Weekly Foundry Reviews for March 1, 2015

I apologize for being late with these reviews; Kasul works late and I couldn’t stay up late enough to finish what we’d chosen. What with one thing and another, we didn’t finish them until Saturday. Which was too bad, because on Saturday, we played one of the funniest foundry quests we’d ever played…

But first…

The Eye in the Sky by @jeremieuserx2

The Queen Lizard Overlord, Beyoncé, is in low Neverwinter orbit, and in league with Wal-Mart and the US Government, is sending her forces against the sadistic evil of Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton… or something. Also, Monsanto and the Queen of England. Was a little confused. 

There were bunches of encounters, but they were easily avoided. Kasul and I rode past them, through the portal, and then skipped the final fight as well.

No fighting, elapsed time about two minutes, most of which was trying to figure out what the heck was up with this “quest”.

I rated it one star. Kasul declined to help it escape the “For Review” tab by rating it. If you liked this quest, you must be the author.

Pros: This is what mental illness looks like.
Cons: This is what mental illness looks like.

A Cold, Dark Place by @lionhaert777

You overhear a couple guards talking about a potential adventure opportunity. “Sergeant Knox has no more men to spare for Coldsnap Pass,” one guard guffawed, as guards well. “Though, Guard Frinko has been set to the task of recruiting such as will fight for coin.”

Well, Neverwinter is sick with adventuring and mercenary companies. There’s groups of killers available for hire behind every door of the city, and more than one behind some. Nonetheless, perhaps there’s something about this “Coldsnap Pass” that makes the risk beyond what any sane organization would touch.

Nobody ever called us sane…

We soon met up with a ghoulish sort of man that made his coin looting the previous adventurers who had shown up looking for treasure and had found only their deaths. We scoffed at that, and met up with a Doomguard at a camp that was being attacked by undead. We let them kill off the undead that attacked (I think Kasul accidentally helped on one wave). The Doomguard sent us off into a dungeon to find the true source of the evil, a man whose grief drove him to necromancy. Naturally, the Doomguard couldn’t help us inside because reasons.

Fairly strong characters and a decent, if unexciting, story made up for the rather dull maps and a lot, a LOT, of running back and forth. Probably best to just turn off that lying sparkly path. Kasul and I both gave it three stars.

If you liked this quest, you might enjoy “Crossroads to Adventure” by @Longshire.

Pros: Good characters, a surprisingly dark plot.
Cons: Boring maps.

Act I: Centurion by @gormenghast

I mentioned how many mercenary and adventuring companies made their homes in Neverwinter? In this quest, one of them — Legion Invicta — is recruiting. You and your fellow recruits must compete to win a place in the company, and then prove your worth on the battlefield.

If you’ve ever taken part in a job interview, the first bit of this quest will seem eerily familiar to you. Once you’ve successfully given your blood sample, answered the trick questions, and learned the oath, you’re paired with a fellow trainee and sent out with an experienced officer — but all too suddenly, it falls to you and your partner to save the day.

The word choices in this quest were… creative. “Isn’t there any training period anterior to active service?” “It’s vital to circumscribe the losses!” Also, the word “recruitment” was spelled in at least four different ways, which was odd, considering this is the very essence of the quest.

For all that, the characters were good. We’ve been recruited into organizations before, but this one was the one that most felt like sitting at a table, filling out forms. So, the most realistic.

I gave it three stars. I don’t know how Kasul ranked it. If you enjoyed this quest, you may also enjoy “Harrowing Hildbrant” by @HellsHot.

Pros: Decent characters, and a decent plot, if you could wade through the language
Cons: Terrible spelling, unconventional word choices. Someone had fun with a thesaurus.

Jarpig Abridged by @ryzelmine

If you’ve ever thought longingly back for those old Super Nintendo Japanese RPGs, and thought, “why can’t we ever go back to those days of simple characters, simple plots, simple destinies, and knowing silences?”, well, this is the quest for which you’ve been waiting.

“Jarpig Abridged” takes every hoary old JRPG cliché and smashes it with a stick until it yells. I could go on and on, but I really don’t want to spoil anything. It’s a quest which really must be experienced.

The maps were decent enough, as were the encounters, though neither are really the point of this quest. The story is… well, again, just play it. It’s in the “For Review” tab, where it’s apparently sat since last May, but don’t let that stop you from seeking it out. Four stars from both Kasul and I.

Pros: Hilarious
Cons: May actually die laughing.

A1-The Apprentice by @HellsHot

Adventuring is fascinating work, but sometimes you need a break. Your apartment in Neverwinter has everything you need to refresh yourself before you leave on your next job. There’s food, a warm bath, a soft bed, a corpse bleeding out on your rug, a…

Wow. That rug really tied the place together. Ruined, now. Apparently this was a courier with a message for you, or so the Magistrate tells you when you’ve hunted him up. Magical armor has been stolen, the dwarves who made it killed or missing (the apprentice of the title is the last of those), and Neverwinter under threat of attack by Thayans, against whom this armor was to be used.

Solving a murder, returning lost items, saving missing dwarves — all in a day’s work for an adventurer.

This was a good quest. Detailed maps. Took place entirely within Neverwinter, which is unusual. Great story. Good characters. Interesting plot. Spelling and grammar were great. There was no reason not to give this quest five stars, and so we did.

The only reluctance we had was to the story. As the first chapter of a campaign, it’s expected that the plot will only be set up in the first chapter, but there’s nothing that had Kasul and I desperate to see what could possibly come next. “The Apprentice” is a pro-level quest, but not in any way memorable. Even campaign quests should stand on their own.

Pros: Good characters, maps, and plot
Cons: Not really exciting.

Today’s writing music: Evanescence, “Origin”

Permanent link to the ever-growing spreadsheet of reviewed quests: http://goo.gl/XbV9hj

#Neverwinter   #Foundry  

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I ran through the original EverQuest version of my newly rewritten Neverwinter foundry  quest, "The Crypt of Befallen"… so if you wanna see what a classic #EverQuest  dungeon looks like today, here 'tis, running the special "Plight of the Undead" solo quest. Also, you get to see me remember how to play my mage. Just be thankful I cut out all the Plane of Tranquility stuff; I parked her there years ago. I also had to cut the quest finishing up in Ak'anon for time reasons.

What's happening: Get the quest in Plane of Knowledge, quest given eventually ports me to the Befallen solo instance, I set up the controls for my mage, jump down the well (forgetting to talk to the quest giver who stands next to it), kill SK3 for door keys, get lost, then kill Hrek, Ghil the Warlord, and Rethkan, then port back to PoK.

The “Plight of the Undead” quest in EverQuest 1, inspiration for my new foundry mission on Neverwint

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Re: Free Range Parenting, this is the 0.6 mile path I walked to school from kindergarten through 4th grade. Managed to survive.

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Based on a suggestion last week in the forums, I went through the 159 quests that we have reviewed (we played many more before I first thought to write about them) and compiled them in a spreadsheet based on the one I kept for the Cult of the Dragon foundry contest.

With that information, I’m able to suggest quests similar to the quests we review :)

The link to the spreadsheet: http://goo.gl/XbV9hj

And… onto this week’s reviews.

Hallow’s Thicket by @scmiller

You might remember, when you were a child, the stories your parents told you to keep you scared beyond any ability to scream, about “the demon who steals, Diagoraith, and the raggedy puppet Gorrot”. I’m not sure telling your kids about a monster who will kill them if they don’t go to sleep will have the desired effect… but then, I wasn’t a Neverwinter kid. Even so, I think I’d prefer the other bedtime story Neverwinter tells its children, about the wish-giving temple of riches far beneath the city streets.

But, that’s not the quest we’re playing. We’re playing the one where we confront our childhood fears… and kill them for xp and loot. Well, this is a foundry, so just xp. Well, this is a foundry, so just…. 

With the map to Diagoraith’s home, Hallow’s Thicket, in our possession, we set out to find the reality behind the scary stories… and it was a little different than we were told.

This was a fairly decent quest, nothing too special. We enjoyed the whole confronting childhood fears aspect, and the NPCs were nicely askew. We didn’t particularly enjoy the constant zoning. For such a short quest, it really got annoying. The English was okay, with a few misspellings and some weird funnies — wolves run in packs, not herds, leading us to wonder if maybe they were were-cows or something… We ended up giving it three stars.

If you enjoyed this quest, you might like to try “Horror in Halavar” by @juravian.

Pros: Nice backstory and an interesting concept.
Cons: Too much zoning, misspellings and grammar issues mar an otherwise excellent story.

Save the Theatre by @mochakimono

It’s the same story, again and again. Someone wants to open a community theatre, but the actors are divas, the orchestra are bleeding to death, the crew have been replaced by monsters, and the public just isn’t showing a lot of interest in your avant-garde interpretation of Lathander and Lace.

All you can honestly hope for is that some dim adventurers will stumble in the door and fix all your problems for peanuts. Except, maybe they have a nut allergy, so better not get ahead of ourselves here with promising them peanuts.

“Save the Theatre” is a cute, short adventure with a refreshingly weird premise and the most bizarre NPCs I’ve had the pleasure of being attacked by in a long time. And, Guard Frinko FINALLY shows his true colors!

Unfortunately, the maps are kind of basic and need a little polishing and better set dressing. I loved the terrified orchestra. Kasul loved having to go out and coerce people into coming to the show opening. And we both loved beating the crap out of Guard Frinko.

We felt it came in just short of four stars. It’s also short in another way — at an average playtime of 14 minutes, it just misses being eligible for the Daily Foundry credit.

If you liked this quest, you might enjoy “The Frosty Proctologist” by @labmouse43– an equally bizarre little adventure.

Pros: Actually funny. Bizarrely weird.
Cons: Better maps could really improve things.

ILT1: Newly Bought Home by @Alaynia

An interesting concept — a home built for roleplaying has a double purpose as the starting point for an interesting excursion into the past of the Underdark. After spending an enjoyable few minutes looking around the exquisitely decorated home, we took the suggestion to head into the attack, discover the home’s deed, and come face to face with its owner, an illiterate drow.

Once upon a time, she eventually reveals, she was a nobleman’s daughter, when her House was wiped out by a rival’s attacks. Only she and her faithful slave made it out alive. Her faithful slave… was you.

Fifteen years ago, she begins… and then you’re in the story.

The problem with flashback quests is that they really take the agency away from the player. Can’t say I enjoyed playing the slave, and it felt creepy when the little girl drow told me to take my pleasure with another slave of my choice as a reward for doing her a service. And there was no refusing.

For all that, it was a decent story. The maps were incredible, the story well-told, and the English was perfect. The author, a non-native speaker, got a native speaker to clean up the language, and it turned out great.

Kasul and I both gave it four stars. If you enjoyed this quest, you might enjoy “The Bone Idol” campaign by @Kithlis.

Pros: Great maps, stories, and NPCs.
Cons: Story flashback takes control of your character.

Watcher’s Grounds by @topwicz

This is the direct sequel to “Sharandar’s Defense”, winner of a “Judge’s Choice” award in last year’s Cult of the Dragon foundry contest. In the previous quest, you climbed an incredibly tall tree, among the branches of which was an elvish city under attack, to defeat a powerful, undead dragon. In Watcher’s Grounds, we learn that that dragon was survived by five even more powerful progeny.

We were summoned to continue our fight against ancient dragons by the usual method of handing important messages to random street children. It’s a mystery to me that nobody ever trusts the actual mail.

Soon we were whisked away to a small village outside Icewind Dale, that had become the unfortunate home of the dragon Anashaa, who had adopted a human form in order to more completely bring the area under her power before anyone could really suspect she was there.

The quest has stunning NPCs and @topwicz’s trademark super-detailed maps. The final fight against Anashaa was truly epic. However, the English was terrible. Kasul and I felt that it needed more work to rise to the standard set by Sharandar’s Defense, so I rated it 4 and he went for 3, to average out at 3.5. We would love to play it again once it’s done. It currently sits in the For Review tab and needs just one more review to make it onto the New tab.

If you enjoy this quest, and have already played the previous one in @topwicz’s“Return of the Dragons” campaign, you may enjoy “The Road South” by @echelon31

Pros: Great maps and characters
Cons: Terrible English, plot is fairly standard.

#Neverwinter   #Foundry  

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