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    Sep 2007

    Default The underworld can't be THAT bad, can it? (Avernum 5)

    OK FIRST OF ALL: If you don't know what this is about, skip to the bottom, and I'll explain it there.

    Well, I promised to play through Avernum 5. Ok, so I promised ages ago and got sidetracked, but that's not the point so shush. Anyway, here we go. Below is a spoiler containing some history on the series. It's, you know, a spoiler for games 1~4, so take it as such. That said, it's nothing the game won't vaguely spoil anyway. This just means that you will be less confused when you see people talking. About things. Like people do. Yes, Avernum 1 too. Bal, you've been warned.


    Avernum 1: The Empire, sole ruler of the entire surface world (hence the lack of any need for a real name) discovers Avernum. A huge cavern complex underground, full of horrid monsters, generally inhospitable "climate", lack of food and whatnot. So what do they do?

    Open a one-way portal and dump all the misfits there, of course! Any crime, including just not fitting in? You get exiled to Avernum. Nephilim (cat people) and dragons, along with other non-human creatures are mostly killed or shipped off to Avernum.

    Eventually, Avernum strikes back. They take out the leader of the Slith army (Slithzerikai: Lizard people native to Avernum) attacking them, deal with nephil bandits, establish their speciesist credentials, reforge the sword Demonslayer to, as one may expect, slay the demon lord Grah-Hoth. Grah-Hoth will begin to seem like a good name next to Sliths and Nephils (worst examples include General Sss-Thsss and Hrrmrrrr).

    After this, you are teleported to the surface, and kill Emperor Hawthorne. For vengeance.

    Avernum 2: The empire realizes they have a nest of vipers in Avernum. So they send an army to take it out. Their mistake begins when they discover some natives: the Vahnatai. The Vahnatai are ridiculously powerful (especially when it comes to magic) crystal-obsessed, freakishly thin grey humanoids. They hibernate for centuries at a time, which is why Avernites didn't notice them before. They keep their leaders' souls in crystals, called, imaginitively enough, Crystal Souls. They practically treat these spiritual advisors like gods.

    The Empire quickly kidnaps a few Crystal Souls. For Science, you see. The Vahnatai don't take too kindly to this. It's all great for Avernum, because they get the Vahnatai's help in return for getting the souls back. Some are crazy by the time they're retrieved, but hey. The war is won, day is saved and so forth.

    Avernum 3: They finally develop a working long-term portal to the surface. Good for them. You're the scouting party. Turns out the surface is a mess, ravaged by slimes, giant roaches, giants/troglodytes, golems and weird six-legged giant wolf things. With factories producing each one. Lots of violence later, you find out that a few rebel Vahnatai, led by Rentar-Ihrno (no, not Rental) are doing this. Why? The Empire stole their Crystal Souls ages back. Clearly, all of the Empire is responsible for this, no exceptions, and need to die. They're fine with Avernum, though, as long as you stay out of their way.

    No, you don't stay out of their way. Kill Rentar, save day, archmage dies helping you, and the surface is saved. Peace is made with Avernum thanks to a more sensible emperor (empress, actually) and Avernum is recognized as a nation. They also get land on the surface to move to, though that's slow going.

    Avernum 4: Empire's starting to move into Avernum. As in, Empire citizens. Why? Same reason people in the US once migrated to the west. Freedom, potentially lots of money, easier to be strange and different. Curiosity and tourism, sometimes.

    But oh wait sea monsters and shades are attacking Avernum. Why do people dislike Avernum 4? Because it's monsters being made in factories. Run by the ghost of Rentar-Ihrno. For revenge. Again. Violence is had, Rentar is gone for good, and the day is saved. The rest of the Vahnatai are quite friendly, by the way. Well, not friendly, but at least vaguely on Avernum's side.

    Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Screenshots. We need characters made here.


    There we have the three potential races. Nephilim, Sliths, Humans. Humans are vanilla. Nothing special. Nephils get a 10% XP penalty, an ever-increasing bonus to using bows, and are slightly more nimble.

    Sliths get a 20% XP penalty. Why? They get nice fire resistance, an ever-increasing bonus to using pole weapons (spears), and are also a fair bit tougher than humans or nephils. Pretty good, all in all.

    Ignore the classes. We are customizing this.

    Skiiiiills. Many are self-explanatory. Strength lets you hit harder and wear heavier equipment, dexterity lets you dodge/shoot better. Intelligence gives you more energy (MP) and lets you avoid mental effects better. Endurance makes you harder to kill.

    The weapon skills just make you more accurate with that weapon. I think you might hit a bit harder too, not sure. Having higher ranks in your total weapon skill gives you battle disciplines: Fancy things you can do like lowering your opponent's armour, giving yourself more moves, hitting harder, and so on. This works with spells too, which is why making your casters sliths or nephils isn't a bad idea at all. Melee weapons means swords in this case, by the way.

    Quick Action is trickier. You get your turn earlier, and the more ranks you have, the more chance there is that when you make an attack, you'll get an extra attack. Handy, but doesn't work with bows, thrown weapons (which are worthless anyway) or spells.

    Magic things. Mage Spells and Priest Spells just make you better at those spells. You need a certain amount of one or the other to cast spells, too. Max 17, I think. Arcane Lore helps with reading spellbooks you find and so on. That counts the amount you have in the party, so you might as well spread it out. Spellcraft just makes you better at all spells. The mage/priest spell skill you have at first, by the way, decides what spells you start with, so it's best to have a fair bit for your casters.

    Hardiness makes you tougher, and more resistant to every kind of damage. But not by much. Defense makes you harder to hit. Tool Use is all about picking locks and getting rid of traps. Handy. Nature Lore works like Arcane Lore, only for finding hidden items and calming animals down so you don't need to fight them (better than it sounds, when the animals are giant bats that spit lava). Finally, Luck... I don't know what it does. Stops you from dying when you should, sometimes, and affects "certain events", or so I hear.

    First Aid gets its own paragraph for being all kinds of useful. I suggest starting with 2 ranks of this for everyone (like the Lore skills, it's spread out), and upgrading to at least 4 ranks each. Why? After each battle, depending on how many things you killed, you gain energy and health back. Why is this good? If it was not for first aid, you'd be relying on energy potions, which are a finite resource. And healing yourself with spells, using more energy.

    With enough first aid? You could easily finish encounters with full health or close and almost as much energy as you started with. Which is amazing.

    Oh, and the higher a skill is, the more it costs in points to raise it further.

    Traits! These are what you take to make your character special (sometimes in the mental sense). There are positive traits to make your character better at the cost of an XP penalty, and negative ones to make them weaker, but gives them bonus XP. Negative ones often aren't worth it, while XP penalties aren't nearly as bad as they sound.

    Good Constitution: Takes more to kill you, you laugh poison off. Hardiness boost, mostly.

    Nimble Fingers: bonus to Tool Use, yaaay.

    Thick Skin: Takes More To Kill You v2. It now takes even more to kill you, I hope you're happy. Actually, I think good constitution only deals with poison. Meh.

    Strong Will: Makes you harder to mind-control. This means stopping you from moving/charming you/scaring you so you waste turns running around like a headless chicken.

    Deadeye: You're better at shooting things. Scaling bonus, like any other trait that gives a bonus. A must have for archers.

    Fast on Feet: You're faster, get your turn earlier, and occasionally get an extra AP. AP being what you use to move and do things in battle. Handy.

    Pure Spirit: You're the best priest ever.

    Natural Mage: You're the best mage ever. And with Natural Mage, you can wear all the clanky heavy armour you like. Robes are for wimps anyway.

    Elite Warrior: This character is a god of war. Chop things to bits. Like Deadeye for melee combat, only way better. A must have for anyone who plans to hit things with other, pointier things.

    Divinely Touched: You're awesome at everything and probably come from a distant world where your ancestors were gods. Side-effects may include a crippling weakness to green rocks.


    Weak-Minded: Strong Will in reverse.

    Delicate Skin: Thick Skin in reverse.

    Sluggish: Fast on Feet in reverse.

    Brittle Bones: not a reversed advantage, for once. Basically? You're very fragile. Someone hits you and your bones shatter. Surprisingly good for casters, since they're in big trouble if they get hit anyway, but still tricky to use.

    Frail: You're pathetic in every way possible and really shouldn't be in this line of work. Essentially Divinely Touched in reverse.

    By the way, I don't have exact XP values for the penalties/bonuses, but the further you go down the list, the bigger it is. Divinely Touched, for example, is 30%. You can only take 2 traits total, split between positive and negative ones as you see fit. And you can, of course, just take one or none at all. Check post#29 for further info on traits.

    Now than, THE PLOT!

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Nothing. Nothing will stop our peaceful happy lives.

    Except the plot. Yep, I guess that could do it. Also: This man has laser fingers. Be on your guard.

    Well, at least it's not our problem.

    Having finished the series, I still have no idea what that thing in the back is. I want to keep it that way.

    I guess this would be a bad time to start playing It's a Wonderful Life?

    Right! Here's the deal. I will be running this in the form of screenshots with a silly narrative from all four characters. Not taking this seriously. So here's what I need. Suggest a character. One each, please. Just pick a race, traits and roughly what you want me to do with skills, since detailed instructions are probably too much of a pain for my readers. Don't worry too much about being practical, if all else fails, I can always cheat TRY HARDER.

    I also want a name and personality included. This bit is important, but doesn't need to be detailed. Remember, we're being silly here After a while, I will pick the ideas that I feel I can write best, and get to work.

    So I hear you ask "what's this about, than?" Only I don't. Because this is the internet and I'm pretty far away, you see. Now, the idea here? I play through this game with the characters people come up with for me. I post screenshots. Since screenshots would be boring, the characters talk in between them, and are all silly but, knowing me, probably not actually funny. Oh, and whenver there are major decisions to be made, I leave it up to my readers to decide. Simple enough, really.

    Well, vote away!

    Edit: On skills, you can be really vague. "Nephil archer priest" or "slith pole weapon tank". Don't let that stop you from giving me specific instructions if you want, like "2/2/3 split between Spellcraft, Hardiness and Luck, no other skills" (please don't do this). Whichever you prefer.


    Last edited by Cogwheel; 2010-05-26 at 05:01 AM.

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