Choose Your Language

Friday, 30 November 2018

The Adventure Continues ... 4. A Day In The Village. (Memory Leak Warning. v2.14 Now Available)

An interesting series of issues arose the last time we played, which although minor in themselves (as they did not stop play), did help highlight an issue that would have eventually caused the server to crash due to a memory leak!

Funny enough, this last set of fixes escalated from initial minor ones, to those that ended up taking me a little while longer than expected to finally resolve. Recall last week,when I mentioned the "COMPANIONS IN MP"? Well it was from that "simple fix" that I managed to introduce a memory leak. More detail on that in a minute. For those that want to keep up with the heroes adventures, that's further below. I also placed this warning on the download page to stress the importance of the latest fix:-

v2.12 WARNING: If you are one of the few people to download v2.12, then please accept my apology, as that version had a memory leak, which will eventually make the module unplayable. From v2.13, the memory leak has been fixed. However, even patching will leave you with damage in the form of numerous invisible unwanted objects scattered over areas.

The List of Fixes

1) MEMORY LEAK (DISCOVERED): Let's get this one out of the way. Basically, to help resolve an earlier companion issue, I caused a function to be called from their heartbeat (every six seconds) to do a simple check. Unfortunately, when this check was called, it caused the companion to dump all their equipment into an "invisible container" every six seconds! By the end of 43 minutes in one area, there had been 423 containers dropped, and after 54 minutes in another area, 543 containers had been dropped (all with items). This would have kept on happening until the server eventually "died" under the strain. The latest update now prevents this from happening, but does NOT resolve damage already done. I have written specific "fix" code for our own situation (which a person can check out in "alb_althea_patchscript"), but I have commented this  code out for the latest update, which would not need it. I only actually discovered this issue because I was having a problem with some items NOT being cleared from an area after being exited. Investigating that issue brought to light the mass of invisible items all over the two areas in question.

2) RESILIENT ITEMS (INTERCEPTED):  This problem was not experienced during the session, but while testing some code to fix a TRANSITION problem, I noticed some items remaining in an area when they should have been removed. It turned out that the general Area Clean Up code was clashing with some dedicated clean up code for these particular offending items. Once I established this, I re-timed the checks and the offending items were destroyed as expected. And once that timing issue had been resolved, it sorted the transition problem ...

3) TRANSITION FAIL (INTERCEPTED): While returning to a place to test a conversation for the next session, I discovered that the transition that had worked fine before, stopped working. It would fade me to black and then fail to do the transition. This turned out to be caused by the problem above (see item 2), but this also highlighted another problem: What to do for a player left in "BLACK" after some other potential failed fade operation. To this end, I added a quick FadeFromBlack (which allows the player to see again) if they hit escape. This would be useful, as it allows the player to continue with the game at least. In this example, it would have even allowed them to do the transition again, which worked the second time around.

4) SOUND FILE FAILED (INTERCEPTED): Again, while working to resolve issue 5 (below), I discovered that a certain sound file was failing to fire as expected. I won't go into (spoiler) details, but I ended up having to move the sound file to play from a conversation rather than the script that called for the conversation. I believe it was just a matter of timing again. Although, there was also the issue of GetFirstPC not correctly calling a player (but the DM instead), which added to the problem.

5) GetFirstPC CALLS (INTERCEPTED): The issue with using GetFirstPC was highlighted in my testing this time around. I never experienced issues with it before, as I have never tested the campaign with a DM as host before. However, I believe it can be a problem because I think the function can sometimes return the DM rather than a PC player. This can be a problem when trying to then run faction member loops after using the GetFirstPC to "get" a PC. In the end I wrote a personal function to check if the first GetFirstPC was a DM, and grab the next PC if it was. It is a simple wrapper function that I call GetAPlayer. I ended up changing a number of both MODULE and CAMPAIGN scripts to use this wrapper function to be on the safe side of what was being used. The altered module files were added to the hak for our future sessions. (The latest version does not need the hak.) The NWN Lexicon says this about the function: "If you are building for multiplayer, be aware of uses of this function. You could be performing tasks on a player that was not your intended target." I think I experienced this and is why I now use my wrapper function when definitely requiring a player PC.

6) FRANK/KATHY CONVERSATIONS: Now this was the original problem (prior to all those above) that I had been aiming to "fix". The problem with this conversation came to light when the players noticed the journal had said it updated, but when checked, had not changed. The problem was confirmed as an issue when the players duly visited the apothecary as instructed, but were unable to ask Kathy for help. (The failed journal update did not unlock the chat option.) It turned out to be due to the way GetFirstPC and the QUEST node in a conversation work, especially with respect to lower quest states overwriting higher ones in a MP game hosted by a DM. I believe I have this issue sorted now, by keeping track of the player speaker when doing the journal update. (NB: This problem required fixes to MODULE scripts and dialogues, which meant I have had to introduce a patch hak for our sessions. Furthermore, I have also had to fix journal entry via the "alb_althea_patchscript", which is commented out in the latest public release.) There was also a second problem with Frank's conversation related to logic flow; this was also fixed. (Although there may be a minor issue with PCs already knowing Scraps name, which I may try to address later.)

7) CHAT WINDOW (AGAIN): This version of the earlier issue was "accidentally" discovered when one of the player's (Graham on WAN) chose to UPDATE MAP PINS by mistake. The option is quite legitimate, but had not been required at this time. However, it's process of leaving and returning to the same area demonstrated that some code was still needed for the exit/return exercise. E.g. The CHAT WINDOW needed closing again according to the player's setting. The missing application of some code was also the reason why the player had to now click twice to open their inventory - a variable had not been set.

Threska Seemed A Little Uneasy In This Sanctuary to Boran

The Adventure Continues ... 4. A Day In The Village!

So many problems ... ?

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

The session started a little later than we hoped due to Graham having difficulty starting his copy of the NWN2. However, once up and running, things progressed relatively smoothly, even if the list of reported issues did look longer this week.

We catch up with our heroes just having had a spending spree at the local stores. Before continuing on familiarizing themselves with New Edgeton again (it is their home village in option 1 background, but they had not been here for many years), the heroes caught up with a little gossip from the store vendors (item 1 fix last blog).

After the quick chat, Helden then took the lead, taking a circular route around the village. First stop was at the local smithy, where they met Todd. The blacksmith had a problem with disgruntled ex-employees and asked the heroes to retrieve a combination to his chest from them so that he could get back to his equipment. Myara did try to help the smith by attempting a lock pick for him, but was unable to crack the code at her current level of ability. Instead, the heroes said they would keep their eyes open for Joss and Billy, the two scoundrels who had messed with Todd's chest.

Continuing along the way, the heroes called in at the local Apothecary run by Kathy. They had noticed a strange pedestal before entering and quickly asked her all about it. It turned out to have once been the base of a statue called The Angel, which now stood as the headstone to Sophie's (her daughter) grave.

Kathy should have been able to offer help with Ant Poison, but the heroes were told to come back later. (Due to item 6 problem above.) Apart from that Kathy offered the heroes various items for a little gold, especially in crafting, and the use of her table for crafting (should they need one). She also offered help in solving Chameleon Puzzles for a price.

Moving around the village, Helden occasionally banged at a few doors of local houses, but most owners appeared out (probably at work). Myara thought about a bit of pilfering after listening to be sure, but thought better of it for now.

Towards the edge of the village, the heroes entered the tower garden of the local wizard, Astend the Wise. They had barely entered when Aeriol popped out from behind a tree and introduced himself to them. The elf wizard had been trying to gain entrance to the tower to meet Astend, but had not been successful. The heroes offered to help gain entrance, but came up against the same resistance as the elf, in the form of an odious talking door. The heroes made no inroads either, and so Aeriol tagged along with them for the time being.

Continuing on, the heroes eventually came upon the Sanctuary of the village: a holy place dedicated to the good god, Boran. Orechin was still the clergyman at the sanctuary and recognized the party of heroes as they came in. The group chatted about old times ... and the new ones ... and the heroes ended up buying a book from Orechin to learn more about the changes. Orechin had only just given them some gold to help them along though ... for old time sake.

The clergyman had a lot to talk about, especially pertaining to the sanctuary crypts, which had apparently been overrun with undead. Orechin asked the heroes if they could retrieve the legendary sword of Ragnor Oran from the crypts for him, but  warned them of potential necromancy involvement too.

There was also the local Mercy Board that the heroes looked at in the sanctuary. A number of people  had posted requests for help, and the heroes spoke to Orechin for more details about each. There were a lot of problems about the village it seemed, and it seemed the heroes had arrived at the right time!

The heroes had spent the whole of the morning shopping, and now the whole of the afternoon exploring the local area. It was already gone 8.00 pm, and the group were growing more and more tired and needed to rest. Who would have thought "normal life" could be so tiring?

TOTAL SESSION TIME: 1 Hrs 20 Minutes. (Late start.)
QUESTS ACTIVE: 16 QUESTS COMPLETE: 1 (Ignoring Rule Info)

There are a couple of things to remember for the next session:-

1) Frank and Kathy have both had conversation fixes (and may have more to say).
2) Use the "Z" key to highlight items in the area with which to interact.
3) You will be warned if you are about to do anything "evil" like steal, so it's safe to explore.
4) You have only just arrived at the Sanctuary and have yet to "explore" it further.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Adventure Continues ... 3. Quick Gold! (V2.12 Made Available)


The latest session went reasonably well for us. We had made the decision to restart (again) and play with the latest v2.11, which was the latest version with the store fixes at the time. Because, v2.11 had included a number of module changes (conversations), it made sense to bite the bullet and go for the restart with the newer module files. The reworking of the store files turned out to be a success for the player on WAN, as well as the LAN connection I had managed to test earlier. There were still a couple of remaining/new issues, but these were easily worked around for us, and have already been fixed in v2.12 that we will start from next time.

NB: Due to a problem with the RULE TAB (See below), the latest v2.12 fixed that problem (introduced with v2.11) and was made available immediately; replacing the v2.11. This means new players will have access to all the latest fixes to date, including the ones we discovered this session:-

The List of Fixes

NB: The fixes I have made in this v2.12 update address a couple of minor ones that were introduced with v2.11 and some quest logic corrections and updates that will be appreciated in both SP and MP games.

1) STORES: Importantly, the latest versions (v2.11 and v2.12) have made vast improvements in performance and fixes around the use of stores. Previously, v2.11 had removed massive memory leaks, and the latest v2.12 fixes the “direct switch” action where a player may click between vendors without going through a conversation. These fixes alone would warrant an update to this latest version whether playing SP or MP.

2) COMPANIONS IN MP: On the back of deprecating the PLOT ITEM code, I managed to fix the companion of another player being unavailable if a second player joined a server before the player who owned the companions. (The server could crash if the second player tried speaking with the companions that did not belong to them.)

3) MISSING RULE TAB: This had just been a silly mistake in the last update (v2.11), and was quickly repaired. Thankfully, nobody had downloaded v2.11 at this time and so will not be seen.

4) QUEST LOGIC: I noticed one quest (in a a rare circumstance related to stores) would return an erroneous journal entry. This has been removed. Another minor quest has had a conversation updated to allow immediate response rather than have to restart the conversation with an NPC if an item had already been found.

5) DM STUFF: I fixed a missing calendar GUI for the DM, because he did not receive it correctly at the time. Removed the risk of DM accidentally overwriting the STORED TEST of players.

6) DEBUG & OTHER: Fixed a TYPO. Reworked the CHAT toggle option for MP again, as one player was still suffering from having to repeatedly hut the window when entering a new area. Hopefully squashed now. (UPDATE: Had to do some more before this was finally squashed. Will be available in next update.) Removed some DEBUG lines related to the STORE testing.

The Heroes Haggle Over New Equipment

The Adventure Continues ... 3. Quick Gold!

Groundhog Day .... and beyond ...

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

Before continuing with our story, I would like to point out a couple of minor differences that the players experienced in their play that returned them to where they had reached previously ...

1) On entering the village, the heroes ran into a snotty kid who asked where they had come from. After the brief encounter, the heroes were left with an understanding that the village had been encapsulated within a barrier. This now makes logical sense to their adventures and conversations with reference to a barrier, which was the title of last week's adventure blog: Trapped!

2) Just prior to coming into the village, the players found a "doll" near the river by the bridge. A little bit of meta-gaming I guess, as the players were aware that they were going to be on the look out for a doll if they picked up the same quest as last time. They did pick up the quest again, and were quickly rewarded with a Chameleon Stone that Myara, after taking a trap hit on her first attempt to open it, then managed to successfully resolve it and was rewarded with a magikal dagger! (This potential action of other players gave me the head's up regarding giving the immediate conversation response, as in item 4 above.)

3) This time around the players discovered more information at the village obelisk, and found and repaired a ripped scroll (puzzle) that they spotted near the village Notice Board. (Extra effects had been added in patch v2.11 to help in this.) Once the ripped scroll was put back together, another quest was added to their journal.

Apart from these few differences, the players quickly found themselves back in the same position as the last session, ready to purchase items from the local traders. This time, however, they had the magik dagger to hand, which they sold to make some quick gold: around 383 gp, which they helped equip the entire party, including Threska, their new partner cleric.

Now, both rested and equipped, the heroes had more quests to complete!

TOTAL SESSION TIME: 2 Hrs 22 Minutes. (A complete session.)
QUESTS ACTIVE: 9 QUESTS COMPLETE: 1

Again, we took our time; especially spending time at the stores and ensuring everybody was properly equipped. (There was also one need of a reload during this time, as a conversation bug caused players to lose control of their PCs. See item 1 above.) A quick reload from just prior the bug though and we were able to workaround the issue until I fixed it for the next session.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

The Adventure Continues ... 2. Trapped! (More multi-player fixes.)

The party of players met again yesterday to continue their adventure, which started fine, but came to a grinding halt when the PCs tried to spend what little gold they had at the local stores. More about the play in a moment, but for now, here is the list of faults that needed addressing.

The Multi-Play Issues

Continuing play with the same setup as before. HOST: Me. On LAN: Jennifer. On WAN: Graham. Don't let it ever be said that coding for a MP game cannot be that much more difficult than doing so for a SP one!

1) PLOT ITEMS: Prior to starting the game, I took the decision to abandon/remove some code that supported maintaining plot item between sessions in the situations where a player may be absent. The code still is in place to safeguard plot items accidentally lost or left on fallen companions, but trying to support automatic drop-in/drop-out of players has been abandoned. Simply put, the game now assumes that the same group of players will be present from week to week, and any potential absences should be managed in the following way:-

A) Player who may be absent should ensure they leave plot items with another player or companion.
B) Player should then EXPORT their main PC to save any other current equipment they may have.

This allows the game play to continue in their absence (if need be), and allow them to return to the game with their exported character at a later date without disrupting the integrity of the session. The only caveat here is that the HOST must always be present for every session.

2) CONVERSATIONS: During play there were one or two conversations that behaved slightly differently, and it turned out to be due to some accidentally missing MP or PARTY CHAT ticks. This caused some conversations to be not shared, when I had hoped they would be, and even one to be "skipped". I checked through the conversations again, and believe I have fixed them now. On a positive note, the change in the "grey" to a "dusty pink" worked well in non-participating conversations.

3) STORES: The biggest problem this time, which was critical (and game-breaking), was that the players could not retrieve the descriptions of store items. I have a new GUI system that incorporates the ability to compare items in a store with those already owned. This worked fine in a SP game, but some poor/old coding was causing an overload in GUI calls from four problematic XML scripts. In particular, these XML scripts were making rapid update calls that constantly fired the examine GUI and associated scripts, when they did not need to. Today, I managed to unravel the poor code and remove it from each of them. In testing (I was only able to test one computer on LAN), the problematic stores now appear to be fixed. Furthermore, I was able to address a couple of other related minor issues in the process. Further testing with a WAN will confirm or deny.

4) LOGICAL FLOW: There was also a problem with story logic in OPTION 1 background, which will NOT apply to many users, as OPTION 2 is the recommended background choice for those not familiar with my PnP background. However, for my own peace of mind I wish to fix this, and is the next thing to do on my list of problems to solve.

The Adventure Continues ... 2. Trapped!

Here come the warts again ...

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

While the party had just learned more about the new Empire and the Darkening, they also learned that the village had its own problems: It was trapped behind a barrier! LOGIC PROBLEM: Sadly, this is where there is a logic problem, for while the party have now learned about this, the conversations were not setup correctly to accommodate their path to this discovery. i.e They ended up speaking about it to NPCs (as if aware), before they actually knew about it. (Item 4 above.)

However, it was already getting late, and the group were already starting to suffer from tiredness. Karasten also pointed out that he wanted to learn some spells. So, rather than go anywhere else for now, they decided to catch up on other local gossip while at the inn before getting an early night. During their socializing, they managed to grab a number of promising tasks to help with their acquiring gold. There was your standard missing cat and someone was even pining over a missing doll, but two other quests stood out: One involved somebody called Ravel, a creepy looking guy who had taken residence at the inn. He had had a divining rod taken from him by a dog that needed retrieving. The second quest found the heroes partnering up with a dwarf cleric called Threska who claimed to be searching for the fabled Grimbold's Gold. She was offering a fair share of the gold if the heroes partnered with her to find it. She offered the heroes some riddle that was supposed to help them find it ... time would tell if they would figure that out. At least the cleric was not a shirker, and she chipped in 40 gp towards the heroes coffers.

So, with a new person in the party, the heroes eventually settled down for the night at the Bloated Buckle Inn hosted by Karl and Sandy, and rose eight hours later after parting with 5 gp for a room for five, and included food and drink for all. It wasn't the most luxurious place of rest, but then again, the heroes were not in any position to pay for anything more expensive for now. At least they had rested, and would be fit for the day. Karasten even managed to learn his spells OK, which was a bit of a surprise under the circumstances.

The party had made sure they bought enough food to last them if need be, but for now set off out to read the village notice board, which, according to Taloy, offered some advise with respect to the changes of late. The heroes learned quite a bit from one post, especially with respect to the order of colour, and also learned of another task they could help with: A chap called Frank at the local mill was having problems with ants. They took the notice with them and added it to their list of objectives for earning gold.

The heroes still wanted to see Orechin at the local sanctuary and check out the Mercy Board there for tasks. And if they wanted to help the Blood Guard along the west road, then they also still needed to acquire a permit from the local guild hall. For now, however, the heroes needed to check out the local stores and consider purchasing some items to help them in their tasks: At least someone should be armed, and maybe others armoured, if they wanted any chance of surviving. To this end, the heroes checked out the two local traders, Wilf and Gavin. It had been a long time since the heroes had had to barter for goods, and it was hard to get anything from them. ;) (Item 3 above.)

... And that is where we are currently. Brought short again due to some technical issues. I almost forgot to mention that there was another "gold problem" that I have now fixed, in that Taloy had only handed over 10 gp (in total) for the three PCs for Graham. That loop has now been fixed to give gold to all faction members (PCs), rather than all players. We still probably got around a couple of hours, but were taking our time.

On a final note, there is a small possibility that I will try to encourage my players to start over, as there has been some module coding changed in this last lot of fixes, and it would be easier if we did so. It would probably only take us around 30 minutes to get back to where we are currently at.


Saturday, 17 November 2018

The Adventure Continues ... 1. Welcome Home! (The Scroll Undergoes Some Multi-Player Fixes)

Any kind of significant updates to The Scroll have been short coming over the last year since the last major update in v2.02, which came out on 19 December 2017. However, I have finally been able to begin a multi-player trial with my wife and friend, from which I hope to address any new issues we may discover during our time playing.

Since v2.02, there has been some minor preparations in updates for MP gaming and for any potential new modules to the campaign. To date, the latest version available is v2.09, which is the most stable SP experience, but does still contain some issues for MP gaming that will be addressed with later version updates.

Full MP Testing Finally Underway

My wife, Jennifer, and a friend of ours, called Graham, formed a small party of PCs to play “The Scroll” with me using the DM Client (acting as the HOST). They connected via LAN and WAN respectively. This method of play through allowed me (as the DM), to monitor actions taken by the players and take notes for any fixes required.

Even this initial testing has revealed that there are need of some fixes when playing “The Scroll” in multi-player, especially when using the DM Client as the host. As I have said before, v2.09 is (as far as I am aware), a solid single-player experience now. However, some of these later fixes will have some benefit to a single-player experience too. E.g. Typo corrections.

Below is a list of fixes that have already been addressed and will be available in the next game files updates. (I will keep readers updated when latest file revisions become available.): -

NB: Remember that these fixes mainly affect multi-player gaming experience: -
  1. TYPO correction in “Real Life” Rule Info section - “Equivalent”.
  2. Calendar Rule Info now updates at the correct game trigger when selecting Option 1 Background.
  3. Multi-player CHAT window toggle (via Rod tool option) now keeps correct toggle between areas/loads.
  4. In the event of a player leaving a game, any plot Items are now temporarily stored on the HOST rather than a potential leader of party. This is in case it was the leader who dropped out from the game that a DM was hosting. (i.e. The leader is not necessarily the HOST in a MP game, which had been the previous assumption. Especially when there is a DM at the helm.)
  5. Area Entry code had some other fixes, especially relating to the DM Client as HOST, including: ensuring the SAVE GAME request stopped repeating between sessions; preventing combat GUI from falsely starting on first entry of DM.
  6. Campaign Welcome “sound” message fixed for SP game.
I am also currently looking into changing the default colour of the “greyed” text that a player (not directly involved in the conversation) sees when another player is in a conversation. It is “greyed” because the indirectly involved player is not able to make any selections. However, I think it would be better for these players to be able to read the options in a COOP game more easily than the grey version, to help discuss with player making the selection. I need to find a colour that will still represent their inability to directly participate, but be clearer to read that the grey currently does - and assuming I can “fix” this. UPDATE: This has now been fixed via quickchat.xml file.

The Adventure Continues ... 1. Welcome Home!

So, how did the gaming session play out ... with warts and all?

NB: Contains spoilers for Option 1 background.

The three of us started the session with an understanding that this was the first time The Scroll had undergone a proper MP session since our last attempt in the previous June, when some fixes and preparations had to be later implemented due to some "serious" DM Client issues that prevented us from going any further at that time .. and so we were prepared for a potentially bumpy ride.

Thankfully, although it took a couple of minutes for the server to have the players ready to play (loads take longer in MP games), everything started as it should do, and those problems of last June were not present. Graham (on WAN) created a fighter PC called Helden to act as the party leader, with two other supporting PCs, a wizard called Karasten and a cleric, called Elana, for a total of three PCs. My wife, Jennifer (on LAN), played a single PC, a rogue called Myara. So, the session started with three players, with me as the DM and HOST of the session, and two other players controlling a party of four PCs among them.

PLOT ITEMS ISSUE: The first "major" issue we encountered was when Graham on a WAN connection needed to drop out of the session and rejoin (due to an innocuous sound issue, which was resolved on restarting). This revealed the issue that any PLOT items (item 4 above) MUST needs transfer to the HOST. This was an issue because in this case, Graham, although playing the leader of the party was NOT the host, and so when the game tried to preserve plot items within the session by transferring them to the "leader" of the party (which is usually the HOST in a MP session without a DM), it was not possible as they were the same player that was dropping out in this instance. This led to a plot item that Helden was carrying (from the start of the game) to be "lost" by the time he had rejoined the session.

RETURNING TO A GAME IN SESSION: There was also a related issue in that when Graham returned to the game, the code had "lost" where to jump the player to to join the other player(s), as it was trying to jump to the leader's position, which he already was! Therefore, I updated the code to ensure the returning player is jumped to the HOST, which if it is the DM, then the DM can ensure the player thereafter reaches the correct area and position (if need be).

RELOADING A GAME: Because the party leader, Helden, had "lost" a plot item upon returning to the session, we decided to reload the game. This is when I noticed the DM was asked to SAVE the game again (item 5 above), which was not required. Furthermore, nearby creatures could cause an invalid combat alert (which did self-terminate correctly anyway), when a DM entered, but this has now also been corrected, as it was a nuisance. Lastly, the MP chat window (which we had closed before saving) had not remembered our settings (item 3 above). This was also fixed.

After reloading and ensuring all items were present and correct (and giving the players time to become familiar with the new interfaces and campaign rules), the party set forth on their adventure. They recognized that Vol had returned them to Althéa close to their home village, New Edgeton, and so knew Taloy, the village Reeve, should be able to help them out. (Graham selected the "Companion Protector" Vol Gift for his PCs, and Jennifer chose the "No Fear of Death" Vol Gift for the party as a whole.)

With journal and DM guidance, the players headed east/south towards where they knew the village was located. Travel was smooth and without incident, although time had moved on and by the time they reached the village, it was already dark and around 9.00 pm. Only the Blood Guard patrolled the village area. (The earlier first cut-scene had worked fine.) Other villagers were either already in bed or at the local inn, The Bloated Buckle. This did not stop Myara from casually looking over a nearby building that intrigued her (Merkes Place), and discover a secret door to the building. The party checked out the secret door and followed it inside, but decided not to go in any further under advisement of Karasten, and especially as they lacked any equipment, including weapons or armour that may be required for entering where they were unwanted. For the time being, the heroes simply made a mental note of the secret entrance and continued into the village.

MINOR JOURNAL GLITCH: While traveling about the village, the "CALENDAR" information journal entry updated sooner than it should have done. (Item 2 above.) This has now been fixed to only update for background option 1 after speaking with Taloy, which is when it was supposed to update. (On a positive note, the optional campaign quiz event started without problems, and the players are already starting to fill in the answers.)

Shortly after wondering further into the village, Myara was pulled over for a random search by one of the Blood Guard. Thankfully she was "clean" of any stolen goods and the guard allowed her to move on. This was a new experience for Myara though. Since when did guards start patrolling basic village streets and do random searches? After all, New Edgeton was only a village, not a town! As it was late and the party had missed the local traders opening times, the heroes decided that a visit to the local inn was probably a good idea to find company, food and a place to stay.  

Upon visiting The Bloated Buckle, the heroes found Taloy, and managed to catch up with events with him. A lot had changed since they had last spoken: Events such as The Darkening had taken place, and there had been the coming of the Empire! A lot of changes in what they had perceived as so little time, but then again, more time had passed while they had been away in the Outer Planes than they had realized: eighteen months had passed!

Taloy not only brought the party up to date with events, but also generously gave each of them 10 gp towards food and lodging, as the party had returned from the Outer Planes with nothing more than worn under garments. (ECONOMY: The campaign has had the economy settings redefined to equate 1 gp being equivalent to one day's work for somebody well paid. Therefore, when Taloy handed out a total of 40 gp, that would equate to around one months wages for somebody in his position. For many on low wages, this would equate to 2-3 months wages. As another guideline, ten days food rations costs 1 gp. Although, a meal at an inn could cost 1 gp, or as much as you could drink for the same money.)

Knowing that even the generous 10gp that Taloy gave to each of them would not last long, the party also made inquiries how they might be able to earn more gold. Taloy directed them to help out the guards along the west road (as long as they acquired a work permit first), and towards the Mercy Board at the local sanctuary that advertised tasks for a reward of gold. And if they wanted to know more about the Empire, they needed to check out the Notice Board outside the inn, which also sometimes advertised work required doing for gold.

And that is where we are at for the time being .... the party making contact with the local village, acquiring 40 gp for the four of them, and in need of some rest and new equipment, as well as needing to start finding some tasks to earn more gold!

TOTAL SESSION TIME: 44 Minutes. (This was shorter than normal due to the need to restart.)