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

Blood On Your Hands

Doing your duty isn’t always pretty.

You might need to prevent an uprising of sentient robots, further destabilise a society that barely functions as it is, or embark on an otherworldly journey through countless mind-altering drugs. These are the untold tales of the heroes that Wellington Wells never recognised, but were instrumental in changing the lives of those around them. We Happy Few continues its narrative-driven adventures through a drug-addled society with three distinct DLC experiences, each introducing a different protagonist with wholly unique mechanics and their own events to follow.

And their own problems to solve.

Of the three, the third, We All Fall Down, expands on the events of the main campaign. Lending insight into how Wellington Wells functioned as a society after Ollie realised the truth, and how his actions influenced another prominent character to take their own drastic measures.

The second, Lightbearer, was easily my favourite, and the most creative. Following the misadventures of Nick Lightbearer was hilarious enough, but the bizarre combat mechanics made it even more enjoyable. Using his guitar to deal damage (and parry incoming damage) was ridiculously fun. I also enjoyed its final boss, despite it being the simplest to defeat. They Came From Below had an interesting final boss, too. A hectic encounter that required you to manipulate the environment to reduce incoming damage, which didn’t always work as expected. We All Fall Down relied on puzzle solving and navigating the environment for its challenges, often shying away from combat despite how versatile the whip proved to be. You could easily avoid damage by stunning (or knocking down) your opponents with a volley of strikes.

Setting the stage for a grandiose finale.

Unlike Arthur, Sally, and Ollie these protagonists have no means by which they gain skill points. But they do unlock new equipment and new abilities throughout their adventures. Victoria is the only exception as she can find and use contraptions to upgrade herself and her equipment, or completely forego those for the challenge. And the associated achievement. You’ll be rummaging through bins less often, too. Crafting mechanics are notably absent, and each character can only make use of a few items. Healing items are available to all but in surprisingly limited quantities.

Making them ridiculously valuable.

You won’t be able to develop as extensively to favour stealth or combat, so running away and hiding in the nearest bush isn’t an option. You’re going to have to fight. Usually in confined spaces and with limited movement. Or while becoming accustomed to different mechanics.

The diversity of the DLC has exceeded any prior expectations that I had for it, with the developers once again exhibiting their seemingly unending creativity as they craft three enrapturing campaigns. Each featuring the same painstaking attention to detail that made We Happy Few the one-of-a-kind experience that I found it to be. Each adding to the impressive content-density of the main campaign. And each implementing its own unique mechanics. If the developers were considering a sequel to We Happy Few, I’d be interested to see how that would deviate from the established mechanics we’ve come to know and love in this ludicrously content-dense experience. I can wholeheartedly recommend We Happy Few in its entirety, and encourage those who have completed the main campaign to try the DLC.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

The Burden They Bear

They’ve cast aside their masks.

Exposing the truth about the sordid events that Wellington Wells hides underneath its colourful exterior, while making it painfully apparent that their society is on the brink of collapse should things continue as they are. Which couldn’t have happened to nicer people. Not that everyone was complicit to the events that occurred during the war, but most have perpetuated that lie for their own happiness. We Happy Few is an enrapturing narrative-driven adventure through a drug-addled society, in which three separate protagonists discover the truth about themselves.

Or what they believe to be the truth.

Many of the events are left open to interpretation, with few explicitly stated, while the recollection of events given by each protagonist can’t be trusted, as they’ve each got their own justification for their actions. Their perception has been been irreversibly warped to fit their narrative.

Most notable with events involving multiple protagonists, as the actual events often differ, highlighted by subtle hints in the dialogue, suggesting that each is witnessing their own version of the truth. Or that their recollection of events is hazy due to substance abuse. Making them an unreliable source of information, especially when each exhibits their own selfish tendencies on a regular basis. Only furthering the ambitions
of others if it aligns with their own motivations. Which suits the bleak landscape of Wellington Wells (and its inhabitants) perfectly. Rare is it to encounter a protagonist that isn’t inherently likeable, but We Happy Few proudly presents three of them. Which is what I’ve enjoyed most about this experience. Nothing is ever what it seems to be, and you’re rarely able to fully predict how events will unfold.

I don’t know what they’re taking in this house, but it isn’t Joy.

Having favoured stealth as Arthur it was easy to adjust to Sally, who favours stealth due to her non-existent combat proficiencies. Even using the same non-lethal weapons as I’d used with Arthur she could barely deal any damage. Or take any in return. So she relied on her chemical concoctions to gain the advantage. Ollie, however, favoured combat, but relied on his fists due to a lack of non-lethal weapons. Then he acquired a recipe for the best non-lethal weapon I’d ever seen. Which, due to its durability, never broke, despite how many people he hit with it.

And he hit a lot of people with it.

Opting to knock the opposition unconscious has made this experience more challenging, and I’m glad that non-lethal weaponry even exists as it would’ve been ridiculously tedious relying on their fists. Unarmed damage remains absurdly low even after investing in the relevant skills.

Of the purchases that I’ve made in recent months, We Happy Few is easily one of the best. It’s proven to be an exhilarating one-of-a-kind adventure through the wholly believable society of Wellington Wells. Every aspect of its creation has been meticulously crafted by incredibly passionate developers, whose creativity continues to shine in the three delightfully diverse DLC experiences. Each featuring their own unique mechanics and recounting the (often bizarre) misadventures of lesser known Wellies. Misadventures that I’ll be writing about in a separate post, as I’d like to highlight how different and how fun they are. Due to how content-dense it is, I can’t recommend We Happy Few highly enough to those who crave a satisfying narrative-driven RPG. It truly is the experience that keeps on giving.

Have a nice week, 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