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Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-




Hand of Fate is a 2015 game by indie game studio Defiant Development. I really like Hand of Fate for how unique it is—I've seen it described as an action RPG, but it blends action segments with card drawing, deck building mechanics, and random adventure layouts. The studio got around to making a sequel, but sadly, that was the last game they made.

The Gameplay

The game is easy to pick up and play. A typical session goes as follows:
  • Select the opponent you want to go up against.
  • Build a deck of encounter cards and a deck of equipment cards.
  • Optionally, change your character's starting modifiers.
  • Make your way past the encounters you selected, set up in multiple randomized layouts, managing your resources and equipment along the way.
  • ...and hopefully, defeat that session's opponent! Or die.

Dying may happen a lot. Sometimes it's lack of skill, and sometimes the RNG just fucks with you.

As you progress through the game you unlock even more cards, not all of which are beneficial. You also get to contend with the dealer, who will add his own cards to the deck just to spite you.

The format

This LP will be somewhat casual. I want to show what it's actually like to play through the game, and while this won't be a 100% LP (unless I die that much), I'll be showing off as much of the unique content as I can such as story dungeons, some of the DLC, and runs of Endless mode to unlock new cards.

The audience also voted on some of the game's difficulty modifiers, called Fates, and I'll be be massively hosed overshowing off the Soldier's Training, Nomad, and Merchant Guard fates in story dungeons. Other ones will come up as runs allow!

Spoilers?

At this point everything's fair game!

Table of Contents

Part 1 - Jack of Dust
Part 2 - Jack of Skulls
Part 3 - Queen of Dust
Part 4 - Jack of Plague
Part 5 - Endless Mode run 1
Part 6 - King of Dust
Part 7 - Jack of Scales & Bonus: Soldier's Training remaining encounters
Part 8 - Endless Mode, second run
Part 9 - Queen of Skulls
Part 10 - Queen of Plague
Part 11 - King of Skulls
Part 12 - Endless Mode, third
Extra 1 - Behind the Scenes - Art & Visual Assets

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 15:38 on Nov 23, 2021

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Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Our adventurer started out with normal adventuring life, traveling through the woods, finding simple equipment, going after simple bandits, speaking with Elves... and all the while his life got more and more complicated until he started making some questionable decisions. While we cannot deny that he has done some good in the world, our adventurer has made some strange or horrific choices, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was just not the smartest of people. Here is a small list of things that might be weighing on his mind:

So far, the adventurer...
  • Begged an elf for gold coin
  • Got tricked into collecting gold and treasure from deadly mazes most generously agreed to help a goblin with internal politics
  • Killed people and other sentient beings for gold and entertainment
  • Killed hundreds of humans
  • Let himself be robbed just because a ghost wanted it
  • Sold his equipment to a nobleman who only gave back five gold each
  • Destroyed a family by helping their deadbeat son elope with a lover who eventually ditched the son
  • Refused to give food to a local peasant with a starving family
  • Got cursed by a priest
  • Made deals with devils
  • Sold his blood to vampires for gold. Multiple times.
  • Helped the resurrection of a Lich
  • Literally went to hell
  • Sold a part of their soul to a demon for objects
  • Decided that going to a desert where you might get lost was a good idea
  • Angered old gods by praying badly to them
  • Stole from a Guild Master
  • Released a tentacled beast monster from a mage's control
  • Gambled for curses

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 19:00 on Nov 18, 2021

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-




Part 1 - Jack of Dust (YouTube)

The first dungeon is really short, and serves as a gentle introduction to the game. It only has two floors, with two unique layouts they can take on. You're not in any danger of anything yet.

The Suit of Dust

Dust are the first of four card suits—the main enemy types of the game. These bandits start with basic melee attacks that come out fairly predictably, easily dodged or countered. They're not much of a threat at first, but it's still easy to get careless and take a hit or two.

The Jack of Dust

In the ruins of an ancient temple, among the eternally shifting sand dunes, lives the mysterious leader of the desert bandits. Infamous for his reign of terror over any spice caravans that dare take their chances travelling through his domain, he rules as a king over the barren lands.

Our first boss is the first member of the Court, the twelve named cards among the four suits of the game. He's here mainly to teach about unblockable attacks, but you'll pick up some of the quirks of enemy attack order in this game if you're observant. We'll get more into that later.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 13:31 on Nov 11, 2021

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


This is a cool game, and the Dealer and his running commentary is great.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




I love this game, and its sequel. I wish Defiant Development could have stayed in business longer - they had some amazing stuff going.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




I like this game but boy was I conflicted on the sequel. Jim Sterling said it was Hand of Fate but MORE and he was right, both in the good and bad sense. I liked it enough to beat it and complete it to about 90% but...ah I have Many Words about the sequel and while I lament its lack of sales, I also understand the reasons behind them.

Anyway, I'll be following this, the Dealer has the best commentary.

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


Just chiming in to say I love this game and will be following with interest, though it started losing its flair in actually playing for me somewhere around the later levels.

CirclMastr
Jul 4, 2010



I enjoyed this game and its sequel to an admittedly lesser degree.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




CirclMastr posted:

I enjoyed this game and its sequel to an admittedly lesser degree.

This is interesting, because I liked the sequel more than the first game, to be honest. I'm sure as we keep going through the Game it'll become clear what we comparatively favor and disfavor.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Fat Samurai posted:

This is a cool game, and the Dealer and his running commentary is great.

He really is. The game wouldn't be nearly as entertaining if you didn't have someone riffing on everything you were doing.

Jossar posted:

Just chiming in to say I love this game and will be following with interest, though it started losing its flair in actually playing for me somewhere around the later levels.

This is a real problem that also got me during my playthroughs.

I'll also talk about it when I start dying, but this kind of game lends itself to repetitiveness. You'll reach a point where unlocks are more difficult, enemies start posing a threat, and resource management doesn't forgive. There's not much you can do besides try, try again when you fail, but it's not as if success rewards you with something substantially different; It can feel like more of the same, just with extra layers. It can be a bit of a turnoff.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




Yeah this is especially true ever since they nerfed Nymphs of the Sweetwoods because that card was a genuine gamechanger. That one gave you that Binding of Isaac uberbuild feeling. Without it, the other upgrades tend to be marginal at best, or impractically complex to assemble at worst. It also takes a very long time before you get to a point where you're like "okay, NOW my equipment feels like it's endgame level"
It was a problem that wasn't really fixed in the sequel either.

biosterous
Feb 23, 2013




i like that the chance mechanic is actually not random, and if you keep your eyes on the cards you can guarantee the result you want.

to a certain degree, at least - iirc it gets harder to do as the game goes on

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Seraphic Neoman posted:

Without it, the other upgrades tend to be marginal at best, or impractically complex to assemble at worst. It also takes a very long time before you get to a point where you're like "okay, NOW my equipment feels like it's endgame level"

Yeah, in the first game a lot of the weapons become not as good by the end of the game. The combat also becomes very intense - I had to switch to the Apprentice fate for the last few runs and final boss.

They tried to keep things more balanced for the second game, so you can't get as busted a build (usually; there's some interesting things you can do in Endless mode). It's less roguelike and more storytelling, and that also means it's not as swingy as a roguelike can get.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-




Part 2 - Jack of Skulls (YouTube)

Second verse, not quite the same as the first. The second dungeon throws more things at you: equipment variety, new enemy types, new floor layouts, more chance events, and the knowledge that you don't really know how deep a dungeon goes until you reach the end.

As long as you don't do anything stupid, you're not in any huge danger. Still, it's a good time to practice stocking up on equipment. And speaking of which, I really like the Hag's Wraps. Any cheap item with a clear upside and no downside is great in my book.

In the video I mention how visiting shops and going over unknown items (face-down cards) is a great way to identify them. This is true, but I'm not going to do it all the time in the LP for two main reasons:
  • Going through the shop intro all the time is a bit tedious for me, especially if I have no gold.
  • New cards will still show up organically in the LP.
Whatever you do yourself should get you new content unless you try really hard to keep new cards out of your decks. And why would you?


The Suit of Skulls

Skeletons are a moderate upgrade from bandits. The melee variety can absolutely use their shield to block your attacks, making them momentarily impossible to damage unless you stagger them, use a special ability/artifact, or use another source of damage to your advantage. Riflemen are more of an annoyance due to their unblockable attacks, but their attacks come out slowly and infrequently. You could just walk out of the way if you wanted to.

Skulls are also our first enemy type that's weak to a particular damage type. This might make them seem easier to deal with, but they'll get some more tricks up their sleeve later on...

The Jack of Skulls

Serving as captains to squads of lesser skeletons, these unholy abominations strike fear into the hearts of all warm-blooded folk. For until this fiend is defeated, their legions are, effectively, endless.

He's just a bigger swordsman skeleton. The only real annoyance is his ability to revive fallen allies of his Suit, which can be interrupted by a few good attacks. If you equipped a mace, the fight is as good as over once you take him out.

If you didn't equip a mace, however, you'll have a slightly harder time taking him down while the entire battlefield is after you.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 19:32 on Nov 14, 2021

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-




Now that we've had a glimpse of Fates, it's time for instant regretaudience participation time!

Fates are both the game's difficulty setting and its rules modifiers. You've got the regular easy/normal/hard difficulties, as well as nine new modifiers that were added in a later update. All fates aside from the default have their own quest line to complete, rewarding you with special equipment at the end of the quest line.

This LP will showcase a couple of the DLC fates, as chosen by you! For every three story dungeons I go through, I will do my best to survive by the rules handed down to me.

:siren:Pick three fates and put them in your reply. I'll do my best to use the winners future story dungeons. :siren:


Soldier's Training
Highly skilled at combat but unlucky.

Rule changes:
Unlucky - Chance card events are more difficult.
Trained For Combat - You do increased damage as your combo rises.

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 20+?
Gold: 0
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
When failed chance events lead to combat, this fate really shines. It's not as great if chance events are just there to screw you over.



Shadow Agent
An expert at games of chance and luck, but unskilled at combat.

Rule changes:
Lucky - Chance card events are easier.
Combo Multipliers - Combo multipliers are reduced.

Starting resources:
Health: 70
Food: 20+?
Gold: 0
Health gained from eating: 4
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
I won't call this easy mode but better luck is amazing to have, as long as you can stay alive during fights. I make no guarantees.



Nomad
Has forsaken carrying excess equipment to pursue a personal journey.

Rule changes:
No Inventory - Cannot carry extra equipment. Equipment that would normally go to your inventory is automatically sold.

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 3+?
Gold: 0
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
It's not immediately obvious why this fate might be harder since msot of the time you can only equip one piece of equipment of a given type. The rest of the game will find ways of messing with what we have.



Iron Hunger
Eats equipment instead of food.

Rule changes:
Iron Hunger - Discarded equipment grants 'Iron Ore', a special food that is all that this Fate can consume...

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 0+?
Gold: 0
Health Gained from eating: 15
Health lost from starving: -10
Iron Ore: 5

My notes
I hate you.

This fate adds more resource management. Your food is useless, equipment is life and it's definitely limited. The quest line can be particularly hard to complete, but we'll see.



Curse of the Lion Prince
Weak, but becomes stronger through battle.

Rule changes:
Max Health - Start with low max health, but increases with each defeated enemy.

Starting resources:
Health: 40
Food: 10+?
Gold: 25
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
Aside from some rough times at the beginning of a playthrough, it's not too bad. You want to get into fights and win. If you can pull that off it's smooth sailing from then on.



Explorer's Gift
Great at exploring.

Rule changes:
Armour - Can't wear heavy armour.
Eating - Moving over completed encounter cards costs no food.

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 5+?
Gold: 15
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
The other not-quite-but-still easy mode, as long as you can dodge in combat. What you don't see here is that the starting helm helps you find floor exits and can give a gold bonus. Great for clearing everything.



Merchant Guard
Must visit every shop, and will be ambushed more often.

Rule changes:
Reveal Merchants - Merchants are always revealed when you enter a level.
Ambush Curse - Leaving a level with ambushes unencountered causes you to be cursed.
Reduced Prices - Shops always offer reduced prices.
Shop Combat - You will always be ambushed at the Tinker, Shop, and Jeweler.

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 5+?
Gold: 10
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
I haven't tried this one. It's another fate where being good at combat is key, and resource management will be harder if card placement is unkind.



Hoarder's Desire
Grows stronger the more you carry.

Rule changes:
Hoarding Strength - The more spare equipment in your hoard the more health you have.
Hoarding Power - You do more damage in combat when you have more spare equipment.

Starting resources:
Health: 40
Food: 5+?
Gold: 10
Health gained from eating: 5
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
More useful later in the game, when dungeons are longer and more equipment has been unlocked.



Monk
Equipped to fight the undead, forgoes material wealth.

Rule changes:
Forsaken Wealth - Gold gain cards have no effect.
Crusade Rewards - You are rewarded for slaying undead.

Starting resources:
Health: 100
Food: 5+?
Gold: 0
Health gained from eating: 10
Health lost from starving: -10

My notes
It feels like success in this fate comes down to the first cards that you get in the encounter, and seeing skeletons in the deck. Might be more luck-based than the others.


(Descriptions taken from https://handoffate.fandom.com/ to save myself a lot of typing)

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 12:28 on Oct 18, 2021

Fat Samurai
Feb 16, 2011

To go quickly is foolish. To go slowly is prudent. Not to go; that is wisdom.


I think I beat the game with a Shadow Agent (and savescumming the last encounter, because gently caress going through that dungeon again), so go Soldier.

EDIT: Also, I had forgotten how annoying it is to swing once too many and lose your combo when bashing some fallen enemy skull in.

Fat Samurai fucked around with this message at 14:40 on Oct 18, 2021

CirclMastr
Jul 4, 2010



I say try out Merchant Guard, Iron Hunger, and Nomad.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




Nomad, Soldier, Explorer's Gift

I recommend against Curse of the Lion Prince and Iron Hunger at this point, the former is honestly pretty easy but we won't have enough chances to actually do its quest and the latter is :suicide:

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


Merchant Guard, Nomad, Soldier's Training

Not too cruel, not too nice.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Seraphic Neoman posted:

I recommend against Curse of the Lion Prince and Iron Hunger at this point, the former is honestly pretty easy but we won't have enough chances to actually do its quest and the latter is :suicide:

You're too kind. :sweatdrop:

code:
Votes so far:

Soldier's Training |||
Merchant guard	   ||
Iron Hunger        |
Nomad              |||
Explorer's Gift    |
Soldier's Training and Nomad seem pretty popular so far, but there's still time for some shakeups.

Quackles
Aug 11, 2018

Pixels of Light.




Can I vote for Warlord? It’s good to get some of the early quests for it out of the way while enemies aren’t upgraded.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Sure!

code:
Votes so far:

Soldier's Training |||
Merchant guard	   ||
Iron Hunger        |
Nomad              |||
Explorer's Gift    |
Warlord            |
The votes are mostly the same, so I'll start recording some runs with alternate fates. We'll see Soldier's Training first.

I had part 3 planned for tomorrow but messed up the editing, so it'll be a little bit late.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 16:58 on Oct 23, 2021

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Voting is complete, results in the OP

code:
Votes so far:

Soldier's Training |||
Merchant guard	   ||
Iron Hunger        |
Nomad              |||
Explorer's Gift    |
Warlord            |
I'll start recording some runs with alternate fates. We'll see Soldier's Training first. And in the meantime... new update!



Part 3 - Queen of Dust (YouTube)

If you didn't think the dealer was that hostile, the traps will make you rethink his place at the table. He's loving every second of pain he deals you.

My run could have been a lot worse. I managed to trigger all the rock fall traps, and didn't pick a helmet at the first chance... but it worked out! Getting gold loss pain cards on this dungeon is like getting a slap on the wrist. If you're doing this, though, wear a helmet. Not doing so would be a bad idea. What's a bit funny in retrospect is that only the default Fate in the game has no headgear, so anything but Normal mode has an advantage at this point of the game...

We briefly saw the Suit of Hell. I'll explain more when we compare them to our third Suit.

The Queen of Dust

The Bandit Queen was taken by slavers as a child and raised in the desert. Over the years, she has bribed and murdered her way to her current position as second-in-command of the desert thieves, proving herself capable of ruthless cunning.

The Queen of Dust isn't too hard, but she can easily catch you off guard if you're not expecting a stream of unblockable attacks to the face. She loves to spam them when you've killed all her allies... which you want to do because dodging ranged attacks is not my idea of fun.

Use weapon or artifact abilities if you have them. They're the best way to speed up the fight either in a damage race, or by interrupting her.

The DLC
I touch on this in the video, but I'm not sure if I'm sold on the way the DLC/update cards are presented.

The newer cards (all the fancy color-coded encounters) have different mechanics per questline, which is a nice way of adding some variety. You have some combat-heavy encounters, some chance-heavy encounters, encounters that have specific unlock requirements (however annoying that may be)... that's not so bad. It's trying to reach people who have different preferences. My main issue is that some of the cards are just story cards. They're not the only cards that seem like that, but when so many encounters offer a little bit more than "read this story, get a token," it feels like a bit of a waste to me.

Maybe there was no good way of ramping up some quest lines besides doing this. Story events do give you a bit of a breather if everything else in the dungeon is tough, and they guarantee a card token/unlock, which lets you feel progress.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 14:13 on Nov 11, 2021

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-




Part 4 - Jack of Plague (YouTube)

It's poison time!

The Soldier's Training fate interacts badly with the dungeon's curse but not impossibly; the windfall we got was quite nice.

I got incredibly lucky and managed to avoid any of the dealer's Angry Mob encounters. They're first used here, and force you to choose between giving away a lot of your food (with a possible reward), or risk losing it or getting some serious pain cards. A few items have effects that let you escape the Angry Mob... including the Frost Fang I passed up.

The Suit of Plague

Ratmen are annoying.

You'll often fight their melee and ranged varieties together. The melee variety start out with two claw attacks, one of which is unblockable. The ranged variety can throw either a single spear or a barrage of three spears that all need to be blocked or dodged. To make matters worse, dead ratmen leave behind a poison cloud. Stand in it too long and you'll get poisoned, suffering chip damage for a short while. It's not as if the damage is the end of the world, but wiith everything else in a dungeon that might kill you, you'll want to avoid poison.

From an escalation standpoint, ratmen are pretty good. They mix up features enemies have showed so far, with one more wrinkle added to keep us on our toes.

Also related to the ratmen... last time we saw The Suit of Hell. These enemies are exclusive to a DLC quest line, and they're basically ratmen reskins with a bit more power but no poison effect after death. They aren't considered a primary enemy type in this game. I wouldn't say they're much more dangerous either.

The Jack of Plague

Here is a beast who hates your kind, and has grown fat and evil with that hatred. The Jack of Plague will kill you and suck the marrow from your bones.

Individually, he's not much more than a large ratman. In a group, enemies around him start attacking faster when he's hit, and it's easy to not notice in the middle of combat.

I also feel like killing his entourage makes him do his unblockable attacks more often, but don't quote me on that.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 13:49 on Nov 11, 2021

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




RATMAN HUNTING :argh: :argh:

EDIT: I have really mixed feelings about the DLC. Goblin King's Halls are easy and should be cleared ASAP but they basically just give you a card that used to be standard. The rewards from the others are fairly powerful but also kinda tepid as you progress through the game, so there is an argument to clearing them ASAP, but that will deffo require you to re-do previous fights against the members of the court.
The problem is that the rewards are really paltry from most of these. I cannot remember what the White Council or the Minotaur gives you cause I never used them. I also remember the encounter cards to be questionable utility at best.

Seraphic Neoman fucked around with this message at 18:15 on Oct 28, 2021

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


Game definitely feels a bit slower to get out of tutorial mode than I remember.

I'm also mixed on the DLC. Some parts of it are really fun, but a lot of it just bogs the game down. I wish there was a bit more freedom to flush the DLC cards out from the deck to keep the experience relatively streamlined.

Carbon dioxide
Oct 9, 2012



Enjoying this LP so far, just have some technical notes about the latest vid.


- After around 20 minutes in, your voice gets real distorted, sounds like a lagging connection. Makes it hard to understand you.
- In the timestamp notes you labeled the Jack of Plague fight as Queen of Dust.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Seraphic Neoman posted:

RATMAN HUNTING :argh: :argh:

EDIT: I have really mixed feelings about the DLC. Goblin King's Halls are easy and should be cleared ASAP but they basically just give you a card that used to be standard. The rewards from the others are fairly powerful but also kinda tepid as you progress through the game, so there is an argument to clearing them ASAP, but that will deffo require you to re-do previous fights against the members of the court.
The problem is that the rewards are really paltry from most of these. I cannot remember what the White Council or the Minotaur gives you cause I never used them. I also remember the encounter cards to be questionable utility at best.

Jossar posted:

Game definitely feels a bit slower to get out of tutorial mode than I remember.

I'm also mixed on the DLC. Some parts of it are really fun, but a lot of it just bogs the game down. I wish there was a bit more freedom to flush the DLC cards out from the deck to keep the experience relatively streamlined.

Oh, ratmen! :v:

It's never good when a game about card collecting adds a grind to get some cards out of the way. I suppose the idea of extra cards was nice, but the execution is kinda lacking.

Carbon dioxide posted:

Enjoying this LP so far, just have some technical notes about the latest vid.


- After around 20 minutes in, your voice gets real distorted, sounds like a lagging connection. Makes it hard to understand you.
- In the timestamp notes you labeled the Jack of Plague fight as Queen of Dust.

Thanks, I'll have a look. Audio might be the fault of my setup but maybe I can work around it.


New video going up in a bit!

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Part 5 - Endless Mode run 1 (YouTube) aka ratmen! :argh:

Endless Mode runs show off how spiteful the dealer can get when you try to give him a run for his money, and help me unlock a few cards. The run started out well but, but my choice of armor kind of hid the ratmen's poison effect too. Don't get boxed in like I did!

This Endless Mode run shows off two things:

The Suit of Scales

Lizardmen are the last of our four main Suits, and we get to see them a bit early. The melee variety has both a blockable and an unblockable attack, and will use its shield until you bash or kick it out of the way. They're much happier using the shield than some other enemies, too. The ranged variety shoots fireballs. Fire projectiles come at you quickly, and I find they're easy to block them as other projectiles, so I tend to dodge (or burn).

Scales are our second Suit vulnerable to a damage type (ice) but there are fewer options for stuffing your deck with ice damage than adding maces to deal with skeletons. Of course there are also upgrades that will make Scales stronger.

Combat Queues

Many reviewers have noted that the combat in Hand of Fate is inspired by the Batman: Arkham series. I thought I had read an official statement from the developers stating that was their inspiration, but I can't find the article again. Either way, you can see some parallels. And the combat system in Hand of Fate has a neat feature that helps it be more manageable... an enemy queue system I explain in the video. If you prefer to read it in text, read on!

I noticed enemies in a combat area are put into one of at least three attack groups:
  • Melee
  • Ranged
  • Special/Boss?
At any given moment, you'll only be attacked by one enemy from each of those groups. The game doesn't seem to treat the groups as simple queues; it appears to pick the next enemy a bit intelligently, such as having a melee fighter attack you if closest to you. This system stops combat from being a total clusterfuck, and lets you mostly dodge and block reliably if you play your cards right. It's also why mass melee becomes a blockfest: you hit one enemy, then another attacks, you hit that one, then another attacks, rinse and repeat.

I honestly don't know if there are more attack groups, or if each boss enemy has its own separate group, but I've been lucky enough to not encounter that so far! :v:

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 13:52 on Nov 11, 2021

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


Honestly, I feel like that was going pretty well until the last room. But it only takes one room going horribly wrong to end the run.

Audio's still a bit messed up, but I think it might just be the setup after all.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




Really? I'm surprised you took out Compensation. That card is basically meaningless; even if you had 150 health losing all of it would set you back only 10 gold.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


Jossar posted:

Honestly, I feel like that was going pretty well until the last room. But it only takes one room going horribly wrong to end the run.

Audio's still a bit messed up, but I think it might just be the setup after all.

It was going surprisingly well. Looks like I jinxed it.

I'm playing with my audio settings, so hopeuflly they'll be better in a few videos.

Seraphic Neoman posted:

Really? I'm surprised you took out Compensation. That card is basically meaningless; even if you had 150 health losing all of it would set you back only 10 gold.

My policy on curses is to try and not let them pile up. If money's not too tight, buying them off prevents nasty interactions later down the line.

In this case, I mostly agree with you. Compensation can end up being just an inconvenience over the long term, especially if you get equipment in other ways or if you have a lucky streak like I started with. However, it's good to show it off for the LP and I remember a few cases where the few gold really did make a difference.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


I finally figured out what the sound issues are: my editing software has some annoying bugs with 48kHz FLAC audio :v:. Any sound issues have been fixed.



Part 6 - King of Dust (YouTube)

This LP has changed my opinion of a few cards.
  • I like the Spirit Walk artifact all the more after choosing it for this LP. It's a lot of fun, especially if you can use friendly fire to your advantage! I'd love to try it more on trapped areas.
  • I also do like the Toxic Blood blessing, but there are better ones if you're good at avoiding hits. I'm not that good, though I'm wanting to do other blessings where possible.
  • Desperate measures looks like a really good weapon on the surface and I've picked it many times with success. Who wouldn't take advantage of that damage output, after all? In the next video I'll show off why following that gut feeling is a bad idea... slowness is bad.

And then we come to Alicia in the Underworld.

Steam has an achievement for getting 12 'Failure' or 'Huge Failure' chance cards in a single session; Alicia in the Underworld is what got me that achievement. Nothing indicates the result of the shuffle is anything but random, but I've had many sessions where I've pissed away all my gold just by selecting the same card hoping randomness would favor me. And then even if you do get the successful outcome, if you didn't bring an artifact with you, you can't progress. This has happened many times as well. In fact, I've only ever had one playthrough which unlocked this card.

I don't like it much, and at the time of the recording I was looking forward to being done with it.

The King of Dust

The King of Dust broke faith with king and country long ago, and has made himself rich and powerful through the judicious application of cruelty and terror, outside the law, for decades.

Kings are supposed to be bigger and badder than previous Court, but for being our first King, the King of Dust isn't too bad. His unblockable combo attack is a bit more dangerous than what we've been used to in how much ground it seems to cover, so don't stay too close. The third attack, with falling rocks, just requires you to be attentive to when it happens; te fact that the King doesn't move while dropping those rocks makes the attack less menacing than you might imagine. Use it against him and his cohorts if you can.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 13:58 on Nov 11, 2021

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

Probably with that card it's better to just pick a card and always click it. Then you're bound to get it eventually.

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


Definitely feels like the point where the game starts getting more intricate. Really appreciated the flow of combat in this one - everything seemed to go much smoother in motion from enemy to enemy than I expected based on my own playthrough.

Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




The bigger prostrat is to close the game and then re-open it and savescum your way through cards like this :kamina:
But yeah poo poo like this is a PITA even if you do get cards which make the shuffles easier.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


I somehow managed to get the failure achievement after picking the same card over and over again but yeah, picking the same card (or savescumming) is just about the best you can do legitimately. Sometimes the RNG gods just don't like you, but I did manage to unlock the card in an upcoming recording. The LP has been good to me!

Coincidentally during that recording I managed to find a nice bug that I never noticed before. We'll get to see just how weird the next Endless Mode run gets!

Jossar posted:

Definitely feels like the point where the game starts getting more intricate. Really appreciated the flow of combat in this one - everything seemed to go much smoother in motion from enemy to enemy than I expected based on my own playthrough.

You're right. Combat can get this nice little flow going if you play your cards right. You won't be doing any super intricate moves or combos, but you can just keep going and going in a fun little dance between enemies.

Speaking of combat, is the format working so far? Combats tend to be a bit samey, so I've tried to speed up encounters where there isn't much to say.

Jossar
Apr 2, 2018

Current status: Angry about subs :argh:


I think it's fine, as you've said combat gets a little same-y otherwise.

Anaxite
Jan 16, 2009

What? What'd you say? Stop channeling? I didn't he-


When I started the LP I wasn't 100% sure how live vs post commentary would work for this LP. I settled on live recording to give a better sense of how it actually feels to play the game, though it means you'll see everything I forget! I might also complain a lot about certain encounters or mechanics, but overall I do consider this a good game. Where I can I'll start adding subtitles, or extra notes in these posts, to give better information.



Part 7 - Jack of Scales (YouTube)
Bonus - Finishing the Soldier's Training encounters (YouTube)

Mister Lionel! :argh:

I tell myself I like maces and hammers... but I promptly eat crow as they start to be my downfall. If you're better than I am at using slow weapons by all means use them, but there's no shame in using a lower damage weapon just to make yourself more mobile. Play around with all the weapons and see what you can do.

Lizard Eater is a great blessing to have here, and I'm curious if this was somehow pre-ordained by the game. :tinfoil:

I appreciate that the game mechanics and resource management allows for different kinds of success and failure through runs. Even though in a previous run I bought off a gold-leeching curse to help me keep my gold up, here I don't have any gold at all, and it's not necessarily the end of a run! You're forced to get a little creative like in more full-fledged roguelikes. Though it may prevent you from getting certain encounter tokens, you can survive for quite a long time if you play your cards right. Hah! Cards. Gettit?


The Jack of Scales

Their latent magical abilities mean these lizardmen are feared by all, even their own kind.

The Jack of Scales doesn't take us too much by surprise as we saw the Suit of Scales before their official introduction in Story Mode.

The Jack does more damage than the standard lizardman, and has three attacks. His sword attack can be countered, but the tail swipe and tail smash cannot! I read that you can interrupt the tail attacks with a shield bash before the attack indicator appears—like some other attacks in the game—but I've never tried to do it consciously.

Anaxite fucked around with this message at 14:03 on Nov 11, 2021

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Seraphic Neoman
Jul 19, 2011




OP is underselling it, but Devil's Carnival was widely considered the most reviled card in the vanilla game by the fanbase. While flavor-wise it's interesting, mechanically it is godawful and landing on it in Endless always sucks.

Life's Limb was also a standout in my deck for a very, very long time. Fantastic weapon.

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