The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 1: Shadowrun Dragonfall DC (Over)

I think it’s the noirish heist-style of missions that really endear these games to me....there needs to be more of that in crpgs, even trad-fantasy ones!

I’m so sick of being a chosen one fighting world-ending cliches!

I never played Dragonfall before, though I finished Returns back when it came out. I forgot how much depth this game had, in terms of storytelling. I’m only three missions in (just starting to earn for Alice) and I

Spoiler:

took the wrong dialogue tree and ended up getting the sewer ghouls to work ‘odd jobs’ for the doctor.

Part of me hope that decision comes back to haunt me later, for STORY!

pyxistyx wrote:

I’m so sick of being a chosen one fighting world-ending cliches!

I was pretty disappointed that that's what Returns eventually devolved into. Similarly, I'm less interested in Dragonfall the more it harps on about Firewing, but I hope they do something interesting with that. (I'm still earning money for Alice.)

I'm at the APEX mission, must be getting fairly close to the end. Thanks to all that gave me a push to pull this out of the pile. I've enjoyed this one very much.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
pyxistyx wrote:

I’m so sick of being a chosen one fighting world-ending cliches!

I was pretty disappointed that that's what Returns eventually devolved into. Similarly, I'm less interested in Dragonfall the more it harps on about Firewing, but I hope they do something interesting with that. (I'm still earning money for Alice.)

I won't say how it goes either way with Dragonfall yet (other than that I do personally think they DO do something really interesting in the end), but Hong Kong definitely avoids this. In fact a character during that game literally calls out at some point that even if [worst case scenario] were to happen, the rest of Hong Kong would probably just collectively shrug their shoulders and adapt, given the rest of the crap they've had to put up with after magic came back. And it probably wouldn't even register at all in the wider world.

So close!

I've done about 15 minutes of the last Dragonfall mission.

I'll have to save the rest for the weekend, though. Can't play for a few days. Work trip getting in the way. Grrrr.

Did Trial Run with Luca Duerr. I chose to not continue with them, too much secrecy for me.

Blitz's mission went well, had some tough moments and my tag-a-long was useful but was no hasted Eiger!

Speaking of Eiger I also completed her misson. I didn't agree with how she handled herself throughout (maybe I'm just being too moral...), and made some comments to that effect, but I didn't push it so were still on good terms.

Just got Glory's mission and Aztec left to do (I think).

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Anyone else have a problem where they consistently read the damage numbers in combat as "12 OMG!" instead of "DMG"?

After reading this, my game now has a mental "Valley Girl" narrator who calls out the OMG as it happens

Concerning the Blitz mission:

Spoiler:

Did anyone not hunt through every bin, drawer, and desk? I did. Much to the displeasure of our guest. Which I found entertaining. I almost did not as I thought this was the game politely suggesting not to waste my time, as nothing was to be found. But there was. And it resulted in what I assume to be a better outcome, as I liked our somewhat irritating guest and did not want to face off with him.

All through that scenario, [He] and I found common ground in our general loathing of Blitz

So I finally got finish the second mission. I know, I'm super slow. The night club/hotel was a good start so far. Punching dudes with my fists.

JohnKillo wrote:

So I finally got finish the second mission. I know, I'm super slow. The night club/hotel was a good start so far. Punching dudes with my fists.

I'm only a mission and a half further than that myself. My play is still a bit slow as I haven't played anything tactical in ages, and I've lost the thread of character progression so I spend way too much time staring at the skill tree trying to remember what my plan was.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Members Playing

Looks like I didn't make it onto the official rolls, could I get an add? Thanks!

benign1 wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Members Playing

Looks like I didn't make it onto the official rolls, could I get an add? Thanks!

Of course! Added!

In case people missed the conversations in the main thread, the current thinking is that we'll run this game until at least March 15, so there is quite a bit of time left.

I'm should be able to dig back into my game this weekend. I'm hoping to finish up.

I think I'm almost halfway through the game. The Lodge and me were not going to work out. It was an interesting run, and I felt screwed by the situation, frustrated but in a good and appropriate way. After that was Loose Ends, when I felt screwed and frustrated by the game systems, particularly decking: trying and failing to close the door which simultaneously handicapped us with 75% firepower. I was ready to put the game down and excuse myself from the playthrough at that point, but after a day and a cathartic cleaning out of a policlub I formulated a new approach.

Guns.

Lots of guns.

(And flashbangs.)

No more Ms. Nice Razorgirl. No more trying to be the hero. And no more decking, Blitz go home and stay there. I hope Eiger appreciates this more straightforward method. We have a goal (something about a dragon something) and more importantly I have a goal, of affording more sweet sweet cyberware (I'm cybereyeing a pair of alpha grade legs—you can't have just one, picture it, it'd be ridiculous). Which is only fitting, I realize so late, since that's exactly how I played PnP Shadowrun 20 (!) years ago. Kill everything. Buy cyberware. Get nuyen or die tryin.

That said, I still know when to negotiate. So I

Spoiler:

paid off Ezkibel to keep up his contract with the ghouls, to guarantee my augments hookup.

So now it's just all firepower all the time. I've still to decide if I replace Dietrich with a hired sam and pile of medkits.

Finished the game last night. Will post some thoughts over the weekend.

In the meantime, let's talk about my one glaring, burning, very annoyed complaint with the game: inventory management. As in the inability to swap items between team members during a mission, or even to easily have someone other than your character pick up an item (there's three grenades here. Eiger could use those. But I can't make her pick them up unless we're in combat, and I can't pick them up and give them to her, AND I can't even force combat to begin to work around the issue.)

Inventory management is hot garbage. I thought the original Fallout was bad, the way you have to barter with your follower to give them items. But at least you could do that!

*Legion* wrote:

In the meantime, let's talk about my one glaring, burning, very annoyed complaint with the game: inventory management. As in the inability to swap items between team members during a mission, or even to easily have someone other than your character pick up an item (there's three grenades here. Eiger could use those. But I can't make her pick them up unless we're in combat, and I can't pick them up and give them to her, AND I can't even force combat to begin to work around the issue.)

Inventory management is hot garbage. I thought the original Fallout was bad, the way you have to barter with your follower to give them items. But at least you could do that!

Oh yeah, this was another thing that almost made me quit the game last week.

I assume this is, somehow, a limitation of the engine. I can't imagine it being an oversight in a party-based RPG, to have forgotten to include party management. Even the process of picking your runners before the run starts, and then equipping their gear after the run starts, feels like a kludge. Maybe it's not. But it feels like it, and that's not good.

They sort of fixed it in Hong Kong, albeit still very awkwardly if I recall correctly.

I think it's a reflection of the fact that Dragonfall was originally an add-on campaign for Shadowrun Returns, and it didn't seem to be as much of an issue with that game (I didn't even notice it in the SR run that I finished a couple weeks ago before starting Dragonfall, it's only after bumping up against it in Dragonfall that I've even thought about it being a limitation of the first game too).

But even still, this is one of the things that the "Director's Cut" (turning DF into a standalone game) should have gone back and fixed.

Yeah it works better in hong kong. You can throw items into the inventory of any character when you pick it up, or return it to the stash. Still a bit clunky in execution, but a welcome improvement.

I haven't looked at any of the source files for Hong Kong, but digging through the ones for Dragonfall, it's clear that they hacked a lot of things in that the original game engine wasn't really meant to accommodate. A lot of people's powers and things are actually hidden items in their inventory that appear as abilities. Other weird things like that.

So, some more thoughts on combat, now that I have finished the game. I've spoiler tagged it, but I've put the only bits mentioning anything story-related as footnotes instead in the second spoiler block, so you can safely read the first block if you're still playing the game:

Spoiler:

Shadow remained stupid powerful all game. I would spend my first round of combat just clustered out in the open, spending all AP points on taking potshots at the enemy, buffing friendlies, etc., and then spend Dietrich's last two AP to Shadow the group, preventing the enemy from doing ANY attacks their next turn, allowing me to go two full attack rounds before the enemy could begin firing back.

The enemy often doesn't know what to do when they can't target you, and will frequently abandon cover and try to get close to you. Which means that second attack round, you've now got the enemy in more exposed positions, and often clustered. Flashbang the crap out of them (and use Dietrich's AP-zapping AOE attack, forget the name) and you can go ANOTHER round of combat before they start mounting any sort of counterattack.

Pair that with Blind and Mind Wipe from a mage, and you just neutralize the enemy SO much. I really liked in this game how, at higher difficulties, emphasizing survivability was far more important than trying to maximize damage output. Reducing number of enemy attacks >>>>>>> hitting them 20% harder.

I ended up using the barrier spells slightly less as I got deeper into the game, more situationally than an every-fight tool. It was useful in sections with obvious choke points, though. The [FOOTNOTE 1] being an obvious one - really stopped [FOOTNOTE 2]. (I tried Shadow-ing [FOOTNOTE 3], but they still could shoot it. Was worth a try).

One tactic I liked with Eiger was buying a second shotgun and giving it to her before each mission, as she has a third, vacant weapon slot. It's like, "oh this shotgun is out of ammo? Well THIS one isn't!". Pair that with her 0 AP reload ability (one of the unlock choices), and Eiger goes quite a while before having to stop and spend AP to reload.

Also frequently had Dietrich cast Haste on Eiger, letting her do some more damage. I under-utilized AP boosting drugs, particularly since inventory management pain meant I just wanted everyone to be stocked with meds.

Speaking of inventory management, I would have used Flashbangs a lot more if I could have redistributed inventory during missions, allowing other team members to bring a 'bang into the mission and give it to Eiger between encounters, as her item slots opened up from using her own 'bangs.

Also super underrated, the level 3 "Armor" spell. It lasts until the end of combat. For long battles, it is absolute gold. It gives +6 armor (raising armor value up to a maximum of 10). Taking someone from 4 armor to 10 is ridiculous. It turns your squishiest party member into a rock. If anything, I didn't take advantage of this enough. It's less useful in shorter cannon fodder battles, but absolutely use it in any major battles. Again, prioritizing survivability. When you deny the enemy attacks, and then they finally get to attack and they're shooting at armor-buffed characters who have moved behind cover and they're doing nothing for damage... oh it's so good.

I abandoned Glory as soon as I got Blitz, just because of the need for a decker. I think the optimal team composition is: mage, shaman, decker, and a damage dealer. Eiger and Glory both fit into the last slot, and I could easily have used Glory instead. A player-character that spends points on both decking and mage abilities could conceivably fill two of those roles, and allow leaving Blitz behind. But I think a pure mage is just so powerful.

As my PC mage and Dietrich got more capable, the game's challenge eased up considerably, to the point where I was kicking myself for not following through and playing on Very Hard instead. I could have changed it midway through the game, but ehh, if I start on Hard, then it's a Hard difficulty run.

The hit percentages were occasionally annoying, but they're not XCOM bad.

I was disappointed in Blitz's rigging. It was rarely worth giving up the 1 AP per turn from Blitz, who could do enough with his SMG. Possibly I did not explore this enough. I just let him use [FOOTNOTE 4], I did not investigate if there were other, better options. Bots in general I did not find to be optimal, as they can neither self-heal nor are they healable at a distance like with the Heal spell, so again, we're back to that principle of prioritizing survivability. It does help having another asset for the enemy to split their attacks between, but the effort to keep that asset intact was too compromising IMO.

I never bought Blitz any Matrix program upgrades to use. I very frequently used the Attack ESP summon to split the enemy counter-attacks between the two of us, because the only way you really fail in the Matrix is if a flurry of attacks outperform their hit percentages and blast you all at once. Giving them another target pretty much takes that threat off the table, as the IC will reliably divvy up attacks between the two targets. I used the healing program on the Attack ESP more than on Blitz himself, just to keep it alive and tanking damage. Its own attack hit percentages were poor, but at least it had the Blaster AOE attack which was a reliable hit once every other turn.

HERE'S THE SPOILER FOOTNOTES, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK:

(it's not THAT spoilery, but still)

Spoiler:

Footnote 1: APEX battle

Footnote 2: the junkie hoards in their tracks, letting me (and the turrets) concentrate on the more dangerous attack bots instead

Footnote 3: the APEX central console

Footnote 4: the bot "Max" that you recover

Grats on finishing the game, *Legion*! You are finisher #2.

I liked your comments on the fighting. I've gone much the other way, optimizing elements for offense and carrying lots of medikits. It's worked fairly well, but I'm playing at the normal difficulty level.

And that's a good point on the somewhat oddly broken inventory management. It hasn't bothered me, but it sure is unnaturally odd, especially when you find something on a mission and would like to give it to another team member rather than send it to your stash.

So for Hong Kong, I think I am going to go in the complete opposite direction for my player character as before.

For SR I did Blake Bortles, a melee, grenade-throwing, chi-casting bro dude.

My Dragonfall mage was named Lyra, and was an elf and a pure spellcaster. I maxed her out in Willpower and Spellcasting, and spent few points elsewhere.

No cyberware for either of those, and generally I've done little cyberware on any of my Shadowrun plays.

So this time around, I am going full Robocop.

I told myself I'd play one run today, and ended up playing more like 5 or 6 missions in a row. This game is addicting.

I'm finding Glory to be my go-to damage dealer. Those razors are just *chef's kiss* Haste + her adrenaline ability + armor shredding really make short work of a lot of enemies. Eiger is really good against mages, I've found.

Still working on money for Alice, doing random side missions as they come. I still think the decking is too repetitive and isn't as interesting as I wish it could be, but it has come in handy a few times. My character usually throws Marked Target on anyone in range and takes random potshots as necessary. Starting to get into cyberware tho just to add some survivability. She'll be out-chroming Glory before long.

And ... done! I finished the last mission tonight. Good times. I really enjoyed this game.

I'll post some reflections on the whole thing soon.

beanman101283 wrote:

I'm finding Glory to be my go-to damage dealer. Those razors are just *chef's kiss* Haste + her adrenaline ability + armor shredding really make short work of a lot of enemies. Eiger is really good against mages, I've found.

I really liked using Glory as well. She and Eiger were my one-two punches, with Dietrich tossing in support and buffing.

I'm having trouble getting into this one and sticking with it. I'll spare you all the gritty details for why, but I might be the first formal dropout of the month.

The stickiness of the game has me finally. I’m not the best combat person so far. Going unarmed is okay. Punching and crits are nice.

I've had much success as an unarmed Physical Adept. The class itself has been as enjoyable as the game surrounding it.

I completed the APEX run. It was good. I had to think about my choice for a while.

Spoiler:

I shut the AI down. It was too dangerous. And it killed Monika!

I can't deny that I was pondering on it's validity as a life form. Did it deserve freedom? Was a part of Monika still in there?

A few thoughts on the game, now that I'm done.

First up, I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed being able to play it together with a group of people. I'm not sure I would have kept going if I were playing on my own.

Things I liked:
- Combat. There seems to be a number of viable combat styles, and no one best route to victory. Although I thought decking could have been more challenging, I enjoyed the attempt to blend cyberspace/meatspace environments into one game.

- Story and writing. Kudos on the writing in particular, which stayed strong throughout.

- Mood and environments. I'm not a fan in general of cyberpunk and dystopian works, but for whatever reason I found myself wrapped up in the world, and enjoying the characters and setting. It just worked for me.

There's still some hope, but I could be the next official dropout - I got distracted with some other games, and now life is about to seriously interfere with my gaming time for the next few weeks...

Yeah, I'm officially out. This one just didn't work for me.