Author Topic: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction  (Read 10267 times)

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Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2017, 03:20:09 PM »
Patrolling beyond the southern borders to the village, my hunting party stumbles across another trio of Living Undead.  It is 2 Skeletons and 1 Living Corpse.  We dispatch them in the same fashion as before, without taking any casualties.  Having Shields across almost the whole group helps us greatly.  In victory, they retrieve a small iron buckler, but Milosh lacks the strength to carry it and the rest of the party already carries shields.

They end the day with two wandering bands of monsters in sight.  Neither the 5 Deformed Bats nor the 4 Warped Snakes promise to be more difficult than the Undead, and they need to be cleared out before they move closer to the village.  As my hunting party makes camp, we wonder if the intruders will come into the camp.

Back at the village, Falibor continues to gather wood and Felislava returns to cooking more Bigos stew.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2017, 07:24:41 PM »
The next morning, the sun scarcely rises.  We see it in the sky, but is little more than a lighter patch of grey amid the blackness of night.  Even the drab daylight of yesterday seems like a wonderful luxury, as darkness surrounds all our villagers and shadows take on a more sinister cast.  We can only hope that the sun will return again.  As I have said before, my people are used to living in darkness.

The hunting party is down to six days food, which should give them time to patrol the final southern and eastern approaches to the village.  As they move east, they bump into the party of Warped Snakes that they saw on the other side of the valley at nightfall the day before.  Trusting in their strength, they begin their hunt of the creatures.  They quickly realize that they can avail themselves of the Poison Bait trick that Milosh practiced before, and they do so.

The 4 Snakes die leaving behind 3 Leathered skins that can be used in protetive armor, as well as a smaller, wooden shield.  This last shield might be useful back in the village, but it is inferior to what everybody in the hunting band already has, so they simply store it and move on.  They end the day's march once again spotting Shadow Bats fluttering in the distance, and wonder what the night might bring.  Better to be defeating these monsters here than waiting for them to assault the lesser-armed folks back home.

In the village, Felislava announces that she can use some of the precious Gold to fashion nails, so she may get started on the Pasture a day earlier.  It will use much of the vegetables and almost all the wood in the village, but it should serve as an immediate attraction to passers-buy and will also allow the daily collection of meat from the livestock we can raise there.  The notion of saving the Gold for some later, better use that they don't yet know about is not even brought up.  They may regret it, but life in this world has taught survivors to solve today's problems today.

She begins her work.  Falibor and Lutoslav gather wood for one more day, to make sure that the village has enough firewood while they are gone.  They will set out to gather more Cane tomorrow, and perhaps some Mushrooms as well if there is time.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2017, 08:02:01 PM »
The next morning, the sun still rises, but it remains little more than vague gray patch in one corner of the Darkness.  After some discussion, Falibor and Lutislav gather their possessions, pack some food and wood to get campfires started, and go.  It is only a half-day's march to the location of the Cane, and they immediately stake out their camp.  Falibor begins harvesting the Cane, while Lutislov goes to work gathering Mushrooms. 

Lutislov could help Falibor, as the Mushrooms are a bit of a luxury item at this stage.  But the cane-gathering is specialized work, far more suited to Falibor's hands.  So Lutislov resorts to gathering Mushrooms nearby, keeping an ear peeled for any call of help from Falibor.



(One interesting dynamic in this game is that all Crafting, Gathering, and Construction activities rely on a "lead worker" (who contributes full production value) and "assistants" whose productivity is halved.  This makes sense to me, but it also puts more emphasis on sound planning--you want everybody maximally productive every day, even if it slows down how quickly you accomplish some of the intermediate tasks.  Yet another "sense of scarcity" dynamic that help sets the dark tone for this game.

The attached screen gives you a good sense of how one must plan.  Falibor does 80 "units" of Gathering work each day, and must spend 120 to collect Cane (in this case, he'll get 7 units).  If Falibor works for 3 days, he'll gather 2 x 7 = 14 Cane.  As long as they're camped out, he might spend one more day helping Lutislov to gather Mushrooms just to bring a batch home.  Food variety improves Villagers' stats, and adding a basic ingredient like Mushrooms might make it easier to come up with different types of cooked foods, so the Mushrooms may do a lot for the culinary fare of the village and the health of the villagers.  Besides, spending one more day gathering Cane would not get them any more--and (though you can't see it from this screen shot) I had enough fuel to keep them warm out in the field for 6 days, so I don't want to cut things too close.


Patrolling to the South, our hunting party runs across some more feral beasts--in this case, Crazed Bees grown to bizarre proportions by the dark magic that has plagued this land for so long.  Using the same poison trick that has served them so well in other wilderness encounters, they once again avoid any casualties.  After killing the beasts, they find a small deposit of Resin (a crystal useful in fashioning some weapons) and some Mushroom soup.  A welcome change from the Bigos!

The also spot a Spider Nest nearby, but won't have time to make it there before nightfall.

Felislava's work on the Pasture continues.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2017, 08:31:07 PM »
Another pack of Crazed Bees attacks them after they've made camp.  Since it is nightfall, the party does not have a chance to use their Poison Bait trick, but they are once again able to stave off these nuisance attacks without taking any casualties.

The hunting party storm the Spider's Nest, and this time they are more richly rewarded.  They find 3 x Spider Silk and some more food, rather than the paltry 1 x Spider Silk they had found before.  They realize that, using the poison bait trick, many of the creatures wander off into the woods to die.  Perhaps this makes it harder to find the Nests where they live, or perhaps that is just luck from this encounter?

Felislava's work continues on the Pasture, while Nowo continues to gather Wood.  He teases Feli about not having a basket to ease his aching back, but she simply shakes her head at him and gets back to pounding together more boards to the fence that is now one-quarter finished.

The next morning, the sky is black as pitch.  Somehow, I get a faint inkling of where the sun might be, but my villagers can see nothing in this darkness.  It is as it has been for the last century.  Some of them know despair in their hearts. 

I do not have the power of speaking to them in words, nor even of granting them visions.  Once every year or two, I find myself able to pass along a dream to one of them, but that is the extent of my powers in this new age.  To a being who once walked Thea as flesh and blood, radiating my power and inspiring all who saw me, this is a humbling thing. 

But I cling stubbornly to memories of who I once was.  Where I can, I reach out to each to inspire and reassure, even if they can only sense me as a vague sense of hope or reassurance.

But we have crossed an important threshold.  Falibor has harvested his first stand of cane, and is well on his way to harvesting another!  My people were often in the habit of ranging far and wide to scavenge for resources, but this is the first time they have done so successfully since the Sun first rose.  I inspire Lutislov and Falibor to remain out in this darkness, completing work that needs to be done. 

My hunting party is starting to run low on food.  While they anticipate being able to make it back to the village in this murk, they decide that discretion might be the best response and they cut their patrol short one day earlier than they had planned to.  Although they stumble repeatedly, and see nothing of the territory they pass through on either side of them, they are making their way back home after a successful, if cautious foray into this world.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2017, 08:41:27 PM »
In the night, Falibor and Lutislov are ambushed by 4 Giant Spiders!  The battle is a quick and fierce one, as the Spiders rush Falibor.  They are small and easily killed, but their poison is not trivial and they enjoy an advantage of numbers here.  Both villagers carry spears, which helps to fend off the first two attackers, but the latter two each deliver a nasty bite to Falibor before they are killed. 



It is not a catastrohpic event.  Falibor survives, but another such attack might kill him.  They have the Cane that they came for, and abandon the Mushroom search to head home.  Mushroom Soup dinners will have to wait.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2017, 09:14:44 PM »
I guess it really does take a village.  ;D
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Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2017, 11:15:22 PM »
Darkness reigns on Thea again today as my worshippers continue their journey. 

Despite the gloom, an upbeat spirit reigns throughout the camp.  First and foremost, the whole village is reunited for the first time since the morning where the sun rose!  Our hunting party has returned from their hasty expedition to explore the surrounding countryside in this new light on the second morning.  Where before we had rumors, stories, and vague recollections, we now have a map--we know what to find where, for a day's journey in every direction from our village.  We have also found dens of several of the more maleficent creatures that plague us, and we have come up with what feels like a variety of ways to clean them out--some safer, others perhaps more fruitful.

After two weeks of gathering and crafting and exploring, the people of the village have come back together with more resources than the village has perhaps ever known!  Several lengths of Spider Silk compliment the String they have kept stored since the Sun first rose.  They have abundant Cane, 3 or 4 varieties of food (including a generous store of the meaty cabbage stew that Felislava insists they all call Bigos), and most of the Gold that Theodore provided.

More importantly, Felislava has finished the pasture.  It is now enclosed by a split picket fence on four sides, with a working if crude gate in one corner.  Ostrogniev scowls at the wastrel use of precious Gold for nails and hinges, but he's always been a more cautious Craftsmen than Felislava.  Scarcely had Felislava driven the last nail into the gate when Theodore appeared as if from nowhere!



For completing this latest task, he gifts the villagers with more Granite.  They still do not have enough to build anything yet.  But it is a sturdier material than any of them have had to use for a structure in an entire lifetime.  I can see they are all starting to dream of stone houses, although I suspect that the Granite will be used for another purpose.

He also gifts them with the most precious of crystals, Diamond.  Ever since the Darkness came, crystals have had some kind of dweomer laid upon them.  It is a chaotic and subtle magic, unpredictable in its nature, but well known to bless armor and weapons when inlaid in the right places. 

"I have taught you what I can", Theodore proclaims with a twinkle in his eye.  "I know not what your future holds, but May Svarog's blessings follow you wherever that might be!"  In a blink, he is gone, and the villagers all look at one another in awe.  This is a story that will be told in the village for generations.

"We use the Amber for now," Felislava proclaims proudly.  "The Diamond we will save for a time when we have a proper Smithy built, and the knowledge to use the diamond in a well-crafted sword or a fine mail coat.  That time is coming, but it is not here yet."

While Felislava was finishing up the pasture, Ostro had stepped back into his work for a day and night and quickly completed another basket, this one for Nowo.  It used more of the Cane gathered by Falibor, but only the shorter lengths of String and not the sturdier Vines.  This is still quite sturdy and will help him to bring home more food and fuel every night.

The sound of contented bleating from one of the village sheep comes from the nearby pasture.  Now that the village's livestock have their own pasture in which to roam and feed, they will surely grow fat more quickly.  Meat is familiar to the villagers, but for the first time now they will have a steady source of meat within the village that they can use to supplement their diet.  I have memories of villagers in stone houses and cooked meals of meat, bread, and a different kind of vegetable every day.  But to the people of this village, those are only fantastic stories handed down from generation to generation.

It is a festive night in the camp!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 11:19:58 PM by FarAway Sooner »

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2017, 11:15:39 PM »
I guess it really does take a village.  ;D

 ;D

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2017, 11:28:32 PM »
The next morning, the Darkness still reigns.  Although it makes for harsher travel, my people are inspired by the events of the last few days and they go about their work with a purpose.

Felislava goes to work building herself a workbench.  Ostro sees her toying with a few bricks of the Gold and the limited stockpile of magically imbued Darkwood, but scowls at her and she reluctantly pulls out the much more pedestrian wood and iron for this task.

Falibor returns to his task gathering wood, and Nowo heads back to planting and harvesting vegetables.  Both are working faster now that they have their new gear, but there is little question that Falibor is working more quickly.  Just as there is no question that the village needs Wood more desperately than they need Vegetables.

There are some heated discussions among the Warriors about who is best served with which weapons and which shield.  Ultimately, it is decided that whoever stays behind to guard the village should also carry a Shield.  Falibor and Luto's experience in the woods fending off Spiders without a Shield between them has made an impression.

The hunting party forms once again, this time with Luto stepping in for Sulirad.  After brief discussion over breakfast, it is agreed that this group needs to clean out the two Spider Nests near the town.  After that, they agree to check out the Mithril Mine to the North.  There may be nothing there, but there may be something.  They carefully divvy up the food supplies.  Sulirod grumbles that the hunting party gets the best food, but Ostro silences him with a glare. 

Everybody knows that the hunting party will march longer and face much greater danger.  Doing this on a full stomach only makes sense.  Finishing the last bite or two of breakfast, they pick up their weapons and trudge out of the village.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2017, 11:30:54 PM by FarAway Sooner »

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2017, 12:21:14 AM »
Over the next several days, the hunting remains good.  The hunting party cleans out a pair of Spiders Nest and explores another ruin (this one guarded by a familiar combo of a Skeleton and Rats), along with a chance encounter with a Witch and 5 of her pet Rats.  The accumulation of loot is steady.  Although none of the items are especially impressive, a number of them do come in handy.

Fighting creatures frequently now, the party seems to have found a system that works well.  3 Warriors armed with Swords (provide attack and shielding to prevent injuries) form the backbone of the fighting force, complemented by 1 Warrior armed with only a spear (helps for gaining initiative and dispatching one heavy-hitting opponent before that one gets an attack in) and Ostrogniev (my Craftsman who doubles as a fighter in a pinch) whose hammer is useful for smashing multiple small enemies at one time. 

Milosh now also carries a Sword, but it's primarily for defense and killing a single Warped Varmint or Tainted Bug that makes it past my fighters.  He is of minimal value in combat, but is handy for other things (Healing when players take a mortal wound, Poison Traps, random encounters that require Smart Thinking or Smart Talking, etc.).  It seems to be working for now.

Meanwhile, back at the village, I have a pleasant if insignificant little encounter that highlights the kind of things that often happen in this game:



The end result isn't terribly significant to the game, but it does add to the fun and the sense of wonder.


Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2017, 01:00:47 AM »
The skies are finally lightening again.  Whatever brought the Sun back into the skies, its magic seems to be holding.  As the skies lighten, I feel my own sense of self stirring.  I notice no change in my powers, but for the first time in many decades, I almost feel...  alive.

Work in the village continues apace, although once again, Wood production seems to be my primary bottle neck.  Falibor and Sulirad hatch the scheme of marching a half day's journey away from the village to find a fresh stand of timber.  There is enough food stored now that the people of the village will not go hungry any time soon.  It makes sense to turn Nowo's hands to wood-gathering near the village, while the other two march abroad to find more wood.  Falibor suggests to Felislava that Sulirad, though a Warrior by training, would be able to gather many more materials with a basket of his own.  With nothing else to do, and plenty of Cane and String to use, she quickly fashions another basket and the two head off into the woods on a foraging expedition.  Hopefully, the daylight will give them more warning of an impending enemy.

The Gathering work is becoming routine.  I would love to be able to build a Smithy, although I'm not sure I have enough wood to craft anything more important.  The village would be well-served by another Gatherer, but only time will tell when that might happen.  The village remains headed in the right direction, but the progress is tedious to be sure. 

The two venture out together, headed for a nearby stand of forest where Falibor might harvest some wood while Salidor fills his basket with Mushrooms and Cane.  In fact, the daylight does give warning of a nearby enemy--it's a witch and 4 Rats, who would almost certainly kill the two of them alone.  Reluctantly, they head back to town.  Sulidor wonders if they should have kept one more member of their war party closer to home.

In the North, my hunting party approaches the Mithril Mine that our dwarf visitor told us of only a few days after the sun first rose.  My war band has been more than up to every challenge they've faced, and seem almost eager for what might be more excitement in the ruins of this abandoned mine.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2017, 01:11:17 AM »
Sadly, at the bottom of the Mine Shaft, my party runs into a large band of angry Dwarves!



To date, all of my encounters have been "1 Skull/Danger" encounters, where the Skulls give you a sense of your peril.  While those have been getting downright tedious, I was really hoping this would be a "2 Skull" Party and not a straight jump to the Hat Trick of Danger!  Clearly, I need to find something more taxing than scooping up Dark Critters and bopping them on the head, but if I overestimate where I'm at here, my party dies and I'm left SOL.

Did I mention that this game is played Iron Man and there are no Saved Game restore points you can go back to?

**Sigh**

My war band goes roaming off into the countryside, looking for somebody else interesting to fight or converse with.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 12:36:31 PM by FarAway Sooner »

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2017, 08:51:17 AM »
I have to admit I've started skimming these entries, not because they're uninteresting but because I don't want to be too spoiled about how the game might progress when I play it!  :D :dreamer: :smitten:

That party-wipe tho. How many people are in the village now? Seems like this should be a messed-up disaster.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2017, 10:17:24 AM »
I ducked out of the Mithril Mine before having a head-on conflict with the Dwarves, so there was no party-wipe.  If there ever is a party-wipe near the beginning of the game, you're totally screwed.  Given that there is no Save/Reload mechanic, it's pretty much time to resign.

It's now something like Turn 15, and I've yet to add a player to my Village.  When I played the demo, I think I got a new person every 15-20 turns, but that makes mortality rates a BIG deal!  Especially if you want to get to the point where you have two hunting parties roaming the land.

As for spoilers, I've only scratched the tip of the iceberg.  I think this write-up so far only reflects about 2-3 hours of game play (it's taken me 6 hours or so because I'm screenshotting and writing as I play).  There is A LOT of plot, and it's surprisingly well-written, tied to the main game quests.  I'm going to intentionally avoid that, because reading about it spoils the excitement.

I never wrote this AAR with the intention of finishing off a whole campaign (thus the "An Introduction" in the title).  I really just wanted to highlight the atmosphere, the hard trade-off decisions, and the detailed planning that has to go into developing your village.  It's a deliciously novel approach to a 4x game.

My sense at this point is that my write-up is more than half done. 

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Thea The Awakening: An Introduction
« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2017, 12:23:57 PM »
Quote
Clearly, I need to find something more taxing than scooping up Dark Critters and bopping them on the head, but [if] I overestimate where I'm at here, my party dies and I'm left SOL.

I had wondered if there was a second warband I hadn't read about (due to skimming to avoid too many spoilers); but the missing "if" is what threw me off.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.