Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Legend Quest? Part 2

So once the player character creation was established, we had to figure out what the NPC creation would be like. For most of us long time players, think back to the roughest, toughest fights you had as a party when you just started playing. What were the most difficult? Other parties, right? Facing off against rival adventurers was always the most difficult. That was the level of challenge we were trying to put forward. Not a dungeon crawl mentality where there was room after room of variable monsters that made no sense and could be wiped out fairly easily. Most dungeon crawls are battle of attrition: how far can you go before your priests’ spells run out. There was another aspect to this too: Rule lawyers. The guys I played with were typically intelligent (well, me too), and we all new the monster books. Face any one of us off against something that was in the books, and we could tell you its points to kill, its strengths, and its weaknesses. I hated that as a GM. Also, and I’ve used this example before, not every tiger is the same. Some are aggressive, some intimidators, some stealth fighters, etc. Why not give the enemies skills too? It is simply this - a tiger with move quietly is different from a tiger with intimidation which is different than a tiger with only attack skills. And none of them are predictable. Players of LQ still count damage points with a decent idea of how much damage it is going to take to drop a bad guy, but in many ways that’s sort of like looking at the guy to see how bloody he is. Some parts of gaming can never completely match real life or the movies. What else can we tell you about LQ “monsters”? Well, they are far more likely to be based on the original myths and not a modern book series. Dwarves and trolls are related, just like in the Norse myths. I still cannot figure out where this concept that trolls regenerate came from. Anyway, there are a lot of tweaks along those lines. Also, I think some of the deities in some of the original games cast such a huge and strange shadow over the monsters. Take the dragons. They all worship one side or the other, have strange colors and are very limited in their use of breath weapons. Fighting dragons was less a battle and more a challenge of figuring out how we were going to get it to waste its three attacks so then we could finish it off. I get the game balance issue, but really? three shots and it’s done. Every dragon - three shots and it’s done. They are all the same, they are all predictable. There’s that word again. So, in summary - Legend Quest monsters and bad guys - NOT predictable.

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