Sunday, August 29, 2010

Stat checks are useless

Let's just call them build checks and be done with it. They make sense from a game perspective, but the 3E/3.5E point buy rules make them useless as stat checks.

Let's say I have a puzzle. I want an intelligent character to be able to figure out this puzzle in-game without the the player needing to resort to player knowledge instead of character knowledge. Also, I don't want a level 1 wizard to be able to do it. Even lowly hedge wizards are going to have 14/15 intelligence; however a sorcerer never will. Other than wizard, only a rogue has a realistic chance as they may have put some points into intelligence to get more skills. So you either have to make the check so low anyone can succeed, or so high only specific classes/builds can. Has anyone in history ever made a 15 intelligence fighter, or paladin?

Did you know adult dragons start at 23 strength (adult black and brass)? That's right, your fighter is stronger than an adult dragon! That should be impossible.

Similarly, why are 1st level neophyte clerics wiser than grizzled epic rogues who have 20+ levels of experience to draw on? Maybe classes should get a wisdom bonus as they advance in levels.

Anyway I do see a way around it. Limit character abilities to an unmodified 16 to 18 pre-epic. That way people would throw some points into alternate stats. Then we'd occasionally see a smart paladin.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Path of Evil: 100% complete

Since the 98% post, all the rest has been completed. The companion conversations were the biggie, somewhere around 15,000 to 20,000 words combined. They're complete fluff (irrelevant to gameplay but good "color") but they were important for me. The areas I added still need testing, but they are straightforward dungeon crawling you can do once you have your stronghold.

Other than the fact I'd like to test those new areas a bit, I could give the old "TESTERS, ASSEMBLE!!!" anytime now. Someone posted a two bugs the other day on the wiki. It showed that they had gotten through the entirety of two modules with just two bugs. I knew my months of bugtesting and fixing time had been paying dividends. :-)

Anyway, why not give the ol' "TESTERS, ASSEMBLE!!!" ? In case you've been living under a brick, The Maimed God's Saga and The Wizard's Apprentice were just released, and White Plume Mountain is supposed to be on the Vault by the end of the month. I wouldn't want to compete with them for attention. The community doesn't have so many adventures coming out that we should compete for players attention with releases very close together.

There are still things I'd like to add, but they are fluff. The joke items I talked about a few posts ago. Add unique descriptions to some generic items in stores so they're not selling so many "This is a +1 sword" weapons. More joke graves in the old Black Isle tradition. More alternate ways to say the same thing, to give the player the ability to give more personality to their pc. But since everyone should be busy enjoying Maimed God's Saga, The Wizard's Apprentice, and White Plume Mountain for the next couple of weeks, I can take some extra time to add some of this fluff/polish to a project that is "100% complete".  Besides, everyone complains when a game gets rushed out the door, I can always look for more bugs.

If you're reading this and you'd like to test, or just a builder who'd like to look around.
Wiki with file downloads

Builders, you might find this a good laugh. The list of bugs that have been fixed. There were about a thousand fixed before this list was even started. Obviously this can be spoiler full.
Fixed bug list

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Path of Evil does Youtube, part 2.

The following three areas are based on prefabs I've altered, extensively. Sometimes you'll be fighting the elements as much as the monsters.
desert town

The following are my own.
unusual town
Temple of Old Night
Calimport Muzad

vid 1
vid 2
vid 3
vid 4
vid 5

Not going to be able to get much work done this weekend, as the air conditioning is dead and the repairguy can only be back with the necessary part Monday. The weather today is supposed to be 90 (that's 32C for everyone else in the world) and thunderstorms so very humid as well. Not conducive to putting work in. Probably going to go find somewhere with air conditioning.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Path of Evil does youtube

Near final video from the area I've been showing on the official forums. (there's a tile that doesn't quite match, I know). It's in multiple parts because fraps on my pc is limited to 30 seconds. I should buy the full version I guess. Youtube uploads are incredibly slow for me for some reason, I stuck the same clips on dropbox in about 5 miutes, but had to let the youtube uploader run overnight.


part 2

part 3

a different dungeon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Path of Evil now 98% complete

An estimate. Really there's not a whole lot left to be done. I have two interiors to finish (see one to the right). I have to finish the companion's ability to comment on quest. I have to make a few more loadscreens for some areas I added to flesh out one module (including the one for the rest of the screenshots, which is not related to the first shot). Get the companion hangouts working. A couple more weekends I think. Probably not much longer than that since I'm being laid off and will suddenly have lots of modding time :-) .

Virtually everything has been fully tested already. I've been testing and fixing since January. I'm not saying there are zero bugs. But you should find very few. I've fixed around 2000.

There are of course some color things I'd like to add, like the joke items from my previous post, but those can be done after the playtest release.

Yes, the building in the screenshots floats in the air. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Joke Items

One of the more popular throw away details in the Path of Evil Module was a bunch of gag items sold by a merchant. These were knockoffs of well known magic items of Faerun, like a fake Holy Avenger and a fake Aribeth's Ring. The idea was that famous heroes would be celebrities and there would be those who looked to them for style advice and collected their memorabilia, just like real life with celebrities.  

Recognizable for their poor construction quality, when the gag items did have enchantments, any positive enchantments were far outweighed by negative effects. For example there were the "Boots of Butt Kicking", whose description indicated they were patterned after the fashion of a famous ranger from Rashemar. The boots gave a bonus +1 to Charisma (eveyone loves you), but -4 to both intelligence and wisdom. The fake Holy Avenger was a greatsword so poorly made it had a -4 hit and damage penalty.

Anyway, with their popularity I decided to expand the selection of gag items in the campaign. Here is a selection:

Huulf's Mirror Shield: Faithfully recreated by the blind smith Huulf of the Ten Towns from descriptions given to him by adventurers, this shield is polished to a mirror shine on one side. Fortunately for basilisks everywhere, it is polished on the inside. This makes the shield a favorite of vain adventurers. No special bonuses, light shield

Huulf's Helm: Forged by the blind smith Huulf of the Ten Towns, this helmet has no place to see through, and looks like you put a pot over your head. Blindness self
Boots of Spud: Fashioned (no doubt by a gnome) out of a pair of dried old potatoes, the boots of spud are uncomfortable and look out of place anywhere but the most remote farm where one is not likely to be seen by anyone. If anyone does see them, they may get the urge to laugh uncontrollably. Wearer affected by slow. Tasha's Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter 2x/day

Edna's Cloak: Designed by the famous female dwarf taylor Edna Mode, the cloak is incredibly stylish. It has an annoying tendency to get caught in things. +2 charisma -2 Dexterity, -10 Tumble

Notso: "Makes a great club", Thundarr the barbarian. The axehead of this greataxe is only loosely attached, sometimes causing it to fall off in combat. Fortunately, it can still be used as a club. -2 damage.

Named Bullets: Though not magical, these bullets have various names carved into them. Among the various names, one says "[pcname]", a name you haven't heard of before and aren't sure quite how to pronounce.

Saemon's sword: So named by the Bhaalspawn who occaisionally had dealings with Saemon Havarian, this rapier is not believed to actually be Saemon's, but rather named for his penchant of running away when things got even the least bit difficult. Fear on hit, dc-20 user.

And now some screenshots:
A lighting and tile texturing experiment, not meant as a playable area, you can see the tiles don't match for instance.
Beach ruins. The Death God's Vault placeable is nifty and detailed, but so specific you really have to build around it. Some oversized jungle ruins let me hide most of the placeable, keeping the only thing I wanted, the 4 armed skeleton. This area is not fully polished.
This shot used to be Kazatharsis by Raith Veldrin (, It still is, only it's no longer a bone dry desert. Replacing ground textures, adding water and trees, and changing the daynight settings has turned it into a ruins in the forest. Sometimes you find a good prefab, only it needs a change of setting for your use. As you can see if you look at the original, you can get a vastly different look with only a few changes. This is a non polished shot, the texturing has changed some to make the walking paths more overgrouwn etc.