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Common pitfalls of CRPG games to avoid

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Fair shout, PJ. I agree on the Galadriel and Arwen beauty side of things, but then again when your character is written in as being exquisitely beautiful to the point of being almost beyond compare, then your casting is going to be a bit tricky. I would agree that both Haldir and Arwen were played by actors who were quite heavily set. To me it seemed strange that he chose someone as relatively heavily set as Liv Tyler for Arwen, when someone more Elfin, like Winoa Ryder or even Miranda Otto, might have been a better choice.

 

The heavily set Elves in LotR meet their nemeses in The Hobbit, of course, with some of the skinniest and undwarf-like dwarves I have ever clapped eyes upon.

 

My understanding of Tolkein canon is likely to be forever battered beyond repair through the films, to a lesser degree, and hammering the **** out of Lord of the Rings online.

 

The game hammers home the tragedy of the Elves, although whether by design or accident it hammers home that the Elves are more obsessed with moping about their beautifully tragic fate than actually bothering to address it. "My heart cannot sing today..." "The sorrows of the Eldar are undying..." Oh, for the Gods' sake just stop whinging and do something about it! I'm doubtless missing a crucial point about the Elves here, but it seemed to me that most of their problems could've been solved with a little less whining and a bit more breeding.

 

But that's the impression that was offered to me. As an individual, an Elf is magnificent and far more powerful than their Human, Dwarf or Hobbit counterparts. As a race, they've managed to become so much less than the sum of their parts that they're prepared to watch their own race fall whilst doing nothing about it.

 

Again, disclaimer; may have misread inaccurate information and arrived at an inappropriate conclusion.

Edited by Kjaamor
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I haven't played LotRO and don't intend to. I'm pretty sure mopey and whiney isn't what Tolkien intended either. Tragic is hard to pull off well; it's all too easy to turn it into maudlin or unintentionally comic.

 

I'd still like somebody to film the Narn i Hîn Húrin though. Or hell, even the entire freaking Silmarillion from the point of view of Maedhros -- from the rape of the Two Trees and the vow of Fëanor and his sons, to his final crime and suicide after the fall of Melkor. 

 

As to the unearthly beauty, it can be done on film, although IMO it hasn't been done much in these cynical times we live in. I won't name any films because they're personally very meaningful to me and I don't want to have them shredded here as someone surely would, tastes and the Internet being what they are.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I wouldn't mind them them dividing up the Simarillion and grinding some films out of it, but I'd be coming at it from camp "Make a good Movie". I watched both Hobbits at the cinema and AUJ was, whilst closer to the novel, a dreadful film, while DoS looks at the canon, takes a **** on it and then walks off and makes what is unquestionably the better movie.

 

I appreciate that others may feel very differently about this.

 

As for LotRO, I would encourage you to stay away from it because it is an MMO rather than because it particularly bastardises the canon. It's set in something of an alternative universe anyway, but it was very nice to explore some of the locations within the world. More often than not, it pulls them off better than the films.

 

Anyway, something of an aside to the on-topic discussion, so I'll leave it there.

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Funny, I strongly preferred AUJ to DoS, but not for those reasons. I thought DoS was overcooked. I would've enjoyed it more if they had cut most of the action sequences and left only the highlights; as it is, what should have been climactic scenes just got lost in the general jumble of it. AUJ had more quiet moments which made the actiony bits stand out more and ultimately have more impact.

 

Don't worry about LotRO, I haven't ever played an MMO and have no intention of starting.


I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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I'm getting into the matter of willfull thread derailment here, but I can't resist chiming in on those two movies a bit more.

 

My two biggest issues with AUJ were its tone and its peril.

 

The tone of AUJ was all over the place. On one hand it was based upon what is a book for young children, and dragged though scenes from the books that were evidently designed for children - The Trolls, Goblin King and, to an extent, Gollum. On the other hand, it was a film sequel to LotR - which contained a fair amount of violence even at the time - so you have all this fairly extensive violence. Especially after LotR, to have that troll scene - immediately identifiable as it may be - you need to either make that a bit more edgy somehow or accept that the decapitations in the surrounding scenes are going to appear a touch incongruous. It doesn't help that the cave Trolls in LotR are frightening, brutal things, so regardless of the canon the Mountain Trolls seasoning dwarves is going to look a bit ridiculous in comparison.

 

My other issue with AUJ was the way the peril in action sequence existed like some bizarre basketball match. Now we're in peril from a thing. Now we're winning against the thing. Now we're in peril against the thing. Now we're winning. There didn't seem to be any change in circumstances within, just completely arbitrary action. There were so many occasions where the group were up against insurmountable odds and solved the problem by deciding that they would be insurmountable instead.

 

By comparison, DoS/The Legolas Show, decides from the off that it is content to pay the merest lip service to the Hobbit and basically acts like it's the fourth LotR film. The light relief is there, but it doesn't water down the threats within. The peril, even if it is frequent, modern (in the negative sense) and at times a bit silly, at least follows a basic cause and effect. The dwarves are about to be hunted and eaten by Beorn until they manage to barricade themselves in his house. The dwarves are struggling against the spiders until elf-face turns up and turns the tide. The dwarves are caught by the elves until the Orcs show up and all hell breaks loose. The film was able to immerse me because the characters behaviour was, to a great extent, consistent with the rules of the world that the film had created.

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My problem with the Tolkien elves is that they are too perfect. Humans are always late on the scene, short-lived, unwise but quick to learn. Elves are long lived, ancient, wise, playful, beautiful, and masters at everything...

 

yawn.

 

...yet they're the ultimate failures. They see all their works come to naught, and they themselves are doomed to fade away. That's kind of the point.

 

This is a pretty standard trope with them these days, too, and I think the Forgotten Realms perhaps goes the farthest to incorporate a similar theme, with the Retreat. The Altmer in TES suffer from this as well, although they are far more hellbent on the "do something about it" part, and it remains to be seen where they are headed; the MMO certainly didn't capture them all that well. What I do like about the LOTR elves (and Altmer) is their basis on what are, more or less, angelic beings. They also mirror many of the flaws (and virtues) of these beings. I guess I see Gromnir's point with regard to "perfection" making them ill-suited to being a playable race, however I still enjoy seeing them as superior in some significant aspects, with some concomitant flaws. I just loathe the "fated to vanish and die" theme. I'd rather see them as more embedded in the world, and eager to prosper within it. Longevity may change one's perspective but it is all too common to see RPGs translate this into an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. Mind, dwarves are often painted with the same flaw, but the "fated to vanish" theme is often omitted, with the notable exception of the Dwemer, who are dwarves in name alone.

 

Personally, I like the notion of giving the race a "higher" caste of ancestors, and making the playable ones a bit more "down to earth" or at least invested in and capable of prolonging their presence on the homeworld, leaving it open to the writer if they wish to use the former as a tragic tale of extinction. 

 

I think, in spite of its flaws, WC managed to do a pretty decent job with re-energising the race. Particularly with the Scourge attack on the sin'dorei breaking them out of the aeons they spent ensuring they remained hidden from the Legion, becoming one of the most dynamic elf races out there, in terms of how much they do to ensure their survival. They remain one of my favourite renditions of the race, particularly how Blizzard made an effort to exaggerate their visuals. Maybe a single player RPG, like this one, that focuses more on the Fae mythos for the elves would be refreshing. Amalur did try, albeit not with the elves per se. I need to get around to finishing that game at some stage.

 

All this reminds me that I need to re-watch LOTR and see the newest movies at some point, and read the books in the future. I read the Silmarillion when I was 15 but it's all faded into oblivion since then... along with the Earthsea Quartet, Cycle of the Eternal Champion, GoT etc etc... there just isn't enough time in this world. 

Edited by Moragauth

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I think there should just be penalties with bonuses for a race, like they had with Dark Elves subrace in IWD2 for example. It doesn't have to be a leveling penalty, but anything that makes sense based on lore.


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It depends, I don't see an issue with taking the 4th edition approach of purely assigning bonuses. For particularly powerful races, penalties can make sense to keep them balanced. Arcana Evolved had a nice approach to it, making the more advanced racials attainable through levels, a bit like TESO has done.

 

I agree that it doesn't have to be level penalties, I really hate those.

Edited by Moragauth

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Monty Haul Campaigns: too much, too powerful, too common. When your adventuring equipment is significantly more important than your stats, feats, and skills, the creator of the game has FUBARed the campaign.


http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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you know, that is kinda our problem with the numenera rules that torment will use. gear actual becomes mostest important part o' character development, and as far as we can tell, it is intended to be that way.  

 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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you know, that is kinda our problem with the numenera rules that torment will use. gear actual becomes mostest important part o' character development, and as far as we can tell, it is intended to be that way.  

 

 

To be fair, there are lots of tabletop games where your gear matters at least as much as your char's skills (Warhammer 40K immediately jumps to mind) but are none worse for it.


"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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To be honest, sometimes I feel classes have talens and skills just to have something. In many cases rigid classes seems almost..restricting.

 

Call me a heretic, but honestly, I'd rather do away with fixed classes and have skills anyone can learn (where it makes sense) and you can specialize in a class if you fit the requrement.

 

To help you visualize, think of it as having no classes at hte benining (or beingin classes are nothing more than starter skill packages), like in Skyrim, but if you fit specific requirements you can specilize, kinda like prestige classes. THEN you get special, unique powers/feats)

Seriously. This needs to be force fed to developers. We players hate it. Its limitting most of the time.


Obsidian wrote:
 

​"those scummy backers, we're going to screw them over by giving them their game on the release date. That'll show those bastards!" 

 

 

 Now we know what's going on...

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you know, that is kinda our problem with the numenera rules that torment will use. gear actual becomes mostest important part o' character development, and as far as we can tell, it is intended to be that way.  

 

 

To be fair, there are lots of tabletop games where your gear matters at least as much as your char's skills (Warhammer 40K immediately jumps to mind) but are none worse for it.

 

am only having some very limited experience with dark heresy rules for 40k.  warhammer (40k and other) has always been a tabletop strategy game for us as 'posed to genuine rpg, and am largely ignorant. dark heresy had something like ten total abilities similar to d&d attributes/abilities (strength, charisma, etc.) but two such abilities were actual ranged and melee skills, yes?  choose career path (class) and customize as you level.  dunno. seemed better than old skool d&d, that is for sure.

 

now oldy d&d were pretty terrible. thankfully d&d improved, but we know there is loads o' ad&d fans 'round. choose race, class, kit and roll dice for attributes. for most players using old core ad&d, that is the end o' meaningful character development choices. base stats were extreme important at lower levels, but became increasingly marginal as you level'd. d&d moved away from that.

 

admittedly numenera is not like ad&d as the customization of your gears is far more robust in monte cook's game. is not simple a matter o' finding a keen bauble and using til you find a better bauble. that being said, Gromnir is less a fan o' systems wherein character abilities and skills just don't matter much. 

 

HA! Good Fun!


"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Seriously. This needs to be force fed to developers. We players hate it. Its limitting most of the time.

 

Some players hate it, Azmodiuz. There are many of us who enjoy the limits the classless system imposes. Indeed, classless systems seem so rampant in modern western crpgs that large numbers of players have started kickstarting retro-style games with class systems.

 

As to Trashman's post, anyone who would drag PoE away from the IE games and towards Skyrim really can't complain when people call heresy.

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Some players hate it, Azmodiuz. There are many of us who enjoy the limits the classless system imposes. Indeed, classless systems seem so rampant in modern western crpgs that large numbers of players have started kickstarting retro-style games with class systems.

 

 

 

As to Trashman's post, anyone who would drag PoE away from the IE games and towards Skyrim really can't complain when people call heresy.

 

 

Yep, we have enough classless games. This one was kickstarted as something that is a spiritual successor to BG/IWD/IE games. You want a classless game? You backed the wrong project.

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Some players hate it, Azmodiuz. There are many of us who enjoy the limits the classless system imposes.

 

It's fairly obvious, but that was a typo and should read: "There are many of us who enjoy the limits the class system imposes".

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My problem with the Tolkien elves is that they are too perfect. Humans are always late on the scene, short-lived, unwise but quick to learn. Elves are long lived, ancient, wise, playful, beautiful, and masters at everything...

 

yawn.

 

...yet they're the ultimate failures. They see all their works come to naught, and they themselves are doomed to fade away. That's kind of the point.

 

 

Which begs the question, who is the perfect one.

 

I know some people deslike Tolkien-like elves because they appear like Mary Sues - but if it's always the humans who triumph in the end, who is the real Sue?

 

Either way, you'll never write a fantasy setting that will make everyone happy. Elves and humans will either be too good, or too bad (off).

 

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Fair shout, PJ. I agree on the Galadriel and Arwen beauty side of things, but then again when your character is written in as being exquisitely beautiful to the point of being almost beyond compare, then your casting is going to be a bit tricky. I would agree that both Haldir and Arwen were played by actors who were quite heavily set. To me it seemed strange that he chose someone as relatively heavily set as Liv Tyler for Arwen, when someone more Elfin, like Winoa Ryder or even Miranda Otto, might have been a better choice.

 

The heavily set Elves in LotR meet their nemeses in The Hobbit, of course, with some of the skinniest and undwarf-like dwarves I have ever clapped eyes upon.

 

My understanding of Tolkein canon is likely to be forever battered beyond repair through the films, to a lesser degree, and hammering the **** out of Lord of the Rings online.

 

Elves are supposed to be anorexic?

 

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* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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Seriously. This needs to be force fed to developers. We players hate it. Its limitting most of the time.

 

Some players hate it, Azmodiuz. There are many of us who enjoy the limits the classless system imposes. Indeed, classless systems seem so rampant in modern western crpgs that large numbers of players have started kickstarting retro-style games with class systems.

 

As to Trashman's post, anyone who would drag PoE away from the IE games and towards Skyrim really can't complain when people call heresy.

 

 

I LOVE both the IE games AND Skyrim, so call heresy all you want.

 

I'm not against limitations either, as they are necessary. I'm against those that feel arbitrary or are there "just because".

 

I'm for a classless class system. An oxymoron if you will, because you do have classes...but not as limited as before. The limits are more common sense and not imposed.

 

"You want to use a bow? You cannot learn that, you are class X, and class X does not use bows. because reasons!"

 

Skyrim allows you too much - sink enough time and you'll be a master at everything. Even narratively, you'll be holding more titles  and have more feats than the rest of Tamriel combined. You can be a champion of ALL the gods, even those that war and hate eachother. A thane of EVERY hold. Master of ALL the guilds. In just a few months I might add.

The friggin chuck Norris of Tamriel.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

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I LOVE both the IE games AND Skyrim, so call heresy all you want.

I would, but I don't have his number. 8)

 

I'm not against limitations either, as they are necessary. I'm against those that feel arbitrary or are there "just because".

Amen. 

 

I'm for a classless class system. An oxymoron if you will, because you do have classes...but not as limited as before. The limits are more common sense and not imposed.

Kinda like Dark Souls? I like that, too. The premise, at least. Your class choice alters some stuff, but it doesn't really dictate hard limitations. You can pick "Knight," then learn Pyromancy. You're just not going to be as badass of a Pyromancer as if you had started with Pyromancer, etc.

 

Skyrim allows you too much - sink enough time and you'll be a master at everything. Even narratively, you'll be holding more titles  and have more feats than the rest of Tamriel combined. You can be a champion of ALL the gods, even those that war and hate eachother. A thane of EVERY hold. Master of ALL the guilds. In just a few months I might add.

The friggin chuck Norris of Tamriel.

True true. It's funny... you compare it to Fallout 3/NV (almost the exact same engine), and you see the difference not being able to do EVERYthing makes. I mean, granted, you can do a lot in the 3D fallout games, but... I'm just making a point.

 

When you allow someone to do everything, it just becomes a big bucket to fill. Funly, perhaps, but you're still just filling a bucket. "Have you done such-and-such yet?" is a question that crops up a lot. I don't want everything to be a "yet" task. I want to do one thing as opposed to another thing, etc. I don't want to be a Barbarian and somehow become Archmage of the Mages' Guild.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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One thing that bugs me sometimes in RPGs is if they get too linear. I really loved the open quality of Baldur`s Gate and thought it was lost in the sequel and in the Icewind Dale games. Not that they were bad or anything, but you were more restricted as far as exploration went. Where BG had 30-40 more or less optional areas you could explore when you wanted to, or even skip entirely, ID had a series of zones you could only do in one order, with too little side questing and player choice. Some scripting is OK though, just not the entire game.

I also prefer fixed classes to one class with choices as you go. That way the entire game feels different from the start depending on the class you`re playing. I can understand that some people find this too generic, but you can always play the character against his class. Sometimes melee mages can be fun:)The worst way to do it is something like Oblivion, where you`re constantly jumping around for no reason because you`re trying to get your acrobatics skill up or avoiding running because you don`t want your endurance to increase yet. Please just let me roll a rogue with high acrobatics....

As for gear I thought BG had it down while it got a bit much in BGII. Not that variation is bad, but there`s something to be said for weapons feeling unique too. I still remember the club you got from Bassilus, the talking sword you got off the posessed paladin and about 10-15 other weapons from BG 15 years after release. I don`t think I remember any weapon from any of the other IE games. And that was because good magical items were pretty rare.

 

But the main thing is the story and characters I`d say. If that`s good then I can survive a few game play issues. And I see no reason why it shouldn`t be considering who is working on this game. As long as nothing gets rushed I am expecting a classic.

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I've never been keen on the TES mechanics, as far as I am concerned 3.5e has a huge edge over it. However, TESO did do the "classless" system as well as it can be done, IMO. D&D isn't perfect but as far as rulesets go, it is my favourite.

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Classless can work but PoE is meant to be a throwback to the old IE games we know & love and thus classless isn't a good fit here.

 

Regarding classless, I think that TES: Skyrim got it right whereas TES: Oblivion got it wrong. That is to say that in skyrim you couldn't really accidentally level a skill and screw your character over, there was no real detriment to your character if you did. Oblivion required a massive amount of micromanaging that very-much hampered player immersion.

 

I'd also point out that I think Skyrim's system is probably the best system to encourage actual roleplaying. The core reason is that the game isn't really that hard, it is easy to trivialise it by powergaming with enchants thus the focus of the player leans away from what is "best" and towards "what do I want to do...?"

 

What we're getting in PoE sounds somewhat like a hybrid of the 2 ideas. We're getting classes but it sounds like we'll be able to use the class as a base concept rather than a specific path.

 

In AD&D (aka 2nd Edition) and thus also in the original IE games, classes were very definite. If you were a mage you didn't know how to swing a sword and never could. In 3rd edition & 3.5 (IWD2, NWN, NWN2, TOEE) a wizard didn't know how to swing a sword but they could spend a feat and join in the fray (although it was still a summarily bad idea).

 

PoE sounds like it's opening up the game a little further. Character concepts should be much easier to turn into reality in the game engine. This is an impressive feat of game mechanics if they pull it off. It will be to class-based systems what Skyrim is to classless.

 

The other key thing to mention about the class-based vs classless is that of course Skyrim and similar systems has no level cap and eventually you can master every skill, I don't expect this to be the case with a class-based system. I envisage something more like the fallout system whereby you have options when you level up but you can't pick 'em all.

 

The pitfall to avoid with this I guess is for class choice to mean nothing at all.

 

Either way, I can't see that being an issue.


Crit happens

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I've never been keen on the TES mechanics, as far as I am concerned 3.5e has a huge edge over it. However, TESO did do the "classless" system as well as it can be done, IMO. D&D isn't perfect but as far as rulesets go, it is my favourite.

 

I disagree strongly. IMO TESO is a textbook example of how not to do a classless system.

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