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Incline Temple of Elemental Evil

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by PorkyThePaladin, May 30, 2020.

  1. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    So I played this game years back, I think around 2011, got a bit into the temple itself, but the game kinda bored me. Tried again now, almost cleared the first level of the Temple, and a bit of the 2nd, and I am finding myself liking the game much more than I thought I would, at least so far.

    I think one of the issues is the super slow start, and probably the worst starting town in the history of the genre. Hommel is so retardedly huge and pointless and monotonous, with you running back and forth between the houses that all look the same, doing some stupid fetch and Dr Phil type quests that it probably drives most people off. Nulb is not any better, but once you get to the meaty combat maps (Moathouse and the temple itself), the gameplay suddenly becomes a LOT more interesting.

    The combat is fun, both because the underlying system is good, but also the encounters are fun. The enemies are constantly changing, so you avoid the fatigue common to many RPGs where you run through waves of the same shit over and over. And the enemies strike a good balance so far between being tough and challenging but not hairpullingly so with stupidly inflated stats (looking at you Poncefinder: Cuckmaker ™ - Label property of @Lillura).

    But even more than that, combat heavy dungeon crawlers often suffer from boredom and monotony, as you trudge through linear corridors, doing the same thing. ToEE seems to avoid this by both having very open and non-linear dungeons, where there are always 20 directions you can go in, with little hidden nooks and crannies and stuff to find, and also by placing various NPCs with stories and quests and other non-combat stuff throughout, which makes it seem more like a regular RPG than a dungeon crawler. It also makes the whole temple seem more real and interesting than your typical loot collector dungeon, reminiscent of the dungeon in Ultima Underworld.

    I am very early in, so this might change later, but so far, having fun!
     
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  2. Whimper Educated

    Whimper
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    Hommlet is often criticised for its boring fetch quests but you can just choose to do a few easy ones like the goblin with a ring or not to do any of them, well other than the one that sends you to the moathouse. So it's a choice for the player just like in a tabletop game I guess.

    Hommlet has a certain charm.
     
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  3. Lord_Potato Arcane

    Lord_Potato
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    From here (once you clear out the Temple) next game to go is Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor.

    Even bigger dungeon with lots of hidden passages. And no boring Hommlet to suck away your motivation!

    You'll have a jolly good time. Just don't try to uninstall it. It's so good it shouldn't be removed.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
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  4. thesheeep Arcane Patron

    thesheeep
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    Amen. I also cannot think of a worse starting area in any game.
    My best guess about how this insanity came to be is that they tried to be faithful to some original material in which there is this peaceful town where players can talk to people for pointers about where to go next.

    Stuff like that barely works for PnP, IMO, but completely falls apart in a video game environment. People play an area to completion and then move on to the next area.
    But trying to play Hommlet to completion can break just about anyone - especially if you do multiple playthroughs, it gets worse.
    Even if you just do the bare necessities in there, the town is just too damn huge.
    Isn't there some mod that just gives you all the Hommlet XP and lets you move pretty much straight to the moathouse? Moathouse at lvl 1 is just a reload-fest, so you should really be lvl2 when you get there.
     
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  5. urmom Learned

    urmom
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    Yes, there is.
     
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  6. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    Show Spoiler
    bugbears
     
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  7. Ebonsword Arcane

    Ebonsword
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    Eh, it really doesn't.

    I always just go talk to the head priest who gives you the location of Emridy Meadows. Then I walk back and forth between Hommlet and Emridy Meadows doing random encounters until I get leveled up enough to hit the Moathouse.
     
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  8. urmom Learned

    urmom
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    One positive thing to say about Hommlet is that IIRC the loading times when entering/exiting buildings are not so bad. (Compared to Pillars for instance.)
     
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  9. Roguey Codex Staff Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    You can just spare the effort and use the console to give yourself enough xp to hit level 2. :M

    Gary Gygax created a big town full of brief descriptions of people and it was the DM's responsibility to do whatever they wanted to with that. All the boring writing and quest content was 100% Tim Cain.
     
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  10. Whimper Educated

    Whimper
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    Flower sniffers like Hommlet and think it adds some charm whereas murder hobos skip it entirely. At least that's what I thought Troika's whole idea for Homlett was, as such I've never understood all the whining about it. The moathouse can be done at level 1 or you can play it safe and level up first.
     
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  11. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    :cmcc:
     
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  12. ToEE is an amazing game and most of the temple is great fun but what i found sad is how uncaringly they designed the actual elemental planes.
    Its Temple of Elemental Evil ffs. :cry:

    Show Spoiler

    And that after the greatest fight in the whole game
     
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  13. Stormcrowfleet Arcane

    Stormcrowfleet
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    In the PNP version Hommlett is actually, IMO, one of the best starting town in a module ever. Keep in mind also that it had a lot more content (and exponential at it because of the nature of having a Dungeon Master): Hommlet + Moathouse is one adventure (lvl 1-4) and the temple itself is another adventure (4-8). See Roguey answer.

    Red Panda The elemental planes were a later add-on/attempt at fixing things in the module itself. It shows when you read between the lines. I suggest listening to this most excellent video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhIpySGuO7g
     
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  14. Roguey Codex Staff Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    They didn't have the time or budget to do the elemental planes as they existed in the module.
     
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  15. Max Damage Learned

    Max Damage
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    It's 100% doable to go to Moathouse at lvl 1, you just need a druid and wizard(s)/sorcerer(s). There're 0 fights that magic can't overcome.
     
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  16. thesheeep Arcane Patron

    thesheeep
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    Of course it is doable.
    The question is how often you want to reload because something 1-hit-killed your squishy character(s).

    I'd rather not spend my time reloading 10+ times until a round is over without any of my guys dead from two arrows or frog tongues...
     
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  17. Max Damage Learned

    Max Damage
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    Eh, the worst I've had happen is when my enlarged barbarian got knocked out with lucky arrow. Just summon jackal as druid's companion, AI always prioritizes low AC members. Meanwhile, cast Entangle and Sleep, Grease also helps. Frogs are susceptible to Charm Animal too, good fun for when you have more than 1 druid in party. But Entagle is like superspell for low levels, very good throughout whole game too.
     
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  18. UserNamer Cipher

    UserNamer
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    I remember loving the graphical style and combat of this game so much. Has anything even remotely similar been released in the mean time? I've been playing very little games for a while and got back into gaming with the covid quarantine basically
     
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  19. LibertyRansom Augur

    LibertyRansom
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    Mmm, not really. There is a Keep on the Borderlands module that allows you to play a different campaign in ToEE. There is also Temple+ which has a bunch of quality of life fixes and adds some extras.

    Not really sure why, but aside from Keep on the Borderlands and a very short Icewind Dale 2 intro module, no one has created any modules/campaigns for what is practically the best engine for D&D 3.5. It's not like you even need a plot for the modules, you could just have a series of tactical combat missions in an arena.
     
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  20. Roguey Codex Staff Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    One big factor is that Circle of 8 kept the toolset to themselves for years. Someone only leaked it to everyone else a few years ago. Another factor is that it takes a lot of effort to make that prerendered background art. Not easy like NWN's tiles.
     
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  21. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    Is the ToEE engine open sourced? For commercial development?
     
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  22. LibertyRansom Augur

    LibertyRansom
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    I don't believe so, although there is a thread elsewhere on this site that goes into more detail I think Tim Cain owns the 1's and 0's of the code and then theres complicated licensing agreements with Wizards of the Coast and Atari etc. with regard to other aspects.

    As a practical matter, no one is likely to object if you make a module or even raise money to create one. Just don't expect to be able to sell it on any reputable platform.
     
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  23. Mr. Magniloquent Arcane Patron

    Mr. Magniloquent
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    Homlett is authentic in the worst way possible. The fast travel points help, but its near impossible to care for the lifeless townies there. The sterile and ugly dialogue UI does not help one bit. It's sprawling size and beauty are wasted, and serves only to fool the player into thinking that it's more than just a launch point for the actual game. Suffering murder as soon as you step out of its limits doesn't encourage the player any better. After my first two runs, I just cheat my team to Level 3, as that's what you get to if you labor through its banal gossip mongering and fetch quests.
     
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  24. Darth Canoli Arcane

    Darth Canoli
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    PorkyThePaladin The game really begins when you replay it with temple+
    • Way more races and classes.
    • You already know you have to skip Hommlet to keep your sanity
    • You can now try to avoid all the Bugbear fights and focus on the good stuff
     
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  25. PorkyThePaladin Arcane

    PorkyThePaladin
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    So I've been plugging along, got to the elemental plane now, and I am pretty bored again. Why you ask?

    Well the primary reason is that it's such a combat heavy game, and those always tend to wear me out quickly. The beauty of "full" RPGs is that they combine these different types of gameplay together, that serve as a welcome change of pace from each other. Tired of fighting? Go explore the world and find cool stuff. Walking getting old? Stop and talk with NPCs and engage in dialogue and lore. Don't feel like reading? Go solve puzzles or get back into combat.

    But these combat slogs (ToEE, Icewind Dales, Diablo clones) just get really repetitive and boring after a while.

    Then the other thing. But first, sit down. This WILL trigger you. As I made an argument elsewhere here before, tactical combat in RPGs is generally extremely repetitive and mindless. ToEE, which is considered one of the better tactical combat RPG systems, is a perfect example of this. It's a pretty good system as far as DnD goes, but every freaking fight, I am doing the same exact thing and having 100% success:

    - move the tank in front and assume a defensive position
    - move the healer behind him and other melee units slightly back of him
    - wait until enemies aggro on tank, and start attacking them with melee
    - throw in damage spells, occasionally utility/cc spells

    There is absolutely no interesting decisions to make in any of this, and it just repeats every fight. How many fights in does this just start to bore the hell out of you?

    This is exactly why I feel like aRPGs have an advantage, because the real time/timing elements bring excitement to a similarly shallow decision tree making that's missing in tactical RPGs. And among tactical RPGs, RTwP and single character turn based does better, RTwP because all this repetitive stuff runs in parallel and goes faster and allowing you to put more of it on auto pilot, and single character turn based lowers the amount of repetitive overhead.

    But ultimately, I would love to see more truly tactical RPGs, where you are not just doing the same stuff over and over, but have to adjust dynamically every turn.
     
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