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.