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[HotU] Henchmen any use?

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Anonymous
October 2, 2004 5:17:31 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this changed
in HotU?

I went through the entire Undermountain chapter solo (albeit with an 18th
level starting character (but not a very minmaxed one)). Now I'm in chapter
2, and Valen can certainly kick booty with that flail of his, but is
spending the cash to fit him out worthwhile?



--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |

More about : hotu henchmen

Anonymous
October 2, 2004 5:17:32 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
news:j57sl09ld8hhr0alaavgvabm7krqn0cpk4@4ax.com...
> In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
changed
> in HotU?
>
> I went through the entire Undermountain chapter solo (albeit with an 18th
> level starting character (but not a very minmaxed one)). Now I'm in
chapter
> 2, and Valen can certainly kick booty with that flail of his, but is
> spending the cash to fit him out worthwhile?

Sure? Why not?
Anonymous
October 2, 2004 5:17:32 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:
> In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
> changed in HotU?

It depends on the class and the level of the main character. A fighter char
with decent equipment will probably survive ch. 2 and 3, but some encounters
may still require a lot of healing potions. And don't forget the transport
capacity of the henchmen...

> I went through the entire Undermountain chapter solo (albeit with an
> 18th level starting character (but not a very minmaxed one)). Now I'm
> in chapter 2, and Valen can certainly kick booty with that flail of
> his, but is spending the cash to fit him out worthwhile?

There are enough items among the stuff you will find on your way to equip
your henchman, no need to spend money for that.

Hans
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Anonymous
October 2, 2004 7:36:51 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 00:11:20 -0400, "Insane Ranter" <spam@not.me> wrote:

>
>"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
>news:j57sl09ld8hhr0alaavgvabm7krqn0cpk4@4ax.com...
>> In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
>changed
>> in HotU?
>>
>> I went through the entire Undermountain chapter solo (albeit with an 18th
>> level starting character (but not a very minmaxed one)). Now I'm in
>chapter
>> 2, and Valen can certainly kick booty with that flail of his, but is
>> spending the cash to fit him out worthwhile?
>
>Sure? Why not?
>

Well, every gp I spend equipping these guys is another gp I could use on
myself... not to mention that keeping them alive was a pain in the butt in
the OC, and I'm wondering whether that's still the case.


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
October 2, 2004 7:36:52 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Well, I guess it all comes down to difficulty level one is going for. Hotu
can be played without henchmenno problem, but they do help in tight spots.

But in Hotu henchmen have a lot more personality then before, especially
Deekin is funny as hell (and not too bad a henchmen either once he gains
some rdd levels). I usually keep him around just for his insane commentary
on things every now and then...

"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> kirjoitti
viestissä:jhfsl0dn7ji4v2ah4d93sl5fc4vrnm1pap@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 00:11:20 -0400, "Insane Ranter" <spam@not.me> wrote:
>
>>
>>"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
>>news:j57sl09ld8hhr0alaavgvabm7krqn0cpk4@4ax.com...
>>> In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
>>changed
>>> in HotU?
>>>
>>> I went through the entire Undermountain chapter solo (albeit with an
>>> 18th
>>> level starting character (but not a very minmaxed one)). Now I'm in
>>chapter
>>> 2, and Valen can certainly kick booty with that flail of his, but is
>>> spending the cash to fit him out worthwhile?
>>
>>Sure? Why not?
>>
>
> Well, every gp I spend equipping these guys is another gp I could use on
> myself... not to mention that keeping them alive was a pain in the butt in
> the OC, and I'm wondering whether that's still the case.
>
>
> --
> Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
> hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
> http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
> Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 2, 2004 7:36:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Vellu wrote:
> Deekin is funny as hell (and not too bad a henchmen either once he gains
> some rdd levels). I usually keep him around just for his insane commentary
> on things every now and then...

Maybe I'm just not looking at Deekin with the right attitude, but he
gives me severe and painful Jar Jar Binks flashbacks. I've murdered him
several times.
--
My NWN Work So Far: http://tinyurl.com/6xy2f
"Pits of red smoke and fog are usually bad."
- Tip from Doom3 Manual
Anonymous
October 3, 2004 5:36:56 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 09:35:32 +0300, "Vellu" <velimala@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Well, I guess it all comes down to difficulty level one is going for. Hotu
>can be played without henchmenno problem, but they do help in tight spots.

I noticed that you get more XP when you're alone compared to when if you
have henchmen. Can someone confirm?

>
>But in Hotu henchmen have a lot more personality then before, especially
>Deekin is funny as hell (and not too bad a henchmen either once he gains
>some rdd levels). I usually keep him around just for his insane commentary
>on things every now and then...

I just finished chapter 2 with Valen and Nathyrra, and they're really cool.
Bioware has certainly come a long way since the days of BG1, where every
NPC had a dozen canned lines and that was it (albeit sometimes pretty funny
canned lines). And the romantic engagements this time are actually
palatable, unlike in BG2, where the people were annoying and the banter was
often painful to watch.

It also helps that the NPCs can pull their weight in a fight. Valen in
particular is a freakin' death machine! He still keeps getting in over his
head, but it doesn't seem to be as bad as in the OC, where Daelan was dying
in seemingly every boss fight. Having 300+ hp as a buffer against the
consequences of silliness helps, I guess; although the fight with Vixthra
was still ugly....

Why is Nathyrra Lawful Evil? Everything she says and does (so far, at
least) points to her being Good. Perhaps it's a hint that things will go
pear-shaped eventually?


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 3, 2004 5:36:57 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:
> On Sat, 2 Oct 2004 09:35:32 +0300, "Vellu" <velimala@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Well, I guess it all comes down to difficulty level one is going for. Hotu
>>can be played without henchmenno problem, but they do help in tight spots.
>
>
> I noticed that you get more XP when you're alone compared to when if you
> have henchmen. Can someone confirm?

Yes.


> Why is Nathyrra Lawful Evil?

Because assassins have the be evil. It's really stupid--Nathyrra is
clearly Good.

> Everything she says and does (so far, at
> least) points to her being Good.

No kidding.
Anonymous
October 5, 2004 1:52:34 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

> Hong Ooi wrote:
> > In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
> > changed in HotU?

Personally, I found them to be dead weight (played through with a
Ftr/Rog/Shadowdancer build).

Gave me a reason to keep the Rod of Resurrection, though :-)

I may try again some day with Deekin.

Do you want spoilers on the future (i.e, the final battle)?
Anonymous
October 7, 2004 11:54:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On 5 Oct 2004 09:52:34 -0700, alordofchaos@yahoo.com (Anonymous Jack)
wrote:

>> Hong Ooi wrote:
>> > In the OC I found them more of a deadweight than anything. Has this
>> > changed in HotU?
>
>Personally, I found them to be dead weight (played through with a
>Ftr/Rog/Shadowdancer build).
>
>Gave me a reason to keep the Rod of Resurrection, though :-)
>
>I may try again some day with Deekin.
>
>Do you want spoilers on the future (i.e, the final battle)?

Too late! Finished HotU already, with Valen and Nathyrra. Valen kicked
butt, Nathyrra was a bit redundant, but her banter with him made it worth
keeping her around.

What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania? Especially that bloody mimic, which you can't
kill even when it's right next to you and you're packing enough firepower
to slaughter an army. Although maybe it's just a devious plan to get you in
the right mood to plow through the hordes of fiends, when they appear.


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:19:56 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message news:<884am0pvlhueu0govrk10tobrd7lpp19rb@4ax.com>...
> On 5 Oct 2004 09:52:34 -0700, Anonymous Jack wrote:
> >Personally, I found them to be dead weight (played through with a
> >Ftr/Rog/Shadowdancer build).
> >Gave me a reason to keep the Rod of Resurrection, though :-)
> >Do you want spoilers on the future (i.e, the final battle)?
>
> Too late! Finished HotU already, with Valen and Nathyrra. Valen kicked
> butt, Nathyrra was a bit redundant, but her banter with him made it worth
> keeping her around.

Well, then here's some spoilers for others then, to add on to my
contention they were *worse than* dead weight.

I picked up Aribeth an Nathyrra as henchmen - er, hench women (I was
playing a female character, although Nathyrra seemed to feel "close"
to me, she didn't swing that way; thought I'd try Aribeth). Anyhooo,
Ari seemed repentant etc and on the straight an narrow again. So,
before returning to the Prime for the final battle, I buffed her up
*seriously*. Ungodly Charisma, Strength, Con, very high Wisdom, etc,
and something like 550 HP + regeneration, dozens of Heal potions...

And as soon as we get back to Prime, Meph says a few discouraging
words, and that traitorous b*tch turns evil again! I could see
Nathyrra turning on me, since I shamelessly hit on her at every turn,
but Ari had just returned from the dark side.

I wasn't sure if I could beat Meph, buffed up super Aribeth, and
Nathyrra, at the same time (got tired of watching me swing at her AC
45~50 and missing, them swing at me AC 45~50 and missing)... or maybe
they killed me, I don't remember. I reloaded, dismissed those two,
went back and tore up Meph on my own with ease. No true names, here,
nosir.

Maybe Deekin will be more loyal?

> What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3?

Parsed that as "pussies" first time through. heh, made sense as I was
playing a fairly sapphic party.

Programmers showing off code, I'm thinking.
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 10:54:09 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Anonymous Jack wrote:

> Well, then here's some spoilers for others then, to add on to my
> contention they were *worse than* dead weight.

20

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> And as soon as we get back to Prime, Meph says a few discouraging
> words, and that traitorous b*tch turns evil again! I could see
> Nathyrra turning on me, since I shamelessly hit on her at every turn,
> but Ari had just returned from the dark side.
>
> I wasn't sure if I could beat Meph, buffed up super Aribeth, and
> Nathyrra, at the same time (got tired of watching me swing at her AC
> 45~50 and missing, them swing at me AC 45~50 and missing)... or maybe
> they killed me, I don't remember. I reloaded, dismissed those two,
> went back and tore up Meph on my own with ease. No true names, here,
> nosir.

You don't need True Names. You do need a decent Persuade rating, though.

> Maybe Deekin will be more loyal?

He's the most loyal, yes.
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 4:36:20 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On Fri, 15 Oct 2004 18:54:09 GMT, Kish <Kish_K@pacbell.net> wrote:

>Anonymous Jack wrote:
>
>> Well, then here's some spoilers for others then, to add on to my
>> contention they were *worse than* dead weight.
>
>20
>
>19
>
>18
>
>17
>
>16
>
>15
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>
>> And as soon as we get back to Prime, Meph says a few discouraging
>> words, and that traitorous b*tch turns evil again! I could see
>> Nathyrra turning on me, since I shamelessly hit on her at every turn,
>> but Ari had just returned from the dark side.
>>
>> I wasn't sure if I could beat Meph, buffed up super Aribeth, and
>> Nathyrra, at the same time (got tired of watching me swing at her AC
>> 45~50 and missing, them swing at me AC 45~50 and missing)... or maybe
>> they killed me, I don't remember. I reloaded, dismissed those two,
>> went back and tore up Meph on my own with ease. No true names, here,
>> nosir.
>
>You don't need True Names. You do need a decent Persuade rating, though.

Does anyone know what the exact DC is? Forewarned by the talk in this group
and other forums, I jacked my Persuade up to +30 for the final fight (monk
levels are v.useful). That seems to have a reasonable chance of making the
NPCs stay loyal.

I had a look at the mod in the toolset, and it's something like
DC_PERSUADE_MEDIUM, whatever that is.


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 6:22:02 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:
> Does anyone know what the exact DC is? Forewarned by the talk in this group
> and other forums, I jacked my Persuade up to +30 for the final fight (monk
> levels are v.useful). That seems to have a reasonable chance of making the
> NPCs stay loyal.
>
> I had a look at the mod in the toolset, and it's something like
> DC_PERSUADE_MEDIUM, whatever that is.


It's a fair complicated formula based on the level of the calling
object. I think I figured this out once and the DC was in the high 30s.
--
Barry Scott Will
Pyric RPG Publications
http://www.pyric.com/
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 9:18:22 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:

> I noticed that you get more XP when you're alone compared to when if you
> have henchmen. Can someone confirm?

You get fewer experience points per enemy. However, the enemies will be
slightly scaled up, so it pretty much balances out.
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 9:27:35 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:

> What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
> D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?

Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.

Second, by the time you're in Cania, you're an epic character. You're
off the scale, in traditional D&D terms, and there's very little that
can challenge you in a straight fight. What little there is, you do end
up fighting. Ever notice how boss monsters always have True Seeing, and
immunity to damned near everything? That's the only way to make a
creature even remotely challenging to a character that is, as you say,
packing enough firepower to destroy an army. And too much of that gets
really boring. So, fewer fights, more puzzles.
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 2:20:40 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Barry Scott Will wrote:

>> I had a look at the mod in the toolset, and it's something like
>> DC_PERSUADE_MEDIUM, whatever that is.
>
> It's a fair complicated formula based on the level of the calling
> object. I think I figured this out once and the DC was in the high
> 30s.

Yes, it's 35, because the calling object is Meph himself (lvl. 45) and *not*
the henchman.

Hans
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 1:42:32 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
<foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:

>Hong Ooi wrote:
>
>> What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
>> D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
>
>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.

I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about. Even
if I did, "traditional" D&D certainly doesn't involve one character soloing
a dungeon, stopping every now and then to rest for six seconds to get your
spells back, and teleporting back to a demiplane if things get too hairy.
There is a certain style of play I'm after, and Chapter 3 for a stretch of
time isn't it.

>
>Second, by the time you're in Cania, you're an epic character. You're
>off the scale, in traditional D&D terms, and there's very little that
>can challenge you in a straight fight. What little there is, you do end
>up fighting. Ever notice how boss monsters always have True Seeing, and
>immunity to damned near everything? That's the only way to make a
>creature even remotely challenging to a character that is, as you say,
>packing enough firepower to destroy an army. And too much of that gets
>really boring. So, fewer fights, more puzzles.

How does making artificially challenging puzzles help matters? To take the
most obvious example, why can't I kill the mimic even when it's right next
to me? It just makes it painfully obvious that we're playing a computer
game here.


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 1:42:33 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Hong Ooi wrote:
| On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
| <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:
|
|
|>Hong Ooi wrote:
|>
|>
|>>What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
|>>D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
|>
|>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
|>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
|>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
|>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.
|
|
| I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about.

Then please don't complain that it's not D&D.

- --
Leo Fellmann
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Anonymous
October 18, 2004 2:17:40 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Leo Fellmann wrote:<2tfebqF1tvu78U1@uni-berlin.de>...
> > Hong Ooi wrote:
> > I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about.
>
> Then please don't complain that it's not D&D

But you see where Hong is coming from... it's a computer RPG, so there
should be action, special effects, and other ways to solve things -
including brute force (not that brute force is the right way resulting
in good stuff; but it should be an option).

For example, in the original campaign, at the beginning, you can't
damage the fake Denther (or whatever his name is) because he is a plot
thingie.
You can whack him, but it does 0 damage.

It would have made more sense to let your do a few points of damage,
then have him destroy you - or, if you were lucky and lasted a few
rounds, have Aribeth and the guards show up to destroy you. Sort of
like PnP DnD standard scenario, when you attack the Evil Grand Vizier
in the King's palace before you have proof and before anyone realizes
he's evil - the King's guards will attack you.

There's a decent early CRPG called "Dark Earth" that allowed you to
attack pretty much anyone... choose the wrong target, and you got
wiped out. There was no way to see (IIRC) who was friend or foe
(unless they attacked you first) and no way to see how tough they
were.

Personally, I enjoy puzzles but find it silly to put "too many" of
them in DnD or CRPGs. Your character in NWN could have INT of 35 and
WIS of 35 and these puzzles should be simple to your character - but
19-year old fanboy living in his parent's basement playing the game
might have the intelligense of - well, a fanboy living in his parent's
basement - and be stuck. Of course, "too many" is open to
interpretation :-)
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 10:42:05 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
> <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:
>
>
>>Hong Ooi wrote:
>>
>>
>>>What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
>>>D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
>>
>>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
>>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
>>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
>>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.
>
>
> I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about. Even
> if I did, "traditional" D&D certainly doesn't involve one character soloing
> a dungeon, stopping every now and then to rest for six seconds to get your
> spells back, and teleporting back to a demiplane if things get too hairy.
> There is a certain style of play I'm after, and Chapter 3 for a stretch of
> time isn't it.

The entire NWN OC, and most of SOU, and most of HOTU was precisely about
a character soloing a dungeon, and if you're a spellcaster, resting
after every fight to regain spells. So what style of play are you
looking for?

>>Second, by the time you're in Cania, you're an epic character. You're
>>off the scale, in traditional D&D terms, and there's very little that
>>can challenge you in a straight fight. What little there is, you do end
>>up fighting. Ever notice how boss monsters always have True Seeing, and
>>immunity to damned near everything? That's the only way to make a
>>creature even remotely challenging to a character that is, as you say,
>>packing enough firepower to destroy an army. And too much of that gets
>>really boring. So, fewer fights, more puzzles.
>
>
> How does making artificially challenging puzzles help matters? To take the
> most obvious example, why can't I kill the mimic even when it's right next
> to me? It just makes it painfully obvious that we're playing a computer
> game here.

Well, since you can't naturally challenge an epic character, it's going
to have to be an artificial challenge, isn't it? Besides, it *is* a
computer game. You're going to have puzzles, or combat -- and combat is
a puzzle, really.

About the only other thing to do would be to jump to some other genre
more appropriate for epic characters -- which is what I thought the
point was of the battle for the drow city. And that was pretty kludgy --
NWN isn't really designed for that.
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 6:17:10 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

On 17 Oct 2004 14:36:42 GMT, Leo Fellmann <l.fellmann@free.fr> wrote:

>-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>Hash: SHA1
>
>Hong Ooi wrote:
>| On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
>| <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:
>|
>|
>|>Hong Ooi wrote:
>|>
>|>
>|>>What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
>|>>D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
>|>
>|>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
>|>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
>|>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
>|>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.
>|
>|
>| I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about.
>
>Then please don't complain that it's not D&D.

Consider the infinite possibilities that 1) there are many possible ways to
play D&D, 2) very few of which (beyond the pathological) involve extended
sequences of nothing but puzzles to solve, and furthermore 3) "traditional"
D&D of the kind featuring 10' wide rooms containing 50' long monsters faded
away 20 years ago, and good riddance to it.

You're new at this game, aren't you?


--
Hong Ooi | "I like snowballs."
hong@zipworld.com.au | -- CA
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/ |
Sydney, Australia |
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 1:12:01 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

> There's a decent early CRPG called "Dark Earth" that allowed you to
> attack pretty much anyone... choose the wrong target, and you got
> wiped out. There was no way to see (IIRC) who was friend or foe
> (unless they attacked you first) and no way to see how tough they
> were.

Dark Earth is also one of the few games that really gives its players a
challenge... it has a tight time limit (could be shortened/lengthened
depending on what you do), and some puzzles really requires thinking, in
contrast to those rather stupid riddles in BG/NWN...

Most games these days don't do that anymore - afraid that they'll
upset/frustrate their players.
October 19, 2004 2:44:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Thats the way it is, most games (if any) are designed for the veteran
players. That would without a doubt alienate the average player. But the bar
has gone far too low, to the level of stupidity in some cases...which too
can alienate players.

Luckily NWN has a strong community which supports its players by creating
new modules (good and bad) to play.

Computer RPG's have always had a tricky balance with
action/puzzles/storyline...Too much or too little of any of these three, and
the game is no fun to play. CRPG's cannot adapt to the mood of the players
as PnP often does. No platform jumping though in NWN, thank God, allthough
the mimic hand came dangerously close to that.

>
> Dark Earth is also one of the few games that really gives its players a
> challenge... it has a tight time limit (could be shortened/lengthened
> depending on what you do), and some puzzles really requires thinking, in
> contrast to those rather stupid riddles in BG/NWN...
>
> Most games these days don't do that anymore - afraid that they'll
> upset/frustrate their players.
>
>
October 19, 2004 9:11:46 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Duh!... Bad typo: most games *ARE NOT* designed...

"Vellu" <velimala@hotmail.com> kirjoitti
viestissä:cl2gl4$jmm$1@phys-news1.kolumbus.fi...
> Thats the way it is, most games (if any) are designed for the veteran
> players. That would without a doubt alienate the average player. But the
> bar
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 11:05:41 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Leo Fellmann wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> Hong Ooi wrote:
> | On 17 Oct 2004 14:36:42 GMT, Leo Fellmann <l.fellmann@free.fr>
wrote:
> |
> |>Then please don't complain that it's not D&D.
> |
> |
> | Consider the infinite possibilities that 1) there are many possible
> ways to
> | play D&D,
>
> In which case it would be hard to declare

It is actually very easy, assuming a passing ability to understand
context.

>that something is not D&D.

Consider the infinite possibilities hinted at by the bit that you
conveniently snipped out, which I now reproduce for the benefit of the
masses:

>>2) very few of which (beyond the pathological) involve extended
>>sequences of nothing but puzzles to solve

Did you have a point, or were you just happy to see me?

> We'd want to limit ourselves to epic-level campaigns here, as the
style
> of play is, as others have pointed out, profoundly affected by that.

Did you have a point, or were you just happy to see me?

>
> ~ and furthermore 3) "traditional"
> | D&D of the kind featuring 10' wide rooms containing 50' long
monsters
> faded
> | away 20 years ago, and good riddance to it.
>
> You'd be surprised how many younger gaming groups still start out
that way.

So, how old are you?

>
> | You're new at this game, aren't you?
>
> No.

You _are_ new at this game. I can tell.


Hong
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 11:14:06 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

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Hong Ooi wrote:
| On 17 Oct 2004 14:36:42 GMT, Leo Fellmann <l.fellmann@free.fr> wrote:
|
|
|>-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
|>Hash: SHA1
|>
|>Hong Ooi wrote:
|>| On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
|>| <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:
|>|
|>|
|>|>Hong Ooi wrote:
|>|>
|>|>
|>|>>What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I playing
|>|>>D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
|>|>
|>|>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles --
|>|>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised at how
|>|>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better. Heck,
|>|>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.
|>|
|>|
|>| I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally" about.
|>
|>Then please don't complain that it's not D&D.
|
|
| Consider the infinite possibilities that 1) there are many possible
ways to
| play D&D,

In which case it would be hard to declare that something is not D&D.
We'd want to limit ourselves to epic-level campaigns here, as the style
of play is, as others have pointed out, profoundly affected by that.

~ and furthermore 3) "traditional"
| D&D of the kind featuring 10' wide rooms containing 50' long monsters
faded
| away 20 years ago, and good riddance to it.

You'd be surprised how many younger gaming groups still start out that way.

| You're new at this game, aren't you?

No.

- --
Leo Fellmann
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Anonymous
October 20, 2004 12:00:27 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Brian G. Vaughan wrote:
> Hong Ooi wrote:
> > On Sat, 16 Oct 2004 17:27:35 GMT, "Brian G. Vaughan"
> > <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>Hong Ooi wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>>What is it with all the damn puzzles in Chapter 3? I mean, am I
playing
> >>>D&D, or Sam And Max In Cania?
> >>
> >>Two things: first, D&D traditionally does involve a lot of puzzles
--
> >>it's as much about puzzles as about fighting. I've been surprised
at how
> >>few there'd been in the NWN OC, and SOU was only a little better.
Heck,
> >>it's pretty light on puzzles in HOTU.
> >
> >
> > I don't really give two hoots about what D&D is "traditionally"
about. Even
> > if I did, "traditional" D&D certainly doesn't involve one character
soloing
> > a dungeon, stopping every now and then to rest for six seconds to
get your
> > spells back, and teleporting back to a demiplane if things get too
hairy.
> > There is a certain style of play I'm after, and Chapter 3 for a
stretch of
> > time isn't it.
>
> The entire NWN OC, and most of SOU, and most of HOTU was precisely
about
> a character soloing a dungeon, and if you're a spellcaster, resting
> after every fight to regain spells. So what style of play are you
> looking for?

Something that involves killing monsters and taking their stuff. That
is basically the core philosophy of D&D. Preferably there should also
be a good storyline, interesting NPCs and meaningful decisions to be
made along the way, but I'll take what I can get. :) 

In terms of soloing, you can certainly do it in p&p D&D. However the
game has to be setup specifically for it, in terms of encounters, items
found, regaining resources, etc. NWN basically modifies the p&p rules
to allow for this, and so to that extent, it varies from traditional,
party-based D&D. However, none of that really affects the basic
activities of the game. You can still do most of the things you end up
doing in regular D&D, you just do it by yourself.

In terms of spellcasting, this business of sitting on your butt for
half a minute to get spells back is one reason I always play fighter
types....

> >
> > How does making artificially challenging puzzles help matters? To
take the
> > most obvious example, why can't I kill the mimic even when it's
right next
> > to me? It just makes it painfully obvious that we're playing a
computer
> > game here.
>
> Well, since you can't naturally challenge an epic character, it's
going
> to have to be an artificial challenge, isn't it?

There are ways of posing challenges to epic characters without imposing
implausible restrictions; cf the "hardest fights" thread. Now while you
might argue that even the fights have restrictions compared to p&p play
(no teleporting and flying, for instance), these generally require
fewer contortions to achieve suspension of disbelief -- after all,
being able to fly and teleport is pretty wild to start with, so
removing these abilities isn't a huge stretch.

Contrast that to the aforementioned mimic puzzle, where you have this
thing that is invulnerable to you for no good reason at all. The
puzzles with the demon hand are nearly as contrived (how convenient
that there are things to grab just where I need them, and also that I
can bring my henchmen along), and those involving shapechanging are
plain dumb. Why can't I just bust through the crates in Grimgnaw's
cave? I've never had a problem bashing crates before this. Why do I
have to change into a wolf to get the worg pack leader's treasure, as
opposed to climbing over the the barrier, flying over it as a pixie, or
just bashing the barrier down? Even leaving aside the issue of whether
Int/Wis 30 characters should be able to figure these things out by
themselves, all of these puzzles don't serve to heighten immersion or
provide a rich roleplaying experience. They just highlight the
limitations of the engine.

Anyway, to my knowledge most high- or epic-level modules in p&p
generally don't have as many puzzles as lower-level ones. That's
_because_ these characters have stats and abilities out the wazoo,
including divinations, super skill bonuses, etc. You challenge these
characters by having tougher fights, or with moral dilemmas ("fight me
and the hostages die"), or by saddling them with responsibilities (eg
strongholds a la 1E/2E). Figuring out how to put a jigsaw together is a
believable challenge for a 3rd level character with Int 15; it's less
so for a 13th level character with Int 20 and not at all for a 30th
level character with Int 40. Having them in Chapter 3 of HotU is thus
all the more jarring, if you're comparing it to the p&p game.

>Besides, it *is* a
> computer game. You're going to have puzzles, or combat -- and combat
is
> a puzzle, really.

That strips the word "puzzle" of any meaning in the present context.
The point is that much of Chapter 3 feels much more like an adventure
game (hence the reference to Sam & Max) than any RPG, computer or
otherwise, that I've played. Taking your argument to its logical
conclusion would mean that Counterstrike was a puzzle game. By a
certain reading of "puzzle" that might be the case, but nobody else I
know uses the word like that.

>
> About the only other thing to do would be to jump to some other genre

> more appropriate for epic characters -- which is what I thought the
> point was of the battle for the drow city. And that was pretty kludgy
--
> NWN isn't really designed for that.

Eh. If you mean gameplay-wise, the NWN OC is basically Diablo with
d20s, and the drow city battle (as in huge numbers of monsters to
fight) follows in that tradition. If you mean technology-wise, so it
slows down a bit. It was still quite playable on my box at 1280x1024
resolution with all the options switched on.


Hong
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 9:22:55 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:

> Something that involves killing monsters and taking their stuff. That
> is basically the core philosophy of D&D. Preferably there should also
> be a good storyline, interesting NPCs and meaningful decisions to be
> made along the way, but I'll take what I can get. :) 

I must have misunderstood. I thought you'd just ranted that you *didn't*
like hack-and-slash, so I was at a loss what you did want.

> In terms of soloing, you can certainly do it in p&p D&D. However the
> game has to be setup specifically for it, in terms of encounters, items
> found, regaining resources, etc. NWN basically modifies the p&p rules
> to allow for this, and so to that extent, it varies from traditional,
> party-based D&D. However, none of that really affects the basic
> activities of the game. You can still do most of the things you end up
> doing in regular D&D, you just do it by yourself.

The key problem is that, in singleplayer, there's no other human
actively involved in the game, thus removing most of the real
"roleplaying" aspect. A human DM can assess motivations, and try to deal
with a PC trying an approach the DM hadn't anticipated -- the computer
can't do those things. That sharply limits what you can actually do with
a computer "RPG". They're generally designed as a mix of puzzles,
mini-games, and combat, since those things can be invented and defined
ahead of time.

> In terms of spellcasting, this business of sitting on your butt for
> half a minute to get spells back is one reason I always play fighter
> types....

Yes, the amount of combat is really cranked up in most singleplayer
modules, meaning you can't use "reasonable" wizard tactics. (What's even
more annoying is when you play online with folks who insist that the
spellcasters shouldn't rest, because it's out of character, but there's
just as much combat.)

> There are ways of posing challenges to epic characters without imposing
> implausible restrictions; cf the "hardest fights" thread. Now while you
> might argue that even the fights have restrictions compared to p&p play
> (no teleporting and flying, for instance), these generally require
> fewer contortions to achieve suspension of disbelief -- after all,
> being able to fly and teleport is pretty wild to start with, so
> removing these abilities isn't a huge stretch.

Okay, I took a look at that thread. Not much analysis, or discussion
really after your initial post. You did show that there were some ways
to make some fights more interesting.

However, it seems to me that they crammed about as much combat as they
could into HOTU. I suppose that's part of what surprised me about your
comment -- at about the middle of the Cania chapter, you've just
defeated several armies, and you're about to fight two more. You've got
to do something other than fight once in a while.

> Contrast that to the aforementioned mimic puzzle, where you have this
> thing that is invulnerable to you for no good reason at all. The
> puzzles with the demon hand are nearly as contrived (how convenient
> that there are things to grab just where I need them, and also that I
> can bring my henchmen along), and those involving shapechanging are
> plain dumb. Why can't I just bust through the crates in Grimgnaw's
> cave? I've never had a problem bashing crates before this. Why do I
> have to change into a wolf to get the worg pack leader's treasure, as
> opposed to climbing over the the barrier, flying over it as a pixie, or
> just bashing the barrier down? Even leaving aside the issue of whether
> Int/Wis 30 characters should be able to figure these things out by
> themselves, all of these puzzles don't serve to heighten immersion or
> provide a rich roleplaying experience. They just highlight the
> limitations of the engine.

That sounds more like an objection to stupid puzzles, then an objection
to puzzles outright. I liked the bit with the the mimic, myself, though
I agree that some of those

> Anyway, to my knowledge most high- or epic-level modules in p&p
> generally don't have as many puzzles as lower-level ones. That's
> _because_ these characters have stats and abilities out the wazoo,
> including divinations, super skill bonuses, etc. You challenge these
> characters by having tougher fights, or with moral dilemmas ("fight me
> and the hostages die"), or by saddling them with responsibilities (eg
> strongholds a la 1E/2E). Figuring out how to put a jigsaw together is a
> believable challenge for a 3rd level character with Int 15; it's less
> so for a 13th level character with Int 20 and not at all for a 30th
> level character with Int 40. Having them in Chapter 3 of HotU is thus
> all the more jarring, if you're comparing it to the p&p game.

I was unaware there was such a thing as an epic-level module in PnP,
since they introduced epic levels in 3E, and I gathered that they had
pretty much stopped producing modules at all with 3E. So, I don't have
any real idea what their content is like. I'd always found the idea of
playing epic-level characters to be a strange one, since that always
seemed to me to be a level of power you limited to special NPCs, and
those NPCs spent all their time running the world, and didn't display
their direct powers except rarely.

Halaster, Elminster, Szazz Tam -- those are epic characters in the
Forgotten Realms setting. There are only a handful of individuals in the
world who could match them, one-on-one. You just don't fight your way
through a room with twenty Szazz Tams, then go on through another room
full of Manshoons. An encounter between two epic characters would be,
well, epic -- and that can't happen very often.

It's a familiar problem for RPGs that puzzles are solved by the player,
not by the PC, which leads right into the problem of what to do when the
only one who knows what the answer to the riddle is, is the player
running the illiterate barbarian with an INT of 4.

However, the alternative -- having every problem resolved by skill
checks and dice rolls -- is even less appealing.

>>Besides, it *is* a
>>computer game. You're going to have puzzles, or combat -- and combat
>
> is
>
>>a puzzle, really.
>
>
> That strips the word "puzzle" of any meaning in the present context.
> The point is that much of Chapter 3 feels much more like an adventure
> game (hence the reference to Sam & Max) than any RPG, computer or
> otherwise, that I've played. Taking your argument to its logical
> conclusion would mean that Counterstrike was a puzzle game. By a
> certain reading of "puzzle" that might be the case, but nobody else I
> know uses the word like that.

I wouldn't call Counterstrike with bots (assuming that's an option --
substitute FPS deathmatch with bots if necessary) a puzzle, since the
bots move around the map, pursuing objectives, and the entire situation
is dynamic. On the other hand, Half-life was a series of puzzles,
including the combat -- there'd be houndeyes at this corner, zombies
would spawn when you got to the center of that hallway, and so forth. It
was not dynamic -- it was pretty much fixed. While CRPGs allow for a
little bit of dynamism -- some monsters following a "patrol," some
random spawns -- they, too, tend to be fixed. If you die, you reload,
and this time, you know about where everything is and what it will do in
what order. So, you hit pause, and figure out how to handle it. Thus,
it's a puzzle.

That wasn't really my point, though. I'd assumed it was self-evident,
really, that combat was a special case of a puzzle in a CRPG. My real
point is that the only ways I can see to put obstacles in the path of a
PC are to make the PC fight a battle, or solve a puzzle, before
proceeding. Much as I love good writing and a good story, as far as
gameplay itself goes, it's just decoration, setting the context.

Basically, I think CRPGs have the roleplaying stripped out (assuming
you're playing singleplayer of course), since there's no meaningful
interaction between a player and a human DM who can think like an NPC
and who can assess motivations and personalities. Since roleplaying is
absent, all you've got is a series of puzzles of various kinds.

>>About the only other thing to do would be to jump to some other genre
>
>
>>more appropriate for epic characters -- which is what I thought the
>>point was of the battle for the drow city. And that was pretty kludgy
>
> --
>
>>NWN isn't really designed for that.
>
>
> Eh. If you mean gameplay-wise, the NWN OC is basically Diablo with
> d20s, and the drow city battle (as in huge numbers of monsters to
> fight) follows in that tradition. If you mean technology-wise, so it
> slows down a bit. It was still quite playable on my box at 1280x1024
> resolution with all the options switched on.

What I usually find in the "super powerful PC working with a bunch of
wimps" scenario is that the trick is to get the wimps out of the way and
go out and destroy the opposing army, singlehandedly. That was the case
with the drow city battle. It's a mix of the gross inequality in
"character level," poor AI, and an interface that doesn't allow for
controlling an army effectively. The latter two are instances of what I
meant about NWN not being designed for this sort of scenario.
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 9:41:37 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message news:<1098241227.101694.292470@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>...
> In terms of soloing, <snip> You can still do most of the things you end up
> doing in regular D&D, you just do it by yourself.

<Hong's schtick> I'm soloing right now, IYKWIM AITYD </Hong's schtick>

> In terms of spellcasting, this business of sitting on your butt for
> half a minute to get spells back is one reason I always play fighter
> types....

A bit off topic, but just wait until you try out some of the fan
created modules with restricted rest. In some, there are hardly any
areas where one can rest.

> There are ways of posing challenges to epic characters without imposing
> implausible restrictions; cf the "hardest fights" thread. Now while you
> might argue that even the fights have restrictions compared to p&p play
> (no teleporting and flying, for instance),

In the original two campaigns (NWN OC, SoU) there is the Stone of
Recall and Mystara's Hand rings for the PC. The NPCs were always
teleporting/recalling around.

> Contrast that to the aforementioned mimic puzzle, where you have this
> thing that is invulnerable to you for no good reason at all.

Although I found the puzzle annoying (in a "I don't want to get up the
TV channel, where's the remote" kind of way), I just figured it was a
mimic-like alien lifeform with DR 100/+10 but vulnerable to "fires of
hell (which are different than standard fireball and other magic fire
effects), produced by that lever thingie". You really have to suspend
a lot of beliefs to play a CRPG...
Anonymous
October 20, 2004 8:54:09 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

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Hong Ooi wrote:
| Leo Fellmann wrote:
|
|>-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
|>Hash: SHA1
|>
|>Hong Ooi wrote:
|>| On 17 Oct 2004 14:36:42 GMT, Leo Fellmann <l.fellmann@free.fr>
|
| wrote:
|
|>|
|>|>Then please don't complain that it's not D&D.
|>|
|>|
|>| Consider the infinite possibilities that 1) there are many possible
|>ways to
|>| play D&D,
|>
|>In which case it would be hard to declare
|
|
| It is actually very easy, assuming a passing ability to understand
| context.
|
|
|>that something is not D&D.
|
|
| Consider the infinite possibilities hinted at by the bit that you
| conveniently snipped out, which I now reproduce for the benefit of the
| masses:

Hey. You said "is not D&D". You didn't say "is not how most people play
D&D".

|
|>>2) very few of which (beyond the pathological) involve extended
|>>sequences of nothing but puzzles to solve
|
|
| Did you have a point, or were you just happy to see me?
|
|
|>We'd want to limit ourselves to epic-level campaigns here, as the
|
| style
|
|>of play is, as others have pointed out, profoundly affected by that.
|
|
| Did you have a point, or were you just happy to see me?

As I pointed out, a large proportion of epic level campaigns fall into
the subset you describe as "very few".

|
|>~ and furthermore 3) "traditional"
|>| D&D of the kind featuring 10' wide rooms containing 50' long
|
| monsters
|
|>faded
|>| away 20 years ago, and good riddance to it.
|>
|>You'd be surprised how many younger gaming groups still start out
|
| that way.
|
| So, how old are you?

Young enough to remember the first time I played D&D.

|>| You're new at this game, aren't you?
|>
|>No.
|
|
| You _are_ new at this game. I can tell.

Suddenly developed telepathy?

- --
Leo Fellmann
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Anonymous
October 20, 2004 11:51:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Leo Fellmann <l.fellmann@free.fr> wrote in message news:<2tnjhdF1vh0gdU1@uni-berlin.de>...
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> Hong Ooi wrote:
> |>|
> |>| Consider the infinite possibilities that 1) there are many possible
> ways to
> |>| play D&D,
> |>
> |>In which case it would be hard to declare
> |
> |
> | It is actually very easy, assuming a passing ability to understand
> | context.
> |
> |
> |>that something is not D&D.
> |
> |
> | Consider the infinite possibilities hinted at by the bit that you
> | conveniently snipped out, which I now reproduce for the benefit of the
> | masses:
>
> Hey. You said "is not D&D". You didn't say "is not how most people play
> D&D".

One of these days, young padawan, you will learn not to sweat the small stuff.

Trust me, I'm a statistician.

> |
> | Did you have a point, or were you just happy to see me?
>
> As I pointed out, a large proportion of epic level campaigns fall into
> the subset you describe as "very few".

Ah. This must be a new meaning of "large proportion" that I wasn't aware of before.


> |>
> |>You'd be surprised how many younger gaming groups still start out
> |
> | that way.
> |
> | So, how old are you?
>
> Young enough to remember the first time I played D&D.

So, how old are you, kid?

>
> |>| You're new at this game, aren't you?
> |>
> |>No.
> |
> |
> | You _are_ new at this game. I can tell.
>
> Suddenly developed telepathy?

You, kid, are as transparent as a spitball on a sidewalk.


Hong
Anonymous
October 21, 2004 12:57:05 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Brian G. Vaughan" <foolishowl_hates_spam@peoplepc.com> wrote in message news:<PCmdd.2029$5i5.182@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net>...
> Hong Ooi wrote:
>
> > Something that involves killing monsters and taking their stuff. That
> > is basically the core philosophy of D&D. Preferably there should also
> > be a good storyline, interesting NPCs and meaningful decisions to be
> > made along the way, but I'll take what I can get. :) 
>
> I must have misunderstood. I thought you'd just ranted that you *didn't*
> like hack-and-slash, so I was at a loss what you did want.

Actually, I don't have a problem with hack-and-slash. In fact,
sometimes I reckon my ideal RPG (computer or p&p) as a player would be
a bit like Diablo: lots of fights, a clear objective to aim for, and
minimal futzing around with distractions on the side.

You do get oddities like PST that break the mould. Even then, though,
the attraction is due to the richness of the narrative and the
interaction with NPCs, as opposed to puzzles.

>
> The key problem is that, in singleplayer, there's no other human
> actively involved in the game, thus removing most of the real
> "roleplaying" aspect. A human DM can assess motivations, and try to deal
> with a PC trying an approach the DM hadn't anticipated -- the computer
> can't do those things. That sharply limits what you can actually do with
> a computer "RPG". They're generally designed as a mix of puzzles,
> mini-games, and combat, since those things can be invented and defined
> ahead of time.

I think the best CRPGs take advantage of the strengths of the medium,
rather than trying to pretend they're direct simulations of p&p
gaming. The examples that come to mind are (as stated above) Diablo
and PST. The first one is all about the combat, which is much more
streamlined and fast-flowing than you could likely achieve in p&p. The
second is all about depth of story and characterisation. By cutting
down on the number of branching plotlines that are possible, you can
lavish more attention on those that remain. Whether or not this still
constitutes "roleplaying" is something I'm not too fussed about.

I guess you could have a CRPG that puts more emphasis on puzzles.
Games like this, however, already have their own box: they're called
adventures. I've never been a huge fan of adventure games, although I
have had fun with some of the LucasArts ones.

>
> > In terms of spellcasting, this business of sitting on your butt for
> > half a minute to get spells back is one reason I always play fighter
> > types....
>
> Yes, the amount of combat is really cranked up in most singleplayer
> modules, meaning you can't use "reasonable" wizard tactics. (What's even
> more annoying is when you play online with folks who insist that the
> spellcasters shouldn't rest, because it's out of character, but there's
> just as much combat.)

I should specify that I don't have a problem with it in gameplay
terms. Sitting on your butt for half a minute is far preferable to
having to rest for 8 hours! It's more that I find it too far-fetched
that someone would just sit down in the middle of a dungeon like this.

IMO they should have rejigged the ruleset to implement something like
a "mana pool" mechanic, where you get back your spells (and other
abilities) at a steady rate over time, instead of all at once. It
would be another departure from p&p, but they've made plenty of other
changes already; one more wouldn't hurt.

>
> However, it seems to me that they crammed about as much combat as they
> could into HOTU. I suppose that's part of what surprised me about your
> comment -- at about the middle of the Cania chapter, you've just
> defeated several armies, and you're about to fight two more. You've got
> to do something other than fight once in a while.

I don't really want to second-guess the designers, but a bit more NPC
interaction in Cania wouldn't have gone astray, if you wanted to break
up the fights. The only place where you really get to talk to people
is the starting town; they could have inserted a few more locations
like the avariel village, the mind flayer outpost or Drearing's Deep
in Chapter 2. There's still a semi-puzzle aspect to this (click on all
conversation options until you've traversed the entire tree) but it
would be much more in keeping with the (C)RPG genre.

>
> I was unaware there was such a thing as an epic-level module in PnP,
> since they introduced epic levels in 3E, and I gathered that they had
> pretty much stopped producing modules at all with 3E. So, I don't have
> any real idea what their content is like.

There are still standalone modules being produced, even if WotC is
concentrating more on sourcebooks these days. The adventure path
series consists of half-a-dozen mods that start at 1st, and end at
18th level; by the time you finish the last one, you're probably epic.
Dungeon mag is still around, and that one has published a fair share
of high-level mods (including a couple of epic-level ones). There are
also quite a few third-party publishers putting out mods of their own.

>I'd always found the idea of
> playing epic-level characters to be a strange one, since that always
> seemed to me to be a level of power you limited to special NPCs, and
> those NPCs spent all their time running the world, and didn't display
> their direct powers except rarely.

Well, it comes down to what you want out of an epic game. I don't
really have a problem with the idea of PCs attaining this level of
power, comparable to Halaster et al. Mechanically speaking, I'm not a
fan of the epic rules -- I reckon they're unbalanced, poorly thought
out, and paper over the underlying scaling problems with the d20/D&D
ruleset rather than fixing them -- but that's another issue really.

>
> I wouldn't call Counterstrike with bots (assuming that's an option --
> substitute FPS deathmatch with bots if necessary) a puzzle, since the
> bots move around the map, pursuing objectives, and the entire situation
> is dynamic. On the other hand, Half-life was a series of puzzles,
> including the combat -- there'd be houndeyes at this corner, zombies
> would spawn when you got to the center of that hallway, and so forth. It
> was not dynamic -- it was pretty much fixed. While CRPGs allow for a
> little bit of dynamism -- some monsters following a "patrol," some
> random spawns -- they, too, tend to be fixed. If you die, you reload,
> and this time, you know about where everything is and what it will do in
> what order. So, you hit pause, and figure out how to handle it. Thus,
> it's a puzzle.
>
> That wasn't really my point, though. I'd assumed it was self-evident,
> really, that combat was a special case of a puzzle in a CRPG.

Again, I think you're using nonstandard terminology here. You could
call all the obstacles or challenges that a player faces in a CRPG
"puzzles", but that's not how most people would understand the term. A
"puzzle" in the computer gaming context usually refers to a challenge
with the following characteristics: 1) involves interaction with the
environment or an object, as opposed to an NPC; 2) does not involve
(simulated) violence; 3) has a (predominantly) deterministic outcome,
ie die rolling isn't involved. That's the sort of thing I mean when I
say that Chapter 3 has lots of puzzles, so does Sam & Max, Diablo
doesn't, etc.

I do see what you mean about Half-Life though: it's more of a cerebral
challenge than CS or Doom 2. I pine for the days of Doom 2, when you
had a shotgun, there were squillions of demons to kill, and that was
it....


>My real
> point is that the only ways I can see to put obstacles in the path of a
> PC are to make the PC fight a battle, or solve a puzzle, before
> proceeding. Much as I love good writing and a good story, as far as
> gameplay itself goes, it's just decoration, setting the context.

Personally, I would say that the writing and storyline are part of the
overall package when it comes to CRPGs. These are the things that made
PST, for instance, the classic it was for many people: strip them out,
and you wouldn't have much left. Ditto for a lot of console RPGs.
Again, whether or not this still constitutes "roleplaying" is
something that I don't worry too much about.

> >
> >
> > Eh. If you mean gameplay-wise, the NWN OC is basically Diablo with
> > d20s, and the drow city battle (as in huge numbers of monsters to
> > fight) follows in that tradition. If you mean technology-wise, so it
> > slows down a bit. It was still quite playable on my box at 1280x1024
> > resolution with all the options switched on.
>
> What I usually find in the "super powerful PC working with a bunch of
> wimps" scenario is that the trick is to get the wimps out of the way and
> go out and destroy the opposing army, singlehandedly. That was the case
> with the drow city battle. It's a mix of the gross inequality in
> "character level," poor AI, and an interface that doesn't allow for
> controlling an army effectively. The latter two are instances of what I
> meant about NWN not being designed for this sort of scenario.

See, you're assuming that the drow city fight is meant to be
challenging. I don't assume this. Instead, I assume that it's _not_
meant to be challenging (unless you have a relatively low-powered PC
and/or botched the quests) and the fight is really there to showcase
the PC's prowess. The real challenges come in the fights with small
numbers of enemies, eg Grimgnaw's mob, the demilich, etc.

In the wuxia movie Hero (released just a coupla months ago), there is
a scene where two uber-powered swordspersons plow through 3,000 of the
king's palace guards on their way to confront him. The point of this
scene is not to demonstrate the risk that the swordspersons took in
attacking the palace: as far as can be seen, they had no problems at
all dealing with the guards. The point is to demonstrate that their
abilities and skills are of a completely different order of magnitude
to ordinary people.

It's much the same thing at the end of Chapter 2, and the fights with
hordes of demons in Chapter 3. You're a super-powered character by
this point in the game, and the fights give you a chance to show off.
Without such opportunities to highlight the contrast between low and
high levels, there wouldn't be much point to epic-level gaming.


Hong
Anonymous
October 21, 2004 1:11:19 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Anonymous Jack wrote:
> "Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message
news:<1098241227.101694.292470@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>...
> > In terms of soloing, <snip> You can still do most of the things you
end up
> > doing in regular D&D, you just do it by yourself.
>
> <Hong's schtick> I'm soloing right now, IYKWIM AITYD </Hong's
schtick>

It appears we've met, but I don't recall where... one of the fringe
benefits of being Anonymous, I guess.


>
> > There are ways of posing challenges to epic characters without
imposing
> > implausible restrictions; cf the "hardest fights" thread. Now while
you
> > might argue that even the fights have restrictions compared to p&p
play
> > (no teleporting and flying, for instance),
>
> In the original two campaigns (NWN OC, SoU) there is the Stone of
> Recall and Mystara's Hand rings for the PC. The NPCs were always
> teleporting/recalling around.

Yeah, there is that. I should mention that I was talking about
teleporting as a tactical move: avoiding ambushes, getting past ravines
and locked doors, etc. I'm glad that they toned down the bamfing in
SoU, really; it was kinda silly in the OC.


Hong
Anonymous
October 21, 2004 12:39:40 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"Hong Ooi" <hong@zipworld.com.au> wrote in message news:<1098331879.314012.191200@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>...
> It appears we've met, but I don't recall where... one of the fringe
> benefits of being Anonymous, I guess.

Not formally met - I useta hang around alt.rec.games.frp.dnd, but
pretty much all my 3.0/3.5 questions were answerable by searching the
archives, and that bunch is pretty dull nowadays. Lots of noise, low
signal. I admired the blow by blow commentary on the RtToEE, by the
way.

> > In the original two campaigns (NWN OC, SoU) there is the Stone of
> > Recall and Mystara's Hand rings for the PC. The NPCs were always
> > teleporting/recalling around.
>
> Yeah, there is that. I should mention that I was talking about
> teleporting as a tactical move: avoiding ambushes, getting past ravines
> and locked doors, etc. I'm glad that they toned down the bamfing in
> SoU, really; it was kinda silly in the OC.

Something like Dimension Door would have been nice, but then they
couldn't force you to solve all those puzzles to open doors...
Ditto with Wood/Stone shaping spells.
Anonymous
October 21, 2004 7:52:36 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

Hong Ooi wrote:
(...)
| IMO they should have rejigged the ruleset to implement something like
| a "mana pool" mechanic, where you get back your spells (and other
| abilities) at a steady rate over time, instead of all at once. It
| would be another departure from p&p, but they've made plenty of other
| changes already; one more wouldn't hurt.

I rather suspect that they don't have much of a choice when it comes to
ruleset changes; it almost certainly has to be cleared with WotC
beforehand and WotC would probably not agree.
Hence ( partially ) Dragon Age being made with a homebrew system.

- --
Leo Fellmann
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Anonymous
October 21, 2004 11:45:28 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Hong Ooi wrote:

> I think the best CRPGs take advantage of the strengths of the medium,
> rather than trying to pretend they're direct simulations of p&p
> gaming. The examples that come to mind are (as stated above) Diablo
> and PST. The first one is all about the combat, which is much more
> streamlined and fast-flowing than you could likely achieve in p&p. The
> second is all about depth of story and characterisation. By cutting
> down on the number of branching plotlines that are possible, you can
> lavish more attention on those that remain. Whether or not this still
> constitutes "roleplaying" is something I'm not too fussed about.

Have you tried online, multiplayer NWN?

NWN has a lot of flaws and limitations, and it was massively re-worked
to allow for singleplayer gaming. But it was initially intended to allow
for online roleplaying sessions, and that's a very different experience
from singleplayer gaming.

I've always taken issue with singleplayer CRPGs being described as
"roleplaying" games, and with singleplayer adventures being rated by
reviewers for their "roleplaying" quality. Usually, that seems to mean
whether the writing was good, and whether there was a good story you
could imagine a character taking part in, and maybe whether the game
allowed for some different paths depending on the player's choices. But
none of that is the real exchange and interplay between human beings
that I consider necessary for real roleplaying.

The fact that NWN works, and is used, as a tool to support genuine
roleplaying makes it all the more important to make the distinction, in
my opinion.

Before I get too rapturous about online roleplaying, I should admit that
sometimes I've found it so disappointing and frustrating that I've gone
back to playing singleplayer modules to get away from it.

> I guess you could have a CRPG that puts more emphasis on puzzles.
> Games like this, however, already have their own box: they're called
> adventures. I've never been a huge fan of adventure games, although I
> have had fun with some of the LucasArts ones.

I've played a few adventure games, and some I've liked (Grim Fandango
for instance), but on the whole, I'm not a fan of that genre. Honestly,
given a choice between replaying Grim Fandango, and playing Diablo 2 yet
again, I'd probably go with Diablo 2.

I like a good puzzle, now and then, and part of my point was that having
some puzzles is entirely consistent with the roleplaying game genre. If
you're objecting to having lots and lots of stupid puzzles that don't
make any sense, then I'm with you on that, in general.

> I should specify that I don't have a problem with it in gameplay
> terms. Sitting on your butt for half a minute is far preferable to
> having to rest for 8 hours! It's more that I find it too far-fetched
> that someone would just sit down in the middle of a dungeon like this.

Which is why roleplaying purists online disallow it. I'd be fine with
that, too, as long as they've adjusted combat to be less frequent, or
otherwise given the spellcaster something interesting to do after she's
cast her two instances of Magic Missile for the day.

> I don't really want to second-guess the designers, but a bit more NPC
> interaction in Cania wouldn't have gone astray, if you wanted to break
> up the fights. The only place where you really get to talk to people
> is the starting town; they could have inserted a few more locations
> like the avariel village, the mind flayer outpost or Drearing's Deep
> in Chapter 2. There's still a semi-puzzle aspect to this (click on all
> conversation options until you've traversed the entire tree) but it
> would be much more in keeping with the (C)RPG genre.

We're quite entitled to second-guess the designers, since we're the ones
they're designing for, and we're entirely within our rights to say
whether they succeeded or not. On top of that, NWN comes with tools to
allow us to create our own modules, so it behooves us to think about
what's done well and what's done badly in other modules to better plan
for creating our own.

But yes, they could have put a bit more NPC interaction in Cania.

> Well, it comes down to what you want out of an epic game. I don't
> really have a problem with the idea of PCs attaining this level of
> power, comparable to Halaster et al. Mechanically speaking, I'm not a
> fan of the epic rules -- I reckon they're unbalanced, poorly thought
> out, and paper over the underlying scaling problems with the d20/D&D
> ruleset rather than fixing them -- but that's another issue really.

Tastes are another issue, really. The scaling issue was something I was
bringing up, though -- I think it is part of the issue. I'm not that
familiar with the underlying mechanics in NWN, and less familiar with
D20, so I'll leave it at that for now.

>>That wasn't really my point, though. I'd assumed it was self-evident,
>>really, that combat was a special case of a puzzle in a CRPG.
>
> Again, I think you're using nonstandard terminology here.

I know I'm using non-standard terminology. But I was trying to say,
also, that identifying combat as a form of puzzle wasn't really my
point. That was just an aside, and not really relevant to my point.

My real point was that, in an RPG, you've got roleplaying encounters,
you've got combat, and you've got puzzles. A CRPG strips out the
roleplaying encounters. You were complaining about too many puzzles, and
I'd said, since it's harder to balance combat for epic characters, they
added more puzzles. However, while I'll hold to my point about scripted
NPC encounters in a CRPG not really being true roleplaying, they are a
distinct and important enough element to make it a triad: combat,
puzzles, NPC encounters. You got me on that point.

> I do see what you mean about Half-Life though: it's more of a cerebral
> challenge than CS or Doom 2. I pine for the days of Doom 2, when you
> had a shotgun, there were squillions of demons to kill, and that was
> it....

Well, to continue with this aside...

Actually, I'd say Doom 2 was a series of puzzles in just the same sense
as Half-Life. I can see distinguishing that sort of thing from puzzles
because of the use of randomness in combat. But the main reason I'm
referring to them as puzzles is that they're static. You've got specific
monsters that behave in specific ways, that have specific strengths and
specific weaknesses, in specific locations. Your character has to get
from one side of the map to the other. Counterstrike, or a deathmatch,
isn't static -- the opposing sides move around, and adapt to each
other's behavior. You can plan how to get through a Half-Life or Doom 2
level in a way you can't plan how to win a Counterstrike match.

To go on a further tangent...

The very earliest published D&D modules I've seen, Keep on the
Borderlands for instance, tended to be maps, with map keys listing the
monsters, traps, and treasure present. Static puzzles, for the most
part, except for the "wandering monsters" tables.

Later published modules tended to include a fair amount of that static
content, but allowed for more dynamism. As I recall, Spires of Ravenloft
was very innovative in that regard, as it made a real point about how
Strahd, your nemesis, would move from place to place, attacking the
characters and withdrawing, and would pursue his nefarious scheme in the
fashion of a genius vampire wizard with a multitude of monsters and
beasts at his command. In short, the module emphasized that DMs should
treat Strahd as an entity with as much agency and initiative as the PCs.

I'm sure, of course, that many DMs who created their own content, rather
than relying on published modules, were well aware of the benefit of
approaching things dynamically rather than statically.

Curiously enough, the published adventures for Traveller, basically the
second oldest RPG, tended always to be light on the mapping and stronger
on the dynamism. By the MegaTraveller era, published modules tended to
emphasize laying out background details on the worlds and the NPCs the
PCs would encounter, and go very light on maps, combat abilities of
opponents, and other static details. The stuff I see coming out these
days for Traveller is pretty much just background and motivation of
NPCs, with no maps or statistics at all -- which is going rather too far
in that direction, since it leaves the GM to do almost all the grunt
work before a game session.

Getting back to NWN -- scripted modules, like the NWN OC, tend to be
most like those oldest published modules, I think. Dynamic content is
hard work for a DM, and harder for a programmer. However, in online
play, a DM can easily "possess" an NPC, and give it life and dynamism
beyond static scripting. In fact, this is a good reason to have multiple
DMs in an online session -- you can have one DM hovering over the PCs,
and another acting as their nemesis NPCs.

> Personally, I would say that the writing and storyline are part of the
> overall package when it comes to CRPGs. These are the things that made
> PST, for instance, the classic it was for many people: strip them out,
> and you wouldn't have much left. Ditto for a lot of console RPGs.
> Again, whether or not this still constitutes "roleplaying" is
> something that I don't worry too much about.

As I said above, it's something I do worry about, but that's another
discussion. You make a good point that scripted dialogue and NPC
interactions and so forth are an important element in their own right.

>>>Eh. If you mean gameplay-wise, the NWN OC is basically Diablo with
>>>d20s, and the drow city battle (as in huge numbers of monsters to
>>>fight) follows in that tradition. If you mean technology-wise, so it
>>>slows down a bit. It was still quite playable on my box at 1280x1024
>>>resolution with all the options switched on.
>>
>>What I usually find in the "super powerful PC working with a bunch of
>>wimps" scenario is that the trick is to get the wimps out of the way and
>>go out and destroy the opposing army, singlehandedly. That was the case
>>with the drow city battle. It's a mix of the gross inequality in
>>"character level," poor AI, and an interface that doesn't allow for
>>controlling an army effectively. The latter two are instances of what I
>>meant about NWN not being designed for this sort of scenario.
>
>
> See, you're assuming that the drow city fight is meant to be
> challenging. I don't assume this. Instead, I assume that it's _not_
> meant to be challenging (unless you have a relatively low-powered PC
> and/or botched the quests) and the fight is really there to showcase
> the PC's prowess. The real challenges come in the fights with small
> numbers of enemies, eg Grimgnaw's mob, the demilich, etc.

No, it's pretty clear that you're supposed to be leading an army into
battle. Leaving the troops behind and fighting the enemy yourself is a
sort of "exploit" -- I don't think it's what's intended model at all.
I've seen the same thing done in a lot of community modules, and in
other CRPGs. If it was just your PC proving how badass she is in front
of an audience, there wouldn't have been any need for the pretense of
ordering troops to take certain positions, and the wisp for you to
magically transmit further orders, and so forth.

It was better done, on a smaller scale, in Adam Miller's Dreamcatcher 4,
in which the squad of elves you led were more capable, and you had to
deal with problems of leading troops other than just combat -- morale,
scouting, supplies and so forth. Still, in combat, you were better off
leaving the soldiers behind and fighting yourself. I've seen similar
things done in other community modules and in other CRPGs, and it just
never works very well.

The reason I brought it up wasn't because I thought the drow city battle
was supposed to be challenging, and it wasn't. (I actually found it to
be pretty tough, actually.) The reason I brought it up was that I
thought it was an instance of an effort to bring into NWN a different
genre of game, one more suitable for a high-level character, but NWN
just doesn't have the interface features to support that genre -- the
elements the designers put in just weren't effective. They were kludgey.

> In the wuxia movie Hero (released just a coupla months ago), there is
> a scene where two uber-powered swordspersons plow through 3,000 of the
> king's palace guards on their way to confront him. The point of this
> scene is not to demonstrate the risk that the swordspersons took in
> attacking the palace: as far as can be seen, they had no problems at
> all dealing with the guards. The point is to demonstrate that their
> abilities and skills are of a completely different order of magnitude
> to ordinary people.
>
> It's much the same thing at the end of Chapter 2, and the fights with
> hordes of demons in Chapter 3. You're a super-powered character by
> this point in the game, and the fights give you a chance to show off.
> Without such opportunities to highlight the contrast between low and
> high levels, there wouldn't be much point to epic-level gaming.

I can see that, although, as I said, I *don't* think that was the point
of the drow city battle. It seems more to be the point of the entire
rest of the game.

Just as a last thought: at the moment, I'm playing through Dave Mason's
"A Harper's Tale" series. It's a really good one, and it's got *lots* of
combat and loot and craftable items and combat. And combat. If you
haven't played it, you should; from what you've said, I think it's very
much the style of play you prefer.
!