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EdwinP

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  1. I have started on a rather simple module that aims to give players real choices. Currently I am working on building the maps and testing the transitions links between them. Most exterior area maps are linked and the player is free to explore them in any combination. Map 1. Road to Wheaton. This map has an inn whose owners are desperatley seeking their missing son (the map also has a cave where the missing boy can be found, and a cave that is the lair of wolves) and a bandit that encourages the player to attack the innkeepers and take their gold (a Good and an Evil Quest - that provides the player with the opportunity to gain a good or evil follower) has transitions to a another road map that leads to Wheaton, a path to forests where hunters/poachers from the town of Sevieht can be encountered, and a path (Map 7) that leads up mountain gorges to mountain . The cave with the missing boy has tested out good so far, as the player must find the boy while avoiding the roving giant spider. Map 2. Road continues. This map has links to the Grove of the Druids (with a temple for the Druids) and to town of Wheaton. Map 3. Grove of the Druids contains a temple to the Druids. The Druids are helpful towards those that don't harm the animals of the forest (the animals are a fraction and the Druids are friendly to the animals) or cut down its trees. The druids ask for the players help in protecting the adjacent woods from woodcutters and hunters (who are from the Townn of Sevieht). There is a link to Map 2 and the Woods to the South (Map 5). Map 4. Wheaton. The town of Wheaton is a source of intrigue. A spy from the Town of Sevieht atempts to lead the players into taking action against a temple of evil wizards (the Druids). The town has a problem with missing townspeople, taken by Goblins. Their are transitions from this map to Map 2, Map 7 The Path Up the Mountain, and Map 6. the Path to the Old Keep in the Swamp (Modeled after the keep from TOEE) that is inhabited by Bandits. Map 5. Poachers in these woods can be convinced to joined the Players and attack the Temple of the Druids (Map 3). They can also be convinced to abandon the woods. If the players convince the poachers to leave they will find that the Druids are their Friends, and if the player joins with the poachers in attacking the Druidic Temple they can setup a bandit camp in alliance with the poachers at the Druidic Temple which will soon be attacked by goblins. Personally, I would rather be defending the Temple alongside the brave Druids than Cowardly poachers. It will be a really different battle depending on who the player is aligned with. Map 7. Map 7 is a map of narrow twisting and turning gorges populated by Goblins, where goblins attack from ledges above the player. It leads to the Front entrance to the Black Castle, recently taken over by Priests of Orcus who are paying for Captive villagers whom they turn into the undead. This map also contains the entrance to the Goblin lair, and within the lair is a secret tunnel that leads to the Dungeons of Black Castle. Thus players have several ways to approach the castle - from the Front (the dangerous way) or by taking the Tunnel to the Castle's Basement. There is also a third way, approaching the castle from the rear and getting past the sleeping dragon - if they clear out the bandits from the abandoned keep. That's a quick summary of my project's plans thus far.
  2. If the PC is a Wizard or Cleric he can cast a spell to know Eleven, of if a thief he may be able to use a speak languages scroll (that also allows one to read languages). But getting back to the issue of languages, knowing a languages is kinda like your race check, as Elves automatically know Common and Elven and if you know Elven you have a greater chance to gain the favor of an Elven NPC, than does someone who does not know Elvish or their customs. Why? I assume that if you know how to speak Elven, you are also familiar with their customs - i.e. no penalty to diplomacy checks. I see languages as really a indicator of whether your character gains a bonus in relating to other races that speak a different language. I have started work on a NWN2 campaign where characters (via tokens) that take the time to learn another language can gain access to quests and information that would normally be available only to those of a specific race. Since there is no language skill point, I have them pay (via gold or a quest) to learn another language. Languages is a tool that can be used to give players more choices with consequences when leveling up or building their party. Do I use a skill point to learn a new language or use it to improve my concentration skill? Learning how to speak Giant (and being better able to intimidate, influence and gather information from giant creatures) might be a wiser choice as it can open up so many more possibilities. Likewise languages can give you a good reason to recruit a Gnome (that also speaks Giant) or an Elf to your party when forming a party of adventurers.
  3. Language Skills are one of the many skills overlooked by most RPG, including TOEE and NWN2. Its a skill that really sets apart the races and could be used to provide a good reason to include an elf or dwarf in your party, and a reason to spend a skill point on learning a language instead of improving another skill. Dwarves speak Dwarven and Common, Elfs speak Elven and Common. In my games if a PC does not speak the native language of the targeted creatue he suffers a -5 penalty to charisma based checks. That means that although a human and dwarf may both speak common, the human will have a better chance of influcing the dwarve's actions if he too speaks Dwarven. Likewise you have a better chance of intimidating a giant that knows common, if you speak giant also. Random Rumors are another facet of pnp games that are overlooked by most RPG games; though you can program it into NWN. All too often you encounter a NPC and they always know the same thing or nothing. It would make for a much more interesting game if you the NPCs revealed a randomly selected rumor, even if a minor one, instead of getting the same response every time. For example NPC1..NPC5 would know rumors 1 through 8, while NPC6 would know rumors 7 through 10. When you spoke to them you would hear a randomly selected rumor, the one you heard being influenced by your Gather Information (3.5 ed) or Streetwise (4th ed) skill check. If PCs could share the same rumor database the amount of scripting would be reduced. Alas, too often designers focus on the hack and slash and not on chrome that makes for an immersive RPG experince.
  4. Its a lot of different consequences, but together they make for a coherent evil strategy; bring the prirates onto your side, then slay the high priest of Hommlet, and finally attack Hommlet before the forces of good mobilize to attack the Temple of Elemental Evil once more. The first three would be simple to script, the last one would take some work - but imagine the scene, the PCs are in the temple of Elemental Earth when they hear the sounds of battle, rushing out they encounter the forces of Good sweeping through the first lower level of the temple. The evil PCs engage in a series of running battles against the forces of Good that seem to be everywhere as they attempt to flee, no place to rest. They must slay the commander of the forces of good if they want to have a chance at victory. I agree. Perhaps a designer from Obsidian will take these suggestions to heart and give players in the next NWN expansion choices that have substantial consequences and better tactical combat options..
  5. TOEE Combat, Here are links to You Tube Video that demostrates Combat in TOEE: Sample Temple of Elemental Evil Combat Video from YouTube 2nd TOEE Combat Video These videos illustrate the type of combat I would like to see in NWN, good old fashioned tactical combat. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ That said, a major weakness of TOEE was that player decisions had no long term consequences on game play. Example, completing the quests for the Evil Earth Temple did not change the game for the player. Same adventures, same quests, same relations with outsiders. Designers should have re-worked this so that completing the Earth Temple Quests really made you part of their temple and turned other NPCs against your party. By this I mean that players could change their deity to that of the Earth Temple, receive earth temple cloaks, and the Earth Temple priesthood would assign your party unique "big boss" quests that would make this Temple stronger. Quests such as convincing the pirates of Nulb to swear alliegence to the Earth Temple, slaying the high priest of St. Cuthbert in Hommlet, leading an assault on the Hommlet itself, defending the Temple from an attack by the soldiers of Viscount Verbonc or defending the temple from an attack by rival worshippers of the Fire Elemental Temple. These adventures would only be available if the party decided to swear alligence to the Earth Temple and its diety. Likewise, if you attacked the Temple of St. Cuthburt and failed, when you returned there were no extra guards to fight. The designers could have improved the game by adding major consequences to such actions. Such as having the Priest of St. Cuthburt summon assistance from the Town of Verbonc if his temple was attacked or calling on the local Lords (Rufus and Burne). This means that if the PCs attacked the temple a second time that they would face vastly stronger defenders (i.e. there is a cost to running away from a battle and returning latter). Likewise, if the Temple was attack the Keep's defenders would be re-inforced and if the Keep was attacked the temple defenders should be reinforced. (i.e. NPCs response to the world around them). In general, good RPGs should include major consequences to some player actions.
  6. TOEE was too predictable. The same NPCs were always at the Inn, there were never different NPCs visiting Hommlet. TOEE; and other games, could be improved by making town encounter areas less predictable. What if with each visit to the inn there was a chance for a randomly selected NPC(s) to be present, in addition to the inn's standard customers. If I visit an inn I want to be surprised by whom I find there. Perhaps a traveler with news of the world, a visiting thief looking to pick a pocket, a drunken warrior looking for a fight, a band of men with something against halfings, or a merchant looking to hire a few adventurers.
  7. TOEE (and NWN too) also omitted two key skills - jumping and swimming - now rolled into one skill (Athletics) in 4th edition rules. Jumping and swimming allow characters to traverse dangerous obstacles. Imagine characters swimming across a river to avoid a guarded bridge, or leaping across a cravase to access a lever on the far side. To keep the implementation simple I would have liked to see a character that failed its swim check drowns or lose all the inventory and equipment it carries. Imagine swimming a river and in the process losing all of your equipment. That makes for a great adventure tale. As for jumping, a character that fails its jump check lands prone in the middle tile - and if that tile is deadly terrain such a lava or an deep pit the character dies. If its water it must make a swim check else its drowns (fail check by 10 or more) or loses its equipment (fails check by less than 10). Jumping and Swimming would have made adventuring in TOEE more interesting, and made PCs with these skills really different - as they could open up new options for exploration and combat for characters with these skills. Especially if adventures were designed to make use of these skills. Example: at the Town of Nulb in TOEE (a town on stilts above the water) characters causing a major incident can avoid guards massing at the causeway to the shore by taking to the water and swimming to shore. A weakened party that can't swim and can't rest will be forced to face the mobilized pirates and their captain when attempting to flee Nulb via the main entrance to Nulb. This option makes the Athletics skill (jump & swim) important as it options up more strategies to the player and forces them to make hard choices (especially since the more weight you carry the more likely it is that you will fail your swim check) that really impact the game.
  8. I agree with you on the criticism of the story that TOEE was based on. It was a simple dungeon crawl where the NPC's did not respond to your PC's actions nor give you a good reason to venture forth, and NO wandering monsters! It could have been so much better, but Troika mismanaged the project; and admitted so in a post-game post. They are now in the dustbin of history (kaput). I agree that Troika should have included an easy to use editor with the game; however, modders at c08.org have posted how to add new conversations, maps, create new creatures and add new spells, and also spiced up the game a bit. I do think that there is a market for premium content, witness the sales of the expasion packs for NWN and NWN2. The difference is that you would get premium content every month, instead of waiting 6 to 12 months for a new expansion pack. ----------------------------------------------------------------- As for slaying the GIANT Frog; that swallows characters!, and the lizard men, what was more dangerous was the Hag who led the lizard men attack and paralzed your party members. A fireball was most useful in dealing with the threat, if you could manuever your magic user manages to stay out of range of the frog and the attacking lizard men. PS: There was also a giant fish - I forget the name but it had really big teeth - in the swamp north of the frog that guarded a valuable treasure. ------------------------------------------------------------------ Another missing feature of TOEE that could have been easily improved was designing adventures to take note of a creature's size. Give me an a reason to choose a halfling or a gnome PC or fear those small goblins and kobalds. Example - Cavern passages that are only large enough for small characters or creatures to traverse would have made for more interesting combat and player choices - such as choosing a gnome PC or using the reduce person spell. Large PCs must make a frontal attack, however, small PCs can flank the enemy by moving through small tunnels to attack from their their rear and open the porticullus. Golbins can make hit and run attacks from small passages that normal sized characters can't enter. TOEE should have included racial feats - hobbit or gnome - and magical items that could only be used by small creatures. A human should not be able to use a gnomish +3 dagger without penalty. As it was, other than the GNOME or HALFLING being a SMALLER PC, playing with the these races just did not feel different in TOEE. If I choose to play a gnome party I want the chance to rescue other gomes, be rewarded by the gnomish king and fight like a gnome but that was not to be in TOEE. A gnome is not human or half-orc, a gnome is different and playing a gnomish party should feel different with unique advantages (being able to enter small tunnels, unique gnome feats, a diplomacy bonus when talking to other gnomes) and interests that make you really want to include a gnome in your pary.
  9. TOEE had lots of monsters. In that area they did it really well - everything from gelationous cubs to carrion crawlers, giant ants, orcs, hill giants, trolls, giant frogs, giant fish, hags, shreeker mushrooms, giant crabs, etc. The giant frog actually swallowed characters. It was relatively easy for the modding community to create new ones and enlarge or shrink existing ones. That said, it was never updated. I would have liked to seen a subscription option - say $10 a month for a year that would have provided the TOEE subscriber with new content monthly; a. New Monsters! b. New Spells and Feats c. New Classes and Races d. New Maps for modders to use (TOEE did not use a title set like NWN) e. New Adventures using the new maps f. New NPCs and Quests added to the existing campaign. g. Enhanced NPCs and encounters for existing maps and adventures For example, the December subscriber update would update the campaign with 4 new monsters, 4 new feats, 4 new spells, 1 new player race or 1 new prestige class, a new adventure area, new NPCS and encounters added to added to existing adventure maps and 1 world changing decision event. Playing the game again could be a dramatically new experience with new options to explore. New Adventure Area Example - 1) Exterior Mountain and 2) Interior Dragon Lair where a huge Red Dragon (24HD, new Huge Monster) resides). New NPC Encounter - 1) In Hommlet players see the dragon attack the village and burn down a house before flying off to its lair and they are asked by the Baron to seek out and slay the Dragon or 2) if evil the players are asked to stop a party of adventurers on a quest to slay the Dragon. New Feats - Dragon Fighter (+1 Attack Bonus vs Dragons), Dragon Slayer (+1d6 dam vs dragons), Dragon Dodge (+2 AC bonus vs Dragon Attacks), New Spells - Blind Dragon (powerful spell targets dragons). From a business perspective it would take a staff of 5 people to turn out this monthly update - Project Manager, Computer Graphics Artist, Programmer, Adventure Writer and a Tester given the limited scope of each monthly update. The developer could even run contests with the best player mod being included in an official update. It would require at about 4200 subscribers to break even. With 20,000 subscribers it would be making a profit of about $1.9 million USD a year. If it reached 40,000 subscribers the profit would be 4.3 million. That's pretty good for a staff of 5 people (about $800K in sales per employee).
  10. I think that Atari could quickly turn around a really good D&D game by building on the ToEE engine and having the developer make the world more immersive, less predictable and more responsive to the player party's actions. Such a game would be for players that are more interested in turn-based combat as opposed to the NWN style combat.
  11. Another feature missing from TOEE was World Changing Events, something that you can create in NWN2! A world changing event is where the player's choices dramatically change the game map in a dramatic way. Let me give you an example in NWN2 Terms; Example 1: A player visits a village and is told of an advancing goblin horde. The player can decide to remain and defeat the attacking orcish army OR leave the area and abandon the villagers to face the horde alone. Choice 01 - If the player stays and defeats the horde (i.e. Quest completed) any time they return to this destination they are sent to area 43 where they are welcomed as heroes by the villagers, can converse with its resident NPCs and encounter the presence of a new temple. Choice 02 - If the Player leaves the map without defeating the Orcish Horde (Quest not completed) whenever they return to this destination they are sent to area 44 and find the burned ruins of the village. All the villagers have been slain. The shops are gone, NPCs are killed, the temple in ruins and the Orcish Ruler they will face later in the game's in the big boss encounter is stronger, having secured a magical sword hidden in the Village Temple! This is a World Changing Event. The player's actions will save the village OR cause its destruction and strengthen the big boss enemy! The player's actions determine the path of the campaign - in this case it can make the final big boss encounter much harder and deterimine which area map (43 - the village with a new temple or 44 - the village in ruins) they visit when going to the Village. Example 2: Now lets give another World Changing Event that was scripted for a TOEE mod; In the standard TOEE game players would visit the Delko Woods and slay the giants spiders or not. Their decision did not impact the flow of the campaign. Now here's the same encounter changed to become a World Changing Event; A. Delko Woods starts with 2 giant spiders. If the players slay them the woods are safe for all time; however, B. If the Players do not slay them the spiders triple in number at a specified date. Once more, if the players return to slay them then the woods are safe for all time; however, if the players still avoid the woods and do not slay the spiders then, C. When they return to the village of Homlet as of date X they find the village overrun by giant spiders, Drow clerics in the Temple of St. Cuthbert and many of the buildings encased in webbing. That's a World Changing Event. Slay the Spiders early in the game and they will not multiply to threaten Hommlet in the future. Fail to slay the spiders and Hommlet is overrun by giant spiders at a later date. Example 3: Castle Conspiracy In the original TOEE uncovering and stopping the conspiracy to stop the construction of the castle did not affect the adventure path. However, what if stopping the conspiracy caused a castle to arise on the map with new PCs and new quests! Thats a game changing event that dramatically alters the player's world without affecting the primary campaign path. In these examples world changing events don't alter the primary adventure path line but they do dramatically change the world in which the story unfolds based on the player's actions or inactions. Example 4: For a NWN2 scripted Quest! A evil quest is assigned - slay the cleric of a Temple. While the quest is not completed any area transition to the temple area encounters a temple defended by good clerics and paladins. Once the quest is completed any area transition to the temple bring the PCs to a defiled temple and overun by followers of an evil deity. PS: In the NWN2 Forum - Scripting Tools there is a post titled: Script Area Transition Target Based on Quest Status.
  12. Thanks for the heads up, I overlooked this. (PS: A lawful good cleric can select the Good and Evil domains!)
  13. Since this thread is for the best of TOEE vs NWN here are a few more thoughts; TOEE handled Clerics better than NWN. 1. Your choice of alignment restricted the diety that you could select. 2. Your choice of deity affected which domains that you could select and your favored weapon. 3. You could be become fallen in TOEE! and lose you powers until you atoned for your deeds. TOEE also fell short in several areas when dealing with Clerics; 1. You could slay all the villagers of Hommlet and still atone for your crimes from a good priest. I would liked to have seen a system where evil clerics had to seek out an evil cleric to atone for evil deeds and good priests a good cleric if they wanted to return to the grace of their deity - and if you were really evil a good cleric would not offer you atonement unless you paid a heavy bargin - i.e. giving all of your magical items and wealth to the church. Likewise, if you were an evil cleric with a saintly reputation an evil high priest would deny you assistance. 2. Acts which made you a fallen cleric or paladin were scripted, not dependent upon your deity and few in number. I would really like to have seen a cleric of a dwarven cleric become fallen if he decided not to heal a fellow dwarf (as opposed to an elf) or a Cleric of the Deity of Truth become fallen if he answers a question falsely. 3. Becoming fallen was too predictable. A chance to become fallen based on reputation or your acts - i.e. 5% per level would have been prefered. Then a player would not know exactly when his deity would notice that he strayed from the path, but would know that as he gained levels his deity would pay more attention to his acts. 4. TOEE also had only one temple accessible for PCs - the temple of St. Cuthbert. The game really needed at least 3; for good, evil and neutral clerics, each with their own map, atmosphere, clerics, defenders, quests and personality. Good NPCs should not be able to get assistance from an Evil Temple nor should Evil PCs get assistance from the clerics of a Good Temple.
  14. Re: Overland Map, Storm of Zahir and TOEE both had an overland map and wilderness encounters. The problem with both games was that these encounters were too predictable and always occured on the same map and were basically the same type of enconter; Monster Attacks, I Kill Monster. Both games could have been improved with; a. Random Encounter Maps a1. Maps that really force you to explore the area - the exit tile is not always in front of you. a2. Maps with raging rivers, bridges that must be crossed to contine your journey, etc. a3. Maps where one side or the other has a natural advantage - such as attacking from the high ground a4. More choices of how to leave the map - by going forward or back. a5. Map with an abandoned keep from which you can mount defense against overwhelming odds. a6. Maps where the encounter occurs at night, with the darkness limiting your field of vision unless a light spell is cast or a torch lit. b. Random Type of Encounters; b1. You meet a party of travelers that may or maynot be hostile. b2. The encounter occurs at varying distances and from different directions - not always from the front, sometimes from both the front and back, sometimes from the side of a road, etc. b3. The encounter occurs in a storm that reduces your ability to use ranged weapons b4. Ambush in which your party is surrounded and must move quickly to more defensible terrain b5. Unbalanced Encounters from which retreat may be the better part of valor. b6. Ecounters where you come to the aid of NPCs. In Storm of Zahir if you see Troops battling spiders in the Wilderness you can't come to their aid. I would really like to be able to ride in to assist them and be reward with gold or fame. b7. Wilderness encounters based on your actions elsewhere in the game.
  15. Just purchased Storm of Zahir, and it got me thinking of what I like in an RPG. First, I really like the flexibility and immersive qualities of the NWN2 engine, and its get better with each expansion. You can design a game world that can be as detailed and interactive as you want. Second, I really liked the tactical combat aspect of Atari's Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil game. For those who haven't played it, in TOEE during the combat phase movement control was a simple Me Go, You Go system with control passing back and forth based between the characters and monsters based on initiative. Combat in TOEE was really tactical with your decisions as to how to manuever and use each of your your party's characters abilities made for really enjoyable combat. For me a perfect RPG would combine the atmosphere and customizable qualities of NWN2 with the MGUG tactical combat engine of TOEE.
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