Reviews for Roses of Reckoning

Note: Hints included in some reviews. You have been warned.

Below are some reviewers comments which we thought might help you decide on whether or not you'd like to play the scenario. This page is not a list of all the reviews the scenario received, only those that had thoughful and/or useful comments to make.

Comments:Overall, this was a pretty good scenario. Of course, since this is the first non-Spiderweb scenario, I don't have a lot to compare it to. However, once I got started, I enjoyed the gameplay. There were a number of decent battles--difficult if you didn't get the jump on the opponent, not to bad if you did. Given that this was a level 1-6 scenario, more complex strategies aren't really an issue for the designer.

There were two reasons I didn't give this a higher rating. The first is that starting isn't necessarily obvious. You have to sleep in the hotel overnight. I slept in the hotel, but at the wrong time, apparently, so I couldn't figure out what to do. Eventually, I read the hints in the FAQ and slept again and things got going. I would have prefered a better set-up that made it clear what the main mission was. Side scenarios are a different story.

The second reason was that there were several instances where I lost control over my characters while some plot-advancing action took place (often accompanied by dreadful graphics). I'd much prefer dialog boxes, a la the original Spiderweb scenarios and Avernum 3 (I didn't play A1 or A2).

Neither of these killed my enjoyment, but with a better start and smoother plot advancement (and less of those graphics), I would have enjoyed this brief scenario.

Comments:Solid. Competent. Extremely short, which hurts it, and somewhat weak in its attempt to create moral ambiguity. However, if you're looking for a good way to spend an hour or two, this is your scenario. Fun, challenging combat, cool plot, etc.
Comments:The plot could have been better, the combat could have been better, the scenario could have been *better*. But, overall, I still enjoyed this scenario quite a lot and in the end, that's what counts.
Comments:Not a bad first scenario. There is nothing really original here but there is nothing really painful either. It is generally free of design problems and bugs, though there are a few really obvious error messages that should have been caught. Some of the animated sequences are well done.

This scenario alternates between hitting the player over the head with information (there are other ways to get a player to rest at the inn than by saying "HINT: Sleep at the inn to advance the plot") and an attempt to go over the player's head by tying an adventuring quest into various intellectual frameworks (agathism vs. postmodernism, anyone?). Both could be better executed. Overall, though, this is still a very playable, short, vanilla scenario.
Comments:This scenario's great strength is that you have to do a lot of tactical battle planning to get through it. However, there are some flaws:

1. All of the monsters are undead. If you play four strong priests, you could probably defeat the scenario easily, especially after you discover how to up your repel spirit.
2. The plot in the beginning seems a little, well, forced. The background is that you are seeking to leave the continent and arrive in this town in the middle of nowhere. You really don't know what to do, and the dialog that does tell you what to do says "Hint: to progress the scenario, ..."
3. The only place you can trade is, well, a secret. The way you discover this secret is pretty lame. You should at least have to do some minor quest or some such.
4. The end battle is, for an experienced player who plays the scenario properly, too easy, especially if you have multiple people with repel spirits.
5. Successful ending is lame.

The strengths are:
1. Battles along the way require a lot of tactics
2. Ending dungeon is kinda neat, if a little short

As of 4/11/04, the author admitted there were a lot of weird parts to be worked through. I think this is a start of what could be a great scenario.
Comments:Roses of Reckoning is the first BoA scenario, and it shows. It isn't large, it isn't long, and it isn't particularly gripping in any way. If it were created later, it would most likely get little attention.

That said, it isn't a terrible scenario by any means. The plot is not complicated, but it is also not stultifyingly boring or horribly inserted. Most of the graphics are stock, but there are some nice additions, especially in messages, that add to the flavor. The combat is varied enough to present some challenges and to stay fresh through the scenario's short length. Even the puzzles are small but well done. Not innovative, but not overly contrived or unexplained.

All in all, RoR is neither great nor abysmal. It's a fun, quick romp with enough plot to keep the player interested but no so much that it becomes too pretentious for what it is.
Comments: Roses of Reckoning is a small but well put together scenario. Very few problems are present. There were however, several slight glitches in the terrain especially on corners. One can see adjacent parts of town on corners from within a few rooms. But aside from that overall this is a good scenario, if one is looking for a short adventure.
Comments:There was no real challenge. This scenario seems to be more of a soapbox for the author's dogma than a real narrative-based adventure. When you character picks up a book and reads it only to have the computer tell you "buy blades of exile and play ___________ (adventure) because it beats this cheesy scenario," then you know the author didn't even bother putting in work. The puzzles were rediculously easy, the monsters under-powered and the traps pitiful. The author even went so far as to make a trap that cast Repel Spirt on the party! I don't know if I am to laugh or kick myself for reading the three-or-more pages of intro that were little more than what I can only assume to be his poorly-written thesis paper on Modernism. I finished it in under three hours and I want my three hours back. However, he gets a 2.0 instead of a 1.0 for the effort.
Comments:I know it's the first custom scenario out, and that I should be delighted to have it at all so early on, but I didn't particularly enjoy Roses of Reckoning. The story was flaky at best, and five minutes into playing, I found myself the victim of a lecture on inequitable taxation given by two quarrelling vampire lovers, as part of a larger plot that was like a painful crash course in basic theological principles. I don't like it when authors tell me what my characters are feeling, nevermind when they tell me what my characters think about complicated ideological concepts.

Gripes about the plot aside, there were a number of graphical glitches, simple grammar and spelling were paid very little attention in places ("God" is mispelt in the first line of the introductory text - which is a preamble about God,) and dialog-heavy events were carried out using the in-game Speech-Bubble cinematics, rather than dialog boxes: this is fine for brief events, but doesn't work for extended conversations, reading three words at a time. As advertised, this is a very short, very easy scenario, and for the unpleasantness I associate with the plot, I wouldn't really reccomend it.
Comments:This scenario requires a character with enough priest skill to cast Enduring Barrier, or at least one character with around 50 or more life. There are not enough monster encounters to gain levels for a level 1 party which starts with the "wrong" skills, so this scenario can get very frustrating. The linear plot is also disappointing, compared to a typical Spiderweb scenario. On the plus side, individual battles are well set up and require some thought. Unfortunately, the back story is not sufficiently woven into the gameplay to be more than sugar coating, so the overall impression is somewhat hollow.
Comments:A good first scenario, all-be-it a short one. Good story, good battles,
although, maybe a few minor quests could have been added.

A bug I haven't seen anyone else mention: In the main town (forget the name),
there is a building that you can break into that has an "official" sitting who
doesnt respond. And although you can go through the "window" to get to his/
her loot, the door acts as if it were a wall. You can't even attempt to pick it.

Anyway, this was thoroughly enjoyable, please keep making more (hopefully
longer, more difficult ones), if only to appease my boredom.

Comments:This is more of a mission than a scenario. It is admittedly gratuitious but fun. The "philosophy" is more of a distraction than a help but the keeper of the cemetary is funny and kind of summarizes the player's reaction to the other "philosophizing." Thanks for getting something "out there" that is fun to play. Hopefully, a true scenario can be developed by this author. (I found that a level four party was more appropriate, unless you had exactly the right type of party to fight undead.) In short, a cute, fun, short, relatively smooth way to pass a few hours!!
Comments:At first glance, I thought I noticed a rather intriguing plot and fairly sophisticated gameplay, but, of course, I was terribly wrong. I don't mean to nag, but the whole concept of the comparison between modernism and God is fairly lame, and the beginning sequences looked as if they had been written for a term paper. The concept didn't fit well into the gameplay either. As others have undoubtedly said before, I found the self-loving writer, and the books suggesting you go buy Blades of Exile, a little off the top. I also noticed a flaw with the books, because I believe the creator of the scenario meant for some text to pop up, and it doesn't. I re-writ a lot of text in many of the files to my own liking, and created a far more simple opening plot. I do think, however, that the battle sequences were done well, except for the last battle which took all of 3 seconds to finish. If you have a lot of time on your hands, and don't have a life, then this is the scenario for you, otherwise, you may want to avoid it.
Rating: 2.3
Comments: Roses of Reckoning is a scenario whose story and plot could have been brilliant. Unfortuantely, it turned out to be little more than a port for the author to exhibit his ideas on social values. The three intro pages describe a series of ideals about society, but have little or no significance to the rest of the scenario whatsoever. A very, very long monologue between two vampires and your party forces you to exhibit an opinion that may not be yours, and subjects you to the author's thesis on morality. On top of the forced storyline, this scenario is little more than a ploy to get players to download the author's Blades of Exile scenarios. While I do appreciate all the effort the author put into the BoE scenarios, I do not appreciate them being "sold" to me in BoA. Initially I was worried that there would be NO battles at all. After you enter the tunnel to the vampire's lair, however, gameplay does pick up. The Vampire's lair itself is a fun excursion, and worthy of a playable dungeon. If there were two or three more dungeons with the same effort put in, I would have given this scenario another point One town, one dungeon, and one straight-forward tunnel to said dungeon. Play time in this scenario is limited to about an hour for any half-experienced blades player. The attempt to market other scenarios was rather insulting. But the author shows much promise -- another more-developed scenario is the future would probably earn a very high rating from me.
Comments:The only reason I'm giving this scenario a 3 is that it has to be respected how quickly TM got to use the editor and managed to bring out a scenario, he also had some good parts in it despite the fact it was obviously very small but all the custom scenarios currently are.

What lost me was all the political messages not very well hidden under the vampire mission, I just wanted to play a game not worry about what's going on.

Also have to agree with another review, I prefer to think what my party thinks, I don't like it told to me.


Comments:Playable, but very short, and overall feels incomplete. In my opinion it would have required more work.
I didn't see the point in the intro text...? (though interesting)
Disappointed by beginning of the plot (messages like "sleep at the inn...").
Nevertheless this scenario designer shows much talent (combats, scripting uses, lots of custom graphics, ideas...), and i'm sure following scenarios will be go_od.


Comments:RoR was really a pretty boring scenario. You just fight undead until you eventually kill the big bads. There wasn't much creativity involved in designing this scenario, and it seems the designer was more concerned with making it the first BoA scenario than making it enjoyable. The plugs in the books for his BoE scenarios and the description of himself were just annoying. Also, I didn't like the way the designer felt we needed to get a dialogue box of a huge picture in many instances.


Comments:This Scenario was terrible. To me, it seemed like the guy was trying to force his opinions and ideas on you (The whole deal about post-modernism vs. modernism, and stuff not being purely evil, but everything containing some good.) You meet this one woman who is in trouble with taxes, and it tells you you want to see how she is doing, and have to! Like you are supposed to care about everyone who gets sent to prison because of the Empire's injustice! There was very little storyline: kill a couple of vampires before they destroy a village, in only two dungeons. How TM puts a character of himself in the scenario and mentions how outrageously cool he is, did get a laugh from me, also the two poems when sniffing flowers are also mildly amusing. But that was it. There were, however, no real bugs that I found. Overall the scenario seemed more like a lecture, a strong party could beat it in 10 minutes, and the scenario was more like a mad dash to be able to be called the first Blades of Avernum scenario, than something to be enjoyed. In short the worst scenario, by far, that is currently out. Want laughs, play Cave of No Return. Want some short fun, play Cave of No Return, or Babysitting.


Comments:Thanks for a decent scenario, TM.

An intellectual dialogue between opposing moral standpoints is present throughout. This is effected, primarily, through the use of the antagonist (a vampire) being a mouthpiece for one perspective, and an NPC who joins the party (a zombie) standing for the opposition. The party's responses to the various undead polemics are uniform and serve only to allow for further speeches, or indeed the continuance of the scenario. No choice of personal response to the views offered is allowed - nor should it be expected in this case. Clearly, if the author was attempting to offer an environment conducive to personal and individual responses to complicated moral dilemmas, he would have started a philosophy forum.

That said, an interactive environment like BoA does usually offer the opportunity for a limited response - just enough, in a great scenario, to fool the player into believing that they are in control of events. This is not the case here. Also, the standard character-driven plot is discarded; instead, the plot moves purposefully and directly through a series of clichés, simply in order to serve up the two (aforementioned) intellectual arguments, and allow them to develop towards a head on collision at the beginning of the final battle.

As to the resolution - well, the vampire bites the dust, so to speak. A victory for moral ambiguity? Unfortunately not. As soon as the vampire dies (again), the friendly zombie, finding no opposition against which to essay his polemic, falls apart himself.

There's definitely a good point in there somewhere. Though what it had to do with the undead is beyond me. Perhaps resurrecting dead literary concepts (yes, post-modernism is dead, we are in post-new-historicism now, you know) is best left to Literature students with too much time on their hands, and kept away from poor, long-suffering BoA players who have staked one to many vamps in their time.

Technically, of course, this scenario had no real flaws that I noticed. Keep up the good work, TM, and keep trying new things. There's no rule which says you have to make 'em all like Jeff makes 'em.

Comments:If you like a lot of exploring, you'll probably find the constraints of the linear plot irritating. There is a lot of literary/philosophical meandering. There's no real moral ambiguity, though: even if you agree with the authors' comments about the relativity of moral standards, I imagine you're still going to think that you're in the right if you prevent the villain from going on a murderous mardi-gras through the valley. If you have any strong moral code (be it the optimistic humanism of your zombie buddy, straight-up utilitarianism or religious) the apologetics of the villain just come over as wrong-headed self-justification. I found that added depth to the villains.

Balance might be an issue- don't even try this scenario without a priest- but the designer gives you opportunities to pick up energy potions and arrows along the way. It's clearly been playtested.

I really enjoyed the mission. It would have been dissapointing as one of the paid-for scenarios, but that's not what it is. if you're prepared to go with the flow, it's a pretty fun way to spend a few hours.
Comments:This was an okay scenario, but not a great one. The scenario designer definitely overdid it on the philosophy (compare this to Canopy, which had philosophy in it but didn't constantly jam it down your throat.) Some things were way too obvious (e. g., "HINT! You should sleep in the inn" and "BoE was 3 googolplex times better than BoA will ever be!") and some were not obvious enough (especially the location of the Dispel Barrier scroll - remember, low level parties usually don't have Far Sight.) Just say no to force barriers in low level scenarios, at least in places that you absolutely have to reach to complete the game. It also wouldn't hurt to make merchants who buy your stuff who are not concealed by secret passages, although I suppose it doesn't really matter considering how little loot there is to sell.

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