Monday, November 14, 2011

Please Stand By

I'm having first world problems over here.  My computer at home randomly barfs.  If it was predictable I could work around it, but it isn't and it's stressful to be just about to post a comment on someone's blog and have it segfault or whatever it's doing.  Anyway, here are some things going on:
  • I have a one page disease pretty much done, just need to nail down the contagiousness and fatalness of each.
  • Our session on Friday went swimmingly.  I was concerned because this batch of players was going back into the Monastery of St Eudo, which had been pretty much cleared before.  That place is all about creepy redcap-like kobolds and goblins.  I wasn't sure if repeating the same creepy scenes would be fun for me, but it was.  And knowing the scenes I could focus more on when to make them happen and who would witness them.  I rolled on my creepy combat commentary chart to give the things different personalities.  The masochist was pretty creepy.
  • I didn't get a chance to finish tweaking the Nidus shopping charts before play.  The way it works now, you roll to see if you find what you want and then you roll a wonder to see what you encountered during the search.  The second step saves the whole set up, because players would be frustrated trying to locate a jeweler and then laugh, or be creeped out, by the weird stuff they saw.
  • I've been trending this way for a while but I'm convinced now that players should have access to a little booklet dedicated to their character's class.  For mages it would let them know how to scribe scrolls, research spells, gather material components etc.  For fighters it would talk about shield walls, splintering shields, hiring combatants, etc.  For divine-petitioners it would layout how petitioning works, permanent miracles, atoning, and some of the saints, gods, and totems in my world in broad brushstrokes (though, as I write that last bit I'm resistant, I'd like players to feel free to come up with their own powers and having mine all nailed down would probably work against that)
  • I bought Skyrim.  Times are monetarily tight, but I figure I'll save money on the beer I'm not drinking while I play the game.  Thoughts so far?  Quite nice, the dragons are impressive and scary, I find it engaging to just roam around hunting deer, collect plants and insects, and smithing stuff.  But they scaled the damn world again.  I'm intentionally not leveling up because I don't want all the deer and wolves in the world to inexplicably transform into bears and trolls as I get more powerful.  Surely I'm not the only one?  In Oblivion, past a certain amount of scaling, horses became useless because trolls and minotaurs would kill them out from under you wherever you rode.  In Fallout 3, I never explored the entire map because I leveled to the point that everywhere you went was teeming with deathclaws.  Surely the gain from leveling a world is less than this loss of these things.


  1. I don't play Elder Scrolls, but I have to wonder why you would implement D&D style levelling at all if the world just scales to match. I think somewhere along the way someone became unclear about what a levelling system is for.

  2. what john said. I think the idea is that a world full of non-threats or nickel-and-dime damage annoys high level players. But there are other solutions to that, the most obvious being geographical distribution (at its most literal, dungeon levels, but there are many other ways to do it). Or there could be elective threats (ghosts and stuff lower-level characters can't see) or wolf/shark repellent etc etc etc.

    Ken Rolston's retired. That might be part of the problem - I think he kept them from being too eager to emulate WoW.

  3. once again I failed to state my point, which is that as you go up levels you should be rewarded with more choices, more power to choose the world you want, not less. Again, Pokemon nods in this direction; after you finish the main mission the whole map is open to you. And there are some magic items that keep nickel and dime threats away if you choose to use them.

  4. My strategy is to try and fight the game by not leveling. Unfortunately if you go into the leveling screen you're forced to go up all the levels you've earned at once. So its all or nothing.

    I am quite enjoying the world as a 3rd level mage, and it is working out that there are plenty of things that can kill me and I am slowly getting more powerful/having more choices. But sloooowly, because without leveling my hp and magic points don't go up unless I enhance them by enchanting.

  5. Fallout: New Vegas seemed to work much better in that regard. The up-scaling of animals isn't as noticeable, and the tougher human opponents are foreshadowed and signposted by NPCs talking about their factions calling in reinforcements and elite units in a way that works with the tone and plot very well.

  6. I've found that in Skyrim, I'm level 28 and still see deer and really easy bandits all over the place. And a large chunk of my levels are from the three crafting skills. I only haven't been able to take on one opponent, and that's because I was trying to fight them at level 7 ish and when I came back at 28 I could take em. In other words, I haven't noticed the scaling much. Also this has the best traveling companion NPC I have ever had, haven't messed around much with my horse. I'm afraid of the vulnerability time when I get off of it.

  7. Thanks oddbit, that's reassuring. Maybe I'll pop up the ~10 levels I've earned so I can get some perks that I'd find useful like improving magic weapons.

    I'm always afraid of taking the hirelings with me-- I'd feel bad if they died. Bad enough to have a horse eaten by a dragon, hate to lose my housecarl that way.