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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Siege of Shadowdale - Part V


The Old Skull

This is a short update, just describing the final section and boss fight to finish off this recounting.


After entering the portal created by Malauntyr, I have been transported to the Old Skull, a huge outcrop of rock north of Shadowdale. This is obviously where Malauntyr has made his base. Perhaps if he is defeated, the tide of battle will turn in Shadowdale's favour. [Defeat Malauntyr]

Scotti now gives me a Ring of Spell Resistance (SR 14) and then scampers off home (I don't believe there was any quest experience reward for rescuing Scotti, which I find rather odd..)

You can hear the sounds of fierce battle echoing from the town. - DM.


I must ascend the huge rock of Old Skull, taking out copy-pasta drow packs en route to the summit. 

This cave must be where the Old Skull connects to the Underdark.

Barrels: Fire Arrow (99), Bolt of Fire (99), Arrow of the Vampire (2), Short Sword +1, various scrolls and potions.

You can't enter the cave.

 

Looking down on the town, you can see the Knights of Myth Drannor in bloody combat with the drow.

Level Up to 7!

Lilura: Wizard (7), Spells: Ice Storm, Summon Creature IV.


The Knights of Myth Drannor are being forced back by the sheer numbers of the drow. Storm Silverhand stands alone battling a dozen drow, her silver blade arching back and forth like lightning death.

I reach the summit. Buffing time! I only bother to buff my pseudodragon and newly acquired dire spider.

Malauntyr is confronted.

Malauntyr is completely covered in a shroud of unnatural shadow. Two globes of golden light shine with an unearthly hatred from the cowls of his hood.

So you made it this far? No matter. I shall rend your soul! - Malauntyr.

 

Malauntyr conjures two shadows of himself, buffs with Stoneskin, and then teleports back a bit as my spider summon makes short work of the conjured shadows.

 

Malauntyr unleashes ILMS followed by Cloudkill on my minions (who take no acid dmg due to their Endure Elements buff). The minions then close in and start chipping away at him.
 
Enough. I tire of these games. - Malauntyr.

 

Malauntyr now transforms into a Shadow Dragon.


Elminster appears and transforms into a Gold Dragon.


They duke it out while I apparently watch in awe.


Elminster ends Malauntyr with Meteor Swarm. 

Ugh... this cannot be... NOOOOO! - Malauntyr.


Malauntyr has been slain! The combined efforts of myself and the Sage of Shadowdale, Elminster, have finally put an end to the Shadowmaster's evil schemes. [/[Defeat Malauntyr]


I step into Elminster's portal.

Elminster's Tower - Epilogue


 

Final Reward: Netherese Blast Scepter (Call Lightning [10] 5 charges/use).

Entering the portal exports the character and rolls the credits.


And this concludes Siege of Shadowdale.

Siege of Shadowdale has a few shortcomings, but one has to remember it was made in 2002. For me, this module feels sort of like an experiment, or a showcase/spectacle in some ways, but it has undeniable strengths in the form of its strong Realmslore and Realms-flavored writing that enhance the critical path and six optional quests (all of which are above average).

I would say SoS is an absolute pleasure to read (especially if the player knows their FRCS), but not so much to play - mainly because of the copy-pasta encounters (lacking that handcrafted touch), hardly any skill checks in dialogue (aka no "role-playing"), and the tendency for items and encounters to favor warrior builds (Wizards n Rogues will feel kinda left out). Some players also might not appreciate being "shown up" in a few places by Realms heroes, but others might enjoy rubbing shoulders with them, who knows.. I myself got some laughs out of them, so I don't mind.

Experience points mostly come from progressing in the plot and completing side-quests rather than from killing things. This means the player doesn't have to be overly concerned about experience penalties or vying with NPCs for the kill - just create a character and play. That's not to say tough encounters are non-existent - for new players I highly recommend a "sword n shield" warrior.

Is Siege of Shadowdale a classic, though? For FR fans I would answer yes.

EoP

16 comments:

  1. "I only bother to buff my pseudodragon and newly acquired dire spider."

    Yeah, see, us poor sorcerers don't get that 'til level 8. We ain't fancy talking akedemiks, awright?

    "They duke it out while I apparently watch in awe."

    I nearly spit out my drink.

    "I would say SoS is an absolute pleasure to read (especially if the player knows their FRCS), but not so much to play"

    I think that's a fair statement -- like I said, more like watching a video than playing a game.

    "Wizards n Rogues will feel kinda left out"

    And Sorcerers!

    "Some players also might not appreciate being "shown up" in a few places by Realms heroes, but others might enjoy rubbing shoulders with them, who knows."

    I think the largest problem for me was too much. I don't mind any individual incident, but all of them together rubbed me the wrong way. *Especially* when the ending was "So, you're completely screwed, good thing Elminster saved you" *after* the earlier stuff. Even something like spawning some shadow adds that you take care of while Elminster fights the main guy would have felt a hundred times better.

    "This means the player doesn't have to be overly concerned about experience penalties or vying with NPCs for the kill - just create a character and play."

    Seems like you barely hit 7 as is -- as a Sorcerer, being level 6 would mean I get exactly one level 3 spell and no level 4 spells. And likely because I didn't have buffed up summons the last boss was a pain because my attacks would barely scratch him as I recall. Literally kept doing 0 damage or 1 damage if I recall correctly.

    "Is Siege of Shadowdale a classic, though? For FR fans, I would answer yes."

    Your recounting does make it sound at least a bit better than I recalled -- the nonsense with being unable to turn in the bouncer quest (which, come to think of it, was apparently 750 XP I was missing which would probably explain me being level 6), the final boss fight, and the ending all soured my impression.

    I still wouldn't call it a classic, though. Meh. Maybe I'm not enough of a FR fan, then.

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    Replies
    1. I can definitely see where you're coming from, feeling under-leveled - and as a sorc no less.

      Do you know if there's a chronological listing of NWN module releases, this mod was made in 2002, I assume there was earlier stuff? I wonder what other modules were like around this time, any idea?

      Btw, I enjoyed what I played of Siege of the Heavens - you serve up some polished combat so congrats on that! Since I couldn't bring myself to build a Level 40 char, I just ran with one of your included sub-optimals. I made it to one of the bosses, and had her worked out and almost dead, but then I accidentally left the area and everything reset! What put me off was starting at Level 40 with uber gear (I don't feel the char grow, I don't get attached to it). I realise the point of your mod isn't really to craft a tale and a world to adventure in, but that's sort of my cup of tea. I guess I should check out the other bosses, and give it another chance?

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    2. I don't know about a chronological listing, sorry. I do know that the Penultima series (and then Penultima Rerolled -- both precursors to Hex Coda and the Eternum series) were around in 2002-2003. I believe the Shadowlords series was around in 2002 as well...I remember I started that series and just lost interest like halfway through, I'll go back and take a look.

      On the whole, Siege of Shadowdale was probably one of the better modules of its time, if not one of the best. That said, I don't want to tell people that X module is a classic simply because it was good for its time -- don't want them to play it as their first introduction to custom content and think "Meh, this is it? People think this stuff is amazing?" Those first impressions really matter, especially in trying to get people into the community at this point.

      Regarding a level 40 character...I thought that quite a few people would have a high level character from Sands of Fate (ends at 40), Aielund Saga (ends at 37ish), or be exporting their favorite max level characters from persistent worlds they play on. Or even import a HotU level 27-28 character and add the last 10 levels. The characters I provided are sub-optimal only in that they aren't ruthlessly optimized -- the fighter is very solid for a pure fighter...but a Fighter 38/2 Rogue, Fighter 12/WM 25/Rogue 3, etc would be better. Ditto for the others.

      Yeah, bosses are designed to reset to prevent abuse, since some of them rely on aspects of their "arena" so to speak. Not all do but might as well be consistent -- can't try to drag them away.

      Whether you want to check it out further is up to you. It's definitely an usual module -- closer to Diablo than a typical RPG. There's a basic story but the only real dialogue is after going out and killing several bosses and lots of monsters. Then repeat. Obviously you could include those types of boss encounters in a standard campaign (see: last boss in Aielund) but I had to build the thing in a month and decided to focus more on purity of form: a fun boss romp with interesting (and existent) mechanics without worrying too much about dialogue or role playing. And it's the only level 40 single player module that I know of, wanted to do something different.

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    3. "Those first impressions really matter, especially in trying to get people into the community at this point."

      Very true, which is why I'm treating the OC next! :P

      "The characters I provided are sub-optimal only in that they aren't ruthlessly optimized -- the fighter is very solid for a pure fighter..."

      Fighter/Cleric/Dwarven Defender? ;)

      Point taken on the reasons for lvl40.

      But I think with your combat crafting and scripting skills you could create a dream pre-epic hack n slay adventure! (I also like your maps in Siege of the Heavens, they allow for bottlenecks and tactics).

      You know, I still haven't found anything that really quenches my thirst... Sanctum isn't my style - too much going on. War of Tableegh Trilogy combat is hard but the module is rough around the edges. CToT has too much open space to roam through just to find things to kill. Orcs is too "sanboxy". Maybe I'll try DoD again, I don't remember the combat much - prob a bad thing... meh. Forget that.

      I want HotU EVOLVED - a tactics overhaul for HotU would be AMAZING. Imo, HotU has almost everything except difficult encounters.

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    4. "Very true, which is why I'm treating the OC next! :P"

      You see my comment on the Bioware forums about how there's already tons of guides and "Let's Plays" on it? One more wouldn't hurt, per se, and it'd probably be better quality...but showing people the amazing custom modules would do more for new players, I think. Especially given how you could probably do more than one campaign in the time it would take you to recount the OC.

      "Fighter/Cleric/Dwarven Defender? ;)"

      Or something, yeah. You'd be hard pressed to make a superior pure fighter, but (sadly) a pure anything is weaker than at least some multiclassing.

      "But I think with your combat crafting and scripting skills you could create a dream pre-epic hack n slay adventure"

      Absolutely. I already made one intended for warrior types (aka, trying to play it as something other than a strength based barbarian/fighter/paladin/ranger would almost certainly end in disaster -- theoretically a strength based cleric might work but it'd still be harder) that takes you from level 1 to 6 in probably about 2-3 hours. Made it for another ABC. It's not currently available on the vault but I suppose I could post it.

      That said, Siege of the Heavens, Peremptory Summons, Fire Mountain, and other modules I've made have been more aimed and testing concepts and figuring out scripts for ultimate use in a PW...because, frankly, I'm not happy with any PW I've found. Goal is to make an action PW with reasonably fast leveling speed and a lot to do at max level...especially in regard to scripted boss encounters. Server will also increase in level cap over time -- current plan is something like 1-10 for the first 8-12 months, 1-16 for 8-12 months after that, then 1-22, 1-28, 1-34, and 1-40 progressively. With at least one, usually two, content patch every few months for every level range.

      Of course, I still need to finish Siege of the Heavens, finish the work on Aielund, and still take care of my WoW guild stuff and that pesky RL.

      "Sanctum isn't my style - too much going on."

      As too much story, not enough combat? Not sure how far you've gotten but once you leave the Archmage's house things rather pick up.

      Have you tried Swordflight yet? The second module is significantly better than the first (though both are good) and it has the hardest combat I've seen in a campaign.

      "a tactics overhaul for HotU would be AMAZING."

      What do you mean by "tactic overhaul?"

      HotU lacks difficultly both because the enemies are usually just insanely weak and because you get insane items (like a +10 keen sword with 2d6 acid damage, regen, and haste or +10 AC gear in the mid 20s). Now, it is technically possible to balance for that insane gear, but Bioware already failed to balance before you get the insane gear, so...

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    5. "You see my comment on the Bioware forums about how there's already tons of guides and "Let's Plays" on it?"

      Official content doesn't receive much treatment these days - current guides/walkthroughs are lacking, and some people don't like listening to youtube Let's Plays.

      "probably be better quality..."

      Probably? PROBABLY? :P

      You have a point, though, as aside from the Blogs of authors of modules themselves, there doesn't seem to be much quality recounting/reviewing/critiquing out for community stuff out there..

      "but showing people the amazing custom modules would do more for new players, I think."

      tbqh, other than parts of Aielund and your mod in respect to scripted combat, I wouldn't call anything "amazing" - not even Hex Coda 01.

      "Or something, yeah. You'd be hard pressed to make a superior pure fighter"

      Oh sorry yeah, you did say "pure". But no builder worth their weight in salt goes pure warrior, you know that! :P Still, I can't argue with you: the fighter you supplied is adequate.

      "Absolutely. I already made one intended for warrior types"

      Post! Post! Post! Post!

      "I'm not happy with any PW I've found".

      I hear ya, just as I'm not over the moon with any SP hack n slay adventure module I've found... basically, fast paced story and leveling, tough and interesting encounters, a few sidequests, tight and focused maps, etc.

      "As too much story, not enough combat?"

      I think I made the mistake of including the romance and some other option, there was too much frolicking and not enough killin'. I wasn't impressed by the initial encounters after the Archmage's house, but I'll give it another go. It was probably just my mood, or I was tired.

      "Have you tried Swordflight yet?"

      Will check it out.

      "What do you mean by "tactic overhaul?"

      A tactics overhaul like RAVAge for Dragon Age: Origins, wherein all enemies and encounters are made worthy.

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    6. "Probably? PROBABLY? :P"

      There are literally strategy guides written by professional companies about the three official campaigns. You write a good review/guide, don't get me wrong, but you are going against a reasonably high bar there ;)

      Now, it is possible that "current guides/walkthroughs are lacking" -- I don't really know, I haven't done the research. But it is an opportunity cost: is writing an improved version of an OC review (when hundreds already exist) better than writing reviews for several user mods?

      "tbqh, other than parts of Aielund and your mod in respect to scripted combat, I wouldn't call anything "amazing" - not even Hex Coda 01."

      Out of curiosity, how much of that do you think is your desire for good combat? That seems to be your main focus, and if it doesn't have good combat then you don't seem to like it. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but obviously that means that something like Hex Coda 1 will be less appealing.

      Personally, I'm more of an and/or type of guy. It needs good combat and/or good story. I'm fine with great combat and bad story. I'm fine with bad combat and great story. I'm fine with great combat and great story.

      But I am *not* fine with mediocre combat and mediocre story. One of the two needs to be very good.

      I personally found Hex Coda 1 much more enjoyable than Dragon Age: Origins, for example, and would much rather replay HC than DA:O. Of course, technically speaking, the combat was terrible in both games.

      "Post! Post! Post! Post!"

      I'll get it up on the vault tonight. Keep in mind that it is more "fast paced story and leveling, tough and interesting encounters, a few sidequests, tight and focused maps" (in my opinion, at least). There's not a world to explore, not hundreds of items to equip in different combinations, not deep RP choices, etc.

      "I wasn't impressed by the initial encounters after the Archmage's house, but I'll give it another go."

      Yeah, it definitely picks up later on. I thought it was okay but not great until I got like 25%+ of the way through -- lot of talking prior to leaving the house and the initial caves with oozes were just annoying. It still might not sate your bloodthirst overall, but it definitely gets better in that sense -- even if it is very story/companion focused overall.

      "Will check it out."

      Definitely do. Also definitely keep in mind that Swordflight 2 is much better, especially in regard to combat, than SW1 in my opinion.

      "A tactics overhaul like RAVAge for Dragon Age: Origins, wherein all enemies and encounters are made worthy."

      So basically go through all of HotU and buff up the monsters so they don't fall over when you sneeze at them? Except for some ridiculous things like the demilich with his 30/+20 damage reduction?

      Maybe that'd be an interesting project at some point...I'd also do some stuff like toning down the forge, though. Probably +6 max in chapter 2 and maybe allow +8 in chapter 3.

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    7. "There are literally strategy guides written by professional companies about the three official campaigns. You write a good review/guide, don't get me wrong, but you are going against a reasonably high bar there ;)"

      They'd be outdated. I've read so-called "official" guides before, they're obsolete before the printing. Wikis are where it's at, everyone knows that. The NWN wiki walkthrough is getting there. Blogs are good for reviews, opinions, criticism, recountings, feedback.

      "But it is an opportunity cost: is writing an improved version of an OC review (when hundreds already exist) better than writing reviews for several user mods?"

      Not sure why you think I'm writing a review? It'll just be random remarks and a mini-recounting sort of thing - similar to my HotU recounting, but nothing like my overly detailed Aielund Saga treatment.

      Hundreds of reviews may exist, but most are written by clueless people who treat the material with ignorance and disregard. It's just a day job to them, tomorrow they'll be writing about another game they're clueless about..

      "Personally, I'm more of an and/or type of guy. It needs good combat and/or good story. I'm fine with great combat and bad story. I'm fine with bad combat and great story. I'm fine with great combat and great story."

      Hordes of the Underdark represents an almost perfect example of what I'm after. Chapter 1 and 2 are brilliant (my recounting highlights the good bits); chapter 3 is innovative in a few ways but the combat just breaks down into epic trashmobs and the boss fight is underwhelming/anti-climactic.

      "So basically go through all of HotU and buff up the monsters so they don't fall over when you sneeze at them? Except for some ridiculous things like the demilich with his 30/+20 damage reduction? Maybe that'd be an interesting project at some point...I'd also do some stuff like toning down the forge, though. Probably +6 max in chapter 2 and maybe allow +8 in chapter 3."

      Basically. More enemies, more intelligence, more variety, more randomness, stricter resting rules, no full healing, ability to bring chapter 1 Henchmen into 2 and 3, +1 or +2 to party size, total revamp of all bosses (your spider boss in SotH is superior to them all..), address bias against ranged attackers (black pearl, number of enchants), integration of Project Q (ALL)/EMS.hak (optional) etc. possibly with a customised installation thingy like Sanctum has at the start for setting options/difficulty.

      Personally I think the community would embrace something like this, and bring you more glory than touching up Aielund/expanding SotH. But I understand Aielund is also very deserving of your attention, and also SotH is your labor of love, so..

      Baldur's Gate is a clunky old RPG, yet there are still many people playing it due to the SCS overhauls it's received (even new players) - there are dedicated forums. Dragon Age: Origins is taken seriously by RtWP aficionados due to RAVAge, Faster Combat and Advanced tactics (tactics framework extender).

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    8. "They'd be outdated. I've read so-called "official" guides before, they're obsolete before the printing."

      Eh, I actually wound up with a copy of a NWN guide for at least the official campaign, don't even remember how now. Might have seen it on sale cheap and was curious about it. Was definitely after I had beaten the game.

      Anyway, it had some very mediocre build/spell suggestions but in terms of the walkthrough I seem to recall it being fairly spot on. And I definitely remember reading Starfox 64, Perfect Dark 64, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Donkey Kong 64 guides that were accurate and informative.

      Haven't looked at a guide like that in over 10 years now, though, so maybe they're worse these days. Could easily be true since blogs and forums and such were much less common.

      "Not sure why you think I'm writing a review? It'll just be random remarks and a mini-recounting sort of thing - similar to my HotU recounting, but nothing like my overly detailed Aielund Saga treatment."

      Well, first, I'd consider that a type of review :P

      And I did think it would be more like Aielund Saga, actually.

      "Chapter 1 and 2 are brilliant (my recounting highlights the good bits);"

      Interesting. As you said (at the end of Chapter 1): "in Lith My'athar - a hub where the Hordes campaign finally steps up a gear." I'd agree that Chapter 2 of HotU was the best as well, but you seemed less found of Chapter 1 and particularly hated level 2 of Undermountain. Nostalgia striking already? :P

      "more variety, more randomness,"

      How so?

      "stricter resting rules"

      Like what?

      "no full healing,"

      How would you implement that? You'd, at a minimum, need to change Heal/Mass Heal or Clerics/Druids would be insanely overpowered (or, at least, even MORE insanely overpowered).

      "ability to bring chapter 1 Henchmen into 2 and 3"

      Only the one(s) you have with you at the end of Chapter 1? Out of curiosity, why is this? Clearly Bioware wanted you to take Nath and/or Valen. Then they also introduced Aribeth in Chapter 3 who was very overpowered (has a ton of extra stats).

      You didn't seem upset that you can't take Dante/Nellise to Act 2 of Aielund, for example, or the Act 2 companions to Act 3.

      "your spider boss in SotH is superior to them all.."

      Oh, ouch, you ran into Selenoth first? I consider her the "third" boss and the toughest out of the first three for most people. Intended order is Charion -> Pirthen -> Selenoth though it's not enforced.

      But yes, I'd agree, and that's one of the reasons I made SotH -- I wanted to turn the kind of stuff I did in Fire Mountain/Into the Abyss into an actual campaign of sorts (and I also did more advanced mechanics since I had gotten better at scripting). If you liked Selenoth then I think you'll also like the last boss in Peremptory Summons. I added some very basic stuff to Aielund's last boss fight as well (the waves of adds).

      "address bias against ranged attackers"

      Fair enough.

      "integration of Project Q (ALL)/EMS.hak (optional) etc."

      I don't think I could really make EMS optional. It changes spells too much to balance for both the default and EMS. And EMS has some major issues as well like I mentioned :) But I still think it's better than the default.

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    9. "possibly with a customised installation thingy like Sanctum has at the start for setting options/difficulty."

      I played Sanctum on the "Very Hard" difficulty but I'm not even sure what the difficulty did. Just opened the toolset to take a peek but all it does is set a local variable to indicate that it's very hard. Presumably that is then read in other scripts but I'd have to hunt through a lot to try to figure it out. Or maybe I'll just ask the author!

      What would you like to see in such a thingy?

      In regards to difficulty specifically, how would you want to see that implemented (both in terms of how many difficulty levels and what each difficulty level actually means)?

      I mean, for example, Siege of the Heavens has easier boss fights initially and is tuned nowhere near as hard as it could be -- intentionally. I wanted any reasonable level 40 character to be able to win if they did the fights correctly. Aka, if you do them right, you win, even if your character isn't optimal. If you do them wrong, you die. But I could easily add more mechanics/require faster reactions/have severe character optimization checks if I wanted. Was toying around with the idea of an "elite" mode where the bosses were all more along the same difficulty (and thus all much harder) rather than ramping up over time.

      "Personally I think the community would embrace something like this, and bring you more glory than touching up Aielund/expanding SotH."

      Maybe. On the flip side, how many people actually want to play "HotU -- but harder!" when they've played it a lot? And theoretically new players wouldn't know it existed initially. I'm asking this seriously, as I'm not sure what to make of it.

      While I still want to build the PW, touching up HotU is a lot simpler and could be done much faster. Toughen up the monsters, change some stuff like the weapon enchants, maybe rebalance a spell or three, and make the boss fights worthy boss fights. Diverting a few months for that project wouldn't be the end of the world prior to building the PW.

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    10. A Peremptory Summons is uploaded -- I will mention that after the initial upload of SotH I went back and polished a few things (and retuned some bosses that were too difficult for some characters). You'll note that the version of SotH is 1_07.

      APS has not been available (or publicized) in the same manner and has had only myself and another person do a playthroughs for testing, so it is entirely possible some stuff is (slightly, I hope) mistuned for some characters. But by the same token, using multiple characters will help get a better understanding -- your 2H scythe wielding half orc may be able to burst through one fight but struggle on another while that 1H plus shield elf may struggle more on the first fight but handle the later fight better. Again, the goal was to make it beatable by any reasonable warrior type character -- not to make it so you had to optimize perfectly for the module and pick very specific feats to help.

      So basically you get to be a bit of a guinea pig! But I just did a playthrough of the module in under an hour (you'll likely take 90-120 minutes the first time through, I think -- I would it was longer but I guess not!) so it's hardly a huge time commitment either way.

      Also, I hate low level NWN because the numbers are so small. When you start with like 12 HP, 3 damage is 25% of your health, and 1% immunity always reduces a minimum of 1 damage...blargh. I think I managed to make the best low level combat that I've seen but I much prefer content for level 7-8+.

      Anyway, a link: http://neverwintervault.org/project/nwn1/module/peremptory-summons

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    11. "I would it was longer"

      should be

      "I thought it was longer."

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    12. "Interesting. As you said (at the end of Chapter 1): "in Lith My'athar - a hub where the Hordes campaign finally steps up a gear." I'd agree that Chapter 2 of HotU was the best as well, but you seemed less found of Chapter 1 and particularly hated level 2 of Undermountain. Nostalgia striking already? :P"

      Undermountain II was weaker than UMI which is one of the best dungeon crawls ever made, imo - apart from the ease with which one can defeat the enemies, of course. :P

      I hold UMI in high regard due to it's explorative nature, non-linearity, secret doors, trap puzzles, side-quests, double solution, Deekin's wonderful comments, etc.

      UM3 was also good, but I would have liked number of Drow scaled up and perhaps more use of terrain to facilitate tactics.

      Regarding the technicalities of any HotU overhaul, I'm just throwing random stuff around atm - don't mind me. I'm a mere gamer and blogger, not a dev or designer like you. :)

      "On the flip side, how many people actually want to play "HotU -- but harder!" when they've played it a lot?"

      Good question. You're talking about official content, so there'd possibly be a fair few. It's a highly replayable and meta-gameable campaign...

      "And theoretically new players wouldn't know it existed initially. I'm asking this seriously, as I'm not sure what to make of it."

      People are gonna be Googling for Hordes of the Underdark a lot more than Aielund Saga or SotH. If they see a module aimed at overhauling/improving the experience, they might take it up. SCS for Baldur's Gate is still somehow popular (which is hilarious for such a clunky old engine and horrid ruleset [AD&D2]) and tactical mods are often requested for Dragon Age: Origins (though RAVAge fits the bill, it's the final word). You could possibly make a topic on BioWare's or GoG forums, to gauge interest and get more ideas (I'd happily partake).

      "Toughen up the monsters, change some stuff like the weapon enchants, maybe rebalance a spell or three, and make the boss fights worthy boss fights."

      Pretty much. Possibly replace the Big Meph elemental mobs with devil warriors or something like that. The frost giant approach TO and the Windswept Battlefield ITSELF is also rather derpy, actually most of the outdoor chapter 3 areas are really poor combat-wise... I'll think of heaps of stuff when I start mucking around with HotU again, in a couple weeks.

      Regarding A Peremptory Summons:

      I'm just gonna finish off my second OC post covering Chapter One, then I'll put it on hold and dive into APS, after which I'll probably give SotH a more thorough run (I was tired), then possibly post more about the OC and get into Swordflight while mucking around in HotU to come up with overhaul ideas (I have multiple installs at the ready, so I can quickly switch back n forth lol).

      Anyway, that's my plan for the foreseeable future!

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    13. "Regarding the technicalities of any HotU overhaul, I'm just throwing random stuff around atm - don't mind me. I'm a mere gamer and blogger, not a dev or designer like you. :)"

      Well, I'll reserve the right to ignore any suggestions you have if I so desire, then -- but I am nevertheless interested in hearing them.

      In particular, it's very hard for me to gauge that will interest/engage people in general. Like I said, I deliberately made Siege bosses far easier than they could have been. I had to guess what was "right" for a typical player -- not make it barely beatable by an excellent player (which is MUCH easier to do). While you're still significantly better than average, you have more experience with different RPGs and better knowledge of what people would want in a mod like this.

      Like, off the top of my head, I'm not sure I necessarily see a point in making an "easy" setting given people can play the unmodified HotU. But is it worth having both a "normal" and "hard" setting? Is a normal setting even needed or can I just make it quite difficult because I can assume people wanting the mod want difficulty? Then HOW difficult should I make it? What a pure rogue can beat is often very different from what a mage or weapon master can beat (in a straight up fight). How do the AI limitations of companions factor into this? Etc.

      "You could possibly make a topic on BioWare's or GoG forums, to gauge interest and get more ideas (I'd happily partake)."

      I'll throw one up on both forums, though I expect to get more of a response from the Bioware forums (and there a really, really annoying troll named Hickory on the GoG forums).

      "I'll think of heaps of stuff when I start mucking around with HotU again, in a couple weeks."

      Fair enough.

      "Anyway, that's my plan for the foreseeable future!"

      Sounds good. Definitely wondeirng what you think of APS since, playing through it last night to make sure I didn't add anything half-finished last time I worked on it, I encountered some stuff I wondered about (not bugs, just sections of the module that I figured either people would love or hate, not sure which). Curious how others receive it.

      Delete
    14. Made a topic on the HotU forums on Bioware's site. We'll see what responses I get.

      Delete
  2. I also missed the quest in the crypts to find the ghost's amulet. Between that and the bouncer quest, I finished at only level 6. I found the final boss mega hard, since I had no defenses against his save or die spell except for Scotti's amulet, and none of my weapons could hurt him except fire arrows.

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