Ironman Game Playthrough Review

Discussion in 'The Temple of Elemental Evil' started by Endarire, Jul 11, 2021.

Remove all ads!
  1. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    78
    Greetings, all!

    Tonight I finished my first and likely only Ironman mode playthrough of Temple of Elemental Evil Circle of Eight New Content Edition with my modified shop vendor files and Temple+ 1.0.84.

    Our party was all Human and we won at level 8 - Male CG Bard, Male CG Cleric of Pelor (Good & Strength Domains), Female Druid, Female Rogue1/Conjurer7, and Male Sorcerer. I generally limited the party to what classes, spells, feats, and items were available in the commercial release of ToEE.

    Our party was purposely all casters aside from the occasional hireling. I generally avoided checking online maps and spoilers for things, but I had much of the game memorized. We had a well-balanced group: La'Noir the Bard was our socialite who liked longspears, Inspire Courage, grease, charm person, and buffs. Cliff the Cleric liked longspears and eventually helped the party have +1 Holy Longspears for all. Oceana the Druid used entangle, her animal companion, her summons, her barkskin, and her pokes. The Brain the Rogue1/Conjurer maxed Appraise ASAP without spending feats on it and I wished she would have gone full Wizard because the casting would have helped more. Pinky the Sorcerer spammed magic missile and fireball. Everyone used buffs and party-crafted longspears for extra reach. Everyone also started with Improved Initiative and 4 of 5 characters also started with Combat Reflexes for extra off-turn pokes. The fifth character eventually got Combat Reflexes.

    What started as a thrilling campaign-mode version of a beloved D&D video game turned into a bug-ridden slog. Friends don't let friends play Ironman. Why? Game crashes and freezes during Imredys Run, forcing a restart during a close fight at level 4 about 30 minutes in; a game crash against Hedrack after about 30 minutes after using the wand of chain lightning; various random encounters simply freezing the game on the map screen when I tried leaving; and the game acting like a less well-behaved version of the game I remembered. Also, Elmo died so much while on our team that we accidentally got the Butcher of Hommlet reputation. Whee!

    At least eventually I discovered how to manipulate ToEE's Ironman mode to save when I wanted. Otherwise, I likely would have quit from frustration. Ironman saves in its one slot whenever you push ESC and click Return to Game OR when you change maps. Quitting ToEE via Alt-F4 or Control+Alt+Delete and force quitting the game (or otherwise closing the game without saving in an aforementioned way) simply doesn't save the game. Totally useful and likely unintended by the dev team, but it's there.

    Going into this, I was curious how well this Rogue1/Conjurer (opposed Enchantment & Necromancy) would fare against the Sorcerer. My assessment was correct: Sorcerers are great at high levels - once you have level 6+ spells - so you have ample spells known. Until then, they're mostly useful to spam grease and magic missile and web and fireball and the occasional buff or other spell and they're far less useful for crafting overall! Because during this Ironman mode I couldn't simply safely save and reload my way to avoid all unwanted fights, having the extra spells per day from being a Sor compared to a Wizard was handy, but not enough to justify so few spells known and having to wait an extra level to learn new spell levels compared to a Wizard. Sometimes the extra spells per day was worthwhile, but when we only fought one notable fight per rest period because not operating at full power all the time and treating every fight like a boss fight could permanently delete the save, the extra spells per day was less noticeable. (Baldur's Gate II starts new Sors and Wizards at level 7, close to level 8, and they can easily reach level 9+ in the starting dungeon. This lets them skip the build up from low levels that I've generally wanted to avoid, having done it so often.)

    Playing through the game this way showed me why I preferred the playstyle I did. That playstyle is a small party of full casters (some combination of Wizard, Cleric, and Druid) with high base stats that self-craft their gear. It's easier to buff, easier to equip, faster to level, and faster in general to play through the game. I like casting spells on most turns, letting minions like animal companions, summons, and charmies do most the physical combat. Baldur's Gate turned me into a Wizard lover and a magic missile spammer because I was so tired of my team missing physical attacks! ToEE reinforced that notion, and the first time I beat ToEE soon after its release was with a party of 5 Wizards who spammed magic missile and fireball. I was very tired of missing.

    This was the first run where our team used charm effects in earnest. We used them on occasion before, but now the Bard and Sor purposely learned charm person so we could steal Humans and Bugbears in combat. We discovered the thrill of using the wand of chain lightning from Falrinth's Second Chest against major fights when our party was only level 4! We were greatly relieved when we could just cast fireball and call lightning to end fights quickly once we had level 3 spells! We talked Zuggy away then stole her gems the second time because the first time the game didn't register our interacting with the throne before talking with the Crone due to our fast speed and big reach!

    Overall, I did this challenge because not having done this challenged bugged me enough that I started it on June 21, 2021 - my birthday. Our family gathered around the laptop, we made characters, and played until very late. Since then we occasionally played, though the pressure of having to always be alert to avoid a character death or undesired outcome discouraged me from playing. Try Ironman mode if you're curious but I don't recommend it due to bugs, just as was told me.

    At least it's over and we won. Alleluia!
     
  2. hammyh

    hammyh Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    4
    Fun times and nice write-up.

    It looks like you had a fair bit of interaction with the wand of chain lightning. I wanted to ask if you noticed any particular trigger for any crashes due to using the wand. I like the idea of the wand, but....

    I stopped trying to use it after a number of crashes. Even though I have read that 4 wand targets or less will not cause a crash = inevitably I've seen this thing crash a game with just 1 wand target. I suspect the crash may be related to a large number of enemies in the battle and perhaps it overtaxes the memory or whatnot. I can't remember testing it in small battles, though, as it wasn't attractive to me for that.

    Did you notice a crash pattern?
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2021
  3. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,202
    Likes Received:
    296
    As always, if you can submit the crash dumps, save files that demonstrate the problem and logfiles from right after a game freeze it would go a long way towards fixing the issues. Otherwise it's a crapshoot for me to reproduce these issues.
     
  4. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    78
    Where are these crash dumps?

    Note that due to Ironman, the old save states are gone.
     
  5. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,202
    Likes Received:
    296
    Same place where the log files are. See Support link in my sig for more details.
     
  6. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    78
    Note that when the wand of chain lightning crashed the game, there was no error message: Maybe the game ran out of memory.

    Regardless, I've attached the crash dumps I have since I started on that file.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Messages:
    3,202
    Likes Received:
    296
    Hmm, 5/6 of those crashes occurred when the game hides the spells UI in the character sheet (which is itself invoked by various other calls, hard to tell which). Do you recall doing anything inventory/spellbook related that led to crashes?
     
  8. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    78
    Crash-wise, when my Cleric reached level 17 to be able to cast level 9 Cleric spells, the game crashed.
     
  9. Endarire

    Endarire Ronald Rynnwrathi

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    78
    @Sitra Achara
    To clarify, I used T+ 1.084, Co8 NC, and ShiningTed's Domain Spells mod.
     
Our Host!