I’m coming to look forward to our guild’s Monday night TSW runs more and more every week. It’s helped by the fact that the game is pretty flexible in allowing players of a wide range to group up and tackle both older and advanced content.
This week, our adventures began in the new Albion Ballroom, the interactive theater that came with Issue #4. It’s a surprisingly fun RP tool for people to put on plays, and we all had a few laughs trying out the different stage options and showing off our new Leatherface masks. To use the theater, you rent an hour’s worth of time for a nominal fee, and then you and your group can go up on stage and fiddle around with the controls (other people can come into the theater and just watch, of course). There’s an object you pick up on stage that gives you access to the curtain, backdrops, music, sound effects, and objects, and it didn’t take us long to figure out that the game will drop objects wherever you’re standing. So the idea is, I guess, that your group sets up the stage and then performs whatever they want to.
Following that, we decided to do a couple of lowbie dungeon runs for the benefit of those of us (me) who haven’t seen them. First up with Hell Raised, the “let’s go to the underworld!” jaunt that we so often see in Disney flicks (well, at least Hercules). It’s accessed via Room 13 in the Overlook Hotel, which has this scary glowing door in the middle of the room. I’m kind of impressed that there’s this weird rock ‘n roll song playing when you go near it.
Hell as TSW envisions it is pretty stylish, kind of heavy industrial factories coupled with crumbling gothic architecture. The first thing I noticed was that the map was not quite what it is elsewhere:
Yup, that’s stitched-together human skin. Have fun identifying the parts! Actually, this is a great example of how TSW often goes the extra mile for storytelling immersion. There are so many additional graphics that are made in the likeness of real objects, like photographs, typed reports, paintings, and so on. Loads of these, actually. I suppose the game could’ve just told us in plain text boxes about them, but to see them up on screen allows you to deduce the truth on your own. Like with that map: It tells you a lot without being overt about it. It’s something you would find in hell. It creeps you out and makes you feel unclean. It makes you wonder who gave you this map or how you got ahold of it. And it tells you in a picture how much this is not a place you want to be.
So all of us being overpowered for the instance made trivial work of the various boss fights. That’s something else I like about these dungeons: minimal trash fights. It keeps things moving along.
I got a huge laugh out of the fact that during the whole dungeon, you’re hearing this ghostly female voice telling you to hurry up, to save her, warning you, etc. At the end, an ugly naked succubus-harpy-thing flies up and reveals that this was just her messing with you. She gets the best quote of the night:
“So sorry… but your princess is in another castle.”
Seriously, TSW, stop making me laugh so hard!
The other dungeon we ran was the Darkness War, which was something about Aztecs and Vikings in New England. I’m not really sure I *got* the story behind it, but again, the boss fights were pretty fun. Funcom really came up with interesting mechanics that weren’t too difficult to understand, and it keeps the fights from being boring tank-and-spank ordeals.
Good night indeed!