I’m working on an Unofficial Patch of The Final Journey, a simple dungeon crawl for roughly levels 16-20.
All the creatures should now have correct CRs allowing a PC below level 20 to level up once during play. There is not much to it but there is so little playable content at this level I thought it was worth a few weeks of polishing it with the toolset to get it into shape.
No journal, it does not really need one. Just explore the dozen or so areas, kill everything. There are half a dozen unique items in various corners or in the possession of various monsters. Find them all and you are the new king (or queen).
So, started the module with a level 30 character, and correctly leveled down to 16, as indicated.
No magic items, usually my character doesn’t need them.
In the swamp world, you can talk to dragons, who say they can send you back to the merchant.
Tried to enter a small hut, which turned out to be huge and filled with dryads who start shooting arrows at you before you even know where you are. So there’s no time to cast your own buff spells.
Outside the hut, while transformed into a pixie, you cannot cast spells, nor rest to set them.
If you die, you just respawn in place, in the middle of enemies, but without buffs, of course.
Leaving the hut completely behind, I headed for the mine.
Entered the mine you can not rest yet because there are monsters nearby.
I cast the enhancement spells and with great effort and risk I bring down the first group of skeletons, really many and resistant, for the measly reward of 5xp each.
Cannot rest yet due to nearby enemies.
Seriously wounded and without the possibility of healing himself, facing the second group of skeletons is impossible.
I got bored and quit.
I haven’t looked at the enemy stats, but I think they are quite high for the given level and amount of enemies at a time.
I’ll try to test it by buying magic items for my character, but I still have the doubt that I don’t understand how to level up to 20 if the enemies give only 5xp.
But my first assessment is unplayable.
Characters stats no equip, need buffs:
buffed ab about +28
buffed ac about 30
average damage 16
Ok, I made a second attempt.
Same character as before, but equipped with items from the official campaign.
Level 30, properly lowered to 16.
Well, first I headed over to those dryad bitches, cast just ONE spell to boost my damage, and slapped them all without even getting hit.
The thing that annoyed me, however, is the unbearable and improbable amount of HP of the enemies which, rather than making the fight tiring, only made it long and boring.
Leaving from the opposite side of the hut, I improbably ended up on top of a hill to smash the heads of two ogres.
Landed a few elves and bugbears along the way, I find myself along a river, nice, on which I have crushed a few spiders.
Eventually I found myself on the opposite side of the mine, where in the first 10 meters I was hit by TWO waves of orcs and TWO waves of blade spiders.
Once I waited for my character to finish his work, I walked the next two corridors alone.
I think the range of perception of short-lived creatures should be lowered, if you don’t want them all to be attracted to the beginning of the dungeon.
Halfway down the mine is a cove, I thought there was a passage to a new area, but only spiders to squash.
When I got to the zombies I got up to have coffee, piss and brush my teeth, and when I got back the fight was probably just over.
I continue towards the skeletons armed with swords and shields and finally towards the last ones, those armed with halberds, the same ones that I killed all without magic objects, and they surprised me with some crits, so much so that they managed to bring my character to 2/ 3 of life. I had to bow to them. Until then, I hadn’t been hit with damage so poor that the couple of regen points given by items ignored it.
I’ve exited the mine and closed, but I know there’s an area I haven’t seen yet and will come back to later.
Of course, I did all the described journey without resting and without healing myself.
I looked into the enemy loot, but in the end I didn’t collect anything at all, because it was totally superfluous.
Also when you’re transformed into a pixie and have too much load in your inventory, you’re weighed down. At least I was able to move slowly.
As for my opinion:
Boring. Enemies bring no challenge, other than the boredom of waiting for their hp to run out.
The waves of enemies are too large.
It takes the character at least 3-4 rounds to knock down the enemy, in which time the character is seen coming against at least 40 attacks from all the enemies around him.
My opinion is that enemies should have half hit points, if not less, when it comes to waves.
More solitary enemies should have more studied and synergistic tactics with one or two other allies around.
The loot doesn’t make sense if you let me find it after you have the merchant equip me. Especially if it’s nothing particularly powerful.
Characters stats equipped no need buffs:
ab about +30
ac about 50
average damage 21
I continued the adventure:
There is a large ship at a dock with female warriors with no dialogue.
They garrison a portal with the placeable’s original name.
The portal takes you near a castle where there are guards who give 100 xp.
Inside the castle only 50.
Inside the castle is a labyrinth of meaningless rooms, manned by the most disparate and improbable pairs of enemies.
Rats with few hp, but bats with at least 60.
Guards armed with ogres.
Spiders with archers.
Mindflayers and hellhounds.
Fighting in the corridors often results in the inhabitants of the rooms breaking down the door to join the battle.
At the moment I think I have discovered three floors of the castle.
I went down into a room full of gargoyle-worshipping skeletons, and as I was fighting them a wave of lizardmen came in from another room.
Some rooms make no sense to exist, especially the dead ends.
Going up one floor I faced vampires, and from the only exit I went up one more floor to find myself in a dead end room with zombies. Needless to say I had no reason to shoot them down for the pittance of xp they gave so I walked back ignoring them.
I’ve found swamp monsters that give a whopping 250xp, but they were only 3.
The only enemies able to damage me were the sword and shield armed guards and the group of mindflayers with the hell hounds.
Nothing special, but in the room with the mindflayers I thought: “oh my God maybe here I have to do something other than aiming at the enemy and letting my character kill them with blows alone, while I watch him bored!”
Yes, I cast a spell to boost the damage.
In the mindflayers’ room there was a usable book on the desk, but it didn’t do anything; i destroyed it.
After nearly an hour of walking around this castle, my journey to level 17 was not even two-thirds done.
I haven’t finished shooting the whole castle, I don’t know if I will continue, as it is really tedious and insignificant.
What can I say?
My thinking is that enemies have too many hit points and waiting for the character to take them down, is just plain boring.
The loot doesn’t make sense, because if you’re already equipped you don’t need it, while if you aren’t, you don’t get past the first group of enemies.
The experience points are few to justify the desire to continue watching your character automatically beat the monsters, also because, with 50xp at a time, you would have to spread thousands of monsters.
Probably a few keys to recover, or a lever to pull, to open the way, would make it less monotonous at least.
There is no character progression and growth.
There is no challenge.
There is no purpose.
But to challenge you need a purpose, not just increasing the level and number of enemies.
You are correct. The original author threw this together for a friend so there never was a plot other than “reclaim your kingdom”. The PC included by the author is a level 20 Dwarf fighter, two-weapon fighting with great swords.
I play this once in a while when I have a fully equipped character in the high teens with no other mods in 16-20 range to play it in. I can beat the original mod at L16 but by L20 it seemed too easy so I added more variety and difficulty in several areas. I typically only have gear that a PC acquires in-game while playing lower level mods. Without a full set of +5 everything, a player needs decent tactics to survive the hordes. If you use a PC that finishes Serene, you should be able to blast your way through no problem. If you use the PC from Aftershock , it could be a lot more work just because the gear you get is much less comprehensive.
Sean, the random treasure scripts are just to generate things to sell for cash for players that don’t want to just give the PC free unlimited gold. It does not generate gear better than +3. Non-standard and high value treasures are in the upper towers, lower crypts, and a few odd corners. I will probably recommend players use cdaluepp’s Random Loot Generator in override to give more variety. I know you don’t like overrides but that’s probably the safest way to go.
Sounds like there are still placeables that are not working correctly and I may have missed resetting the CRs on some creatures (They were all set at 1 in the original.)
This is really just a big gauntlet so I’m not sure if there is much I can do to make it more interesting other that providing more tactical options. I have not tried it with an arcane spell caster so I did not notice the resting difficulty. That was helpful, thanks.
If you make it through the towers and the crypts let me know. There were a lot of bugged tiles esp in the crypts and I may not have gotten them all.
I found another lower floor called crypt and dungeon.
There are skeletal guards that give 100xp, and lots of small rooms with coffins and sarcophagi, with dedicated, but often empty names.
As mentioned, no incentive to want to open all those rooms, as I don’t know what I’m looking for.