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Saturday, 23 February 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 29. The Restless Dead! (v2.53)

The last session went well, and I believe a fun and relaxing time was had by all. There were a couple of minor issues, including a new take on a gold problem (but nothing serious) and some minor visual errors. All in all though, the main fixes needed this week were a couple I discovered while testing outside of play. Here's the rundown ...

The List of Fixes

1) GRIST CHAMELEON PUZZLE: The main issue for gameplay on the night was due to a variable not being set on Grist's Chameleon Puzzle, which meant the answer expected had not been properly set. This occurred due to the flow my players took through the game, which other players may also come across if they do not pay Scar for the answer. To fix the issue, the variable is now set at the beginning of a game. (I have fixed the variable for our own game for next session.) Thankfully, this issue came to light as we were finishing the session, which meant I had time to rectify the problem before the next session. For those that may already be playing, the safe path is to pay Scar for the answer, or sell him the stone. If you do not do either of these, then you could always use Life Essences to crack the code, but it would use a fair number and the answer would reveal an obvious error by producing a TAG. (NB: Do not forget that you cannot use Life Essences and reload to use the answer as the game checks for this kind of exploit. Life Essences would still be taken on a reload.) If you know about scripting, you can also open the toolset and edit alb_althea_patchscript and uncomment our game patch there.

2) SCARS DESK: This produced an empty GUI when clicked. Easy enough to close, but an error all the same. I updated the placeable in the area, which should prevent it from doing so. This fix requires the MODULE update and a fresh start.

3) JOURNAL ENTRIES: There were a couple more minor alterations to fix logical flow in journal updates to do with The Barrier and Ravel's Request entries. Because these two quests are closely linked and other events are affected by their quest states, it requires careful management. However, I believe I have ironed out all the points now, especially when related to acquiring rods.

4) WORLD MAP: I have two instances when a land map drawn by myself in another program is presented to the players. The first is if they click on the nexus, which offers Teleportation Travel (when the barrier is lifted) and the second source is via the Party Maps (from the hotbar) if and when the players manage to find the "world" maps. However, one of my players said they had received the wrong version when clicking on the Party Maps. I checked the code, and while I could not see any major problem, I did end up changing one function for a more basic way of showing the world map compared to another that added some variables. (I also ensured a Teleportation variable cleared down.) As this code is not used to any extent in this module, I will take a closer look at the variables in module 2. However, on testing after the changes, both map systems appeared to display correctly in all my testing.

5) XP EXPLOIT: During testing I noticed there was a small chance (subject to how a second player joined a session compared to the host) that their joining could cause PCs to not be set to the correct level / XP. A variable has now been set to distinguish between PCs joining at the start of the game (when XP should be set at zero) or when "rallying" new PCs at the Bloated Buckle, when they can be added with XP averaged to the party current.

6) "SOMEBODY WORKING": There was an instance of Myara (the rogue) not being able to interact with a combination puzzle on a door due to the code thinking somebody was already working on the door. I believe this was just a throw back to an old problem because the rogue had already interacted with the door once before (many sessions ago) and was during a time when the problematic variable had not been fixed. Checking the same door from a new module did not repeat the problem.

7) OBI STEN CONVERSATION: A small square block was removed from the conversation. I have no idea how these strange anomalies have crept into the odd conversation. They appear to have replaced the odd apostrophe, which I fix as I come across any.

8) SPLIT EXPLOIT: A player pointed out that while splitting a stack, if they selected zero, then it was possible for a single item to be split from the stack, without affecting the total amount remaining! I added an extra check to ensure no action is taken if the selection returned is zero.

9) MONEY POUCH STACK: I want to make it clear that we had NO problems with the gold management on the night, and all pouches and gold carried among players' PCs calculated correctly. However, my players' PCs had reached the point where they needed to offload some gold and chose to leave it inside Kathy's chest. This all worked fine until a player then went to add another single pouch to the same chest that already contained a stack of pouches, and the stack was removed leaving only the single pouch. This was easily fixed by myself as a DM as the host, but I point it out as a warning to other games. The workaround is to ensure a PC grabs all the money pouches from a placeable object and combine pouches before placing the combined stack into said chest or other placeable. I have NOT fixed this issue to date, as it may not be required for many players, and the workaround works fine. however, I will take a closer look as time permits.

Always Rats!

But Also Skeletons ...
... And Zombies!
Statues Animate and Attack!
The Heroes Inform Obi About Merkes
The heroes Confront Merkes!
And Make An Enemy of The Thieves Guild!
It All Points To The Wizard's Tower!
The Adventure Continues ... 29. The Restless Dead!

The Lesser of Three Evils!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

"I've decided that we'll deal with the crypts first." said Helden, who had no great love for either of immediate tasks that faced them: Either search the crypts for the sword of Ragnor Oran, which likely meant facing undead ... or consider stealing a gem from Obi for a rogue called Merkes, which went very much against the grain for the moral conscious fighter.

And so as the heroes were already in the Sanctuary, first Karasten prepared a few more items for the group to enable their quest, and then they opened the trap door to the crypts below and descended. It was dark, dank and musty, and even after taking only a few paces into the tunnels that made up the crypts, a strange otherworldly cry echoed throughout the chambers. Something other than rats "inhabited" these tunnels alright.

Continuing along, the heroes did encounter a number of large rats, with which they dealt with easily enough, but always they were conscious of whatever lay deeper within. And shortly after descending a small tunnel, they soon came face to face with their fears: undead in the form of both skeletons and zombies!

Both the clerics, Threska and Elana immediately tried their turning ability, only to quickly learn that they were coming up against a resistance greater than their current foe should have been able to provide. At once they realised these undead were the work of the necromancer and enhanced in some way by his evil incantations. Nevertheless, even though more difficult, the clerics were still able to rebuke the dead that had begun to make their way towards the group ... and Scraps along with the summoned creatures of the group were sent in to finish the undead off.

As the heroes pushed forward, more waves of undead would spawn a short way ahead, and the clerics turning and summoned creature tactics would be put to work again. Thankfully, the clerics were able to sustain the summons and Scraps with healing, allowing them to act as a barrier and front line, keeping the heroes relatively clear of harm's way. Being a hero is also living long enough to be one thought Elana, as she took her own defensive stance behind the summoned creatures, the undead just beyond.

Deeper and deeper into the crypts the heroes ventured, turning many undead and silencing their deathly cries once and for all, until eventually they came to the source of the necromantic energy and destroyed that too. Their venture had not gone unrewarded either, as Orechin had given the heroes permission to take any items that they may find useful as payment to their efforts in ridding the crypts of the evil source that disturbed the rest of the dead. The reward mostly consisted of gems and hundreds of gold coins, but in one chamber, (which had been guarded by both a poison trap and animated statues, which Myara and then the fighters had to deal with), they found a lone sarcophagus that contained various magik items too, including a living weapon!

Everything was going well, until they finally managed to descend into the chamber that they believe held the sword they sought, only to discover that the barrier had blocked further progression that way too. It turned out that the heroes would have to deal with the barrier problem before they could retrieve the ancient relic for the holy man.

The heroes returned to the Sanctuary and brought Orechin up to date with events. Then, the heroes decided it was probably their duty to report what Merkes had asked them to do with respect to the village leader's gem. Not long after, the heroes were talking to Obi in hushed tones, as the leader expressed a kind of thanks for warning him about the threat, and then in quieter tones how he would not look too deeply into matters where those of Merke's abode may meet an untimely end.

And so the heroes were once again having to choose between either steeling from a potential corrupt bureaucrat or killing a known thief. Neither appealed to the heroes, but if they wanted to resolve the barrier issue then retrieving the two rods that Merke's still held meant making a deal with at least one of the parties, because it would have been impossible to try to find the rods whereabouts without Merke's knowing about it.

With a sigh of resignation, Helden led the heroes back to the Thieves Guild, and after Myara gave the password that gave them entrance, they made their way to the upper room where Merke's awaited their news regarding the gem. At first, the heroes appealed to the master thief to help with respect to the barrier, but his price for helping them remained the same: the rods for Obi's gem. That demand was to be Merke's last. As soon as Helden knew they would get nowhere further, he stepped up to the door to guard it and gave the briefest nod to Myara to begin the attack.

Merke's was no slouch, although he was clearly outnumbered. He called for guards, but they were too few in number and had to get past Helden before they could aid the guild's leader. Not before too long, the battle was over, and the entire top floor of the guild had been cleared. Thankfully, no more resistance came up the stairs, and so the heroes grabbed the opportunity to search the room for the rods ... after some crafty searching and some careful disarming, Myara soon held in her hands the last two rods they needed of the three for Orechin.

Returning to the holy man was not easy, however, for as soon as the heroes returned downstairs, Travis and other members of the guild met them in combat. The heroes had been expecting this, however, and Flint and Helden had gone down first, and were more than capable of dealing with the rogues here. Furthermore, continuing with the surprise advnantage, Helden took the fight to the basement where the heroes also dealt with Scar, the half-orc Targ, and some last remaining thugs. Merke's Place was no longer a thieves guild.

"Maybe we could make something of this place?" said Myara. Helden just gave her a long gaze, that said something along the lines of 'as long as it was not another thieves Guild'.

Orechin finished praying for the divination that the rods returned by the heroes enabled him to do, and everybody in the Sanctuary were blessed with an answer from Boran. Not everybody had the wisdom to understand it, but Elana made out some of it, and Orechin confirmed what had actually been said: The rods were to be placed at the base of the three towers that surrounded the village. Then the source of the barrier problem would be pointed to.

After thanking Orechin for his help in the matter, the heroes took the rods back and went out and placed them where told to. As Helden placed the last rod, immediately three beams shone out from the rods and triangulated right to the front door of the wizard's tower. The problem was there! The heroes marched straight over to the tower, and knocked on the door again. Last time they had been unable to gain entrance because the door had argued against them. This time, however, with the evidence of the beams the heroes were able to persuade the door that they should see the wizard ... and the door had agreed. The problem was, the door discovered it was unable to communicate with its master ... something was wrong.

Unable to open without authority to do so, all the door could do to help overcome the impasse was allow the heroes to examine its locking mechanism. Myara stepped up to the door. If they were going to gain entrance to the wizard's tower now, then they were going to have to rely on her skills ... once again!

TOTAL SESSION TIME (UNPAUSED): 2 Hours 43 Minutes.
GAME TIME SINCE START: 62 Hours 13 Minutes.
QUESTS ACTIVE: 6 QUESTS COMPLETE: 29 (Ignoring Rule Info)

1 comment:

Jennifer Botelle said...

Whilst it may seem I'm biased, I have really been enjoying the game so far and look forward to every session. The game is so engaging is really worth the 10 years that you invested in it. Well done.