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January 1st, 2004

Life is good. :)

After a harrying past several days, I spent today just relaxing for the most part, and I needed it. Tomorrow will be more of the same, although laundry and hopefully some drawing will be done as well.

I'd just like to mention here that I'm very happy to see 2004, and I have high hopes for it. And I'd also like to assure 2003 that for all of its troubles, it was on balance a good year and I'd like to thank it for letting me participate. :)

Now, I'm off to bed. Good night, everyone, and have a really great tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech

The Temple of Elemental Endurance

I blew pretty much all of today playing Temple of Elemental Evil. I have now cleared out the temple proper and defeated the demon boss of one of the elemental nodes. (For those not familiar with the plot of ToEE, I am about 3/5, maybe 5/7 of the way through it.) My characters are all 10th level at this stage, but unfortunately, that's where the game engine maxes out ... and I'm going to be wishing I could keep going up, I can tell. Some of the fights on the earth elemental node were grueling, load-and-retry-five-times affairs.

Having played this game quite a bit, I feel I can now give it a pretty fair review, and so here it is:

It is a very faithful interpretation of both Gygax's original Temple of Elemental Evil, and the 3.5e ruleset, which scores it major, major geek points. Unfortunately, the damn thing is so full of bugs (computer bugs, not giant centipedes) that sometimes you find yourself doing stupid, nonsensical things just to get around problems with the game.

Case in point...Collapse )

Oh well. :) It is still fun and very cool to play a good, turn-based D&D license game; the fact that it is 3.5e and such a faithful rendition of ToEE makes it so much the better. I'm enjoying playing it -- but I'll also be glad when I'm finished!

-The Gneech

PS: Wait, I forgot one important gripe! My ranger has no control over his wolfish animal companion. Can't teach him tricks, don't have input in combat, etc. That would be okay if the animal's AI was any good, but it isn't. Invariably, the wolf goes dashing into the middle of any combat and attacks the largest, most invulnerable, damage-dealing monster. It also seems to get bonus points for putting itself right smack dab where the party mage was just about to drop a fireball or other area-effect "empty the room" spell ... which of course means I get to choose between winning the fight, or not killing the animal companion. I've taken to having the NPC bard, who is often only moderately useful anyway, use his bardic music fascinate ability to hypnotise the wolf at the beginning of combat to keep him out of harm's way. Either that or locking the wolf in a cleared room before going off to face the next room full of monsters.

Again, dumb designer decision. Le sigh.

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