I’ve talked a bit in this series about encounter design. The Pit of Moander works well for it’s lack of encounter design. Or, rather, a designed lack of encounters – specifically random encounters.(more…)
After completing Yulash and reaching the entrance to the Pit of Moander (see next blog post), I got to thinking about how to deal with this game’s money problem – in terms of the whole encumbered by cash issue. Aside from not giving cash encumbrance values, that is. And I thought of this based on Yulash, the Pit, and where we’re going to be going to next – Zhentil Keep.(more…)
No, I haven’t forgotten this project.(more…)
When we last left off, through a fit of impulsiveness, I had advanced the party into a cut-scene trigger that routed us to the top of the Wizard’s tower.(more…)
The Cave of the Dracolich is, thus far, the our first really big “exam” dungeon. Lots of random encounters with Drow, who may have some good equipment, but which all disintegrates outside of the dungeon – and I do mean lots of random encounters.(more…)
This week, since we’re probably not getting GenCon this year, I’m going right ahead with the Dragonlance Chronicles, with book two – Dragons of Winter Night(more…)
On leaving Tilverton, Curse of the Azure Bonds finally opens up – sort of. We now have a larger world to travel through, but we’re still somewhat limited by what quest flags are available to trigger.(more…)
When we last left Curse of the Azure Bonds we were set on something of an introductory railroad, as we were given a little time to get some gear in town, before being thrust into a series of combats, followed by a flight to the Thieves Guild after our party discovered that a variety of dark conspiracies had tattooed us with some marks that let them control us.(more…)
So, because I played a lot of Pool of Radiance back in the day, I will admit that I kind of rushed through that game to a degree. Mainly, that was because this was a project where what I really wanted to do was get into uncharted territory, and at long last, I’ve done so, with Curse of the Azure Bonds.(more…)
We now, at last, come to the largest and final area of the game – Valjevo Castle, the home of Tyranthraxus.(more…)
The Koval Mansion isn’t the last City Hex we have to go – Stojenow Gate and Valjevo Castle still remain. However, it is the last city hex we have a quest for – and indeed there are no official quests for those areas, so theoretically we can just push through right now. But, first, let’s get this last city hex.(more…)
These two city hexes are effectively linked, in the sense that one cannot be cleared without the other, and both are light on fixed encounters, so I’m covering them here in one combined post.(more…)
The Valhaigen Graveyard is probably one of the more frustrating parts of the game thus far, and definitely, one that I probably could not have beaten had I not been using the Gold Box Companion software. It’s also one where I’m probably going to misspell the name of the area repeatedly as I make my way through the article.(more…)
This time I’m getting into something slightly different. I ordered a copy of the tabletop RPG adaptation of Pool of Radiance, titled Ruins of Adventure, and while I’m getting through the next chunk of the game, I figure this is a good time to talk about that.(more…)
I’m still not particularly able to pick the locks (or force the door) to Mendor’s Library, so when it comes to the main body of the city, this means we’re moving on to the Cadorna Textile House quest.(more…)
After clearing Podol Plaza, I tried to get into Mendor’s Library again, only to not be able to get in due to failing my open lock and break down door checks. So, to grind up further, I decided to go take care of clearing Podol Plaza, and dealing with some of the remaining fixed encounters there and in Kuto’s Well, to grind some additional XP. While I’m doing this, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I’m playing this game.(more…)
Once Sokal Keep has been cleared, now you’ve gotten the attention of the government of New Phlan – as the room behind the counselor opens up, and Junior Counselor Cadorna asks to meet with you. Cadorna is one of the few NPCs in the game with a truly unique character portrait – one that wasn’t created with the portrait system that you would have used to create your party when you started the game.
Cadorna’s family has roots to Phlan long before it fell – and he’s got a job for the PCs – retrieve some treasure the family stashed before they had to flee. However, the Textile House – where the goods were stashed – is in the corner of town between Podol Plaza and Mendor’s Library, so that quest will have to wait until after either of those two quests.
However, in order to get to either of those quest locations, you’ll have to go through the city hex of Kuto’s Well.
This is the first hex we’ve entered thus far that doesn’t actually have a story hex attached to it – but in order to clear the town, we have to clear this area, though the party only gets the normal “Hex Clear” reward for doing that. Still, that’s generally enough motivation for the player to clear this hex.
By taking on this hex, the player is introduced to a few new concepts. For starters, this is the first multi-layer dungeon the player has faced in the game thus far. Every other hex has been a single part of town – so there’s that.
Second is traps. Several squares in the catacombs (until you take out the bandit leader – Norris the Grey) will result on you getting shot at if you pass through them – and you’ll have to pass through at least one of them to reach Norris – who can show up at multiple places (and will appear t whichever of those places you get to first.
I have mixed thoughts on this. On the one hand, I wish that if you were actively searching and had a thief in your party, you could have a chance to completely evade the ambush. Alternatively, if you weren’t evading the ambush by random chance, I would like the idea of placing the ambushes in locations where the party could maneuver around them, with the thief having a chance to spot what squares contained the ambushes. That would provide a way, in the context of this video game, to emulate how in a tabletop session the Thief’s powers of observation can permit them to get the drop on an enemy or to evade an ambush or patrol.
That said, the fight with Norris himself and his men isn’t too hard of an encounter – provided you’ve kitted your spellcasters out with area of effect spells that can take groups of people out of the fight. I took Norris’ minions out with sleep spells and took Norris himself out of the fight by catching him in a Stinking Cloud, at which point we were easily able to dispatch him.
Beating Norris also gets another journal entry – which in turn provides some story content. Specifically, that the forces holding Old Phlan are not a unified front. There is a note from “The Boss” calling for Norris and his troops to assist in holding Sokal Keep, and Norris basically telling “The Boss” to shove it up his ass. Now, he didn’t actually send the message – but the reasoning for his not sending it isn’t clear.
However, clearing out Norris basically clears out this city hex, and allows you to return to town and collect your reward for pacifying it.
Oriental Adventures was a sourcebook for AD&D 1st edition that sort of re-imagined and re-interpreted the game to fit a setting inspired by various stripes of Asian cinema, with varying degrees of success. However, two things that book did moderately well was to present a setting in microcosm that used the mechanics and the book’s non-weapon proficiency system. What it didn’t do well was to create classes and races that were conducive for adventuring, and it didn’t create a setting that a standard adventuring party could be inserted into.
AD&D 1st Edition received a smattering of different settings. The longest lasting of those were the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Dragonlance settings. However, a little less memorable one is Kara-Tur, which was born out of the Oriental Adventures sourcebook. While it would later be folded into the Forgotten Realms, on the outset it was very much its own thing. (more…)
Tomb of Horrors is quite possibly the most infamous D&D module of all time. It’s an adventure that has been credited with annihilating campaigns, and is claimed to be the most broken and unfair adventure ever put out by TSR. However… I think this reputation might be because people are approaching the scenario the wrong way. (more…)
I off and on have been reviewing the parts of the first AD&D adventure path – Against the Giants (in two parts – Part 1 & Part 2), and Descent into the Depths of the Earth. Well, now the time has come to the conclusion of the Adventure Path, and while for an inventive ending, it’s kind of a rough one. (more…)