My ToEE playthrough notes

Discussion in 'The Temple of Elemental Evil' started by anatoliy, Jan 9, 2021.

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  1. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    I've played with a spiked chain character before, because I didn't want to 'cheat' to get the benefits. :) But unless/until someone fixes the way other reach weapons work, they're a pretty bad deal. I think the only actual advantages are that they can be finessed (assuming they can; and if you have low strength, you'll be bad at tripping), that they look really cool, and that the two-handed wielding animation behaves properly when enlarged.
     
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  2. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    So, I've been playing through again to refresh my memory and test out stuff, and just got done with the Lareth fight. I really like how he comes out and monologues at you during the battle. I'm pretty sure that didn't happen back when I last played. He'd just sit in his room for the whole fight, then all his dialogue would happen when you busted in there, and it seemed kind of silly.

    My only complaint is that he was somehow casting sound burst on my guys through the wall while he was still in his room, before his lieutenant alerted him. :p
     
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  3. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Are you playing with alert through doors perhaps? (Or door was open for some reason)
    I imagine that could pull him in earlier than supposed to.
    BTW I added that bit about 10 years ago, glad you liked it :)

    Sound burst - or any "AI AoE spell through walls" occurence, such as the infamous salamander fireballs - is an unfortunate consequence of AI shortcomings, I think. Basically it lacks a "approach until target is in LOS" AI tactic. I did add such a thing for archers in T+ however, so it should make that easier as well.
     
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  4. JDR13

    JDR13 Member

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    One thing I discovered is that he only comes out if your party is close enough to that area. The second time I did that battle, I chose to send one party member up that hallway to draw them out while the rest of my party stayed in that circular room on the south end of the hall. I pulled all the soldiers down to that area, but he never came out.
     
  5. JDR13

    JDR13 Member

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    Question: When dialogue is initiated by someone outside the party, what determines which party member is going to be addressed? I thought it was whoever is in the lead position, but that's not always the case. In the battle with the torturer and his bugbear sidekick on level 1 of the temple, he surrenders after a certain point to negotiate, but he keeps talking to someone who's 4th or 5th (I don't remember which) in the party order.
     
  6. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    Yeah, I'm probably playing with alert through doors turned on.

    I remembered another general ToEE complaint I had, too. On one of my failed attempts, I thought I was going to actually make it, but then Lareth's surrender dialogue triggered. That automatically ends a bunch of spells that are set to stop when combat stops. In my case, it ended the obscuring mist that was probably the only thing keeping me alive. And I wasn't really planning on accepting Lareth's surrender.

    So, like, how do people feel about that? I kind of understand the motivation behind it. I dislike it when I have to wait for web spells to end in BG in real time. But situations like the above are kind of annoying. Invisibility Purge is another example I've noticed. It lasts 1 minute/level, so could in theory be useful over staggered encounters, but it arbitrarily ends when combat does.
     
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  7. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Administrator

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    That changes from encounter to encounter - sometimes it is closest PC, sometimes it will address the party leader. Ideally it will adress the party leader if close enough and if s/he is not dead / unconscious etc, but not a lot of them are really bullet-proofed like that.
     
  8. sigofmugmort

    sigofmugmort Established Member Supporter

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    I REALLY hate that part as it gives him a effective free turn and is very unrealistic
     
  9. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    I guess the proper solution is to not really halt combat when dialogue starts, and postpone it until after the dialogue ends. Usually for dialogues like that, if you resume combat it is through an explicit script command, which may be made to cancel the cessation of combat.
    The annoying part is that these dialog sequences usually have explicit scripting to end combat ("shitlist_remove") which would then have to be removed one by one where appropriate.
     
  10. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    So, I think I might have screwed up playing with reduced XP. I guess I thought it was going to gradually taper off later, but my party seems to be seriously under-leveled for every non-trivial encounter left in the game.

    I was level 3 fighting Lareth and that was pretty tough (I think I remember being 5 last time), to the point that I'd say doing the ambush directly afterwards is unreasonable at that level. I tried doing Imerydis at that point, but it seems like that would only be possible by save scumming. I did some other stuff and eventually beat it at level 4, but it pretty much required (ab)using sneak to reposition before the fight. And then in the temple, just random groups of bugbears are level 9 encounters, and the back door is something like level 11. So I went back to an earlier save and am going to try with full XP, I think.

    Also, I didn't remember this, but the combat positioning/movement in hallways like in the temple is just utter garbage. I was trying to get my fighters to block the hall. It looks like they could stand two abreast, but the game won't allow it. However, it does allow enemies to just walk past you even though they couldn't actually stand in the spots they're moving through. I guess this is probably what anatoliy was talking about before with making the PCs wider. Pretty sure the enemies aren't making DC25 tumble checks to move through occupied space. :)
     
  11. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    I remember that while testing it, you usually lagged a level or two behind normal play, was that the case? (I used a script that runs the xp calculations, though obviously it has no regard for actually being able to win an encounter; I assumed you'd generally pick the easier encounters first and more or less follow the same trajectory)

    At any rate, it certainly leads to a more hard-core experience - I don't think you can play it as you normally would. It does provide a compelling reason to pick up all the powerful NPCs such as Elmo and Otis, and perhaps a few others as sacrificial buffers ;)

    Re. Pathfinding, IIRC the algorithm reduces the critter radius by 0.7 (just the mover though, I think), so maybe that's how they squeeze through. I don't remember the exact reason, I vaguely recall it was to deal with the grid quantization yielding inconsistent paths. Maybe it should maintain a different radius for critters and tile blockers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
  12. dolio

    dolio Established Member Supporter

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    I think I read a thread here by Gaear noting the same effect (getting wrecked early game by reduced XP). I think the problem is maybe that the early game is already pretty tough at full XP, and it's only stagnates after you get to the temple. Or maybe you folks have just rebalanced the game well enough for full XP all the way. :)
     
  13. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Nah. The game isn't really balanced around the temple - it tends to be a cakewalk once you hit level 6, and IIRC that happens while mowing down the monsters on Temple level 1, or not long after.

    In Temple+ the lower xp setting only kicks in at level 3 to avoid the early game issue. I could make the first xp scaled level tunable, so you could make it start at level 4 instead of 3. It's probably a good idea, so that different modules (or ToEE versions for that matter, e.g. vanilla) can have different settings.

    In hindsight, it would have been simpler to just lower CRs on the bugbears to fix the XP bloat...
     
  14. hammyh

    hammyh Established Member

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    I thought this might be a good thread to discuss some of my playthrough notes for the current betas. I'm currently just about to do the Hedrak fight and Zugg Lvl9):

    1. Super-strong new spells:
    • Ironhorn (Bard lvl 1, other arcane lvl2) very strong mass-knockdown cone (reflex save)
    • Wave of Grief (lvl2 any FS/bard, evil clerics) very strong skill/AB/save starter cone (will save). -3 means follow-up spells have a pretty good chance of landing
    • Energy Vortex + Mass Resist Energy (L3 every divine caster). Extremely flexible (on-demand energy type) local "fireball" that can be cast at double power with relatively little harm to a protected party.
    • Mass Curse of Impending blades (Arcane 3) -2 AC for all enemies in AoE, no save
    • Allegro (Bard 3) double move speed for everyone for a significant duration (essentially eliminates the need for Expedited retreat, Quickmarch, Longstrider)
    In fact these cone spells are so impressive that I am turning Zaxis into an Arcane archer to test these at later levels. Previously AA had a fairly bad selection to use and the PRC was imho bad. I think these new cone spells available to Bards and somewhat to other arcanes will improve the PRC Imbue Arrow.

    That's not to say that there were not strong spells before. Druid Soften Earth and Stone is, as always, an extremely useful short-term hold spell... Sound Burst, Fireball, charms, etc etc.

    2. The reach weapon changes are very, very nice

    3. So far the Abjurant Champion and Stormlord PRCs are fun and provide effective boosts, even if only 2-3 prc levels. (lvl 9 character)
     
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  15. hammyh

    hammyh Established Member

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    And this is another reason why evil clerics can be fun (after Hedrak Battle):
    upload_2021-9-22_18-19-41.png
    Notice the new Honor-Guard...

    It looks like this was a luck roll. 6th level turning (Stormlord is not supposed to advance turning lvl, I think) and the Bugbears are 10th level.

    According to SRD, a 22 turn check could squeeze out this result (+3 charisma bonus + d20) = +4 levels. 6+4 = 10.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2021
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