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About Azmodan

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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Philosophy, History, RPGs (pen and paper and computer), boardgames, books: Silmarillion, Song of Ice and Fire, Dune, tv shows etc.


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  1. Had anyone else noted preconceptions in some posters' comments in regard to PoE specifically being a re-implementation of a favoured D&D edition? AD&D was great, especially for Campaign Settings, but rule-wise 3E with some tightened rules from 3.5 was far more accessible, without loss of intricacy. But I don't expect either of these in PoE. If PoE is closer to the GURPS mechanics (like Fallout), I wouldn't see that as a problem, as long as the Campaign Setting is fully fleshed out. Tweaking and re-adjusting class roles and the fight dynamic can happen in Alpha. So what's the point of disliking in advance something you haven't played yet? I hope Obsidian takes everything they read on the forums with a serving of salt (a grain is not enough), and just build the game as they originally envisioned it. I suspect design by committee will average out originality into blandness. Thank you, Josh, for the updates!
  2. *chuckle* Imagine dwarves talkin' strine - Crickey! I'm a croc'dile hunna' ... Now git me some ale! Emma chisit? And the Dwarves will be named: "Shezza (Sheredgruin), Bazza (Barragor) and Mik (Mikkelgrumm)", sporting mullets, wearing wife-beaters (sleeveless shirts), shorts and thongs (flip-flops). The cantankerous distrust towards outsiders (a staple of Dwarfdom everywhere), will oscillate, following a few pints, towards a generous "she'll be right, mate" attitude.
  3. Hi Achilles, an excellent grammatical point you made Boreal as related to climate is very particular understanding. There is no "Austral climate" (Austral being antonymous to Boreal) that is used for the same thing but for landmasses in the south or by people living on those landmasses. The reason for this is because, should you refer to a map of Boreal climate ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subarctic_climate ) you will note that this climate is peculiar to the Northern Hemisphere. Not due to a language barrier, but because habitable territory and weather patterns in the Southern Hemisphere are nothing like Northern Hemisphere. There may be "Boreal Dwarves" in PoE, if the location of the landmass they occupy, is located at a Southern latitude analogous to 50° to 70°N (i.e. 50° to 70°South), and the area of the landmass is comparable to Canada/Northern Europe/Siberia and characterised by coniferous forests, tundra, short cool summers (with flowering plants), long and cold winters and mass animal migrations. A "Boreal Dwarf", to my mind, would culturally be similar to a Lapplander with a dash of the Old Norse to them. But with a greater emphasis on migration in line with herded animals, rather than many large, permanent settlements.
  4. IndiraLightfoot said: Well spotted, Hiro! Like KaineParker, I much prefer the 3rd ed of D&D, well for PnP especially, but for CRPGs too, I reckon. But for a CRPG, many of the mechanics we see in the 4th ed do fit very nicely this kind of CRPG system proposed here for PE. Hopefully, the roles won't be as clearcut, though, but I hope for the same char development diversity as well, then. All hail 3E! We are unworthy... I believe it had already been argued to death on WotC forums re:4E being inspired by games such as WoW as well as table-top miniatures, rather than traditional PnP. Frankly, I don't care whether or if Obsidian looks to 4E / Miniatures / WoW / Chess / Pong etc. for inspiration in regard to mechanics. I'll play the alpha and provide feedback and form a final judgement on release. The reason I didn't bother converting to 4E, is not so much due to the alterations in mechanics, but because WotC molested Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting and the Planes with a retarding agent (I don't believe in 3E treatment of Planes either - there is Planescape, all else is heresy). I like what Obsidian is doing with their Campaign Setting (from the little I've seen), so I'm willing to support their experiments until Alpha. And if something doesn't work, I have faith that Obsidian will re-assess and improve prior to release as often as necessary.
  5. Do you mean no healing spells because Recovery will heal Stamina, not HP? I started to think about the distinction between these as the distinction between temporary constitution damage and Hit point damage in DnD. Again I see where they are going with this, and what led them to this. It makes perfect sense in that Hit Points in DnD are problematic. I would argue that what hit points allege to represent is the character's endurance in a fight, rather than truly reflect fleshy, bloody damage inflicted. Just as I tend to think of an "attack" being a series of hits/parries/deflections etc., one or more of which may land a blow. Priests I assume will heal hit points at later levels, but it would be comparable to higher level spells in DnD which restore negative levels etc.
  6. I look forward to an update about Priests and how these compare to Paladins and Clerics in DnD3E. One great thing 3E introduced was spell conversion (Good and Neutral Clerics converted memorised spell to equal-level Cure spells, Evil to Wounds), which encouraged the creation of more militant Clerics. As for using quasi-WoW jargon to describe the relative combat role of a given class, I'd attribute this to the fact that WoW is a source of colloquialisms. I don't read into it beyond that. I'd expect an RTS developer similarly use terms like zergrush and turtling in relation to issuing a short, "conceptual" teaser. Lastly - in regard to anyone complaining re: specifics (+100% damage etc.) or the lack of these.... Alpha testing will determine the values.
  7. No it doesn't. Yes it does, Stun. Monsters respawn in BG1 wilderness areas. Re update #7 and Tim Cain - and I fully support what he said. And if you want to grind for lewtz, go for it. But you already said: it will be disadvantageous. And re: everything else - if an encounter is set in such a way where the player has to do something different, then its an objective/accomplishment/whatever yada yada ... revisiting examples / comments made 3-4 pages back. Because this thread is beggining to become exhausting, A SOLUTION: Tim Cain said accomplishments, not body count: - Killing random enemies will not give XP, in line with Tim's strategy, BUT will increment a counter - So everyone's favourite nameless bandits, wolves, bugbears, trolls, ogres etc., once dead, and having dropped some creature-appropriate lewtz (definitely not vorpal holy avengers), increment their respective counters - If in a great majority of encounters with the above, the player chose the lethal outcome, as opposed to another solution, the player eventually receives does accomplish something, including how NPCs respond to them: "Hail, mighty Stun Trollkiller, Wolfsbane, Ogre-obliterator, Beheader of Bugbears and Executioner of thieves! Do you want to look at my store inventory?" In addition, with every accomplishment, a specific NPC, the Ducal Huntmaster, a Guild agent or whatever is appropriate for different monster categories, approaches the player's party and presents them with something in recognition of their work. The various items are appropriately magical with useful effects. Clearly this is all balanced out for those players who didn't choose to murder things, by other appropriate rewards for their investigation in a manner I described in the previous posts. Done.
  8. Hi Stun, You read my responses selectively. I already went into detail re: pen and paper DnD. I played it. I also GMed it. Hamster statues. BG1 also had a level cap. Again - my earliest replies - as soon as mage has fireball can grind wilderness respawns for XP. BG1 has infinite respawns in wilderness locations. So yes. I am using the word appropriately. Already answered your last point re: wishful thinking - lewtz are their own reward. If the encounter is designed to award lewtz only, then that is OK. A well-designed encounter system will add an XP-awarding objective: "neutralise" not "kill". With "kill" being one approach, not THE ONLY approach to resolve it. It is an accomplishment when you move past the mentality of every problem looking like an anvil, when the only tool you locked yourself into using is a hammer.
  9. Hi IndiraLightfoot, , you said: AD&D's "flat" xp rewards didn't encourage grinding random encounters (that would be bad DM-ing). Yes it would. Welcome to wilderness encounters in BG1, where wolves, bears, ogrillions, gibberlings etc respawned ad nauseum. For XPs! These encounters in BG were hand placed in that these monsters were spawning at particular spots on the map. We have evolved past that design. I use the word objective in place of accomplishment, my bad. The accomplishment is to resolve the encounter. Approach 1: You meet 3 trolls, ponies and shorties. You lay waste to the whole lot with fireballs. You should still get XP for completing the encounter (the XP is for killing the trolls only). Later, you find yourself ambushed by a wizard who seems upset with you for indeterminate reasons. Credits roll. Approach 2: You sneak up on the 3 trolls and overhear them arguing whether and how to kill and eat the shorties, you decide to kill the trolls without raining fire and brimstone indiscriminantly. As soon as you are exposed to the shorties (they spot you), they scream for help. Whether you like it or not, that's an objective added to your log. You get XP for clearing the encounter (again from trolls), you also get +Reputation with short people everywhere. If you also managed to save their ponies (because if the combat starts to take too long, the trolls start using ponies as clubs or throw them at you), you might get a small amount of bonus XP. At the end of your encounter a wizard arrives and thanks you. Approach 3: Your party is a bunch of bastards. Your mage/druid/evil ranger whatever, convinces the trolls that there is in fact a correct way to prepare short people, and expertly lies by pointing out a particularly deadly plant. Grateful trolls award your party some poky-things that have been lying around in their hole. Your party moves on, content to know that the trolls will be poisoned on deaded shorties. In the neighbouring town, a distraught-looking wizard asks you whether you're interested in clearing a dragon out of a mountain. Phat lewtz are promised. Any encounter with a "wandering enemy" can and should be explored by the developer / level designer as an opportunity to have fun with the scripting engine. Because having only a single option: "fight to the death" is railroading in a roleplaying game.
  10. Hi Silent Winter, you are correct - I believe that XP for killing should be awarded, when it is in context. Killing without context needs alternative rewards - e.g. lewtz lolololololetc. The best way to look at any encounter that prompts the player to "kill", is to substitute the word with "neutralise". XP thereafter is allocated on the challenge rating of the encounter. Bandit encounters I already dealt with ~3 pages back. I don't see how any of the above negates the appearance of bandit encounters in PoE, random wandering Ogres etc. In PnP, even when exploring the wilderness, players usually have an objective. I haven't had a single session as a GM or a player, where the players ploughed on through random wilderness in a northerly direction for days, "just because". I hope that PoE does contain wilderness areas like BG1 did, with nothing but wild animals and a wondering Ogre... But if I have a druid or ranger in my party, I want an option in addition to "kill". What Stun does not appear to understand at the core, is that ADnD gave flat XP rewards and these encourage random encounter / wilderness encounter grinding (i.e. where mobs respawn, such as wilderness areas in BG1). Creating an infinite XP pool to harvest will unbalance game progression, making encounter design and staging less predictable.
  11. Stun, you said: Nonsense. When exploring the wilderness, encountering a pack of the wilderness' inhabitants IS the story. Or an element of it. Why do you think Bioware put a bunch of named-bandit encounters in BG1's wilderness areas? And this goes back to my argument that at what level are wandering monster encounters meaningless? i.e. In BG, you could go back as a high-level party (7 or 8 average) and re-harvest kills against wolves. Because that is the 2nd edition ruleset. In 3rd edition - the XP is no longer at a flat rate, but is relative to your party. I'm fine with the objective based approach, because it encourages the level designer to be more thorough in creating encounters and scripting additional approaches. A world that aims to be "realistic" is not Diablo - with a never-ending horde of monsters dropping lewtz. The example of your party exploring the wilderness for exploration sake: 1) In a neighbouring village, the party meets a forester who informs of sighting of Ogres and other monsters and wild animals that have not been seen in a generation, at a nearby logging camp, thus placing the map marker for a new exploration node on your party's world map (you gain your initial objectives: uncommon monsters are on the prowl - resolve and secure area around logging camp) 2) When your party travels to the world map, they might have the following options: a) Wander around until they encounter an enemy (BG approach) b) The ranger or druid discovers animal tracks which reveal that the creatures making these are somehow "suspicious" c) The druid speaks to an animal which is concerned that the new arrivals are somehow unnatural 3) The party tracks down an enemy: a) the enemy in this wilderness encounter are agitated wolves, the ranger or druid decide to calm the animals down (create additional objectives) b) the enemy is a group of Ogres and they cannot be reasoned with. After defeating them, a skill or talent check reveals that they have been acting on the orders of an Ogre Mage (create additional objectives) 4) The party having found the location of the Ogre Mage defeat him AND/OR 5) The party do not find any evidence of anything unusual 6) The forester is informed 7) If the party did not find foul play, the forester and villagers return to logging, a week later, they all get slaughtered. Party receives news of this and return to the wilderness area where they now encounter and defeat the Ogre Mage. There are still XP rewards, its just how much XP is awarded, depends on whether your party simply killed some monsters, or went further and took an investigative approach. My point, and the point of the people who argue in favour of PoE's advised approach, is that Obsidian will try to flesh out all encounters to be more than mere kill-grinding. Because while this was possible and tedious in BG, it could be abused (as soon as your mage got fireball at level 5, nothing stopped your party from revisiting areas for the express purpose of fireballing randomly spawned monster groups for XP).
  12. Liked your post, but I just want to point out, I dislike the B option as a bonus versus the A option, which is a good sub-objective. Ensuring no civilian deaths means if one of your civs ends up dying, you'd be prone to reload the game and try again (bad). Meanwhile option B simply requires you to find the prisoners; either you find them or you don't, there is no reloading over it. I realize you were just using it as an example, but I wanted to point out that I'm hoping such objectives like A are limited or don't exist in the game. Maybe the story changes because not all of the civilians survived, but you should not be penalized experience for it happening (I consider not getting an XP bonus a kind of penalty in a way). Thank you, Sir Chaox. That's an example to illustrate the point. I also don't like missions of the type where the random positioning of NPCs detrimentally affects your mission. Also don't like escort missions where the NPC is liable to get killed by an AoE effect. Those are artificially frustrating challenges. In the specific example above, the exact amount of XP reward would be game-balanced and there ought to be means to ensure civilian casualties are avoided through meaningful tasks and scripting. E.g. game-balanced (out of 20 civilians, ensure no more than 3 are lost, Steam achievement: None are Lost!), or scripting: sneaking into the kitchens and talking to the cook will ensure that 10 civilians quietly evacuate somewhere safe before things get messy. According to the communicated vision for PoE - I would not expect a "avoid civilian casualties" objective to carry an XP bonus. I would expect it to have a reputation effect. Objective is to storm the stronghold and neutralise the leader. How you accomplish that, is up to you as a player. However if you end up killing civilians, your reputation will suffer and the cleric of the God of Mercy will no longer trade with you. But perhaps the militant and sadistic leader of the mercenaries in the region, took note of your actions, and the next time you run into his thugs, they'll recall that and avoid combat (as you're a hard one to cross).
  13. Hi Stun, The answer is "B". And it is "literally no different", because you just gave a really simplistic example, and then demolished it. This is called a strawman arguement. Why is your example insufficient? Because in GM terms what you described is an enemy encounter in the wilderness. These encounters serve no storytelling purpose beyond presenting a party with an immediate and unimaginative (lazy?) task. "Kill some ogres". I GM for a party of 12-14 level players, and I happily follow the rules - so if they are travelling through the wilderness, I roll their encounters. What challenge does a band of 8 highwaymen present to a party of 12th level players? None. The rules-driven XP reward would be approaching 0 due to level disparity. The party mage could vaporise them with a fireball, without bothering me to roll their initiative. However my guys roleplay. They make these encounters fun because the party cleric or paladin, undertakes to call a truce and lecture the vagabonds on the merits of repenting their sins. They actively seek to gain experience from me by calling on the ruffians to use their collective intelligence and surrender. Sometimes it works, other times the local merchants receive hamster statues. Either of those approaches yields more XP. Similarly for Orcs, Ogres and Dire Bears - not every conflict resolution needs to be lethal. As a GM, I'd expect the game designers, who also GM and PnP roleplay, to design encounters that simulate the PnP choice. In the oft-cited Cloakwood example of BG, the party should be receiving full XP for resolving the quests, and if the party wants to take additional actions to grab phat lewtz, then on their heads be it. Phat lewtz are their own reward. For a party of rogues and wizard's some tinhead's armour, no matter the plusses, might not be a worthwhile risk. Additionally, a rogue or a mage, I would expect, would seek to resolve the pursuit of treasure with more finesse than a direct, head-on approach. This "finessed approach" is an opportunity for the level designer to have some fun by scripting interesting and memorable encounters. What you are also forgetting, is that ADnD rules (BG etc) have a different experience model to 3E DnD which is CR based. In ADnD, the spider gives a flat XP reward. In 3E DnD, the reward is relative to party level. The killing of a spider by a party of 1st level characters will yield reward (and overcoming the spider in a non lethal way will also yield the same XP reward, with bonuses for inventiveness). But a party of 6th or 8th level characters will not get anything for overcoming a spider. Because they comprehensively overpower this encounter. And now, an example: Your party has to attack a fort, the objectives are: 1) Find way inside the fort - 1000XP 2) Neutralise the Armoury - 500XP 3) Neutralise 2 enemy officers - 500XP 4) Neutralise enemy spell casters - 500XP 5) Neutralise Leader - 1000XP Bonuses: A) Free the prisoners - 250XP B) Ensure no civilian casualties - 1000XP And now I'm going to reveal the source of the XP numbers - that the roughly correspond to how many enemy soldiers / monsters etc. are in the vicinity of the targets. If you, as a player accomplish the above objectives by killing everyone in your path (and wonderously manage to ensure that the head-on assault yields no civilian casualties), you get the full reward. But because I reward accomplishments, not Body Count, I will not dock you 100XP, because you missed out on killing one guard in the toilet on level 2 and 100XP for the patrolling guard in the SE corner of the map that you couldn't spot, nor will I dock you 500XP because the Armoury was liberated by the prisoners you helped escape. Because you know.. they did ALL THE KILLING there. - Incidentally - to get inside the fort, you can barrage the gatehouse with fireballs (the head-on approach), climb the wall, sneak in through the sewers, fly in, teleport in, bribe a guard to get you in etc. etc. If you, as a player accomplish the above objectives by non-lethal means, you also get full rewards. But you might not get quite as much phat lewtz. Then again - if you put all your enemies to sleep and manacled them, as a GM I would concede, that later you can still strip them naked for their goodies.
  14. Hi Stun! 1) Prove it - as soon as the game is in alpha, I'll send you a screenshot 2) Spider venom sacks - in Neverwinter Nights spiders drop them 3) So? -- I just thought that your multiple choice was somewhat poor... had a wiff of the strawman to it. So I remedied what I considered an oversight to include the greatest example of a game developer rewarding accomplishments rather than body count. I'm soooo mega excited about all the stuff in Update #7, #14, #32 and significantly in #39! W00000t :D The only thing I'm missing out on right this second, is a "kirby doing cartwheels" emoticon to convey how awesomely in support of the XP model I am.
  15. 1) no xp for kills in PoE. 2) run away like I said 3) Most people in this thread defending PoE's skill check are saying "Speech>10 = win" is a terrible design. Especially talking your way out of a random encounter. 4) Waste of spells. I'd rather run away. 5) Again waste of spells (see 4) or charm talking is a terrible design (see 3) 6) I'd rather run away and save my money. Hi Hiro! 1) You kill them, the game does a check when you exit the area. Enemies dead = 100% then you get 100% of XP allocation. 2) Sneak away is what I said. That requires skill. And resolves an encounter. Game checks for "alert enemies", if none are present you get your XP. Maybe they are patrolling an area, and you can walk around them or lure them into a house and have your rogue lock them inside. 3) I specifically pointed out reputation that your party gains with various groups in PoE. If the Enemy in this scenario is actually mercenaries working for a criminal faction you are best buddies with, you resolve the encounter. Oh will you look at that?! Reputation is not just another bar to fill! 4) Or maybe there's a merchant that collects little hamster statues made of people. You know... because that's original 5) That's a subjective call - because the outcome desired is to resolve the encounter. Roleplaying, occasionally calls for schools other than Evocation and Conjuration. 6) What if they are faster and stronger than you on this particular occasion? What if "paying off" the mercenaries actually results in a boost to reputation with that faction? What if these mercenaries are actually freedom fighters against a local tyrant, who are waylaying travellers on the roads, playing at Robin Hood, and if you have the reputation of an altruist, making a contribution to them actually not only resolves the encounter but gives you a mini-quest: "Kill the Sheriff of X"?
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