Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Infinity Engine The Icewind Dale Series Thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Heresiarch, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Why so defensive? Did I say anything of that sort? Did I utter some insulting adjectives that cast apersion upon your choice or your personal preference?? Did I, huh?
     
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  2. octaviusgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    You "activate" the fighters with your main tank first. By the time the the rogue comes out of the shadows the enemy fighters are already atacking your own fighters. Or if you rely on summons, send them in first.
    The thief, even lif lightly armoured, will not die if the fighters can't reach him. And being lightly armoured a thief will be able to outrun heavily armoured fighters. Just avoid backstabbing someone who is surrounded by fighters. For a good battle plan you also need to plan your thief's actions after the initial backstab.
     
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  3. Lonely Vazdrugender: ⚧ Pimp my Title

    Lonely Vazdru
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    I don't care about backstab, so I almost never use "hide in shadows". I never understood why a rogue can't detect traps while hiding in shadows. It would be the only real use of the hide skill for a non-backstab fag like me.
     
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  4. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    It's been a long time for me but isnt there a tactic of casting invisibility on a detecting-capable character? what game is that, i wonder?
     
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  5. Liluragender: ⚧ Arcane

    Lilura
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    Yeah, you sort of have to appraise the area to see if you can chain backstab the whole mob, are there enough corners to duck behind, one after the other, so you can hide again from the aggro and set up the next backstab? Unless you're quaffing you also have to keep in mind the one round (?) refresh of the stealth modal action, just because you lost LoS doesn't mean you can hide (I'm sure you know all this, I'm just bored.)
     
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  6. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Wow it only took me a month to complete. Here we go. Over one thousand words about Icewind Dale.

    This was made without a lead designer, and it shows through its inconsistent quality and writing styles. The writing highlights are definitely Avellone's (e.g. the Seer and Wylfdene/Icasaracht) but especially Sawyer's. Josh wrote nearly all the unique item descriptions and Lonesome Road and Pale Justice in particular have That Josh Feel. He has his funny side as well:
    [​IMG]
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    Simply brilliant, brilliantly simple.

    As for content itself, the prologue and chapter one are rather uninteresting. Josh tried so hard with those imbued wights and post-expansion call-for-help scripts but those hordes and hordes of undead just aren't interesting, brief snips of writing aside. It's particularly annoying how the end of Kresselack's Tomb involves backtracking outside to a cave then backtracking back through the tomb again only to get told nothing (but at least you get some items out the deal, right?), followed by backtracking back to the exit.

    The second floor of the tomb also starts with an undetectable, unavoidable trap which is just bullshit. I'm sure Josh has learned not to undermine my character's skills for railroading.

    I've gone into chapter 2 here. To summarize: loads of trash but every level has something interesting. I like how Josh cut down on degenerate looting by having most enemies drop gold if they drop anything at all, as well as foreshadowing the trolls on the second floor by having the shamans on the first drop flaming oils.

    Chapter 3's another bore (albeit a beautiful one) where you're fighting more undead, including shadows of orcs and elves. A good number of them spawn right on top of you. The final fight is a bust despite its haste and aoe-damage casting mages, partly because of the layout of the map, and partly because two hasted fighters are nothing to get worried about. Lesi's definitely a background-art-whore for thinking the towers are so amazing (and/or maybe she just really likes killing elf ghosts).

    Nothing noteworthy about chapter 4 except a nice fight where you have to deal with two stoneskinned spellswords, two mirror imaged mages, archers protected by a chokepoint, and two phase spiders who pop in behind you. A shame you can make the fight easier by exploiting the fog of war since Josh Sawyer was the only developer who went the extra mile to intelligently place call-for-help scripts into his non-HoW IWD areas. After that you have to face even more undead and one of the easiest Liches on record (whose weakness is explained by a botched ritual). I'm guessing playtester experiences were involved in its nerfing.

    Chapter 5 manages to be less interesting than the previous by offering nothing of value. The ice temple definitely could have benefited from call-for-help scripts, but this would be tricky because the mobs are grouped close together enough that you could very well end up having to fight the entire floor at once (like certain Storm of Zehir dungeons). A particularly strange thing about this chapter is how most of this boring combat is completely optional: you can avoid everything in the temple's main floor just by not visiting it again after you free the slaves (if you choose to free them at all), and you can coerce the frost giant leader into handing over his badge without a fight. Of course since this is a combat game I had to kill them all for their loot and xp (plus they're evil and deserve death).

    Josh Sawyer delivers again in chapter 6. More interesting fights (particularly the tower archers, fake-out teleporting Malavon with his golems and umber hulks, and the idol in Undead Hell) and an actual ~moral dilemma~ with Marketh; you can choose to kill the abusive creep to avenge his victims and/or to get his stuff or spare his life so you can free a Drow with a bad case of battered person syndrome. I imagine most people choose to get the stuff and care little about the emotional problems of virtual people but it should be obvious which way I went.

    Josh didn't design frozen Easthaven (though he did help tune Belhifet) but I liked how it's a short victory lap instead of a meat grinder like most endgames tend to be. I'm not fond of the Pomab fight though; without using an aoe instant death spell like cloudkill or the appropriately-named death spell it would be an irritating slog. Belhifet himself is pretty easy (even when he has two additional demons post-HoW; I'm sure he's challenging to bad players though), but he's just gatekeeping a cinematic so it doesn't matter. It's nice how the start of that fight trolls pre-buffers.

    Heart of Winter content starts off with a surprising amount of talking and receiving ridiculous amounts of xp for choosing non-critical path dialogue options. The latter's Chris Avellone for ya. Sawyer comes to the rescue yet again with an immediate punch to the face at Burial Isle with aggresively fast wights and shamans. The addition of drowned dead and wailing virgins make the isle the best area when it comes to non-boss fights (and Josh agrees that it's the most difficult area in IWD while acknowledging he could still do better: "while it is much more difficult than the rest of HoW (barring icasaracht), that's not saying much.").

    Unfortunately, Gloomfrost is a return to trivial mobs. To make matters worse, it's one big linear narrow corridor. The ice sentry golems in the second part of the cave are appropriately tough, but it just keeps spamming nothing but over and over again. There's only one interesting gimmick in the entire thing: teleporting into and out of a pit to loot an item. Fortunately, after you deal with the nonsense here and at the barbarian camp you get a nice rival adventuring party to fight outside the inn.

    Icasaracht's island is more of the same, but with the novelty of cold-spell casting undead and The Great LaRouche Toad-Frog Massacre near the end. Icky Thump herself isn't particularly special; control the crowd, then tank and spank.

    With Trials of the Luremaster, Steve Bokkes and John Deiley finally deliver content on par with Josh Sawyer's. It's unfortunate how it took an add-on to an expansion for them to finally catch-up. Much like Dragon's Eye, there's still a lot of trash (and some pc-teleporting nuisances), but unlike their previous areas they have interesting scenarios such as another adventuring party (this time with a genie), a flanking beholder, a room full of flanking harpies (some who love casting scorcher), flanking minotaurs, and a room full of jackals, greater jackals, two shamans, and two magic missile-casting stone nuisances. Though it wasn't difficult, I also enjoyed a room full of mummies where the undead in an adjacent room rush in; since my cleric's level was skyhigh, turn undead made them all explode into chunks. A satisfying button-awesome moment. I can see why 1eyedking hates this hodge podge of different ideas and creatures with no rhyme or reason; fortunately I don't care about ~verisimilar~ creature ecologies as long as the content's enjoyable enough.

    The luremaster fight is also the most difficult boss in the game since you're dealing with a rival undead adventuring party plus a teleporting bastard. I ended up losing two to his chain lightning (my first and only casualties during this run); I had two resurrections lined up right after of course.

    As for final thoughts, I wish the Sawyer-Finegan Balance Pack had actually come to be because damn, haste is definitely overpowered. I didn't use it much because I didn't want to have too much resting degeneracy but when I did it was super-effective. I also wish short bows weren't so neglected; aside from generic +1s there's only one unique short bow and it's buried all the way in TotL and comes with a -2 constitution penalty. It's a strange oversight since all the other weapons were covered decently enough after the expansion.

    It's also so funny how HoW gave the bard some absurdly great abilities to compensate for how awful it is as a class. So it may be awful, but it can also permafreeze most living creatures at level 9 and give your entire party AC and damage resistance bonuses plus regenerating health (goodbye degenerate resting!) at level 11.

    It was mediocre overall; definitely undeserving of a place in the top ten. Not counting the expansion, when it comes to content it's slightly better than Dragon Age 2, and counting the expansion, Dragon Age: Origins actually has a much better filler:fun ratio (now that was surprising). Buncha background-art-whores and AD&D/Black Isle fanboys here.

    Going to end this with my MVPs. Social Justice Warrior was in the lead up until chapter 5 when Patriarchy Smasher's axe grand mastery finally pushed her ahead (apparently the game thinks a magical throwing axe is a bow with arrows). So many dead men.
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  7. RK47gender: ⚧ Degenerates happily Patron

    RK47
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    Dead State Divinity: Original Sin
    :bravo:
     
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  8. abnaxusgender: ⚧ Arcane

    abnaxus
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    "Biromantic Asexual"

    updated my Roguey.txt
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Roguey You need to do this more often.
     
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  10. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I just wanted a bunch of funny names (as shown here). BA, a hugslutty bard, was my spokesperson when I didn't want to use SJW. Lesi's bemoaned the lack of explicit asexuals in fiction so I created my own.
     
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  11. Lonely Vazdrugender: ⚧ Pimp my Title

    Lonely Vazdru
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    Shouldn't the fact that games that came out ten years later working on more powerful machines barely match ID reflect bad on those rather than on ID ? And who doesn't like background art anyway ?
     
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  12. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    DA2 was made in 11 months with almost all-brand-new underlying systems, IWD was made in 14 and mostly added to and improved on what Bioware had already implemented in BG.

    I'm saying it made the #8 spot of best rpgs ever because of its background art and system/company fanboyism.
     
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  13. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    DA2 budget and team size vs IWD budget and team size?
     
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  14. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I don't remember who, but someone in the industry once described the game publisher attitude as trying to get nine women to have a baby in one month.

    I also liked this post from Josh even though he's a couple of months off.
     
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  15. Lonely Vazdrugender: ⚧ Pimp my Title

    Lonely Vazdru
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    I'm not too sure about the D&D fanboyism aspect, this is the Codex, not Big Bang Theory, but the beautiful background art sure plays a large (and well deserved IMO) place.
     
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  16. DemonKinggender: ⚧ Arcane

    DemonKing
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    The worst in IWD is nowhere near the worst in DA:O (Deep Roads I'm looking at you) in terms of boring, repetitve trash mobs and level design. Added to the fact that the combat in IWD is tactically much more fun and rewarding than in DA:O, I can't agree with you there.

    Yes IWD rightly gets a lot of kudos for its background graphics and music but the actual gameplay wasn't half bad either.

    It's definitely in my top 10 CRPGs.
     
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  17. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I dunno, Kresselack's Tomb was pretty bad. And Gloomfrost is just an S-curve where you fight nothing but creeply-crawlies followed by nothing but ice golems.

    Both systems have easy-outs that can make meaningful encounters have significantly less meaning, but DA:O has more set-piece battles than IWD. It's difficult to compare the quality of those but I didn't feel as though IWD's were significantly better.
     
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  18. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    The next best party sets out on a new adventure. Social justice never sleeps.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Surf Solargender: ⚧ cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    Seeing how you now spam every thread with this nonsense I may have to consider ignoring you. Shame, I thought you were a good poster, but this retardation gets the overhand
     
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  20. Cosmic Misogynerdgender: ⚧ Self-Ejected Patron

    Self-Ejected
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    :lol: You missed Dark Mistress or something like that.
     
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  21. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I considered it and decided to go with Josh instead to have a token man for dialogue check purposes. Plus giving any Wannika points in diplomacy just feels wrong.
     
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  22. Azrael the catgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    That sounds like the kind of line I might have ran with at about 16 while standing outside a IVF centre. They didn't think it was very funny either:-(

    On topic - if you're enough of a massacrist to go on either for a 3rd run, or (more likely) IWD2, then please oh please let me choose one of the following as my pseudio-representative

    (a) absurdly low stats that are poorly placed for the relevant class, import me in. (my old avatar was coaxmetal from PS:T but I refused to replace it in the vain hope that they'd bring the question mark back as the standard non-avatar - The Question was one of the few major comics I really liked as a kid (the issues when Moore made a point of him just being a journalist with absolutely no fighting powers, with the highlight being when he starts one issue reading a copy of Watchmen, tries to take on a bunch of thugs Rorsarch+Night Owl style, and after getting his ass kicked and asked 'any last words?' replies 'Yeah. Rorshach sucks.') Then call me Schopenhaer and engage in appropriately despairing and suicidal actions (read Schopenhauer on nihilism - you don't need to read a whole work on it - just take a 2 minute skim through the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy online and you'll get the idea.

    (b) absurdly HIGH stats and roll me as late-era Nietzsche (he's in my sig) - obviously as a beserker or class with similar 'ubermensch' form.

    (c) ultra high int and wisdom, low charisma, and the poor fortune to be known for dating a famous existentialist to the point that most people call your most famous work 'The Second Sex' an existentialist work, even though it explicitly states it's aim as being to debunk Sartre's theory of Existentialism for overlooking social construction as a means of oppression, and hence being too harsh on women and the socially marginalised when he calls anyone who denies having absolute freedom a coward - she spends her introduction easily summarising in 70 pages what he took about 1300 pages to say in Being and Nothingness, and then spends the rest of the book utterly skewering Sartre's work so brilliantly that you can only conclude that all the critics who viewed her as part of the Sartrean school of existentialism as not actually having bothered to read the work, and instead simply baing their views on the pair's on-again off-again lifetime relationship of non-monogomous coupling. Oh, and call her Simone de Beaviour.

    (d) good-to-high stats and roll me as early-to-mid-era Nietszche (as in the whole 'The Enlightment Project and everything we know of as philosophy is doomed to collapse because it's just secular religion with the rug of 'real' religion pulled out from under it...but oh shit, a totally nihilistic Germany in, say, half a century's time might be a really bad thing, and I can't think of a way around it so we're all fucked - everyone charge suicidally because nihilism will screw us all anyway!!!

    (e) roll a cleric (preferably high stats, not because I'm a munchkin, but because this guy was the fucking boss) and make him Kiekergaard. He even fits the idea of the adventuring cleric. Half-mad nihilist preacher who came up with near-identical theories to Nietszche at the same time in different parts of Europe (leading Kiekergaard to become as deeply religious as Nietzsche was deeply atheist), left his good job, wealthy inheritence and fiance all because he felt he had some calling to go off travelling and doing good.

    (f) roll minimum stats for everything, but give him the entire party's gold and name the character Alain de Botton. I'm not sure what class you're supposed to count as when you're a European noble with massive inherited wealth and no job, who uses his own wealth to self-publish and publicise 'philosophy' books using ideas that other people said more intelligently 50 years ago, in books that are 90% sophistic shite. I'm all for folks without uni degrees contributing, and I fucking love the fact that the anonymous peer-review system means that sometimes an amateur star-gazer or home inventor actually DOES get published in a major science journal for discovering something significant, or that a random girl/guy at home periodically DOES get published in a major philosophy journal because she has talent and didn't need a uni education in order to have some ideas worth preserving in writing. But if you're a massively wealthy heir with nothing else to do, why NOT spend a few years learning the shit you're writing on - especially if you're then going to use your wealth and PR resources to get yourself gigs on breakfast talkshows everywhere as a 'famous philosopher'. Or at least, why NOT put your ideas up anonymously to peer review. Heck, most years there's non-university-educated folk who get published in a major journal, and there's still some non-university-educated guys around with seriously good publishing records who never made a career out of it. Surely you can match those guys Sir de Botton?

    (g) Ultra high con, the rest doen't matter, just as long as she outlives all of her friends and becomes so miserable about it that she invents the post-apocalyptic genre in her final book 'The Last Man' (she had wanted to write a biography of her late husband, the famous poet Percy Shelley), but his family refused permission, so instead she wrote an increadibly bleak story of Europe being engaged in a war triggered by alliances upon alliances (basically the WW1 scenario, but in Victorian times), only to get reports of a far-away plague. The middle third has the plague decimiating the soldiers on both sides, effecively ending the war, but leaving the soldiers not knowing whether to stay and die, or try to get back home (where there's already some rumours that the quarantines have already been broken anyway - maybe false rumours at that; one great thing in the book is that you never do know for sure whether the quarantines would have held up if the soldiers hadn't returned, along with a long stream of other measures going wrong - some obvious ones in hindsight that are great in implementation (e.g. think of the mechanics of the water supply through Europe...)
    The last 3rd is post-apocalyptic - a band of freezing survivors: the only thing that has worked against the disease is heading north to snow-covered environments. But that's caused another problem - food. It's either find a new land or die of starvation.

    Each of the main characters were based on the various liiterary figures from Mary Shelley's bohemian circle of friends, and it's so fucking bleak because she was so depressed at having outlived these men that she was so deeply in love with, her husband in particular (e.g. there's a Lord Byron character who's basically the main character for the 1st third of the book, all full of idealism and the need to 'fight for what is right', whereas the main character for the latter half was essentially her biography-in-all-but-name of her husband Percy Shelley, capturing what she saw as his determination against the impending doom of death, and his remaining an inspiring writer and leader until there's nobody left to lead.
     
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  23. crawlkillgender: ⚧ Kill all boxed game owners. Kill! Kill!

    crawlkill
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    Having been an impossible BG1/2 fan and never played IWD1, I was surprised when I picked up IWD2 and found it to be more of a tactical combat game (...in pre-4E D&D, where most characters had no combat options at all?) than an open-world dialogue-driven game. But at the same time...the writing that -was- there was still excellent. Really the highlight of the title. It was weird to see a game that clearly had the talent to be a BG2 selling itself short as a dungeon crawler. Sounds like IWD1 was the same way: great dialogue not given the central focus it should've had.

    My opinion of Chris will forever be clouded by his being goddamn fucking hot though ugh can he just gain two hundred pounds or something so I can think about him clearly. The most negative thought I can have about him is that he's a little spergaciously intent when he's appearing on video, but...that's kind of a positive quality in someone who spends his whole life thinking about the systems we play with.

    (also the quote about good game/bad system is not an excuse for not being good/good system is an argument I have about Mage: The Ascension constantly ugh it's like -yes- you -could- just expect players and storytellers to self-police but omg I BOUGHT YOUR GAME couldn't you have just made a system that works instead)
     
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  24. Exar Kungender: ⚧ Learned

    Exar Kun
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    What FPS do you guys set your infinity games to? 30 seems to be sluggish, so I set my IWD and PST to 40 which seems to be the sweet spot between sluggish and hyper speed.

    Getting fallout to run smoothly on modern systems is so much less of a hassle then IE, at least on my PC.
     
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