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Thief 2 fan missions and campaigns

Mechs Delight

Educated
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Messages
80
Location
Sioux Falls, SD USA
The Perdurance: Such an annoying mission: godlike monsters, VERY few options to defend yourself, it's like Into the Odd's Mechanist-themed little brother (despite the nice, tense atmosphere). For masochists and die-hard survival horror fans only.
 

octavius

Arcane
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
17,224
Location
Bjørgvin
Just completed The Inventor's Tower for Thief 2.
Looking back in this thread I see that it's the first FM I have really enjoyed in almost two years, but it was released only six months later. So playing games, including user-made content chronologically, I've use two years to cover May to November 2001. :negative:

The FM was made for a contest (KOMAG Contest 2) and is rather small. It ended down on an 11th place out of 16 entries, so unless the contest was for the most avant garde mission, there must be some masterpieces in the first ten placed. I've really missed solid, traditional Thief FMs that I can finish in one sitting, so this was just what I neede. It's not very hard, has a nice storyline and decent atmosphere.
 

octavius

Arcane
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Aug 4, 2007
Messages
17,224
Location
Bjørgvin
Completed The 7th Crystal.
Quite impressive visuals, and very professionally made. It actually reminded me a bit of Half-Life 2, with too much cut scenes and story telling, and game play not being of the same quality, and being rather linear despite taking place in a huge mansion.

I completed it without much problems; even the switch in the second attic that launched a thousand threads for halp! on the TTLG forums.
The story line is pretty good, and better than in most other FMs, but the game play and exploration left a bit to be desired. There's no secret areas in the huge mansion, except those you need to find to complete. There's no loot requirement, and nowhere where you really need rope arrows. Parts of it felt rather contrived, like the Attic Key being kept in a locked and hidden safe in the library, when the only reason for going to the attic (which has no loot) is to trigger a cut scene. The only enemies are human guards (of which only the first, very alert patrol posed a problem), and, if you don't find a rosary, spiders. The mansion has modern WCs, but no robots and no alarm system. And there was not even a little zombie to liven things up in the catacombs.
All in all, I think the FM maker (Saturnine) focused too much on "realism".

Still, a solid and enjoyable enough FM, with nothing that I really disliked about it, but I don't think it's the masterpiece some taffers claim it to be.
 
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Unkillable Cat

LEST WE FORGET
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It was "a masterpiece" when it was released 20+ years ago, because it set new standards for what could be accomplished with the Dark Engine.

It doesn't hold up so well in hindsight, obviously.
 

octavius

Arcane
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
17,224
Location
Bjørgvin
Finished The Search for Crom's Blade.
I used 8.5 hours...I'm getting too old for this taff. :negative:
I completed it on Expert and without any outside help. Still, it's probably nearly twice as long as my previous "record".

Very large and intricate map, that is everything 7th Crystal was not, with lots to explore. Gave me a strong Lost City from Ultima Underworld 2 vibe.

The puzzle to find Crom's Blade is in hindsight very easy. Not so easy in figuring out what to do, but more like easy as in how quickly you can do it, when you realize that
the tomb is a giant red herring and that you can bash the door to the throne room. So you don't really need any of the Orobouroses after all. All you need is one Fire Arrow, shot thrice (or maybe even just once?).
So the meat of the FM is exploring every nook and cranny to find those nine diamonds. Fortunately there are audio clues, even if you have turned off ambient sounds (which is usually music).

In addition to Unkillable Cat's tips earlier in this thread I would add that a good supply of broadhead arrows will come in handy.

It was nice to play a large, traditional FM again.
 

Unkillable Cat

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A new T2 FM dropped over the weekend: "Alterna Crystallis."

Garrett hears about a guy who seems to be growing some snazzy crystals, and decides to have a look. Along the way he decides to check out what leads the cops have on him, and maybe rob Lord Bafford once more.

This is a pure humans-in-cityscape affair, with a handful of spiders and a truckload of rats thrown in. It's a little railroaded at first, but soon opens up to reveal its massive size. Bafford's new manor is at least as big as the one he had back in T1, and the police station is a hefty challenger.

It doesn't do anything wrong per se, but Audiolog Syndrome is a thing and I didn't like how the main objective kept moving the goalposts. I also wasn't fond of how the FM restricts travel in places. There are 23 secrets in total, so plenty of reason to to taff around, but there are no crates (or even rubble!) to work with... only vine arrows and figuring out the sometime moonish logic of the author.

Easily a 7.5/10, but I'm gonna muck around with it some more before giving a final rating.
 
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Nixheb

Arcane
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
772
Location
france
Currently playing Exile (Being Thief 2) v 1.2 ...

The typical infuriating mission that you always skip ("the title is crap", "looks boring", the first minutes of play are not that convincing) and that, when you finally take the time to dig in, reveals an absolute jewels with an immersive city, plot and a fantastic use of verticality. If you like city missions with "an attitude", susbtance and really creative ideas, go for it !
 

notpl

Learned
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
Messages
532
Would one of you please condense all 160 pages of this thread into like 10-20 solid recommendations? God bless those of you who play every single one of them but 99% of fan missions are irredeemably bad.
 

Curratum

Arcane
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
4,008
Black Parade this Christmas or I nuke the whole planet!
Would one of you please condense all 160 pages of this thread into like 10-20 solid recommendations? God bless those of you who play every single one of them but 99% of fan missions are irredeemably bad.
Say no more, say no more. This is what I have left with the intention to finish / replay after years of collecting and trying and deleting / pruning missions, i.e. content of sufficient quality to recommend:

Thief 1:
dSzEAxF.jpg


Thief 2:
XTNtRcH.jpg
 

notpl

Learned
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
Messages
532
Black Parade this Christmas or I nuke the whole planet!
Would one of you please condense all 160 pages of this thread into like 10-20 solid recommendations? God bless those of you who play every single one of them but 99% of fan missions are irredeemably bad.
Say no more, say no more. This is what I have left with the intention to finish / replay after years of collecting and trying and deleting / pruning missions, i.e. content of sufficient quality to recommend:

Thief 1:
dSzEAxF.jpg


Thief 2:
XTNtRcH.jpg
King.
 

Unkillable Cat

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I revisited an FM I hadn't played in years.

"Eclipsed" by HipBreaker

Welcome to Port Aerinth, a small, wealthy, and powerful harbor town. Its inhabitants abandoned it after some still unknown tragedy struck there, but rumor has it that in their terror they left behind their considerable wealth and possessions. While most see this as a tragedy, shake their heads, and get on about their lives, Garrett sees an opportunity. An opportunity to plunder without consequence, to finally get the wealth he desires…and deserve, after all these years spent crawling through the shadows. But strange things occur the moment he sets foot in Port Aerinth. It seems that not everyone - or everything - has fled the town. Maybe tonight, the darkness isn’t his friend…

Without spoiling anything, let's just say there's a good reason everyone fled, as Garrett is about to find out.

This FM was made before NewDark and really pushed the Dark Engine to its limits, so there are a few restrictions in place. Invisible walls have been placed wherever clever taffers might try to break out of the scenery, for example. There's also a low amount of enemies, to the point that the FM is essentially barren until a certain elevator is used. It looks great despite its age, and is well written. But where it truly shines is its atmosphere. Very few FMs convey a growing sense of dread like this one, and it's done brilliantly. There are clear signs of struggle and combat everywhere, but very few bodies. My favorite bit is the bookstore, where a door chime rings when you enter... and then when you frob a particular item inside the bookstore the chime rings again, as if someone just entered after you...

But ultimately? I was disappointed by it. The restrictions are tight to the point of being annoying, but not by much. I was far more bothered by the ending, as they portray Garrett in the worst way possible.

Rating: 6.5/10. It has aged badly, but it still delivers on its greatest strengths. Despite that I'd say this one is mandatory playing, as you don't get that many great 'Show and Tell'-FMs like this one.
 
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Unkillable Cat

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As I wrapped up "Eclipsed" I noticed that there's another well-rated FM that I hadn't played in years, and figured I'd give it a go and see how it holds up.

"Broken Triad" by Eskhataar

This is a sequel to the wildly-acclaimed "Ominous Bequest" and continues (and wraps up) the story in two parts. In "Arkford" Garrett has been laying low in the eponymous town, but is planning one last heist of the town's former-church-now-museum before returning to the City. The biggest problem is the heavy security, so Garrett needs to learn how to disable that first. Fortunately he has an insider to help him out. But why is Garrett seeing strange visions, and what's with the serial killer who tears off his victim's heads?

That "Arkford" was made before NewDark came along simply amazes me, there is just so much custom work, detailed content and brilliant visuals at play. It feels like the cityscape is much larger than it truly is, but it's so tightly woven together. "Arkford" even employs Metroidvania-elements. Everything presented is of the highest quality, with the highpoint being the writing, and that on every front. Conversations feel fluid and natural, there's a well-likable character presented in the form of Brother Reginald, taking a tour of the museum is an absolute joy, and finally an intricate and engaging story is laid out which takes quite a few drastic turns along the way - most players will be left reeling by the revelations revealed at the end of "Arkford".

"Tempest Isle" then wraps up the story, as Garrett is trying to avert certain disaster by finding the last part of the Triad before the baddie does, in a precursor city located on a mysterious island. The setting is a mixture of 'Lost City' and 'Haunted Cathedral', laden heavily with traps, puzzles and obstacles to overcome, but it also introduces a cool new feature called the Sanctuary, which functions as a central hub which allows Garrett to take massive shortcuts across the map - as well as solve a puzzle or two. Overall I find "Tempest Isle" the lesser of the two missions, but it's also the final part of a trilogy and is trying to wrap up the storyline without dragging everything along, and that's a job it gets properly.

Both missions introduce other lesser ideas which are executed quite nicely. A signal lamp needs to be lit to progress further at one point, and a series of hidden riddles reward the player with a staff that triggers switches from a distance, which will come in handy. "Ominous Bequest" came with the caveat of being quite challenging, especially during the start, but "Broken Triad" doesn't suffer from that, and everything presented is explained quite well. If there's one downside to "Broken Triad" it's that it sacrifices Thief-gameplay to pull off everything it does. Oh sure, there's plenty of taffing to do in "Arkford", but some of the Thief-staples are gone. There's no loot requirement in either mission and no kill limits - you can slaughter all of Arkford without anyone giving a damn, and since there's no shop there's a lesser incentive to break into people's houses, though the FM tries to make up for it by introducing other elements - lighting the aforementioned signal lamp, for example, required finding lamp oil whose location is randomly determined amongst a few select locations. Also, gear found in "Arkford" carries over to "Tempest Isle", so it's still worthwhile to scour the entire map. (There's also a hidden bonus objective in both missions for finding all the loot, but you must find all of it. "Arkford" then presents further hidden objectives.)

Overall I'd rate "Arkford" with a solid 10, but not "Tempest Isle", so "Broken Triad" ends with a 9.5/10-rating. This puts Eskhataar's FM-trilogy Up There as the best of the best the Thief-community has produced. It is a joy to play these FMs, especially for newcomers.
 
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Unkillable Cat

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"Disorientation" by Melan

Rating: 9.5/10 I should not have to explain why.

But to give people an idea, I'll share an anecdote from me replaying this FM:

There I was, minding my own business, when I spot an open window with a wooden platform in front of it. Out comes a rope arrow and I start climbing. I may have misjudged when it was safe to jump off the rope to grab the ledge and mantle up, because I mantle up but find no purchase on the ledge, so I just drop straight back down onto the rope... except the rope wasn't having it, and sends me flying horizontally at 500 mph. I'm splattered against the wall across the street.

As I leak down the wall like the squashed tomato I've become, I think to myself "Maybe this T2 FM copied Thief 1 a little too accurately..." :lol:

Out of curiosity I reloaded to see if I could recreate it, and success! Except the second time I kept holding down 'Run_Forward' and I was flung at the wall at 700 mph!

It's in the West section of the map, south of the gallows, right where the Hammerites are patrolling, but before the stationary guard at the end of the street. There's a small tower there which holds this wondrous window, but the window is blocked and too narrow, meaning you can't mantle up on it. You're meant to jump off to the left to reach the roof of the adjacent building.

Pls don't fix this, it's so amusing.
 

Unkillable Cat

LEST WE FORGET
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In other news, the entries for the New Dark 10th Anniversary Contest over at TTLG have been released - and strangely only two entries were submitted. I'll be giving them a look.

But that's not all, GORT has updated and re-released his submission to the Thief 2 20th Anniversary Contest. That's the one where I somehow managed to get the 'bad ending' and was locked out of most of the mission, so I'll be giving that another look.
 

agentorange

Arcane
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Joined
Aug 14, 2012
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5,034
Codex 2012
The Perdurance: Such an annoying mission: godlike monsters, VERY few options to defend yourself, it's like Into the Odd's Mechanist-themed little brother (despite the nice, tense atmosphere). For masochists and die-hard survival horror fans only.
I enjoyed the Perdurance but yeah it is a run away from monsters gimmick mission. The sequel mission Morning Light is a lot better in terms of gameplay.
 

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