Fault has finally finished up her latest Mage’s Guild quest and can now hike back through the volcanic waste to the safety of town. Unfortunately a dust storm has moved in and the cliff racers have advanced to bombarding Fault in groups of twos and threes. There also appears to be a pack of small dinosaurs between Fault and the safety of civilization.
Sadly these are not impossible odds because that would justify giving up. Instead they are merely really frustrating odds and I lack the words to describe the immense relief I felt when I finally emerged from the storm and found myself back in familiar territory and only a few minutes away from town. This is the sort of feeling that you just don’t get in more recent RPGs with fast traveling back to town.
It’s actually an interesting design problem. The more you punish your players the more relief they will feel when the punishment stops and the more triumph they will feel when the overcome challenges. But push it too far and people just get frustrated and leave before the payout. And since everyone has different levels of frustration tolerance and victory payout there really is no way to do this “right”. You just have to decide what your audience will probably like and go with it.
Anyways, we go chat with the local head mage and while she’s happy we killed one illegal mage we aren’t given the option to pay the dues of the second mage out of our own pocket. Apparently it’s less about the money and more about enforcing the fact that guild rules must be followed or else.
So the guild is tough and wants us to play enforcer. That’s fine. What isn’t fine is that this means we have to head out into the volcanic wasteland of cliff racers again!
That doesn’t sound super fun so instead let’s take a break to sell all our expensive loot from killing those high level orcs and buy some more training. Stabbing all those volcano monsters has naturally raised Fault’s spear skill quite a bit so she only needs a few levels there to guarantee a +5 endurance next level. Then she gets a few levels worth of training in alchemy to make sure she get’s a nice intelligent bonus and finally triggers a level up with a single level of one of her unused spellcasting skills.
Sadly the end result is still one of the two common types of “bad” levels: The wasted level. I did get both +5s I wanted as well as the traditional +1 luck but I also had a lot of extra skills I had leveled and now those points are going to waste without boosting any stats. A few levels like this aren’t too bad since there are more than enough skill points to level most stats to 100 and then some, but make it a habit and you might find out it’s become impossible to max out one of your stats because you already leveled all the related skills to 100.