Jump to content

Sword Coast Stratagems v33 now available


Recommended Posts

Let me know how it goes - I don’t use hot keys at all myself so I don’t have much experience of this aspect of the EE. I actually suspect that some of the higher level mage spells may be unavailable.

Link to post
Guest serikas

Just a note. I couldn't adjust to the change (D -> Q) for ease-of-use AI. I didn't want to reinstall everything over this. I used the trick from here and applied it to override/bddefai.bcs to change Q back to D.

Link to post
On 5/26/2020 at 6:34 PM, DavidW said:

Yes, but to be honest I'm unsure when - it's fairly clear my player base is mostly EE so this is low-priority. If I do re-enable it, it'll almost certainly not be with the area map changes in the new version, just the caves from the old version.

Managed to sort of fix this issue by unpacking the zone files and just deleting the map images for Abazigal's Lair. It stopped crashing whenever I'd open the map, with the only downside being a green image in place of the map, but it wasn't that big a deal since you really don't need a map in Abazigal's Lair that much. Seems like quite a shame to have such a good module removed when a quick "fix" is that easy to do. What about just bringing it back for non-EE installs with a big fat warning sticker slapped on top that the maps don't work there?

Link to post
On 5/27/2020 at 3:29 AM, Philosofy101 said:

Thanks so much for all the work you've put into this. Can this be installed while we have saves running with the previous version?

No promises, but probably.

Link to post
Guest BWP contributor

I'm a huge fan of your work, but for Abazigal lair I'm actually not that convinced. 

It feels like a sore thumb, given that you force the player to go get some rope just to face the dragons. While I think that the encounter with the yellow dragon is masterfully crafted, the rope retrieval is simply boring and the consequence of the retrieval feels out of place.

I mean, I realize that searching for the rope is your way to force the player to face the dragons, but:
1) you make Abazigal lair a little more boring\longer (not by much)
2) You make the player face these dragons, but they not only have weird dialogues, but act against logic (I just killed two and there is a third, wait a forth). If only at least they dropped scales or artifacts that matched their power. None of that.

Thanks for the new release.

Link to post
11 hours ago, Guest BWP contributor said:

I'm a huge fan of your work, but for Abazigal lair I'm actually not that convinced. 

It feels like a sore thumb, given that you force the player to go get some rope just to face the dragons. While I think that the encounter with the yellow dragon is masterfully crafted, the rope retrieval is simply boring and the consequence of the retrieval feels out of place.

I mean, I realize that searching for the rope is your way to force the player to face the dragons, but:
1) you make Abazigal lair a little more boring\longer (not by much)
2) You make the player face these dragons, but they not only have weird dialogues, but act against logic (I just killed two and there is a third, wait a forth). If only at least they dropped scales or artifacts that matched their power. None of that.

I appreciate the feedback (genuinely).

Let me say a little about my design thoughts for that component (albeit it was ten years or so ago!) The starting point is that Abazigal's lair is supposed to host 'an army of dragons'. So I wanted to up the dragon representation. And dragons are fiddly: they need large areas to fight in, and the entrance to the lair is cool. So I wanted an excuse to use that area for one of the new fights. In terms of actual fight design (this being a tactical mod, ultimately), I was running with two concepts: one was a yellow dragon (as yet unused, but in the game files) who was also an archmage; one was a fight with a significant group of dragons. Since you like Anadramatis anyway, I'll concentrate on the latter.

Tactically, I'm reasonably happy with it: a sequential fight against dragons hasn't been tried (Ascension Abazigal is a simultaneous fight) and feedback has been good. The reason for not having all the dragons fight simultaneously is practical - they would hurt each other with their breath weapons, and it's too difficult to script so they don't breathe on each other. But I don't find the in-world account implausible- a stronger dragon  might well force a weaker dragon to fight in its stead, in the hope of not having to injure itself in the first place. 

I'd be interested in hearing more about why you think the dialogs are 'weird'. I've had occasional comments on a similar line before, but no details. I did an editing pass over those dialogs before releasing v32 and tweaked them (they were perhaps a little playful). Mostly speaking, dropping powerful items goes against SCS design principles (it contributes to the arms race where you get cooler stuff from fighting more powerful foes) but I can see a case for green dragon scales - I'll consider it.

The rope acquisition is definitely the weakest part of the component - it's fairly transparently an excuse to send the party back to Amkethran, and it's a bit implausible that a party as powerful as ToB-<CHARNAME> is stymied by something so mundane. The only thing I'd say in my defense is that it's thematically in keeping with the vanilla lair. ("We can't hold our breath long enough! … oh, we've got some magic to help with that... but we're getting lost in the tunnels! If only we had a rope! … Oh, this monk gave some to us). It's pretty ridiculous, one of the weaker parts of ToB. There's a case for doing some slightly more systematic level redesign... but now we're well out of scope for SCS.

Link to post
Guest BWP contributor

Thanks for sharing your ideas. I will share a bit of feedback.


                                                                        DRAGONS FIGHT
The issue I’ve got with the dragon fights are many.

1) Nothing more to add about the rope. I think I actually don’t enjoy very much ToB, so every moment I lose there makes me impatient\irked.

2) When you meet the yellow dragon, he acts way more intelligently than the dragons you meet at the entrance. He will face you just to check if you are good enough to prevail over Abazigal, but nothing more than that. If he is a dragon, an adult dragon, wisdom suggests that he would likely avoid confrontation with the Bhaalspawn if he wants to survive.

In fact… The dialogues there are also well done and makes you kinda simpathetic towards him. All he is looking for is a way to escape. I checked right now what his alignment is supposed to be and it seems he is supposed to be a chaotic evil creature. So, I wonder if you made the dialogues that way because he is actually manipulating us.

E.g: Fll’Ysettat (Green Dragon holding the wardstone in Abazigal lair) is not that smart, by taunting charname: “You are a fool, puny one, to bargain with a dragon […]”

3) I would like to find a good justification behind the whole fight.

The truth is, a wise and intelligent dragon would likely avoid any confrontation with you because the risk of losing his life would be very high. Maybe they do not think about it, but there is a chance their bodies could be used as a necromantic vessel even after death, so trying to seize death is not the best course of action.

Do they fight you because they are scared of Abazigal?  If that’s the case, the way they are acting is actually both unintelligent and not wise.

If Abazigal’s wrath is feared by the dragon, the opportunity of a demigod going in and killing him is way too juicy and also, an opportunity that may not come again for a very long time.

Also, what do they expect after killing you? Being free? I truly don’t understand what are the thoughts behind this pack of dragons. If I was one of them, I would rather encourage the bhaalspawn and give him the rope he is looking for, rather than facing him and losing my life against impossible odds.

It’s better to face
impossible odds (charname in full shape)
tolerable odds (charname or abazigal wounded for the fight they just did)
 

So I’m not exactly bought by this:
@3046 = ~We are far past that stage, <PRO_RACE>. You have nothing to offer me, and I have no choice but to attack. I fear Abazigal's wrath more than death itself.~

and I find it even odder that they go in one by one. I read about the technical limitation, but still, if I was one of them I would simply renounce if I do not have my back covered.

Also, compare it with Fll’Ysettat: she was actually enslaved to make her do Abazigal’s bidding.


Also... In-game, there is no mention of these dragons. Compare it with Yaga’shura improvements. All the soldier you find here have to be here because they are part of his army. But these dragons appear out of the blue without any “justification” embedded into the game itself.



 

4) The execution of the whole thing is actually different from the way I’m accustomed from SCS. When SCS improves a certain area, usually it does so by “tweaking” either IA, making the creatures tougher, or switching the location of the touched creatures.Here you are actually adding new creatures with dialogues that do not even respect the rules the game itself has posed.

If you meet a dragon, the dragon has a hoard and scales. Adalon makes the only exception because this game sadly is tailored towards good characters, so developers have made him only drop one item for evil characters and ruined evil charnames tendencies.
Not to mention the bad item you get from the demon in ust nasta if you give him adalon’s eggs. :(

The lack of both a hoard and scales makes the fight feel even more gamey than it actually is.
 

Mostly speaking, dropping powerful items goes against SCS design principles (it contributes to the arms race where you get cooler stuff from fighting more powerful foes) but I can see a case for green dragon scales - I'll consider it”.

If you kill the yellow dragon, you get a new item too. So I’m not sure it’s a matter of having cooler stuff by fighting new stuff, mostly a matter of the fight being rewarding to the player.



5) Said that... Good luck with your modding endeavour and life.


 

Link to post

A lot of this is personal taste and judgement, of course :my reading of chromatic dragons lets pride, and an unwillingness to believe that they are more powerful than any mere primate, figure in much more strongly as motivation; I also don't have a problem with red dragons deciding to sit back and let 'lesser' dragons do their work for them. And SCS's readme is explicit that the Abazigal component makes more changes than other components.

There are a couple of factual issues, though:

1) There is in-game mention of the dragons. Throne of Bhaal is pretty thin on background generally, but if you ask the bartender in Amkethran about Abazigal, you're told

Quote

Abazigal? I have heard that name, I am sure. Is it a person? I am unsure... there was a group of captains in here once before, and they were talking in hushed tones about an "army of dragons."

If you talk to one of the townswomen, you can get this comment:

Quote

I was told that there is an army of dragons ready to launch an attack on us. They come from somewhere called Abazigal. Have you ever heard of such a place?

And if you buy drinks at the tavern you can get this rumor (this is less conclusive, to be sure):

Quote

A terrifying sight was reported by several villagers over a week ago... a flight of actual dragons was reported to pass overhead, heading northward. A dark omen, it is said.

Those vanilla-game references to an "army of dragons" (which the actual enclave doesn't really provide) were the starting point for that component - I didn't invent the idea.

2) Not all dragons in the vanilla game drop scales - fewer than half of them do. Firkraag, Irenicus's dragon, the shadow dragon, and Abazigal all do. But Fll'yessitat doesn't; Saladrex doesn't; the green dragon in Watcher's Keep doesn't; Draconis doesn't; as you say, Adalon doesn't. (And the Hell dragon doesn't, but arguably that's more a figment or demonic presence, so perhaps it doesn't count.) 

Link to post
Posted (edited)

My two cents as someone who actually enjoys Throne of Bhaal in general and the extra battles SCS adds to Abazigal's lair.

In the vanilla game, only three dragons drop scales: Firkraag, the shadow dragon, and Abazigal.  The fourth set of scales is found as loot in Watcher's Keep.  (I'd love to see a white dragon added there actually.)  Irenicus' dragon does drop the Bladesinger Chain +4 though, so I guess that sort of counts.  EE adds a dragon that drops silver scales, in Dorn's personal quest I think.

That leaves Adalon, Saladrex and the green dragon in Watcher's Keep, the hell dragon, Draconis, the green dragon under the geas, and in EE the shadow dragon in Rasaad's ToB quest that all do not drop scales.  So dragons that do not drop scales, or any loot at all other than gold, are in no means restricted to those added by SCS.  And while I'd love a little loot on my dragon corpses just like anyone, I fully accept that SCS is simply not an item mod but a tactical one.  I was actually surprised to get that amulet from the yellow at all.

And yes, it is unlikely that chromatic dragons of different colors would put up a coordinated attack, especially against puny humans.  Chromatic dragons are highly territorial, for them to even be in the same place without fighting each other to the death is exceptional enough.  Pushing in the weaker ones first if they must cooperate at all seems entirely in character to me, especially for a red who is not only evil but also chaotic.  I actually chuckled at the red's remark of what the green's breath would do to his scales. 🙂

I say, keep up the good work!

Edited by Angel
Link to post
1 minute ago, Angel said:

 I was actually surprised to get that amulet from the yellow at all.

FWIW, the reason you do is

(i) there was an unused 'yellow dragon scales' item in the vanilla game, so it seemed natural to make use of it;

(ii) I didn't like the idea that you only got a reward if you didn't spare the dragon.

More generally, thanks for the kind words! (And I'd forgotten that Nizi doesn't drop scales.)

Link to post
2 minutes ago, DavidW said:

FWIW, the reason you do is

(i) there was an unused 'yellow dragon scales' item in the vanilla game, so it seemed natural to make use of it;

(ii) I didn't like the idea that you only got a reward if you didn't spare the dragon.

Fair enough, and yeah, I had noticed the unused item.  I might have something with it in UB, but I guess that is covered now. ^^

4 minutes ago, DavidW said:

More generally, thanks for the kind words! (And I'd forgotten that Nizi doesn't drop scales.)

 

You're welcome.  And to be honest, I have recently completed a part of my item mod that does make him drop scales.  I doubt I would have readily remembered it so exactly otherwise. ^^

Link to post
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...