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Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 25. The Weight of Success! (v2.48)

Another successful session! I, however, noticed some minor issues that took some digging into the code to find the fixes. Hopefully, however, I have got to the bottom of these nasties - and players from the latest updates will gain the benefits. To this end, not only has there been the regular Campaign folder update, but I have also needed to update the Module again. This was for game balancing purposes. NOTE: If you are playing MP, then all players will need to update their campaign folder as their is an update to some XML code that all clients need. So, here's the latest ...

The List of Fixes

1) DATABASE CHECKS: The database duplication check had been inadvertently switched off for the last few updates, but I have now fixed that and added the ability to DELETE any database associated with a PC should the player wish to start over using a PC of the same name as one which they have used before. I have added the warning that any previous save games with said PC to date would have some unexpected results if a player tried to load an "older" game after deleting the associated database.

2) CONTAINER FEEDBACK: The CONTAINER feedback had a couple of minor fixes (one of which requires the fixed XML file): (a) First the container limit was showing on container items, which it is not meant to. Hopefully this no longer shows on an item container. (b) Secondly, the object container info section (yellow text at the top) was not always giving/updating with the correct info subject to the object being used. Hopefully, the change to the XML should have fixed this.

3) WALKWAYPOINTS: I noticed an instance where a creature that I was expecting to be patrolling had not resumed their patrol, even though the time of day meant that they should have been. It appears to be a problem related to GetIsDay, and so I have now changed all checks to do with that based upon the HOUR instead. With an added variable reset, this now appears to work as expected on testing.

4) PARTY BAR TOGGLE: Toggling the size of the Party Bar during TB Combat caused the round to move forward unexpectedly. This has now been fixed.

5) MAP BLOCKS: I noticed that some monsters opened the door that are supposed to also update the map by removing visual blocks. However, this only happens when PCs open the doors. It was a quick workaround on the night, but now I have added backup map block removals via triggers as well - in the rare cases when this may be required. (MODULE FIX.)

6) SLEEPING MONSTERS: The TB Combat system was triggering auto-pause even for a sleeping monster (that were not a threat). Checks have now been put in place to prevent this.

7) GOLD WEIGHT: The gold "Money Pouches" returned with an new problem: Disappearing altogether! It turned out that the timing of the gold calculations to ensure the PCs had the right amount of pouches to the gold they carried was off, due to relying on a heartbeat call. This worked well most of the time, but failed when a player entered from a saved game and had left pouches on other PCs to spread the weight. I have now removed the function call from the heartbeat and given it a priority call as part of a home-brew function rework of LBGiveGoldToCreature, which now immediately updates the pouches upon receiving gold, as opposed to within the heartbeat. So far, testing to date shows it works fine.

8) GAME BALANCING: One of the biggest issues for me on the night was recognising that some of the encounters were not balanced for the "large" party my group had managed to gather. Therefore, the encounters were on the easier side for them. As a consequence, I carefully went over the code for the encounters and believe I have now addressed such issues. Time and feedback will tell. Again, variables needed to be added to the module. (MODULE FIX.)
The Ettin
The Ettin's Treasure!
Bugbear Tower Approach
The Bugbears Defend
The Heroes Gain Entrance
More Bugbears, Including Clerics!
The Bugbear Chieftain!
All That Gold!
The Water Elemental

The Adventure Continues ... 25. The Weight of Success!

The Burden of Gold.

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

The decision was finally made: First they would deal with the ettin and try to retrieve its stash, and then they would face the Bugbear tower. The heroes did not have to travel far before they reached the valley where the ettin stood guarding the way. Helden surveyed the beast from afar off, realising it had not seen them yet, and so organised an attack by the summoned creatures first, in much the same way they had dealt with the giants. By the time the ettin was aware of what was happening, the summons and Scraps had made their mark, and even the giant boulders it threw could do nothing to stop its demise.

After relieving the ettin of its treasure, Helden led the group along the valley to the boulder at the end where they knew the beast had hidden more of its booty. After Helden smashed the suspected boulder (as it was too heavy to lift), the heroes were indeed rewarded with a stash hidden beneath it. For the first time in a long while the treasures were back in human hands.

Now it was the turn of the Bugbears - and Helden made sure the party were well rested before the attack would begin. After backtracking to the tower, the heroes decided that the summoned creatures approach was the safest and most likely chance of a quick victory, and so once again, the summons and Scraps were sent ahead. The battle was a bloody one, in which Scraps fell to a mighty blow of a large Bugbear. But the wave of summons kept strong by the spell casters quickly brought on the onslaught the Bugbears faced, driving them all the way back to the tower entrance. By the time Scraps was revived with healing, the summons had cleared a path and the heroes met only one other Bugbear as they climbed the hill path to the tower.

Gaining entrance to the tower itself turned out to be a bit tougher. However, the occupants were caught by surprise, and the heroes managed to make careful use of spell fire from the entrance foyer after quickly disposing of the guards. It turned out that the Talanthians also had a presence here and were the control behind the Bugbears. Although, while the evil brotherhood certainly added to the tower's defence, it did little to stop the heroes from eventually prevailing and gaining entrance. Once inside, the heroes searched the ground floor and found more evidence that the Talanthians were making use of the Bugbears strength.

Climbing to the second floor, the heroes met with more resistance from Bugbears, and even a clerical one who tried to keep the fighter Bugbears healed as they defended. The ratio of blows to heals was against them, however, and like their brethren on the ground floor, they too soon fell. The party still had the advantage of surprise and so they pushed on and headed for the next level. Here, apart from a lone guard protecting some cells (which they quickly dealt with), they found a male prisoner who mumbled a word before he died in Helden's arms. It turned out to be a password to a chameleon stone that Myara found nearby. With little knowledge of the man, the heroes were grateful for his final word, as it transformed the Changing Stone into a spell book, which Karasten graciously accepted.

Reaching the top floor, they came face to face with a huge Bugbear, who immediately summoned a creature to its aid. However, as big as it was, it had no-one else here to help it, and so the heroes all attacked it at once, bringing the chieftain to its knees quicker than any other combats in the tower. With the death of the chieftain, the heroes knew they had broken the Bugbear hold in the area, and that it was yet another potential threat removed.

On the large Bugbear, Myara found a key and noticing a door nearby, went across and unlocked it. Then, before her eyes, she spied thousands of gold coins! This was a find indeed! The only problem was, the more gold they carried, the more it weighed them down. What a cruel turn of events. Here they were, with a massive haul and yet even sharing the gold they had found to date among the whole group still gave them little room for manoeuvre. Helden, who carried the most for the group, could barely move under its weight - and yet move he did. Nothing, he said, was going to stop him removing this haul from the tower and finding a safe place for it.

Before the heroes were done with the Bugbear tower,  there was one last region, beneath the tower, accessible by a ladder, which they had not yet explored. Placing the gold they found to one side by the tower exit for the time being, the heroes lightened themselves so they could manage the ladder and carry their animals with them to the lower level. Once below, they viewed a cavern full of water ... and Karasten spied something glistening in the rocks ahead.

Carefully, Helden led the way and waded into the reasonably shallow water - although neck deep for Myara - and removed the object caught in the rocks. It turned out to be another Changing Stone, but even before they could do anything with it, a water elemental suddenly rose from the waters and started to attack the party. "Back up to the dry ground!" cried Helden, and the group obliged, leaving only the summons and Scraps to stay behind and fight the elemental.

This strange monster was surprisingly strong, however, and had soon taken out all summons and Scraps, and made its way towards the heroes. The fighters had taken position, however, and as soon as it hit dry ground, the fighters let rip, and water splashed everywhere as they took chunks off the strange creature. Whether it was because the creature was no longer in its home water or simply because the fighters were prepared, it was hard to tell. Suffice to say, the last of the water beast was dripping from their weapons after only a few more rounds.

That was the last battle within the bugbear tower, and apart from deciphering the Changing Stone riddle with a little help from a Life Essence and recovering a Fireball Lore scroll, the heroes found nothing else. Recovering the dropped gold by the exit, the heroes decided to leave this tower, grateful in the knowledge that the Bugbears were defeated and that their pockets were that much more laden with gold! 

"What shall we do with it all though?" said Myara to Helden as he staggered to move.

The gold they now carried was indeed turning into an issue, and so it was decided that they needed to find a safe place to stash it while they continued their mission within the enclave. To this end, they made their way very slowly, back to the caves where they first encountered the Talanthians this side of the portal. They would find a chest and place it in there ... and remember it when they came back!

GAME TIME SINCE START: 49 Hours 49 Minutes.
QUESTS ACTIVE: 11 QUESTS COMPLETE: 21 (Ignoring Rule Info)

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