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Thursday, 28 February 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 30. A Realm of Chaos! (v2.54)

The last session got off to a slow start as we tried to address a minor quest issue, but after some script searching I could not determine the error and so we continued the session with me as the DM fixing the situation as we played. Today, after doing some more leisurely testing, I now have to conclude that the error we encountered was mainly due to a "glitch", because I was unable to duplicate it. A second minor error relating to treasure items also appears to be a "glitch", as once again I was unable to duplicate the issue with testing. The bottom line, I suspect most issues in the last session were more to do with using an older module rather than anything else. Bear in mind that the module we are using is quite a few versions behind the latest. Anyway, here is the list of information for you ...

The List of Fixes

1) JOURNAL ENTRY (SCAR SCAM): On the back of a new journal entry added a few weeks back, there was a broken sequence that quickly needed mending on the night. Our group took a path where the players cracked Grist's Chameleon puzzle on their own. The journal entry for this did not update. A quick save and reload after a minor fix sorted this, and it is now properly fixed for all. On the back of this journal entry fault though, came this second one, which I will refer to next within its own "Glitch" title ...

2) JOURNAL ENTRY (GLITCH): After cracking Grist's chameleon puzzle, the players receive a map, which when examined is supposed to unlock access to the treasure caches it leads to. Furthermore, as the PCs find the caches, the journal is supposed to update with a count. However, on the night, all the treasure caches failed to become properly useable, and the gold they contained ended up sitting on top of the cache instead of inside it. Therefore, the journal update did not fire because the caches could not be interacted with. When I tested the same code following day (using the same PCs, albeit with a DM present), the caches updated correctly and interaction was normal .... apart from something weird .... they were useable, even before I had used the map that is supposed to make them useable! Again, I have no idea why this happened, although I can say that everything worked as it should from a fresh start. Therefore, this goes very much under the title of glitch! On the night, as DM, I simply gave the players the item they needed on discovering the sixth cache.

3) TREASURE ITEMS (GLITCH): While on the subject of "glitches", here relates the second of the night: Upon returning to Kathy's chest where a player had stored some treasure items, upon opening the chest, all the treasure items had become unidentified. This at first appeared to be related to where I had disabled some code to help resolve the "more than one money pouch" being left within a chest. At first I re-enabled the code and "fixed" the money pouch a different way. However, after checking my code, I could not see any reason why this had occurred and so I tried to repeat the error within a fresh game ... and could not. Again, I have no clear reason why this glitch occurred, by can confirm that the problem did not exist in a fresh new game.

4) LIFE ESSENCES (GLITCH): I believe there was one other "glitch" on the night related to acquiring Life essences. Upon killing a monster, a PC can acquire Life Essences from the fallen creature. Life Essences start off as "Bound" Life Essences on a dead creature, but become "Unbound" upon a PC acquiring them either by Channeling or Harvesting them. Somehow, a player had two of the Bound versions on their PC, suggesting the OnAcquire code did not fire for them. Hopefully, this was a one off glitch too.

5) CHAMELEON PUZZLE EXPLOIT: On the back of testing the journal update for the "Scar Skim Scam" quest, I recognised a minor exploit where a player could gain a slight clue/advantage using Life Essences with this puzzle and then reloading. This has now been squashed in the latest fix.

6) PRECISION WEIGHTS (TYPO): Too many "S"s in a couple of places with these items. The typo has been fixed for all of them. Some may require a module update to be noticed.

7) ROD OF LOCATING (MP ONLY): If a player tried to start a new game with a PC that already carried a Rod of Locating, then the PC would fail to load any saved game thereafter. This was due to a timing issue when checking if a Rod was present or not. The timing has now been fixed, and the PC no longer reports having a missing item. (Discovered during testing.)

8) NPC CONVERSATION: A function to have a NPC start a conversation was not always finding a valid PC to start a conversation. E.g. Grist in the cellar. This has now been fixed.

9) GAME BALANCING: Some creatures were too weak, while others marginally too strong. I have done some minor tweaking again. Some alterations require a module update.

Astend Found Unconscious!
Helden Discovers A Secret Door!
Karasten Examines A Broken Guardian
A Strange New World!
Ghostly Figures Attack!
At the Top of the Well!
A Monstrous Slug-Like Creature
The Caravan and The Melody
Hope Rekindled!

The Adventure Continues ... 30. A Realm of Chaos!

Where Nothing Makes Sense!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

The heroes returned to the wizard's tower, having just bathed and rested after returning from the sewers one last time. They had used a map that Myara had managed to recover from a Chameleon Stone that once belonged to Grist. From its directions, the heroes had followed the maze of sewer tunnels and recovered a large sum of gold from a number of hidden caches that the map revealed. To top it off, they also recovered a platinum statue, well worth its weight in gold and more! Hopefully that would be the last time they ventured into the sewers, they all thought.

Now Myara was needed to put her code cracking skill to the test once more, as she stepped up to the wizard tower door and requested to work on its mechanism. Thankfully, she was well used to working these mechanisms now, and it was not long before the halfling was leading the group into the wizard's abode. The heroes had barely entered, however, when they stopped short, noticing the body of Astend on the floor before them.

Wasting no time, the heroes stepped forward and carefully examined the wizard, for he was caught in some kind of spherical vortex. The clerics quickly ascertained that the wizard was unconscious. Curious, Myara also checked the wizard closer and took a couple of small precision weights that she found on him, leaving his gold, gems, and more importantly, his spell book, well alone. As she did so, however, she felt strange and was overcome with what sounded like voices in her head. She continued to listen for a short while, but just when she thought they would draw her into the vortex, she stepped away.

Helden saw what had happened, and suggested that they take care while searching the rest of the tower, in case there were more potential hazards. During their search of the immediate area, Helden found a secret door with a statue behind. On approaching it, the group were asked a strange question, to which none knew the answer and so without saying a word, Helden backed the group away, deciding to take the search elsewhere for now.

A door led out of the entry room and into a corridor. Myara led the way, and before she had time to spot it, she stepped onto a hidden trigger and a fireball was cast towards her from a dragon head at the end of the corridor. Jumping to one side, the halfling managed to avoid the worst of the blaze; more damage to pride than skin. A short while later, the halfling found the switch to disarm the trap and the group were then able to continue in safety.

Apart from a kitchen (with more precision weights that the halfling pocketed for some reason), there was also a small work shop and a bedroom. The bedroom appeared to hold some useful books, but were kept behind a force-field preventing access to them. Karatsen considered that a nearby gong may be a means to disarm the forcefield, but added it is also just as a likely to summon a monster, and so the group decided to leave that for now. Within the small workshop, the heroes discovered a broken White Guardian.

Earlier the heroes had found a book within the front room explaining that this White Guardian, who Astend had named Sebastion, had been one of the wizard's recent projects. According to the same book, the wizard had broken its mechanisms while experimenting with it. After reading the book the heroes had already taken steps to ensure they had everything they needed to restore Sebastion to a working state should they come across him. Now they had, and it took Karasten little time to restore the broken parts, and thereafter leave Myara to restore the coded mechanism. Within only a few minutes, Sebastion, the White Guardian was an active member of the party; ready to carry out orders of Myara, until it learned anything to counter such from its memory banks,which it determined to fix in time.

The heroes had now hit a dead end. They really only had two options open to them: Try to work out the answer to the statues question, which seemed impossible without access to the wizard's library behind the forcefield, or alternatively, risk trying to communicate with the vortex that surrounded Astend again. As Astend was their prime target to help resolve the barrier issue, Helden made the group decision that they should try interacting with the vortex once more. This time, Helden took the initiative, and after only the briefest of interaction, the entire group was sucked into the pulsating sphere ... and transported to some strange chaotic realm!

The events that occurred next are almost too strange to relate and one would have to experience it themselves to fully comprehend what transpired. In brief, the heroes found themselves fighting strange outsider type beings, climbing ropes to exit wells into a land where spells could not be cast. They encountered a tree and some stone that could talk, but never in any sentences that truly explained where they were now. They would then go on to climb staircases that led to more bizarre creatures, and battles, and conversations with unknown beings about music and a chaotic repetitive tune.  The only thing that appeared to remain consistent was the chaos of the place, and it was somehow connected to Astend and his very nature, being ... or thoughts!

After a number of such strange encounters, the heroes eventually found themselves talking to a door that now refused them entrance due to the heroes apparent "lack of perseverance". And having already prevented "a tree from falling into despair", and prevented "an invisible being from going insane" and being rewarded with a flute of perseverance, it was now not coming as such a surprise that this strange chaotic place would become such an accuser.

GAME TIME SINCE START: 66 Hours 54 Minutes.

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