

ROUND 1:

  • Rolling Initiative (which dictates the order of every unit): Fighters get early lead, VGK gets a good placing which is absolutely essential, then the Lizardmen, Large Frog and Hag get their turns, followed by ahoodedfigure (abbreviated to AHF from now on) and finally the Goliath KingFrog.
  • Mento, ArbitraryWater (abbreviated to AW from now on) and Claude quickly surround the Large Frog and hack it to pieces like the overzealous kitchen staff of a French restaurant.
  • VGK casts Web, catching every Lizardman and the Hag within its grasp. They are safely out of the way for one more round at least, as they struggle like the flies VGK views all non-Lunarian lifeforms as.
  • AHF stands near where the Goliath KingFrog is about to appear and preps a readied action to attack any opponent on approach. Which'll be the frog, I'd wager.
  • Goliath KingFrog makes its move and attacks AHF. It gets attacked in turn by the readied action.

ROUND 2:

  • The Fighters all converge on the Goliath KingFrog, getting in some early hits. The GKF is "Hurt", which means it still has between 75%-100% of its total HP.
  • VGK hits the frog with Melf's Acid Arrow, as all the western enemies are still too far away to target (and no way in hell is my wizard going near them).
  • A few Lizardmen escape and make a beeline towards the nearby Fighters. Fortunately, the Hag and Shaman aren't with them. Yet.
  • AHF makes a mad dash as far from the Goliath Frog as possible, while being meticulous enough not to disturb the Giant Gar to the northeast or get too close to the Lizardmen to the west. He takes an attack of opportunity from the GKF, which fortunately misses.
  • Exploiting an AI quirk, the GKF immediately decides to exit melee and chase after AHF, getting an additional three attacks from the three Fighters surrounding it. It drops to "Injured" - 50%-75% total health.

ROUND 3:

This thing is an absolute pain to deal with. It might be easier if we could grab some pills.
  • Mento attacks a nearby Lizardmen that had flanked him, killing him. Claude enters Rage mode, chases the fleeing GFK and attacks. AW moves to intercept the Sea Hag and preps to attack on approach.
  • At this point, the Sea Hag has freed herself from the Web and is closing in. VGK decides to complete his classic one-two punch of setting the Web on fire with a Fireball. The double effect of the Fireball and burning web outright kills the two Lizardmen still trapped within, severely injures the Lizardman Shaman and unfortunately does little to the Sea Hag due to her innate magical resistance which she has because why not?
  • Sea Hag moves to attack AW, the nearest, who fortunately stops the attack with his readied action. Even with the Fireball, Web and this attack, she's still only "Injured".
  • AHF once again moves to escape the GKF, getting close to the remaining Lizardman Shaman: He's pretty much between a rock and a hard place where he is, and he can't escape the other direction in case he wakes the Giant Gar up. He uses his remaining action to give himself a light Cure.
  • GKF gives chase, like it always does, but is now close enough to AHF to grapple check him with his tongue. AHF's sprite waves around like a lunatic. It still takes an AoO from AW as it moves to intercept AHF. Man, I'm really glad these abbreviations aren't all running together and making this super confusing, am I right?

ROUND 4:

I can't draw bears or lizardmen too well, apparently.
  • Mento and Claude keep hacking away at the GKF, dropping it to "Near Death". Finally.
  • AW is in dire straits trying to fight the Sea Hag on his own, so takes a five-foot step back and readies another attack.
  • VGK, fearing the wrath of the Hag, summons a Celestial Bear to keep it busy. He drops it between the Hag and the incoming Shaman as a distraction for both.
  • The Hag nevertheless carries on pounding poor AW, who attempts to withstand the blows. The bear and the Shaman start fighting each other.
  • AHF is swallowed. He manages to heal himself some.
  • The GKF is content to just chill and digest a dude.

ROUND 5:

  • The Frog is close to dropping after another attack from Mento. Claude attempts to flank the Sea Hag.
  • AW takes another five-foot step and quaffs a potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
  • VGK ignites the area behind the Hag with another fireball, getting it, the Shaman and the remaining low-level Lizardman with it. Also the bear, but he wasn't pulling his weight much. The Shaman and Lizardman dies, the Hag drops to "Badly Injured" (25%-50% total HP) and the Celestial Bear becomes Smokey the Bear.
  • Hag-time, as she continues to rip AW a new one. AW takes a fall at minus 4 HP. Because the Hag has such a wonderful personality, she will continue to attack AW next round and murder him before moving onto the next opponent.

ROUND 6:

  • Recognizing the threat to their prone buddy, Mento disengages from the GKF - taking an AoO - and helps Claude hack the nice swamp lady to splinters.
  • AW manages to stabilize, so he's out of danger. Or at least he would be if he wasn't unconscious underneath the swamp water. The game fortunately throws me a bone here and doesn't let him drown.
  • VGK directs some missiles towards the GFK. At three missiles per spell now, he does some not inconsiderable damage to the reeling beast.
  • AHF, pulling the most balls-out awesome move in my playthrough thus far, manages to attack the GFK and kill it from inside its body. Agent K ain't got nothing on our Cleric.

ROUND 7, 8 & 9:

  • At this point, it's simply a matter of healing up the injured as best as possible and hacking apart the Lizardman Berserker (who stays completely out of this initial battle, for some reason) and the Giant Gar, both of which are a cinch by themselves. The Giant Gar's head is taken, so we're ready to go back to town. We also have a small fortune in gold from the Lizardmen, nothing from the Hag (I really hated her) and a bevvy of magical items from the belly of the departed Goliath KingFrog. Mission success!

While I don't know how thrilling this was to read ("very", right? Dude tore his way out of a frog's stomach for Chrissakes), I hope you have a better idea of the level of strategy this game requires, as well as how brutal some of these battles can be without the proper preparation and forewarning. Play it yourselves and see what war journals you end up with.

Now, because I've said way too many words already...

BONUS COMICS!

The Temple of Elemental Evil

Yeah, turns out this was the only thing I played this week. I swear I'll have something new next time! Maybe Rage, or that new Kirby. Or Deus Ex, heaven forfend.

As some of you might remember from when I explained how I got Gold membership status, I'm currently making comics to meet the whims of WM user and generous sponsor omghisam. This month, he has tasked me with describing what, exactly, distinguishes each game in Namco Bandai's (or Bandai Namco?) long-lived action RPG Tales franchise from each other. Here's part one, covering the first three games in the series:

Tales of Phantasia

Not pictured: WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

Tales of Destiny

Not pictured: LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Tales of Eternia (Destiny II US)

Not pictured: An interminable "comedic" scene where everyone cosplays as other Tales characters. Christ, the in-breeding in these games.

See you next time! M..maybe!

#1 Edited by Mento (2692 posts) -

Man, is it misleading of me to put "Part 02" with the double digits like that. I don't know how much more of this game I can take. Or to be less pessimistic, how much more of this game I have left to conquer mercilessly. Either way, I want to try something new with this week's continued coverage of Troika's underexposed D&D epic The Temple of Elemental Evil.

What we have below is a sort of play-by-play of just one of the many challenging combat scenarios you will have to deal with at some point in the game. Though to be more fair this one is entirely optional because of its difficulty, which is why I chose to cover it. The goal is to reach a place called Imeryd's Run just outside of the village of Nulb, locate and kill a large fish so a pirate will give you his personal peg-thumbs up, improving your relation with the other pirates and opening up some possible side-quests. This quest is available as soon as you reach Nulb, but is beyond impossible for the party I had at that point (which were level 4).

Now, I don't claim to be any kind of whiz at this game. In fact, I don't doubt that blog duel sponsor and ToEE veteran ArbitraryWater could probably point out half a dozen occasions where I took an inefficient course of action or recklessly endangered my poor, put-upon forumite crew. This is simply a demonstration of the process behind each of these battles: Learning from mistakes, learning how the AI of each opponent works, learning which spells and skills are effective and which are less so, and figuring out if there's a way to win without just depending on everyone busting out the mad crits. There usually is, but you sometimes have to look hard for it. When you do though, man, does it feel great. That's ToEE boiled down to its essence, which is hopefully given some justice with the account to follow:

The Battle of Imeryd's Run - A Swampy Swashbuckling Swing-Ding

Our Stalwart Heroes:

  • Mento, L5 Fighter. Feats: Longsword Focus/Specialization, Cleave, Power Attack.
  • ArbitraryWater, L5 Fighter. Feats: Archer suite (Point Blank Shot, Multi Arrow), Cleave, Power Attack.
  • Video_Game_King, L5 Wizard. Specializes in Conjuration (summoning), banned from Illusion/Transmutation. Currently capable of level 3 spells.
  • ahoodedfigure, L5 Cleric. Mostly stocked with healing spells, such as Cure Serious Wounds.
  • Claude, L3 Barbarian/L2 Rogue. Sneak Attacks and Barbarian Rage make for a useful combo.

The Enemy:

(A note about Challenge Rating, or CR: This tells you how tough an opponent is, with the CR number ideally matching that of your average party level. My party level is 5, so I should be able to take on enemies on CR5 or below for example. Anything higher and I'm in trouble, but I'll also get a XP bonus out of it too. It's a neat risk/reward system, though of course you have no way of knowing what an enemy's CR actually is until you've beaten it. Such is life in ToEE land.)

If I fighting frog. Him name is Goliath KingFrog. P.S. I'll kill this frog.
  • Large Frog: Always gets first attack. Generally fairly pathetic though; a low-level creature that mostly serves as an aperitif. CR 1.
  • 4x Lizardmen: Low-level Fighter grunts. Generally have around 10-20HP each. CR 1 each.
  • Lizardman Shaman: More HP, capable of curing unconscious enemy units. CR 3.
  • Lizardman Berserker: Same HP as Shaman, more when enraged. Hits very hard. CR 3.
  • The Sea Hag: About 50HP, does the same in damage per round to anyone within melee range. Will quickly kill anyone within two rounds. Also inflicts various poisons (which damage stats after a period) and a chance to paralyse. Absolutely brutal for characters of this level. CR 6.
  • Goliath KingFrog: It has about 140HP, emerges from somewhere underwater towards end of first round. Will "fixate" on a specific PC and hound him. After attacking the target once, the frog will then attempt to grapple them, and then subsequently swallow them with the next attack. Swallowed characters take humongous amounts of damage and can barely do anything. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, this chosen character is - without exception - the cleric. CR 6 as well.
  • Giant Gar: About 50HP, Quest target. About ten feet long, it hits hard and has a wide range. Isn't as tough as the Sea Hag or Goliath KingFrog, and actually stays out of combat as long as you avoid walking towards his lair, but is still a considerable threat and makes this battle significantly harder if provoked accidentally. CR 4 on its own.

The Rundown

The battle always begins with the Large Frog in the south part of this small, swampy area. Unfortunately, the Sea Hag, all four Lizardmen and the Lizardman Shaman are aware of your presence and will run in from the west to enter melee with whomever is closest (currently Mento, with my party formation). The Goliath KingFrog is hiding underwater near where the Large Frog is and will also appear and attack their chosen target before the end of the first round. This is actually something that was changed, whether by accident or design, in one of the newer Circle of Eight mods - previously, the Goliath KingFrog and Sea Hag/Lizardmen were two separate battles.

ROUND 1:

  • Rolling Initiative (which dictates the order of every unit): Fighters get early lead, VGK gets a good placing which is absolutely essential, then the Lizardmen, Large Frog and Hag get their turns, followed by ahoodedfigure (abbreviated to AHF from now on) and finally the Goliath KingFrog.
  • Mento, ArbitraryWater (abbreviated to AW from now on) and Claude quickly surround the Large Frog and hack it to pieces like the overzealous kitchen staff of a French restaurant.
  • VGK casts Web, catching every Lizardman and the Hag within its grasp. They are safely out of the way for one more round at least, as they struggle like the flies VGK views all non-Lunarian lifeforms as.
  • AHF stands near where the Goliath KingFrog is about to appear and preps a readied action to attack any opponent on approach. Which'll be the frog, I'd wager.
  • Goliath KingFrog makes its move and attacks AHF. It gets attacked in turn by the readied action.

ROUND 2:

  • The Fighters all converge on the Goliath KingFrog, getting in some early hits. The GKF is "Hurt", which means it still has between 75%-100% of its total HP.
  • VGK hits the frog with Melf's Acid Arrow, as all the western enemies are still too far away to target (and no way in hell is my wizard going near them).
  • A few Lizardmen escape and make a beeline towards the nearby Fighters. Fortunately, the Hag and Shaman aren't with them. Yet.
  • AHF makes a mad dash as far from the Goliath Frog as possible, while being meticulous enough not to disturb the Giant Gar to the northeast or get too close to the Lizardmen to the west. He takes an attack of opportunity from the GKF, which fortunately misses.
  • Exploiting an AI quirk, the GKF immediately decides to exit melee and chase after AHF, getting an additional three attacks from the three Fighters surrounding it. It drops to "Injured" - 50%-75% total health.

ROUND 3:

This thing is an absolute pain to deal with. It might be easier if we could grab some pills.
  • Mento attacks a nearby Lizardmen that had flanked him, killing him. Claude enters Rage mode, chases the fleeing GFK and attacks. AW moves to intercept the Sea Hag and preps to attack on approach.
  • At this point, the Sea Hag has freed herself from the Web and is closing in. VGK decides to complete his classic one-two punch of setting the Web on fire with a Fireball. The double effect of the Fireball and burning web outright kills the two Lizardmen still trapped within, severely injures the Lizardman Shaman and unfortunately does little to the Sea Hag due to her innate magical resistance which she has because why not?
  • Sea Hag moves to attack AW, the nearest, who fortunately stops the attack with his readied action. Even with the Fireball, Web and this attack, she's still only "Injured".
  • AHF once again moves to escape the GKF, getting close to the remaining Lizardman Shaman: He's pretty much between a rock and a hard place where he is, and he can't escape the other direction in case he wakes the Giant Gar up. He uses his remaining action to give himself a light Cure.
  • GKF gives chase, like it always does, but is now close enough to AHF to grapple check him with his tongue. AHF's sprite waves around like a lunatic. It still takes an AoO from AW as it moves to intercept AHF. Man, I'm really glad these abbreviations aren't all running together and making this super confusing, am I right?

ROUND 4:

I can't draw bears or lizardmen too well, apparently.
  • Mento and Claude keep hacking away at the GKF, dropping it to "Near Death". Finally.
  • AW is in dire straits trying to fight the Sea Hag on his own, so takes a five-foot step back and readies another attack.
  • VGK, fearing the wrath of the Hag, summons a Celestial Bear to keep it busy. He drops it between the Hag and the incoming Shaman as a distraction for both.
  • The Hag nevertheless carries on pounding poor AW, who attempts to withstand the blows. The bear and the Shaman start fighting each other.
  • AHF is swallowed. He manages to heal himself some.
  • The GKF is content to just chill and digest a dude.

ROUND 5:

  • The Frog is close to dropping after another attack from Mento. Claude attempts to flank the Sea Hag.
  • AW takes another five-foot step and quaffs a potion of Cure Serious Wounds.
  • VGK ignites the area behind the Hag with another fireball, getting it, the Shaman and the remaining low-level Lizardman with it. Also the bear, but he wasn't pulling his weight much. The Shaman and Lizardman dies, the Hag drops to "Badly Injured" (25%-50% total HP) and the Celestial Bear becomes Smokey the Bear.
  • Hag-time, as she continues to rip AW a new one. AW takes a fall at minus 4 HP. Because the Hag has such a wonderful personality, she will continue to attack AW next round and murder him before moving onto the next opponent.

ROUND 6:

  • Recognizing the threat to their prone buddy, Mento disengages from the GKF - taking an AoO - and helps Claude hack the nice swamp lady to splinters.
  • AW manages to stabilize, so he's out of danger. Or at least he would be if he wasn't unconscious underneath the swamp water. The game fortunately throws me a bone here and doesn't let him drown.
  • VGK directs some missiles towards the GFK. At three missiles per spell now, he does some not inconsiderable damage to the reeling beast.
  • AHF, pulling the most balls-out awesome move in my playthrough thus far, manages to attack the GFK and kill it from inside its body. Agent K ain't got nothing on our Cleric.

ROUND 7, 8 & 9:

  • At this point, it's simply a matter of healing up the injured as best as possible and hacking apart the Lizardman Berserker (who stays completely out of this initial battle, for some reason) and the Giant Gar, both of which are a cinch by themselves. The Giant Gar's head is taken, so we're ready to go back to town. We also have a small fortune in gold from the Lizardmen, nothing from the Hag (I really hated her) and a bevvy of magical items from the belly of the departed Goliath KingFrog. Mission success!

While I don't know how thrilling this was to read ("very", right? Dude tore his way out of a frog's stomach for Chrissakes), I hope you have a better idea of the level of strategy this game requires, as well as how brutal some of these battles can be without the proper preparation and forewarning. Play it yourselves and see what war journals you end up with.

Now, because I've said way too many words already...

BONUS COMICS!

The Temple of Elemental Evil

Yeah, turns out this was the only thing I played this week. I swear I'll have something new next time! Maybe Rage, or that new Kirby. Or Deus Ex, heaven forfend.

As some of you might remember from when I explained how I got Gold membership status, I'm currently making comics to meet the whims of WM user and generous sponsor omghisam. This month, he has tasked me with describing what, exactly, distinguishes each game in Namco Bandai's (or Bandai Namco?) long-lived action RPG Tales franchise from each other. Here's part one, covering the first three games in the series:

Tales of Phantasia

Not pictured: WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?

Tales of Destiny

Not pictured: LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

Tales of Eternia (Destiny II US)

Not pictured: An interminable "comedic" scene where everyone cosplays as other Tales characters. Christ, the in-breeding in these games.

See you next time! M..maybe!

#2 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

You're certainly kicking my ass, I'll say that much. (Also, I've only read my parts and the comics. Yes, I'm that fucking egotistical.)

#3 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11301 posts) -

Neat.

Moderator
#4 Posted by ZombiePie (5710 posts) -

Yes that's all high and dandy but can can this video game slice and dice tomatoes?

Moderator
#5 Posted by Mento (2692 posts) -

@ZombiePie: I don't know, man, I just know that as a British person I'm going to be an absolute dick to anyone who tries to serve me those tomatoes in a restaurant.

#6 Posted by niamahai (1405 posts) -

oh god the horrible memories of being ensnared by the frog's tongue!!!

#7 Posted by Soren (291 posts) -

Someone else remembers that amazing intro scene from Tales of Phantasia.

Excellent.

#8 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11914 posts) -

Holy shit, you did Imeryd's Run with a level 5 party? I salute you. I didn't do that sucker until around level 7 or 8 in my initial playthrough if I recall correctly. However, once you do whatever you can tolerate of Nulb's fetch quests and get into the titular temple, the game starts to really show what its made of (I mean that in a positive light, by the way). Basically, doing a bunch of quests for the various heads of the elemental temples and clearing out bugbears upon bugbears will get you to the level that you need to be to conquer the elemental nodes on the 4th level and get the best ending. Just remember to wear the appropriate faction cloaks!

Personally, in the situation I am in, I can't do any of the high EXP yielding faction quests because they make my Paladin "Fallen", and while Lay On Hands is a generally garbage ability all around, getting a bonus to saves based on charisma isn't, and I want to be "authentic" or whatever. Point is, don't play as a Paladin if you ever want to do another playthrough of the game with the New Content installed (The new content itself is quite good actually, despite also kinda making the game easier. I'm half considering writing a blog where I cover that)

EDIT: Oh yeah, before I forget: You don't have to have your cleric memorize healing spells, because of their spell convert ability. Just look at whatever spell you need to convert, and then hold shift. It's more than a little useful for good clerics, but less than useful for evil clerics, since the Inflict X Wounds series of spells isn't nearly as versatile or useful as just healing a dude.

#9 Posted by snide (2413 posts) -

The game really opens up when you enter the Temple. The frog bits made me laugh though.

#10 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

The random Deus Ex insertion in the comic cracked me up.

#11 Posted by Still_I_Cry (2494 posts) -

Fun Read.

#12 Posted by Mento (2692 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: Yeah, if I'd left that battle for one more level, where the Fighters are then able to attack twice per round instead of moving, it would've been considerably easier. I just jumped in at 5 because VGK and AHF just received their level 3 spells, which meant fireballs and bigger heals. For full disclosure, the fight above was like the third or fourth at that level. The Hag is just too good at murdering people.

About the Temple... oops. I've just been annihilating everything I've met in the Temple so far. We're a Neutral Good party, so I didn't think doing the bad guys' jobs for them was appropriate. I'm at level 9 after taking out the Earth Temple (easy if you keep separate the two groups of priests and bugbears/guards), Water Temple (not easy with that juggernaut), Air Temple (didn't even need to refresh after the Water Temple. Poor, weakened Air Temple), some guards led by a dude called Feldrin that were apparently important? And a massive army of bugbears in that one room.

While the XP is flowing like wine, I do kind of feel like I'm missing out on some content by not doing these quests for the guys and seeing all their political in-fighting come to a head. Maybe I'll jump in with a Neutral or Evil party at some point and help out.

Also, I never did figure out the spell convert, so thanks for telling me about that. I've just been making Bull's Strength potions with his Brew Potions feat as a compromise.

@snide: Awesome seeing you here, Dave. I can now see what you mean about ToEE being crazy good.

@niamahai: Honestly the Hag probably gave me more nightmares. I'm envious of people who got to fight the two groups separately.

@Soren: It can't be!

@MooseyMcMan: @Hailinel: @Still_I_Cry: Thanks duders.

#13 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

Pretty neat that the engine even allows for an in-belly attack. 
 
Stories like this are usually reserved for pen-and-paper because you can imagine players as well as characters, so the smart move here is that you have characters associated with, I guess, characters on this website. Just that little extra makes it work (if people just said "my fighter did this" it wouldn't be very interesting unless we were focused on mechanics or something).
 
It also helps that it's a party-based game and not single player. Even if you're playing all these characters it has a weird dissociative quality that playing something with just a single hero wouldn't, I'm guessing. The comics help, too :)
 
All the jargon about reactions and stuff is giving me 3e flashbacks. I miss 2e's kill-the-bastard simplicity, but at least in video game land it's easier to keep track of everything.

#14 Posted by Mento (2692 posts) -

@ahoodedfigure: Yeah, I also wanted to show off some 3e mechanics in there too. Multi-purpose blog, I swear. Actually, my time with pen-and-paper games was exclusively with 3e so I'm a little more familiar with it than most. I liked things like Challenge Rating and the simplicity of how stat bonuses work especially, I don't know if 4e persisted with any of that. I wonder if we'll ever see a proper 4e game that isn't the alliterative anticlimax that was Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerdale.

What probably would've worked best, in terms of keeping people's interest at least, is recording the fight on video somehow and describing what I'm doing there. But making comics is about as industrious as I tend to get for these blogs. Not that I don't take them (sorta) seriously; I'm just very lazy.

Last note: ArbitraryWater really deserves all the credit for me naming this team after forum people. Otherwise I might've gone with VGK's suggestion to name them after the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia group. I still might if I restart the game with an Evil-aligned party.

#15 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@Mento: I know more about 4e than 3e, just through experience, although by osmosis I understand most of 3e's basics. I also know their skills and feats got out of control, and only have that particular problem was solved with 4e's mostly welcome skill simplification. 
 
The ability score bonuses (+1 every two points) and something analogous to challenge ratings persist. But the latter was never really supposed to be known by players, I don't think, so it's not like I know the particulars, just that it helps a DM gauge difficulty when they're building encounters. I actually miss 2e and below's more varied ability score modifiers, to be honest. Sure, the +1 /2 is simple to remember, but it makes things feel arbitrary, which paves the way for 4e having attacks based on your charisma modifier. A: "Love me!" B: "Ouch! I died!"
 
I could never get past Daggerdale's alliteration :) I kept wondering if they just didn't notice. Keeps reminding me of a scene in the Simpsons where Homer gets kicked out of Riverdale, where Archie's comics is set. Big guy says "stay out of Daggerdale!" in my head, over and over. 
 
4e might actually work OK as a turn-based combat engine. It wouldn't really work well as action, though, because it often requires players to choose where to send someone you're moving, or choose targets after you find out if you hit or not. The changes would be severe if pasted on to a pure action combat engine. I wonder if the Wizards folks are lamenting the perceived change in the industry toward more action titles, although I keep thinking I could give them a really awesome RPG that would please all of us who are waiting for more "spiritual sequels" and less thematic ones.
 
Actually recording stuff takes a lot of effort and it's not always rewarded. I think you're doing all right with your comics format; stick with that. If you feel that something absolutely needs to be illustrated, go nuts with FRAPS or whatever, but be sure to use all those annotations they have on YT or the like (like keeping track of how often AHF dies in the corner or something).
 
Seems AW is quite the schemer :)
 
Would alignment affect gameplay at all?
#16 Edited by Mento (2692 posts) -

@ahoodedfigure: ArbitraryWater clearly knew what he was doing when he sent me those character specs. He also told me which classes they'd all be, which has been working out pretty well so far: Rogue skills are underused in this game, so it pays to have one that can double up as a badass fighter with the same restriction to leather armor.

I don't think alignment really does anything besides choose your adventure hook: The game has a neat, Dragon Age: Origins sort of way of giving your party various reasons based on their alignment for travelling to the first village, and by extension the larger region the module is set in. My Neutral Good party goes to Hommlet to return some dead nun's belongings to her church. If I were Neutral Evil, I'd have killed the nun myself and gone to Hommlet to burn the church down for fun, probably. In-game, all it seems to effect is your ability to equip (or create) certain alignment-based magical items and whether or not your Paladins fall, which is why I don't have any. For me avoiding the Temple quests is really more a role-playing decision, or to be even more precise a "I don't want to do more fetch-quests, especially not for all these insane Chaotic Evil assholes". I might've lost myself some XP in the process, though since I've hit the cap already I don't think I've ruined my chances of completing the game with a satisfactory conclusion.

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