Hearkenwold Beta

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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:00 pm

A big hooray for languages incoming - I like the concept a lot. Very immersive and very pen&paper style which is always appreciated.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:08 pm

Yes, and just caught a typo (the repeated "the"). Posting screenshots helps! I'll fix that for the next update.

One of the things I like is customizing individuals within a party, even beyond class. Certain skills or abilities, that one character can obtain, which others won't have. The languages will run from covering the basic player races, to more exotic speech like learning the tongue of the Undead and Dragons.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:05 pm

August Update

I have some new screenshots to display, showing what I've worked on the past few weeks. The first is an encounter with an enemy that uses the new summon ally spell. Looking at the combat log, I see that I will have to adjust the resfef of the slimes, to reflect their name appearing properly. I like how the summoner targets a space close to vulnerable party members, making the fight extra tricky.

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Here's another look at the language/trait system currently in place. When the party finds and speaks to this trainer, they are presented with a list of languages to learn about. They are given a brief description, then the option to pay to learn it, or not. This time, our wizard picks up knowledge of the ancient tongue called Primus.

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Below is a better view of the Skardale Business District. Still have a lot of homes to fill up and other locations in the city.

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And finally, a bit of an easter egg from exploring the new outdoor environments:

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One thing I still have to do with regard to mechanics, is adjust the saving throw against damage spells. As seen above, with a default value of 10, this 5/6th level party frequently makes its saves resulting in a lucky character taking no damage.

This week, I have already begun an important conversation with the Duke of Relmfur. It is connected to plot-related stuff, but it's pretty neat that in theory a party could meet him without following the main quest and still talk to him about current events. This kind of conversation work is what I will be focusing on for August, along with trying to finish Skardale. Next up will be a dwarven village, and then going back to areas and content I started previously.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Pongo » Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:36 pm

The description of the turtle is great - very evocative!
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:36 pm

Yamm, lots of tasty new information :D ! So much new cool stuff...

Looking at the combat log, I see that I will have to adjust the resfef of the slimes, to reflect their name appearing properly.

Ah, that's my bad ... it should not be the resref, but actually the name in the log.

I like how the summoner targets a space close to vulnerable party members, making the fight extra tricky.

Hehe, he will try to summon close to target. I think - so far - it's just the nearest target picked though,. Later on, AI might indeed choose wounded or easy to hit targets first.

The slimes look nasty, also I like the token of the summoner. So much glory in the old tokens.

Ah, and the giant turtle is awesome. Sents me some godzilla vibes, too :) .

Keep up the excellent work - it is very impressive to see it all grow, month by month relentlessly.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby slowdive » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:13 am

Dorateen wrote:Next up will be a dwarven village


Hamhock? Looking great Dorateen and seems like you are progressing steadily and should hopefully make your goal for an end of the year chapter 3 release.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:04 pm

slowdive wrote:
Dorateen wrote:Next up will be a dwarven village


Hamhock? Looking great Dorateen and seems like you are progressing steadily and should hopefully make your goal for an end of the year chapter 3 release.


Yes, that's right. Just the village, though. The mountain dungeon adventure will have to wait for a future update.

And thanks, pongo and youngneil1 for the feedback.

A lot will depend on how much I can get done between October and December. That will be the crucial period of pulling everything together, and finishing up areas that I started a while ago.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:38 pm

Something neat, I just created a new trait called Endurance. It is attached to an effect that permanently raises the character's constitution bonus by +1. Tested it on characters with 0 bonus on the attribute, a negative bonus, and when there was already an added bonus. In the effects utility, I had to set the values to True, for being permanent and stacking with existing values. The Traits and Effects system appears to work perfect.

There will be a skill available for each attribute that can be raised this way, by means of purchasing from a trainer. So the party better start saving lots of money! Here, I gave our paladin the Endurance trait, since he only had a 12. I will put a conditional check on the conversation when selecting to buy this skill, so that a character cannot get it more than once.

On a side note, I also added the two attack trait to be available for paladins starting at level 6. Since they are a subclass of fighters, I figured they should also get this trait, but 2 levels later than a pure fighter.

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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:53 pm

Nice one - you can bet my party is gonna build a dragon hoard worthy pile of gold now :) .
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sat Sep 02, 2017 3:37 pm

September Update

Last month I continued working on the city of Skardale. Most of the time was devoted to two important conversations relevant to this part of the campaign. The first is with the Duke of Relmfur, Orgoth Balinor. He is the highest ranking nobility the party has yet to meet. And it can be a fun interaction.

I enjoy this particular rebuke from the Earl-King:

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The other conversation is with the Viceroy of Skardale. This one is complex because it forks, and is nested in branching dialogue options. It can lead to a variety of resolutions and is an example of allowing player agency in how events in the gameworld can unfold.

Earlier this week, I updated to version 69 of the IceBlink engine. This includes the new AI settings that youngneil1 has been developing. To test it out, I gave the Relmfur Guard the "soft target hunter" option, which makes a creature go after the PC with worst armor class, within range. In the screenshot below, our poor cleric Elros has an AC 6. Compared to our paladin sporting an AC of 1, and I am in the middle with an AC of 4. (I'm using the setting that displays PC armor class in the AD&D style, where lower is better.) So the AI did indeed work as intended, the guards within striking distance choosing to go after Elros.

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The reason the guards can go after Elros without being adjacent is because they wield spears that have a melee attack range of 2. Another thing to note, as shown in the combat log, the guards who were further away, selected to target me rather than Lord Zurak, again because of his Armor Class of 1.

Now, a few comments. I really like having this AI option available, and look forward to including the blood hunter (target lowest Hit Points) and mind hunter (target highest Spell Points) added to other creatures. When I first tested this battle, I did not fight it tactically as I just wanted to make sure the AI was working. So with our different AC values, I sent these three characters up front, to confirm they would go after our least protected cleric.

As a result, the guards focused their attacks on the cleric, which in turn cost me use of valuable healing or hold spells. The guards essentially avoided wasting attacks on the harder to hit paladin, which made better use of the enemy's turn. When they did break through, they even went after our mage and archer, who are also soft targets. I can already see the way this will make players rethink their strategies, and positioning becomes very important.

Another consideration, with the new AI on a creature that appears as part of a homogeneous group, all six guards will focus on their target, given the opportunity. That will make things very dangerous for poor armor class, low hit point, and high spell point characters accordingly when they run into such a situations. I think builders will have to weigh where it is most appropriate to make effective use of the AI. The lower level goblins probably would not be smart enough to differentiate between targets. But intelligent enemies would. So there is certainly the possibility of character types being swarmed or "ganged up on", and it can be quite brutal. (Not a bad thing!)

I fought this battle a second time, a bit more carefully. I ended up with only the paladin and thief surviving. Zurak was able to use his heal spells to get us back on our feet afterward, and we just made it to a safe rest area, setting off a trap along the way. A player exploring the Fortress blind, is going to have quite a challenge!

Other things I was able to do in Skardale was add some more shops and trainers, and a couple more residents. There is a lot of content still to be filled in, and I will be returning to the city regularly before these areas are complete.

I also adjusted offensive spells like fireball, ice storm and blast of light, to give half damage on a successful saving throw. This is an option that has to be switched in the Effects editor. Looks like by default these are set to no damage on saves. That leads to lots of 0's popping up in combat. I find that characters and creatures make their saving throws often enough, and I would rather them take some damage.

Finally, for the month of September, I will be building the dwarven village of Hamhock. I already have a conversation done with one of the NPCs there. It should be a pretty straightforward conversion of the NWN2 module I'm working from. I'd like to have it up in a few weeks, so I can devote the remaining time to finishing all the new areas. I am exited about all the new systems that the next chapter of Hearkenwold will introduce, including the advanced AI and casting interruptions.
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