TeilzeitHelden in the Prison of Shadows
For over a year, the second part of the computer role-playing game Divinity: Original Sin is on the market. Now with the latest free update a complete scenario for the so-called Gamemaster mode has appeared. We plunged ourselves into an old dwarf festival for you.
After watching Gamemaster mode (in short GM mode) for Divinity: Original Sin 2 in 2017, I lost track of the game. Because even though I had fun with the extensive editor with my group, I simply did not have the time to keep busy with it.
But when the news came out recently that the developer Larian Studios entered into a cooperation with the German publisher Ulisses, I was immediately on fire again. As an old player of Das Schwarze Auge, I was in the mood to lead another adventure in Aventuria. So I grabbed four teammates and we plunged into the adventure Prison of the Shadows.
Before I started the game, I wanted to start with the advent of the adventure. The adventure was conceived and written by the colleagues of Orkenspalter TV, who are very well-known in the German role-playing scene and especially among fans of Das Schwarze Auge. In cooperation with the German Das Schwarze Auge editorial not only the adventure for Divinity: Original Sin 2 was born, but also an additional accompanying PDF, with which the adventure can also be played completely analog. The adventure is also automatically downloaded with the latest update to Divinity: Original Sin 2 and the PDF is available for free download from Ulisses Ebook Store.
The PDF is beautifully illustrated and is in no way inferior to an official RPG adventure. The structure is also clear and you have as a game manager quickly feel, to know exactly what is important in each scene. In addition, there are helpful hints for using the GM mode. However, the PDF also leads to the fact that you have to use either two monitors or a monitor plus a tablet / mobile phone as a game manager. Otherwise you have to constantly change from the game to PDF, which is rather annoying in the long term and disturbs the flow of the game. In the game itself, there are other hints for the game master, which help to move through the adventure, without having to constantly consult the PDF.
The story of Prison of the Shadows plays, as already mentioned, in Aventuria. This fictional continent is the main game world of The Black Eye, and accordingly, many elements of The Black Eye are found in the adventure. In addition, the adventure is directly interwoven in the history of the continent. Players who already know Aventuria will certainly have a little more fun. Nevertheless, the adventure is also suitable for beginners or players who have not yet dealt with Aventuria.
Of course, in preparation for the adventure, the game master should have looked at the individual assets in the game and he should also be safely in control of the GM mode. In addition to the tutorial campaign included in the game, there is also a video series by Larian Studios, which helps enormously with the entry.
Into the Adventure!
After preparing for the adventure, I immediately jumped into the game with my four players. Since the adventure is largely a classic dungeon crawler, we chose a classic team composition: a warrior, a rogue, a ranger, and a mage. Since Divinity: Original Sin 2 has an excellent combat system, a dungeon crawler also fits in perfectly with the game.
The adventure begins near the Aventurian town of Perricum. The region is heavily affected by the war against the demon pact and the heroes land in the small fishing village “Efferdsruh”. Once there, the heroes are immediately recruited to investigate a strange ship on the beach. This seems to corrupt the animals nearby and rush them against the villagers. But not to spoil the entire story, I will not go into more detail now, but only play the adventure briefly.
After exploring the ship, which incidentally provides a fantastic entry into the adventure, the story takes the heroes into the mountains into an abandoned dwarf city and back to Efferdsruh. The dwarven city plays but clearly the biggest role in the adventure and occupies most of the time with a total of 21 rooms. The individual rooms have been wonderfully selected in most cases.
However, the adventure quickly reaches the limits of GM’s GM mode: Original Sin 2. While you’ll have to solve a fantastic puzzle in the dwarf city in the beginning, many of the rooms will later just be filled with enemies. The heroes enter the marketplace, there is a fight. You enter a long bridge, opponents appear on both sides. It goes further into the garden, enemy snail monsters appear. The whole thing I could now continue almost forever. Here we would have liked more puzzles or traps. In the last part of the dwarven city, the rooms were almost always very similar: enter the room, turn off enemies, search everything, move on. Of course this is fine for a dungeon crawler, but this part of the adventure has disappointed us a bit.
Playability from GM’s point of view
As a game master, I felt well informed at all times. Both the PDF and the hints in the game itself are well placed and are great for running as smoothly as possible through the adventure. However, you should already deal intensively with the GM mode.
You should also try to find out in advance which character classes the players want to use. Depending on that one would have to adjust the prey in some places. Our ranger, for example, found a very good crossbow relatively early in Dwarven feasts, while our rogue had to make do with the starting gear until the final battle. Here, as a game manager, you should balance yourself.
This is especially true for the opponents. These should be adjusted according to the hero level and possibly even made heavier and easier during the game. This is relatively easy by raising or lowering the level of the opponent’s group. Also, as a game master, I can only recommend that you take command of the opponents in the battles themselves. That’s just a lot more fun.
Playability from a Player’s point of view
Although the story of Prison of the Shadows did not convince us until the very end, and the dwarf city seemed a bit monotonous to us, in the end all the players had a lot of fun with the adventure. My players were all Divinity: Original Sin 2 veterans and accordingly, they were very excited about more content for the game.
Above all, the entry on the beach has the players very well. Although we did not do a lot of RPG in general, the atmosphere was very good because of the wonderfully chosen maps. Due to the fantastic combat and character system of Divinity: Original Sin 2, the relatively large amount of fighting did not present a problem. Overall, all players have spent a very entertaining five hours with Prison of Shadows.
Development: Larian Studios
Publisher: Larian Studios
Requirements: Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent; Arbeitsspeicher: 4 GB RAM; Grafik: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 550 or ATI™ Radeon™ HD 6XXX or higher; DirectX: Version 11; Speicherplatz: 60 GB verfügbarer Speicherplatz
Release date: 14.09.2017
Play hours: 100+
Players: 1 – 5
Age rating: 16+
Price: 44,99 €
As I wrote in my first article on the GM mode of Divinity: Original Sin 2, the game quickly reaches its limits compared to the classic RPG. You can clearly see this in the new Adventure Prison of the Shadows. While the fighting continues to be fantastic, social interactions and puzzles are quickly falling by the wayside. This is related to the limited possibilities of GM mode. That’s why a dungeon crawler is the perfect choice here. In the adventure, this works basically well, but unfortunately prison of the shadows in the second half of the dwarf city loses a lot of variety. Here you could perhaps shorten this part a bit or more riddles or traps can sprinkle as in the beginning.
Despite his weaknesses, we all had a very fun time with Prison of Shadows and hope that the colleagues of Orkenspalter TV will venture on to more adventures for Divinity: Original Sin 2. Next time also like something more extensive.