Author Topic: REVIEW: Game05: B6, The Veiled Society (by Ray Dyer)  (Read 1213 times)

Offline ProphetSword

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REVIEW: Game05: B6, The Veiled Society (by Ray Dyer)
« on: January 23, 2009, 05:57:57 PM »
Game05: B6, The Veiled Society
by Ray Dyer

Overall Rating: see below

Reviewed by Foy Burns (Yofb@aol.com)


In my continuing series of "Dawn & Foy's Adventures" in the TSR module conversion world of The Realm:

This is another short game for low level characters.

   It takes place in a very large city at the center of the Realms and is mostly a murder mystery. There is plenty of political intrigue and you get the feeling through the whole module that things are much bigger than yourself.

   This module gives you the impression of free will, with lots of question events but it is mostly a cover for a very linear story. My wife and I chose very different answers to some of the questions but we ended up having all the same encounters.

Things I liked:

   * The illusion of people crowding the streets. A wall set I hadn't seen before puts people on the streets as you explore the city.

   * I liked the taverns. Each one had its own feel. They were handled as questions events, not tavern events, so it was easy to know if you had heard all the rumors.

   * The story was very good. I stayed up way too late and ran through the whole thing in a single sitting.

   * A couple of the fights were very exciting (especially if you used your spells up earlier).

Things I didn't like:

   * The font was very bad. It was hard to see highlighted words and it was impossible to tell when a character had enough EPs to advance. Game06's font & frame were ugly but this one actually detracted from my game enjoyment.

   * No place to rest. You basically play the entire game all in one day. I ended up casting every single magical and clerical spell I had memorized and used up every scroll and potion of healing trying to finish the game. Of course that made the game more exciting...

   * A couple of story threads were left hanging and sometimes things happened that made you want to scratch your head and wonder what THAT was all about.

   * One of the fights puts enemy monsters in blocked off rooms with no way to get at them.

   This one was good. Overall, we liked it and got plenty of new treasure although not much magic to replace the stuff we had to use. We then decided to get back to the suggested order of play and moved our new improved characters over to Game07 - B10, Assault on Raven's Ruin.

 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 05:44:53 PM by Olivier Leroux »
LANDS OF ADVENTURE: An Old-School Style CRPG

More Information Here: http://landsadventure.blogspot.com/

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: REVIEW: Game05: B6, The Veiled Society
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 08:26:01 PM »
Game05: B6, The Veiled Society
by Ray Dyer

Overall Rating: 9.5

Reviewed by Glen Sprigg

       Another stellar effort by Ray Dyer, beautifully capturing the essence of the original module. Specularum really comes to life in this design, with dozens of individual shops, lots of busy taverns and inns, and of course, a nasty criminal society determined to make the PCs lives miserable.

       The adventure can best be described as 'Sam Spade meets the Godfather.' The Veiled Society is an organized crime society similar the Mafia or the Yakuza today. And the PCs get to play detective, trying to solve the mystery of a haunted basement in which some very down-to-earth things are happening. It's a challenge, but an entertaining one. The clues are there, and so are some chase scenes, a full-blown riot, and a secret hideout with mazes of twisty little passages for the PCs to chase the bad guys in.

       I played this adventure after running through the Journey to the Rock, on the suggestion of Jenlar Temlin, the wizard's servant from the first adventure. He told me to go to Specularum, where we could be trained and advance in level. So I ventured into the edge of the Eastlands, but next I'll be heading downstream to explore Raven's Ruin. My PCs are up to 3rd and 4th level by now, but that's okay. It will give us an advantage over the goblins we're supposed to fight there.

       So Ray scores high in the artistic portion of the judging. Now for the technical marks. High scores from all except the Romanian judge, who thought there were enough spelling mistakes to drop Ray's score down. But it's not enough to deny Ray the first-place marks he so richly deserves. The hacks were excellent, particularly the crowded streets and the flaming marketplace after the riots. I can't comment on the music, since I still can't hear any music or sound effects with UA. I hope (and pray) that this unfortunate situation will change when I get my new computer a week before Christmas.

       So for those who haven't played this design, hurry up. Don't forget to download the patch from the Realm website; the design has some bugs, and the patch cleans most of them up.
LANDS OF ADVENTURE: An Old-School Style CRPG

More Information Here: http://landsadventure.blogspot.com/

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: Game05: B6, The Veiled Society (by Ray Dyer)
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 01:21:37 PM »
Game05: The Veiled Society
by Ray Dyer

Reviewed by Merric Blackman


This is an interesting module, being more event-based than most other FRUA modules. The conversion by Ray Dyer shows all of his hallmark attention to detail and skill.

It is an extremely entertaining murder mystery set amid the intrigues of the City of Speclaralum, one of the important centres in Mystara, the setting for Basic D&D adventures. There are numerous leads to follow, and the module generally rewards you for good detective work.

I created a new party to adventure through this module, and they had little difficulty in surviving the encounters. For your information, they were Gillian (Pal1), Brunak (Ftr1), Meliander (Wiz1), Tyrian (Rog1), Caitlin (Wiz1) and Jarre (Clr1). All were human. The access to two sleep spells was occasionally decisive. By the end of the module, Jarre was ready to level up, but Tyrian had been knocked unconscious in the final battle, so failed to get some bonus experience for completing the module. Each of my characters gained about 1,700 xp.

This is an important bug in many module designs: Don't give story experience until everyone has had a chance to be conscious!

There are a few other bugs of the minor sort in this design; mostly to do with transfer from one area to another. I suggest that Ray have a look at the "Run event at destination" flags on a couple of his Step-event transfers - these should be set to "off" due to a bug in UA causing such an event to trigger twice.

Especially good was the use of wall-art to depict citizens filling up the busy city; it is a technique that could be well used by other designers - too often the city look barren in other designs. The choice of music was excellent, as was the artwork.

The font chosen and its colours were especially poor. I couldn't believe how bad it was! Once I deleted the ALWAYS.TLB file and reset the colours to FRUA normal, I could live with the font, but Ray's search for the perfect scheme for FRUA has gone badly awry here!

The module was fairly short to play, taking me no more than 90 minutes. There were some skimpy explanations at times as to why things were occurring as they did, and morally I feel that Gillian was on very shaky ground after she helped some assassins kill an innocent noble! Oops. Just as well her God (Heironeous) wasn't paying attention.

There is a lot of complexity behind this module, and Ray has done a great job of converting it to FRUA. I remember reading the original module about ten or more years ago, and being very impressed by it whilst being sure that I'd find it very difficult to DM. (Though I think by now I'd find it fairly easy - ten years more experience makes a lot of difference!)

This is a module that every dedicated FRUAer should try to see another way of constructing an adventure. I give it 7 out of 10.

Offline Milos Gulan

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Re: REVIEW: Game05: B6, The Veiled Society (by Ray Dyer)
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 03:41:47 PM »
This is a great module once You figure out how to play it. Very nicely done town adventure, more mystery then fighting but at the end I felt really impressed by all that I have seen.

This is my second try and after few days I have finished it. My style of play was fight first and read later but this adventure doesn't work that well with that and it is mostly about reading text and doing things carefuly.

I enjoyed few town scenes very much and atmosphere of Specularum was great. Very nice module to summ it up, though because of colour of text it was a bit hard to read it.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2017, 01:06:21 AM by Milos Gulan »