April 1st, 2007

Boromir battle

Wendy, I Can Fly! *splat*

Ran my regular D&D game last night for the first time in who-knows-how-long. We're going through my fairly-heavily-customized version of Curse of the Emerald Cobra from the "Dungeon Crawl Classics" line, and last night the party managed to take out about 85% of the lizardfolk village section. It was kind of a fight-heavy scenario, which is not my favorite thing but was really what the plot called for. My personal favorite moment was when orc archers came flying by on giant ravens (which was a part I added). sirfox's druid blasted them with a holy strike, which softened them up considerably, then camstone's ranger (with orcs as a favored enemy) filled one full of arrows, causing him to topple off to the ground below. Finally, jamesbarrett's wizard blasted the other with a lightning bolt, which the orc actually survived, but unfortunately for him, his raven didn't -- which meant the orc suddenly found himself 60' in the air without a mount any longer, and took a nosedive into the dirt.

jamesbarrett's fighter Dragor got to fight something new and weird, an advanced kamadan that was a long way from home. It was a tough slog, and by the end of it Dragor was looking pretty bad -- the kamadan's poison had drained his strength to something like half, and he was looking quite green around the gills. So when the aforementioned orcs filled him full of flaming arrows, he just collapsed where he was and said, "I don't feel so good."

laurie_robey's fighter/rogue Angelina got a moment to shine as well, sneaking into the lair of a mated pair of basilisks to swipe a key they needed to move forward. By the end of the evening, most if not all the characters in the party had levelled up -- which is a good thing, because they've used up most of their resources and they have even tougher fights still waiting ahead of them! It should be interesting to see how they fare.

***

In other news, I played a little more Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar this morning. It's a very mixed bag. On the one hand, the scenery is very pretty and it's clear that the developers are doing their best to make it feel like Middle Earth as much as is possible in the nonsensical context of a MMO. The very beginning has my elf champion Galadhalan [1] defending an elf stronghold against a clan of wicked dwarves and goblins, but eventually the stronghold falls and is destroyed during the siege. But then the neat bit is the game fast-forwards to 500 years later, when my character returns to the ruins on another mission. That idea was neat because it immediately established the "elf-ness" of the character and made for a unique experience, so I'll give them points for that. (The ruins could have stood to be a bit more "ruined" after 500 years of erosion and so forth, but I won't quibble about it.)

The problem is that once you get past that and into the actual game part, well, yes, you're in something that walks like Middle Earth and quacks like Middle Earth, but you're still getting missions like "The elf haven of Ereth Mellar is overrun by #beginnermonster#! Kill five #beginnermonster# and bring me their claws to defeat this threat." Of course, killing five #beginnermonster# is rapidly accomplished, but that doesn't actually get rid of #beginnermonster# -- they keep materializing out of nowhere, it's just that once you have five claws, you can ignore the #beginnermonster# from now on.

Then you get "There is a terrible beast, the #slightlytougherbeginnermonster# terrorizing the glen with the obelisk. Slay it and bring me its horn!" So you go find the glade with the obelisk, only to find three or four players (with names like LLegolass, Grymli, and Boomshot Explodeyman) sitting around waiting, 'cause the #slightlytougherbeginnermonster# has already been killed recently (Er?) and it has to rematerialize. So when the #slightlytougherbeginnermonster# does beam down from the Enterprise or wherever these things are appearing from, you all gang up on it and defeat it, and you all claim its one horn and take it back to the quest-giver so you can move on to the next thing.

Quest-giver says, "You have done well! Evermore the obelisk glade will be safe from the deprivations of the #slightlytougherbeginnermonster#!" Which of course is a big fat lie ... #slightlytougherbeginnermonster# has already beamed back in to obelisk glade and is being slaughtered by the next bunch of players. But you can ignore obelisk glade and the #slightlytougherbeginnermonster# in it from now on.

There are hints of a plot underneath, and after a while you can train yourself to ignore all the MMOstupid, so I will probably continue to play it for a while at least. The section I'm in now wants to train me all about crafting, to which my response is "I ain't interested in doing no crafting, lemme alone!" but that's where the plot is at the moment so that's where I'll go. I'm also attempting to pick the last grapes of the season at a vineyard, but I have to wait because somebody was here just a few minutes ago and already picked the last grapes of the season and I have to wait for them to regenerate.

Yeah.

If they'd make Shadows of Angmar: The Single Player CRPG Epic with the kind of work and effort they put into this thing, I'd love, love, love it. But as it is, I like certain things about it while the rest is like nails down a chalkboard. I need to stop for a while anyway, as I gotta draw for tomorrow!

-The Gneech

[1] Actually, it should have been Galadhalion ("Son of the Exalted Starlight"), but I was rushed and made a booboo in my Sindarin. -5 Elf Nerd Points for me.