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Eschalon Book II (PC) artwork

Eschalon Book II (PC) review


"Eschalon Book II picks up right where the first left off, explaining enough as you go along so that you donít need to have any prior experience with the series to get your full enjoyment out of it. Furthermore, all the qualities that led to the first gameís fantastic reception are back. Open exploration and non-linear storytelling enable you to complete quests at your leisure. Customizable character creation enables you to assign attribute and skill points however you wish. And an innumerable list of strategies and methods of play lay at your fingertips."



You wake up in a lone cottage outside the nearby town of Eastwillow. You donít remember who you are or why youíre there. As you search for scraps of food and a steady source of water, you find a note outside your door. The note, written by a stranger named Darus, instructs you to meet him at the townís inn. Despite the obvious danger, you trust him. There he briefly explains to you your past, how you were once a member of a secret guild known as Crius Vindica and its role in the war in the neighboring land of Thaermore. But before he can tell you where you need to go next, a skilled assassin shoots him in the head with an arrow. From there, you can choose to pursue Darusí killer, or you can just take the arrow to sell it. Either way, your next task will be to discover the significance of the strange viewing glass you found on Darusí person.

Eschalon Book II picks up right where the first left off, explaining enough as you go along so that you donít need to have any prior experience with the series to get your full enjoyment out of it. Furthermore, all the qualities that led to the first gameís fantastic reception are back. Open exploration and non-linear storytelling enable you to complete quests at your leisure. Customizable character creation enables you to assign attribute and skill points however you wish. And an innumerable list of strategies and methods of play lay at your fingertips.

In Eschalon, every action you take has a consequence. Simply walking a step uses a turn, which gradually advances the minutes in a day, promotes minor shifts in weather, and marginally decreases hunger and thirst ratios. Built up over a large period of time, these things quickly become obvious, because, really, who pays attention to the amount of time they spend walking? Itís an attention to detail that if ignored, can cost you. Like when youíre traipsing through a forest in the middle of the night slaughtering giant beetles. With the aid of a magic spell, your eyes pierce the surrounding darkness with ease, enabling you to strike with the same precision as if you were fighting by day. Your foes have no such luck. Spotting your last target, you fire off an arrow, but then the sun slowly begins to creep on the horizon. Suddenly, your advantage disappears as the massive insect regains its accuracy, quickly closes on your position, and gores you dead.

Even weather plays a vital strategic role. A howling thunderstorm makes torches virtually useless, and even the slightest rainfall at night will make the darkness absolute, which reduces the effectiveness of any magical sight. Blizzards cause freezing damage that if allowed to build up over time, can severely weaken your character. Camping in these conditions is suicidal because rather than heal, you just receive frost damage at a highly accelerated rate than if you just walked back to town.

To add to the complexity, poorly constructed characters can lead to your swift demise. I made the mistake early on, with my first attempt at creating a ranger. Instead of focusing the scant few skill points allowed me at the beginning into important fighting and survival traits, I spread things out. This cost me later when I realized that I couldnít even kill a stupid wasp without suffering serious injury or even death. It was then that I restarted, created a better-prepared bowman, and took that character to victory.

Of course, that isnít to say I didnít have any other problems. Money is often hard to come by. A ranger needs to buy everything from arrows to potions to food (because even with foraging, youíll become hungry quickly). Youíll also need to pay to repair equipment (a rather costly proposition with expensive armor) and identify unknown items (a constant concern for non-mages). Without any negotiating skills, you must pay double the market price and sell at half an itemís value, which means youíd better know what youíre looking for when you do your shopping. Your primary source of income comes from completing quests and, later, selling pricey equipment. Supplementary income from random chests just acts as a bonus. These wonít sustain you very long.

Itís true that you can invest points into cost-effective abilities such as Lore, Foraging, Repair, Alchemy and Mercantile, but then you curb your fighting advantage. Experience comes in limited quantity. Monsters donít respawn when killed, and quests are finite in number. If youíre a bastard, you can butcher innocent townsfolk for extra experience, but then you might find yourself at the mercy of the virtually invincible Commonwealth Guard. Regardless of how you play, this means you only have a relatively small number of levels in which to properly plan your character.

Thatís not to say these non-combative abilities arenít important. Invest in them well (that is, without compromising your ability to fight), and youíll have a much easier time of things. Youíll have more money to buy expensive equipment because you donít have to pay to mend damaged items. You wonít have to eat and drink as much because youíll be spending less time going back and forth between town and dungeon. Youíll be able to open tightly secured locks without breaking piles of weapons, and youíll be able to disarm traps that can cause an array of afflictions from virulent diseases to deadly poison to explosive injury. The trick is finding the right balance. Invest too much or too little in one of these skill categories, and youíll be struggling heavily throughout the rest of the game at best, and frequently dead at worst.

Though completing your journey proves quite challenging, that doesnít take away from the sheer thrill of exploring an incredibly detailed world. Verdant forests, frozen wastelands and gaping bluffs combine to form a rather unique landscape thatís absolutely gorgeous. Both the people and creatures that populate these areas fit the terrain well, adding to the sense of completeness extant in Eschalonís mythology.

The arctic city of Durnore is home to the dwarves and their strange, spiritual manners. Their reverence for snow wolves leads to a peculiar quest where you must steal one of the alpha femaleís adorable puppies without harming the mother herself. The dwarves also hold the mine of Hammerlorne Mountain sacred, and will smite all trespassers that enter its holy halls.

Underneath Ironpool Dam lies a dark secret. Those brave enough to risk death and disease to explore the deepest reaches of the structure will stumble upon a ruined city thriving with the vengeful spirits of its former inhabitants. In the pitch-blackness of this forgotten place, ghouls lurch toward you with reckless abandon. Though slow, their strikes will tear inattentive players to pieces. Skeleton archers try to peg you from afar while their warrior cousins close in on you with nasty curved blades. Somewhere roams the Prospector, a wrathful and manipulative ghost that torments the souls trapped within this pit of despair. Your reward for slaying him will be a unique artifact that, when combined with its sisters, will grant you a jaw-dropping amount of experience.

When they first conceived of the Eschalon series, Basilisk Games envisioned a return to the classic RPGs of old, where the only thing keeping you alive was a bit of luck and your own ability to create well-balanced characters as well as formulate effective strategies. Although Eschalon: Book II and its sibling are much more merciful than older staples like Ultima and Wizardry, it still presents a refreshing challenge not seen in many modern games of this genre. It also succeeds in bringing to life the other old-school adage: an open world rife with creativity everywhere you look. Whether itís the thought-out history, the detailed environment, the attention to realism, or even just the freedom to do almost anything you want, youíll come away with something memorable.

Rating: 9/10

wolfqueen001's avatar
Staff review by Leslie Paul (November 04, 2010)

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zippdementia posted November 05, 2010:

So here's my big question with this game.

Are there a bunch of skills (as you mention, mercantile, foraging, repair) that you NEVER want to invest in because the game will be much easier if you just focus on combat?

You've interested me enough to get this game (it's for the MAC, for god's sakes) but I'm hung up on this question. It wasn't clear from the review what your experience was with this, at least to me.

Not to say this isn't a good review, WQ. I actually think it shows a lot of improvement over your submission for the last tournament. It's a good combination of your detailed style of description mixed with a more casual tone that serves it well.

But if you could just let me know on that thing before I run out and spend my last 20.00...
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wolfqueen001 posted November 05, 2010:

The point of that paragraph / sectim was to demonstrate the necessity of balance between the non-combat and ease of venturing skills. However, I have reread this part of the review myself and see that I did not explicitly - or even implicitly - make that point, and this upsets me a little because the idea of balance is absolutely critical. Basically, investing in skills like foraging and repair and the like will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. In fact, I can say that without some of them, I probably would have run out of funds at some point without being able to recoup them and that would have meant another restart. (In a sense, that was partly - mainly even - why I had to restart the first time... The monsteres kicked my ass so much that I had to keep going back for repairs and eventually I ran out of money to do this).

However, it is also important to consider your type of character when investing in these skills. (I can't even say 'class' because there's just so much that goes into making your character). For example, if you're a fighter / thief / ranger you probably won't want to invest that much in alchemy because that's a skill that requires a lot of intelligence to actually make decent potions.

In other words, there's no such thing as a bad or even unnecessary skill. However, it's how you balance and distribute your points that determines your success. I'm kicking myself for not making that point clearer in the review. It's probably the most important point I could've made about the game.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. It's really a great game. Haha. Though I wouldn't call this review so much of an "improvement" over my last one. I do agree that it's much better than my last one, but "improvement" makes it sound like what I've written there is going to permamently reflect my writing of future reviews or something. This probably won't be the case Sadly, I feel that I have reached a point in my writing where any notion of "improvement" will be gradual and steady. Like, the quality of my stuff almost seems random sometimes. One day my review will be "meh" and average; the next it'll be pretty good. In a way, it's kind of unfortunate for me because I may never reach a status of truly "great" like some people around here. (Like, try as I might, I probably won't ever win a contest, regardless of how many I enter =/) But I'm not bad either, and on average, my reviews are probably better than some people's worst efforts.

Anyway, enough babbling over technicalities. I hope you decide to pick up the game. I think they released the Mac version about a month or so ago, so that should be worth a look.

EDIT: Ok, I added (well, EmP added. I just wrote it) a paragraph after the last one discussing skills and such. Before I move into scenery. I hope that helps clear things up. The balance really is an important point I can't stress enough.
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zippdementia posted November 05, 2010:

Good paragraph. Okay, it's bought. Seriously, take that as huge compliment, because I haven't bought a game now in over three months. I'm sooo broke*. But you convinced me beyond being able to help myself.

*note: I'm not complaining. I made a fucking film. Hell yeah. That's why I'm broke, though.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 05, 2010:

Haha. I'm glad my piece was strong enough to convince you. =D

And I'm glad you were able to do something you'd always wanted with the movie thing.

EDIT: Check your HGmail
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zippdementia posted November 05, 2010:

Check your HGMAIL.

I was too late. This is what eagerness will do for you!
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wolfqueen001 posted November 05, 2010:

No u! =D I love this game.

XD It's never too late. You'll see what I mean if you can cut through the rambling and understand the main points of what I'm getting at. XD
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zippdementia posted November 05, 2010:

I'll be playing some tonight. I've been warned by several reviews now that I have to be excruiciatingly careful in leveling. We'll see how far I get.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 05, 2010:

Sweet. Yeah. I'm glad I added that paragraph because that's something I was trying to get across, too. XD It is, frankly, a very, very delicate balance. But a challenging and fun one. Hopefully, if you make any mistakes, it'll be early on so that if you have to restart, it won't be a big deal.

Have several different save slots. haha. I think I had three by the end of the game, and that doesn't include the quicksave (which can glitch and delete itself sometimes, though this only happened once with me).
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

Well, I only got a little bit in. I took an hour and a half to watch Vantage Point (terrible film... 2/5 stars from me) and another half hour to let my jaw hang in amazement at the CGI our British team just sent back for Population 2. Wow. Just... wow.

Anyway, here's my quest so far. I haven't really done much, but I got very lucky on my character rolls, with almost all stats at 11 or 12 (max is 14) and only strength being low. Intelligence and Wisdom were each at 13, so I decided to play a mage.

I may have made a slight mistake in my first skill choices. I wasn't sure about how armour and magic worked in the game but I didn't want to quit to check online (I didn't want to lose my stats!) Similarly, having never played, I wasn't sure if magic would provide an adequate weapon or if I needed a back up.

I decided to play it safe. I took as my skills Arcane- Elemental, Bow, Meditation, and Lore. I boosted them to decent levels and began the game.

I'm actually fairly happy with my choices, but I'm not sure about having taken bow. I do like having a fully ranged character and the bow and magic combo is proving to be very powerful. I'm less certain about having NOT taken light armour. Armour doesn't seem to affect magic, but maybe I'm wrong on that...?
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

Here's something I don't understand. I'd like to use my own portrait for my character. But I don't quite get STEAM. Does it actually download the gaming folder to somewhere on my computer? It must, right? But then where the hell is it...
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jerec posted November 06, 2010:

Gee, that picture in the focus window looks exciting!
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wolfqueen001 posted November 06, 2010:

Zipp: Yeah. You might struggle a little bit without an armor class. I don't remember if there's a skill for unarmored or if the skill just pertains to hand-to-hand fighting, but if there is, you could've taken that as well. Still, there's actually a special challenge that requires the mage class to not wear any heavy armor, so you might be OK.

Bow is a very risky side weapon to select. I actually found in my case that I was primarily killing things with my alternate weapon (either a knife or spear) because enemies would get in too close by the time I killed them. Also, arrows get used up very quickly and it can be quite expensive (after a while) to keep replenishing them. I found the bow to be best effective as a weakening instrument, and its critical strike skill that you get for leveling up the skill to ten was freaking awesome. But as a supplement to a mage, it probably wasn't the best choice. But, on the other hand, being a mage, you're likely not going to have as much defense anyway, so staying as far away from the enemy as possible is almost certainly a good thing. So, it really depends on how you play I guess. Try it out for a while; if it starts to become a problem, then, well, I guess you learned your lesson. =P

A tip: There's actually a trainer later on that will tach you bow skill among other things. But training is expensive early on, so keep that in mind.

The rest of your stuff looks pretty interesting, though. Since you'll be pumping a lot into intelligence, though, Lore might not be as essential to you as it would have been to someone like me. But the intelligence and skill complement each other, so I really can't say what the right balance is.

As for the magic, you should be pretty set with that as long as you keep up with hte latest spells (if you need them). I've actually read that mages work out quite well because of their range and the strength of their spells. So the elemental magic might really be enough as a weapon; however, it is always good to have a physical backup in case you run out of mana. I would also invest at least one point into Divination at some point (but don't use your skill points to do this) so that you can learn the healing spell, which even I found to be useful despite having lousy intelligence (so it would only go up by like 3-6 points per cast, but it was cheap enough that it didn't matter. In your case, even at level one, it should be much stronger). There's a trainer later in the game that can teach divination to you, so just go to her if you want it. A single point will be much cheaper than trying to level the whole set that way. (Trainers only teach up to level 8 anyway).

I don't know anything about the character portrait thing. I just used whatever options they gave me. I kind of wondered if you could use your own creation for that, but didn't see a way to do it so I didn't bother. I ddin't care that much anyway. I also didn't download this through Steam, so maybe it's different there.

Jerec: >=O You find a better one then! You won't because none of the pics online will be the right size. I took that as a screenshot! lol (and cropped it because in its entirety, it would've been hideous!)

Now say something useful. =D
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

Yeah, the reason I choose bow was because it used dexterity and concentration, which are much higher than my speed and strength. It's the one point I'm iffy on, but I think if I really just rely on magic, I might be okay. I do think my first level I will nab light armour.

I also wish I'd taken alchemy instead of lore. Aside from that, I think I'm quite happy with the choices.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 06, 2010:

That's good. And you can learn alchemy off a trainer later, too, so don't worry about that.
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

Ha, well I restarted. The whole range thing wasn't working out because in groups enemies close fast and then both my arrows and spells became much less effective.

So, restarted. This time I'm mostly the same character, but I started with slightly different stats and different skills. Meditation I kept, and Elementalism is still my main spell, but I also took alchemy and light armour and bludgeoning weapons.

Already I'm doing much better.

I'm debating going for lock picks, because it's annoying having to bash through all these treasure chests, but then I'd also like to go for lore because it's damn expensive to identify items (even with my intelligence score of 19 I still can't identify many items).

IT's good to see a game where every skill is desireable. In fact, the combat skills I grudgingly take only because I know I won't live without them.

Which reminds me, I forgot to get some treasure chests inside the old well behind the church. Dammit, have to go back tonight...
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wolfqueen001 posted November 06, 2010:

Lock picking is handy, but it's up to you. You can also cast magic on the chests and doors to break them. At least then you don't have to repair a weapon. There's also a spell you can get that'll destroy locks.

Also, there are books you can find or buy that'll teach you some skills. When you use them is up to you though.

You seem to be doing well, though, so that's good. I'm debating how much of these little hints I've been giving you I should actually give out. Like, I want you to figure this stuff out on your own so that it's more fun for you, but at the same time, I like helping. So let me know if the stuff I've been telling is too much.

And yeah. I agree about your sentiments on the skills. I know my review made it sound like the combat ones were important, but the reality is that all of them are in some way or another. (I'm even more glad i added that paragraph now, haha). But yeah. That's why I tried to limit my combat skills to two professions, so that they can be properly focused while balancing the other useful skills in my repertoire.

EDIT: Oh. What version did you get? I had 1.04, but I think 1.05 has an expansion, and that only came out a few weeks ago.
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

I really appreciate all the hints! I don't mind restarting my game after the first couple of levels and dungeons, but when I'm level 15 and have explored half the world, I'm not going to be happy if I decide I'm stuck!

I did take Lore and it's made life much nicer. I think I won't take lock picking. My dexterity isn't high this time around and bludgeoning weapons can break chests and doors (takes a long time and hurts the weapon, but still, I think it's better not to cross match too many abilities).

The other two skills I'm very tempted to take on an upcoming level up are cartography and foraging. Cartography would just make exploring dungeons and the overworld much more cohesive, while foraging would solve a major problem I'm having right now: food.

Food is seriously the thing that has me most concerned right now. As a mage (primarily) I have to sleep a lot to restore Mana and that's fine... but it drains hunger fast! I do wish the inn had an "eat" option that you could spend money on, which is currently my only complaint about the game.

Anyway, foraging would also give me the occasional alchemy ingredient, the game says, which would be cool.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 06, 2010:

Cartography is a fun skill. In fact, it was one of my favorites to experiment with because I loved seeing how much more detailed the map would become after another level. However, I just hought all of my mapping skills.

Foraging is very handy, but it does take a little bit of leveling to become useful (around 5 is good), at least if you're looking for alchemy. There will be noticeable reduction in hunger / thirst decreases at the first level, though (I think). But you can train that up too if you find the right person.

The inn actually does restore your hunger and thirst bars after you sleep there, but you can't sleep in the first town's inn at all, which is kind of a pain because you spend a lot of time there, but oh well.

Oh. I'm sure you figured this out already, but if you click on signs or odd landmarks (usually huge monoliths in the middle / outside of towns), that'll add stuff to your quick traveling menu. Quick traveling just makes things faster but isn't necessary. It also drains hunger/thirst and damages your boots.

Anyway, if you want to know where the trainers are, I can tell you, but for now, I'll just keep on the way I have been. You probably haven't even reached the areas where they're located yet.
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zippdementia posted November 06, 2010:

Yeah, I don't need specifics of locations and what not. That stuff is fun to discover on my own. More I appreciate the tips on leveling and using skills. I think I'll take foraging for my next level.
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jerec posted November 06, 2010:

"Now say something useful. =D "

You obviously don't know me very well. :P
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

Well, I finally found another town. Took me forever because I got confused by a map and went towards the Farrock Range, unsuccessfully trying several times to cross it. Finally I decided it was too far beyond my ability and started to explore west... and there found the roadsigns that pointed to all the nearby villages.

At this point I'm roughly level 7 with a fairly balanced set of stats (Intelligence being the extreme high and Dexterity being low). I'm not really sure where I want to put my next set of attribute points. I don't know if its helpful to have a skill at, say, 30 points or if it's better to try and balance out weaker stats. I'll probably default to building up strength, because it's always useful. Endurance and Concentration are also high on the list.

I've got a 1000 gold pieces, which feels really nice. My next goal is to find a better bludgeoning weapon than the quarterstaff I've currently got equipped. Then, if possible, I'd like to find a more powerful damaging spell. Right now I'm pretty reliant on Fire Dart, but it's draining my Mana quickly and after a few battles I have to rest to do anything useful.

My other plan is to simply keep pumping points into elemental until I can cast Fire Dart at level five (which I think does between 20-40 damage). I'm still debating taking the skill Divination, but I'm not really sure I want to try and dual-magic. It just seems... costly, experience-wise. Have to keep Wisdom AND Intelligence high and Elemental AND Divination high... not sure it's worth it. I can't use blesses, anyway, because I'm an aethiest.

No, at this point I'd rather pump skill points into raising the levels of things I already have, with Elemental, Light Armor, and Bludgeoning taking priority. If someone handed me another skill for free, I'd really like to try Cartography. Everything else I've pretty much decided I won't get a shot at this game. Well, not unless I find someone who trains in those skills. But I'm wary of spending any more levels on new skills.

I noticed in your review you say there are a limited number of enemies in the game. Is this true? Not to call you out, or anything, but many times, in passing back through an area in the overland, I'll come across enemies in spots where I already cleared everything. Maybe they were just hiding in another part of the map, though. A better question would be: how did you figure this out, that enemies don't respawn?
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

New this morning: there is no way I'm paying a 1000 crowns to get inside the Port town. No way.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 07, 2010:

At first, I tried balancing my attributes out and then realized it wasn't working, so I wound up just balancing all my lesser skills to around 15 and pumping the main ones for my character (in my case, dexterity, strength and some endurance).

As far as I'm aware, monsters do not respawn. I have, on occasion, come across an enemy I assumed I'd missed, but once I've cleared out an area, if I ran into anything at all, it was never in the numbers that I had encountered before. This is easier to pick up on once you have cartography at level 2 or 3 when the map will color in all the empty space as green for the land you're walking on. This allows you to systematically sweep the area without getting confused or lost.

There is, however, a chance that you'll get random encounters while camping, regardless of whether the area's cleared or not. But even these are kind of rare. (They also suck, so I often just reloaded if I wound up in a "random" encounter).

For Port Kuudad, you don't have to pay the fee, and in fact it's not recommended. I'll let you try to figure out a better method before revealing anything further, though. =P If it makes you feel any better, it took me FOREVER to figure out how to enter that town. I eventually gave up and looked it up online. =/

What was the other town you said you found? (Besides the port city, unless that was what you were referring to.)

EDIT: If monsters really are respawning for you, then maybe it has to do with the version of hte game you have. If you have 1.05, then that might explain a lot. You'll also have an expansion available that isn't related to the main quest, so I dunno how it'd work. But if you have 1.04, then I don't really have an explanation.

You may not know which version you have though simply because you downloaded it through Steam, and I don't know that Steam provides that specific information.
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

I found the Steam folder last night (under library, apps, application support, steam, usual content... for christ's sake...). I added a picture of our main actress in (helps to have a familiar face) and I have version 1.05:


Version 1.05 or higher contains new game content, "The Secret of Fathamurk", not available in the original release. The new content is located beneath the Farrock Caves, which you will come upon during normal game play. If you want more information on this new content, please visit the FAQ online at: http://www.basiliskgames.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=4374


I've been in the caves. Not sure if that's the new content...?

Anyway, the other town I found was Everdale... Everglade... Ever... something... it's in the woods and there's a Lycanthrope there.

Yeah, I figured there has to be another way into the port city. I'm going to head back up and do some exploring.

I kind've hope there ARE respawns, at least limited respawning monsters. While I enjoy the challenge of stating a good character, it's nice to know that you have some back up or some wriggle room. Actually, I'm getting the sense there is a little bit of wriggle room.

I'm also glad I didn't take cartography. I found a compass at a shop and picked it up so I have limited cartography skill. I'm doing a similar thing with a diviner's hat, though it's mostly to give me access to Cat's Eyes which is really helpful in the dungeons and at night.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 07, 2010:

Ah, okay. Yeah; since you have 1.05, there might be a few new (perhaps minor) changes in addition to the new content (such as more respawning, but you'll have to do some experimenting to verify that for sure). I don't think the caves themselves are that content, though, because I've been through the Farrock Caves myself and didn't really find anything special (except for a really wicked boss). I would advise exploring them fully if you can, though. And not just for the new content (which I think would be too tough for you right now anyway).

I imagine the new content will be accessible through some other means: perhaps a secret passage or some such that wasn't there in the version I played.

Nice job finding Everdale, too. That was one of my favorite places, perhaps for the Lycanthrope quest more than anything else. How'd you handle that quest, anyway? There's a few ways to go about it. I think the way I did it got me the most experience, but I could be wrong.
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

The caves are tough. I went in a couple levels ago (mistake). I did okay with the outlanders. There's this Blacksmith guy who's incredibly challenging. In a melee contest, I'd be dead in the first two hits. In magic I did "alright" but I would have needed seven times my mana to kill him.

So... I stole an explosive barrel, blew it up right next to him for 150 damage. That took him down by about 40%. Then I cast spell after spell (using no less than three mana potions), all of them fire dart level 3. Then I tossed two demon oils in such a way that he was trapped in the flames for eight rounds. That was the big turning point in the combat. After that I poisoned him with a toxin vial and then just ran from him until he exploded.

It was pretty sweet. Gave me 500 Exp.

But I couldn't get past the spiders deeper in the caves, so I backed out and that's when I went exploring on the west side of Eastwillow and found Everdale.

How did I handle the lycanthrope? I attacked him, easily killed him in his human form, and then got torn to shreds by his dire wolf form. That message last night about how I need more ranks in Elemental? That was inspired by that.

So I haven't taken him on again, yet. I'm waiting for my next level up, when I can pump enough points into elemental to get access to Fire Dart level 4. I also want to pump attribute points into strength, because right now I can't wield my mace and cast magic at the same time. Not strong enough :(

I've decided to focus my attributes on Int., Str., and Con. from here on out, with occasional points going to End and Speed. For skills I'm going to focus on getting Elemental, Light Armour, and Bludgeoning all to level 11 before I start thinking about getting new skills. I also want to boost foraging. It's quickly becoming one of my favorites, when combined with alchemy.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 07, 2010:

Oh, wow. You already kiilled the Blacksmith. That was the boss I was talking about. That dude was brutal, and I couldn't kill him until pretty near the end of the game. lol Interesting, though, that he only gave 500 XP. He gave me 600.

Yeah, the Lycanthrope is pretty tough. I think I wound up luring him near the town's bblacksmith so she could help kill him for me and then made sure she didn't die and that I got the finishing blow, otherwise you don't get the XP if someone else kills a monster for you.

I'll tell you about how I handled the actual quest (not just killing him) later once you've done it.

Anyway, your planning for your attributes and skills sounds pretty good. Though, I have to wonder how your intelligence is if you're going to start focusing on other things. And also where your strength is at if you can't wield a mace.
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

I think he did give 600. I'm terrible at remembering numbers. For instance, right now I can't remember how high my intelligence is. It's between 19 and 21, I know that. Strength is at 15. I'm probably going to boost it to 18 next level.

Good to hear I've bested a difficult enemy. That gives me hope.
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

Lycanthrope is dead. I'm beginning to be quite deadly, now that I've get elemental raised to level 7 (8 with my nifty new wizard's hat). I found a bandit camp that raised me the next level. My strength is also higher and I found a unique quarterstaff (my preferred weapon). With that and my spells (and the blacksmith providing an unexpected distraction) I murdered that wolf.

I kind've wish I could have stolen all his goods, though.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 07, 2010:

Nice job. Yeah, I wish I coul've taken all his stuff, too. But at least his pelt sells for a lot.

The way I handled the quest was that I didn't believe the guy in the woods, so I told the magic shop owner about him to see who the real wolf was. The shop owner told me to go kill Xed (I think that was the guy in the woods... or maybe that was the shopowner I don't recall). IN any case, I told the guy in the woods what I had done and he got mad at me and didn't hand anything over, so I got mad and killed him for about 400 xp. Then I took the ring back to the shop owner and he offered me 500 gold for not asking anymore questions (I had already received 500xp for beating the quest), but I chose to ask about the ring anyway. Then he attacked me as a wolf. =/
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

So did you get more experience that way, then?

Aw, but I like Xed. He's one of those loveable shifty-eyed guys with no chance of procreation.

I finally made it through the caves. That took me up to level 8. I also found the entrance to the new material. Looks very promising, but I think it's definitely meant for an "end of the game" kind of thing. I didn't explore it yet, because even heading a little ways into the dungeon seals you in. Fearful I might forget that and save, I'm leaving it alone for now.

Anyway, now I'm starting to find some nice equipment. My main issue now is my dexterity. Despite my intentions, I really have to focus on it for a while. My To Hit rating was just not good enough.

Still no idea how to get into Port Kulad... tell me this... is it something you do in another town or is the "way in" located in the same vicinity as the city? Knowing that would be nice because I won't spend my days wandering every inch of that part of the map.

Baring that (because pretty much all of my quests now take place in Port Kulad), my next quest will be to return to Ironpool Dam and start exploring its depths for these rumours about ghosts. Seems like a fun quest.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 07, 2010:

I assume it did. Since I got XP for killing two people as well as for the quest rather than just one person.

Yeah. Your To HIt rating is a bitch to work with. Even pumping mine to like 49 or something, my highest at the end of the game (against some of the toughest enemies) was only around 40%.

I think putting points into the weapon skill (in your case, bludgeoning) will also increase the hit rating, so keep that in mind, too.
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zippdementia posted November 07, 2010:

I think the mage has an advantage in the late game because spells rarely miss if your concentration is anywhere above 16. I've almost gotten to the point where I'm not sure it makes sense to raise elemental any more... I don't think it increases the spells, just the rank you can cast them at.

Now I have to decide whether to go ahead and pick up divination as well. I've saved a couple of the scrolls I've found just in case I want to do that.
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zippdementia posted November 08, 2010:

Okay, skeleton archers are friggin' tough.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 08, 2010:

Haha. Yeah, for you they will be. For me, they weren't too bad. I hated the skeleton marauders more.

Anyway, if you're struggling with these, you're really going to hate the ranged monsters at the end of the game, though. Man. Those guys kicked my ass.
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zippdementia posted November 08, 2010:

It won't be so bad once I get some more damage spells or if I decide to get some divination for armour spells, but right now they are definitely pissing me off.
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Ben posted November 20, 2010:

WQ:

So I've been avoiding this topic since I knew this was going to be your contest entry until now, and I must say, judging by the conversation between you and Zipp, I didn't realise that the game goes so, so much deeper (even though there were hints in the review that indicate this). It makes the review even more impressive, that you can pick out the stuff that showcases Eschalon: Book II the best, and that I never got the sense of being overwhelmed.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 20, 2010:

Thanks, Ben. To address some of your concerns that I forgot about in the results topic:

Before the game starts, there's a brief still-shot CGI thing that explains what happened in the previous game. When the player starts out in the cottage with amnesia, you're not really meant to know why he/she got there. The amnesia is explained later as you play the game and the cottage I always just took as a random location to place you in when you start. If you talk to people, too, sometimes you get more of a history of the first game where they talk about the war and such.

The other thing I wanted to address was actually for True, haha. I can do that later.
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Ben posted November 20, 2010:

Ah, right. This is making more sense now.

So I take it some time has elapsed between the first and second games? I was under the assumption that Book II followed immediately after Book I ("...picks up right where the first left off"), but I think I read too much into that sentence.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 20, 2010:

I guess if I were to guess, I'd say the time that elapses between the two books is between a few months to a year. But I say "right where the first left off" because you're told about it as if it just happened, and the things that you're trying to prevent now are a direct result of that war. So really, a year might even be pushing it.

The amnesia was a reseult of trauma suffered as a result of your character's actions in the previous campaign, and so aced as an immediate effect. Though I won't say much more about it because I don't want to spoil anything.
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zippdementia posted November 20, 2010:

I think the guy in the first mission tells you it's been a year or two, but I'd have to replay the opening to be sure. I'm almost positive an exact time is given, though.
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zippdementia posted November 20, 2010:

Found a Citizen's Writ. Happy to announce it was aaaall by myself. No guides. Port Kudad adds a lot to the game. I was beginning to feel like I was running out of places and things to do. The trainers are nice, though I've surpassed most of them already, lol.

It was great being able to learn cartography finally, though. And I think I am going to take a few levels in divination. First though, I want to find someone to train in light armor. I haven't gone to the dwarven city yet, needed a writ, but now I can go there.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 20, 2010:

No one trains in armor unfortunately.

Yeah. I also had that same sense of not having anything to do for a while when I couldn't get into the city. Which is when I used the guide. Good job on the writ by yourself; that's better than I did. Which one did you find? There's like 3 in the game.
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zippdementia posted November 20, 2010:

I ventured to the one major area of the map I hadn't explored, which was the destroyed town of Blackgate, to the far north. I had tried to push in several times but always got waylaid by Giant Beetles and Purple Salamanders (one complaint I have about Eschallon: the enemies are pretty boring). Finally got past them by running the proper path and found this house belonging to some ranger chick. She attacked me when I spoke to her, but I just ignored her and robbed her house while she walked around trying to find me. I did end up smacking her around a bit, but we both decided it was a bad job and we fled from each other.

Anyway, one of the items I robbed was the writ. Somehow I had a feeling it would be in that town.
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wolfqueen001 posted November 21, 2010:

Huh. It's called Blackgate now? In my version it was called Broken Blade.

Anyway, that ranger chick plays an important role later... Not sure if you've gotten that far yet, but you'll see soon enough. Just remember that her name is Sparrow if you didn't pay attention to it earlier.

EDIT: Oh yeah. I never had an issue with the enemies. I thought the beetles were some of the hardest creatures in the game - not least because they stun you - and the devilmanders were a huge pain because they could poison you really badly.

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