Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil Interview, Part 2 (20/05/2003)
Recently we had the chance to talk about the upcoming Troika D&D CRPG Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil with the game's Project Leader, Tim Cain. What first started as a moderately sized interview soon grew into a small monster of 42 questions which we will be posting in two installments. Enjoy the final segment of the interview. (You can read the first part here.)
SP: Are there going to be any changes in monster encounters & quests depending on whether we are walking around during the day or night? Are we going to need torches or illumination spells if our characters don't have darkvision?
Tim Cain: For random encounters, we are using tables that take into account both time of day and kind of terrain. So you won't encounter undead during the day, and you won't find lizardmen outside of swamps. But you won't need torches or illumination sources of any kind. Like food, it's just not fun to worry about those things.
SP: You have mentioned that platinum, gold, silver and copper coins will be used in the game. Is there a specific reason why so many different types? Will each type have to be stored separately?
Tim Cain: I thought it would be more fun to have different denominations of coins rather than just have gold pieces, like lots of games do. Coins are weightless and automatically stack into their own counters, so they don't take up room in your inventory. And all of the PC's share the party gold, so you don't need to pass it around during bartering.
SP: What is the Iron Man mode?
Tim Cain: Iron Man is our approximation of true PnP role playing. You make your characters like in normal mode, but you cannot reroll the dice - you roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, do this six times, and then arrange the six stats any way you like. During play, you cannot make save games. If you quit, it automatically saves your game, and when you return to Iron Man mode, it picks up where you left off. If your party dies, that's it; your game is over. You have to make a new party. If this sounds like a challenge, it is! See if you can play through the whole module on Iron Man mode. If it doesn't sound like fun, then play normal mode.
SP: Is the game going to be customizable with custom portraits and soundsets?
Tim Cain: Nope. We're not aiming for modding with this game. Our timetable is too short and our focus is single player.
SP: Will there be an import/export option for characters? Are you planning in advance for any possible expansions, sequels or other Troika D&D games that would accept the same characters?
Tim Cain: We were planning (and still plan) to make an export tool, so you could write your characters out to the same format as used in the eTool supplied on the CD-ROM with the Player's Handbook. It's not high priority though. If we do a sequel and want to bring characters across to it, we can always extract them from a save game.
SP: Can you list some of the toughest monsters we will encounter? Any beholders, liches, dragons, and the like?
Tim Cain: Ok, but this is a spoiler. One of the toughest monsters (but not THE toughest) is a Balor. This demon is big and pissed and self-immolating, and he's not above toying with you before attacking. But because the game is non-linear, you don't HAVE to take him on. You can always run away...
SP: Will there be interactions between party members and any romances?
Tim Cain: Yes to both. However, we tried not to go too far with the former (after all, the PC's should be the main focus, not your followers), but we may have gone a little far with the latter. You see, we tried to cover all the bases, you know, multiple solutions and all that.
SP: How intelligent is the AI going to be?
Tim Cain: We are learning from our mistakes. :)
SP: I have seen you mention an extra-planar adventure to be had in ToEE. Do spoil us, where will we be going? Is this the only event where we will go outside of the core surroundings of the game, or are there more such excursions?
Tim Cain: There are several side excursions in the module. I'm sure that the title may give some of it away, even if you don't read the module.
SP: Are you favouring (or shunning) any type of weapons in ToEE or will there be an equal spread of all types?
Tim Cain: We are trying to do every weapon, including monk special weapons. Some weapons we cannot do (like nets or double weapons), and some are still iffy (like spiked chains). But most of them are there.