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Thursday, 21 February 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 28. Not So Small Ants! (v2.52)

We were hit by a number of small issues in the last session. Nothing game-breaking, but annoying enough to require another module update as well as a campaign one. Alongside being unable to pick up some dropped items, we experienced some missing journal entries, and gold duplication again. Even the crafted item naming still haunted us with another variation of the fault. Anyway, here are the details ...

The List of Fixes

1) GOLD DUPLICATION (AGAIN): Let's get this one out of the way first. First and foremost, the code itself was fairly well fixed, apart from one small detail. The code was fixed for SP games, but broken for MP ones, in that the new gold initialisation function, which corrected the amount of gold carried to pouches owned was not firing for anyone but the host. Therefore, when (as in our case) the DM started the session, the DMs gold would have been initialised (not that I carried any), but players entering after no longer had the module variable set to ensure they had their gold corrected. The bottom line, the gold carried by any companions was added on top of the gold of the main PC when they rejoined. The variable check has now been added to ensure every player has the gold initialisation function fired as they enter the session.

2) PLACEABLE ITEMS: The second issue we experienced was when a player temporarily dropped a scroll and went to pick it up again. Unfortunately, the "placeable" item object representing the dropped item was created "static", which meant the player could not retrieve the dropped item. There were four or five placeable objects, including books and scrolls that needed correcting in the toolset to fix the broken item drops. Therefore, this fix requires a MODULE update. WORKAROUND: Do NOT drop scrolls or books unless you know you no longer need them. NB: The game will not allow you to drop plot items anyway.

3) SCALED CREATURES: On the back of an earlier fix when I discovered some "scaled" creatures appeared too small for an encounter, we now discovered some were too big. In our session, the ants the heroes encountered, while supposed to be "giant", were, perhaps, a little too big. I have now adjusted the algorithm that calculates the maximum size of scaled creatures .. and they appeared to be better proportioned.

4) CRAFTED ITEM NAME (AGAIN): Although I had fixed a variation of this problem last week, a new variation returned this week. On testing the fix last time, the problem appeared fixed (and would remain unspotted) if a player left-clicked on an item on the bench to gain an item description *before* picking it up. Thereafter, clicking on the item after then acquiring it would have kept the new name given after item creation. However, if a player simply looted the item directly from the workbench without first left-clicking/looking at it, then the name change would have been lost by the time it was looked at again within the PCs inventory. I could not find any way to "keep" the new name if a player directly looted it from the workbench, and so in the end I ended up transferring the item directly to the crafter after exiting the renaming GUI. i.e. The player no longer picks it up from the workbench, as it is now given directly after the crafting process. This ensures the new name stays in place by the time the player looks at it in their inventory.

5) JOURNAL ENTRIES: We encountered a couple of journal issues this session: (i) A journal update for Ravel's Request was missing if the heroes acquired the missing rod lost to Scraps. This has now been fixed. On the night the missing entry was not noticed by the players, as they shortly after encountered Ravel at the graveyard anyway, which moved the plot forward for this quest. However, this has now been fixed to aid as a reminder of the path to follow for players. (ii) A journal entry for The Barrier did not update after the death of Ravel, to put players back on the path of seeking the rods for Orechin. This is a rare entry update as it only occurs if the heroes have not yet entered the wizard's tower. It's not an essential update, but helps the players remain focused on their task in hand. (NOTE: I need to update our own session's journal entry for this journal update after killing Ravel.)

6) SCRAPS GONE: Scraps obviously preferred the easy life compared to adventuring after he decided to head back to the Bloated Buckle Inn during an area transition. Joking aside, this may have been caused by a variable that is added to henchmen left to wait, which the heroes have done in the past. This variable is now cleared after henchmen are invited back to the group again. (NOTE: To update this variable within our own session, players need to dismiss and invite Scraps back again.)

7) GOLD ON TRANSFER: I left this one almost to last because it appears to be a new version of a GOLD bug. However, I have had troubles duplicating it, and it may be a red-herring and simply a glitch. Basically, this is what happened: When transferring some arrows or bolts from a main PC to a companion, a number of Money Pouches appeared on the companion at the same time. No other items triggered it, and I was unable to duplicate the issue when transferring from the main PC to created PCs. Furthermore, when a second player left the session, the problem appeared to go. I was unable to duplicate the problem thereafter. For the time being, I have tidied some variables around the target of the item transfer code and will test again the next time we are all together, or before if I have the opportunity.

8) CORRUPT PC ON LEAVING: Sometimes the session may report a PC that left the game was "corrupted". This may be reported if an old variable has been left behind on a PC that may have once had an issue. I have since updated the code that handles this to work more efficiently, and it now also deletes the variable before it makes future checks, and so in theory, should be gone by the time the player leaves the next time ... unless there had been a genuine problem.

Stashing The Gold At Kathy's
Gigantic Soldier Ants!
Karasten Crafting Again
Spending Some Of The Treasure!
Ravel's Party!

The Adventure Continues ... 28. Not So Small Ants!

Maybe Just A Tad Bigger Than Expected!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

The heroes finished unloading the last of their gold stash at the property of Kathy, who had kindly said they could store some of their equipment with her. By the time the heroes had left, over 25 000 gp had been secreted around the apothecary's abode. For their remaining tasks, however, the heroes needed to be able to stash their loot and lighten their load somewhere, and Kathy's place seemed as secure as anywhere.

After finishing business with Kathy by purchasing diminution potions and the ingredients they needed to create the ant poison, the heroes headed straight over to Frank's mill, where they knew the old farmer had barricaded the entrance to his silo where the ants had surfaced. It was not long before Helden was smashing down the barricade and exposing the heroes to the first gigantic ants that they had been tasked to destroy.

Even though they had been expecting such large vermin, the sudden realisation of the ant's gigantic size even took the heroes by surprise. However, they quickly regained their composure and swiftly dealt with the two soldier ants that guarded the entrance. Once cleared, the heroes took their diminution potions, and quickly entered the ant entrance while the potion lasted. Thankfully, the entrance opened up as they went farther in, and by the time they entered the tunnels fully, they were able to stand even after the potion had worn off. Unfortunately, however, even their brief movement into the nest had caused the entrance to collapse behind them. Now they would have to find another way out after dealing with the issue they had come here to do.

It was not long before the heroes suddenly noticed some more ants coming their way. However, it soon became obvious that these ants were not going to attack them; they appeared to be "worker" types only, and uninterested in the heroes. They then understood that it would be the "soldier" types that they would need to defend against.

The ant tunnels twisted and turned in a number of directions, causing the heroes to become disoriented on a number of occasions. However, they carefully kept track of their passage, and as they continued to confront and defeat soldier ants, they slowly made progress deeper into the ant nest. After a short while, the heroes came across the barrier; it had even reached underground. The group of adventurers quickly realised that this would be a good place to use the poison, and so quickly emptied the vile to prevent any more ants coming this way. A short way farther, they discovered another path that carried beyond another section of the barrier, and did the same.

It was also during their time here that the heroes discovered unusual dirt mounds, and in one such mound found the divining rod that they had been seeking all along. Whether Scraps had brought it here himself, or it had been moved here by the ants, it was hard to tell. It was just good to find the first of the rods they needed. Now, the poison placed, and the rod found, they simply needed to escape the nest. Thankfully, during their underground walk, they had noticed a breeze in one of the tunnels, which, upon investigation, did lead to the surface. Upon exiting the tunnels, the heroes carefully closed the hole behind them and returned to Frank, who was relieved to see them alive, and pay the reward they had agreed.

Over the time that followed, the heroes decided to rest, buy new and repair old equipment, and even have Karasten enhance Myara's bow. At the end of the time, nearly a day, the heroes had fully repaired every piece of equipment and Helden felt ready to consider investigating the crypts for Orechin. Their journey to the graveyard entrance was cut short, however, when they encountered Ravel, who went on to accuse them of having something that belonged to him; referring to the divining rod.

The meeting was never going to go well, as the heroes had already suspected the unusual character of evil doings of necromancy, but what happened next appeared to confirm their fears. The hooded figure of Ravel quickly summoned a number of skeletons around the heroes and the party found themselves in combat. Ravel had underestimated the growth in the heroes abilities since he last met them, however, and it was not long before the evil man was paying the price for his treachery, with his life!

The battle over, Helden thought it best to return to Orechin to update him with the latest news of what had transpired. They now had one rod in their possession, and from a diary they found on the dead necromancer (for the diary confirmed the fact), they now knew the remaining two rods were in the keep of Merkes. As much as Helden did not want to step foot in the Thieves Guild again, it appeared fate had another plan for him as he was likely to have to speak with Merkes again.

GAME TIME SINCE START: 59 Hours 30 Minutes.

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