Choose Your Language

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Adventure Continues .... 31. Mind How You Go! (v2.55)

Well the last session we played turned out to be THE last session marking the end of all the quests available. We will be having one last "tidy up" session, which will include some PC house-keeping, and a special "Dream Sequence" episode that will cover an area of the campaign not explored by the players. This allows me to test that final section and keep a saved game prepared for any possibility of further modules in the campaign.

As you know, my current task (alongside fixing problems with module one that we came across) has been preparing the campaign for transition between modules ... and writing the second module. I have to admit this has been slow progress, simply due to health reasons. However, now that our play through for module one has almost come to an end, I may be able to do a little more. I am reasonably certain I have completed the module transition code, and can now concentrate on the story aspects. However, like always, time will tell with respect to how far I get.

I do also plan to have another multi-player run through of the first module, but this time as an active player (rather than as a DM). I want to do this so that I can fully test all the changes from the last play through, and test one or two aspects of play that the last play through may not have tried. E.g. Playing through by a different path. Besides, I think it could be fun for me to have a go as a player too ... and test how the balancing has changed things.

As regards to the play of the last session, apart from a few minor issues, we did also encounter another critical broken multi-player transition. Here follows the problems encountered and fixes involved in detail.

The List of Fixes

1) TRANSITION (ASTEND): The game-breaking bug (MP only) we encountered this session was another broken transition, which failed to fire due to a delay added to the end of the conversation. The delay did not serve much purpose apart from allowing a slightly longer view of Astend performing his spell, and so was removed to allow the timing of the transition to work as expected. Thankfully, these transition bugs should have only affected MP games, but I am sorry to those that have had to wait for fixes to play multi-player.

2) FORMULAE PAGES: In our session, when one of the PCs picked up the first formulae page they were meant to collect, it did not fire the GUI to give advise about collection. I think this may have been a glitch, along the lines of those that I explained last time. However, I did alter the code slightly to help ensure the associated GUI on collecting the first page does fire. Tested as working.

3) "STILL BEING WORKED": A couple of puzzles reported "Still Being Worked Upon", even when they were not. One was due to a (non-critical) bug, but the other I believe stemmed from some code changes made over the previous weeks. I will keep an eye open on these as we play again, but hopefully, this is not a problem.

4) OBI REWARD: A reward collected by the heroes from OBI was giving too much, as it included associates that should NOT have been included. This has now been fixed.

5) RAGNOR SWORD JOURNAL ENTRY: The journal entry for acquiring the sword of Ragnor Oran would keep firing when passed from PC to PC. This has been fixed.

6) CLARIFICATION (GONG): I have changed the way the conversation works with Astend's gong. Players would think the conversation had stopped/broken and try clicking again, even though it was "paused" in the process of sounding a second time (when struck twice). Now the gong sounds twice in quick succession without any pause in the conversation. Furthermore, any hostile creature summoned will now correctly un-summon on being killed.

7) CLARIFICATION (TELEPORT HUB): Players did not realise that a summoned portal was an object that could be interacted with. To clarify this, I have made it so a central hub now appears within the portal encouraging the player to click on it.

A Final Word

All in all, after dodging the bullets of bugs as we went along, the campaign played well. Yes, we had quite a few moments of rough-riding when some bugs were more persistent than others, but thankfully, everything was "fixable" along the way, especially as I was present as the DM. Hopefully, our own experiences will help make for a smoother game for those that wish to try The Scroll MP as well.

The campaign lasted far longer than I first anticipated, by almost double! At first, one may think it was due to the way we used turn-based combat, but the in-game timer ignores that part of the time. Therefore, our nearly 71 hours of gameplay was all story and adventure! It did include the times when players stopped to purchase equipment and read the various tomes and scrolls throughout the game, but even after accounting for this, the first module does still offer a substantial amount of gameplay hours.

From my own experience, I believe the creatures encountered needed some balancing, some of which I addressed as we played. Others, however, will only be noticed on a fresh replay. I may even address this some more after I test it again.

In the end, the PCs have ended up at ninth level, nearly tenth, and are very wealthy, having stashed away just over 60 000 gold and are still carrying dozens of precious gems and jewellery. Most of this gold and some of the gems have already been earmarked for crafting and enchanting items, and so that will quickly drop when you consider the high costs of such. However, now that the barrier is down, new equipment will always come in handy for the adventure ahead ... when it is ready!

Astend Is Transfixed!
Helden Examines A Gong
The Heroes Rest Before Using The Portal
Ferocious Raptor Creatures Attack!
The Homa!
The Hag And Her Spawn!
The Heroes Explore Some Caves
And Encounter Huge Spiders!
A Mysterious Cavern!
The Adventure Continues ... 31. Mind How You Go!

The End of the Beginning!

NB: Contains spoilers for ALL backgrounds.

Helden stood in front of the door and blew through the pan pipes that played the annoying tune once more. Eventually, through the fighter's persistence the door finally relented and agreed that the heroes showed the perseverance they needed to continue past its way.

Beyond the door lay another staircase, which the heroes ascended with ease. When they reached the top, the heroes were surprised to see what looked like Astend standing in the centre of a Nexus Gate. How could he be here as well as be laying unconscious in his own tower? Helden tried to speak with the wizard, but Astend's gaze remained transfixed on the huge humanoid figure that stood in the centre of this strange environment. It soon became obvious to the heroes that until they rid the place of the strange shadowy creatures, Astend would remain distracted and unable to be spoken to.

The search was on, and not before too long, the heroes discovered more of the shadowy creatures that appeared to be the source of the strength of the huge humanoid figure that held Astend's attention. Without delay, the heroes attacked and destroyed nemesis after nemesis. And as soon as they destroyed the last one, the huge humanoid creature that stole Astend's attention fell to the ground, destroyed itself. Finally, Astend no longer stood transfixed on the entity that had stood before him, and the heroes could seek his attention at last.

Now able to speak with Astend, the wizard was still cautious of the heroes, but eventually they were able to persuade him they had genuinely come to help. After some time of describing the state of the village and trying to understand how Astend was both here and at his tower, the wizard was finally able to come to some understanding of what had transpired and how his problem and the barrier issue were connected. In concluding, the wizard explained that he needed his formulae pages to resolve the problem and that the heroes had to retrieve them for him.

[To avoid spoiling the plot for potential players, I have missed out some explanations here.]

Without further ado, Astend was able to send the heroes back to his tower, where he had explained how and where they could find his formulae pages. Needless to say, it involved answering a question of the statue that Helden had found within the secret room earlier. To find the answer to that question, the heroes had been told to find a book in the wizard's bedroom that would help them ... and to find that, they had to use the gong that stood beside the wizard's bed.

Five minutes later, the heroes had managed to gain entrance to Astend's secret chambers, and were now able to search the region for the formulae pages. In all their searching of the hidden chambers, they only managed to locate a few of the pages. It had become obvious to them all now that the remaining pages had probably been sucked  into the second portal they had learned about from Astend and now stood before. Before they would use it and explore the land beyond, however, Helden decided they should rest, and so they did.

Having rested, Helden led the party through the portal to the land beyond. Immediately upon arriving at the destination, the heroes were attacked by a ferocious creature that they later learned to be called a Trepid by the locals. The fact that the heroes had used the teleport and arrived at night did not make the combat any easier. However, the creature was alone and the fighters made quick work of killing it, leaving Karasten to loot the creature of anything that may come in use in crafting.

As the heroes continued to explore this lush green land by night, they encountered more of these Trepids which walked its grounds, sometimes smaller, but more often larger. In every instance, however, the heroes were prepared with both summoned creatures and the support of Sebastion, their new henchman, and so quite capable of defending themselves.

It soon became obvious that some of the formulae pages had been transported to this side of the portal, and the heroes immediately started to gather them. As they did so, they soon became aware of a barrier similar to the one that surrounded their own village. This had been expected, however, as Astend had earlier explained this to them. What did catch them by surprise, however, was they noticed a local tribesman of the territory standing on the other side of the barrier from them. At the same time, the tribesman had noticed the heroes too, and called the over.

The tribesman spoke to the heroes in broken common-tongue, but at least they were able to communicate. The heroes were soon to learn that this local man had been waiting for his friends that had passed through the barrier and not yet returned. Apparently, they had had to pass this way to honour something called the Homa, which they held in high regard and as something to be worshipped. It was during this conversation that the heroes then spied the last formulae page they sought, caught on the other side of the barrier with the tribesman. A deal was quickly struck between the two parties: If the heroes used the gold (given by the man to them) to pay homage to the Homa - and keep an eye open for the tribesman's friends, then the man would pass the heroes the page they needed through the barrier upon their return. The heroes had no choice but to agree and followed the path to the Homa as instructed by the tribesman.

After a short while, the large statue of what the tribesman had described as the Homa came into sight. Before it lay the tribute bowls, which Helden added the gold given to him for such by the tribesman. Immediately, a faint smell descended upon him, marking a blessing of the Homa, and the proof they needed for the tribesman to honour his side of their bargain. Fearing the fragrance may dissipate at any moment, the heroes made a hasty return to the tribesman, whereupon they concluded their deal, and recovered the last page. That would have concluded the heroes actions here, but a final request from the tribesman to help seek his friends prompted the heroes to consider one last search of the area while here. They all knew that the tribesmen would be unable to return to the other side of the barrier, but at least all would also know of their fate if they could locate them.

And so the heroes explored the region more closely, and in doing so managed to discover three cave entrances that offered further exploration for the missing tribesmen. However, one of these caves appeared to be protected by some mysterious magik, and while the heroes had managed to find one of the items they believed they needed to unlock the way into the cave, they were missing one other. So, for the time being, they left the mysterious cave alone and searched the remaining two.

It was in the next cave system that the heroes explored where they encountered a hag and her spawn. It also turned out to be these evil creatures that had taken one of the missing tribesmen as a prisoner, which the heroes were able to liberate, and give news of the fellow tribesman waiting for him. The hag and her spawn certainly put up a resistance, but the heroes were quite prepared for such and put the threat of the immediate area to rest as quickly as they had encountered them.

Unfortunately, the heroes were unable to locate any other surviving tribesmen, even after exploring the second cave system, which just held huge spiders and a number of sarcophagi. The spiders had to be dealt with as usual, and care was taken to alleviate some of the sarcophagi of their treasures. A strange nearby candle that appeared never to burn down looked valuable, but Helden decided they would not touch it in case it caused the undead to awake from the sarcophagi.

The mysterious cave was the last place the heroes could search for the missing tribesmen, although everybody thought this an unlikely place to find them as one of the ingredients required to bypass the caves entry protection was a hag's eye! The heroes now had all the ingredients they needed to enter the mysterious cave, and so made their way back to it and performed the ritual they knew would allow them entrance.

Apart from some really useful treasure, the mysterious cavern was empty of any living beings, including any missing tribesmen, as expected. The heroes had now explored every area this region had to offer, and feeling they had done their best, now decided to return as quickly as possible to Astend with the formulae pages with the hope of bringing the barrier problem to an end.

Three portal trips later, and the heroes were handing Astend his pages, and then had to stand waiting anxiously as Astend studied his own work. Finally, after just a few more moments, when Helden asked the wizard if he had found a solution, the heroes had their answer: he did! With quiet apprehension, the heroes stood back to allow the wizard to rework his incantation that would start to unravel all the problems his original incantations had caused. Then, within just a few more seconds and as Astend finished his spell, the heroes suddenly found themselves back at the wizard's tower, alongside Astend ... alive and well.

After some brief acknowledgement of thanks all round from one another, the heroes could wait no longer and proceeded out of the wizard's tower to check for the barrier: It had gone! The heroes quest to rid the village of the barrier was over! Finally, they could make arrangements to go to the capital city, Boran, and bring news of their quest there.

However, before they left, there were just a couple of things that Helden wanted to take care of. The first involved returning to the crypts, which they did, whereupon the heroes were now able to gain access to the tomb of Ragnor Oran and retrieve his mythical sword. As always, the task had not been quite as straight forward as they first thought, but succeed they did. Furthermore, upon returning to Orechin with it, they were able to convince the holy man that they may be able to put the sword to better use, and so were allowed to keep the wondrous blade.

The second task, however, was one that Helden had been looking forward to for some time now, and was easy enough to do; after all he knew where he could find him. Shutting the door to the Bloated Buckle behind him, Helden called out "Scraps!", and within a heartbeat the two were reunited ... and now the party were back together again, the new adventures that awaited them could be faced together.

GAME TIME SINCE START: 70 Hours 55 Minutes.

1 comment:

Jennifer Botelle said...

It was a good end to an enjoyable game. I'm impressed that you did this largely on your own. Well done and thanks for all the hard work you invested in to this.