Scourge of Humanity

Tread softly in these caves.

Sneaking through the Deathclaw Sanctuary (with a Stealth Boy or two) was arguably Homicidal Harriet’s most dangerous excursion yet. Especially when the second Stealth Boy wore off just as I collected Vengeance, leaving me armed and exposed for the trek back out of the cave. Thankfully, as one would expect, Vengeance reduced everything to giblets, and being seen wasn’t nearly as fatal as it could’ve been. I’d been buying Electron Charge Packs for some time, and while I didn’t have enough for continued usage, I did have enough to get this ludicrous weapon back home.

And now I carry it with me always.

Vengeance is a costly acquisition, though. It tears through Electron Charge Packs as quickly as it tears through the opposition. It’s also difficult (and expensive) to repair, as its condition degrades quickly, and there are few who can fully repair it. But it fundamentally changes the build.

Homicidal Harriet can’t usually deal ranged damage, and Big Guns allow her to, which won’t necessarily be a concern once I’ve recovered the Chinese Stealth Armor, but some enemies are super-absorbent bullet sponges. Even a sneak attack critical with the Deathclaw Gauntlet won’t be enough, but the rapid fire of Vengeance might be. Operation: Anchorage was now, due to my unusual approach, necessary for the continued success of the build, and so to Alaska she went. If you’ve invested in Small Guns (as most do) the simulation isn’t that difficult, but if you haven’t then you’ve got few ways to actually deal damage. Sneaking isn’t an option, either. Stealth Boys are rare and any that you’ve found are lost when reporting to General Chase. Not that it’s impossible if you’ve not invested in Small Guns. It’s just tedious.

Gaze upon the Mother Punga in awe.

Having previously crafted the Deathclaw Gauntlet, the acquisition of the Chinese Stealth Armor, alongside the acquisition of Vengeance, meant that this build was rapidly realising its true potential. Proving to be as diverse as I’d hoped that it would be. Not all situations are created equally, and while the Deathclaw Gauntlet is powerful, it’s not going to be the answer to every problem. Vengeance still has its uses. And that’s why I enjoy these quirky builds, as they encourage you to be creative and that creativity often results in seeing things that you’ve not seen before.

Or it highlights glitches.

As was the case with Haley, of Haley’s Hardware, in Point Lookout, who I had always believed to be one of the few NPCs who could fully repair equipment. When inherently he can’t, and it’s actually a glitch, as his Repair increases with each visit, and so he eventually gains the ability to do so.

Revisiting Point Lookout is one of the highlights of this build. I do love it so. Sailing in through the fog on the Duchess Gambit to greet the eerie shores of Point Lookout, then meandering through a decaying shell of society and hazardous swamps. It’s a great atmosphere. One of being truly alone in a harsh, unforgiving, and unpredictable world. Something that Fallout 3 done incredibly well. Fallout: New Vegas was impressive in its own way, but it never felt as lonely as Fallout 3 did, and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed the Capital Wasteland. It feels like a post-apocalyptic landscape. Devoid of humanity, but rife with dangerous creatures and murderous marauders. Fallout 3 also allowed the more distasteful pursuits, which suit this character, and suit the wasteland, but were absent in later instalments.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Homicidal Harriet

The G.O.A.T. couldn’t predict this.

You could try to blame Butch for her predilection towards violence, but her childhood trauma doesn’t explain why those who haven’t done her wrong are just as likely to be ceremoniously dismembered. Or atomised by a nuclear bomb. As was the fate of the inhabitants of Megaton. Who welcomed her, and whose kindness was repaid with undoubtedly the most heinous atrocity that she will ever commit. Executed under instruction from Mr. Burke, in service to Alistair Tenpenny, owner of the illustrious Tenpenny Tower, which is soon to experience a hostile takeover.

An incredibly hostile takeover.

If the residents of Tenpenny Tower weren’t insufferable elitist bigots a peaceful resolution might be possible, but they are, so a violent resolution becomes necessary, as she proudly advocates equality for all who reside in the Capital Wasteland. They’re all equally as likely to be murdered.

Following the success of Murderous Mabel, the courier who sowed despair across the entire Mojave Wasteland, Homicidal Harriet was born, and after being exiled from Vault 101 began her own misadventures. Homicidal Harriet will attempt to experience the aspects of Fallout 3 that I’ve not seen before, much like Murderous Mabel did in Fallout: New Vegas, and will be unequivocally evil. I’ll be building around Melee Weapons, Unarmed, and Big Guns as I’ve not (solely) built around those before. I’ll also be relying on the Intense Training perk for the first time. Her S.P.E.C.I.A.L. distribution requires adjustment before she can fully realise her potential. Notably her Charisma, as I’d hoped to avoid the Child at Heart perk, but it’s the easiest way to bypass Little Lamplight without making Paradise Falls hostile.

I’m glad that she survived the nuclear detonation.

Despite being an atypical close quarters build, I’ve been deliberating between the Chinese Stealth Armor and the Winterized T51-b Power Armor. With certain perks, such as Ninja and Better Criticals, she could deal ludicrous sneak attack critical damage with the Chinese Stealth Armor, and would be rendered (mostly) invisible while crouching. Whereas, the Winterized T51-b Power Armor favours the traditional approach. Taking damage and dealing it in equal measure. I’d never considered sneaking through Fallout 3 to be viable, but it could be with an appropriate build.

This could be that build.

I’d assumed that Homicidal Harriet would visit Point Lookout first, as my characters usually do, but Operation: Anchorage would be unusually lucrative should she utilise the Chinese Stealth Armor. It’s not particularly difficult, either. So it’s possible to venture to the Outcast Outpost early on.

Her progression has been slightly disjointed, though. I’ve been completing the Wasteland Survival Guide quests, but have been deviating when the opportunity presents itself, such as during The Replicated Man quest, which coincided with learning about the true history of Rivet City. I’ve also been trekking across the Capital Wasteland to put specific locations on the map. These will be of crucial importance when collecting Bobbleheads, or when searching for unique equipment and schematics. Few locations, such as the perilous Deathclaw Sanctuary, have both. Not only does it house the Endurance Bobblehead, but Vengeance can be recovered from deep within its caves, which I’d always believed to be governed by Energy Weapons, but is actually governed by Big Guns. I’ve just got to survive long enough to recover it.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Renewed Dedication

Steadily introducing changes.

Of the many things that I did do last year, I didn’t dedicate enough time to my creative pursuits and I’ve posted hardly any creative content as a result of it. Which is something that I need to do better with. Something that I intend to do better with. And so I’ve begun to look into the availability of different materials that I use, as I’m reasonably certain that I’ll discover that some will have dried out from disuse. Probably the majority of my watercolour, acrylic, and gouache tubes. Which would be frustrating, but I would’ve eventually replaced them with higher quality variants anyway.

So maybe I’ll do just that.

Not that I’m entirely sure that my inactivity (and inexperience) qualifies me to make those purchases. But I’m hopeful. I’m also potentially making things more complicated than they need to be, as I’ll be trying to learn how to use new materials while being unsure of myself and my abilities.

It’ll certainly be a challenge- but I love those- as evidenced by my gaming content from the last year. From the post-apocalyptic wastes of Code Vein to the delightfully bizarre realms of Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk, there were a variety of challenges to overcome during my adventures. There were numerous dungeons to crawl through, too. Whether it was the complex party management present in Infinite Adventures, the enchanting open world of Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown, or the unusual narrative-driven approach of Operencia: The Stolen Sun there were satisfying excursions aplenty. Revisiting the Mojave Wasteland in Fallout: New Vegas was one of the best, and most nostalgic, experiences of the year, and Murderous Mabel quickly became one of my favourite characters.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot proved to be an exhilarating journey through childhood nostalgia, while the (unexpected) full release of Chronicon encouraged me to tinker with different character classes and builds. I also experienced the Assassin’s Creed series for the first time. Starting with the black sheep of the family, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, as Bayek, and then Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey as Kassandra. I finally revisited The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, too. I’d been intending to for a while, and was finally prompted to by the release of XCOM: Chimera Squad.

That wasn’t all, though.

Death end re;Quest explored the concept of being trapped inside a glitchy MMORPG. While interplanetary adventures ensued as I thoroughly explored the diverse colonies of The Outer Worlds, and tried to discover the truth behind a Force-sensitive civilisation in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Disco Elysium presented a truly satisfying one-of-a-kind narrative-driven RPG experience, which made it one of the highlights of the year. And I shared my first impurressions of the utterly adorable pun-filled Cat Quest II. I’ve also shuffled some of the existing gaming content on Moggie’s Proclamations around, introducing a new category, Massively Multiplayer Moggie, that contains all of my posts related to MMORPGs. I don’t believe that MMORPGs are going to feature as prominently, if at all, from now on, as I don’t want to invest all of my time into one gaming experience. I’d rather invest it into many. Throughout January, Fallout 3, my second post-apocalyptic love, will be one of those experiences. As I revisit the Capital Wasteland with an unquestionably evil (and somewhat unusual) build.

Happy New Year, all!

Moggie

Burdened By Sin

Past misdeeds reveal themselves.

Much like the innumerable secrets of the Well of Khalaza do as you traverse its poisonous miasma and delve deep into its many labyrinthine realms. Seeking great treasures but usually encountering great dangers. Or trolls who like to throw their faeces at you. That was arguably the most unpleasant realm of them all. Being shrouded in suffocating miasma is expected, but being plastered in poop isn’t. Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk is a delightfully enjoyable dungeon crawler in which you explore a mysterious well with a brigade of puppets and a curious book.

A curious book with a soul.

Where that soul came from and how it ended up in a book is eventually explained. But what’s important is that we’re exploring myriad dungeons. True adventuring spirit needs no form of exposition whatsoever, as we’d only ignore those directions and stumble upon mysteries of our own.

I hadn’t anticipated that there would be so many mysteries to uncover, but that’s how Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk creates such an enrapturing adventure. There’s always something new to discover or a new challenge to overcome. There are few things that I enjoy more than encountering a boss that feels insurmountable only to eventually defeat it, either by utilising different Pacts or employing different Facets. Pacts are interesting as you don’t typically have any that represent traditional archetypes, as most are thematic, and grant a handful of abilities, but rarely feel truly powerful. I’ve mostly made my decisions based on how many puppets they allow me to use and how they fit into my current formation. You could have up to fifteen active puppets were you to use five three puppet Pacts.

It did become tiresome relying on certain Pacts to defeat certain bosses, though. The majority of these bosses were optional, and all required powerful puppets, so you’d need to invest heavily in the Soul Transfer mechanics to be able fight them, but it wasn’t fun having my progress halted due to an arbitrary requirement. I don’t know if it’s even possible to defeat them without those Pacts. I don’t think that you could, as they usually deal ridiculous damage to the entire brigade on the first turn and it’s unlikely that you’d be able to recover on subsequent turns.

It’s a fairly trivial criticism.

And I don’t have any other issues with the combat (or character development) mechanics, but it does considerably diminish your efforts when you simply can’t fight something. Especially when spending hours grinding through Soul Transfer mechanics is a significant part of the experience.

It is, as a whole, a uniquely bizarre dungeon crawler that has engaging exploration mechanics, but does require the aforementioned hours of grinding to experience all of the content. Which doesn’t necessarily bother me. And it might not be required should you ignore the optional bosses, whereby Soul Transfer might never be used, especially if you’ve not altered the difficulty level via Witch Petitions. Not that I regret raising the difficulty level. It’s an actual challenge and (the majority of) bosses are a threat, which resulted in utilising numerous mechanics just to survive encounters. For those reasons, I highly recommend Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk to those who enjoy dungeon crawlers and/or JRPGs. It’s an unconventional but incredibly satisfying dungeon crawling adventure.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Wading Through Miasma

Where no puppet has gone before.

We’ve ventured through a vast underground expanse, a whimsical kingdom of wonder, the ruins of a civilisation with an absurd troll infestation, and a wondrous garden teeming with giant insects while exploring this bizarre dimension and we’ve got more to discover yet. I’m still not sure where we’re supposed to be going, though. Or why we’re supposed to be going there. But that’s a trivial concern. Objectives are for those who don’t have a true adventuring spirit, and would prefer to follow quest markers to their destinations rather than wandering aimlessly for hours.

I don’t need to be told where to go next.

I wouldn’t go there anyway. I’d break through a wall and discover hordes of dangerous slimes who halt my progression, only to find an alternative route (avoiding the slimes) by falling down several floors, and then encounter poisonous miasma that I can’t walk through without taking damage.

Making the entire expedition (mostly) pointless. But then I’d return, able to traverse the poisonous miasma unharmed, and with significantly stronger puppets, only to be slapped senseless by an incredibly aggressive fish. And then I’d do the same elsewhere. But that’s what makes the exploration in Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk so exciting. You’re given vague hints about your next objective and where you should go to complete it, but you’re encouraged to thoroughly explore each floor and to discover your own pursuits. Including, but not limited, to: defeating optional bosses, searching for keys, opening countless chests with those keys, solving puzzling events, breaking through walls (or falling down holes) to uncover secrets, stumbling upon new realms, or simply trying to uncover the entire map.

I didn’t listen to their warning…

There are surprisingly comprehensive and meaningful character development mechanics, too. Each puppet is assigned a Facet (its character class), a Nature (which defines its base statistics), and a Growth style (which affects the statistics gained each level) at creation. You can alter its growth at any time, but other aspects of its creation are fixed. However, through Soul Transfer, you can rebuild every aspect of a puppet by reverting it to Lvl 1, with its accumulated experience heightening its Soul Clarity. Resulting in a far stronger puppet with each reincarnation cycle.

It’s a complex but satisfying process.

One that could result in ridiculously powerful puppets if I understand the mechanics correctly. I’m not sure how much they retain of their prior incarnations, besides chosen skills, or how greatly Soul Clarity affects their growth, but my recent attempts have yielded favourable results.

Party-based dungeon crawlers can be fairly bland if the character development mechanics are unexciting, but Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk has surprising depth to its party management and allows you to build a roster of characters to be utilised with specialised Pacts. I’ve only seen something similar with Infinite Adventures. But the party compositions are much more interesting here, and encourage the creation (and use) of numerous characters with different Facets. Conversely, the individual Facets are less interesting (and varied) than the character classes in Infinite Adventures. They’re more reliant on being paired with other puppets and being stronger together. But both have presented interesting concepts for those who enjoy party-based grid-movement dungeon crawling experiences.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie