Monday, October 18, 2021

Dark Sun: The Ungreat Escape

So much for secrecy.
        
I started the game anew, but with my existing characters. The discussion highlighted some potentially more powerful parties, but I thought I'd move ahead with the challenges of a less-than-perfect party. Besides, there was something I liked about the existing composition. 
   
The game started us in the arena again. The opening combat was with three sligs and a screamer beetle. I turned to the manual for more information about both. The "bestiary" in the manual is divided into two sections. The second one offers detailed information about monsters "appearing for the first time in an AD&D® computer fantasy role-playing game," suggesting that the ones in the first section have been described before. While this section does have common enemies like elementals, otyughs, and bulettes, I don't remember encountering rampagers, sligs, or slaads in previous games. Sligs are "distant cousins of goblins and hobgoblins," basically a low-level "monster" that has a purely physical attack with no status effects. Screamer beetles are in the "new" section. They're multi-colored giant beetles with deadly mandibles and a debilitating psi attack.
    
I can't remember whether the announcer is insulting us or the monsters.
        
I killed them all in a couple of rounds with melee attacks. This time, the citizens in the stands threw money into the arena that I could pick up. That didn't happen last time. This time, I yelled back at the announcer: "I'm a real warrior, and I'll prove it!" He sent two wild muls, two sligs, a daggoran, and a defiler after me. The game manual doesn't tell you what  "defiler" is, so I'm glad my commenters cleared that up last time: it's a mage who doesn't mind ruining the world by killing its life force for his own advantage. I wish the setting had gone all-in and called them "deniers."
   
Anyway, my commenters insist this battle is winnable, but the defiler opened with a cold-based mass-damage spell that knocked Featherweight and Yester out of action in the first round. The other two didn't last more than a round longer. The announcer taunted us as we died.
   
Restarting again, I kept my mouth shut, collected the money (5 ceramic coins), and went meekly back to the pens. Violencia, the first character, was automatically made leader of the party. You can switch with the 1-4 keys, which is nice. I kept her in the position because she has the highest charisma.
   
Kurzak, the leader of the guards, and Legcrusher, the half-giant monster-tamer, met us at the door. Kurzak described his job as "routine," claiming that it's a better gig than building the sorcerer-king's pyramid, even though "everything's been slowed down since his disappearance."
     
The arena complex. The slave pens are the section on the right side.
  
He led us to the pens, which comprise a rectangular ring of corridor. The gate to the pens is at the north end. Eighteen cells--eight inner, ten outer--branch off the ring. I started exploring counter-clockwise. Midway down the west corridor on the outer edge was a locked door which opened at our knock despite there being no one in it. As we entered, a breeze closed the door behind us. The state of the furnishings suggested that no one had occupied the cell for a long time, and the remains of the previous occupant were heaped on the ground in the corner. As we looked around, a zombie came walking through the wall separating the cell from a room (outside the slave pens) to the west. I didn't know zombies could do that.
   
Featherweight killed the zombie with her bow in the first round of combat, before he even reached us. After his death, we searched the wall and found a button, which opened the part of the wall he'd walked through. Violencia, who actually pressed the button, got 250 experience points. The hidden door led to two rooms, one with a sarcophagus, in which we found 50 coins and a gem worth 1,500. A chest in the south room had a suit of bone scale chest armor and 4 wooden arrows +3. I gave the former to Violencia, who started with no armor, and the latter to Featherweight, my ranger/thief. We had to remove the hinges to get back out into the corridor.
    
Just before the zombie phased through the wall.
     
The next cells had our first NPCs. Mirlon was a vain, narcissistic man. He said we'd need money to escape and talked of a valuable gem. He said that a slave named Seymon, currently chained up in the arena, had such a gem. "It's probably still on his body." We had the option to give him the gem I found in the secret area, but I held off for now. Something didn't seem trustworthy about him. 
   
Scar claimed that he runs the pens. He said he'd talk to us after a couple more visits to the arena. He had three henchmen who wouldn't say anything.
 
The only door on the south side of the rectangle was locked. Moving up the east side, we met Gilal, lying in the haystack in her cell. She was made a gladiator after she stole a loaf of bread to feed her starving family. Her neighbor, also starving, turned her in for the reward money. She was the only survivor of her first battle in the arena and hasn't had to fight a second one yet. She told me that enemies will escalate from sligs and screamer beetles to wild muls, renegade halflings, and mountain stalkers. In the middle of the conversation, she complained about a sharp pain in her head and wouldn't talk anymore.
    
Diagonally across from here, we overheard two men conspiring about something, one asking the other if he'd stashed "the stuff" in the haystack. One of the haystacks in the cell to the south of the men contained a club and 15 coins, but they were probably talking about the one in their room, as they threatened to kill me if I searched it. The leader of this group was named Merzol. We had some interesting dialogue options with him, including the aggressive "Listen, slaad-bait! I'm in charge" and a direct question about what they stashed in the haystack. I played it safer and asked about his escape plans. He agreed to let me join their escape if I returned after two more fights in the arena.
  
Interesting role-playing options here. I suspect the first two lead to combat, although I'm not sure "son of a beggar" is much of an insult in this setting.
       
The Trustee, a former gladiator now too old to fight, was wandering the hallways. The head guard let him stay on as a "helper" after he saved the man from an escaped stalker. He related that slaves sometimes escape but they have to flee the city into one of the free villages in the desert. Kurzak likes money, but it would probably take more than we could scrounge to make him betray his templar boss and let us go. He is mystified by Gilal's introversion. Between Scar and Merzol, he thinks Scar is a better fighter and more disciplined. Mirlon is not to be trusted. He finished the conversation by opening the southern door, which leads to the cook, Dinos (+200 experience for Sunstroke, who I had put in the lead in anticipation of the reward).
  
Dinos occupied rather luxurious quarters in the south. The moment I talked to him, he asked if we'd heard someone screaming. I said that Gilal was in severe pain, and he demanded to be led to her. We did as he asked and he healed her. (We could have done that, but the game won't let you cast "Cure Light Wounds" on anyone but other party members.) The party got 350 experience each, which put Featherweight to Level 3 as a thief. 
   
Just a shot of the character sheet.
       
The healed Gilal related that her head pain had been caused by a "memory block" installed by the templar after she escaped. She found a secret passage in the northernmost monster pen, leading to the sewer entrance. "It's a big hole in the northwest corner of the pens, to the west of the kitchen. You just have to push a button in the corner of the pen, and it will open." We'd just have to sneak past or overcome a guard there. Gilal had broken something to distract him. She was looking for a rumored village led by a man named Dominy, who has reportedly dug a well that has lasted for years, but she broke her leg before she got far, and the templars found her. There's a rumor that Tectuktitlay (the sorcerer-king) is gathering an army to wipe out the villages. Afraid if being executed if caught escaping again, she refused to come with me.
   
I suspect Gilal is setting up the main quest here.
        
We returned to finish our conversation with Dinos. He was the former head chef at the Red Plume Inn in Draj. (Any connection with the Red Plumes of the Forgotten Realms?) He was thrown in the slave pens when the high templar had an allergic reaction to his cooking, now forced to make meals for the man daily. To the east of his rooms was a water trough, where I was able to fill up a pot I'd found (+200 experience).
  
Having spoken to everyone I could find, I rested to restore the few hit points lost in the first battle. When we were done resting, Kurzak was hollering that it was our turn in the arena again.
   
This time, after entering the arena, instead of turning west to face the monsters, we ran east to explore a bit. We immediately found Seymon chained up, only he wasn't dead. He was alive and begging for water. We cut his bonds and gave him the pot of water (+750 experience). 
     
Approaching Seymon.
        
Before we could do anything else, the enemies reached us--two wild muls and two renegade halflings. Seymon joined us and nearly got killed by one of the muls, but we managed to defeat them in time. Sunstroke rose to cleric Level 3 from the experience. After combat, we took the 10 coins the crowd threw to us, but also thought to loot the bodies of our slain enemies for swords and armor. Seymon just kept telling us he'd "talk to us in a minute" and never gave us the information about the gem. We eventually had to leave the arena and return.
   
Overall, it appeared I had several options for escape:
   
  • Attack the guards after winning a fight in the arena but before being locked into the pens. That should give me the run of the arena area, which would allow me to find the secret door Gilal told us about. Or maybe just run away from Kurzak while he's leading us between the arena and pens.
  • Try to pick the lock to the door west of Dinos's room, again allowing access to the rest of the complex and the secret door.
  • Try to bribe Kurzak.
  • Give the gem to Mirlon and follow his plan.
  • Win two more arena fights and join Merzol's escape.
  • Win more arena fights and see what Scar has to offer.
     
I decided it couldn't hurt to fight one more arena combat and see what Scar and Merzol had to offer. We rested and demanded a new fight.
   
The announcer was more complimentary to us as we entered. Again, we turned east from the entrance and explored a bit before the creatures reached us. Seymon still had nothing to say, but a corpse near him had leather boots (given to Featherweight), and another in the southeast had a gythka (a polearm with a blade at each end). The enemies reached us before we could do anything else: four thri-kreen and a tohr-kreen, which the manual doesn't describe. Featherweight had the first successful use of a psi-attack, rendering the tohr-kreen unable to attack for a few rounds with "Ego Whip." We won, but we were pretty badly beat up.
      
The announcer pays us a compliment.
     
On the way out of the arena, we freed another fighter from bondage, but he died the moment he hit the ground. We found a club on another corpse.
  
Back in the slave pens, Merzol would talk to us, but it turned out he had no plan at all except maybe to ambush Kurzak when he opens the door. After that: "I don't know--we could just kill all the guards and take over!" Scar, meanwhile, still wouldn't talk with me.
   
I chanced another battle, and this one took me a few reloads. The enemy party consisted of three sligs and a mountain stalker. The sligs were trivial, but the stalker kept charging in and tearing someone apart. It gets four attacks per round, each of which can do up to 15 damage. I finally defeated them by casting "Bless" before the battle and using "Grease" to freeze him in place while I weakened him with arrows and spells. 
        
Specifying the radius for a "Grease" spell.
        
Back in the pens, Scar would finally speak to me. His plan was to arrange to fight each other in the arena, then join forces and fight our way out. He claimed to know how to open the west door. My role-playing tendencies nearly led me to simply escape on my own, likely via the door leading out of Dinos's quarters, but I wasn't 100% confident in combat yet, and I decided I'd feel better with allies. I ultimately decided to go with Scar.
      
The plan worked well at first. The next time we were summoned to the arena, we found ourselves facing Scar's party. Instead of fighting, both parties ran for the west door and escaped to the interior of the arena structure, but outside the slave pens. We fought a combat with a couple of guards on the other side of the door. Scar and his goons were a big help. We looted some obsidian longswords and bows off the corpses.
     
The gladiators break free!
            
Scar said we should go north and he would go south. I had Gilal's instructions for reaching the exit, but I figured I'd take my time. I was in "other game" mode, assuming that at worst, I'd find enemies in little pockets that I could clear one at a time.
   
Instead, every single guard in the entire complex converged on my location. Their pathfinding was unerring. I tried holing myself up in the corner of a remote room, where at least they couldn't snipe me from afar, but they just wouldn't stop coming. I saved in a bad place and don't even have the option to head directly for the exit now. I'll have to reload an earlier save from before the second arena battle.
        
The party cowers around a corner while waiting for enemies to enter the room. This strategy didn't work.
     
Miscellaneous notes:
   
  • Hitting ESC brings up the save/quit menu. The two buttons are right next to each other, and the "Quit" button doesn't ask for any confirmation. Fortunately, hitting the "S" key activates "Save." After one mis-click, I'm going to be sure never to use the mouse on that menu again.
  • The music, which I turned off, doesn't seem to be appropriate to the setting. Where the music for Perihelion was sparse, haunting, and appropriately apocalyptic, the title theme for Dark Sun features a driving 4/4 beat and a surprisingly upbeat melody. It feels like something that would accompany a montage of a character doing errands in Los Angeles. The slave pens theme is a bit moodier, and it has an interesting melody, rhythm, and (starting around the 1:15 mark) instrumentation, but it still doesn't feel to me like it has anything to do with the game world. The compositions are credited to Ralph Thomas, an alias for Ralph Cooksey-Talbott, whose first score was for Spelljammer the previous year. He spent the 1990s at SSI before starting his own software company and photography studio.
  • In a setting where water is supposed to be more valuable than gold, I was surprised that there's a huge water trough in Dinos's room that anyone can just walk up and use. Later, during our escape, I found a huge fountain of water. I'm beginning to think that water isn't as scarce as I was led to believe.
     
The party stops and stares in awe.
     
  • This is going to be my sticking point with the interface: it has keyboard backups for everything but switching the active icon. So instead of hitting "T" and then clicking on a character to talk, the process involves right-clicking several times and watching the icon carefully to make sure I don't miss the "talk" one. In combat, it's the same way. You can scroll through enemies with the (N)ext and (P)revious keys, but the only way to attack them (that I can find) is to click, and that involves first right-clicking to the appropriate attack option. Tell me if I'm missing something.
  • I also can't figure out the "quick combat" system, not that I'd use it with combats of this complexity. But I did want to see how it performed. The manual says you activate it in combat with the SPACE bar, but this doesn't do anything as far as I can tell.
    
I'm weighing several options. Now that I know how tough things are after the escape, I could go back to my original plan of starting over with a new party. In particular, I need to roll a half giant with better dexterity. His current dexterity of 14 seemed okay by past D&D standards, but he hardly ever hits, somewhat ruining the purpose of having a giant. My preserver/druid is also a bit useless once he runs out of spells, which happens quickly at Level 2.
     
Can I possible leave without exploring this room?
     
The second option is to fight more arena battles until each character gains at least one more level. My only trepidation there is that they were already becoming pretty hard.
      
The third option is to role play and make my escape without insisting on exploring the outer complex. That's tough to contemplate given how many rooms and likely treasures that there are, but part of me still likes the idea of a game that forces that kind of choice. Part of me also wonders whether the door to the next area is one-way or whether I'd be able to clear out the arena by "escaping," then making guerilla attacks back into the arena.
   
Time so far: 5 hours
 

69 comments:

  1. It's certainly possible to escape with little or even no fighting at all, or of course to slaughter everything (my preferred option). To win the large fight against all the guards the key is to let them come at you around a corner so they bottleneck themselves in a doorway and come at you one by one. That combined with a fog spell so the archers can't shoot makes the fight tough but doable, although if your half-giant isn't hitting anything that is probably also a big problem, mine killed over half the guards on his own.

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    1. As far as I remember, Half-giants have the dexterity rolls capped at a low value (I didn't try to manually edit), which was my main reason to choose a Mul as the main melee character.

      But if you are able to beat the Mountain Stalker, I think your party is fine. As Mikrakov said, it is definitely possible to beat everyone if you take a less direct approach and use the environment strategically .

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    2. This is D&D; melee characters do not make dexterity rolls to hit. They make strength rolls.

      Also, Chet's half-giant has a dex of 14, so if there is a cap it clearly isn't THAT low.

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    3. Yep, dex is for armor class, not hit chance. Hit chance in melee relies on strength.

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    4. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I would think DAMAGE relies on strength but accuracy relies on dexterity. Then again, there's a lot I don't understand about D&D. All I can say is that my giant has very high strength but seems to miss a lot.

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    5. It may not make sense, but D&D and most of its (many) derivatives have traditionally decided that strength is for offense, dexterity is for defense (i.e. it affects armor class) and ranged attacks, and consitution is for hit points.

      If your giant is missing a lot, that's most likely because he's using a weapon he's not allowed to. Clerics take a hefty penalty with edged weapons, and since this is a religious restriction (as opposed to simple lack of skill) it doesn't matter that fighters ARE allowed to use those.

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    6. Later versions of D&D do allow various tweaks so Dexterity affects hit chance, but I don't think such options were available back in 2nd edition. Maybe in one of the multitude of class handbooks.

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    7. Is this the real CRPG Addict on the comments?

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    8. Yes. I was on a different computer and having trouble logging in.

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    9. Good catch Radiant! That is almost certainly the giant's issue.

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    10. Sorry for doubting your comment, it was shocking for me to read your confession about dnd rules.
      Then again, I salute you for being a wonderful role player still after all these years and games and never falling to the terrible minmax mindset which I regretfully have and which imho is the greatest immersion breaker

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  2. That music almost seems like it was composed for a different game.

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    1. It is one of the weak points of the game, especially in an era where the music in games starts sounding more and more like "soundtracks" rather than collection of tunes (Betrayal at Krondor comes to mind).

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    2. Whatever its quality, I appreciated the links to the soundtrack in the post. Here's an idea: when possible provide a link to a relevant portion of the soundtrack at the beginning of the post so readers can play it in the background while reading and looking at the screenshots. You could link to a new part of the soundtrack with each post, ideally one appropriate to whatever you are currently covering.

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    3. That wouldn't be a good idea, most of the times game music wasn't interesting and highly repetative at the time and it is easy enough for interested readers to find game music on their own.

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    4. I really, really love the game's theme music. It's just so catchy! Always stay longer in the main menu than I have to because of it.

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    5. Obviously anyone uninterested in the score would be free to not click on the link, and perhaps there isn't enough interest to make it worth Chet's time, but I think it's another good way to present the game along with screen shots, box art, etc. Now that we are into the 90s it's going to only get more relevant.

      But my initial thought was just that getting the link to the soundtrack near the end of the article was less than ideal since I was almost done with the article and ready to move on. It would have been better to have it provided up at the top so that I could have been playing it while reading.

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    6. I agree that it would be a nice bonus. Completely optional, of course.

      As little effort as it takes to do so, I'm unlikely to look up the soundtrack myself, unless the article specifically mentions it. But if there's a link provided - sure, don't mind if I do.

      As for this game's title theme - I like it. It's not so upbeat as to feel out of place to me, but I agree something dark and brooding would fit the game's setting much better.

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    7. Right, you can look up the box art yourself too, but it's convenient to have it all packaged together here.

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    8. Yes you could look box art up yourself but it is important for the game the same could seldom be said about game music.

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    9. I would say that pc video game music peaked with the Monkey Island 2 use of imuse, but that was a lot of work, a headache for the developers and composers. Sierra were doing a great job in music since the late 80s, Westwood had Keplacki and co who were mastering the fm synthesis and the wavetable as good as Sierra but with more sparse results, Cryo had Stephane Picq and co... but yeah, these were exceptions. Even when the cd rom era came, loads of games came with an awful use of the instruments and a cacophonic arrangement. Ralph Thomas here was more specialised in sound effects as I see in mobygames and he went to a very industrial/metal inspired sound that really does not fit, but at least he was better than what Mike Bross, God bless your soul probably you are a great guy and probably you are way better at music than I will ever be, did in Bloodnet, Ripper or Hell (I actually appreciate his work in Dragonsphere)

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    10. Ksmb: Opinions are going to differ on what's "important" and "interesting". You probably get that, but it's not clear from your statements. You aren't interested in video game music, and that's cool. (I'll confess I don't usually look at the box art very closely.) But I certainly think it would be valuable to sample five or so minutes of the score (good or bad) while reading a new post.

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    11. I only recently pledged to spend more time talking about game music in the first place. It's something I don't normally care about or notice, and most of the time I'll continue to leave it turned off even if it's good. So let's see how I do with this small addition before we start talking about scoring my entries from top to bottom.

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  3. In D&D, hitting things depends on your strength, not dexterity.

    Also, having a caster is well worth it at higher levels, even if at the first levels he doesn't contribute much. A preserver OR druid becomes useful earlier than a preserver/druid multiclass, although the latter is more powerful at the level cap.

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  4. the title theme for Dark Sun features a driving 4/4 beat and a surprisingly upbeat melody. It feels like something that would accompany a montage of a character doing errands in Los Angeles.

    LOL.

    Or something that would play while you're taking your turn in Jones in the Fast Lane.

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  5. There are at least three "ratings" for the arena fights by the audience, which I believe are related to how quickly you beat enemies.

    If you are really quick you get a "standing ovation" and get LOTS of money(for what is worth).

    Seymon is meant to walk to the entrance and then give you the gem, but if his path is blocked or some event happens while he walks there, then he can get bugged. I had to reload an earlier save.

    As you have narrated you are getting tons of EXP already and that's my main criticism of the game, you level up quickly and with little effort. The game literally showers you with EXP for non-combat quests, making most of the optional combats... optional. I don't particularly like grinding, but the game goes a bit too far in the other direction, IMHO.

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  6. As I understand Dark Sun "Deniers" for Defilers wouldn't very fitting, as they don't deny the harm to the enviroment their magic cause, they simply don't care.

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    1. There are basically four stages of climate science denialism:

      Climate change is not happening.
      It is happening, but it’s not human derived.
      It is human derived, but it’s not a real problem.
      It is a real problem, but doing anything about it is too hard/expensive.

      I think defilers could fall into stage 3 or 4 of that sequence.

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    2. #4 is, alas, objectively true when so much of the rest of the population believes #1-3.

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    3. #4 is also objectively true when the people who do believe choose the most expensive and least effective methods to deal with the situation.

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    4. The most-touted solution among those with the relevant backgrounds is carbon taxation. It’s something that a lot of countries (and 11 US states) already have in place, in some form or other. The taxation just needs to be applied economy-wide, and at the appropriate price point. It should also be ‘revenue-neutral’ as Australia’s was. That means that revenue collected from the tax is paid back to taxpayers, thus not increasing the tax burden overall, while encouraging businesses and consumers to lower their emissions.

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  7. You probably already completed this part of the game, so...

    You're right about escaping through the Dinos's quarters. You can kill the guard outside without setting of the alarm (his cries are drowned by the fountain's roar). Then you can confront the templar in the room to the south-west. You can kill him and get more armor and a first magical weapon from him. Killing him at the very start of the big battle is a good move, as he is the toughest enemy around and a spellcaster. The alarm will sound and the guards will be coming, but they will likely spread out in a long column in the corridors. That way the party can deal with them withot being overwhelmed.

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  8. I'd advise not to overthink too much. Despite this being a SSI game, it's not a Gold Box game. It's not that difficult, and should be more approached like an Ultima game. It's DNA has more Ultima 6 in it, than Baldur's Gate. Just roll with it: enjoy the exploration and the puzzles and scenarios. It has remarkable interactivity in some parts, but not that remarkable that overthinking and over-restarting would not ruin it. The only truly difficult battle is the final battle, everything else forgives mistakes. This game is a joy to explore, but not to powergame. By the end, almost every party member can have magic armor and weapons if you've explored every nook and corner.

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    1. Good advice.

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    2. This is only tangent to this but I always have a problem with fomo when I play a new crpg, sometimes it ruined my experience when I thought I missed out on something important, started over and realized I didn't miss anything and the whole starting over made me not finish the game.

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  9. Oh, and as a general hint - get all the chests and bags you find. The characters can carry them without any problem, and they are great for carrying extra things and organizing the inventory. It is like the containers in Ultima Underworld, but without encumbrance and bugs.

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  10. I'm pretty sure accuracy in d&d is based on strength. So I don't know why your giant keeps missing, but low dexterity shouldn't be the cause.

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    1. Accuracy in melee is based on Strength, accuracy with ranged weapons is based on Dexterity. A 14 Dexterity gives no bonuses to anything.

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    2. Dark Sun also has dual-wielding, and high dex will mitigate the penalties you get for that. If Dark Sun is using these particular 2nd Ed. rules, the penalties should be -2/-4 to hit with main and off hand at Dex 15 or less.

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  11. In the "Approaching Seymon" screenshot, the red stuatue to the right seems to have some resemblance to Great Cthulhu.

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  12. "I don't remember encountering rampagers, sligs, or slaads in previous games."

    The monsters with stat blocks aren't "appearing in an AD&D® computer fantasy role-playing game for the first time", they're "appearing for the first time - in an AD&D® computer fantasy role-playing game". In other words the ones without stat blocks have appeared SOMEWHERE, even if they're not in any video games, but the ones with stat blocks are completely new, which is why they printed stat blocks for them, because there would be nowhere to look them up other than the game manual.

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    1. Slaads are as old as the Fiend Folio, and by 1986 were evidently well enough known to be parodied in Paranoia's Orcbusters (as "Green Slaads, Garden Slaads, and Caesar Slaads" IIRC).

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    2. I don't know enough about the Dark Sun setting to validate this, but if it's true that they made up monsters just for this game, that was a weird way to say it.

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    3. This wasn't a new thing. All ssi crpgs put a short text block if it was a known d+d monster and a full stat block + description for new monsters so people could use them in their tabletop campaigns.

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    4. James Neal is mistaken. It's the other way around: these monsters have in fact appeared before in D&D rulebooks, but not in any earlier D&D computer games.

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  13. 'The Ungreat Escape'

    Your title choice is really spot on, I love it.

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  14. You can use the movement buttons to attack by moving your character into an enemy. It can be a little fiddlely on the diagonal though.

    Half-Giant dex caps at 15 (-1 to AC). No hitting bonus there

    Your halfling with a 17 Strength gets +1 to hit and damage; Conversely a Half-Giant with 24 Strength gets +6 to hit and +12 to damage. There is a big performance difference right off the bat there

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  15. I have escaped with Scar. You can also defeat Scar and become champions of the pens or something like that. I like the music a lot.

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  16. Love this gsme. I've always played with multiclasses (fighter/preserver/cleric and fighter/preserver/druid, a psionicist thief and a straight half giant gladiator) because the amount of XP you get is obscene and they'll level each class independently.

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    1. I'm starting to sense that. I just finished the sewers, which is only the second area, and even my multiclass characters are 2/3 of the way to the top level.

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    2. When you are dualclassing your human be aware that the second class doesn't have to be as high as the first, when the third class is the highest you get the benefits from both previous classes. So a galdiator8 -> psionic7 -> preserver 9 would work well for example.
      I recommend a fast leveling class (druid or preserver) for the third class.

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  17. I escaped with the help of Mirlon. And, of course, he betrayed me

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    Replies
    1. The way it happens puts the party at a potential advantage, though. I mostly objected to giving up the gem.

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  18. I just pick the lock myself. It's like, isn't this WHY I made one of my chars multi-class in Thief?

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  19. I just want to point out that on your Master Game List, there is a MMORPG on the PlayList: TERA (2011).

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    Replies
    1. Cool. If there's no single player campaign, that's one fewer game to worry about.

      Delete
  20. I played this game so much as a child, just reading you talk about it is bringing back all the old memories and making me want to play it again.

    As a young kid, I made parties that seemed cool to me and had uh.. little to no actual planning for usefuless, and I don't remember the game overly punishing me for that, so the difficulty level of the main path clearly wasn't that high. As others have mentioned, it was just extremely neat to see all the little things you could do that didn't break the game.

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  21. Oh Addict, I see you. The Dungeons of Ymir video is already out! - subscribed.
    Glad the current game (Dark Sun) is already hinting at a new era. Some of the next games will be a little different, Burntime, Nomad, not really classical CRPG. But I can't help but think that you'll feel a little relieved to leave the Ultima clones behind.

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    1. I'm having a lot of trouble getting into Burntime. I was writing it up as a BRIEF, but goddamn if there isn't an "experience" statistic that seems to affect combat.

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    2. I really like the survival aspects of Burntime, but yeah, there isn't much of an RPG there. But I remember being disappointed in Fallout back in the day, because it didn't had the "scavenge for food and water" aspects that Burntime did really well.

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    3. Love fallout but does seem a bit odd you don't need water given the main quest for a microchip that manages water systems. "Hmm, dunno why the overseer made this big deal about needing water, I've been wandering out here for months without having a drop!"

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    4. I believe low outdoorsman skill results in random events when you "spend hours looking for water" and get a minor debuff. But that's about it.

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    5. It's implied that you scavenge for water while traveling. Low outdoorsman skills raise the likelihood of suffering a dehydration event, though I've never invested a point in that skill and only seen this happen once. One of the characters (Tycho IIRC) also explicitly mentions water in a dialog branch that gives you a permanent skill boost.

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    6. Traveling without a canteen in your inventory also significantly increases likelihood of encountering dehydration event. I believe the canteen staves it off for a time and that timer is reset when you visit any town.

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  22. One of the pluses of the game is the beautiful and varied landscape of each section. It looks like they went all out on making the setting sumptuous and evocative of a desert world. Vaguely reminds me of David Lynch's Dune movie from 1984.

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  23. That soundtrack is begging to be covered using real instruments, like Chrono Trigger was.

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