Currently playing: The incredible adventures of Van Helsing, Ravenloft: Strahd´s Possession

August 14, 2011

Shadows over Riva - Slow start

I think it took 3 sessions and several hours to build up the party for this game. The game features around 80 spells and around 50 skills. Your roll up random statistics and spend them on 6 attributes: Courage, Wisdom, Charisma, Dexterity, Agility, Intuition and Strength. You only get one value rolled for you at a time and have to pick the attribute it should go into. There are several classes to choose from in the game (amongst them warrior, dwarf, three different types of elves, druid, hunter, thorwalian, warlock, magician and jester) each has its own prerequisites on attributes. To balance the positive attributes you are also given negative attributes like superstition or violent temper.

My group consisted of a warrior, dwarf, green elf, ice elf and two magicians. The first two will be the main fighters, the two elves the backup fighters since they also know of magic. I have no idea which skills or spells are really useful in this game. I have heard the game is really, really hard. To compensate for you lacking a party to import from its predesessor Star Trail, you are leveled up after creating each character. That means endless time of spending your skillpoints and spellpoints. The better you are at something the harder it is to raise the score. 

When I was finally finished I started at the Temple of Travia. The priestess said that strange things are happening in the town. It seems the orcs are planning an attack and that they collaborate with the Holberkian group in town. I should check that out.







I am very grateful for the automap. I begun to write down every inhabitants name and shop. You never know when you need to get back to a certain person:



After having mapped out the south side and gathered a few rumours I went to the graveyard. Firun temple said the gravekeeper there have had some problems with undead coming back to harrass him. He was very suspisious of me when I examined the graveyard but finally accepted my request on taking a look into the tomb. He fled after having opened the lock and a few seconds later I knew why...



This was my first combat. After executing any attack the messages that appear is shown too fast. I have no idea what damages are being done or taken to me. I must fix this in some way. After a while and by using most of my combat magic I won the battle and got some swords. My first loot.

While continuing to examine the graveyard I discovered a secret entrance through one of the graves and went down to explore - but not until the next day. Since it was dark I looked up an inn to sleep and recover a few astral points. I then returned the following morning and climbed down the crypt behind the grave....



This turned out to be a somewhat large complex. The good thing is that I have yet to see any random fights. The bad thing is that there are fights almost behind every door. The fights are slow, it is hard to see who is who. You don´t get any information about how much XP (experience points) you get after each battle but you come to a loot screen if there are anything to take. I have had to return back to town for two times to rent a room and heal for a few days and then return back to the tomb where skeletons, skeleton warriors and golems hide.



What I´ve found out are three distinct rumours that repeat themselves. The first relates to some sort of watchtower at the harbour that seems to be haunted. The other one is about some magicians experiment south of town that sacrifices animals for his secret deeds. The third regards a dwarven mine that doesn´t really seem to be an ordinary mine. The dwarves are said to look for an artifact of some sort.

I found the marketplace in the central area and bought some better armour then I went down to the tomb again and fought both zombies and ghouls. I actually managed to survive and found a few interesting items like an obsidian dagger and a magical silver jewel that decrease your necrophobia by 2. You must cast Odem Arcanum to be told if an item is magical but you don´t know in what way. I haven´t even found a way to identify items in stores. I don´t like that. I haven´t built up my analyse spell at all and don´t know if that was a huge mistake or not.

Anyway, it turned out the graveyard had been taken over by a evil druid and the real graveyard keeper was a doppleganger (I found the real one murdered in the tomb). I had to fight the Druid and his two demons. I got a recipe book for alchemy but I have no idea how to use the alchemy set yet.

You always have to have some sort of light to help you orientate



3 comments:

  1. You've probably figured this out already, but you can slow down the emulation of the game to make messages appear more slowly: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Performance should help you here.

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  2. Thanks! I know about them. The problem is that moving in combat is extremely slow as it is and the game runs fine on normal settings otherwise. After awhile I got used to the fast messages.

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  3. There are hot keys where you can scale the speed: Just turn it down when you want to read messages, and up for combat.

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