Author Topic: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)  (Read 896 times)

Offline Dorateen

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REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« on: November 15, 2015, 03:47:46 PM »
Call of Destiny by Platinum Bearer

This module is the author’s tribute to the Gold Box title Curse of the Azure Bonds. It can be characterized as a low-level adventure involving a party of neophyte characters being teamed up with more experienced companions throughout various stages of the story. In this regard, the joining of NPCs, is one of the areas where the influence of Azure Bonds can be seen. But these are not the canon characters from the novel and game, the player will not be meeting Alias, Dragonbait or Finder Wyvernspur. Rather some new faces are enlisted to aid the party.

In one case, however, one of the background characters featured in Curse of the Azure Bonds, plays a larger role here and becomes an NPC in the party. I thought this was a nice touch of using a familiar name, and raising their visibility, making Call of Destiny stand out as a fresh new story arc.

The introductory plot hook involves the player’s characters sharing a vision, and seeking its interpretation. This is another area, the concept of a shared fate between companions, which echoes this module’s inspiration. The theme is developed further as the party progresses through familiar locations, from the Village of Haptooth and on to the town of Tilverton.

Although this is a story driven module, there is certainly a healthy amount of combat. In fact, I would describe many fights as large scale battles. Often, there are reinforcements provided, so it can feel like the clash of two armies and play out more like a tactical strategy affair. Again, in addition to the extra boots on the ground, there are always a couple of different NPCs already in the party. Usually higher level than the player characters, their skills can be a difference maker.

These plot-based NPCs do interject at times while exploring dungeons. And they clearly have a history with each other, or make comments about the ongoing situation.

Another point about combat in this module, there is also some use of multiple battles that happen, chained together through a series of events. This is reminiscent of whenever the Gold Box games would throw combat encounters in waves at the party. So careful planning will be required, and resource management, as well as a bit of luck in order to survive. However, this design is woven into the overarching story, so the tension and challenge is understandable.

I would also point out that the author provided a key decision, role-playing moment that creates a divergent path to follow. This is commendable, creating an alternate way for the player to play out this adventure.

At the end of Call of Destiny, I finally had an arsenal of decent weaponry, along with some new quest leads to follow. These will be featured in the next part, and along with having a stronger characters, makes me look forward to the continuation.
"The curse is time, and the tragedy that we have not enough of it."
~Charlotte, the Village Elder
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Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 05:59:32 PM »
Thank you Dorateen. :) I really enjoyed reading that.

Hopefully it will get others interested in playing it.

A word about the alternate path for other players. There's an earlier decision that determines whether or not you get that choice. If you don't want to miss out on that you can pm me and I'll tell you what choice to make to get the later one, or you can just play it as is and take your chances. It doesn't commit you in any way, you can still choose the more conventional path like Dorateen did.
Part one of Call Of Destiny:
https://www.mediafire.com/?fs3cfu7niuuqdwt

Wanna learn martial arts?
Check out my brand new channel with new and improved videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHf7lqNU1J2cCmm4BtZC1XA
Tutorials coming very soon.

Remember, true power comes from within.

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2015, 07:28:34 PM »
I would like to provide some critiques of the design, that you could apply to a bugfixed version or on a future design:


1) The kobolds in the beginning have a level of thief.  Against a party that hasn't found armor yet, those backstabs are a death sentence as they frequently lead to one-hit kills.  (THAC0 20 with a +4 bonus to backstab against an AC average of 8 gives them about a 60% success rate).  Perhaps give them a level of fighter instead?


2) While it's okay to make the design decision to not use highlight on dialogue, it's confusing when four different people are conversing in the same text box.  Sometimes I couldn't tell who was addressing whom. 


3) Buildings in the first town don't have any text telling you what they are.  It is frustrating to have to run into a building to see what it is.  I poked under the hood, and there's plenty of text space and events left over if you wanted to address the issue.


4) If you ever do a bugfix or remastered version, I think the module would benefit from new artwork.  It's not something you have to do, mind you, but it doesn't hurt.  I have nothing against modules of the type, but it would help it stand out more, which isn't a bad thing.


Keep plugging away.  I can see there's passion there, so I have no doubt once you hone your skills, you'll be popping out masterpiece modules.  Can't wait for that.
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Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2015, 01:45:25 AM »
1) Yea I made kobolds L1 thieves and goblins L1 fighters because if they don't have a level they can't use their equipment. I thought backstabbing really suited the kobolds and it very rarely happened to my PCs when I was play testing, maybe I just got lucky.

The annoying thing about giving them a level is that Cerlestrion can no longer sweep the little sods and to make him able to do it again I'd have to raise his level much higher than the PCS. I've decided to put the monsters back to standard and take away their equipment but raise their standard stats to what they would be if they were still using their equipment. I'll add a bit of dialogue to say that the weapons and shields are too crude and flimsy to be used by the party or to be worth anything.

That way it will be a bit easier to start with. I wanted it to be challenging but it should probably build up to it a bit more. It really affected the balance when I realised goblins and kobolds couldn't use their equipment and gave them both a level. There's an alternate kobold icon that's a different colour that I'm going to use for L1 tribal kobolds (thieves) in one of the areas in the next module.


2) Dorateen mentioned this. I don't think it's a problem later on but in the early dialogues it's not the clearest. I'll separate the dialogue for different characters and change the picture that's showing where I can. The problem is that when the party is talking there's no picture for them and setting it to no picture just leaves the last one on the screen. I can still make it clearer by separating the dialogue into more text events but I didn't want it to seem like the speech was dragging, I was think the less time the player has to hit enter the better. There's quite a lot of speech in the early stages.


3) I didn't put signs up like the ones in Tilverton because it's just a small village rather than a commercial town and it wouldn't have many outsiders. What I could do is just put a bit of dialogue in describing what the building is. For example, holy symbols are fixed to the walls of this building, it must be the village temple. There's space to make additions in Hap, unlike Tilverton. Two Tilverton maps both full on events and and dialogue, as in no space for even one extra text character. I had to move a small bit of Tilverton to the Hap woods. :)


4) There is some new artwork, or do you mean completely new? There's a lot of nice artwork in the standard game and most of the pics I used are close to what I had in my head for those characters. There's going to be a lot more new pictures in the next part.


Cheers for the feedback. I've got a list for the next edition that's now got about 30 changes I need to make, most very minor. I was going to wait until part 2's finished before sorting out the changes to part 1 but there's more than enough now to release a neater version of part 1. I hope you and PetrusOctavianus carry on with it. I think chapter 2 (everything after the areas around Hap) is a lot stronger than chapter 1 and PetrusOctavianus is close to one of the best fights. It's right after the cave, provided you make friends with a certain monster in the cave. ;)
Part one of Call Of Destiny:
https://www.mediafire.com/?fs3cfu7niuuqdwt

Wanna learn martial arts?
Check out my brand new channel with new and improved videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHf7lqNU1J2cCmm4BtZC1XA
Tutorials coming very soon.

Remember, true power comes from within.

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2015, 01:05:34 PM »
1) Yea I made kobolds L1 thieves and goblins L1 fighters because if they don't have a level they can't use their equipment. I thought backstabbing really suited the kobolds and it very rarely happened to my PCs when I was play testing, maybe I just got lucky.


Probably.  Once they surround you, you're in trouble.  Especially when you don't have armor on.


The annoying thing about giving them a level is that Cerlestrion can no longer sweep the little sods and to make him able to do it again I'd have to raise his level much higher than the PCS. I've decided to put the monsters back to standard and take away their equipment but raise their standard stats to what they would be if they were still using their equipment. I'll add a bit of dialogue to say that the weapons and shields are too crude and flimsy to be used by the party or to be worth anything.



Raising their stats is what most people do.  If you want to include the items, just drop them in a "Combat Treasure" event, and they will still drop for the party once the monsters are dead.

Quote
2) Dorateen mentioned this. I don't think it's a problem later on but in the early dialogues it's not the clearest. I'll separate the dialogue for different characters and change the picture that's showing where I can. The problem is that when the party is talking there's no picture for them and setting it to no picture just leaves the last one on the screen. I can still make it clearer by separating the dialogue into more text events but I didn't want it to seem like the speech was dragging, I was think the less time the player has to hit enter the better. There's quite a lot of speech in the early stages.


The time gained from pressing enter is lost trying to decipher who is speaking, so it seems like a tie to me.

Quote
3) I didn't put signs up like the ones in Tilverton because it's just a small village rather than a commercial town and it wouldn't have many outsiders. What I could do is just put a bit of dialogue in describing what the building is. For example, holy symbols are fixed to the walls of this building, it must be the village temple. There's space to make additions in Hap, unlike Tilverton. Two Tilverton maps both full on events and and dialogue, as in no space for even one extra text character. I had to move a small bit of Tilverton to the Hap woods. :)


I was mainly speaking of the larger towns.  Things like Inns and Temples should be obvious to the characters, so they should be made obvious to the player as well.  Whether you do that by using different wall sets or text doesn't matter, but it would clear up a lot of confusion.

Quote
4) There is some new artwork, or do you mean completely new? There's a lot of nice artwork in the standard game and most of the pics I used are close to what I had in my head for those characters. There's going to be a lot more new pictures in the next part.


If there's new artwork, I haven't encountered it yet.  There's also the option of hacked artwork (frames, walls, dungeons, etc).



LANDS OF ADVENTURE: An Old-School Style CRPG

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

Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2015, 02:23:28 PM »
1) Yea I made kobolds L1 thieves and goblins L1 fighters because if they don't have a level they can't use their equipment. I thought backstabbing really suited the kobolds and it very rarely happened to my PCs when I was play testing, maybe I just got lucky.
Probably.  Once they surround you, you're in trouble.  Especially when you don't have armor on.
I'm going to change most of them back to standard and use the custom made blue coloured ones as tribal kobolds to add a bit of variety I think.

The annoying thing about giving them a level is that Celestrion can no longer sweep the little sods and to make him able to do it again I'd have to raise his level much higher than the PCS. I've decided to put the monsters back to standard and take away their equipment but raise their standard stats to what they would be if they were still using their equipment. I'll add a bit of dialogue to say that the weapons and shields are too crude and flimsy to be used by the party or to be worth anything.
Raising their stats is what most people do.  If you want to include the items, just drop them in a "Combat Treasure" event, and they will still drop for the party once the monsters are dead.
I was being thick. I don't even need to use combat treasure. I can just put them back to standard then raise their AC by one for the shield and raise their damage to dagger damage for kobolds and club damage for goblins.

2) Dorateen mentioned this. I don't think it's a problem later on but in the early dialogues it's not the clearest. I'll separate the dialogue for different characters and change the picture that's showing where I can. The problem is that when the party is talking there's no picture for them and setting it to no picture just leaves the last one on the screen. I can still make it clearer by separating the dialogue into more text events but I didn't want it to seem like the speech was dragging, I was think the less time the player has to hit enter the better. There's quite a lot of speech in the early stages.
The time gained from pressing enter is lost trying to decipher who is speaking, so it seems like a tie to me.
I'll see if I can trim down the dialogue without making it sound rushed and unnatural.

3) I didn't put signs up like the ones in Tilverton because it's just a small village rather than a commercial town and it wouldn't have many outsiders. What I could do is just put a bit of dialogue in describing what the building is. For example, holy symbols are fixed to the walls of this building, it must be the village temple. There's space to make additions in Hap, unlike Tilverton. Two Tilverton maps both full on events and and dialogue, as in no space for even one extra text character. I had to move a small bit of Tilverton to the Hap woods. :)
I was mainly speaking of the larger towns.  Things like Inns and Temples should be obvious to the characters, so they should be made obvious to the player as well.  Whether you do that by using different wall sets or text doesn't matter, but it would clear up a lot of confusion.
I thought you meant Hap? There's only Hap and Tilverton for towns/villages. Tilverton has a sign up outside every door but it only triggers once, like in CotAB and the temple is a different texture to the other buildings but not the same texture as in CotAB. It's been renovated. The training hall is also different, stone, same as before. I suppose I could untick the trigger once option for the signs but I think that would be annoying. I'll put the descriptions I was talking about in for Hap. 'The sound of drunken cheers and laughter can be heard coming from this building, this must be the village tavern.' I definitely don't want those triggering more than once.

4) There is some new artwork, or do you mean completely new? There's a lot of nice artwork in the standard game and most of the pics I used are close to what I had in my head for those characters. There's going to be a lot more new pictures in the next part.
If there's new artwork, I haven't encountered it yet.  There's also the option of hacked artwork (frames, walls, dungeons, etc).
Not new new, but artwork done by other people. The first one is in the cave I think. There's a few new pics and a few new icons.
Part one of Call Of Destiny:
https://www.mediafire.com/?fs3cfu7niuuqdwt

Wanna learn martial arts?
Check out my brand new channel with new and improved videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHf7lqNU1J2cCmm4BtZC1XA
Tutorials coming very soon.

Remember, true power comes from within.

Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: REVIEW: Call of Destiny (by Platinum Bearer)
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2015, 06:19:16 AM »
Okay I've just done some of the most important changes based on the feedback I've been getting. I won't upload it to rosedragon until I've made the changes for later in the module as well but this should make a big difference to the earlier stages.

1. Put the monsters back to standard, allowing goblins and kobolds to be swept by Celestrion.
2. Put text outside the Hap buildings so the player knows what's where without having to go inside.
3. Put warnings in the cave for the tough fights.
4. Changed the position of the cave entrance so it's the same as CotAB.
5. Fixed a couple of small bugs and typos I missed.

https://www.mediafire.com/?fs3cfu7niuuqdwt

Edit:
Don't move your save files over if you have Alissia in the party unless you want to edit the cave dungeon event on the entrance square. I moved her down a slot so now she won't get removed.

Re-Edit:
You might want to rename goblin guards to goblin warriors, give them shields and improve their AC by one so they match the combat icons, I forgot to do that. Not too much of a problem though, you can still get shields from the kobolds.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2015, 07:32:06 PM by Platinum Bearer »
Part one of Call Of Destiny:
https://www.mediafire.com/?fs3cfu7niuuqdwt

Wanna learn martial arts?
Check out my brand new channel with new and improved videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHf7lqNU1J2cCmm4BtZC1XA
Tutorials coming very soon.

Remember, true power comes from within.

 

anything