Raised in Servitude

The shambling rhythm of the undead.

Of the many decisions that I’ve made with this build, having the undead as (one of) her favoured enemies was arguably one of the best. They’re everywhere. I can’t seem to explore a single crumbling ruin, ancient temple, or odorous sewer without encountering a skeleton or twenty. They’re also ridiculously strong for aberrations that no longer possess muscle. I’d like to believe that their unholy strength is wrought from their hatred of the living, as they can still enjoy the wondrous aromas and flavours of delicacies that escape those without a digestive system.

It quite literally escapes.

Right through their ribs, as no organ nor weave of flesh exists to prevent it from doing so. Which means that they’ll never need to worry about weight gain, or doing those simple exercises every day to build muscle. They’ll just need to worry about a murderous dual-wielding Halfling.

Having conceived this build without much experience with the 3rd edition rules, I’m rather pleased by how satisfying- if not inherently flawed- it is. Flawed mostly because I built her as a Halfling. Her equipment restrictions have been frustrating but manageable, but her lowered Strength has consistently reduced her damage per hit. Which was somewhat alleviated by taking a few levels of Rogue, as she’s now able to perform Sneak Attacks, which deal an extra 2d6 damage, should the target be unable to defend itself or engaged with another. And her extra damage will only increase as she further develops as a Rogue. Having also acquired the Fist of the Legion, which affords her a chance to stun with each hit, she has been able to deal that extra damage rather reliably. As can her panther as it is deemed a Rogue, too.

Those who disturb the tranquillity of nature shall be punished.

An approach that is as effective as it was coincidental, and one that benefits from taking additional levels as a Rogue. But doing so would affect her panther, as its level is based on her Ranger level, and so to forsake Ranger for Rogue would weaken (but also strengthen) it. I’ve also been utilising various magical boots, rings, amulets, cloaks, helmets, and even bullets to overcome many of her other shortcomings. Not that these benefits seem to affect her panther, and besides casting spells (such as Magic Fang) I can’t directly influence its combat proficiency.

Not that it needs to be hardy.

With a magical rod and a few spells she’s reasonably comfortable staying in close quarters, evading most damage while also attacking at a staggering pace. Which I can only assume is based on her ridiculously high Dexterity. I don’t know what else could be affecting her attack speed.

Despite its age, evident with its clunkier mechanics, and often finicky inventory management, I’ve greatly enjoyed the time I’ve spent with Neverwinter Nights. I wasn’t aware of the latent potential of this build, but I’ve been continually surprised by it. Just like that random corpse that surprised me with a Bag of Holding. I wasn’t expecting to find that there. Throughout the main campaign I’ve trekked through forests, explored gloomy crypts, and delved into many a cave. I’ve had to use amulets to interact with NPCs, utilise skills to further quest progression, and rely on numerous pieces of information to solve puzzles. And that’s exactly what I’d expect from a CRPG. An experience that is complex and unforgiving, which encourages exploration and creativity, but doesn’t simplify encounters to protect those who stray too far from safety.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Dungeons & Moggies

Rolling dice and taking hits.

Ideally I’d be rolling dice and avoiding hits, but my saving throws never seem to be as effective as they should be. Not that I’m fully conversant with the differences between Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws. And I’m reasonably certain that the majority of my builds have lower than average modifiers, due to the distribution of their attribute points. Because a -1 modifier never seems as bad as it actually is during character creation. But such is to be expected whenever I attempt to make sense of the different Dungeons & Dragons rules present in CRPGs.

Varied as they are.

Hence some of my confusion regarding different classes, creatures, saving throws, and other mechanics. I’m trying to make sense of three different iterations of Dungeons & Dragons rules, while also observing the alterations made to those rules for the different CRPGs that utilise them.

Of the attempts that I’ve made, and there have been a few, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is my lone success, as that features a d20 system derived from the 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. I knew I made the right choice when I opted for a Scout instead of a Soldier. Following this, I had a reasonably successful campaign in Baldur’s Gate that abruptly ended when tragedy struck. Imoen, one of few capable companions, died and couldn’t be resurrected, as it would crash to desktop every time I entered a temple. I didn’t have an earlier save file, either. I’d assumed that I could easily resurrect her once I’d escaped the dungeon, but it wasn’t to be. I recovered her equipment, though. It burdens me to this day as I’ve not revisited that save file since. It’s not like I need to manage an inventory that I’m not actively using.

I’ve also had two unsuccessful campaigns in Icewind Dale, and most recently I’ve revisited Neverwinter Nights with a Rogue/Cleric build. An unorthodox- but promising- build that I wasn’t intending to see through the main campaign. But did help to highlight some of the mistakes that I was making. It didn’t, however, help me to understand spells per day. Or why she had so few of them. But, because of that build, and a greater understanding of the mechanics, I’ve devised a new Ranger/Rogue build to try and complete Neverwinter Nights in its entirety.

I had considered a Ranger/Druid build.

But I didn’t heed the neutral alignment requirement for Druids, and so settled on Rogue to be able to open locked chests (or doors) and disarm traps more reliably. I don’t suffer any experience penalty as a Halfling, either. So I’m able to invest in Rogue levels as and when I need to.

I doubt I’ll be taking this Ranger/Rogue build through the expansion packs, though. As those campaigns can be experienced with a fresh character. It’d be foolish to not even consider something different. Something like a Half-Orc Cleric. Misunderstood but righteous, with a two-handed axe for solving problems that spells can’t. Surprisingly, I’ve got a rather extensive- if not largely unsuccessful- history with Dungeons & Dragons. One formed entirely from my experiences with CRPGs, but one that has ignited a passion in me all the same. Neverwinter Nights will hopefully be the first of many successes, as I own numerous CRPGs, but things tend to go awry, and I tend to become discouraged as I often encounter more failures than successes. One can but try, though. And I’m very trying. Just ask anyone who works with me.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Atoning for Past Sins

We’ve come to the end of our time.

Something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to the residents of Wellington Wells, as its bleak landscape is decaying more rapidly than a plagued corpse in Lud’s Holm. Their reliance on Joy to forget who they are and what they’ve done is a problem, as bad batches are becoming increasingly common, and those who can’t take their Joy are exiled from civilisation. Thrown to the destitute and plagued of the wilderness. Scavenging the ruins of a near-extinct society, that has no means by which to sustain itself, as its ageing population will eventually expire.

But maybe that’s for the best.

Arthur Hastings, former resident of the Parade District, awoke to this nightmare, and fled its institutionalised indoctrination to rediscover his own forgotten past. Something that he may regret doing once he discovers the truth about who he is, what he did, and how he came to be here.

I’ve found We Happy Few to be deceptively content-dense, with three distinct playable characters, each with their own motivations and talents, and each witnessing the intertwining events from their own perspective. Arthur is the first, and most versatile, of the three. Favouring either stealth or combat, while having the fewest equipment restrictions. Uncharacteristically, and solely because there is an associated achievement, I’ve been avoiding combat where possible, instead relying on subtlety to fumble my way through Wellington Wells. Only using weapons deemed as non-lethal, and thus only capable of rendering an opponent unconscious. Not that I’d agree that wrapping a cricket bat (or rolling pin) in cloth makes it any less lethal. But only with non-lethal weapons will I be able to avoid murdering the general populous as Ollie.

Happy as can be.

Character development is surprisingly extensive, too. There are three different skill trees per character to invest in, with skill points being awarded for the completion of numerous quests. Some skills, such as those that increase maximum health, or weapon damage, are shared between characters. But every character has their own particular talents as well. Having to explore- and interact with- the world around you to further the capabilities of your chosen character is very satisfying, and encourages meaningful exploration that often yields other boons.

Such as Inventory Expansion Kits.

Allowing you to satiate that desire to hoard every glass bottle, brick, and rock that you find in the bins you’re rummaging through. Regardless of whether they’re actually useful to you or not. Never daring to sell them as you’ve no need for more currency that you won’t spend.

I’m curious as to how my approach will change, if at all, for Sally and Ollie, as they’ve got notable strengths and weaknesses. Which is as exciting as it is terrifying, as there might be some really annoying mechanics pertaining to those two. Or they might be jolly good fun. Sally, who seems to favour stealth, and chemical warfare, should be easy to adjust to from my time with Arthur. Ollie, however, needs to fight. Needs to rely solely on non-lethal weapons to avoid undoing everything that I’ve done in the last fifty hours. I’m fairly proficient at engaging in combat, but I’ve never had to default to it. So I’m (rather surprisingly) unsure whether I can. But I believe that your experiences should teach you something about yourself, and relying on stealth in We Happy Few has certainly done that. I’ve learned that I’m really good at running away.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Sprucin’ Things Up

Not as you may remember it.

While it is accurate to suggest that Moggie’s Proclamations is in a constant state of change, there have been few changes as significant as those that have occurred in recent months. Notably, and for the first time since its conception, I’ve decided to update the theme, which I’d been deliberating over for the last twelve months. This isn’t to suggest that the previous theme was in any way unsuited to my needs or content, but simply that I wanted to freshen up the blog. Something that (as you would expect) has fundamentally affected the formatting and layout of my posts.

I can’t really avoid that, though.

As my content is formatted and laid out to fit the constraints of the theme displaying it. This bled over to the Creative and Gaming pages, too. They’ve both been subject to formatting updates to reflect the introduction of new categories, and (hopefully) to make them easier to navigate.

Following the decision to recategorise MMORPG posts in Massively Multiplayer Moggie, I’ve also added The Atelier Series and The Yakuza Series to the parent Gaming category. This was mostly in response to recent purchases, as I’ve finally begun my adventures in the Atelier series with the wonderfully wholesome Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout. While the PC release of Yakuza 3 Remastered, Yakuza 4 Remastered, and Yakuza 5 Remastered means that I’ve got five instalments in the Yakuza series to experience. Five instalments which I own, as I apparently don’t have any concept of restraint. But that shouldn’t be too surprising to those who regularly frequent Moggie’s Proclamations. If there’s a way to surpass my limits, or to face greater challenges, I’ll find it. And I’ll do it.

Content on Moggie’s Proclamations has always existed in a transitory state, though. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever fully commit to one iteration. Which doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with previous content, as I’d suggest that the posts from the last twelve months are among my best, but that change shouldn’t be feared, and that simply doing something because you’ve always done it is no reason at all. And that comfortable consistency is boring. I enjoy seeing how my writing style has changed- and how I’ve changed- over the years that I’ve been writing, drawing, and painting.

Hence why my personal site is as it is.

Progression is just as important, if not more so, than the end result, and that’s why I embrace everything that I do. Every attempt, every mistake, every post- it all contributes to the proficiency (or lack thereof) that I now possess. It all contributes to furthering that proficiency should I wish to.

I’ve certainly implemented less updates in recent years than in those that came before, but I’m still regularly tinkering with things and updating them as necessary. I wouldn’t deny that I’m happier with things as they are now. The last few years have been difficult for various reasons, and I’m glad that I can feel like I’ve achieved something in that time. Something meaningful. Even if it’s going to require even more work to be something that I’m truly happy with. I’ve already been considering ways to improve my personal site, to make it more accessible and easier to navigate, and I’m still committed to regularly sharing creative content again. I’m not sure what form that will take, or when that will be, but I’ve been thinking about how best to approach it, and I hope that through that rekindled creativity I’ll find even greater satisfaction.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Rasen Pudding Pioneer

A delightfully delicious magical treat.

Synthesised from only the highest quality ingredients, which are freshly gathered every day and simmered over a medium heat in an alchemy cauldron for the perfect texture. Don’t forget to try our Kurken Island variant, too. Produced from locally sourced fresh milk, sugar, and most likely some kind of gelatin. Of the many things that I’ve synthesised- massive two-handed swords, billowing capes of mystical fabric, rings of untapped potential- the Rasen Pudding is arguably the greatest. It heals, it buffs, it jiggles, and it never depletes when paired with a Core Crystal.

Core Charges are now pudding servings.

Given his predilection for sweet things, I’m certain that Empel would agree that this is an acceptable use of this mysterious Klint Kingdom relic. Rather than using it to inflict elemental damage via bombs, remove status ailments, revive characters who’ve been knocked out, and so on.

We could do both, though. Not that I’ve been particularly diligent when synthesising consumables and combustibles, but I’m still learning how best to utilise raw materials and where best to use them. I’ve barely touched the weapon enhancement mechanics, Weapon Buff and Weapon Forging, but I don’t want to waste Gems on weapons that I’m likely to replace fairly quickly. I’ve explored the Gathering Synthesiser but once to retrieve a single raw material. And don’t even ask about the Multiplicauldron. I’ve only duplicated items that won’t yield much alchemy experience, as I’d rather synthesise from raw ingredients to unlock new recipes and further enhance Ryza’s alchemical talent. Not that the complexity and extensiveness of these mechanics isn’t appreciated, but they can be slightly overwhelming for entirely new players.

This is going to hurt…

Which, regarding the Atelier series, I am, as Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout is the first of this series that I’ve played. I’ve previously purchased an entry in the Arland, Dusk, and Mysterious subseries. But I felt that the most recent release would be the most accessible, and would allow me to grow accustomed to the progression and mechanics of the series as a whole. And it certainly is accessible. But the mechanics exhibit unexpected complexity, which I couldn’t be happier about but know will result in hours of synthesising components in pursuit of perfection.

Or a really neat two-handed sword.

The Atelier series doesn’t conform to what you’d typically expect from a JRPG, either. Defeating enemies and grinding for experience isn’t as significant as synthesising powerful equipment, while progression through the main campaign is often narrative-driven and somewhat linear.

This is, of course, from my experiences with Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, which have been pleasant but might not necessarily be indicative of the series as a whole. But I’ve been fascinated by how engaging the alchemy mechanics have been, and how satisfying synthesising is. Exploration has depth and requires the use of different Gathering Tools, gathering is kept fresh and interesting by utilising those in new areas, morphing affords unprecedented flexibility and results in new recipes, items can be rebuilt to enhance their effects or traits, and everything feels as if it has its own purpose. Nothing feels disjointed or unintuitive. Adventuring has never been as wholesome or as fulfilling, and I can’t wait to see what mysteries we’ll unravel as we continue to explore ancient Klint Kingdom ruins.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie