Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Dorateen » Mon Apr 25, 2022 12:55 pm

I have sent you a PM, to avoid spoilers here.
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Noumenon » Sun May 01, 2022 8:16 am

Dorateen helped me with my problem. I forgot or never noticed that the two locked doors to the King's chambers in the starting castle have different messages, one saying "Until we have reason to be here, we won't be able to go this way" and the other "We definitely have no reason to be here." So I had taken to checking only the closer one to see if I could talk to the King yet.

I have finished all the content in the mod and it was all enjoyable. Though easier, there were still difficult enough battles toward the end. One or two reloads to beat, the perfect number. On my next play-through I'll look for difficulty settings that are a little tougher at high levels, but not too much. Or I could just stop returning to a campfire after virtually every single battle.

Things that don't seem to translate from the original IceBlink game to KotC:
  • As far as I can tell, this mod never has a place where you can do crafting (hope I didn't miss it). So mundane weapons are never useful, ingots are vendor trash, and so on.
  • KotC gives gems like diamonds only for selling; in this mod, they can show up in dialog (but I don't think they're required).
  • The Skardale trainers didn't actually improve any of my skills.
  • There is never actually any use for gold (I think because of the lack of crafting). So feel free to blow it on inns and coach rides everywhere.
  • Because there is never a stretch more than maybe four battles where you can't save (and even then I was mostly just lost), you can safely discard every potion you ever receive. You'll never need to replenish your spell slots or health.
  • Because you end up at level 9, you don't end up exploring the feat chains and bishop powers the way you do in KotC. Be selective.

I appreciated the variety of encounter design, for example beekeeping wizard with a swarm of bees. I didn't notice much synergy, like "this enemy causes bleeding and this one stuns you to let you bleed." I liked the little bit of story/imagination/fluff put before every one. For example, the gargoyle battles talking about how gargoyles spy on the dwarves disguised as statues, or describing them swarming down from rocky ledges where they were sleeping.

The guild quests are a capital idea and a great way to motivate multiple playthroughs. Is it true that because the mod ends mid-campaign, you'll never actually reach high enough level to do the wizard guild quest? Maybe if you played with a smaller party so the wizard got more of the XP? (I'm not sure if KotC works that way -- I always assumed a dead character meant experience lost.)

BlueSalamander's KotC engine really makes a great base for a mod, giving you ease of use for free. I remember how fun it was when I finally realized my Indomitable was vanishing earlier than it used to, because I put on a pair of Goatfoot boots that gave me -1 charisma. And all those other little bonuses you can eke out through smart play and good spell choices.

Because it's not a struggle to get through, I can definitely see myself trying Hearkenwold again with some "fun" characters of my own design. Overall this mod was an amazing free experience that adds a ton of value to the KotC purchase and a whole different play philosophy as well. Thanks very much Dorateen for the hours and hours of entertainment, and BlueSalamander for the engine to support it!
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Dorateen » Sun May 01, 2022 2:32 pm

Hi Noumenon,

Thank you very much for the thorough feedback, and most of all for playing! That is a very good write-up of the module, and it is most helpful hearing about your experience.

About the trainers in Skardale, when you select to pay for a stat increase, it is in the form of a potion that will get added to the party leader's inventory or the next available inventory spot. I did this because I could not see in the toolset how to directly increase an attribute of individual party member. So for example, if you wanted to increase the intelligence of your wizard in the back row, you get an elixer that can be taken by that character. As far as I can tell, the engine only takes action against the designated Party Leader, or else the whole party. There is probably away around this with advanced scripting.

I am curious about the wizard guild quest, and the need for more experience. This one should be rather open and available to all parties. I know this thread tries to avoid spoilers, but was it something that blocked your party from advancing on this quest? Again, I know information is not always communicated clearly to the player and I leave a lot to be figured out. I'm glad you liked the guild idea, it is one of the aspects I enjoyed most.

Your description of the campaign is correct. And it will be an ongoing campaign. Right now I am finishing up new content that will be added to the existing Hearkenwold module. This will be a sort of self-contained adventure for characters of about 7th level. After that, I am going to keep building on the main story, so it is definitely not over yet. This part will of course feature higher level encounters and I need to time to think about how best to challeneg more powerful parties.
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Noumenon » Sun May 01, 2022 6:47 pm

I guess I did do the wizard quest (the one with the force fields), but Xemne goes back to saying "Seek me again when you are more advanced, when you have more worldly experience", so I thought I must not have.

That's great to hear more development could still happen. Would you be releasing on IceBlink too or developing solely for KotC?

I am interested in playing regular KotC again just to see what special sauce Pierre uses for the high level encounters. I don't know if he has AI scripting or just design skills. I think I will appreciate more about vanilla by being able to contrast with Hearkenwold.
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Dorateen » Sun May 01, 2022 7:08 pm

Noumenon wrote:I guess I did do the wizard quest (the one with the force fields), but Xemne goes back to saying "Seek me again when you are more advanced, when you have more worldly experience", so I thought I must not have.


Yes, that's the one. Sounds like there is a variable conflict in the conversation script if she is not recognizing when the party completes the quest. I'll have to fix that.

I'm planning to release to IceBlink in June, and then that content will be added to KotC2. Probably end of the summer I should have an updated module.

The first Knights of the Chalice is an interesting comparison, since there are a lot less character/party building options. I think the smart AI and overwhelming numbers still enabled him to make higher level fights tricky for the player.
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Noumenon » Sun May 01, 2022 8:43 pm

"Overwhelming numbers" is right, like that Ice Devil fight where you're just like "this is impossible!" Also the grueling distance between save points means you can't just open every fight with "fireball, holy smite, fireball".

Can I get on a mailing list, or can Pierre post something, when new Hearkenwold content comes out?
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Dorateen » Sun May 01, 2022 10:41 pm

I will be sure to post updates about new content for Knights of the Chalice 2 here.
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

Postby Diane23E » Thu May 05, 2022 5:39 pm

Any update on the Knights of the Chalice 2?
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Re: Hearkenwold review thread (no spoilers)

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