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Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 20. Of Goblins and Bugbears (v2.42)

Last session went well with only two minor glitches (detailed below). In fact, I have been able to concentrate more on the second module of late. The entry code now works reasonably well on testing, and so I have now turned to updating and polishing the first area. I have been improving the ability to walk in an area and not be stopped by objects. I also pulled out all my old D&D notes, because the next module will be a rework of my previous pen and paper (PnP) modules. Incredibly, it has been over 25 years since we played those, and so I am using a little poetic licence to rehash the story and adapt it so we can play them again in NWN2. I already checked with the player who played the original and he said he was good with that. After all, it will help him remember the main plot as well. Anyway, here is what was fixed and how the latest session went ...

The List of Fixes

1) AREA ON ENTER COMBAT: There was one remaining instance of a timing of pausing the game when entering an area straight into a combat situation. Those not using auto-pause would not see the issue, which pauses the game before the player has had the "FadeFromBlack" applied. This can also cause a player to drop to desktop if left in such a state for too long. Regardless, this has now been addressed and fixed.

2) SUMMON CLOCKROACH FLUTE: I had a check to only pass "ACTIVATED" items for the script to run. Apparently, it should have been only "SPELL CAST" checks, which it now is. The horn/flute now summons the clockroach again.

A Note on Game Balance

Interestingly, in the last session my players had a "tough" battle when they encountered some bugbears. They did survive and came through victorious, but I thought I would double check the encounter in case it was in any way unbalanced. However, when I tested the encounter myself (allowing the AI to control my PCs), the combat was short and the party came through in a far better state than my players did on the night. CONCLUSION: I think a lot can depend upon the timing of certain spells and dice rolls ... and that the combat was balanced.

Bugbears Attack At Night!
Riverside Path
A Great View!
The Goblin Tower!
Goblin Evil Altar!
A Secret Passage & Trap!
A New Area Beneath The Goblin Tower
The Adventure Continues ... 20. Of Goblins and Bugbears.

Taking The Rough With The Smooth!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

"I think that looks like bugbears ahead" said Helden spying a couple of large lumbering giant types. The party responded quickly, readying their missile weapons and waiting for orders to attack or cast spells. Helden was waiting for the right moment.

"Careful, I can also see a bugbear up high, on our left!" said Myara, concerned that Helden was taking just a bit too long to take advantage of the surprise. Then, before anyone could respond, the bugbear on high ground loosed an arrow at the party, and combat was underway.

Instantly, Helden and Flint moved forward to bow the other bugbears up ahead, as Karasten released magic missiles at the bugbear on high ground. By now, however, the rest of the bugbear party on the lower ground were aware of the attack and a cleric among them summoned a beast that ran forward and engaged the heroes fighters. Karasten continued to blast magic missiles at the one on high ground, oblivious to the fact that another three bugbears had joined the combat on their level.

One bugbear broke through the ranks and made headlong towards Myara and Threska at the back of the party, causing Myara to turn tail and run. Meanwhile, Helden and Flint were suffering the brunt of the attack from the bugbear fighters. Then, Helden suffered the Daze effect due to an (unknown)  spell directed at him by the bugbear cleric and the fighter was left floundering for a few moments. Arrow fire and melee attacks did manage to bring down a couple of the beasts, and the spell casters managed to release some summoned creatures as Flint also took a pummelling.

Then Helden fell! He took one blow too many, and although just recovered from the daze effect, he had already taken too much of a beating before Elana had time to heal him so shortly after summoning her own creature. Meanwhile, Threska was desperately trying to keep Myara conscious, casting heal spells at her as the bugbear continued its attacks against the rogue. Then, there was a grunt from flint, and like Helden, he had been the target of his own enemy spell, and also became dazed.

Thankfully, the summoned creatures of the spell casters finally overcame the summoned beast of the bugbear cleric, and having defeated that, were able to break through and attack the remaining bugbears and cleric. At about the same time, Flint got over the daze effect, and managed to bring down another bugbear, but only just before he was brought down himself. Thankfully, though, he remained conscious long enough to allow the summoned creatures to finish the remaining bugbear fighter and cleric, and then turn back to head towards the bugbear attacking Myara.

As the summoned creatures reached Myara, the brave rogue took another hefty blow, and even though she had been taking healing potions, was unable to stand any longer and fell unconscious too. Now, all that remained were Threska, Elana and Karasten, the spell casters, plus their summoned creatures. Thankfully, along with their summoned creatures, they had enough resources remaining to overpower the final bugbear. When the bugbear fell, the battle was over, and the clerics could now move among the fallen administering healing.

This had been a hard fought battle, and the heroes concluded that they had underestimated the enemy. Only moments before the battle, Helden had commented how the battles of late had not been as pitched as ones of old. Now, he could not help but reconsider his words ... and determined new tactics were needed in this area, especially as the denizens appeared more powerful than any others they had encountered to date since returning from the outer planes.

After tending their wounds, the heroes backtracked to an area near to the hermit cave and rested again. It was morning by the time the heroes were ready to return to the task of exploring the region, and this time they summoned their creatures before moving onward, and cast some buff spells ahead of time to be extra prepared.

As they approached the bugbear tower, the heroes carefully navigated their way past and out of sight to avoid further combat for the time being. Helden spied a couple high up on guard, but they did not see the party ... or at least, if they did, they did not open attack.

Following a path around to the east, the heroes found themselves in another valley. It branched a couple of ways. On investigating the first path going east, they discovered it went to a cave that appeared to travel further east and out of the valley itself by the looks of it. This would lead them too far from their goal and so they turned back and checked out the second path. The second path turned south again, and into its own small valley that wound up a small path towards a dilapidated tower. Upon approaching it, Elana could discern the smell of goblin dung. This must be the goblin tower!

Readying themselves for combat, Helden pulled the large ring that opened the entranceway and led the party inside. They were right to be prepared, as at least half a dozen goblins opened attack as soon as they entered. These smaller denizens of the enclave were no real match for the heroes, however, and even the summoned wolf and larger goblin leader were no match for the heroes. As a result, the battle was short lived and the heroes quickly victorious.

The tower was obviously in a poor condition and fallen in places from the ravages of time. There was, however, a stairway leading down, which the heroes investigated. Below they encountered two more goblins, both obviously shaman, as they tried to summon creatures to defend themselves and the altar at which they had been praying. Again, they stood no chance against the larger party of heroes and were soon disposed of ... and so was their evil altar just a few blows later.

The battle over, Helden pointed out a secret door that he discovered just to the side of where the altar had stood. Furthermore, behind where the altar had been itself, there stood a large barricade blocking a way ahead. "We'll check out the secret area first I think," said Helden, the party leader.

A short way into the secret passage, Myara told everyone to hold still, as she tried to disarm a trap. This trap, however, was a little more complex than normal, and she believed the only way to deactivate it was by some nearby statues that appeared to have a switching mechanism related to the nearby trap. After pushing a spear on the statue back, she reasoned the trap was now disarmed, and Helden took the step of faith and tried it out. He ran across the ground where the trap had been pointed out to him, and thankfully, nothing happened. Either there was no trap after all, or Myara was correct. He suspected the latter.

Rounding the bend, the passage led to another stairway that descended further. Leading the party forward, the fighter descended to the area below, and discovered that the decor changed dramatically. Above the decor was simple stone and dark; now, the chambers were elaborately decorated and quite plush. It was clear that nobody had been down here in a very long time. Helden was confident that the goblins never even knew this was here.

TOTAL SESSION TIME (UNPAUSED): 0 Hours 12 Minutes. (Over 1 hour paused combat.)
GAME TIME SINCE START: 36 Hours 8 Minutes.
QUESTS ACTIVE: 12 QUESTS COMPLETE: 16 (Ignoring Rule Info)

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