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Completed Let's Play Hammer & Sickle

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Cholo, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Val Verde
    [​IMG]
    Chapter 2: Border Crossing
    Chapter 3: Gaffburg
    Chapter 4: Defense of Gaffburg
    Chapter 5: Elizabeth
    Chapter 6: Leaving Gaffbur
    g
    Chapter 7: Zeizenburg
    Chapter 8: The Scorched Bandit
    Chapter 9: Fidel & Larry
    Chapter 10: Snooping around Zeizenburg
    Chapter 11: Wenzburg
    Chapter 12: Water Scoop Escape
    Chapter 13: Siegfried
    Chapter 14: Raid at Bogenschaffen
    Chapter 15: Hammer Counterattack
    Chapter 16: Hunted
    Chapter 17: Ambushed Again
    Chapter 18: The Bunker
    Chapter 19: The Airfield
    Chapter 20: Worm's Lair
    Chapter 21: The Crossroads



    I hate writing introductions for anything, but this game needs a bit of explaining. It's a turn based squad level tactics game, set during the early Cold War period. It's loosely related to Silent Storm, and Silent Storm: Sentinels, and features fully destructible terrain as well as ragdoll physics. Your units level up as they kill enemies and accomplish goals, and improve their abilities as well as gain skills. There are six classes, and each class has its own skill tree. Since there are no Panzer Kleins in this game, the skill trees have been reworked a little and are different from what you may remember in Silent Storm.


    The game features a non linear story, with choices and consequences as well as soft fail states. Many of the choices are not loudly telegraphed which has evidently turned off more than a few people to the game. The dialogue has been translated from Russian, and while it's not bad, it's not good either. The game doesn't seem to have been thoroughly play-tested, and some segments really suffer from this. Many missions also force you into or through some not very creative paths, which can feel constrictive and artificially challenging. Strategic and tactical flexibility are important in games like this, and unfortunately a portion of Hammer & Sickle failed to deliver.


    All that said, It's a game I keep coming back to. Part of why I like following the Codex so much is because of the near universal appreciation of 'flawed gems', and Hammer & Sickle is about as flawed and gemmy as they come. I've chosen a path through this game in order to gain specific advantages, but this play through will by no means be definitive. If there are any questions about what could have happened, please feel free to ask. I'm not an expert at this game but I've gotten to see a good amount of it's content.


    Inside the spoiler below, there is a flow chart showing the some general paths through the game. I've included it if you want a quick reference to follow along with, or are trying this game out for yourself. Obviously, it may spoil your enjoyment of the play though, so beware.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    New Game

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Custom difficulty. Enemies and friendlies should be on equal footing for AP and VP. Level we'll keep at zero, since any higher seems to break the opening mission (this game needed a lot more play testing but we'll talk about that later). Weapon durability set to lowest, don't worry we'll be shooting through guns after two or so firefights anyway, no need to crank it up any higher. This game is pretty silly about how flimsy weapons are. Time set to lowest too. We could set it higher since we won't be screwing around in this play through, but I don't need the headache if something stupid happens.

    [​IMG]
    We pick the scout class, since it makes the very beginning of the game much more manageable, and because the Vanguard skill we'll get makes late game easier as well. Strength is low, Dexterity high, and Intelligence is above average. This game has a few skill checks, and this build should get us through all of them. The PC is referred to as 'The Captain', but we'll give him the nickname Ingush as a nod to a pretty cool Spetz blogger. Yes, I know Ingushetia is a place and not a name.

    Mission Briefing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] We've served together since 1941. So I'm going to tell you what's not in the file. Moscow doesn't know about this mission. If you get caught, you'll be labeled a defector. We'll deny all knowledge of your mission.

    [​IMG] I would expect nothing less.

    [​IMG] This task is much more difficult than it seems. I would prefer to go myself than to send you into this mess, old friend.

    [​IMG] Then tell me, old friend. Why me? I'm a commando, not an intelligence agent.

    [​IMG] Officially, it's because you've seen Vaclav. But between us, we don't have a lot of intelligence agents to spare right now. And frankly, you're a lot more expendable.

    [​IMG] Thanks. But you should know I don't really have intelligence training or diplomatic skills.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Why?

    [​IMG] The stakes have gotten much higher. Some of their leaders are eager to escalate tensions. They want to justify using atomic weapons on us.

    [​IMG] They haven't used their atomic bombs in four years. And they only dropped A-Bombs on Japan to help end the war.

    [​IMG] Yes, but remember that some of their leaders urged them to drop atomic weapons on the Soviet Union instead of Japan – even though we were their allies. Many of those leaders have increased their power. They haven't had enough of war, and seek to spark another global conflict. So you must not fail.

    [​IMG] What does that have to do with my mission?

    [​IMG] I've said too much... The post commander at the border to West Germany has been told to prepare for your insertion into enemy territory. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014
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  2. MotherMachinae Arcane

    MotherMachinae
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    Well, good luck then. There is one (or two?) abandoned LP from it. I hope this one will be better in it.
    Still need to play it by myself despite S2 being my fav tactical game.

    We know it. Starting a new book or text etc.
     
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  3. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Great, now I can worry a little less about my LP.

    Good luck with this, comrade. :salute:
     
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  4. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    Thanks guys! Game's already been finished and recorded, so don't worry about it getting abandoned.
     
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  5. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Oddly enough, I don't remember actually needing high int for any of the skillchecks. Did ok with just 4 int.
     
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  6. Boxer Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck

    Boxer
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    Ingush works as a nickname. Like The German or The Englishman.
     
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  7. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    [​IMG]
    Vaclav and The Captain served together through The Great Patriotic War

    Chapter 2: Border Crossing
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Right here, Comrade Captain.

    [​IMG] Ah, Lieutenant, in case you haven't noticed, there's a US sentry post right there. And two barbed wire fences. And mines.

    [​IMG] We removed the mines.

    [​IMG] Very thoughtful. And you removed the mines from the American side too?

    [​IMG] The Americans haven't laid their mines in this sector yet.

    [​IMG] Good. What about all the American soldiers?

    [​IMG] They'll all leave in five minutes.

    [​IMG] How thoughtful of them.

    [​IMG] They'll run to the checkpoint.

    [​IMG] Why?

    [​IMG] Just wait five minutes. Oh, and our troops don't know about your secret mission. So please keep your head down until you reach the American side.

    [​IMG] Sounds like I'm safer over there.

    [​IMG] In five minutes, you will be. Got to go. They can't start the show without me.

    [​IMG] Well, this isn't the first time my orders make absolutely no sense.

    Let's take a look at The Captain's equipment.

    [​IMG]
    Mikalych gave me this REDICULOUS looking suit. That coverall I had back as a Razvedchik would have been much better suited for this kind of work. I guess HQ is really worried I'll get caught once I cross the border.
    An American M3A1 submachine gun with a Bell Labs integral suppressor. An open bolt, blowback operated small arm in .45 ACP. One magazine in the weapon, and a spare of hollow points, not bad. An exotic and capable firearm- lots of knockdown power and the suppressor SHOULD keep the flash hidden. Wonder where supply got it from...
    A hand grenade, hope I won't have to use it too soon.
    A fixed blade combat knife, and a trio of throwing daggers. Never liked relying on these little guys, hopefully it won't come to that.
    Wire cutters. These will be essential for crossing into West Germany.
    A medkit. Better to have and not need than to need and not have.
    Finally, the Lieutenant Colonel entrusted us with nearly three thousand dollars!

    Not much in the way of equipment, but without dedicated load bearing equipment I've stuffed my pockets with as much as I can. Any more would have been too noisy to crawl around in.

    Now let's see what that young Lieutenant has in store.


    There's a Soviet guardhouse to my right, and it's American twin across the border:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Suddenly, a Soviet tank starts it's engine.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Sir, they stopped at the border. Looks like a joke.

    [​IMG] Well, it's a damn stupid joke!

    [​IMG] That Lieutenant's a hell of a joker! At least he didn't bring aircraft!

    [​IMG]
    Looks like this guy didn't get the message. Let's hope he clears out soon.

    [​IMG]
    The wire cutters make short work of the border fence. We can hear Americans off in the distance, but it looks like we're clear.

    [​IMG]



    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Updates should come daily, I'm working ahead to make sure there won't be gaps in the content. Each chapter will be short but self contained.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  8. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    Never did play this game myself, and haven't gotten around to actually starting my Sentinels LP yet, so will be following with interest. :salute:
     
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  9. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Good that you finished the game. Azira, try it when you can, it's real good.
     
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  10. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    Chapter 3: Gaffburg
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
    Off to Gaffburg, Vaclav's last known location.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As we approach the town- BANG
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] What woman? Vaclav had two MEN!

    [​IMG] Yes sir. We shot them, sir. But they were with a woman in a uniform.

    [​IMG] That wasn't in the briefing!

    [​IMG] Should we interrogate her, sir?

    [​IMG] We're out of time. Finish her and let's go.

    A woman is walked out of the red brick house
    [​IMG]

    And stood in front of the firing squad
    [​IMG]

    And shot, just as we sneak in right behind them.
    [​IMG]

    Five of them clustered together? They're begging for a grenade.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The subgun catches a pair of them in enfilade.
    [​IMG]

    The last one standing is in shock, must be his first time getting shot at. The Captain closes the distance and kills with his bare hands.
    [​IMG]

    Hmm, four Small Magazine Lee Enfield Mk.1's. Don't need these at the moment, but let's pocket the Luger and take a hand grenade to replace the one we threw.
    [​IMG]

    We approach the pile of bodies laying against the bullet scarred wall. One of them is familiar. Very familiar.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Wait. I think the woman is still breathing...

    We pick up her body, and bring her inside. To our surprise there is a doctor inside on the first floor! Let's see if he can help.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Shut up. I'm asking the questions. Name, rank, and job.

    [​IMG] Henri Gotard. I'm a doctor. They hired me to set up a field hospital here. But I had nothing to do with that... slaughter out there.

    [​IMG] Take it easy. How many men were in the captain's squad?

    [​IMG] Fifteen. Ten left, after the five you just killed. And they are due to return soon. If I were you I'd get out of here! Wait! What are you doing? That woman's alive and needs my medical assistance!

    [​IMG] So assist her.

    [​IMG] Very well. Let me take a look...

    [​IMG] How is she?

    [​IMG] She was very lucky. I can stabilize her wounds. For... shall we say, five hundred dollars?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Glad you are reasonable. Lay her down over there, and I'll take care of her. She'll be OK now. She still needs rest, but she should be up by tomorrow.

    [​IMG] Who is she?


    [​IMG] I don't know. She came with the three men who the captain executed.

    [​IMG] who did they come to see?

    [​IMG] The captain. The one you, er...


    [​IMG] Killed. Yes. Tell me about him.

    [​IMG] I avoided him as much as possible. He was a dangerous character, just like, ah...

    [​IMG] Like me. Yes. Why did he kill those men?

    [​IMG] I don't know. It seemed to have something to do with the fact that their leader was Polish.

    [​IMG] Possibly... What else do you know?

    [​IMG] Nothing. I didn't ask questions. I patched up their combat wounds, and they left me alone. All I know is some people around here hate them.

    [​IMG] What will you do now that he's dead?

    [​IMG] This work is too terrifying. I'm going back to private practice. Konrad said I could go back to private practice when the captain left.

    Well, shit. Let's take a look around town.

    [​IMG]
    Some old men are standing around in the yard across the way. The shooting must have attracted the whole village's attention. Suddenly, one of them calls out to The Captain.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Herr officer! Herr officer! Herr officer, we saw you plugging those outlaws! Please accept our thanks.

    [​IMG] At ease, soldier!

    [​IMG] Herr officer. Gregor saw a car headed this way. They'll be here soon.

    [​IMG] Any of you serve in the army?

    [​IMG] Yes, Herr Officer. All of us. We can use weapons. We just don't have any.

    [​IMG] Take them from the bodies. And if you have time, please dispose of the bodies.

    [​IMG] Thank you, Herr Officer! Right away!

    More experience, we've leveled up a few times since the start of the game.
    [​IMG]

    The villagers set up behind cover, or patrol the roads. We're expecting ten unfriendlies, and if they're smart, they'll drop off shooters all around us and encircle the town. This could get hairy. We'll pick a little spot and wait to ambush any returning enemies.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  11. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Ah, the memories.
    Might as well finish my no-guns scout run of this game I guess.

    Maybe this run I'll get the entire squad out alive at the end.
     
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  12. MotherMachinae Arcane

    MotherMachinae
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    I should grab this game on auction site. Is there any required patch (official or not/fanmade) and maybe mod?
     
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  13. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    Patch 1.15 is a must IIRC

    Show Spoiler

    http://www.strategycore.co.uk/forums/topic/5047-hammer-sickle-unofficial-english-patch/

    http://www.strategycore.co.uk/files/unofficial-english-patch-1.15-h-and-s/
     
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  14. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    Chapter 4: Defense of Gaffburg

    Show Spoiler
    Just before 10:00 PM, a trio of returning soldiers walk right past The Captain, all wearing that same mysterious dark uniform. They must be exhausted from patrolling all day to have been so blind! Let's take advantage of their sloppiness.
    [​IMG]

    The first fireteam is dispatched quickly, we move on to engage the second one, even though it's pushing the limits of what The Captain can expect from his rusty shooting skills. Lob enough bullets their way and surely something will stick.
    [​IMG]

    The Captain's weapon runs dry, so we scavenge a rifle from one of the dead soldiers.
    A Geweher 33/40. A shortened, lightweight variant of the Karabiner 98 Kurtz. I ease the bolt back, just a little and discover an internal magazine filled with five 7.92 rounds. This guy never fired a shot- the weapon's in immaculate condition! Longer sight radius, more powder burn and a much bigger cartridge, this weapon will make distance shooting much easier for us. That is if I don't run out of ammo first.
    [​IMG]

    Who are these jokers?
    [​IMG]

    We work our way back to where we found Vaclav, dispatching these mysterious shooters as we go.
    The last one standing is bleeding out and in shock, so The Captain decides to have a little fun with him. Throw a few of those knives we brought, and then finish the mysterious enemy off with some hand to hand.
    [​IMG]

    We lost two villagers in the firefight, which isn't so bad considering the odds and their lack of practice. The enemy lost nine... Wonder where the tenth one is? Looks like one of them also dropped a field radio.
    [​IMG]

    Let's collect all of the dropped equipment we can carry, then we can get it inside and sort through what's useful and what's junk.
    [​IMG]

    While we're at it, we'll bring that radio in too.
    [​IMG]

    The radio gets set up on the second floor, right above the Doc's office. It's getting pretty late...
    [​IMG]

    Downstairs, we see a man in overalls pacing around his workshop. We approach.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] I got no problems.

    [​IMG] Wrong. My friend was shot outside your house. That makes it your problem.

    [​IMG] What was I supposed to do? I didn't even know about it until I heard the shots!

    [​IMG] This is your last chance to confess any way you collaborated with them.

    [​IMG] All I did was let them stay here! ...And I kept my mouth shut about their weapons.

    [​IMG] I like a man who can keep his mouth shut about weapons. I need a place to stay.

    [​IMG] Is that all? You scarred the hell out of me! Take a bunk on the second floor.

    [​IMG] Thank you.

    [​IMG] I'm Conrad.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Well, please don't touch my equipment. Some of it is booby trapped. And please don't upset my mother-in-law or touch her engraving equipment. She's a good woman, but... troubled.

    [​IMG] Engraving equipment? As in creating official documents and seals?

    [​IMG] Ah, yes, that was her profession. She made authentic-looking documents to help us survive the war.

    [​IMG] A good woman, indeed.

    Upstairs, at the lockers across from the bunks we can store some extra gear:
    [​IMG]

    The Captain is getting tired, and we'll need to question the woman. Nowhere to go and not much to do until she recovers. Lets get a good long sleep in- don't know when we'll get a chance like this again.
    [​IMG]




    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This was a short update, so I'm going to post some thoughts on the game so far in addition. I think the LP will succeed in showing dialogue, setting, story and a few of the choices you'll encounter, but it's going to miss a lot of the finer points. Specifically, where exactly the game is fun to play and where it isn't.

    Border Crossing:

    Short, straightforward mission. Good idea, though it relies on the SS stealth system which isn't very deep. Starting character has low sneak skill, so guards will likely hear you, approach you and then see you. If you set the enemy AI at a higher level forget about completing this mission. Also, all Soviet and American guards are invincible and will one hit kill you every time. Makes for a very frustrating introduction to the game.


    Firing squad:

    Tactically inflexible. Starts you a few feet away from five enemies. Run backwards, they'll interrupt and shoot you. Run behind the building, they'll interrupt and shoot you. You're forced to stand your ground and use your grenade, then whatever weapon you have- hope you hit and they miss. It removes any tactics from the game and makes you rely on random dice rolls. A puzzle with one answer, which you may or may not get right depending on how the game feels. That's two strikes right off the bat.


    Gaffburg Patrol:

    Finally, a fun mission. Four friendly villagers armed with bolt action rifles, and three enemy fireteams. They will randomly spawn at a few pre-designated spots around the map making them less predictable and for the most part do a good job sticking together giving the illusion of working as a unit. Good mix terrain, a few multi level houses to hide in, plus trees, bushes and hay bales for cover. The game responds to your earlier choices here: if you were greedy and took the SMLEs that were dropped by the firing squad previously, the village militia won't be able to arm themselves and help you.


    Lots of re-playability from this mission- a good low stakes firefight. Any friendly that dies here has a grave dug for them when you return to Gaffburg, with a cross and even flowers. Great touch. Almost no enemies carry any spare magazines, and it really starts to show on this map. They seem to have unlimited ammo but forget about scavenging any ammunition that wasn't sitting in the gun. This, in concert with the not-very-durable firearms will get more and more frustrating as we go on.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hope you're all enjoying so far, and maybe thinking of picking this game up and giving it a chance if you haven't already.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
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  15. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    As bad as the Gaffburg entry fight seems, it might be possible to run, take cover and play more tactically.
     
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  16. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    oscar
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    Cool stuff, I got a bit further than this but messed something up and never got around to finishing it.

    I imagine a lot of fresh players would have also lost the chance to get the shot girl from the start of the mission as an NPC as it requires you to pick her up and take her to the doc (first time I did the map I assumed she was already dead and unimportant so left her until I read a guide).
     
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  17. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Nah man, it's kind of hard to miss. Though a friend of mine did decide to immediately sleep after the first fight, with predictable results. :lol:

    Honestly she's more than worth the investment.
    ...
    FUCK IT, I'm a finish my no guns run, my LP be damned.
     
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  18. oscar Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    oscar
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    I thought it was a "look how evil these guys are shooting unarmed women and civilians" scene and didn't quite realise how interactive and non-hand holding this game was.

    It's quite cool and unexpected how many things actually elicit a response from the game. Very subtle, action-based C&C rather than the flashing "do you wish to make decision x or y" stuff you usually get.
     
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  19. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Yeah, although the lethality of combat kinda ruins challenge by making first blood=win.

    I really, really wish this game were longer.
     
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  20. anus_pounder Arcane

    anus_pounder
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    :salute: Never did get around to trying this.

    Any chance you could show us the dead end endings?
     
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  21. Thor Kaufman Arcane Zionist Agent

    Thor Kaufman
    Joined:
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    With 5 int chance for some encounters to succeed favorably are probably around 50%. Maybe you were lucky or actually missed one or two options without noticing.
    I played it through once with an Int 2 scout on hardest difficulty (eventually Int 4 or 5 which made things a little easier). It's possible but some Int encounters required quite a bit of reloading, for example
    Show Spoiler
    if you want to recruit Moshe when you extort the JEWeler



    btw I found setting enemy levels higher made SS games actually easier because you level up way quicker. But the first two sectors in H&S were a real bitch to play that way.
     
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  22. Cholo Arcane

    Cholo
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    Hey man, there are LOTS but I'll try and snap a few more.
     
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  23. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    [quote="Thor Kaufman, post: 3111669, member: 8140"
    Show Spoiler
    if you want to recruit Moshe when you extort the JEWeler

    [/quote]
    Cool, I thought he was exclusive to the fuckup route.
    Oh man, the convoy is hell with a melee scout, if your idea of tactics is- "charge" or "charge screaming". :negative:
     
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  24. Thor Kaufman Arcane Zionist Agent

    Thor Kaufman
    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    11,713
    Show Spoiler
    you can get Moshe right from the start as well iirc, i.e. when you kill Conrad for ze german arms dealer. In fact by the end of the game you can have a full roster of RPCs, minus the girl at the very end


    Melee is fine but throwing knives are the real deal. On low levels of difficulty one can probably even win the game with a sniper but on high difficulty Vanguard and Hide (i.e. Scout basically, the only other class with Vanguard is soldier class) are a must because enemies hide AND have vanguard as skill themselves (not sure if at difficulty 3 but definitely at difficulty 4).
    I'm not sure how the game computes who gets the first turn when both enemy and player character are hidden and have vanguard, interrupt probably comes into play. At that level it's critical because everything is basically instagib and even with metagaming it's incredibly hard.


    If necessary I could post some, too, should still have the savegames.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
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  25. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    18,247
    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    That's what I meant by fuckup route, and yeah, that's what the demo consisted of-
    Show Spoiler

    The demo starts with you and Elisabeth having presumably killed Conrad, and then in the forest you meet Karl and Moshe. Being polite and non-curt with Grandpa means Moshe joins you as you go to Zeizenburg to meet Fidel. There he gets arrested, and then it's the jailbreak part. Ironically, doing it the non-violent way means you get a lower score.
     
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