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I just don't get it. There are a lot of low level D&D games, examples of it are Dark Sun : Shattered Sands and Temple of Elemental Evil. But there is a huge difference between then to BG3. You don't start the game escaping a spelljammer mindflayer ship and enter in the underdark on chapter 1. It just makes no sense. Underdark in all D&D video games that I've played :

Dark Sun : Wake of the Ravager -> Entered into the underdark with everyone on my party above lv 13 and I was dual classing on 2e with most of my party members. Still had to reload a lot to defeat certain enemies. I was using half giants gladiators, fighter/preservers and everything that the game allowed me to use. Dark Sun is based on 2e which is consistent with the 2e modules like Night Below.

Neverwinter Nights 1 - Hordes of the underdark -> HotU starts at lv 15. And you only enter on the underdark on chapter 2, where you are near epic levels. There are dracoliches there, powerful vampire wizards capable of stopping the time, teleporting, conjuring hordes of elementals and putting nasty traps, mindflayer colonies and after it, you go literally to hell.

Dungeons & Dragons Online -> Menace of the Underdark expansion has quests from level ranging from 15 to 25. The wilderness of "the underdark" is a lv 22 area.

Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn -> Even as a mage, which starts at the lowest level, you start at lv 7 almost at 8 and only enter into the underdark on chapter 5. There, you see mages capable of casting high tier magic like stop time, see liches imprisoned, mindflayer colonies, drow cities can even fight a freaking demon lord, not mentioning pit lords and beholders.

I never saw Underdark being a low level adventure. In any computer game or P&P module. Underdark is medium/high/epic level. Underdark needs to be a terrifying place full of abominations, undeads, vampires, drow and people who are notorious heroes in the surface, becoming slaves from drow or mindlfayers there.

And how underdark is on BG3?

A place with some flowers and spiders and that is it. WORST underdark ever. Why have a high to epic level adventure on the story and a extremely low adventure in gameplay? If you wanna make a dungeons & kobolds campaign where you fight only goblins and kobolds, do that but let this terrifying places out of the game.

IMHO, D&D only starts to become interesting at lv 8+.

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I am thinking there may be deeper areas of the underdark later in the game that will be more challenging. But you have to realize, if they are only going to make max level 10, or even 15, they are going to have to truncate certain areas level requirement to provide a good mix of areas for the character to explore.

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
I never saw Underdark being a low level adventure. In any computer game or P&P module.
"Out of the Abyss" - is an offitial WoTC module that starts in Underdark at lvl 1.
You are stuck in a mindset of leveled zones. Which is not how DnD areas work. They provide environments and possible problems. Which parts of it player's encounter is DM's decision.

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Your time on the Nautiloid in the prologue is simply a plot device. You don't actually adventure or fight in the Underdark in the prologue. You fight aboard a Nautiloid flying through through one of the levels of "hell". Combat is minimal, against low level opponents, while the high level Illithids are busy dealing with the demonic hordes. This sets up both the Ilithids and the demonic leadership as future protagonists. Entry to the Underdark occurs later in the game. It takes place in what are essentially the top levels in bits of the Underdark, barely subsurface, and unless you are playing "A Faerun Day at the Races" hurrying to get there, you will likely be level 3 or perhaps even 4 when you first enter it.

Annakin Skywalker is way out of his league when caught between the influence of the Jedi and Sith - that created a story.

Picard was way out of his league when put on trial defending humanity before the Q Continuum - but it created plot lines for years.

One inexperienced hobbit was totally outmatched with everything he faced in Lord of the Rings, yet he grew, matured and overcame.

Another one, in an earlier time, failed and was seduced by the ring.

High stakes prologues that are beyond the initial comprehension of the protagonist are an old baseline in fiction.

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"Escaping mind flayer ship" seem like a little overstatement, when i remember that rock that hits Tav in the face before he fall off. laugh

Also im kinda unexperienced in DnD, but shall we really presume that the first second you step over the border of Underdark, horde of Undead, Vampires, Drow, Duegar, Mind Flayers, and other abominations ... will attack you? :-/ Come on man, surely even Underdark is big enough to have at least few caves that are more or less, well at least not as deadly as the rest, if not exactly "safe".
Still Underdark in BG3 is one of most chalenging parts of Act1 so far ... maybe except Githyanki patrol. :-/

Last edited by RagnarokCzD; 01/03/21 08:34 AM.

I liked original spellcasting system more ... frown

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
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Originally Posted by Dastan McKay
Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
I never saw Underdark being a low level adventure. In any computer game or P&P module.
"Out of the Abyss" - is an offitial WoTC module that starts in Underdark at lvl 1.
You are stuck in a mindset of leveled zones. Which is not how DnD areas work. They provide environments and possible problems. Which parts of it player's encounter is DM's decision.

Is not "leveled zones". Is ADVENTURE LEVEL. Some Dark Sun modules recommend starting at lv 3 or even 5. but you can start at lv 1 as longs you stay most of that time in the city. Most Ravenloft(Note : Ravenloft is not only Strahd, Strahd is just one of the many dark lords) recommend starting lv 8. If you wanna put your players AGAINST Meredoth, you need to let then be at least lv 15 to have a chance. If they only wanna to escape the realm of dread somehow, then they can probably be around lv 8~10 like the ship of horrors recommends to start. Same location, but two different adventures IE - Escaping a realm of dread VS killing a lv 20 Dark Lord in his own domain. Same location, but two different "goals" with two different difficulties.


Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
(...)first second you step over the border of Underdark, horde of Undead, Vampires, Drow, Duegar, Mind Flayers, and other abominations ... will attack you? :-/ Come on man, surely even Underdark is big enough to have at least few caves that are more or less, well at least not as deadly as the rest, if not exactly "safe".
Still Underdark in BG3 is one of most chalenging parts of Act1 so far ... maybe except Githyanki patrol. :-/

In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...
True ...
But not this one ... at least not yet, who knows what Larian prepared for another Acts. smile

You know im kinda sad about our chances to meet any "low threat" enemies ... in future. :-/
For example i especialy like kobolds, but what are chances we will meet them, now when we allready fighted Duegar slavers, Minotaurs, or Githyanki? laugh


I liked original spellcasting system more ... frown

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
Originally Posted by Dastan McKay
Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
I never saw Underdark being a low level adventure. In any computer game or P&P module.
"Out of the Abyss" - is an offitial WoTC module that starts in Underdark at lvl 1.
You are stuck in a mindset of leveled zones. Which is not how DnD areas work. They provide environments and possible problems. Which parts of it player's encounter is DM's decision.

Is not "leveled zones". Is ADVENTURE LEVEL. Some Dark Sun modules recommend starting at lv 3 or even 5. but you can start at lv 1 as longs you stay most of that time in the city. Most Ravenloft(Note : Ravenloft is not only Strahd, Strahd is just one of the many dark lords) recommend starting lv 8. If you wanna put your players AGAINST Meredoth, you need to let then be at least lv 15 to have a chance. If they only wanna to escape the realm of dread somehow, then they can probably be around lv 8~10 like the ship of horrors recommends to start. Same location, but two different adventures IE - Escaping a realm of dread VS killing a lv 20 Dark Lord in his own domain. Same location, but two different "goals" with two different difficulties.


Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
(...)first second you step over the border of Underdark, horde of Undead, Vampires, Drow, Duegar, Mind Flayers, and other abominations ... will attack you? :-/ Come on man, surely even Underdark is big enough to have at least few caves that are more or less, well at least not as deadly as the rest, if not exactly "safe".
Still Underdark in BG3 is one of most chalenging parts of Act1 so far ... maybe except Githyanki patrol. :-/

In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...
Well. You yourself tell that location doesn't enforce you to be certain level, things you are going to be up against do. So I don't understand your problem with BG3 then.

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Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
You know im kinda sad about our chances to meet any "low threat" enemies ... in future. :-/
For example i especialy like kobolds, but what are chances we will meet them, now when we allready fighted Duegar slavers, Minotaurs, or Githyanki? laugh
It depend on how many kobolds you encounter, or in what circumstances. In a Critical Role they encountered a tribe of cobolds at lvl 7 (maybe 8). And were genuinely hesitant to start a fight.

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This all is also not even taking into account that the Underdark is supposed to be at least three miles below the surface, not just something you go into when jump into a random put in a cave. The first part of those caves and tunnels before going down those miles below is technically the Upperdark.

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In Act 1 here, you are barely scratching the surface of the underdark. In 5e, you can pretty much throw your players into any environment and modify the creatures there (there are rules for this in the DM's guide and other sources), so that your players have a chance at survival. So far, I'm enjoying the game, and can't wait to get to other areas.

Originally Posted by RagnarokCzD
Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...
True ...
But not this one ... at least not yet, who knows what Larian prepared for another Acts. smile

You know im kinda sad about our chances to meet any "low threat" enemies ... in future. :-/
For example i especialy like kobolds, but what are chances we will meet them, now when we allready fighted Duegar slavers, Minotaurs, or Githyanki? laugh

I wouldn't be surprised if we did meet them. Look at the goblin camp. We may end up stumbling into an entire city of kobolds. Even if they are low CR, enough of a mob and it becomes extremely challenging, and interesting when you have to deal with the numbers. :P

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...
See, this exposes the flaw in your logic. If you are saying there CAN'T be safe parts of the Underdark because it's full of liches, minotaurs and Drow slavers, then by extension the same is true of the Overworld because those things come out of the Underdark to the surface. If that's the case, why can't adventurers, treasure hunters, paladins etc venture into parts of the Underdark to make them safer? Say the Flaming Fist traced Drow slaver incursions down to a surface cave outside the Basilisk Gate. Do you not think they'd maybe send forces into the cave to bar passage and maybe create a base camp in the upper levels? And if your response to that is "No it's not possible" then you haven't paid any attention to what DnD actually IS...

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Originally Posted by Dastan McKay
In some settings you don't even need to step into the Underdark. Mindflayers, Drows and other things will attack and raid the surface...
Well. You yourself tell that location doesn't enforce you to be certain level, things you are going to be up against do. So I don't understand your problem with BG3 then.[/quote]

The location impact, but the adventure is more important IMHO. And fighting an mindflayer spelljammer ship who fought a draconic army doesn't seem a adequated adventure for a lv 1 char.

Originally Posted by Dastan McKay
[
It depend on how many kobolds you encounter, or in what circumstances. In a Critical Role they encountered a tribe of cobolds at lvl 7 (maybe 8). And were genuinely hesitant to start a fight.

On 5e, quantity is far more important than quality. If was on 2e, a single wail of the banshee could kill the entire tribe...


Originally Posted by Elessaria666
[quote=SorcererVictor](...) paladins etc venture into parts of the Underdark to make them safer? Say the Flaming Fist traced Drow slaver incursions down to a surface cave outside the Basilisk Gate. Do you not think they'd maybe send forces into the cave to bar passage and maybe create a base camp in the upper levels? And if your response to that is "No it's not possible" then you haven't paid any attention to what DnD actually IS...

Of course you can. But you got my point. The game starts with you escaping an mindflayer spelljammer ship who fought an draconic army.

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I believe the underdark in act 1 is just entrance/entry level of the whole underdark world, as we are getting away with a boat, and assuming that is real sea level(seeing the sky) and not some underground water system. But that will make the ground level we did most of our travel very very high above sea level, which doesn't seems to be the case 🤣🤣🤣

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
The location impact, but the adventure is more important IMHO. And fighting an mindflayer spelljammer ship who fought a draconic army doesn't seem a adequated adventure for a lv 1 char.
Then the question is what defines an adventure level for you? Is it story and location or enemies?
If you were told that a bunch of imps escaped from their cells in a magic scool and terorise the town. Would it be acceptable? Cause in prologue you have to kill 3 imps and press one leaver guarded by onother 6, that come in groups of 3. Everythisng else is optional and surve to paint a picture of enviroment.

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
I just don't get it. There are a lot of low level D&D games, examples of it are Dark Sun : Shattered Sands and Temple of Elemental Evil. But there is a huge difference between then to BG3. You don't start the game escaping a spelljammer mindflayer ship and enter in the underdark on chapter 1. It just makes no sense. Underdark in all D&D video games that I've played :

There are a lot of games that make this design error. For example, in a 3d Shooter it is a must to start with no or low level weapons and items and low level enemies. It's just no fun to immediately get an RPG without any effort and immediately face the biggest bosses.

The same is true for strategy games - you start with a lowly settler and build a civilization to stand the test of time, getting planet busters and starships in the end.

And the same is true for RPGs - you start as a child, at level 0, in the countryside. Your village is threatened when a big nautiloid falls out of the sky. People emerge from it who claim to have been abducted. But some of them act strange and ally with Goblins to attack the villagers.

Of course you can deviate from the classic formula. But you have to be a good writer to pull it off.

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The underdark sure is a step up from killing rats in the basement. As long as this doesn't set the story up for anticlimax as you progress, something that was a problem with DOS2 I might add (mostly due to EA providing hyper-focus on the first act only), I have no issues with it. There are way too many serious issues to make theorizing about this worthwhile in my mind.

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Originally Posted by Arne
There are a lot of games that make this design error. For example, in a 3d Shooter it is a must to start with no or low level weapons and items and low level enemies. It's just no fun to immediately get an RPG without any effort and immediately face the biggest bosses
This is incorrect.

The primary reason why you don't start with a full arsenal at the beginning of an FPS campaign (ie a skill based game) is escalating complexity. You start off with simple weapons and simple enemies. As the game progresses, you are faced with more difficult enemies requiring more powerful weapons, but the more powerful weapons will often require greater skill to use them effectively. In Doom, for example, you start off with a couple weapons but as you're given more weapons, the challenge comes when you're forced to quickly change between them either because you're up against an enemy vulnerable to a specific weapon or simply because you're low on ammo on the weapon you'd prefer to use.

This is often combined with a reward mechanic so that you "feel good" about getting access to a new tool, and you'll often be given some time to become accustomed to the the new tool with some relatively easy challenges, even though ultimately it'll be an excuse for the game to get harder.

It is different model to that used in level-based "RPG" skill systems where progression tends to just provide a straight forward power advantage without much of a sacrifice. In a skill-based game, low level enemies never stop being a threat, but the skills you learn playing the game make them less of a threat the second time you play the game. In a level-based system, they're still dangerous on the second playthrough. (Some games are a mix of the two.)

Anyway, this is all rather redundant, as I'm talking about gameplay here. The OP was concerned with the story progression (ie the worthy opponents at the start of the game are too bad ass). And seems to feel that you should have to earn that kind of power fantasy.

Originally Posted by Arne
Of course you can deviate from the classic formula. But you have to be a good writer to pull it off.

You have to be a good writer to write a good story, yes.

I don't think it's any easier to write a story containing an escalating power fantasy than any other kind of story. In fact, I think there often can be some serious writing challenges when your characters get too OP. I mean, have any of you seen Dragon Ball Z?

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Originally Posted by Dastan McKay
[quote=SorcererVictor]
Then the question is what defines an adventure level for you? Is it story and location or enemies?

The threats that you need to face if we are talking about combat...

Originally Posted by Arne
And the same is true for RPGs - you start as a child, at level 0, in the countryside. Your village is threatened when a big nautiloid falls out of the sky. People emerge from it who claim to have been abducted. But some of them act strange and ally with Goblins to attack the villagers.

That is the most boring place to start an RPG.; Remembers me of the "every JRPG ever" from college humor. On Dark Sun : Shattered Sands, you start as a gladiator slave in a arena. On Baldur's Gate 1, you start in the candlekeep. On VtMB you start in a motel room being "sired" aka made into a vampire. On icewind dale, you start in a city investigating a "expedition". On Gothic 1, you start being send to a penal colony. On Dragon Age Origins, you start depend on your background. On FL1, you start in a vault.

As for your FPS example, on a lot of games, you start with a full arsenal. On Battlefield 1 for eg, you can start playing with LMG's and if you decide to play as a recon, you can use a fully powered scoped rifle which was very rare on WW1 times and even use K-Bullets to pierce vehicles armor.

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Originally Posted by SorcererVictor
Of course you can. But you got my point. The game starts with you escaping an mindflayer spelljammer ship who fought an draconic army.
And what did our level 1 character fight? Some imps. Two or three intellect devourers. Even if you exploit barrelmancy to kill the mindflayer and cambion more turn up pretty much requiring you to flee; and you get no XP for that, so short of curiosity one time, there is no reason at all to do it. Then we don't so much escape the ship as fall out of it. To be honest I find that entire scenario more beleivable than managing to escape Irenicus' dungeon at the start of BG2...

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