Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise (update 4/11/14)

A forum for discussing all things regarding modding of Eschalon: Book III
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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by helivoy » February 21st, 2014, 7:47 pm

When I visited Albert's Tower I was at level 27 (Nefarious Mage, even skill distribution) and I needed to be. You may want to dial back a bit on the danger, so it becomes feasible for mid-range players. Having the tower mentioned as a possible side quest by an NPC is a great idea.
For I come from an ardent race
That has subsisted on defiance and visions.
-------------------------------------
Starship Reckless
To Seek Out New Life
The Other Half of the Sky

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by Weird Heather » February 21st, 2014, 8:08 pm

I tested it with a level 18 nefarious mage with 31 points in elemental, and also decent divination and melee skills. I got through without serious trouble, but since I developed the mod, I know what the hazards are, so it's probably easier for me than for someone else. I did have to rest up and recover mana frequently, and I used lots of potions. At some point, probably the next time I play through the whole game, I'll try it with a mid-level character, one who has made it to the northern part of the Elderoak Forest but hasn't passed through the temple yet and hasn't yet cleared Mirkland or the goblin castle, and adjust the balance so that it is difficult but possible for a character at that level to get through the tower. I might leave the difficulty level very high on one or two optional areas that have spectacular loot but no needed quest objects. The room past the Burma-Shave signs is a good candidate; that fight is probably the hardest in the dungeon (although it can be made a lot easier with the right potions or spells), but the signs give fair warning.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by Weird Heather » February 26th, 2014, 5:55 pm

I just tested the mod again with a level 11 fighter/alchemist with absolutely no spells. I found most of it possible, albeit difficult, and a few parts utterly impossible. It took a fair amount of resting and healing, and some of the battles required careful strategy. I also made full use of the detox and cure ailment potions I found around the place.

I propose a few changes as a result, and I want to see what others who have played through the mod think. I want most of it to be challenging but possible for a player at this level. I'll put my proposals in the spoiler tag; people who haven't played the mod might not want to look.
[+] SPOILER
1. I plan to add a chest outside of the tower containing a few detox, cure ailment, healing, mana, cat's eyes, predator sight, and invisibility potions. This will represent the supply of potions that the quest giver will provide when the official editor comes out and I'm able to add a proper quest. This will help to counteract the poison and disease and will give players a leg up on some of the tougher fights.

2. I will downgrade or remove some of the traps and locks.

3. I will downgrade or remove some of the monsters. The scarlet death spiders are very tough when they come in groups, but my level 11 fighter could take them on one at a time and come out only somewhat battered. I'll reduce their numbers so that they only appear one at a time. The fetid grubbs are also quite tough; I'll either reduce their numbers or replace them with something a little weaker. The cursed undead are problematic because of curses, although they aren't too hard to kill. I'll probably replace some of them with skeletons, and I'll see if I can put in some options for curse removal. The trolls are tough to kill, but they have a hard time hitting a well-armored fighter. A character with weaker armor might be clobbered by them. I'll reduce their number. The umbra dogs are tough but don't seem too unreasonable; a character at this level can handle Rockhammer Mine Level 2, so they seem appropriate here. I will likely keep the extremely tough fight with the deathbringer scorpions. The Burma-Shave signs do a good job of warning the player, so I would hope that most people would at least save the game before entering the deadly room. A level 11 character armed with the right potions and a good strategy has a chance, albeit a small one, in this fight, and I want to have a tough boss battle in this dungeon, so this one will stay. Its only reward is some nice loot; there aren't any necessary keys or alchemy-oriented items in that room, so it is an optional battle. When I turn this mod into a complete side quest, I'll also make sure there are no necessary quest items in this room.

4. There are bugs in some of the special items. Merchants won't buy some of them. I'll try to fix these problems.

5. I'll add a few more potions and reagents; it seems that I forgot to put in a few. For one, the dungeon could use more brimstone and corpse ash. Also, some detox and cure ailment potions should be added to the upper levels, and some cat's eyes and predator sight potions should be scattered around. Getting the numbers right on these potions is tough; I don't want there to be too few or too many. Of course, a sufficiently skilled alchemist will be at an advantage since there are ample reagents available to make more. I definitely want this dungeon to be a place where the use of potions makes the player's task much easier since alchemy is the focus of this mod.
I'll start making these changes and play through it with the same character again, and then maybe later with a different type of character at the same level. This could take a week or two.

Are there any further suggestions?

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by xolotl » March 14th, 2014, 8:25 pm

Wanted to pop in and say thanks for making this, btw. Now that I've done a full playthrough of the vanilla game, I'm looking forward to checking out what people have been coming out with.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by Gnarlitch » March 15th, 2014, 9:58 am

feeling like an idiot but I can't seem to find where my saved games are at so I can insert the file... :roll:

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by IJBall » March 15th, 2014, 1:09 pm

Gnarlitch wrote:feeling like an idiot but I can't seem to find where my saved games are at so I can insert the file... :roll:
When you get to the Book III app's main game menu (the one with "New Game", "Load Game", etc.), click on the 'copyright' info down at the bottom of the screen - clicking on that toggles between the 'copyright' info, and the path on your system to Book III's Saved Games directory. Good luck!

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by Weird Heather » March 17th, 2014, 6:35 pm

IJBall's explanation looks right. Also, note that the first slot is for the quick save, so if your savegame folder is clear, your first save (aside from the quick save) will probably go into the second slot.

I have been sidetracked by a few other things, and I don't have an update ready for release yet, but I'm getting close. The modified version has fewer tough monsters and more reagents and potions. It also includes a potion chest at the beginning to give players a good supply of potions to counteract all of the poison and disease and to provide cat's eyes and predator sight capability for non-mages. A player who tries to save these potions rather than use them may have a tough time getting through the mod.

My level 11 fighter seems to be able to handle almost all of it. It is challenging but possible. I am leaving one extremely tough fight in place, but it is announced by numerous warning signs, so hopefully players will save the game before entering that room and getting slaughtered. The reward for beating that fight is some nice items, but nothing that is necessary to get through the rest of the mod.

I'm glad to see that there is a separate section now for mods and that another mod has posted. I'll definitely be trying it out as soon as I get my update for this one released. Since my mod and the Rockhammer Mine mod are based on different maps, they should be compatible with each other and can be played together in the same game. Hopefully more mods will be coming soon.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by xolotl » March 19th, 2014, 3:47 pm

BTW, if you're working on putting together a new version of this mod, you might want to doublecheck any custom items you've created to make sure that the "quantity" field (currently on the third tab in the item window) is set to 1 instead of 0. Having a zero value in there can cause some odd behavior.

I've got an issue on our tracker to get the default value to be 1, but for now it'll be something to be careful about. The issue, in case you care: https://github.com/apocalyptech/eschalo ... /issues/13

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by xolotl » March 20th, 2014, 10:54 pm

I've finally had some time to go through this and am enjoying it quite a bit. Just wanted to mention one bug I ran into:
[+] SPOILER
On the second floor of the tower, clicking on the plaque on the wall results in:

Code: Select all

Did Not Find Script Keyword: "ruin"
Did Not Find Script Keyword: "leads"
Did Not Find Script Keyword: "to"
Did Not Find Script Keyword: "progress"

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by xolotl » March 21st, 2014, 12:53 am

Well, finished up running through the mod just now - great work! Quite enjoyable, and I loved all the custom items. My Level 18 Bow+Divination character didn't really have trouble with it, which I know wasn't exactly the data point you were looking for. :)

Anyway, thanks again! A few more spoilery comments follow:
[+] SPOILER
I can't be the only one who tried out the Meat of Death just to see, yeah?

The Gem of Illness and Gem of Harm were legitimately kind of creepy. I just left those in the chest where I found 'em and didn't look back.

Also, I'm curious how many people were strong of will enough to resist loading up their last-saved game after drinking that stew which gives you -5 END/STR. :)

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by Weird Heather » March 21st, 2014, 2:31 am

Thanks for the suggestions and bug reports. I think I already found some of what you mentioned, but I'll double check everything before I release the new version. I have noticed that custom items run into trouble if the quantity is zero; I found and fixed a few of these, and hopefully I haven't missed any. I like creating custom items; that is one of the strengths of the editor and the game engine. These items can be made to do just about anything. Naturally, my devious mind caused me to create some very harmful ones, but there are some good ones mixed in as well.

I plan to do one more complete play-through of the mod with a level 10-11 character this weekend, and the new version should be ready for release after that.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by GChrisSfish21 » March 22nd, 2014, 4:27 pm

Don't know what sort of bug this is: after you blow up the keg to access the tower portion, sometimes before and usually after you step through to the Tower, there is a 'ghosting' effect when holding down the TAB key on returning to Old Moonrise. OSX 10.68.

'Ghosting' means I can see a character shape or Sentinel Stalks in Old Moonrise using the TAB key.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise

Post by xolotl » March 22nd, 2014, 4:33 pm

GChrisSfish21 wrote:Don't know what sort of bug this is: after you blow up the keg to access the tower portion, sometimes before and usually after you step through to the Tower, there is a 'ghosting' effect when holding down the TAB key on returning to Old Moonrise. OSX 10.68.

'Ghosting' means I can see a character shape or Sentinel Stalks in Old Moonrise using the TAB key.
That's actually been a bug in the engine since at least Book II (I think maybe even in Book I). There's certain circumstances which can lead to that happening, and there's not much chance of it getting addressed at this time. Just don't hold down TAB too much and you should be fine. :)

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise (update 3/23

Post by Weird Heather » March 23rd, 2014, 10:37 pm

I have just uploaded the latest update. This is a much bigger change than the last one, and it affects many aspects of the mod. I have reduced monster difficulty and added more potions and reagents, so a less advanced character should now be able to handle it. Also, I have added a small sub-basement, modified some of the loot, and built a fence around the tower. I have fixed bugs and probably introduced new ones.

I played through it with a Level 11 fighter/alchemist and was able to get through most of it without difficulty, although I certainly took advantage of the potions found around the place and I made a few trips back to town to sell stuff, rest, and repair equipment. With some careful strategy and a willingness to use up a lot of potions, a mid-level character can handle the tower now, although the very difficult room (which is announced by a multitude of signs) will still present a lot of difficulty.

Hopefully it is working better than the last version, but I doubt it is completely stable. I'm sure there are a few remaining problems. If you find any bugs, please post them to this thread and I will address them in the next update. Also, please report any remaining balance issues. Are the monsters still too difficult and numerous, or are they now too easy? Is there too much loot? Is there not enough of a particular necessary reagent or potion? Are the traps and locks too much trouble, or are they now too easy?

I would like to thank everybody who has played this mod in its previous somewhat unstable incarnations. You have effectively been the beta testers. I'm sure this process isn't done yet, but it is one step closer to completion now. After one or two more updates, hopefully this mod can be considered stable and complete.

Now that this update is done, I look forward to playing the Rockhammer Mine mod.

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Re: Book III Mod: Alchemist's Tower in Moonrise (update 3/23

Post by GChrisSfish21 » March 24th, 2014, 8:32 am

Weird Heather & MyGameCompany -
What with these new versions and new potent weapons, I'm becoming invincible and fabulously weathy ... :)

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