Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:40 pm

I'm rapidly coming around to the notion that the Gold Box games might in fact be better RPGs than the Infinity Engine games. First starters, exploration is much faster. Second, combat is more thoughtful and tactical as the turn based, grid based affair in the Gold Box games. In fact, you can really time things much better than in Infinity Engine games. Especially interrupting casters. Because the gold box games actually had a Delay option in combat, so you could purposely wait until a caster begins their spell, and then push their poop in with your broadsword. I also find I mistakenly hit my own guys with AOE spells a lot less often when the grid, and how far spells extend, is much more explicit. Also, targeting AOE spells works much better in a turn based game. Half the time I'd throw down a Fireball spell, by the time I finished chanting it up, the assholes weren't even there any longer!

Yeah, having most of the dialog in a printed journal hasn't aged well. And so far, nothing in the Gold Box games matches Irenicus as a villain. But the exploration and the combat easily beat the Infinity Engine any day of the week. And the stories, simple as they are, with such a paucity of dialog, keep the game moving. Playing through Baldur's Gate again, I'm struck by how mind numbingly place holder 90% of the dialog is.

Here's to old ass RPGs. They sure don't make them how they used to.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:27 am

I still play nethack every now and again because the modern CRPG has way too much pretense and not enough substance. It's just so hard to get a publisher to care about a CRPG that doesn't suck. Not-sucking is risky after all.

But you still probably need to play the Spiderweb games. They're pretty decent.

http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com/products.html
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:27 pm

I actually have a bunch of them that I haven't gotten around to yet on GOG.

I fired up BG to play parallel with CotAB, to sort of compare and contrast. Perhaps I should have done that with Pool of Radiance instead though.

I definitely enjoy the core gameplay loop of Gold Box over Infinity Engine. Instantaneous movement on a grid is infinitely preferable to the plodding steps and poor pathfinding found in IE games. First person exploration and mapping is also a much more interesting exercise than simply wondering around the map trying to uncover all the fog of war.

But I do appreciate how quickly I can iterate on failure in IE games. GB games make it a bitch and a half to reload from a fail state. You have to either kill the program entirely and restart it, or wait for your party to all get killed before you can load a game.

Also, I've quickly grown to hate the dynamic of combat in CotAB. All the difficult fights are only difficult because there is an enemy cleric who can cast Hold Person on your entire party, so that the rest of the enemies can Cosby you while you are frozen. The worst example of this fight involved about 20 clerics who all spammed Hold Person the first round of combat. At that point it's just trial and error until my saving throws overcome the relentless onslaught of Cosbying, and my Fireball spell goes off in time to wipe them all out. Every other combat I've been in has been trivially easy since my three front line fighters all have crazy HP, AC and THAC0's, and they are backed by bottomless fireballs.

Which is sad, because Pool of Radiance had none of these issues. It's combats were interesting and varied. More situations were deadly for more varied reasons that required different approaches. It never felt like a saving throw stand off. Pool of Radiance also had more interesting optional areas to explore, a main hub that felt like more of a real place, and a stronger story in general.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:54 pm

Namrok wrote:I actually have a bunch of them that I haven't gotten around to yet on GOG.
I'd love to see how you react when you actually play them.
Namrok wrote:I definitely enjoy the core gameplay loop of Gold Box over Infinity Engine. Instantaneous movement on a grid is infinitely preferable to the plodding steps and poor pathfinding found in IE games. First person exploration and mapping is also a much more interesting exercise than simply wondering around the map trying to uncover all the fog of war.
What's your opinion of Bard's Tale again? You probably told me and I don't recall. https://youtu.be/gNQ0DN8IXR4 a GBYWB would be awesome here.
Namrok wrote:Also, I've quickly grown to hate the dynamic of combat in CotAB. All the difficult fights are only difficult because there is an enemy cleric who can cast Hold Person on your entire party, so that the rest of the enemies can Cosby you while you are frozen.
LAWL.

Oh, man. Computer D&D made that spell _SO_ much better than it is in the table-top AD&D.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Wed Jul 06, 2016 12:10 am

Man, I haven't played Bard's Tale since I was a kid. I remember liking it, but I never got very far.

The one aspect of the GB games that makes them eminently more playable than any of the contemporaries like Wizardry, Might & Magic, or even Bard's Tale, is that you can save anywhere. Where as all those other games required you to make it into the dungeons, and then back out again, and then back to an Inn, before any of your progress got committed to disk. And as a grown ass man, I simply do not have the time or patience for that shit anymore.

Although, I found Might & Magic infinitely more tolerable than Wizardry if only because deaths weren't immediately written to disk. I don't recall any specific frustrations with Bard's Tale, but I imagine it's comparable to Might & Magic.

However, I'm currently prohibited from playing Bard's Tale for reasons. The D&D campaign I just got involved in with guys from Kung Fu is directly lifted from Bard's Tale, the GMs favorite game. And he kindly asked us not to spoil ourselves senseless by looking up the maps from the games, and presumably not playing them ourselves either.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:03 am

Namrok wrote:However, I'm currently prohibited from playing Bard's Tale for reasons. The D&D campaign I just got involved in with guys from Kung Fu is directly lifted from Bard's Tale, the GMs favorite game. And he kindly asked us not to spoil ourselves senseless by looking up the maps from the games, and presumably not playing them ourselves either.
That's awesome. Though I don't really think a GM should make it possible to ruin his game by playing another.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:53 am

Ishpeck wrote:
Namrok wrote:However, I'm currently prohibited from playing Bard's Tale for reasons. The D&D campaign I just got involved in with guys from Kung Fu is directly lifted from Bard's Tale, the GMs favorite game. And he kindly asked us not to spoil ourselves senseless by looking up the maps from the games, and presumably not playing them ourselves either.
That's awesome. Though I don't really think a GM should make it possible to ruin his game by playing another.
Well, none of us showed up at all prepared. We hadn't played AD&D in around 2 decades, we all had used characters from a generator online, and absolutely none of us had read up on the rules, hoping our enshrined memories would carry us. The DMs choice of material was clearly made on relatively short notice in lieu of something requiring more time he didn't have.

It was a glorious clusterfuck, but so much fun. Of course now we're all caught up and eager to play again.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:58 pm

I've spent a lot of time playing Baldur's Gate and Curse of the Azure Bonds, and I'm closing in on more of what annoys me so terribly about Curse.

All the status effects are just different named variants, and presumably different saving throws, of "Die immediately" or "Become helpless and die with one hit". And they cost different amounts to heal. Except for disintegration, then you're just fucking gone. Even fucking poison is instant death in this game, and then when Neutralize Poison gets cast on you, you are healed.

Compare this with Baldur's Gate where sleep wears off when you are hit, entangled allows you to continue to attack even if you can't move, and only Hold Person completely immobilizes you, however you still need to take damage equal to your hitpoints to be killed.

On the flip side, Curse has the leg up in how it handles death. First you get incapacitated, and begin bleeding out. You can be bandaged then and be just fine. Alternately, if you get knocked below -10 hitpoints, you are instantly killed. In Baldur's Gate, 0 is dead, and -10 is gibbed with no chance of Resurrection.

I hope the rest of the Gold Box games don't continue this downward trajectory, but I'm lead to believe they do. Where as my memories of the Infinity Engine games is that they just keep improving.

I'm on the final dungeon of the game now. Curse has this quirky little thing where in the first dungeon you find the Dust of Disappearance, which turns your entire party invisible for the entirety of your next encounter. You could use it anywhere, but you're really supposed to use it in this one optional encounter with about a dozen beholders, a dozen Drow Lords and a dozen Rakshasa. Being invisible makes you untargettable by spells, and everyone just stands around with their thumbs up their butt. If you are next to them, they'll still melee you though. It's an incredibly long, tedious combat of almost certain victory, awarding you nearly 100,000 XP at the end. And I think it showcases almost all the worst qualities of the game. A combat like that should be so god damned fucking cool. Instead the only way to beat it is to use what is essentially a cheat item, and slowly hack away at the fuckers turn after turn for an hour.

I've come this far, I might as well beat it, no matter what it takes.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Wed Jul 13, 2016 7:38 am

Namrok wrote:Compare this with Baldur's Gate where sleep wears off when you are hit, entangled allows you to continue to attack even if you can't move, and only Hold Person completely immobilizes you, however you still need to take damage equal to your hitpoints to be killed.
Just like in the table top game.
Namrok wrote:On the flip side, Curse has the leg up in how it handles death. First you get incapacitated, and begin bleeding out. You can be bandaged then and be just fine. Alternately, if you get knocked below -10 hitpoints, you are instantly killed. In Baldur's Gate, 0 is dead, and -10 is gibbed with no chance of Resurrection.
It seems you prefer the rules that match the table top version in both cases.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:02 am

I actually have no clear memory of how AD&D handles death. I'm pretty sure the whole "unconscious until -10 hp" is just a super common house rule. I'm pretty sure the letter of the law is that 0 HP = Death.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:21 am

On the topic of AD&D, got another session in tonight.

<3

Got our poop pushed in by some Berserkers, Skeletons and other assorted baddies. But we survived! Barely! I am greatly enjoying role playing a dumb as a brick fighter. Highlights included:
  • Sitting down to eat the breakfast a slaughtered family had cooked before said slaughter
  • Trying to talk a party member into learning the Enlarge, and then asking his teacher if Enlarge actually enlarges, you know, everything.
Shit, I guess a list of two items isn't very exciting.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Sun Jul 17, 2016 3:53 pm

Namrok wrote:Trying to talk a party member into learning the Enlarge, and then asking his teacher if Enlarge actually enlarges, you know, everything
This reminds me of the Pathfinder game I played where my druid had a pet Tyrannosaurus Rex. The GM stressed that my dinosaur was a size category too small to have the "swallow whole" feat.

But I had Enlarge.

And yes. We established that it enlarged, you know, everything. Like it mattered: even in stunted captivity size, his propensity to hump things like a dog in heat was horrifying.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:29 pm

And then I beat Curse of the Azure Bonds! I only had two out of six party members still standing at the end. 2 were dead, struck down by 100+ dmg lightning bolts, and 2 were merely unconscious. How nice of the game to conjure up Elminster to heal everyone and treat them to a feast. It let me export them into Secret of the Silver Blades at full strength.

Still, for now I'm bouncing back to Baldur's Gate. Then probably Eye of the Beholder. Debating if I ever want to go back and try to finish Might & Magic.
User avatar
Ishpeck
Posts: 599
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:41 pm
Contact:

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Ishpeck » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:14 am

Namrok wrote: Still, for now I'm bouncing back to Baldur's Gate. Then probably Eye of the Beholder. Debating if I ever want to go back and try to finish Might & Magic.
I don't know what about Might and Magic that turned me off so much but the last time I tried to play through it, I felt the same anxious burning to flee from that I got while reading a Melanie Rawn novel.
Namrok
Posts: 361
Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:33 pm

Re: Man, I miss old ass RPGs

Postby Namrok » Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:22 am

Might & Magic is a very directionless game, that has a lot of lost time involved. You explore the map, get killed, lose all the XP. But at least you have the map explored now!

So you constantly switch between two modes of play. Exploring knowing you'll get arbitrarily killed (though not quite as arbitrarily as Wizardry), or carefully farming XP at known spawn points, and then running back to town to save your progress.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 41 guests