Author Topic: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique  (Read 446 times)

peps

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 431
Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« on: March 02, 2018, 03:45:10 PM »
One of the oddest dungeons I've come across as far as balancing. Most of it's surely quite hard, but only a bit of it rewards XP and loot suitable to the level required (in my opinion is 12+ as a cleric). Mind you I'm only talking about the basement and 1st floor of the keep, and the towers on the walls. I also have only done this dungeon a few times at level 10, once at level 11, and once at level 13.


The first and most common enemy are the Ghostly Armors; they not only cast ghostly visage, but inherently have 50% concealment. While that isn't an issue alone (as most people will be buffed with a +2 enhancement at least when attempting this dungeon), they also have a ridiculously high AC; they become almost impossible to hit even at mid-high levels without cleric-like AB spikes and/or haste. Eventually, you become subject to their nasty crits as they outlast you. The XP they give seems absolutely absent given how high of a level (because of the AB needed) you need to be.

The second and most common "enemy" are traps; some are quite easy to ignore as they barely inflict much damage, but the actual good loot requires someone capable of disabling the trap or you risk instantly dying to an electric trap. While not an issue in itself, this means that this dungeon now requires a significant party to get through; a dungeon that offers little significant loot outside of two chests, and no XP unless you're around level 10 (from my experience).


Otherwise, this is a great dungeon; the atmosphere, the white texts, the history, and the bit of story strung about in the letters. It feels like a flavor dungeon, like the small temple/keep with the dark orb just nearby this keep. If it was intended to be just a dungeon for flavor, then it should be dialed back a good amount. If it's both one for flavor and an actually repeatable dungeon, then up the rewards.


Now, if my past parties and me are doing something wrong (we took a very linear approach), then please do just mention that though don't spoil the details. Otherwise, I feel that barely anyone cares to run this dungeon given the risk vs. reward. I pray I'm proven wrong, because this is such a good dungeon visually.

Dumas

  • Gendarmerie
  • Dark Lord
  • *
  • Posts: 999
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2018, 08:15:03 PM »
I can hardly ever get a group willing to go to Raduta keep to run the dungeon, and most of the time, the reason I've gotten is that it is as you say - too hard for too little reward in both XP and loot. The thing that drives me up the wall are the Ghostly Armors and Shadow Demons. These two enemies seem to swing the difficulty way up for the payoff. Everything else I've encountered, seems alright.

Setting and theme-wise, it's my favorite dungeon by far. The history you discover is perfect, and the enemies seem themed well to fit with the areas. Dungeon design also seems top-notch, and extremely detailed. The hidden areas are also interesting, and seem to match the surrounding dungeon areas naturally.

peps

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 431
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2018, 08:35:53 PM »
The thing that drives me up the wall are the Ghostly Armors and Shadow Demons. These two enemies seem to swing the difficulty way up for the payoff. Everything else I've encountered, seems alright.

The hidden areas are also interesting, and seem to match the surrounding dungeon areas naturally.
Bittersweet feeling knowing I'm not just copping out on this. But right, exactly as you mentioned. Everything else seems almost too easy (the servants and animators, at least) in hopes to counterbalance the difficulty of the two enemies you mentioned. Doesn't do much but leave them as cannon fodder to annoy you, while the real problems knock you down a few inches.

Philos

  • Gendarmerie
  • Undead Master
  • *
  • Posts: 319
  • Dive! Dive! Dive!
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2018, 02:00:39 AM »
Raduta keep is my favorite dungeon on the server, hands down. There is a lot of server history there, past characters that have come and gone and major events recorded. There's also a lot of ravenloft lore in addition to rare books.

 I really can't speak about xp gains without hard numbers but I will say that certain areas of the dungeon are geared for different levels. There are four different entrances (more if you wanna get technical about it) that will have you face entirely different challenges. Vampires, ghosts, demons, skeletons, monsterous animals.  There are also envriomental hazards you'll have to navigate through if you want to explore the area completely- never mind the traps. Most of the traps are a nuisance but there are a few that will mess your day up. Prepare accordingly. It should take a full party to explore. 

The area used to be locked off and you had to break in if you want to explore. Things have changed since then though. You're really not supposed to run it like you do firecaves or curst. Take your time, explore, and maybe you'll find something new.

aprogressivist

  • The Underworld
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 4210
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2018, 03:49:51 AM »
The area used to be locked off and you had to break in if you want to explore.

Heck, I think the whole area wasn't even in the module at times; before the Dev team found a means to streamline things so they could add more content. AFAIK it would only be added when a DM wanted to run something there!
“Moral wounds have this peculiarity - they may be hidden, but they never close; always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

DM Macabre

  • Dungeon Master
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 8401
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2018, 05:38:40 AM »
Thanks for all the valuable feedback. The upper grounds of von Zeklos Keep had been originally designed by Corvus and then were used by Heretic and me as a place for faction play for the "von Zeklos faction". After things turned grim in the history of the keep it and all its inhibitants were destroyed, the keep had not been used for several years. As I wanted to run some more haunted aftermath of the original Zeklos story, I then redesigned the keep in its current stage - making it all haunted and adding the lower grounds, enemies, lore you can find there etc. . The dev team then made the final setup of spawns and check for errors.

The original intend of this keep was to make it a place not only enjoyable for dungeoning but also for people to learn about what had happened on the server and how some older player characters had influenced the history of the keep. Basically it is a place filled with all kind of Barovian lore and forbidden lore. Carefully collecting all information presented on letters and hidden letters may reveal to you the dread story and also allow you to figure out what really happened to the keep (at least to some extend ;) ) and to understand some of the interlinked stories that involve many of Barovia's leaders.

Spoiler: show

In case you are interested in a deeper exploration of the keep's history just pm me and you can join one of my current plots, which deals exactly about this.


Aside from that there are still some bugs - and I agree the final transgression made it in parts imbalanced in the challenge reward ratio - which would need to be fixed in the keep. I  wanted to discuss this with the Dev team anyways - so collecting your information here is highly valuable and appreciated. :)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2018, 05:41:29 AM by DM Macabre »

currently I run:
-: Curse of the Wolf :-
-: The Curse of von Zeklos :-

derkotushka

  • Chaotic Evil
  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 328
  • No, you are not special.
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2018, 12:40:51 PM »
This dungeon have only one issue it is extrem high ac of ghost armor.
When character able and have chance to kill few ghost armors - they stops give exp.
And other minor strange detail about underwater chests. If I remember correctly, in underwater chests spawns only gold and only scrolls of drown spell. And nothing more.
If there AC of ghost armor will be lowered - this dungeon can become popular not only for rare ninjalooting and hiding coffins.

Spoiler: show
On other side, I see opportunity to little remade Raduta, up level of monsters, add more monsters, add more loot, make it more deadly.
There is very many space inside Keep, very many rooms and areas.
С любовью, безымянная звезда.
I crush all your hopes and then I watch you cry.

Time_Stomped

  • Undead Master
  • ****
  • Posts: 342
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2018, 08:33:30 AM »
Gonna run it a few times to see what's up.
Istavan Donner

EO

  • Dungeon Master/Developer
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 13886
  • The one and only, the one everyone wants to be!
Re: Zeklos/Raduta Keep Balancing Critique
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2018, 09:45:20 PM »
I've made a few tweaks to the higher level monsters (Shadow Demon, the ghostly armor/ghostly boyar armor).