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Title: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on November 30, 2016, 09:28:47 AM
Figured I'd move this here so I don't keep clogging the "what are you playing" thread with games everyone else got bored of thirty years ago.  The idea is that I haven't played the Ultima games, but they seem like a kind of important piece of "gaming history" so I'm playing through them in order.  No idea how far I'll get before I run out of momentum, though.

Anyways, a quick summary for those who haven't been following my thrilling adventures with baited breath:

IN THE BEGINNING there was an asshole wizard named Mondain who was also immortal.  So, in order to kill him, I had to travel back in time and smash his gem of immortality before he finished working on it.  The first Ultima game is a ton of weirdness and randomness but it's kind of fun to play if you're in the right frame of mind.  There's a bunch of grinding for stats, a completely bizarre section where you buy a space shuttle with gold pieces and zoom around the solar system blasting tie fighters, and a fairly broken progression system (you can find phasers and landspeeders and things if you know where to look), but it's interesting and quick enough if you've got a walkthrough.  Travelling back through time to kill Mondain completely wrecks the timelines for a while, allegedly, but nobody really seems to notice and they all remember the events of this game so I have no idea how this works.  Lord British, one of the kings of Sosaria, says the lands will be forever remember my mighty deeds which seems to be a lie since in the sequels I can starve to death literally inside the grocery store without the shopkeeper being willing to part with a measly few hundred hamburgers.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/victory.png)

Ultima 2 was about Minax, who is Mondian's student and lover (one of the perks of being an evil wizard, I guess, is that you can get away with diddling your students) and wants revenge on the meddling hero who killed him.  You'd think that traveling back in time and murdering him would have put a crimp in Mondain's sex life but I guess not.  This game's new mechanic is time travel, and the game is divided up in to different eras that can be accessed by traveling through time gates, Chrono Trigger style. Minax hangs out at the end of time in a castle protected by a bunch of traps and monsters and most of the game is spent exploring and collecting information from everywhere and everywhen on how to bypass the traps which is basically bullshit because I think half of it isn't mentioned anywhere in game by anybody and I have no idea how people ever figured this game out without walkthroughs.  The world this time is apparently Earth, with Lord British hanging out in Britain (for like 500 years somehow).  You can still jump in a spaceship and jet around the solar system (this time the rest of the planets are here, though they're mostly empty) but it's still full of orcs and elves and stuff, alongside real world stuff like Da KGB and the Hotel California.  Overall, I really liked this game, it would be neat to see someone take another run at this kind of thing today where the focus is on exploring and finding information and stuff.  It felt like the content was spread kind of thin and some of the clues were impossible for me to find (if they even exist).

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/u2.png)

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/U2victory.png)

Ultima 3 was about stopping Exodus, who was Minax and Mondain's... child?  Or something?  I don't know if it's ever made really explicit what Exodus is, it looks like a big computer thing when you fight it but the concept art looks like some big demon guy.  This time, we're back in a fictional fantasy land, and the big new mechanic is that the game is party based, rather than just being a lone adventurer.  To be honest, while a lot of the game was strictly better than the previous 2, the interface was such a chore to navigate with four party members that I really didn't like this game as much.  The game is mostly about grinding gold for stats, getting the four marks to bypass the hazards in Castle Exodus, and getting the four magic punch cards which will crash Exodus (yes, really).

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/U3victory.png)

Which brings me to Ultima 4, so here we go.

The game starts with me on Earth, I think.  Like, me, the player behind the keyboard, not me the heroic adventurer.  I'm frustrated because of my bullshit real life and decide to go for a walk in the real countryside, at which point I spy a magical portal opening up and a book (actually two books bundled together) and an amulet falling out.  The game pauses here to tell me to read the book, which seems really optimistic, but I already read it anyway so I guess I spoiled the first minute of this game.

The book is "The History of Britannia" and it's basically a fluff book about the land and people of Britannia, so named because after I defeated Exodus, Lord British declared himself king of the planet, crushed all dissent and renamed it after himself.  There's a bunch of stuff in here about the shops and character classes.  No thieves this time, unfortunately, I guess we're supposed to be on a quest for chivalry or something so no stealing (and they'll probably frown on farming town guards for XP, too, the whiners).  A lot of the weird classes from Ultima 3 are gone, like Illusionists and Larks, but also missing for some reason are Clerics of any kind.  One of the virtues is spirituality, and I would have thought Clerics would be the ones to carry that torch, but I guess apparently we're going for some kind of secular spirituality.  There's also a bestiary, and I can't help but roll my eyes a bit as I notice that I'm going to be running in to fucking Gremlins again.  A bunch more monsters, from the description they sound more varied than the HP bags I was fighting in the last games.  I don't see any mention of Elves or Dwarves or Hobbits or any of the other player races from the old games, and character creation didn't let me choose.  I guess I'm supposed to be a serious human from serious Earth now, but it seems like something they'd at least mention, unless they're trying to banish them to the retcon zone.

Anyways, after that, I stumble upon a magical ren faire, and they wave me in for free after seeing my new ankh pendant.  Apparently this is an ancient mystical artifact granting me the mythical ability of Nullify Cover Charge.  It doesn't take long for me to wander in to the fortune teller, who offers to read my future and hands me a personality test.  In the other thread, Fr. Mike suggested I avoid picking the "humble" answers, so naturally my first instinct was to do the exact opposite and pick "humble" every chance I got, but I abandoned that basically immediately.  The first question was something like "You're offered a choice of two jobs, and have to pick between 1) a position as a spiritual advisor, or 2) a humble assistant stableboy" and I can't think of a reason anybody would ever go "yeah, sign me up for assistant shit shoveler, please, that's my dream."  Nobody wants to be an assistant stableboy, even assistant stableboys don't want to be assistant stableboys.  Fucking Taran of Caer Dallben didn't wake up in the morning and go "man, I'm so glad to be an assistant pig keeper, I hope we don't have any wild adventures or fierce battles to distract me from cleaning up all this pig shit."  And I guess answering "no" to that knocked humility out of the running, because I didn't see an option for it again.  So I answered the questions basically the way I would in real life, and ended up with "Honesty" as my main stat followed by "Spirituality."

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/intro.gif)

That done, the game drops me through a wormhole in to Britannia.  Apparently that tarot reading or whatever made me a mage, which means I should probably read over the spellbook that came with the book.  Not sure how magic works in this game yet, but in previous games it's been a mixed bag.  In Ultima 1 and 2, spells were consumable items that you bought and so I hardly ever used them (partly because I'm a cheapskate and partly because you could get cannons and laser blasters in those games which were better than most of the combat magic anyway).  In Ultima 3, though, characters had MP and could cast any spell in existence as long as they could afford the MP cost, which meant mages (and spellcasters in general) were pretty useful.

I'm starting out next to a town called Moonglow, which looks unfamiliar from what I can remember.  There was a city of Moon in Ultima 3, but I don't think I've seen a Moonglow before.  When the book fell out of the portal, it was wrapped in a cloth jpeg showing a map of Britannia, so I guess I'm not totally lost, but now I notice that the text is in bullshit elf writing, so it's going to take some work before it's useful.  The History of Britannia says Moonglow is a wizard city on Verity Isle, which is in the northeast corner, but there's no city there on the map so I guess I'll have to explore a bit and double check where I am.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/map1.png)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sky on November 30, 2016, 12:44:45 PM
Runes are associated with dwarves, not elves.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Trippy on November 30, 2016, 02:01:15 PM
Those runes are the Tolkien Dwarven runes (for translation purposes) but in Middle Earth they were borrowed (with modifications) from the Elven runes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirth


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Paelos on December 02, 2016, 08:45:17 AM
I put on my wizard robe and hat while reading this.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 03, 2016, 02:56:24 AM
Yeah, I thought the letters were similar to the ones on the One Ring, but I checked and I guess I was misremembering.  

Also, I guess I forgot to talk about the goal for this game.  It's a bit vague at this point.  I think the point is to become "The Avatar" who is like an embodiment of all that is morally good and right.  If there's some evil to slay or conflict to resolve, I haven't seen it yet, just this Avatar stuff.  The book is a bit vague on how exactly you do this, though.  It says something about meditation being important, and how some people have become enlightened in one or more of the eight virtues of the Avatar but none have gone all the way.  The implication is, I guess, that Avatarness is bound up in mastering all eight virtues somehow (the virtues being from that tarot reading in the intro: Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility). Initial conversations with townspeople suggest it's not as easy as filling up a virtue meter and moving on to the next one, though.  The book says a visit to Lord British would be a good place to start digging for info but I'm stuck on the other side of the world.

Back to the game.  I scouted around Moonglow for a bit, and it's lousy with Orcs and thieves.  I eventually managed to match the local coastline to an island in the east of Britannia, NOT the northeast, stupid pamphlet.  Assuming this is Verity Isle, I figured I'd mark the locations on the map, and it looks like the letters on the map aren't actually in another language, they're just a simple substitution cipher for English.  With a bit of guesswork, I think I have a translation of most of the text.  Some of the letters I don't know yet (specifically, the ones which correspond J, M, Q, U, X, and Z).  Some of the Britannian letters seem like they have multiple options, or stand for multiple letters.  The one that looks like two Xs vertically stacked, I think, is "EE" and the one that looks like a vertical line with a triangle on the side at the top is both "H" and "TH" unless there's really a place called either "The Thigth Stepes" or "He High Stepes."  The symbol that looks like a stick person shrugging, I don't know yet.  Shows up once in "FENS OF THE D_D" so presumably it's a vowel, but the only vowel I don't know is U, and "FENS OF THE DUD" seems unlikely.  Assuming it stands for multiple letters, there are a lot of possible choices.  Dead, damned, doomed, disenfranchised, who knows.  Maybe I'll figure it out later, or maybe not since I don't know if any of this text is actually in the game anywhere.  I haven't seen more of it yet.


Anyways, I don't see a way from this island to Castle British.  No bridges, and Moonglow doesn't seem to have a harbor.  I did briefly see a rectangle off to the east, I assume it's a moongate (the map has a picture of a new moon there) but I have no idea where it goes, so I figure I'll explore the island a bit first.

I read through the spellbook for this game and have kind of mixed feelings about it.  Spells in this game are BOTH consumables and MP drains.  You need to buy reagents from a vendor and then mix those reagents together in specific quantities to create a spell.  Assuming they're cheap and easy to come by, that might not be TOO unbearable, but starting out I have no idea how easy it'll be to stay solvent.  That was the huge problem in Ultima 2 and 3, earning more money than you spent on food and healing.  On the bright side, the mage spells in this game are pretty sweet.  There doesn't seem to be a distinction between "schools" or types of magic, so I get both white and black magic, meaning I can throw fireballs AND resurrect the dead.  I'll probably have to put together a separate cheat sheet for my wizard shit with reagents and mana costs.

So, there's a bunch of people saying a bunch of stuff in Moonglow, and it sounds like this is about to get complicated.  Just asking around town, I'm hearing about the shrine of honesty, the stone of honesty, the mantra of honesty, and the rune of honesty.  No idea what to do with any of this shit but I assume it's all crucial.  The rune is the easiest one to get, someone says it's near Mariah's gold, and she's just sitting near the north side of the town with her treasure chest right next to her.  Presumably there's some penalty for absconding with her bling, and I was worried about the UI confusing my attempt to get the rune with an attempt to rob her, but it looks like you can "search" without looting the square, so I'm now one rune richer.  Seven more to go, presumably.  The shrine is supposed to be north, the stone is supposed to be in the dungeon of deceit which I have no idea where that is, the mantra is "AHM" and there's a street person here who says he controls the sun.  There's also a guy who asks "Have you never lied?" which is kind of a dick move when I'm trying to focus on being honest.  Obviously, everyone has lied about SOMETHING (certainly everyone who's playing this game has, along the lines of "I have read and understand the terms of the End User Licensing Agreement") but how do you say that?  "No" or "Yes" could be "No, I've never lied" or "Yes, I've never lied" and if I fail my Avatar certification because this jackoff can't phrase things unambiguously I'm going to be VEXED.

There's a reagent shop in town and a grocery, and the prices seem pretty reasonable.  I'm thinking this would be a good place to grind if the enemies around here didn't all run away after a few hits.  It's just about impossible to catch up when I've got nothing equipped but a bonk branch, and EVERYONE around here flees so I'm getting nothing from these fights except some bruises and a few treasure chests.  Fucking SKELETONS are fleeing from me, come on!  The chests are generally trapped, by the way, and the traps I've seen are pretty lethal.  Got poisoned from one of them and almost died already, the poison status in this game is not something you can delay treating.  I've got the reagents for a few cure spells, and I'll have to check the costs for the "Open" spell to see if I can make a profit grinding here or move on.  There's no armory or weaponsmith here. Obviously, as a mage, my options there are pretty limited, but I plan on investing in a sling as soon as the game lets me.

Regardless, the Book mentions the Lycaeum, allegedly the centre of learning in Britannia, so I should probably check that out.  It's up in the northern part of the island, so I can take the opportunity to test out my spells and see if it looks like I can keep my finances in the green if I do some grinding here.  There's also now a command to set up camp and heal.  You can't use it too often, but it simplifies things a lot if I don't have to go back to town every time I get a bump.

Eventually, I made it up to the Lycaeum.  It's overseen by a baron and baroness named Robert and Beth Frasier.  There are a bunch of people meditating on truth in the corner, but surprisingly little information for a hub of learning.  There's a locked section in the west, which maybe where they house the books, because I didn't see any anywhere else.  I did see a huge telescope thing, which can be looked in to and produces maps.  They look like the maps of the towns, so not SUPER useful, but I got them all anyways.  I also ran in to Father Antos, the first familiar face I've seen so far in this game.  He was hanging out on Planet X in the year 2112 during Ultima 2 and was the only reason to ever use the space travel mechanic in that game: you needed to get the blessing from Father Antos which would (somehow) allow another character two hundred years ago on another planet to give you the magic ring.  Here, he does... nothing, as far as I can tell.  Oh, well.  There's a guy here who has "mystic armor" and when I ask him about it he asks if I'm a partial Avatar.  I don't think I am yet, so maybe I'll check back later.  The History of Britannia mentions that the sages here are working on a "lighter than air" device, but nobody seems to know about it and it seems really unlikely that they'd hand it out at level one, so that's another to do later.  I did find out the components for the spell of resurrection (or "recall" as the guy calls it) which the spellbook was coy about revealing.  So far, I do like the way messing with components and learning recipes feels more "mage-y" than a lot of other RPGs where you just buy a spell at a shop and then click on the spell icon to cast it. Other than that, not a whole lot to do at the Lycaeum right now, looks like.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day1.gif)

I don't see a whole lot more to do on this island.  The guy mentioned a shrine to the north but I can't see it, maybe he meant on an island to the north?  In any case, I'll need a boat.  I should probably grind out some gold for reagents first, this is supposed to be the city of mages so I wouldn't be surprised if it's the best place to stock up on spell components.  Once I finished with that, I suppose I'll give the moongate a shot.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Father mike on December 03, 2016, 10:08:51 AM
Ultima IV was my first deep, formative, non-Atari gaming experience way back in 1985.  This brings back so many teen memories.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 06, 2016, 11:30:22 AM
Yeah, I never played it back in the day, but it's very nostalgic of old games in general.  So far, I'm really liking it.  It's not as brutally difficult as U3, which makes exploring and learning stuff more fun and doesn't immediately drive me to google a walkthrough.  They made the UI WAY more usable (though it's still got that "one tile at a time" movement that bugs me) and deeper at the same time, with the ability to ask people about actual topics rather than just throwing up a Final-Fantasy-esque textbox.  This is one of the things I think a text parser interface does better than something like selecting dialogue options from a wheel or whatever: you can ask someone about something that might not be immediately obvious or that you got from out-of-game knowledge (e.g. reading the manual, though these days a walkthrough is more likely).  It's a fine line between making an interface so convoluted that it's tedious to play, and making it so streamlined that nothing seems complex or difficult for the player, and I think modern games tend to err on the streamlined side a lot.

Short update this time, because mostly I was just grinding.  The enemies are all running from me, and the only way I can reliably kill them is to use fireball, which needs a black pearl for a component, and I think that's the most expensive component available at the shop (though there are two components they don't sell, the book describes them as super rare so I wouldn't be surprised if you have to do something special to get them).  If they escape, I only get the gold, but if I want the XP, I have to blow an expensive spell to get that final blow.  That means a choice between either gaining gold, or losing gold and gaining XP.  The pathing seems a lot better in this game than it was in Ultima 3, meaning it's a lot harder to cheese enemy pathfinding and get them trapped behind each other or the terrain.  Sometimes they get caught up on something, but usually it's fireballs or nothing.

Speaking of fireballs, that spell seems really vicious.  I suppose my perception might be biased because I'm not playing a fighter.  Maybe fighters and paladins have an easier time of it, but my basic attacks hit like a wet noodle while my fireball DESTROYS enemies in one or two casts.  As far as I can tell, the strongest enemy I've taken on was a giant squid, who ran after one fireball and died after two.  Weirdly, fireball is the second attack spell, while the weakest, I think, is magic missile, which for some reason takes more reagents than fireball.  At least, I think that's how it works, the precise damage numbers and magic costs aren't really shown.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day2.gif)

I'm not sure what the enemy spawns are based off of, if it's regional or level based or based on time played, but enemies seem to be getting tougher while I haven't leveled up yet.  I suppose I could stick around for a while longer and grind some more, but I'm not really comfortable with waiting until things are really dire before moving on.  I've got about thirty or so of all the spell components, so hopefully I can jaunt out, recruit a teammate or something, and jaunt back if I get low on spells, but we'll see.


Anyways, I think it's time to go through the moongate...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: cironian on December 06, 2016, 12:41:17 PM
Translating those damn runes... I remember giving it a shot (on U5) and ending up with "HEDEEP QFREST" which confused the hell out of me for quite some time. I thought it might be a passphrase or magic spell...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Pagz on December 06, 2016, 06:00:12 PM
Having never played these but knowing their significance I'm enjoying the journey so far. I had no idea it wasn't just a classic fantasy venture though, the time travel segments sound like they would be a blast in a modern day game. I was also a huge fan of Chrono Trigger and Radiant Historia though, so I'm a little biased.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Father mike on December 07, 2016, 09:30:04 PM
A few not so spoiler-y tips.

You can download a rune translation sheet without cheating.  One was included in the box documentation.  In fact it was the physical element of the copy protection.

Your list of evil/not evil creatures can be completed by reading the flavor text in Chapter 8 of the History of Britannia.  If the word "evil" is in a critter's description,
Reagents, food, etc have different costs in different cities.  I think there's a cap of 99 of each reagent. but you can also carry 99 of each mixed spell.  

Since you're a mage you are probably only using daggers and slings.  This really limits your damage output.  Better weapons are on the horizon. That was why I told you not to pick humility in the previous thread.  Humility=shepherd, who can only use slings and cloth armor, and also never get the ability to cast spells.  Having one as your main ... is less than enjoyable.

Figure out moongates as soon as you can.  It makes travel less of a burden.

Once you have the xp to level, you have to go back to Lord British and get him to actually grant the level thru conversation.  

NAME ... JOB ... BYE

This is me working off 30 year old memories of the Commodore 64 version, so be careful following my advice too closely!


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Slyfeind on December 08, 2016, 05:32:47 PM
Watching with earnest.

I want to one day remake Ultima II using a modern engine, like we did with Ultima V Lazarus a zillion years ago, with more time travelley stuff going on. All Chrono Trigger style and whatnot. That game has the most potential for an awesome story out of the original "trilogy".

Good stuff. Keep it comin'.  :grin:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 09, 2016, 06:03:11 AM
Having never played these but knowing their significance I'm enjoying the journey so far. I had no idea it wasn't just a classic fantasy venture though, the time travel segments sound like they would be a blast in a modern day game. I was also a huge fan of Chrono Trigger and Radiant Historia though, so I'm a little biased.

Yeah, but I probably shouldn't oversell it.  The first two games were really, really thin on worldbuilding.  There was technically time travel in U2, but no matter when you were, you were an elf/dwarf/whatever in chain mail fighting orcs and demons with a broadsword.  In execution, it was less like Phantasy Star and more like playing Skyrim with a lightsaber mod.  They just exist, for some reason, they don't make any sense, nobody talks about them or anything, someone just thought "lightsabers are cool" and dropped them in to the world.

A few not so spoiler-y tips... [snip]

Ah, cool, thanks.  Yeah, moongates were giving me a bit of trouble.  I'm just finishing up writing the update after this one, and, well, let's just say much time was wasted because I suck at reading, but I THINK I got it nailed down.  Not for this update, though, this one I still had no idea.

I want to one day remake Ultima II using a modern engine, like we did with Ultima V Lazarus a zillion years ago, with more time travelley stuff going on. All Chrono Trigger style and whatnot. That game has the most potential for an awesome story out of the original "trilogy".

I wonder if they went back and redid the entire Ultima series (or at least the first few) if it would be a mistake.  I'm usually against the idea of remakes (because often it's just people playing the game at 2k resolution whining about how it doesn't run at 4k or something trivial like that) but in the case of Ultima so much has changed in game design that I wonder what a remake of the originals would even look like.  You could make a convincing case for just about any style from Skyrim to Diablo to Zelda.

Anyways, the game.  Short update this time because I R DUM.

Okay, through the moongate.  I have no idea where I am, some kind of east facing peninsula, so this doesn't look like Castle Britain yet.  Maybe there will be a boat vendor here, or something.  Looks like some kind of stonehenge thing on an island to the south, no idea what that is, and a  town to the west which I'll check out first.

The town is Jhelom.  History of Britannia says it's on the Valarian Isles, which don't show up on the map, but there is a Valorian Isles so I guess maybe my transcription isn't as good as I thought.

Jhelom is supposed to have an amazing inn and be a city full of great warriors.  Exactly what I need!  Someone to carry a shield and stand between me and trolls chucking rocks.  I just have to find one that will join me, I guess.

There's a lot of weird people in this place.  Lady Donna, the shepherd who hates sheep, some guy named only "X", a housekeeper who tells me about people mysteriously vanishing out of one of the rooms at the inn, but I can't find much useful.  I did get the mantra from a guy named Aesop, though.  Nobody would join me, and I can't find any information about the rune of valor, assuming there even is one.  The stone of valor is in the altar room of some dungeon named "Destard" but no idea how to get there.  Mr. X did mention something about the red stone (the stone of valor) being used for some key, and an altar being useful for that, but that's kind of confusing since people are saying you FIND the stones on altars.  There's a weapon and armor shop, but they don't sell slings, just weapons for fighters and armor I can't use.  So unless I missed something, that's all there is to do in the town right now.  

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day3.gif)

I checked out the rest of the island, but there's nothing else that I can see except some poisonous marshes I'm not super eager to stomp through.  The moongate opened back up and I hopped back to Moonglow, so at least I know these things work both ways, but now I'm kind of stumped.  I don't see a way off these islands, I haven't seen another moongate (and the map doesn't show one) so I don't know what my next move should be.  I suppose I can grind a bit, maybe it's like Ultima 3 where you need to get to a certain level so boats will spawn. (spoiler: NOPE)



Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on December 09, 2016, 01:04:28 PM
The absolutely beautiful box of Ultima IV for the Atari 8-bit line :

(http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/9NoAAOxy0x1TTlOh/s-l640.jpg)(http://www.atarimania.com/8bit/boxes/hi_res/ultima_4_us_gold_d7_2.jpg)

 thinking that I threw it away years and years ago still makes me  :heartbreak: :heartbreak:

Although, yes, what then became the iconic cover (Avatar in front of a thundering sea) is also very good. But the one I posted is definitely rarer.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Selby on December 09, 2016, 06:49:34 PM
The moongate opened back up and I hopped back to Moonglow, so at least I know these things work both ways, but now I'm kind of stumped.  I don't see a way off these islands, I haven't seen another moongate (and the map doesn't show one) so I don't know what my next move should be.
I want to say... based on my playthrough of this 20+ years ago, that the moongates change where they go based on the time of day\phase of moon or something.  But that may not have been 4, I played all 7 (8 can suck a dick & 9 isn't a game) so all of my memories of the different games are hazy and tend to run together after all this time...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 11, 2016, 06:28:17 AM
The absolutely beautiful box of Ultima IV for the Atari 8-bit line :

Yeah, I kind of miss the days of big box games.  Nowadays, it's just "angry looking dude with weapon in front of some muted background crap" so the marketing department can yammer about "branding" and "iconic imagery".  And that's when you even GET the physical media, I think the last actual game box I picked up was Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty, like six years ago or something.

For Ultima, my favorite so far was Ultima 2's box art:

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/u2cover.jpg)

It's both "woah, a mysterious alien world!" (even though it takes place on Earth) and hilariously schlocky bullet points ("Meet prominent people within the computer industry?!  HOLY SHIT NNNNNNNNNGH GIVE ME TEN MILLION COPIES RIGHT NOOOOOWWWWWW")


Bit of a long update this time, although the parts that take a long time to play are typically the parts that take the least time to write up.  Unless people want to hear about every skeleton I push over.  When I last left off, I was thinking that maybe I had to grind to a certain level to maybe cause ships to start showing up.

Grind grind grind.  Not much to report right now.  Somehow, I got to level 2, but I don't know when.  If my HP max is 100 x level, then it must have been a while ago (maybe at the beginning of the game?).  I've got like 400 XP somehow, but I don't see an indicator of how much you need to level up.

...

Still grinding.  Some monsters showing up like nixies and more giant squid, though it doesn't seem like water monsters drop money.  Nothing can really stand up to a few fireballs so far, so as long as I can keep my finances in the green I'm basically a death machine.  This is burning through cash, though.  There's one bridge west of Moonglow where trolls tend to ambush me whenever I'm crossing, so I'm grinding there a lot.  Easy access to the town, easy acccess to monsters.  Doesn't seem to be working, though.  I've got over 500 XP, I'd think that would be more than enough to level up, especially given that these monsters are giving less than 10 XP per kill.  I wonder if you have to get Lord British's permission to level up again, like you did in U3.  That would be all I need, to find Lord British so I can level up so I can get to Lord British.  I assume there must be a way to get off these islands somehow, if Fighters start in Jhelom then they'd be in the same boat (no pun intended) and I can't imagine they'd make the game unwinnable for 25% of all characters without noticing it.

I do finally spot a ship, but it doesn't seem too interested in attacking me.  I yell at it but it doesn't seem to notice.  Or maybe it does?  There's a slightly different looking water tile that it's right up against.  Maybe ships can't sail over those, like they represent shoals or something.  Unfortunately, they seem to ring around like half of Verity Isle, so it's going to take a while to get one to spawn somehwere it can reach me. 

...

I want to say... based on my playthrough of this 20+ years ago, that the moongates change where they go based on the time of day\phase of moon or something.

Yeah, I EVENTUALLY figured that bit out.  I decided to peek through the moongate to see if Valorian Isle would be more nautically accessible, but the screen flashed twice and dumped me back at the Moonglow gate.  I went through again and ended up... somewhere else.  Re-reading the History of Britannia, it flat out says that they are tied to the phases of the moons, but I guess I forgot that bit.  Britannia has two moons, Trammel and Felucca, one of which shows the origin and one of which shows the destination.  So you wait until the origin moon matches where you are and the destination moon matches where you want to go.  It's kind of a complicated mess so here's a chart to explain it.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/chart.png)

I seriously doubt my table of the old gates from U3 mean anything, so I'll probably have to put together some new charts here to map it out.  Or just leap randomly from gate to gate, striving to put right what once went wrong, hoping that each leap will be the leap home.  Actually, looking again, the map has a picture of the phases of the moon on each of the moongate locations so far, so I guess I'm just an illiterate idiot.  I also realize I don't know where I am, since I don't remember what the phase was when I stepped through and it looks like the moons keep spinning even when the game is paused.  I'm not as prepared as I was when I hopped over to Jhelom, but hopefully I can get back if things get too dire.

Well, I try to set up camp and am immediately jumped by two thieves who beat the shit out of me before I can wake up and steal all my money.  GREAT.  After blasting them in to kibble (I'm not so unprepared that I didn't bring any fireballs with me) I wobble to the west and there's a huge castle.  This looks promising.

Yep, it's Castle Britannia.  I rested outside so I don't have any open wounds, but I still feel like lodging a complaint about the welcoming party back there.  First order of business is to find British and get the scoop from him on what I need to do.  Maybe he can level me up or something, too.  I do kind of wish there was a command to look around, there's a bunch of weird tiles in here that I don't know what they do or if they hurt to touch or what.

Talking to Lord British, I notice that it looks like words that will generate viable conversation topics are capitalized.  He gives me a lot of vague pointers about how the Avatar is good and nice and a master of the eight virtues, and then casually mentions that of course you ALSO have to go to the fucking Abyss and check on the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.  Apparently, nobody can enter the chamber of the codex unless they've mastered the virtues.  So at least I know the basic flow now: master the eight virtues, go to the abyss.  Brit is is being waited on by a beautiful woman named Juliet (I guess it's good to be the king) who says she can help me but I'm not really clear on how.  She says it's important to know that the eight virtues are derived from three principles, but doesn't seem to have any more information on the subject.

There's also a prison here filled with people and what looks like a Reaper, a tentacled tree monster.  Exploring the rest of the castle on the way out, I stopped by the healer and one of the people bleeding out on the floor told me that some guy named Zircon in Minoc has mystic weapons, and that all other weapons will be useless in the abyss.  Yeah, that sounds familiar, Exodus pulled the same shit.  I suppose I shouldn't whine, presumably if my mage can wield them then it means that my main weakness, being unable to wield anything, is going to be largely negated, the way it was in U3. 

On the way out, I held down the movement key instead of tapping it and somehow phased through the freaking wall.  It looks like invisible passages are a thing in this game.  Great.  I bumble around in this new room for a bit, but it looks like you can see where the invisible passages are by them having a tiny white dot in the middle instead of a grey one.  That's going to be a pain to spot, but at least it's something.  Now I just have to go back to every freaking town I've ever seen and look for these things.  The guards in Jhelom mentioned passages, so I should probably head back there and check for that sometime.  On the other side is some kind of spring or pool or something, where some cute shepherd is lounging around.  She tells me her town was destroyed for being too prideful and that it's location is at K'J" L'L" which is a coordinate system I'm not familiar with.  It's going to be a pain to figure out where that is unless I get another coordinate for reference or at least some idea of what the highest "letter" is.  L is the 12th letter, so assuming that's the highest this grid goes, that puts it right on the side border and a little inside the top or bottom border.  Without knowing if that assumption is true, it can lie anywhere on a line between that point and the opposite corner.  But since I don't know if the letters increase north to south or south to north (or east to west etc.) there are four possible lines this place could theoretically lie on.  Or maybe there are negative values, like on Earth where 45 north or 45 south represent different places.  And that assumes the map is square, which I suppose it may not be.  Anyways, that's all speculation, I assume there will be somewhere that mentions this stuff again.  Unless I find a boat, I'm going to have to walk there anyways.

I ended up running through the castle again looking for secret passages.  There's one that leads to a treasure room, but one of the guards in there asks me not to steal so I suppose I'd better not loot the place.  I also explored a passage I'd forgotten, because the floor is covered in purple crap which I figured might be poisonous or some kind of force field.  I think it's a sleep causing force field, which is weird, but it leads to a guy behind a desk labelled "SEER" which is kind of surreal.  I just have these visions of the guy crawling in to work every morning with a mug of coffee that says "you don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!!!" and punching in on the time clock before putting on a nametag that says "ask me about your mystical destiny" and going to his desk to read Dillbert comics until five.  He asks me what path I'm pursuing, and when I try honesty, he tells me I'm honest and to go meditate at a shrine for "three cycles".  That sounds like a good next step, but unless I missed the shrine of honesty when I was doing all that orcmurder, I'm going to need a boat to get there.  I'm also good on Justice, and Honor apparently, but I have no idea where those shrines are.  He mentions that if I want to improve my sacrifice ranking I should "give of my life's blood" which seems to suggest giving blood at the clinic here.  Other than that, his answers are pretty much all "thou hast started out well, keep going" which doesn't tell me much about how to raise them.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day4.gif)

Anyways, I'm going to go give some blood, and then head off to that town to the west I spotted on my way in.  Not sure which town it is, probably the town of Britain, but maybe it will have some virtue swag to get or at least a reagent vendor.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 14, 2016, 10:46:55 AM

So, as I understand it, from my meeting with Lord British, my basic arc should be fairly simple.  Max out my virtues, meditate at a shrine to do... something.  Once I have all eight maxed, get magic gear from Zircon (probably some magic armor to find somewhere too, if U3 is the template here, that guy at the Lycaeum would be a good place to start), then go to the abyss, find the codex.  I have SERIOUS doubts about it being that simple, though, because people in towns keep dropping all these hints about mantras and stones and dungeons and runes and I don't know what any of this stuff is for aside from the stones being used for a key of some kind and the mantras are used at the shrines when meditating.

The nearest town to Castle Britain is the town of Britain, which is the home city for bards.  This region crawls with thieves, I've already seen three of them and I've barely moved a full screen.  This city also has an armory, and this one has slings!  They're like 25g a piece, though, which is pretty steep, about the price of two fireball spells.

I found the rune of compassion by a complete freak of luck, just searching a single tile at the end of the hallway that looked odd.  A beggar directed me to a bard named Pepper for info about it, but I stopped at the inn before I talked with her and found it by a complete fluke.  Some kid in the street tells me to ask someone named "Cricket" about the mantra.  Cricket is in the bar and tells me the mantra is "MU".  The shrine is allegedly to the east, across two bridges, and what I assume is the stone of compassion (the guy just called it the "yellow stone") is in a place called "Despise".  Given that this is the city of compassion, and there's a beggar here you can give money to, I suspect that's the quick way to level that up.

Some new gossip in this town is that one of the fighters in the inn is trying to master "orbs", and that there's a one-handed beggar at Serpent Castle who knows about them.  Also, I met a shepherd who escaped Magincia, which was apparently destroyed by the sin of pride.  Presumably the same city that shepherdess in the secret room in Castle British was talking about.  The History says the gods destroyed it, but this guy says it was demons.  History of Britannia treats it as a mythical lost city and doesn't know where it is, and this shepherd guy won't tell me.  Not that I have any pressing business there anyways, I suppose.

Slightly more pressing is that one of the guys lying in a pool of his own blood at the healer here warns me of a "terrible secret", namely that Mondain's influence has not left the world.  Polling him for more info, he says that there's a skull somewhere called "Buccanneer's Den" and makes me promise to destroy it.  That sounds more like a main plot than a subplot, except for the part where it's in what I assume is a town instead of at the middle of a castle covered in balrogs and force fields.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day5.gif)

In the southeast corner of the town are some familiar faces: Gweno and Iolo.  They were hanging out in New San Antonio in Ultima 2, and were singing in Castle Britain in U3.  They might have been in U1, Iolo at least was capering around the towns.  There was also a bard named "Gwino" which might have been Gweno, or might not, since I'm pretty sure I had to kill the hell out of her to get the key to rescue the princess.  That was basically what passed for puzzle solving in U1, by the way, you'd walk in to a castle and the jester would scream "I HAVE THE KEY" over and over so you walk over to where they are and blast their head off their shoulders and now YOU have the key.  Anyways, Gweno and Iolo are hanging out here in town, and once I tell Iolo that I like his music, (I mean, I assume it's good, this game doesn't have music) he offers to join me.  Given a choice, I'd rather a wall of beefy guys with plate mail to soak up some hits, but a bard is better than nothing.  He's got a sling to start with, but only cloth armor, so we'll need to upgrade that soon-ish.  The History says that bards can wear leather, and they can kind of cast magic, but I don't know that I need any help in that area.  But for now, we're two bad dudes with slings, so let's see how much easier grinding gets.



Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 17, 2016, 11:10:14 AM
Well, the slings are pretty amazing.  I mean, as far as I can tell, they do garbage damage, but they can hit enemies completely across the map and you can shoot through allies so even getting close to us is difficult now.  There's some really nasty stuff around here, too, demons and ettins and cyclops, in addition to the place being thick with thieves.  Thieves are particularly annoying because they'll nick your gold and gear as well as your health, and I still haven't forgotten Ultima 3 where one of them walked off with one of my exotic weapons, leaving my Cleric sipping a margarita in the back line for the entire last dungeon.

It does seem like even though I'm leveling up, my actual stats aren't improving.  In previous games, this was always the biggest timesink in the game, usually in the form of a titanic gold cost associated with raising stats.  No idea how to raise stats at all in this game, but it does have me worried.  If I disappear for a week or two, assume I've figured it out and now need to grind ten billion dollars.  Now that I have a second party member, some of the clunky UI elements from Ultima 3 are starting to poke up again, like having to choose who is going to cast open spells on the overworld map, but a lot of it (like food and inventory management) seems to be streamlined.  It's not terrible, but it does mess up the muscle memory I've been building with regards to casting spells.

I suppose there's not much point in sticking too close to Britain.  I've got over 500 food and it doesn't deplete very fast, and it's not like there's a reagent store for me to hover around.  I do need to pick up some leather armor for Iolo, but we may as well explore.  Checking the map, it looks like there are three sort of areas I might be able to reach on the mainland: some big castle thing up in the northwest by the Deep Forest, something south by the Cape of Heroes, and one way up in the northeast by Lost Hope Bay.  Checking the History, it indicates that the city by the Deep Forest is Yew, which is apparently the city of Druids, the city by Lost Hope Bay is Minoc, which is home to tinkers, and the city in the south is Trinsic, where the Paladins hang out.  I'll have to head to Minoc eventually to get that mystical weaponry, but I suspect that will be more of an endgame goal and I don't think I'm anywhere near geared up.  I could use a paladin in my party, though, so for starters I'll head south to Trinsic.

The trip is kind of long, I wonder if I should have tested out my moongate theory, but I did make some cash at least.  Had to skirt by the coast which opened up on the "fens of the dead" which the book describes as the "only isles a traveller should be cautious about" because they're infested with the undead.  I don't know the components to create the turn undead spell, the book doesn't say.  I assume it involves garlic because that's the one that tends to mess with undead specifically, but the other one could be anything, since I'm not sure exactly how turn undead works in this game.  Could be blood moss, which is used in movement spells, to make them move away.  Could be spider silk, which is used in spells of immobilizing, to take away whatever force is animating them.  Could be ginseng, which is used for curative items and by video game logic therefore might be harmful to the undead.  I have all of these components, so I may as well just mix a few and see what sticks.

Did some mixing and it turns out none of those are the component, it's actually garlic and sulfurous ash, the reagent used to make light or fire.  That stuff is stupidly useful, being used in both open spells and fireballs, so I've got heaps of it, but I also go through it pretty fast.  I'm also not really using my full range of spells, there's some, like Blink, that might be able to teleport me across narrow gaps.  Might help in getting across the gap by Jhelom, but I suspect it's got a limited range.  There's also a spell to control moongates, but that's one of the ones that has mysterious, unknown reagents.


Finally made it to Trinsic.  This is the town of Paladins, and the virtue of Honor.  Ran in to Lexington, the "Warlord of Trinsic" who told me that honor is gained by solving quests, but lost by killing non-evil creatures (most animals for example) or taking the gold of others.  I don't really know what a quest technically is, it's not like people are standing around town with "!" over their head or I've got a journal or something, but the seer said I was already maxed on honor anyway.  Next up is Dupre, who is "town leader"... does anyone in this city do any actual work, or is everyone the supreme chancellor of the eigth order of exalted megakings or something?  The inn does have a merchant, whose trade is "rumors", and he claims that a child named Terrin knows where the rune is.  Vergil the wizard is hanging out in the southwest corner of town, and he says he's an expert in making magical fields.  I already guessed that, though, because he's completely cut himself off from anyone outside by a ring of poison magic for reasons that I'm sure made sense at the time.  A mage named Quix tells me that a skeleton knows a great secret about the purple stone of honor.  Another mage tells me to ask at the Folley tavern about Mandrake, which is a component I haven't been able to find yet.  I did finally find Terrin, who is being menaced by a cow.  I wish I could help him, but I'm not sure how to get rid of it without blasting it and I suspect that would be dishonorable.  He tells me that the rune is in the southwest corner of the village.  GREAT.  Another trip through that idiot's poison fields, probably.  Also met a Paladin named Kline who says you need two things to enter and use the shrine, but won't tell me what they are.  Presumably, one is the mantra, which he tells me is "SUMM", but the other, I have no idea.  Maybe the rune, maybe the key that the stones are supposed to make.  In another corner (the game loves this "hide them in the corner behind some trees" gag, doesn't it) there's a freaking talking skeleton named Skitle.  Presumably, this is what Quix was talking about.  Skitle says they've seen the stone used in the altars of truth and courage.

Not sure what to make of that.  I thought you found the stones in altar rooms, but then each stone would be associated with one altar.  Looking back over my notes, truth and courage show up a few times, when someone in Britain said that pride exists without truth, love, or courage.  Also, someone in Moonglow said that humility was not derived from truth, love or courage.  I assumed that these were other ways of saying honesty, compassion, and valor, but I don't think I've heard another term for honor yet.  Maybe these are the three principles that Juliet at Castle British was talking about?  In combinatorics, there are 2n ways to combine n terms, so with three terms, there are eight unique sets: A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, ABC, and an empty set.  So if the virtues are derived from this, presumably honesty would be truth, compassion would be love, valor would be courage, humility would be the empty set, and maybe honor would be the combination of truth and courage?  Color might also factor in to it... the three primary colors can be combined eight ways (three primary + three secondary + black + white), and I think the stones for valor and compassion are red and yellow, respectively.  If honor is blue, then the combination of blue and red would be purple, the color of the stone of honor.  I'll have to test this when I check out Yew and Minoc.  Still not sure how the altars fit in, though.  Maybe you have to take the stone from the virtue altar to the principle altar?  But I'm not sure where the principle altars even would be, if each one is associated with multiple virtues and each virtue has it's own dungeon then the principle altar would have to be in two dungeons, or have their own separate dungeons that nobody has mentioned.  I dunno.  This is probably the biggest question mark I have right now, is how these stones and altars work.

Back to work.  There's not much more to the town.  There's a sailor hanging out in the weapons shop that says I need a sextant to navigate, and that I should ask around in the pub in Jhelom about them.  That might help me find that ruined city that shepherd was talking about at Castle British, but I suspect it would be more useful if I had a boat.  One of the guards tells me that Dupre joins a lot of quests, so I head over to him and he joins right away, which is great.  Dupre is level 3 and using chain mail and a sword.  Paladins can allegedly equip anything, but I don't know the stats on what kind of armor or weapons are best.  I assume magical chain mail is the best armor, unless I find magical plate or something, but the shop that sells it says I can't afford it, though I can't tell how expensive it is.

I decided to rest at the inn before heading back north, and the innkeeper gives me a "room with a backdoor" like I'm going to want to scram if the cops show up.  Apparently, the game assumes I want to wander the back alleys at night, because I'm then jumped by a group of thieves.  That's new.  There's like six of them, but fortunately the game healed me before I was attacked, so I'm able to kill about half of them.  Dupre does pretty good for his first day, but we still come out of the fight with some scratches and a lighter purse.  After the fight, the game drops us back in the hotel room, so we don't get any gold from winning, either.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day6.gif)

Well, I can't find anyone who says where the shrine is.  I don't know if it's accessible by land, but I figure I'll scout around a bit and try and find it.  If not, I'll head back north and check out Yew.

Edit: minor formatting stuff


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on December 20, 2016, 06:22:42 AM
Yep, slings = win in the early-mid game. Infact, in subsequent playthroughs, If I wasn't playing a bard, I immediately went to Britain to get Iolo (also because it's no Ultima without Iolo!).

Looks like you're in for a very looong game  :grin:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 21, 2016, 02:27:30 PM
Looks like you're in for a very looong game  :grin:

Really?  I've been to about half the towns on the map, at least, I thought I was about 1/3 of the way through or so.  I suppose I haven't seen a dungeon yet, but in previous games those have been pretty straightforward. 

Regarding companions, I'm kind of torn on bringing them along.  I'm not sure how much they're really helping in combat, considering if things get rough I can two shot just about anything by myself with magic.  I suppose if the dungeons are the real challenge, maybe they'll be more useful there.

Anyway, to recap:  Last time, Dupre joined the team, bringing us up to three: me (mage), Iolo (bard) and Dupre (paladin).  Our short term goal is to max our virtues out and meditate at the shrines to do something, and once we've done that, it's off to the Abyss to find the Codex.

First thing's first, I'm going to scout around and see if I can find the shrine of Honor.  I couldn't find anyone in town who mentioned anything about it, but the other shrines seemed to be kind of near to the towns, so if this one is in walking distance I might find it.  There's some weird monsters around here, like a fight against a gang of sea serpents, which are supposed to be related to dragons.  They do take some killing, but they go down pretty easily for dragons.  I was originally planning on playing this on "hard mode" with what I guess is the weakest class in the game, but now I'm wondering if in avoiding that, I've somehow ended up with the strongest.  Pretty much nothing is a threat to my mage, unless he's out of spells, and he generally isn't.  Open seems incredibly useful, and I genuinely don't know how classes that can't use magic at all are supposed to survive the early game, since without Open, every chest has a chance to poison you, and without Cure, poison pretty much ends you, I'd think.

I also see some kind of weird tornado thing off the coast.  Not sure what it is, some kind of whirlpool or waterspout or what.  In Ultima 3 there was a magical whirlpool that you sailed in to and it would take you to Ambrosia, the lost, hidden land where you found the shrines that would boost your attributes.  So maybe it's something you're supposed to sail in to, but at this point I wouldn't bet on it.

Eventually, I found another weird Stonehenge looking place off to the southwest of Trinsic.  Is this a shrine?  There was one near Jhelom, but it was on a different island so I couldn't get to it.  This one is on the other side of some poisonous swamp, so I don't really look forward to crossing it, but at least it's physically possible, just expensive.

Upon reaching it, it does turn out to be a shrine.  Meditating at it is a fairly straightforward process, just focus on the mantra, and now, I have achieved partial Avatarhood in honor.  One down, seven to go!  I also get some kind of weird... vision, I guess?  Of a vertical squiggly line.  No idea what that is supposed to help with, I realize mystic visions are supposed to be kind of cryptic but this is taking it a bit far.  Should I beware the vertical line, will I meet a tall dark handsome vertical line, what exactly am I supposed to take away from this?

Now that I'm a partial avatar, I should probably head back to the Lycaeum and talk to that guy about magic armor, but I think first I'll grind some compassion and sacrifice back in Britain with the beggar and the clinic.  Probably check out Yew and Minoc, too.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day7.gif)

I was going to end the update there, but doing a bit of grinding, I ran in to a pirate ship in Britanny Bay, which I was able to board and take over.  Seems fairly simple to pilot, so now I should at least be able to reach places like Dagger Isle and look for that Honesty shrine.  The ship has cannons which can wreck just about anything they can get in range, but as far as I can tell, you don't get anything from doing that (this was the same in U3, probably because in U2 the best way to grind was to just sit in a boat and blast enemies on the shore).  The speed of the ship varies with the wind direction, but it's not as irritating as it was in U3 where you got an error chime every time you tried to sail in to the wind.  There's a spell I could cast to change the direction of the wind, but I suspect that would be a waste of money unless there's a bunch of very tight naval maneuvering at some point.



Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 26, 2016, 11:37:59 AM
Meant to put this up on Saturday, oops.  After the last break, I did some grinding, got MOST of my scores up to Hawkwind's satisfaction.  

TABLE O' VIRTUE
Honesty: READY
Compassion: READY
Valor: READY
Honor: Avatar Mode Activate
Justice: READY
Sacrifice: READY
Humility: Thou needst more experience points!
Spirituality: Thou needst more experience points!

Not sure how to raise the other two.  Humility I guess is maybe just answering "no" when people ask if you're the best?  So maybe I'll just get it by playing naturally.  I have no idea how to raise spirituality, though.  When it comes down to it, I have no idea how to raise most of these, they seem to rise normally with just a few minor adjustments to how you'd normally play (like, not killing animals).  Giving money to the beggar and blood to the healer is just about the only deliberate virtue grinding I've done so far.

I'm hanging around Britain right now, so I should check around and see if the shrine of compassion is nearby.  Someone said it was east across two bridges, which according to my map puts it near somewhere called "Lock Lake".  I could sail closer with my new boat, but since every water enemy I've fought has failed to drop any gold, I think I'll just walk there.  More opportunity for treasu... I mean, for VIRTUOUS and HONORABLE COMBAT that way.

The bridges are kind of an issue, it seems like every bridge in Britannia has a really high (like, 50%) chance of spawning a group of trolls under you when you try to cross.  The second bridge is blocked by swamps, too, so I have to burn through a cure spell there.  I'm getting really low on blood moss, I should head back to Moonglow soon.

I eventually did find the shrine, tucked way back in the hills, meditated and got another vision.  Two down.  I figure I'll head back to Britain, jump over to Moonglow, restock, and come back to check out Yew and Minoc.

Hmm, well, that's a slight problem.  The Britain gate is not letting me go back to Moonglow.  The two moons sync up such that whenever Britain's phase is on the origin moon, the destination moon is facing the wrong way.  Jhelom suffers a similar problem.  It looks like each phase of the origin moon syncs up with three phases of the destination moon.  So in the time it takes the origin moon to orbit once, the destination moon orbits exactly three times, unless my math is off, so you can't wait a few years for the phases to sync up or something.  While I'm working out what the shortest trip back to Moonglow would be, I also notice that there's only seven moongates marked on the map.  There doesn't seem to be a location for the waning crescent moon.  Hmm.  That seems worth checking out.

But I don't really want to go anywhere without spell components, and I can't seem to get them from here.  I can get to Yew and Minoc, though, so may as well check those towns out first before I head back.  Trinsic and Jhelom should have a gate that lets me get home to Moonglow, and the gate near Yew should be able to take me to Jhelom.  So maybe my trip looks like Yew - Jhelom - Moonglow - restock supplies - Minoc, unless I've messed up my chart.

The trek north across the Serpent's Tooth mountains was long and we were attached constantly by mountain giants, thieves, and necromancers with skeletal minions.  We're now fully out of bloodmoss and very low on sulphurous ash.  I can kind of get by without bloodmoss, but sulphurous ash is a component in so many combat spells I'd be in serious trouble if I don't get resupplied soon.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day8.gif)

I came out of the mountains a fair way east of where I was planning, but it's hard to navigate this area.  It's all so densely forested that Yew could be one tile away and I'd never see it.  Monster attacks are continuous, but less dangerous than they were in the mountains.  Finally managed to find it after zigzagging across the forest for a while.  Hopefully, this will be fairly straightforward and I'll be able to get out of here back to civilization.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 28, 2016, 11:07:48 PM
Last time, I crossed the Serpent's Tooth mountains and after wandering around the Deep Woods for a while I finally found Yew, the city of druids.  I need to finish my business in here and get back to Moonglow to restock on supplies.

The virtue Yew is based around is Justice.  The people here are named weird for some reason.  There's a greeter named "DWP," and a bunch of druids all over, one of whom is NAMED "Druid".  Druid tells me that someone named Talford knows where the rune is, and that the shrine is off to the northeast.  There are two guys who are both named "Pinrod" who say that the druids chant the mantra of justice but don't say what it is.  Some beggar in the hospital tells me that someone named "Jaana" might join me, after I give her some gold for her sick baby.  I track down Talford, and he's sitting in a gigantic throne in a room with "JUSTICE" along the back wall.  Some kind of court?  He says the rune is hidden well and asks me if I've honestly never committed a crime ever.  I think that's a hard question to answer accurately.  Does he count, like, jaywalking as a "crime"?  Or is this some kind of "everybody has robbed a liquor store once or twice in their lives, am I right guys" kind of thing?  Like, are we talking about actual criminal charges (theft, assault, prostitution, murder, etc.), or do civil infractions (littering, speeding, planting a bush too close to the curb, etc.) count as "crimes"?  I'd like to know what I'm confessing to here, your honor.  The wording here is pretty leading, so I suspect I'm supposed to answer yes.  Sigh.  Yes, it's true, your honor, I did once leave a bottle of Dr. Pepper on a park table instead of disposing it in the proper receptacle.  I am a menace to society, TAKE ME AWAY.  He tells me to do penance in a cell, which seems kind of steep for that, but whatever.  Justice system here seems kind of fucked up if they just expect you to walk in to a room and sit around for a bit to be absolved of every crime ever.

Oh, wait, when I go in to the jail, the guard actually DOES ask me if it's a felony or a misdemeanor I'm in for.  The hell is this.  We don't have those in Canada, they're called indictable or summary offenses here.  Am I in Britannia, or Texas?  Well, I guess misdemeanor?  Does it even count as a misdemeanor if it didn't take place in the US?  I don't know.  Just handcuff me and chain me to the wall, you big strong guard you, I've been naughty. Misdemeanor is too long to even fit in to the text field but there is no chance that I'm confessing to a felony just because of the limitations of a parser interface.  I was just acting in self defense!  All those shopkeepers in U3 attacked me first!  I tell the guard it's a misdemeano and he says to go to the "left" cell even though they're arranged north to south.  WHATEVER.  I don't find anything in the southern cell, which is filled with homeless people.  The northern cell has some villain named "Vorpal" in it.  He "eats people" who bug him.  Hmm, my brilliant deductive mind tells me this must be the felony cell.  Not that you'd know that since it's unlocked and anyone can wander in and out whenever they want.  Searching, I find the rune of Justice on the floor of his cell.  So wait, they honestly expected me to go to the magistrate, confess to committing a felony (because, you know, who hasn't done a bit of aggravated malicious wounding these days), throw me in to a cell with a cannibal or whatever, find the rune and then just open the door and march out of prison?  Weird.  Well, after serving the shortest prison term ever, I emerge a new man having paid my debt to society.

Outside, I also met a druid named Calumny, who claims to have invented the "Quickness" spell, and tells me that it only requires one pinch of blood moss, despite the spell book claiming it requires two.  That's kind of neat, I like the idea that talking to people and learning things in this game isn't just "I heard a rumor that item X is in location Y".

Navigting this city is just as annoying as navigating the world outside it, and for the same reason: much of it is covered by trees which take forever to push through and you can't see through them very far.  Pushing through the wilderness, I did find a bunch of Druids camped by a fire.  Jaana is here, and she joins me right away.  She's only level 2, though.  Druids can't use metal tools, so I need to buy some leather armor for her (they sell it in Britain, I believe) and a bow (from... Trinsic, I think?) would be ideal.  She can also cast magic, which is nice.  Druid icons in this game look pretty badass, too, with them wielding these giant snakes as weapons.  The other druids in the clearing are really reluctant to talk, not sure what their deal is.  They keep saying "beh... beh..." which... I dunno.  Someone said the mantra of Justice was chanted by the druids, and these are the only ones that have said anything close to a chant, and nobody else has had anything to say about the mantra.  Still, "beh" doesn't sound much like a mantra to me.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day9.gif)

That's all I can see to do in Yew... it's possible I missed something, since so much of the town is covered in trees.  I didn't hear anything about the stone of Justice, I'm not sure if I got the mantra or not, I did get the rune though.  We'll see how this goes.  I really need to stock up on supplies, not sure if I should head back to Moonglow right away or try to visit the shrine and "Empath Abbey" which is supposed to be nearby.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on December 30, 2016, 04:01:49 PM
If my progress is really as slow as Lucas is saying, I should probably speed things up.  Since I'm not really in huge danger of dying out here (just being inefficient) I could probably wrap up this corner of the world before I head back to moonglow to resupply.

The first order of business is the shrine of Justice, which is northeast of Yew.  The trek there is uncomfortably long, I wonder if it's just my perception after having to hack through leagues of this stupid bush with no supplies or if the map is skewed slightly to make distances up here look shorter than they really are.  There's a bunch of nasty fights on the way, including a pack of headless (basically big hairy dudes with no heads) and some Ettins being led by some big demon or balrog (I can never remember to check these guys names and I can't tell them apart by sight).  Jaana is unfortunately kind of useless, I forgot that if you choose to "attack" when you have a dagger and the enemy is not in range, you'll throw the dagger, and then it's gone for good.  So now she fights with her hands, and is only level 2.  The monsters seem to be getting surprisingly tough, I'm only level 5 and I'm running in to demons and gazers.  I seem to have killed about 2/3 of the monsters in the book despite being so low level, I wonder if there are going to be palette swaps later or what.

The shrine itself is surrounded by poisonous swamps again.  At least I have a few cure spells left.  Nobody has died yet, so I suppose that speaks to the vastly reduced difficulty of this game compared to U3, at least in terms of being able to heal and make money.  The combat doesn't seem much different (if anything, it's harder because the enemies have better pathfinding), but making enough money fast enough that you wouldn't be blowing through more than you earned was way more difficult in U3.

Meditating at the shrine, the mantra of justice IS apparently "beh".  Weird.  I get another vision, too, the same one I had at the shrine of Honor.  I thought each vision might add a piece to the symbol or something, but it doesn't look like that's the case.  I wonder if they're letters?  The Britannian runes I know don't seem to match the one I saw at the shrine of compassion.  I might have to look up that sheet Fr. Mike mentioned that lists them all if I'm expected to know this stuff.

Next up, I should probably do a sweep of this "Empath Abbey" and then head back to resupply.  Another run-in with a group of ettins being led by a demon, and this one is definitely a balrog.  They're seriously throwing balrogs at me at level 5?  Those were end-game monsters in the prequels.  I wonder what the level cap is?


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: cironian on December 31, 2016, 10:25:18 AM
I wonder what the level cap is?

I think the levels on the 5th game only went to 9 or so. That would fit in well with the spawns you are seeing.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 01, 2017, 11:39:28 PM
I think the levels on the 5th game only went to 9 or so. That would fit in well with the spawns you are seeing.

Maybe you're right, I think the level caps for the first two games were 9 also if I remember right.  But in those games, your level didn't actually do anything, and in U3 where your level DID matter the max was 25, so I just assumed it would be the same.

Anyway, now it's time to wrap up my business in the Deep Forest.  Once I found Yew, the rest of the region is fairly easy to navigate with a few landmarks, mainly the rivers.  The abbey is fairly straightforward to get to, outside of the constant attacks from thieves and orcs.  A few steps in and I'm getting some creepy vibes.  The gate guard asks me if I'm "saturated" with love, and nearby the greeter is a small child named Chinup, who asks me if I'm looking for love.  I tell him yes, and he directs me to look at the Oak Grove, so if I ever need to find Chris Hansen for a quest I know where he's probably hiding.

One of the side rooms has a beggar in front of an ankh.  I can't "examine" or "look" at things in this game or anything, so just messing around, I try to (t)ransact with the ankh, and it actually talks back.  Is that something all ankhs do, or did I find the one talking statue in the world somehow?  This is weird.  It says it's name is Life and that it resonates thoughts.  Apparently, I need three things to enter the abyss, one of which is the "candle of love".  Apprently, some bard "beyond the secret passage" knows where it is, so presumably it's in the Abbey somewhere?  Next up is a "pass guard" who asks if I've "solved" the altars and says that I can get a "three part key" from them to enter the chamber of the codex.  I really hope I can figure out more about these altars before heading into the dungeons, I really don't want to have to trek in and out of the darkest pits of Britannia without a clear goal, and if these altars are some kind of puzzle then I have no idea what to do at them.


Similar to the Lycaeum, the Abbey is presided over by a Baron and Baroness, Robert and Marcy.  They don't seem to have any useful information, unless I'm missing a topic.  However, their throne room does have a secret passage in the west wall which leads to another room which has a secret passage in the south wall which leads to another room which has a secret passage in the west wall which leads outside.  This bard is freaking paranoid, sandwiched between three secret walls and one of those areas of the map that LOOKS like wide open space but if you step one tile to the west you hit the map edge and return to the overworld.  The bard claims that the candle is hidden in a secret area off of Lock Lake, which was the lake the Shrine of Compassion was next to.  

So if it's not here, I really don't have a reson to hang around.  There's a door in the throne room that's locked, I really don't know how to handle locked doors in this game.  There is no thief class or anything, and I haven't seen skeleton keys or anything so far.  I might as well finish trawling this place for any information but I suspect I'm going to have to come back later.  There's a "Brother Antos" here (related to Father Antos at the Lycaeum?)  who tells me that I can meditate at the shrine here to find out more about the candle.  I haven't seen a shrine yet, I suspect it's on the other side of that locked door.  There's some lady in waiting named Susan who asks me if I'm allowed to be in her room.  Hell, I don't know, are certain rooms in these places off limits?  I can see how someone slamming the door back and screaming "NAME JOB LOVE CANDLE BYE" in your face might cause someone to want some distance, but how am I supposed to know if a certain room is "off limits" or not?

And that seems to be it, as far as I can tell.  There's a locked door here, and I'm starting to suspect it'll be important for me to figure out how to unlock doors since I've also seen them in Jhelom and the Lycaeum.  But for now, time to head back to Moonglow.  It takes a bit of wandering to find the moongate clearing, but once I arrive, it seems like the new moongate chart is accurate so far, since I did make it to Jhelom.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day10.gif)

I don't have much business in Jhelom, but I do ask at the bar about a sextant, like the guy in Trinsic said to.  The barkeep tells me to ask for item "D" at guild shops.  I haven't seen a guild shop yet, as far as I know.  In U3, they were thieves guild shops, and that's where you got things like torches and, importantly, skeleton keys for opening locked doors.  It does mention them in the History of Britannia, come to think of it.  Allegedy, Lord British has basically driven the thieves guild out of Britannia, but there is one last bastion hanging on... somewhere.  The History suggests it's maybe on an uncharted island somewhere, which sounds like a pain.  I need to find a guild shop to get a sextant to navigate my ship, but in order to get to the guild shop I'll need to navigate my ship to an uncharted island.  Great.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 04, 2017, 06:09:35 PM
Finally made it back to Moonglow.  With all the money I made from killing Enemies of Virtuetm, I can pretty much max out my stores for some of the cheaper reagents.  Buying some more food, too, just in case.  And then back to Britain.  I'm thinking my next stop should be Minoc, then I'll try and take the moongate to the last listed location on the map, what I assume is Skara Brae.

I did stop in Britain briefly, apparently nobody in my party has enough XP to level even after that fun we had playing tag in the forest with the orcs and demons.  Hawkwind says I'm Avatar ready on Spirituality now, too, only need to work on humility somehow, but it's hard when I'm so amazingly awesome at everything.  Grabbed some leather armor for Jaana, I should really head to Trinsic to get a bow for her.  I'm not sure if I really need anyone else in my party, I'll see how things go.  I'm worried that the difficulty will spike when I find the dungeons.  I do think it's weird that I haven't run across a single dungeon so far, unless they're hidden somewhere you'd think I'd have passed one at least.

I figure I'll head to Minoc first, but on the way I'll scout out Lock Lake and try to find that candle of love that the people at the Abbey told me about.  It looks from the map like Lock Lake is an endorheic lake, with no passage between it and the ocean, so my boat is going to collect dust for a while longer.  The lake is also pretty big, the largest in Britannia if the scale on the map is accurate.  So hopefully the candle will be somewhere obvious, I don't like the idea of having to search every tile in the area.  I suspect they won't make me do that, so if I can't find it quick I'll just keep going to Minoc and hope to find more information on it later.

Searching around Lock Lake is not particularly fruitful.  I am getting in to a lot of fights and it's getting annoying how much I'm missing things.  If I had to guess, I'd put my accuracy at about 20% or so, which is fine when I'm mowing down orcs from across the screen, but when I'm tangling with Balrogs they can do some serious damage quick.  Just got through a fight with one who poisoned me and brought Jaana down to 25% hp pretty much by itself.  If there's some way to increase stats, I haven't found it yet.  Combat is getting really annoying, they keep throwing these gangs of like seven weak enemies at me and my combat log is all *miss* *miss* *miss* *weak hit* *miss*.  It's like being savaged by squirrels, they're not really much of a threat they just take ages to freaking kill.  If I wasn't worried about this virtue stuff I'd be running from half of these fights, but I'm like 75% sure that would tank my honor or valor.  I should have gotten a sling for Jaana, she's basically a complete liability at this point.  I'm trying to save the last enemy in every fight for her, boxing them in with the other three characters so they can't run, in the hopes that I can get some levels on her, but she is seriously lagging.  I might have her chuck some spells if things don't pick up.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day11.gif)

Well, I can't find anything near Lock Lake.  So, this entire day was basically a huge waste of time, looks like I'll have to try to find out more about this "secret place" though I have no idea who to ask.  Next stop, though, is Minoc.  At least getting THERE is straightforward, just have to wade through some more monsters.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 06, 2017, 06:01:04 PM
So, Minoc.  This city is associated with the virtue of Sacrifice and the class "tinker".  I'm not sure exactly what a tinker is supposed to be in this game.  The History of Britannia says they're "great fighters" and implies they will repair weapons and armor but I haven't noticed any of my gear getting damaged nor do I know of a keyboard shortcut to repair it.  Tinkers allegedly hate magical weapons which seems like it would limit their fighter abilities since it's not like there's any advanced tech, like guns or something, that only tinkers can use, not that I've seen yet anyway.  So, they don't like magic and they have worse gear than fighters?  Not sure if they have an upside I'm just not aware of.

There's a weapon shop here that sells magical weapons, which seems kind of weird since I thought tinkers were supposed to hate that stuff?  Seems kind of pointless to buy anything here.  I suspect I'm going to have two weapons: the exotic weapons to use in the abyss, and bows/slings to use outside of it, so magic swords and maces and stuff are cool but probably too expensive to be worth it.  Though, there is a bard here singing a song about ravens who watch corn and say "CAH".  That sounds suspiciously like a mantra...  Capitalized and everything.

In the back of the store is Zircon, who allegedly knows about "mystic arms".  I ask him about them, and he says he gave them away, to Sir Simon and Lady Tessa.  I've seen Lords and Ladies before, in the Lycaeum and Empath Abbey, but none named Simon or Tessa yet.

Next up, I hit the inn.  Inside is a Ranger, who tells me that he's from Skara Brae and they've apparently lost their rune.  Jeez, take one of mine, I've got like five of the things and I have no idea what to do with them.  Though now that I've said that, standing right next to the ranger is a guy who carves runes for a living.  He says you need runes to get in to shrines, so there's that mystery solved.  I guess I was using them without knowing, apparently.  He also says his sister, Mischief, knows where the rune of sacrifice is.

A wandering tinker outside says the shrine is by a lake to the east.  With any luck, it will be reachable by foot.  There's a man named Damon whose job is to "stand around and think to himself".  He seems useless, but does mention that the bard's verse contains the mantra, so presumably it is "CAH".

In the northeast corner of town is a huge poor house.  I suppose on the one hand it's pretty odd that one of three buildings in the city is a homeless shelter, but on the other hand at least they don't just chuck them in prison like the other cities seem to.  One man in here is suffering from a "tsetse byte," is this some programmer humor I don't know about?  There's also a guy named Alkerion who says the orange stone of sacrifice needs to be used at the altar rooms of love and courage.  So, if my current "color" theory is right, love (yellow) + courage (red) = sacrifice (orange).  If it's just a matter of using a stone in the corresponding altar rooms, that clears up that puzzle, but now I have no idea where to find them.  If each dungeon has an altar room, then presumably there are either three dungeons (one for each principle) or eleven (one for each virtue + one for each principle) and if there are eleven then I have no idea how I've managed to miss ever seeing ANY of them.  On the other hand, if there are three, I can imagine them being hidden in remote corners of the world or something without me stumbling across them, that's fine, but then does each dungeon have multiple stones?  


Also hanging out in the poor house is a malnourished girl named Linda Sue, someone named Julia who says self preservation is the highest grace but doesn't seem to have much else, and some guy named Jude who is seeking to atone for some sin which he won't describe.  After wandering around for a while I finally find Mischief, hanging around outside the back wall of the weapon store.  Mischief says the rune is inside the forge, which is inside the weapon shop, by Zircon.  Okay, now I know why they call it the rune of sacrifice, ouch.  Zircon won't hand over the rune or turn off the forge, so I have to actually WALK INSIDE the thing while it's on.  Naturally, as soon as I do, Zircon randomly moves to block the exit, like the titanic asshole he is.  But at least I got the rune.

A short rest at the inn passes uneventfully, and I'm ready to set off to the shrine.  The description was that it's near "a lake to the east" and the only lake on the map that matches that description is pretty far away, on the very tip of the continent.  It's actually on a kind of nice looking island in the middle of the lake.  Meditating there for three cycles, and I'm Avatar ready on Sacrifice, now.  The vision is the same one I had in the Shrine of Compassion, not sure if they're all this similar or I'm just getting the repeats.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day12.gif)

TABLE O' VIRTUE
Honesty: READY
Compassion: Avatar Mode Activate
Valor: READY
Honor: Avatar Mode Activate
Justice: Avatar Mode Activate
Sacrifice: Avatar Mode Activate
Humility: Thou needst more experience points!
Spirituality: READY

Checking my supplies, it looks like I've already burned through about a third of my reagents, which is kind of worrying since I just restocked two days ago.  Wait, are those enemy thieves stealing my reagents?   Those bastards!  There's no way I burned through thirty "open" spells just searching Lock Lake.  It looks like my spells themselves are intact, maybe they steal reagents and not completed spells?  I'll need to keep an eye on that.  Anyways, next up is the last city I haven't visited, Skara Brae, city of Rangers.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 09, 2017, 01:36:11 AM
I'm wondering if there's a better way to write these up.  I keep aiming to make them shorter, because I suspect people are getting sick of these gigantic text walls, but at the same time, I don't want to put in weird breaks where I explore half of a town one update and the other half the next.

Last up on our walking tour of Britannia is Skara Brae.  There's a moongate from Minoc right to it so getting there is pretty straightforward.

I'm immediately greeted by a guy named Shamino, who tells me he's seeking the great truth that's held in the codex.  He and three other guys are clustered around a big ankh which I can speak to.  I guess all the ankhs in this world can talk?  I'll have to check if there are any in the older areas I missed, I thought I remembered seeing one somewhere, Castle British maybe?  I can't figure out what I'm supposed to ask this one.  It's the ankh of spirituality.  Seems weird to me, that Rangers are the class that epitomized spirituality.  I always pictured them as less interested in the eternal questions like what happens to our soul after we die, and more interested in lowering the penalty for their offhand weapon.  The ankh says it can tell me the "secret" of the rune, but when I ask it about the rune, it asks me for the mantra, so it looks like I'll have to come back once I know it.  If the secret is that someone has already walked off with the rune, yeah, I already know that.

There's a mage here, Carlyle, who asks if I believe in magic.  Believe in it?  Man, I'm a wizard who throws fireballs at animated skeletons.  Am I supposed to be Scullying this stuff, going "I'm sure there's a RATIONAL explanation for all this" as a Gazer is shooting sleep rays out of it's eye?  Anyways, he tells me that the Magic Missile spell only requires one Sulfurous Ash.  I still don't see why I'd ever cast it, since this cheaper version is as expensive as a fireball spell in terms of reagents.  I guess maybe it costs less mana?  Might be useful for getting some XP on Jaana, since her mana isn't as high as mine.  The other two guys standing around this ankh, a fighter and a bard, don't seem to have any useful information.

There's a teacher hanging out in the healer who claims that the last door in the abyss is locked by a "word of passage".  Is this the same door that's ALSO locked by the three part key?  Ugh.  There are a lot of prerequisites showing up.  The teacher says to talk to Zair the Wise in Paws.  Paws?  That's a familiar sounding name, but I can't remember where from.  Not in Ultima 4 yet, and this is the last town I know of.  There's one unmapped moongate exit, maybe that's where it goes.

There's also a reagent shop in this town.  Loitering in the lobby is a "very small mage" named Presto who says he can cast Kill, Jinx, and View, and asks if I know what they all have in common.  Well, they all take nightshade, so I haven't been able to cast any of them, since I don't know where to get any.  He tells me to ask the bartender about it at a pub called the "Axe n' Ale" in Vesper.  I also don't know where Vesper is, how many new towns are out there?  I guess one of them must have the guild shop, too.  I should try and find these next, I think.

In the northeast corner of the town is a kid named "Barren" who says the mantra is "OM", and a ranger named Mitre who is reading a wizards journal.  She says the white stone is no longer in the dungeon of Hythloth.  Is this a thing with Rangers?  All their stuff gets stolen?  No rune, no stone, nobody knows about the shrine, the only person that knows the mantra is a little kid... Mitre says to ask at the Tap in Trinsic about it, so at least that's a place I know where it is.

Heading back to the Ankh now that I know the mantra, it says to check in the treasury of Castle Britain.  I think I know where that is, I found a room with a bunch of treasure chests when I was searching for hidden walls.  The Ankh also says that to get to the shrine I need to "enter the gate of full moons".  By my chart, that's the moongate by Minoc.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day13.gif)

Next up, it's off in to the unknown.  There's one moongate destination that's not marked on the map, and this looks like as good a time to check it out as any.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on January 09, 2017, 02:11:42 AM
I find your walls of text very enjoyable to read. You are a good enjoyable writer. Sorry if I haven't mentioned that before.

I can understand why you are unclear on where to go as the game does not seem to help you at all. I was rolling my eyes at the "Justice" rune solution too.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on January 09, 2017, 05:11:52 AM
Keep writing, really enjoying this as well.  :thumbs_up: :popcorn:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Reg on January 09, 2017, 12:34:24 PM
I'm enjoying your posts too. I never played the Ultimas back in the day and I know I'd never have the patience for them now. Your stories are almost as good as playing.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 12, 2017, 07:32:21 PM
All right, sounds good.  I guess I'll stay the course for now, then.  

In the meantime,  since the last update I had a slight change of plan.  It occurs to me that I might as well take this opportunity to head back to Trinsic first to outfit Jaana, and while I'm there ask about the white stone.

On the way, I figured I'd stop by the shrine in Jhelom to get my Avatar certification in valor, but I apparently don't have the rune for that shrine yet.  I forgot that.  I did get to test out the "Blink" spell to get to and from the shrine, it's not targeted which makes it really dicey to use.  Also stopped in briefly at Castle Britain to get my level ups (Kail is 6, Iolo and Dupre are 5, and Jaana is 3) and check in with Hawkwind, who says I'm good on Humility now.  So, that should be all the virtues ready, just need to visit the shrines.  Also grabbed the rune from the treasury.

Checked in at The Tap in Trinsic to follow up on the lead about where to look for the white stone, the barkeep says to check with some hermit named Sloven who lives... near Lock Lake.  The hell?  Unless he's ALSO got the candle of love, then how are all these people squatting near Lock Lake?  I'm pretty sure I already searched the area.  Twice.  There is a magical spell to view a map of the nearby area, and I might have to resort to that, but it requires both nightshade and mandrake root to cast it and those are the two reagents I don't know where to find.  I'm rapidly running out of leads, here.

So, back on track, and now it's time to finally check off the biggest remaining question mark on my list: where does this last moongate go?  Walk through and... it looks like a fairly tiny area on the southeast coast of some larger landmass.  The area is mostly blocked off by mountains, except for one new kind of tile.  Checking the map, I don't see where this could be, the coastline doesn't seem to match up with anything on the map, though given how little I can see that could easily be wrong.

I head in, and the game helpfully tells me I have entered the ruins of Magincia.  I've heard Magincia referenced a few times, including in the History of Britannia, as a kind of Britannian Atlantis, a city that was prosperous and beautiful but was destroyed for being too "prideful".  Not sure what destroyed it, some have said demons or gods, but either way I'm not sure how safe it's going to be around here.

The bridge in to town is blocked by poisonous swamps, so I have to blow a few cure spells just to get in.  Once inside, I'm greeted by a demon named "Virtuebane".  That's a bit on the nose, like playing Knights of the Old Republic and meeting a Sith character named "LightSidePointHater".  Virtuebane confirms that Magincia "fell in to darkness" because of their pride.  South of him is an animated skeleton named Slim who appears to have been a survivor of the disaster (using the term "survivor" loosely) and confirms that his pride did him in.

Scouting around a bit, this whole town is lousy with skeletons and ghosts using the same graphics, it's going to be rough keeping track of who I've talked to.  The place is also peppered with swamp tiles, which mean I'm blowing a small fortune on cure poison spells.  I reeeeeally hope I can find the stuff I need here because I seriously don't want to come back.  

There's a ghost named Ghostly who says that he (and presumably the other ghosts around here) is forever bound to this world, wandering in eternal torment for the sin of pride.  That seems... a bit excessive?  I mean, sure, it's bad to be prideful, but it's one of those "what a douchebag" sins, not like a "hey guys, didn't there used to be, like, six million Jews around here?" kind of thing.  Dooming someone's tortured soul to walk the earth for eternity for the crime of pride seems kind of like condemning someone to eternal torture in the pits of Hell for poor grammar.  I mean, it's not like, say, there was one egotistical mad scientist who unleashed forces they didn't understand and wiped out the entire city or something, and they're just saying "I was too prideful" as shorthand for the ACTUAL atrocity they committed.  EVERYONE here is doomed to eternal torment for their pride.  They can't ALL have unleashed some horrible disaster at coincidentally the same moment.

One of the skeletons says to ask snake about the rune and the stone.  Snooping around the pub, there's a phantom tending the bar, and a skeleton named Skullface.  Between that and snake, this is looking like a cutscene from Metal Gear Solid 5.  There's also a "fat" skeleton (I don't even see how that's possible) named "Bulbous" who's tending the food store, but he claims all his merchandise has spoiled.  Wandering around, I'm attacked by a python.  I try to drive it away, but accidentally end up killing it.  Snake, what's wrong?  Snake?  SNAAAAAAAAKE?!!  Damn.  I hope that wasn't the snake I was supposed to talk to, though on reflection it probably was.  And I also hope I haven't messed up my virtues, I haven't seen a way to tell if you're gaining or losing virtue aside from walking all the way back to Britain and asking Hawkwind.  I don't know how I'm supposed to handle situations like that, I think I lose virtue if I run or if I kill a non-evil creature, so I have to beat it up until it runs, but if it's a creature I can one-shot I guess I'm just screwed.

One of the skeletons asks me if I'm dead, and when I say no, he tells me to watch out for Nate, a name I don't recognize.  In the northeast corner of the map (surrounded by more #$%#%ing swamp tiles) is a crumbling skeleton who tells me that Demitry and Weirdrum know about the silver horn and the shrine, respectively.  The silver horn is allegedly needed to get past the demon who guards the shrine.  I assume that's in addition to needing the rune.  Demitry says the "Queen of Love" has a lady in waiting who can tell me more about it.  I'm guessing that's the lady in Empath Abbey who told me to get out of her room.  Weirdrum says the shrine is on the north bank of the "Isle of the Abyss".  That's at least a hint about where the abyss is, on some island somewhere, and if I'm sailing there then hopefully it should be fairly easy to access.

Well, that's everybody, and no sign of the snake, unless it's the one that I killed.  So, I exit the town and re-enter, hoping that it will cause the snake to respawn, and it does.  This time, I don't let the snake get the jump on me, and I manage to initiate conversation the turn before it attacks.  The snake says to ask in the pub in Britain about the black stone, and to ask Barren in Paws about the rune.  Paws again?  Hmm.  Anyways, I finish the conversation and the snake immediately goes for my throat again.  Grr.  I manage to drive it off without killing it this time, but on the last turn before he leaves the map, he turns and spits venom at me, poisoning me AGAIN.  I HATE THIS PLACE.  I do notice a new NPC on the way out, though.  The "shop" is tended by a ghost named "Casperin" who tells me to ask Heywood about the mantra.  Heywood says to ask Faultless.  These interactions are all taking about five minutes each, by the way, since all these ghosts wander around the town and look identical and phase through walls and over poison making it really hard to find any specific individual.  Faultless tells me that the mantra is "MUL", but that it's the mantra of PRIDE, the antithesis of humility.  Since they're telling me the mantra, presumably it's needed to derive the mantra of humility, my first intuition is that it's just reversed, making the actual mantra "LUM", but I don't see a way to test that until I can get access to the shrine, which looks like it's going to take me all over the place.  

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day14.gif)

For now, though, I'm SO getting the hell out of this place.  I have burned through, I think, my ENTIRE stash of ginseng by mixing cure poison spells, so I need to head back to Moonglow to restock and wash off this swamp glop.  Next up, I dunno.  I suppose I'll track down the few leads I have, in Britain and Empath Abbey, and then... I guess, just randomly wander around hoping to find one of these undiscovered towns.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on January 13, 2017, 08:01:32 AM
Yeah, Magincia is a royal pain in the ass; imagine those who chose the path of humility at Gypsy's, discovered they were now a "sheperd" and were dumped in that hell hole with just a meager staff. Sure, island size is limited and moongate is right there, but anyway... New Player Experience, 1985 style   :grin:

By the way, Ultima IV is a walk in the park compared to the VERY, VERY gloomy and difficult Ultima V. Enjoy.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on January 13, 2017, 10:01:41 AM
I never played this, so I'm fascinated at the "fuck u players" 80s style  :why_so_serious:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on January 13, 2017, 10:19:04 AM
I never played this, so I'm fascinated at the "fuck u players" 80s style  :why_so_serious:

And he still has to set foot in a dungeon  :awesome_for_real:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on January 15, 2017, 08:46:13 AM
By the way, Ultima IV is a walk in the park compared to the VERY, VERY gloomy and difficult Ultima V. Enjoy.

That reminds me that back then, when I was in my mid teens, I saw this picture in adverts in computer gaming mags and thought it was one of the coolest images I had ever seen. It still looks great to me today

(http://www.mobygames.com/images/covers/l/136710-ultima-v-warriors-of-destiny-amiga-front-cover.jpg)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 16, 2017, 09:05:50 PM
Yeah, Magincia is a royal pain in the ass; imagine those who chose the path of humility at Gypsy's, discovered they were now a "sheperd" and were dumped in that hell hole with just a meager staff. Sure, island size is limited and moongate is right there, but anyway... New Player Experience, 1985 style   :grin:

By the way, Ultima IV is a walk in the park compared to the VERY, VERY gloomy and difficult Ultima V. Enjoy.

Ouch, that's the shepherd starting town?  Yikes, good thing I didn't go through with that humility thing at the beginning then, that would SERIOUSLY suck.  I still don't know how non-magic users are supposed to get rid of poison.

As for difficulty, yeah, this is so far WAY easier than the previous games.  I wouldn't be shocked if there's some surprise bullshit item I need to find later that I don't know about, but so far the combat at least has been really simple.  I haven't even had a party member die.

It looks like I'm starting to run out of obvious paths.  I can go to Empath Abbey to try and track down that silver horn, and ask at the pub in Britain about the black stone, but I don't think either of those are likely to give me anything further.  It looks like I need to either find these unknown towns or the dungeons.  

I did pull up my map files and I remembered that when I was in the Lycaeum, there was a giant telescope that produced a bunch of pictures that looked like maps.  Now that I can put names to some of them, it looks like they're arranged by type.  The first one is Castle British (because of course it is) followed by the Lycaeum, Empath Abbey, and a place I haven't seen yet.  Next are the eight towns I've visited, all in a row, and followed by that are four more maps.  I assume the one between Empath Abbey and the towns is Serpent Castle, which I haven't visited yet.  The others, I'm not sure about.  I've heard about Paws, Vesper, and Buccaneer's Den, but no idea which is which or what the fourth one is yet.

I may as well check out Serpent Castle, since that's the only one I can locate since it's on the map (I assume that's Serpent Castle, it's not labelled on the map).  It's on an island in the south, near Trinsic.  Plus, that will give me a chance to dust off my boat.

Sailing is actually a lot less of a hassle than I thought it would be.  I was whining a few posts back that traveling by land means getting mobbed by huge gank squads of mostly harmless enemies, and that I'd bypass them if I could.  Well, the ship has cannons on it, meaning I can blast the enemies into bacon bits before they can get in combat range.  I don't get anything for doing it, but it is faster than having to fight every single orc and skeleton that comes after me.

Actually, Serpent Castle might have to wait.  Sailing south along the coast from Britain, I run in to an icon that looks like a village, tucked away between Britanny Bay and the Fens of the Dead.  Let's check that, first.

Entering the village, the text tells me I'm entering Paws.  Well, that's lucky, there's a bunch of stuff I have listed for this place.  Need to find out about this "Word of Passage" for the Abyss, and gather information on the Rune of Humility.  Aside from that, I don't think this place is associated with a virtue or anything, so I don't think I need to be looking for mantras and things, but we'll see.

The first person I talk to is a guard, who doesn't seem to have much to say, but he does say that they get a lot of pirate attacks from an isle to the east.  There are no islands east of here on the map, all the way until we get to Verity Isle, which is where Moonglow is and I haven't noticed any pirates there.  So presumably if I want to find Bucanneer's Den, east of here would be a good place to start looking.

There's also a bard singing about Britannia who knows I'm from another world, which is the first I've heard anyone acknowledge that.  Inside the weapon shop is Sir Simon, the Keeper, who is mysterious and coy about what he's a keeper OF, until I remember that Zircon of Minoc told me that he gave the mystic arms and armor to Sir Simon and Lady Tessa.  I had assumed they would be the proprietors of Serpent Castle, but apparently not.  Sir Simon says that an eight part Avatar can find the mystics, and asks me if I am one.  Unfortunately, no, only halfway there.  I'll have to come back.  Standing next to him is Lady Tessa, who appears to have the exact same dialogue except for the name and description.

In the grocery store is a druid named Damsel who asks me if I "travel in the depths", presumably meaning dungeons.  If I say no, she calls me a wimp.  Lady, I saved your shitting planet three fucking times already, just a few minutes ago I had to fight through a pack of fucking Gazers to get to your crappy armpit of a village.  I don't need to justify myself to a lady I met in the goddamn produce isle.  If you tell her you HAVE been to a dungeon, she tells you there is a secret entrance in the "great castle".  Aha!  Useful information.  Not sure if she means Castle British or Serpent Castle, but either way I at least know that the entrances to dungeons can be hidden in other maps.  Maybe that's why I haven't seen any yet?  But then, there are only a few places in the areas I've visited that I haven't explored as far as I know.  

There's also a livery stable in town.  I had forgotten that they were even mentioned in the documentation, but this is the first place I've seen that will sell them.  They're 400g, and I'm not sure if that's a great value.  I don't know if I can get them on my boat.  Oh well, no time like the present to test that.

Tucked away in the corner is a shepherd named Wheatpin, not sure what he is for.  He doesn't seem to have anything to say, but he is suspiciously well hidden, so presumably he's tied in to something.

In the north of town is the tavern, and inside there I finally meet Zair the Wise, who is supposed to know about the "word of passage" for the final door.  He says he's been near the Codex, and that it has many secrets.  He confirms that I need a three part key and a word of passage to get in to the chamber of the Codex.  When I ask him about the word, he says his brother, beyond Lock Lake knows it.  Aargh.  I don't know what he means by "beyond Lock Lake," presumably either in Minoc, or he's another one of the invisible army of plot critical NPCs I have somehow missed during all my searches of the area.  The other issue, of course, is that I don't know who his brother is, so it looks like I'm going to have to ask everyone I meet about it until someone answers me.

The tavern, I notice, is called the Folley Tavern, and I do have a note to ask here about mandrake.  The barkeep says to ask an alchemist named Calumny.

Behind the tavern is a mage named Jingles who says his master knows the Gate Travel spell.  That's the one spell I don't know the ingredients for.  His master is "Mentorian" and he asks if I've seen him.  I say no, and he explains that he lives in a hidden village in Lock Lake which is accessed by ship.  Well, there's something to go on, at least.  I have no idea how to get a ship in to Lock Lake given that I think it's cut off from the ocean, but it's information at least.

Last stop is a ranger named Barren, hiding in the southeast corner of town.  Man, this map is just crammed full of NPCs hiding in corners.  He says he's been traveling the land, and when I ask about the land, he says "Britannia, art thou dim?"  The hell is wrong with the assholes in this town.  Didn't Lord British say at the end of Ultima 1 that people would always remember my historic deeds or something?  Do I need to wear a big sandwich board with a list of all the godlike evil entities I've ended to save your planet for you assholes to stop insulting me?  Anyways, I heard in Magincia to ask him about the Rune of Humility, and he says to check in the southeast corner of town.  A quick trot over and I'm one rune richer.  Now, all I need to do to get Humility certified is find out about that silver horn, and find where the isle of the Abyss is.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day15.gif)

Not sure where to go next.  I can sail east to try to find this mysterious pirate island, go back to Moonglow to restock my spell components (which, like an idiot, I forgot to do when I was moongate jumping last time) or continue on to Serpent Castle.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on January 17, 2017, 06:39:14 AM
"Art thou dim" is my new favourite phrase.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Draegan on January 17, 2017, 08:23:15 AM
Ultima 3 was my first RPG. I remember 4 as a kid an hating it. Had a difficult time since I was just playing the story and wasn't playing the game an stocking up on shit and min maxing.

I may have been 9, when did this come out?

Loved reading this.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 19, 2017, 03:01:59 AM
Ultima 3 was my first RPG. I remember 4 as a kid an hating it. Had a difficult time since I was just playing the story and wasn't playing the game an stocking up on shit and min maxing.

I may have been 9, when did this come out?

I think it first came out in 1985, a year before the first Legend of Zelda.  Though the NES port was in like 1990 or so.

"Art thou dim" is my new favourite phrase.

Yeah, a lot of the dialogue here feels like they were really crunching things down for space, so every now and then there's a line like that which just comes out of nowhere.  Like, "oh, yeah, just because the goal of the game is to be virtuous doesn't mean that the NPCs are going to be any nicer than they were in the previous games.  THEY aren't on a quest for enlightenment or whatever."

Back in Britannia, it looks like the horse can't fit on the boat.  So, I just wasted 400g.  Wonderful.  Enjoy spending the rest of your life on this one tile, Shadowfax, I have some sailing to do.

I did go back to the map file to label the appropriate map as being Paws, but when I did that I noticed that the map shows a little secret room between the tavern and the armor shop.  Inside the secret room is a magic shop.  I think the reagents here cost more than they did in Moonglow, and between that and dropping 400g on Horse the horse, I'm not able to buy as much as I'd like, but at least I don't feel like I have to go back RIGHT NOW.  So I may as well continue on to Serpent Castle.

I made it to Serpent Castle without further incident.  I was kind of wondering if the coast would just be packed full of weird undiscovered dungeons and towns and stuff but so far it's just Paws.

Entering, I discover that apparently it's not Serpent Castle, it's Serpents Hold.  Talk to the gate guard, and he says his name is Sentri, and that he's the baron who rules this province.  Really?  Why are you on gate duty?  For that matter, why does the OTHER guard across from you say the exact same thing as you?  Either I've stumbled across some Anarcho-Syndicalist commune where everyone takes a turn to act as a sort of executive officer for the week, or someone fat fingered a dialogue variable.

The greeter here is a beautiful paladin named Michelle.  I get how it is, she's just as good as the guys at turning undead, but just because she's hot they put her behind the front desk and make her answer phones.  HMMPH.  And SHE calls it Serpent Castle, too.  Which is it?  I check out her "health" (cough) and she asks if I'm doing OK, and when I say yes, she suggests I look for Sentri.  Which one?  I've already spoken to two of him.

Michelle says Sentri is to the west, but if he is, he's invisible.  The east path is pretty pointless, too, as far as I can see.  North leads between a pair of large rooms, one of which is a "training academy" where a warrior named Shyra trains fighters.  The fighters claim that they're training for the dungeon, and say to ask Shyra about the secret of the altar rooms.  Shyra says that we should use the red, orange, purple, and white stones in the altar of Courage. That sounds like it lines up with the color theory of the virtues.  Though if that's true, we theoretically wouldn't need to use the black stone anywhere.  And if we use the stones in altar rooms, I still don't know where to find them.  The hospital across the hall has a fighter who just confirms that the Codex is in the Stygian Abyss.  I don't know if the "Stygian" bit is important, are there a bunch of abysses we need to keep straight?  "Oh, damn, we've been looking in the STARLESS Abyss."  There's also a wounded sailor who claims he alone survived the wreck of his ship, the H.M.S. Cape.

The north end of this passage opens in to Sentri's throne room.  There doesn't seem to be a Mrs. Sentri, though, making him the only bachelor baron I've met so far.  Though with a name like Sentri I'm not sure if he's supposed to even be a human or some kind of Phantasy Star android or something.

On either side of his throne room are secret walls, though.  One of them leads to a treasury, where I find Sister Antos.  I guess that's the whole Antos family accounted for.  She says she's got valuable information but won't say what it IS.  RRRGH.  I'll be back later, I guess.

The other side of the throne room has a similar hidden wall, which leads to another treasury, which has ANOTHER hidden wall in it leading to the back yard, where there's a Nixie just hanging out.  Nixies are supposed to be like evil sea elves, but this one talks to us with no problems.  His name is Noxum, and he says that the H.M.S. Cape had a magic wheel that would strengthen it's hull.  That sounds like useful swag, I should check and see if that wounded sailor can tell me any details.  After playing "guess the keyword" with the sailor for a few minutes (it was "wheel") he says it sank in deep waters in the bay of the Cape of Heroes.  So, just north of here.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day16.gif)

Plans for next time: search for that wheel, and then search for that pirate island.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 22, 2017, 02:26:16 AM
All right, job one: investigate shipwreck.  Not really sure how to go about this one, will I need special gear, like a diving suit or crane or something?  I headed back to my ship and apparently even though I'm on a boat I can still "search" the tile.  So I guess that will be my first option.

The area of deep water near the Cape of Heroes (the HMS Cape went down off the Cape?  Is that a sign of prophecy or a writer struggling to come up with names?)  is actually fairly large, considering how slow the boat moves.  If you've seen my screenshots, you've probably seen the "Slow progress!" message that pops up a lot whenever you encounter rough terrain.  I think slow progress is supposed to simulate it taking more time to cross mountains or forests than flat plains, except that since the game is tile based and you can't move more or less than one tile per key press, it does this by giving you a percentage chance to not move in to the rough terrain.  Since you have to input your movement commands one press at a time, this gets annoying, it basically means rather than just holding the left key to move west, you have to press a key and then look to see if it did anything, press again, repeat until you're back on level ground.  And it's worse on the boat, since ALL terrain counts as rough terrain except for the tile immediately downwind of you, and the direction of the wind randomly changes which tile that is every couple seconds.  So, searching the area is kind of annoying.  Still, it's WAY less annoying than sailing in U3 was.

I did find the wheel, actually, kind of surprised me.  I figured there'd be more hoops to jump through.  Though now that I have it, I have no idea what it does or how to use it, it's not like some pirate game where your ship has HP or something and equipping new gear might improve its stats.  If you get attacked on your boat, you just fight enemies from the deck of your ship as your party members, so it's not like the ship gets hit.


Well, anyways, that's one task down.  Now to see if I can find that pirate island that's allegedly east of Paws.  Sailing east, I do spot a land mass a ways to the south.  Doing a quick circuit, it looks like a fairly small island, crescent shaped, with a mountain range along the western side and a small village tucked away in the concave eastern shore.  There's no other islands around here that I can see, like, it's not part of a chain or anything, it's just floating here in the middle of nowhere.

Landing the ship, I disembark and head to the town.  Apparently, I've found "Buccanneer's Den."  Excellent, exactly what I was hoping to find.  I'm immediately greeted by two guard sea serpents in the moat, who try to murder me.  Unlike Snake, they don't talk, either, I tried.  I hope they weren't important.  But there look to be a bunch of monsters and stuff in this town, and I have no idea who's hostile and who's not.  The guards on the bridge don't seem to care.  Also, from the makers of "Art thou dim," when I ask the guards about the bridge they say "This bridge, art thou a wise @##!?"  The guards here in general seem to have a serious attitude problem.  Some of the NPCs in this game will just break conversation with you if they're bored or annoyed, and the guards here do it constantly.  I suppose one can't expect pirates to conduct themselves in a civilized fashion *sips tea*

There's also an orc named Boris here who says he smuggles magic items, and that he's just resupplied the guild shop here.  Nice, that shop is my main goal here.  South of him is the Captain Black Tavern.  I need to ask here about the Skull of Mondain, if I remember right.  There's a sailor in here named Ragnar who says that the skull will destroy ALL of my virtues if I use it in any way aside from destroying it.  What other use does it have, it's a skull.  Not much you can do with them except maybe a really macabre puppet show.  There's also a tinker named Dancek who claims to be an expert with cannons, and boasts that he likely build the cannons on my ship.  The barkeep says to ask a beggar named Jude about the skull.  Arrrgh.  I haven't been writing down the names of the beggars, I don't think.  They generally don't have useful information aside from giving you their sob story and thanking you for giving them money.  So I don't remember which city "Jude" is in.

There is a weapon shop to the east, where a thief named Jeremy James Scirlock is giving infomration about dungeons.  In theory, anyways, because he asks "which dungeon" I want to know about.  I only have three names, as far as I know: Deceit, Despise, and Destard, and he doesn't recognize any of them.  Also hanging around the shop is Green Beard the pirate, who wants to know about mystic armor.  North of them is the guild shop.  I wish I'd come here with more money, bribing the barkeep to tell me about the skull cost over 100g, and monster battles on the ocean don't drop treasure.

I really need to organize my notes better, I am pouring through them now trying to find out what item the Sextant is, and I just realized that the beggar at Serpent Castle can tell me about "orbs" whatever that means, but I forgot to ask him.  I have everything organized by where I found it, not by where it's useful, so finding anything is a pain.

Anyways, the Sextant is... 900g?!  Yikes.  I'll have to come back for that.  The shop also sells torches, magic gems, and magic keys.  I don't know if I'll need torches, since I know a light spell.  Ideally, I'd get a few, but money is tight.  I don't really know what gems do, in Ultima 3 they were used to look at the map.  I figure I can gamble on a bag of them to use to search around Lock Lake.  The main attraction is the magic keys, which I assume are used to open the locked doors I've been finding all over the place, so I grab a dozen of them.

Back outside, there's a wine merchant who says he owns a vineyard on an island to the northeast.  That's going to be tough to find.  It's one thing to keep tapping a key to travel in a cardinal direction, but having to travel at a diagonal when your movement is randomly blocked is going to be iffy.  Unless he means Verity Isle?  My sense of distance is nonexistent here.  Next to him is a wizard named Ignap, who warns me away from the woods.  Babbling something about how the dark side will consume me, like he's Yoda or something.  Well, now I'm curious.

Through the woods, you can get behind the shops.  Back here is a troll named Brigant who acts all pissy when I talk to him, and eventually straight up attacks me when I've annoyed him enough.  I have to admit, if that one PMSing troll is the great doom that stalks these woods, I'm pretty disappointed.  There's also a cowering man back here named "Sniflet" who claims to know something that other people want.  After a rousing game of "guess the keyword," he makes me swear that I will only use the knowledge for good, and then claims that the "lighter than air" ship is hidden near Hythloth.  Now, that's useful to know.  If I can only get to this secret area by getting a ship in to Lock Lake, maybe that's the way?

There's one more area back here behind the woods, some small island with a wizard on it.  The wizard is named Starlight and looks kind of imposing, but the only information I got out of him is that magic missile only requires one sulphurous ash, which I already knew.  He's some kind of self professed black magician, is this the darkness that Ignap was warning me about?  Swapping recipies is the devil's work?  Or is this just some kind of Star Wars joke, Starlight=Skywalker or something?

Heading back to the weapon shop, Scirlock tells me that Hythloth (I forgot to ask him about that one, my notes are a mess) is accessible by a secret entrance in the "Great Castle."  I assume that's Castle Britain, since I didn't see anything like that in Serpent Castle, excuse me, Serpents Hold.  But wait, if the lighter than air vessel is hidden near there, does that mean I somehow missed seeing a freaking airship on my previous trips?  How could you hide an airship inside a castle?  History of Britannia says it was stolen, if it's "hidden" in Lord British's garage it's going to look awfully suspicious.  Now I'm wondering if there's another "great castle" somewhere or what, because you don't lose an airship behind the couch.

There's also one large-ish building in the middle of town I can't get in to.  There's a secret wall I can see on the north side, but it's blocked by a narrow ditch that's fed by the moat, so I have no idea how to get to it.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day17.gif)

I need to tidy up my notes, so I don't have a solid plan for next time.  Probably going to try to find that mystery isle to the northeast, and then wander around chasing down the few leads I can remember.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on January 22, 2017, 10:35:10 PM
Guards don't seem to have a good job satisfaction program


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 25, 2017, 06:02:56 AM
Guards don't seem to have a good job satisfaction program

I find it difficult to hold a grudge given how many of them I straight up murdered in the previous games.  Many burgers were purchased with money from the pockets of a dead guard.

All right, no sense putting this off any longer.  Time to face my most dreaded foe: PAPERWORK.  Spent a while re-organizing my notes so that I have a file with a list of unsolved issues or conversation topics.  Ultima 4: the quest for a trello board.  Joking aside, I do kind of like having this thread as an excuse for all this paperwork.  It's a lot of fun messing with notes and maps and stuff and something I haven't had to do in years, even in previous Ultima games.  It does take a fair bit of work and I do suspect I'm playing way slower than I normally would, but it also adds a kind of "serious business" feel to the game.  I do wish some modern games would require or reward this ability to use outside tools and software, though I suppose most people these days would just google a walkthrough.  Another casualty of the convergence of console and PC gaming, probably: can't make a game that requires you to be sitting in front of a desk.

Anyways, the game.  I think my first goal is to see if I can find that vineyard to the northeast.  I don't have anything particular to do there, as far as I know, but I'm in the area, and if there's something there I'll likely have to find it EVENTUALLY.  After that, I suppose I'll head back to Britain to search the castle for any giant damn airships I may have somehow missed.

Well, I found the island... I think?  Not really sure.  It's a tiny spit of land out in the middle of nowhere.  No towns on it or anything.  I searched every square and didn't get anything except attacked by giant squids twice and poisoned by the swamp.


Well, that was a waste of time, as far as I can tell.  Off to Castle British to see a man about an airship.

No luck finding the thing outside.  Chatted with Lord British and he doesn't seem to know anything about it, unless I'm asking the wrong questions.  He did promote Jaana to level 4, though.  I checked the map for Castle British and it does kind of look like there's a secret passage or something in the northwest corner, but I can't figure out how to get to it.  The map doesn't show the second floor, so I don't know if there's another way down or what.  There is a secret passage in the prison, I notice, not sure if I should blow a key to get to it... ah, screw it, may as well. 

On the other side of the hidden passage is a sage named Torin.  He tells me to go to the castles, and then drops some useful information on me: apparently, you need a bell, book, and candle, and the Antos family knows where to find them.  Like we're either gearing up for an excommunication or to find the Amulet of Yendor.  I assume that these are the three items I heard about in Empath Abbey, the Candle of Love presumably being this candle.

There's also a secret back entrance to the cell holding the reaper (the only entrance, as far as I can see, since there's no door) which seems a bit unsafe given that you can just walk out through the wall if you know it's there.  Though it wouldn't get far, there's a locked door every ten feet in the hallways back here, I'm burning through these keys uncomfortably fast.  The reaper tells me that there's an item which can eradicate life, and to ask at Buccaneer's Den about it.  I assume it's talking about the Skull of Mondain, which I already know will wipe all my virtues if I use it.  I WOULD like to find it so I can destroy it, but it doesn't seem to have any more information.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day18.gif)

I can't find any more secrets in the castle.  Searched around outside, too, couldn't find any airships or any secret dungeon entrances.  Next up, probably going to hit up the castles again and talk to the Antos Bros.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 28, 2017, 01:46:09 AM
Starting off the update today with a bit of grinding, because I need the cash.  Ran in to a new group of enemies, Hydras and Lava Lizards. I assumed they were exclusively dungeon monsters, because the list of monsters I haven't seen is getting short.  Their icon makes them look like Godzilla, and they have lava breath, so they feel pretty epic to fight.

With a bit of coin in hand, headed to Britain pub to ask about the black stone.  The barkeep says to ask Merlin.  Aaargh, I KNOW I've met a mage named Merlin in this game, but can't remember WHERE.  This keeps happening, I wonder if it would be more work to seriously catalog every tiny scrap of data in the game in a searchable format, or to wander around trying to re-find the few relevant leads I've lost.

Okay, sudden jump here.  I was GOING to go to Minoc and look for Zair's brother to find the word of passage.  Just messing around on the way up there, trying to earn enough gold to buy the sextant, so I didn't bring the boat.  However, a bit short of Minoc, I was attacked by a ship and figured I may as well just sail the rest of the way.  But just off the coast, there's a mountain with a little door in it.

A dungeon, Covetous.

Inside, it's pitch black.  I only have a few torches, not sure how I got them since I didn't buy any at the guild shop, I wonder if you start with them.  But, I do know the light spell.  A bit of ash, and poof, let there be light!

Unlike the rest of the game, the dungeon is in first person.  This was the case in previous Ultimas, too, which is pretty neat.  Often there are different rules inside dungeons than outside of them, like how fast you go through food or how the combat works.  The one thing I REALLY dread is that in the old games, the dungeons were where you ran in to the most sinister of all fiends:  GREMLINS.  Bracing for the worst here.

First thing, I should probably see if gems work the same in this game as in U3.  I don't have enough to map the entire dungeon, I don't think, but it would be good to know for the future.  The gem does indeed give me a map that LOOKS like the entire map of the first level, though there's one possible tile that could continue off the screen.  I'm also not sure what the notations are: presumably, the down arrow is the ladder down to the next floor, but I don't know what F and T mean.  Is T for Treasure, or Trap?  

Well, the game doesn't worry about holding back, at least, first monster encounter on floor one of the first dungeon I found is against a pack of ghosts and a lich (or "liche" as the game calls it, though they look more like demiliches anyway).  Yikes.  Fortunately, they're not immune to weapons or anything, so the fight is pretty typical, though the lich takes a lot of hits.  Further up the hallway, I find one of the tiles marked "F".  It looks like some wavy blue square.  Turns out "F" is for fountain.  I take a sip, but it says the water is "nasty" though I don't notice any lasting effects.  Took some HP damage, but my status isn't poisoned or anything.  I don't think they'd give you some nasty waterborne disease and not have it show up on the status bar.  Not sure what the point of the fountains is at all, then.  I'm carrying my rations with me, so it's not thirst, and I don't know of any items or spells that interact with water.  Weird.

Another weird thing:  I'm walking through the door that I think leads to the ladder down, and I'm jumped by a bunch of ghosts and skeletons.  No big deal, except when I've killed or run all of them off, the fight doesn't end.  Wandering around the empty battlefield for a bit, a secret passage opens up.  Do I go down it?  Does that count as "running" from battle and showing cowardice?  Well, I don't see another way out, so I guess I have to.

The second floor is just a big spiral, and the third floor is just three rooms full of battles with orcs until I get to a dead end... with a magical ball.  The game asks who wants to touch it.  Hmm.  This looks suspiciously like the marks from U3.  Haven't heard anything about them, though.  Unless this is the altar room or something, but you'd think that would be fairly clear.

OUCH.  Okay, I guess it's not a great idea to wander around a dungeon touching balls.  Or, maybe it is... touching the ball looks like it did 400 HP of damage (a lot, considering my max is 600 on my highest level character), but it ALSO boosted my STR and DEX by 5.  And, the ball is gone now.  Well, there's no way the dungeon is that simple, so I burn another gem to get a look at the map.  Nope, not that simple at all, one of the combat rooms has TWO secret passages.  I should really stock up on more gems, just burning a few of them to get a map is really nice.

I have to say, I am not a fan of these combat rooms.  The dungeons, like I said, are first person, but when you get in to a fight, it switches back to the top down view that the rest of the game uses.  The combat rooms so far have been really cramped, which is good for me tactically because with four people armed with projectile weapons it means setting up choke points is really easy, but once the fight is over (and these fights are bigger than most of the overworld ones) then you have to control four different people moving around the map one tile at a time.  If I want Iolo to move two tiles left and one up, I have to move him one left, then it automatically switches to Dupre so I have to move him, and the other two, and then it's back to Iolo again.  Also: because these fights move you around the dungeon map, you don't get any gold for them because they don't drop a chest at the end.  But as someone who was finding the combat above ground to be a bit tedious, throwing me in back to back to back fights against even larger groups of the same enemies is not changing my mind.

I make it down to level seven before my worst fears are confirmed: Gremlins.  Unless they've chaged since U3, these irritating fuckers are the worst enemy in the game.  Weak and easy to kill, but every time they hit you, they take about half of your food.  And the instant you run out of food, you die.  So the strategy is to stock up on food, but if you say, "I'll spend ten thousand gold on food so I'll have enough to get past those fucking gremlins" and get hit by a gremlin, that gremlin just cost you FIVE THOUSAND GOLD.  So, no mercy here, this is what I'm saving the fireballs for.

Then, there's the room that's filled with narrow hallways, each one holding a Headless and a Gazer.  A Gazer, as I may have mentioned, is basically Ultima's version of a Beholder, able to cast sleep rays at will, so if you like watching your guys get helplessly pounded on, they're amazing.  No, wait, I take it back, just had a combat encounter with five Reapers.  These guys are annoying when you find one of them, but I didn't mind them too much.  Five of them, though?  They can cast a bunch of rays with nasty status effects (poison, fire, electricity, etc.) OR, they can also, whenever they want, cast a global sleep spell that hits everybody.  So fighting against five of them means putting up with that annoying strobe effect and whining beep it does for global spells and then watching your comatose party get the shit kicked out of it and ocasionally one of them will wake up for a turn or two.  Fireballs out for these assholes, too, now.

Well, I died, finally, on level 8.  The rest of my party is OK, but I touched a ball and only had 350 HP so it just deads me.  Well, THAT was damn stupid.  The rest of the party will have to carry my corpse back out, I'm not confident in our ability to push on without my spells.  There's a lot of bullshit down here: invisible paths, wind that extinguishes torches, fucking gremlins, non-euclidean maps which loop back on themselves.  It's getting really bullshit in there.  On the up side, I did get a mess of gold and XP, hopefully enough to level someone, and a bunch of bonus strength and dexterity.  Might want to just orb hunt on the higher floors before trying to get all the way to the bottom again.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day19.gif)

Made it back out to the surface without much incident.  Iolo got down to about 150 HP re-fighting that damn room with the six liches on the way out, but not too tough.  If I hadn't been so desperate to touch as many balls as possible, we could have gone farther.  At least we have enough for a sextant now, and I know how to raise attributes.  Not sure if orbs respawn, though.  Those gems are pretty great, too, I should get some more.  Wondering if I should start looking for people to join the party again, or if it would just mean more expense.  I'm not having issues with killing things, it's the gradual grinding down of consumable resources (spell components, food, etc.) that are my major concerns.

Plan for next time is to get healed up and do some more grinding.  Finally know how to get stats up, so maybe now I can stop missing 95% of my shots.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on January 28, 2017, 02:57:41 AM
Out of curiosity, how many (and which ones) stones have you heard of so far? Also, not really a spoiler, because probably it's been a conscious decision on your part, but you probably already figured out that the number "8" it's really of some importance in this game, and that also relates to the potential companions that might join you, and how that relates to the Britannia main towns.

And yeah, group of Reapers, I was like...NOPE, whenever I met them :P


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on January 30, 2017, 07:55:34 AM
Out of curiosity, how many (and which ones) stones have you heard of so far? Also, not really a spoiler, because probably it's been a conscious decision on your part, but you probably already figured out that the number "8" it's really of some importance in this game, and that also relates to the potential companions that might join you, and how that relates to the Britannia main towns.

And yeah, group of Reapers, I was like...NOPE, whenever I met them :P

Hmm, good question.  I just assumed there were eight stones, one for each virtue.  Some of them I heard described as being related to a virtue, and some to a color, so I assumed that each stone corresponded to one color and one virtue.  Ones I know about so far:

Stone of Honesty - Blue - in altar room of dungeon (Deceit)
Red Stone - possibly Valor? - in altar room of dungeon (Destard)
Yellow Stone - possibly Compassion? - in dungeon (Despise)
Purple Stone - possibly Honor? - not sure about location, used at altars of truth and courage
Nothing known about stone of justice yet, presumably by process of elimination it's green?
Stone of Sacrifice - Orange - not sure about location, used at altars of love and courage
White Stone - possibly Spirituality? - NOT in dungeon (Hythloth), ask Sloven (near Lock Lake) about it
Black Stone - possibly Humility? - Not sure about location, gotta ask "Merlin" about it, not sure where he is

Right now my working theory is that you need to find each stone and then somewhere (presumably the Abyss? Or three separate dungeons) there are three MORE altar rooms devoted to the principles where you use the stones that correspond to that principle / color (meaning, Honesty, Honor, Spirituality, and Justice in the altar room for Truth, which I think is associated with blue) and that somehow gets you the three part key which will unlock the chamber of the codex.

I suppose it's POSSIBLE that the colors and virtues aren't connected, nobody as far as I know has said "the blue stone is the stone of honesty" or anything, just someone who says "I seek the stone of honesty" says "the blue stone is in XYZ" so I guess it's possible that they're different, and if so, maybe there's sixteen of them floating around.  It's also possible that there isn't anything at the bottom of the specific dungeon I'm exploring (Covetous) since I don't think I even heard the name until I walked through the door.

About the game.  Things are probably going to slow down for a bit here as I take some time to grind attributes.  It's possible I won't need to, since so far the only thing that has been able to kill me has been the actual act of raising my stats, but it's probably better to be prepared.  I am not really digging this part.  The dungeons so far are my least favorite thing in this game.  The "combat rooms" especially are a titanic pain in the ass.  The combat is tedious, the exploring afterwards is SUPER tedious, there's a lot of questionable bullshit to navigate...  I didn't find the combat in the first two Ultima games to be super amazing, but it was at least mindless enough that I could put on some music or something and chill, this requires juuuust barely enough thought that you can't just tap A to win but it's also not really deep or complex, you just have to keep track of four different characters in different places attacking in different directions.  And godDAMN the number of non-evil enemies in here is getting annoying.  Jumped by a zillion spiders and trying to keep track of which ones are fleeing and which ones are attacking is infuriating when either category can spit venom at my guys and poison them.

It's also kind of annoying that you have to wait a while between rests.  How long, I'm not sure, and I'm not sure if "turns" inside combat count or if it's just how many steps on the map you've taken.  But it makes touching these balls really annoying.  They shave 400 hp per touch, and everyone in my party is sitting at 500 or 600 max, so that's a serious ding.  But you can't rest, touch, and then rest again, so you have to choose if you want health before or after touching the ball that rips away 80% of your max.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day20.gif)

I did get a sextant, not really sure how to use it though.  That's a bit worrying.  I was going to search for that destroyed town the shepherd told me about and try to put it on the map, but I have no idea how to see my coordinates even with the sextant.  I can't seem to USE it, and I don't see another key command that works for it.

It occurs to me, on the fourth level of the dungeon, that it might be handy to have a few rounds of the "Xit" spell to teleport out of the dungeon ready.  Of course, it requires ash, and I didn't have enough money to buy both a sextant AND restock all my spell components.  So that will have to wait for next time, I guess.

Like I said, might be a while before something interesting happens here.  But on the plus side, I only have three attributes, and these balls raise two of them, so this should cover 2/3 of my stat grinding for this game.  All I'll need to do is find somewhere to get INT and I'll be set.  On the minus side, I need to raise 4 character attributes by 5 points per ball, so if 100 is max, minus their starting attributes, that's something in the area of 50 or 60 balls.  Hopefully the attributes don't loop, that fucked me over in U2 and that seemed to be shorter than this is going to be.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Cheddar on February 01, 2017, 07:08:36 PM
I love this  :heart:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 02, 2017, 01:18:47 PM

Well, that went a lot quicker than expected, because it turns out the max stat value is 50, not 99 as I had thought.  Seeing as I somehow already have an INT of 46, and most character's attributes are in the 20-30 range, that's WAY less grinding than I thought it would be. I realize this might sound like kind of a backhanded compliment, but so far, the entire game has been way less of a grindfest than I was expecting, having played the previous games.  I was thinking I'd have to grind virtues by finding some NPC that would give me +1 valor for giving him some item or something and having to do that a hundred times, but most of it comes pretty naturally just by playing.  And getting my characters to max stats only took like three or four runs through the dungeon.

Exploring the dungeons is way easier with gems.  Costs a bit of money, but not enough to make the dungeons unprofitable, and you get an instant view of the entire level.  Or at least, a section of it... it seems like if there are multiple areas of one floor inaccessible to each other (like, floor three has two ladders down that lead to different areas of floor four that don't connect to each other) then you only get vision of the area you can reach.  But it's not particularly dickish about that restriction so far.  One of the things a gem highlighted for me was that the altar room for this dungeon is hidden in a little side room which I had walked right past the very first time I came through here.  Not even on the deepest level of the dungeon, either, it's on the second deepest (that I've found, anyway)

So, searching the altar room, I now have the orange stone.  I assume that's all there is to do in there, unless there's something I don't know about.  The fact that it's the orange stone is interesting, because this is right close to Minoc, the town associated with sacrifice which is associated with the color orange.  So maybe the dungeons are generally near the towns that correspond to their virtue.  It's entirely possible I may have just zoned out when traveling and missed them, I guess, so it's off to check the towns again.  It also seems to support the suspicion that there's an entrance to a dungeon somewhere in Castle Britain, since there aren't many mountains around the town of Britain to put a dungeon door on.  I head back to Castle Britain to get healed and leveled up.  I hit level 7, and everyone else is at level 6.  On the way out, I did notice a new secret door that I passed by last time, on the other side of the secret door I found the first time that led to the spring.  How did I miss seeing that when I already combed the castle looking for secret doors?  Or maybe I did see it and thought it was pointless, because it just leads back outside.  But it leads outside to an area that you can't access normally (by squeezing through that one tile in between the wall of the castle and the border of the map, I really don't like it when games pull this trick), and crouching in the corner is a wizard named Joshua who tells me a riddle.  Something about how since the eight philosophies (presumably the virtues) combine in to three principles, he asks what the three principles combine in to.  I have no idea...  The Codex?  The three part key?  Nothing I try seems to satisfy him, maybe I have to come back later.  Re-checking this back area again, I guess I must have missed this entire area last time, because there's ANOTHER secret wall which leads in to a back area that leads in to the tiny room in the northwest corner I saw on the map.

In the courtyard is a shepherd named Landri, who says that if I go in, I can't come back out.  That seems alarming.  It's like the kind of message you'd get before entering the final battle in most games, but from what I've gathered, this should be Hythloth, and the last dungeon I would think is the Stygian Abyss.  Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I search around the entrance for a bit and don't find any airships hidden behind the shrubbery, and then it's down the ladder in to a new dungeon. 

I'm actually not sure where this is, I didn't see a name on the way in.  The first level is just four paths ending in what look like magical lightning fields.  I can probably dispel them, but popping a gem shows that they don't seem to lead anywhere... unless the gem can't see past them.  The ladder here leads down, not up, so I guess the shepherd wasn't kidding about not being able to come back.  But descending the ladder, every floor down to the eighth is just a single tile with a ladder in the cieling and floor.  Admittedly, I didn't use gems so there may be secret passages, but so far this is a suspiciously fast descent.

The descent stops on the 8th floor, just like in Covetous.  Using a gem here, the layout is weird.  Four branching pathways, the south one leads to another ladder up, while the other three all break off in to a series of special rooms.  I don't see an altar room here or anything, but then there wasn't supposed to be a stone in here anyways.  Not sure if any of these special rooms are worth checking out, but this is, as far as I can tell, the bottom of the dungeon, so if there's anything here it's presumably on one of the lower floors?  I suppose I should explore rather than just beeline back to the surface.

The green tiles are indeed poison fields, argh.  I hate poison.  And the first fight down here is against a group of dragons. That's new.  At the end of the hallway is a room called "the altar room of courage".  Well, shit.  I thought that was in the Abyss.  I think I need the stones to use these?  The altar has room for four stones, so yeah, probably need to come back later.  Not sure how to get out of here, though.

Leaving the altar room it tells me I am heading in to the dungeon Hythloth.  Well, now I'm confused.  So this IS Hythloth, but it didn't tell me that at the top?  And the altar room is a separate dungeon?  There were other exits to the altar room, is the Abyss beneath Hythloth or something?  The gem just showed the altar room.  Heading back in to the altar room, I take the east exit and it lands me... back in Covetous.  That's weird, these dungeons are on different sides of the continent.  At least I know I can get out through Covetous if I get stuck down here.  The north exit from the chamber of courage takes me to Despise, the dungeon where I think the stone of compassion is, and the west exit goes to a dungeon called Shame that I haven't heard of yet.  This seems suspiciously convenient.  If the stones are near the bottom of the dungeons, this is depositing me on level 8, so it should be a short walk.  Are all the dungeons connected like this?  This is going to be a nightmare to map.  I suppose for now I may as well work on Hythloth, even though I don't think there's anything there.  With a straight shot to a bottom of the dungeon, this could actually be a super quick way to find all the other dungeons and grab the stones, if I can figure out a way to get OUT of Hythloth.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day21.gif)

With the ladder nonfunctional, the second option would probably be the Xit spell, but casting it takes me to... somewhere that's not Castle British.  Hmmmmmm.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Selby on February 02, 2017, 06:48:27 PM
I just want to say I'm glad you're playing this instead of me. I played it 20+ years ago and I'm not sure I have the patience to not just hit gamefaqs or something within an hour. I played MM2 like this with no guidance and it took me almost 3 months in jr high school playing hours a day to figure out how to finish it (with similar pages of hand written notes). I don't have that patience anymore!!


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on February 02, 2017, 07:14:55 PM
Glad you went back and managed to find the orange stone in Covetous  as well as the cool secret passage leading outside Castle British and that hideous entrance to Hythloth  :drill: .

By the way, are you playing with a music patch or something (the IBM/PC version notoriously came out without music)? I always found Ultima tunes lovely, well composed and extremely catchy: given the times, they couldn't of course rely on full orchestral pieces (minus ultima 9), but they really captured the spirit of a fantasy/ren-faire game (give me Ultima VI or VII, or UO soundtracks over a lot of modern fantasy games ones).
----

By the way, you're inspiring me to do a Radicalthon of a very old fantasy series trilogy from the mid-eighties that is extremely dear to my heart, albeit inferior to Ultima, IMO (nope, not the original Bard's Tale).


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 05, 2017, 07:51:34 AM
I just want to say I'm glad you're playing this instead of me. I played it 20+ years ago and I'm not sure I have the patience to not just hit gamefaqs or something within an hour. I played MM2 like this with no guidance and it took me almost 3 months in jr high school playing hours a day to figure out how to finish it (with similar pages of hand written notes). I don't have that patience anymore!!

Yeah, that's a part of why I'm doing this thread in the first place.  I went through the first three Ultimas with a walkthrough open in another tab and after beating U3, I thought that they'd dialed back the obscure "gotcha" bullshit to such a point that you probably could beat it without a walkthrough (unlike the first two games which I have no idea how you're supposed to play without a strategy guide or something) but it's hard to justify not cutting a few corners here and there when you're playing by yourself.

By the way, are you playing with a music patch or something (the IBM/PC version notoriously came out without music)? I always found Ultima tunes lovely, well composed and extremely catchy: given the times, they couldn't of course rely on full orchestral pieces (minus ultima 9), but they really captured the spirit of a fantasy/ren-faire game (give me Ultima VI or VII, or UO soundtracks over a lot of modern fantasy games ones).

No, I didn't realize there was music available for this one.  I was originally thinking of recording video of the gameplay for the thread and editing out the boring bits, but with barely any animation and no sound, it was super tedious to watch, just a mostly silent series of pictures really, so I figured I could convey about 95% of the game by just tossing some screenshots in to a .gif and people could see it without having to go out of their way to watch a crappy video.

The stuff with the secret doors in Castle Britain was frustrating because you can see the gate to Hythloth on the Lycaeum map but I thought I had already checked the castle for passages.  I THINK what happened was that the first time, I didn't know about the secret passage, so when I noticed they went outside I didn't look further, and the second time I got distracted by the locked passage upstairs and assumed any secret passages would be in there.  Maybe?  They're not hard to spot if you're looking for them, and I can't be so blind that I missed two secret doors twice when I was looking specifically for them.

Last time, I Xited from Hythloth and found myself in a weird hilly area.  Searching around in case an airship is hidden here, but it turns out that was unnecessary, it's right out in the open.  EXCELLENT.  Kind of kills my idea to quickly access all the dungeons through the Hythloth basement, since I can't get quickly back to town, but on the up side, I now have a balloon.  I have no idea where I am, so I take a few minutes mashing every key on my keyboard to try to figure out how to use the sextant, turns out it's "L" for location.  That gives me some coordinates.  I now know where I am.  Unfortunately, I don't know where the rest of the world is.

So, I hop in the balloon and take off.  Free to roam the skies, go anywhere in the world, right?  Well, the thing doesn't move at first, I think you have to ascend before you can go anywhere.  And once you DO ascend, this thing flies around by itself.  It gets pushed by the wind automatically and can't move on it's own.  This is significantly shittier than I was hoping for.  I mean, yeah, technically I am a wizard and can change the direction of the wind so I can probably guide this thing if I need to.  But ask anyone who's played Wind Waker about how fun it is having to use an item every time you want to turn.  And here, it's not like the wind just has an impact on your cruising speed, you can't do anything but drift downwind and land.

I was floating over all kinds of spooky looking shit, lava and things, before I managed to hit land and set down IMMEDIATELY.  While I think I CAN change the direction of the wind, I don't have the spell ready.  This thing is a menace.  I'm going to use it to find that stupid settlement near Lock Lake and hopefully never need to touch it again, unless there's some improved way of controlling this thing it's back to boats for me.

Though I'm not sure where I touched down, this place doesn't look familiar.  There's a town here, so I may as well check it out.

Nope, not actually a town, my bad, I didn't recognize Serpent Castle.  At least while I'm here I can cross some stuff off my "to do" list.  The beggar here has information about orbs, which will raise my attributes but at a cost.  Yeah, ouch, a little late there, but thanks.  If I had come here before finding the dungeon, I probably would have assumed it was a financial cost, like in previous games.  I also ask Sister Antos about the bell, book, and candle.  She only knows about the bell, and says to ask a fighter named Garam.  Garam is right here in Serpentic Holdcastle, so a quick jog over there and he tells me that the bell is at the bottom of the ocean.  Hmm.  I'm hoping this will be as easy to track down as that wheel was.  I just need to find a boat.  I've got like four of them floating around various parts of the world at this point.

Well, I need to get back to land somehow, and trying to fly this fucking balloon again... ugh.  There are some things which don't pause when you pause the game to do something like mix a spell or enter a command.  So far, this has not been a problem, because it's been limited to the phases of the moon (controlling the moongates) and the direction of the... wind... yeah.  The balloon keeps moving even when the game is paused.  Rrgh.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day22.gif)

I at least SAW the village from the balloon, I think.  It's just across the water from the shrine of compassion.  But trying to land on the TWO FUCKING TILES of open land there ate up ALL of my prepared change wind magic, because the balloon keeps fucking moving while I'm casting the spell.  AND, it's not like you can line up in one axis and then move along the other until you hit the idea tile, because the direction of the wind still changes on it's own sometimes.  Fuck this, I'm walking.  Maybe I can use Blink.  I have no idea how else to get there, it's not like I can see getting a real boat in there and now I'm out of fucking blood moss so I can't mix any more wind change spells.  No, wait, I can't use blink EITHER right now because I need blood moss for the blink spell, too.  FUCK.  Now I have to abandon this stupid fucking balloon in the middle of fucking nowhere and trek all the way over to Britain, gate back to Moonglow, restock my reagents again, gate BACK to Britain, trek all the way back to the balloon, and try to make this stupid pinpoint landing AGAIN.  AAAAARGH.  Well, I guess that's all for today, then.  I need to do some shopping.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 07, 2017, 08:31:41 AM
So, shopping trip.  I may as well stop by the Lycaeum since that's walking distance from Moonglow and wrap up a few loose ends.  Chatting with Sanctu, the guy with the mystic armor, who told me to come back when I was a partial avatar, and now he tells me to head to Minoc and talk to Zircon.  Way ahead of you on that one, bud.  Next up is Father Antos, who tells me about the Book of whatever.  He says to seek it "where other books lie".  Two options spring to mind: "where other books lie" might mean a library, which suggests the Lycaeum, here, since it's supposed to be the high centre of learning.  I haven't seen it yet, so I might have to search every tile.  Option two would be that "where other books lie" would refer to another book being false, the obvious option being the History of Britannia.  There have been a couple instances where the History has been inaccurate, like the whole "Serpent Castle/Serpents Hold" thing, is that a plot point?  I may as well start with searching the Lycaeum, at least.  There's a locked section I didn't get in to originally that I should probably check out, too.

Actually, walking through the locked door, I run in to a guy who says it's a library, and asks if I'm looking for a specific book.  I say yes, and he asks which book.  Father Antos just said it was called the "Book of truth" so I tell him that and he says to look under "T".  This is the stupidest riddle I've ever seen in my life.  I suppose it makes sense that the people of Britannia wouldn't lose ALL of their crucial magical junk, at least Team Mage has their shit sorted and didn't lose their magic widget in the deepest crevice of the ocean or up a Dragon's ass or something.  Yeah, actually, I take it back, it's not stupid.  It's how things SHOULD work.  Where's the magical artifact of great power?  I don't know, did you check the obviously labelled and organized place where we'd probably store it?  Because THAT'S WHERE IT SHOULD BE.

So yeah, got one Book of Truth, because mages keep their shit properly sorted.  Now to buy some reagents and head back.

On second thought, since I'm already in this corner of the world and I did sail here (instead of taking the moongate) I may as well try and find the shrine of honesty and get my avatar cert in that.  It's on Dagger Isle, a bit north of Verity Isle, so not too hard to reach.  Finding the shrine itself is fairly easy and now I'm a partial avatar of honesty, too.  Had another vision of the vertical line.  I have no idea what I'm supposed to be getting out of these visions.  So far, three have been the vertical line, and two have been the vertical line with a sideways "S" on it.  I can't see any pattern to the visions yet, either, and there are only three to go.  Need to think about this one, it's going to be important for something later.

May as well grab the bell, too, since I'm ticking boxes.  On the way over, I sailed past the island with the ruins of Magincia, and it is the same location the shepherd from Castle British gave.  I had assumed it was part of a larger landmass, with the mountains blocking off my view of the rest of it, but it looks like it's just a tiny island.


The spot of water where the bell is looks kind of obvious, actually, in the middle of the ocean with shoals on three sides.  Sailing in and grabbing the bell is fairly straightforward.  Then it's back to Britain.

I'm not sure if I should try the Blink spell or try my luck with that confounded dirigible again.  I eventually decide to try a few Blink spells first, because there's a mountain between me and where I parked the balloon, so if I overshoot the target and end up on the other side of the mountains, I'll have shaved a lot of time off my trip back anyways.  Using a gem to line myself up with the city (it's actually a tile north of where I thought it was) and I somehow landed right next to the city on my first shot!  There's some excellent luck.  Not gonna lie, I was seriously worried this area was set up to FORCE players to use the stupid balloon.  

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day23.gif)

So, next time, we explore this town and hopefully get some answers.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 10, 2017, 01:27:51 PM
All right, not gonna lie, I've been looking forward to this for a while.  I think there's this village and one more before I've been everywhere, and a lot of information seems to point to this village.

The first NPC I meet welcomes me to Cove, the "hidden city of wisdom".  Excellent, here's hoping that this isn't just another link along the "ask XXX about it" chains.  He also tells me I can find peace inside their "shrine."  Hmm, is that a virtue shrine, maybe?

In the southwest corner of town, there's a little circle of wizards huddled around a campfire.   One of them, named Shaman, tells me they're studying the "one" thing that is the secret to the codex.  Then, he drops this riddle on me: "the one pure axiom is more endless than the changing tides, more eternal than day and night".  Did you find this riddle somewhere, or did you write it yourself, meaning you know the answer and just feel like screwing with me?  Next is a sorceress named Charm, who says the one pure axiom encompasses all things.  Circe, the one on the south side, says the whole of the axiom is greater than all it's parts.  Last up is Spellbind, who says the combination of the three principles of virtue equals the measure of time and space.

So, all I got from that is that the axiom is somehow related to being limitless or something.  An axiom is supposed to be a premise, a logical statement that you use to build an argument on, in this case presumably a series of virtues.  I have no idea how you get from the abstract concept of eternity to a statement about honesty or compassion, though.

There's a river runnning through the middle of town, where swims a graceful seahorse named Blissful, who says that the shrine ankh knows how to enter the chamber of the codex.

North of there is Brother Zair.  Oh, God.  Zair's "Brother" is Brother Zair?  Ugh.  I was looking for him in Minoc.  Hey, this isn't "beyond" Lock Lake, you dink, you're both south of it.  Anyways, Bro Z says the river flows endlessly.  Is that a thing in this town, people just going on about eternity?  Anyways, I ask him about the word, and he says that the word of passage has three syllables, one of which is known by the kings of each of the three castles devoted to a principle.  At least I already know where they are.

Across the river from him is a guy named Draconian who says that there are eight possible combinations of the three principles.  That seems like it gels with my working theory here.

In the northeast corner of town is a huge building housing another talking ankh.  I guess these are the shrines?  The ankh gives me the gist of what I need to enter the chamber of the codex: be an 8-part avatar, have the 3-part key, know the word of passage, and know the pure axiom.  I remember talking to Lord British, who just said I needed to be an 8-part avatar.  I hope this is everything, there's no magic forcefield nullifying ring or anything I'll find out about when I pass through the door.  Presumably I'll also want to pick up the mystic arms and armor before I head there, too.  But at least I know MOST of this stuff now.  Still not sure about the axiom, but maybe that will become clearer.

While I'm talking to the Ankh, I notice there's a secret passage off to the side, blocked of by a field of magical fire.  On the other side is a suspiciously small room, and searching it gives me... the Candle of Love.  Excellent, now I've got the Bell, Book, and Candle, though now that I think about it, I have no idea what I need them FOR.  The talking ankh didn't mention them for getting in to the chamber, so maybe you need them for something before hand?  Or maybe the Ankh is full of shit?

The healer has a guy sitting in it named Rabindranathtagore.  He has nothing useful to say, babbling about carrying love in your heart, but I just wanted to say that I met someone named Rabindranathtagore.  

Hanging out on the east side of the shop is a wizard named Merlin.  Hmm, I was sure I had met him already, I guess I confused him with one of the other mythical/historically named characters in the game.  My notes say that Merlin is supposed to know about the black stone.  Merlin tells me that the black stone is caught in a moon gate.  He says to "stand where the gate of both moons dark shall appear" and "search when the moons go dark."  That sounds a lot like the Magincia Moonglow moongate, in fact I think I went through it when both moons where dark back when I didn't know how moongates worked, not sure how to "search" the area when the moongate is open, since I think it will gate me if I move on to the square.  Maybe you're supposed to move on, get gated, and then immediately search?  Or search one of the adjascent tiles?

On the opposite side of the healer is a bard and a "singer".  The singer is named Linda and sings about children, I can't find anything useful to get from her.  The bard is a "strangely familiar bard" according to the game, named Paul.  Oh, I GET IT.  Sigh.  NEXT.

Off on the south side of town, behind a wall of poisonous swamp tiles (because of course he is) is Sloven, the guy who's supposed to know about the white stone.  Sloven says that the ghost of Isaac who haunts the inn at Skara Brae can tell us about it.  So we'll have to head back there sometime.  Apparently we're just supposed to stay at the inn until he shows up.

Last stop here is "Mentorian," the wizard who allegedly knows the gate travel spell.  Getting the reagents from him is fairly straightforward, but it requires some of the rare stuff I don't know how to find yet.  Given the pace we're moving at, I wonder if I'll even be able to cast those by the end of the game.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day24.gif)

Exploring along the north side of the town, there's a mountain range (inside the town somehow, yes) where a small boy is hanging out.  His name is Allen and he knows how to get in to the abyss.  He says that the Abyss can only be approached by ship... and not just any ship, a ship with a magically strengthened hull.  Well, I THINK I have one of those, I have that wheel, no idea how to use it or if it works or anything.  After that, he tells me to ask Blissful about it.  Blissful says to meditate at the shrines of honesty, compassion, and valor for three cycles to know how to enter.  Hmm.  I've already hit up honesty and compassion, and I don't remember them saying anything about getting in to the abyss.  Maybe those symbols from the visions mean something?  They might correspond with the Britannian runes from earlier... but then they'd be giving me three letters, and I think I'd need four for coordinates.  Unless it's a three letter word, which doesn't sound too helpful.  Am I supposed to meditate at them in order, maybe?  I did just hit honesty, and compassion is right outside, I might as well meditate again on the way out.

On the way out, I tried meditating at the shrine of compassion, but it won't let me, says I'm having trouble focusing.  I checked with Hawkwind and I'm still an avatar of compassion, so maybe that's just a generic error message.

Next time, I suppose the big technical obstacle at this point is to find the stones, so I'll be heading back down to the dungeons and trying to work out how to navigate them.

Edit: Moonglow, not Magincia...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on February 10, 2017, 02:18:57 PM
Ah, finally making some good progress, Cove is kinda a turning point :)

And again highlights how unique this game was and still is with the approach to its main quest (and the janky-ness of the whole thing). And this is not just for the sake of old times or for Garriott to rinse&repeat the usual stuff an conventions; it was really one of a kind (and fantastic and historic) game.
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About the Chamber of the Codex access...you're mostly right with your observations but...still missing an important part.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on February 10, 2017, 08:36:26 PM
So much fun reading these. :)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 12, 2017, 04:48:51 PM
Long one today.  All right.  Ugh.  Back in to the pits of hell to get these stones.  Five stones to get still, hopefully I can get them all or mostly on this run.

Doing some exploring in Hythloth, one of the alternate routes leads to a huge treasure room with a bunch of daemons behind force fields.  I'm not sure if I can just leave the room or if it counts as running if I don't kill every evil creature I see, so I end up blowing a ton of dispel spells on them.

Hmm, maybe this won't be as straightforward as I thought.  I head in to Destard, and there are two paths up.  I pick one at random and end up climbing an eight floor ladder (just like the one that takes you in to Hythloth) which at the top branches in to four rooms.  I pick one at random and it turns out to be hell.  A big room with a dividing wall in the middle and Reapers on the other side.  Reapers can't move, by the way, they just sit there and fire sleep spells.  So I can't hit them and they can't hit me but they can still cast their goddamn universal sleep spell.  So it's like three or four minutes just to get one guy awake for long enough that he can get around the wall and hit them.  So the Reapers die.  But they're sitting on a bunch of gold!  And by touching it, you activate two huge poisonous magical fields on either side blocking your exit.  I fucking hate the dungeons in this game.  They're not difficult, really, I walked out of the room with over 400 HP on everybody, but they seem designed specifically to piss players off.

Anyways, there's some mucking around with different paths, but I eventually found the red stone, so that's it for Destard.  Onwards, to Shame!

I'm cutting out a lot here, by the way.  There's only so many times I can say "fuck, these Reapers are annoying as shit to fight" before it gets almost as annoying to read as "Kail slept! Iolo slept! Dupre slept! Jaana slept! Kail slept!  Jaana slept! Iolo slept! Dupre slept!"  These combat rooms aren't getting any less bullshit, though.  I found one where the trigger to the exit was on a swamp tile, requiring you to poison one of your party members to reach it.  Awesome.

But, after descending to the bottom of the dungeon and then back up to the top again, I did finally find the purple stone!  Back out... 

Leaving Shame is way harder than getting in.  There's one room where the path in was just a switch that opened a secret wall, but on the way out you can't reach the switch, so you have to go through a series of rooms where there's a vertical wall in the middle that you can't get past and enemies with global sleep spells which can't get to you but will still cast sleep constantly just to piss you off.  And then, you get to the end, loop around, and get to fight your way back, past all the bullshit you had to stumble by on the way down.

Exploring the basement of Hythloth, the other altar rooms are also down here, or at least the altar room of love is (I don't have the supplies to finish this in one trip, I'm down to 5 gems).

Next up is Wrong.  I'll have to head back up to resupply after this, I don't want to have to run these things without map gems, it's such a pain.  Finding the altar room is relatively straightforward in this dungeon, but it does have one bullshit encounter room where I THOUGHT the edges of the room were water, but it turns out they were lightning type magical fields, which, like water, are displayed as squares with blue squiggly lines.  Hmm... it's been bugging me for a while how to get in to that house in Buccanneer's Den, and I'm wondering if that's the same issue.  I mean, I should have the tools to get past it, I know all the spells in the game and you can't bring boats or anything in to town.  I haven't heard of any items or anything that would let me walk on water, either.

Regardless, got the green stone.  I wonder how non-mages are supposed to get through that room, or if the game just expects that you'll have a caster with you.  I had to dispel three different tiles to find the one with a switch under it, and if I ran out of  prepared dispels I would have had to fight my way back along the chain of encounter rooms to the regular dungeon, re-mix some more spells, and then fight my way all the way back in. 

Three down... two to go... ugh.  First, though, time to resupply.  Fortunately, casting Xit from Wrong brings me back topside on the mainland, on a little ledge wedged between a mountain range and Lost Hope Bay, and I can walk back to Britain from there (though it's a fair distance).  Since some of the dungeons aren't accessible by land, I was worried that it might take me a while to get somewhere I could escape from, since I don't think I can take the balloon from Hythloth again.  If worst came to worst, I could probably just go back to Covetous and Blink back to shore, but it turns out Wrong is more conveniently located.  I made it back to Britain, so I could probably end the update here, but I'm just missing two stones, and I kind of want to get this out of the way.

So, back to Buccanneer's Den for some gems, and while I'm there, I may as well check and see if that "river" is actually a magical field.  I've got plenty of cash, so gems and keys are resupplied (it takes one key every time I go back in to Hythloth so I hope I can wrap everything up on my next trip).  The river tile IS a magical field, and dispelling it lets me in to... the magic shop?  Once I'm inside, a Balrog immediately jumps me... I hope I wasn't supposed to talk to him.  Some of the prices in this shop are pretty good, like black pearls for 1gp, but others are really bad compared to the rest of the shops, and otherwise it doesn't look like there's a lot in here.  I'll re-enter and see if I can talk to the balrog.  Nope, he doesn't reply and just attacks.  Weird.  Lady, why is there a hostile Balrog just standing in your store?  Is that why the door was magically sealed?  You lure daemons in with the siren call of low, low prices and then seal their evil inside your shop?

Anyways, back to Hythloth.  Miscounted my steps and ended up in the altar room of truth rather than love (when you're inside a poison field, you can't see anything except a poison field, so you have to feel your way around).  Well, Truth could work, too.  I am missing the stone of Honesty, so I'll grab this and then finish off with Compassion I guess.

Deceit is kind of dickish at first, the only path is through a bunch of falling rock traps and thenAAAAAAGH MY WORST NIGHTMARE IS MADE MANIFEST HOLY SHIT AAAAGHt's a room packed full of gremlins and reapers.  I wish I had some kind of nuclear bomb spell I could use for scenarios like this, I don't care about the collateral damage, this unholy alliance must be ended at all costs.

Made it up to level seven and the altar room is here, so at least the map layout is straightforward, but the encounter rooms are still really dickish.  There's one where you cross a bridge to get some treasure, and the bridge collapses behind you, trapping you.  Or the one where there's one treasure chest in the corner, and trying to get it spawns a ring of fire fields around you.  THEN there's the hallway where step one has strong winds which extinguish your light, step two and three are pit and falling rock traps, and the end of the hallway is blocked off by a lightning magic field you have to dispel, so you have to take constant damage from the pit trap as you're re-lighting your light and then dispelling the lightning field.  And the lightning field is just the first step along the rainbow of magical fields dotting the rest of the hallway leading to the altar.  Status ailments: collect 'em all!

Got the blue stone, leaving NOW.  Oh, God, I forgot that on the way out I have to fight through Hell Room with the Reapers and Gremlins again.  Argh.  I'm starting to wonder if Iolo has some kind of hidden magic resistance stat, since he seems to be the one guy to resist status effects way more often than the rest of my party.  Everyone's got identical strength and agility, and Iolo's intelligence is the lowest in the party, so maybe low intelligence means better saving throws?  I don't know, I haven't found an orb or any item that will raise INT anyways.  Oh, well.  Onward, to Despise, I think.

Found Despise, in case I haven't mentioned it I THINK the way it works is that each altar room connects to the three dungeons that correspond to the virtue that the altar room represents.  So, Love connects to compassion, sacrifice, and justice, and the one that's the purest representation of that principle (honesty, compassion, and valor) is the one that connects on the altar room to the north, while Hythloth always connects to the south.

Despise is one of those ones where you have to go up and down a whole bunch.  I wonder if I should try to head back through the dungeon to Hythloth and get out through Wrong like I was planning, or just Xit here immediately once I get the stone.  I'll have to cast three dispels to get back, I may as well check out the surface.  If these dungeons are near the towns, Despise should be near Britain anyway.  Yeah, encounter room with 15 gremlins, I'm definitely not trekking back through this.  Ah, the altar room in this dungeon was behind a secret wall in one of those "this ladder goes up and down through a one tile room" areas that look like a vertical shaft.  I knew they'd try to pull this eventually, spent like ten minutes mashing my face against rock walls in previous dungeons looking for it.  Looking at the map for this, it's kind of a nightmare.  Three trap rooms, three magical fields, two more trap rooms, then five encounter rooms.  What sadist is designing these things.  The last room is one of those ones where you have to find a hidden switch, except you can search the entire floor and the path won't open, instead one of the tiles silently changes from a regular wall to a secret door (hope you noticed the one pixel on the screen getting slightly lighter), and going through that trips another switch that turns another regular wall in to a secret door, and going through THAT opens the path.

But past that is the altar room, and the yellow stone, and that wraps up my dungeon delving for now.  All six stones acquired, all that's left are the black and white stones which aren't in dungeons.  And presumably the Abyss will be a dungeon, and I'll have to come back to Hythloth to put these stones in the altars once I get the white stone.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day25.gif)

But for now... I'm going to get some sleep.  Ugh.  At least that's presumably 3/4 of the dungeons in the game behind me, now.  Next time, I think I'll take a nice relaxing cruise down south, do some exploring on the eastern shore and wrap up some threads in Jhelom and Skara Brae.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 16, 2017, 01:58:16 PM
The plan for the next bit is to sail around the southern tip of the continent, dealing with stuff in Jhelom, Skara Brae, and Serpent Hassle, and seeing if there's anything interesting on the west coast.

CODEX CHECKLIST
Avatar Status: Have 5, need valor, spirituality, humility
Three Part Key: Have six stones, need black and white
Word of Passage: Not known, Talk to kings
One Axiom: Not sure, something about eternity

Also have the bell, book, and candle, for functions unknown.

Checked in with Lord British, and Dupre and I went up a level.  I'm at 8, and Dupre is 7, Iolo and Jaana are still at 6.

The trip to Serpent Hold is pretty uneventful.  Got jumped by a sea serpent but nothing dangerous.  Sentri says the syllable he knows is "cor", and then asks us if we know which four cities represent courage.  Apparently, it's Jhelom, Minoc, Trinsic, and Skara Brae.  As far as I know, that's Valor, Sacrifice, Honor, and Spirituality, so that checks out with what we already learned.  Not sure how that ties in to the word, though.  Or is he trying to play Britannian Trivial Pursuit against us or something?  "Now you ask me another one!"

Next up is Jhelom.  I still haven't fully explored this town, due to it having a network of passages I couldn't access without a skeleton key (unless I missed another secret door somewhere).

First stop is the inn.  One of the locked rooms has a guy in it named Geofrrey, a 6'5" warrior.  He says he desires to fight again in battle.  I assume this is supposed to be the guy for this town who will join us.  If I'd managed to get this open on my first trip here, I'd have asked him to join, but at this point, I don't really feel like the extra manpower is worth grinding up a new party member from scratch.  Maybe if the abyss is too much of a pain we can come back and grab him.

The other room houses Lord Robert, who asks me if I'm a valiant warrior.  Well, technically I'm a valiant mage, but I assume that counts.  He says that proves I'm valorous (I'm guessing someone else ordered him to do this job and he just wants to get it over with) and that therefore we should go ask "Nostro" for the rune.  Not sure who that is.

His room has a secret passage in it, leading to a little treasure room.  That treasure room has another secret passage leading to the hallway that runs around the outer wall of the town, which was inaccessible normally because guards block the entrances.  Inside the wall, everything is blocked off by lightning fields.  So, not only do I have to spend a skeleton key to get in here, I also have to blow a bunch of dispels to explore it.

The southwest corner houses a beautiful mage named Senora, being imprisoned here.  At first I thought it was some kind of Rapunzel scenario, but she says she's here because of some great crime she committed.  She declines to elaborate on what it was, but she does say she can help me.  She informs us that we'll need a sextant, and to ask the barkeeper about it.  I suppose it's a good thing that we're coming across a lot of duplicated information, I guess it means we're nearing the end of the game.

I figure I'll keep going, and it turns out that every corner of this stupid passageway is blocked off with two lightning fields.  So now I'm out of dispels and the garlic I need to make more.  But I did finally make it to the northeast corner, where there's a prisoner in a tower similar to Senora.  

Is it another damsel in distress?  No, it's a "withering soul" named Nostro.  Excellent, I need to ask you about the rune.  Nostro says he built these passages and they walled him in.  Not sure if "they" means the walls, or some nefarious government organization that doesn't want people to catch on to their brilliant idea of throwing fucking lightning fields every three feet to make all of their own buildings innavigable.  Nostro says the rune is buried in a tower.  He points out that the passage runs around the city, and asks us to lead him out.  I suppose so.  His only crime that I know of is designing a fucking annoying hallway.

Searching the towers on the way out, the Rune of Valor is in the southeast tower, on the opposite corner from Nostro.  I had kind of expected it would be in the room he was in, since I couldn't get around him to search it, so I'd have to lead him out and then come back to search it, but this shaves some time off.  I think that's all there was to do in this town, too, so once we get Nostro out, I can head for the shrine.

I escorted him outside of the city, but he just vanished... Not sure if that's what the game wanted me to do or what.  He was getting hung up on other NPCs a lot and I think he was a tile behind me when I zoned out, but I didn't get a message that he made it or anything, he just isn't around anymore.  Hmm.  Everything will have respawned if I go back, so I don't have enough dispels to go check if he's back in there, even assuming he doesn't just respawn anyways.

On to the shrine, I suppose.  With the rune, I can get my avatar status for valor.  The meditation goes fine, but the vision is different this time, looks kind of like a half candelabra.  Now, that one does look like the Britannian runes from the map.  Most closely, it looks like F, though it could also be O.  If the other two are runes, they are probably N and either I or L.  Comparing the sketches of the visions to the original map (rather than my drawings of the letters) makes it look more like F I and N. So, best guess is one F, three I (or L) and two N.  There are two other letters out there, so it may be too early to solve this.  The talking seahorse from Paws said the shrines for Honesty, Compassion, and Valor would tell us how to get to the abyss.  Those three shrines gave us one of each of the letters: I N F, in that order.  So, if it's coordinates, that still doesn't help much, we'd need a fourth letter.  If it's a word, I don't know what word it is.  Fin?  In 'F'?  But then what's 'F'?  Doesn't help much.  It's like my mama always said: magical talking seahorses are mostly full of shit.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day26.gif)

Plans for the future: heading to Skara Brae and hopefully getting the white stone, then sailing north around the continent.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 19, 2017, 07:51:38 PM
Continuing on my sailing trip around the continent.  I think I was wrong before, when I said your ship doesn't have HP, because when you board the ship your gold counter is replaced by something labelled "SHP" presumably meaning ship HP.  It doesn't go down when you get in a fight, only when something is bombarding you at a distance, which can be frustrating since this ship moves so damn slow if the wind is against it and enemies can fire on diagonals meaning you can't retaliate and you can't move away.  Not sure what SHP does, I would assume you sink if it gets too low but I did have my SHP drop to 0 and nothing appeared to happen.  Maybe you need to be brought negative or something.

Global sleep spells continue to be the bane of my existence.  Running in to Balrogs on the middle of the ocean now, and it's not fun to fight them when they can fly anywhere they want, but me moving around my own ship is a mess of party members blocking each other and having to jostle in to the one or two squares that can actually attack, especially when the enemy can decide to put about 2/3 of my party to sleep whenever it feels like it from anywhere on the battlefield.  They often don't even attack, they just spend turn after turn casting sleep spells to waste my time.

Finally made it to Skara Brae, though.  Time to get the white stone.  Chatting with townsfolk on the way in, I am reminded that the first clues on this chain STARTED in Skara Brae, sent me back across the world, and now BACK to Skara Brae about six tiles south of the lady who told me about it in the first place.

When I hit the inn, the innkeeper straight up tells me that the room is haunted.  That's weird that I didn't catch that the first time, I thought I stayed in most of the inns so far.  It takes something like ten or fifteen nights for Isaac to show up, but he eventually pops in to my room and tells me that he haunts the inn because he failed his quest.  Asking him about the stone, he says it's on top of the Serpent's Spine, and that only someone who "floats within the clouds" can reach it.  FUCK.  That sounds like I'm going to have to use that stupid damned balloon again.  Serpent's Spine is the mountain range north of Castle British, and it's a large mountain range, so I have no idea where EXACTLY it is and searching by balloon is going to take an eternity unless just ballooning around the general vicinity there takes you to a special map or something.  If it's another one tile landing space I'm going to be seriously cross.  More than I already am, even.

Continuing on my boat ride, I ended up sailing down the Lost River just to see if there's anything down there.  I think I still haven't visited a town called Vesper, though from the Lycaeum map it looks more like a fortress or something than a town.  No idea where it is, either, so I figured I'd check down the Lost River, but all I found was the entrance to the dungeon Shame.  The trip up and down the river is no picnic, either.  The river is one tile wide, so there's a lot of turns wasted turning or trying to sail upwind, and anything on either bank can jump me.  I saw one party of orcs take no joke over FIFTEEN cannon hits and they STILL didn't die, I ended up having to engage them in melee.  I don't know what the deal is with these cannons, sometimes they wipe out massive enemies in one shot, sometimes they don't seem to do anything.

Made it to Empath Abbey.  Lord Bob says that his syllable is "amo".  Not sure if this is supposed to be a real word or if it's some made up one, but if it's a real word I don't know what it is.  There are presumably three syllables, so either the word starts with either "amo" or "cor" or it ends with "coramo" or "amocor" and none of those are really jumping out at me as obvious candidates (like "UL" and "TI" would be, for example)

Next up is the lady in waiting who knows about the silver horn.  She says a paladin named Malchor can lead me to it.  Right.  Of course she doesn't have it.  OF COURSE.  And I don't see a Malchor in my notes.  NOW all I have to do is sail all over the world to find this guy, who will no doubt direct me to find someone named Zorbug Snorklaughlin or something who is also god knows where and HE'LL tell me the horn is on the tile I'm standing on right now.

Last time, I didn't explore the courtyard out back, because it was locked, but now that I have skeleton keys I can go out there.  Lord Bob doesn't seem to mind me picking the lock to his throne room right in front of him, so that's good.  Inside the grove is a lady named Diane who "counsels" people on the grove on love.  There's also a bard here named Benjamin, a druid named Dierdre, a tinker named Thomas, and a ranger named Lastro, I said in an easily indexed and searchable format, even though none of them appear to have anything useful to say except some musings on the nature of love.  They're all crouching behind trees so I thought initially this was some kind of romance scene from the days of Video Game Yore when you could put romance and whatever else you wanted in your game without having to put a warning on the front of the box that you might catch cooties from it.  But all the characters here are super seriously contemplating the nature of love, like it's going to unite quantum mechanics with relativity or something, instead of the more typical "thou meetest a hot bar wench with huge jugs, who giggles and says 'verily, sir, but I am rarely able to keep my clothing on when I meet brave knights with a STR of at least 27 and DEX of 33 or higher, *giggle!*'"

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day27.gif)

On the way out, I actually ran in to Malchor in the healers room.  That was close, almost assumed he wasn't here.  He says the horn is buried on an island off the tip of Spiritwood.  I think I passed a whole cluster of islands off the end of that peninsula on the way here, so now I either go back the way I came or make a full circuit and a half of the continent to try and find Vesper.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 23, 2017, 03:18:35 AM
I figure the best option at this point is to head back south and pick up the horn, then continue north.  It might take a while longer to play, but shouldn't make the update much longer to read unless I find something new.

I would like to reiterate once more how fucking bullshit the monster encounters are, though.  My first screenshot today is from a fight with seven Balrons, any one of which can cast that full screen sleep spell whenever they feel like it.  Note that in this screenshot, two Balrons are in positions that are difficult to reach, meaning if someone wakes up they have to move for several turns and then attack, and the chances are pretty good that they won't stay awake for that long, and two more Balrons are in positions that are IMPOSSIBLE to reach, by any attack or spell as far as I know, meaning I have to hope they're stupid enough to walk in to range before I can even start to fight them.  Also note that this isn't, like, a boss fight or a secret difficult bonus area, I got jumped by these guys as I was sailing around normally.  This isn't unusual or anything, these encounters are happening a lot.

There's a cluster of islands off the south tip of the Spiritwood, and it's the fifth or sixth one that eventually has the silver horn on it.  Now, I think I have everything I need to get Avatar status in Humility, I just have to find where it is.  "North side of Isle of the Abyss" is what I have written down here, but I don't know where that is.  For now, I may as well just continue exploring the coast, trying to find Vesper. 

No luck for a while, I eventually made it all the way to Minoc.  Figured I'd stop off here and restock some supplies.  Chatting with the locals to see if I missed anything last time, I notice that one of them says that the white rune is the key to the Shrine of Spirituality... I have that rune, so presumably I can get my Avatar status in Spirituality now.

Nothing happens when I spend the night at the inn, but the following morning I head over to the poor house and notice that one of the workers is named Jude.  I was looking for a beggar named Jude, but this guy doesn't use the beggar sprite, he just works with beggars.  I ask him about the Skull of Mondain and he says he already used it.  The hell?!  I thought this was supposed to cause mass death or something, unless that reaper in the castle was lying.  After swearing to use the skull only at the mouth of the abyss to destroy it, he tells me it's hidden at P'F" M'F" and can only be found on the "darkest night," presumably meaning double new moons.

That's all I can find to do in town, now it's time to try to get in to that Shrine of Spirituality, which I think means I need to use the gate here at Minoc on a double full moon.  Stepping in to the gate warps me immediately to the shrine, and three cycles later, I have Avatar status in Spirituality.  The vision in this one looks like the rune for "T".  Hmm.  Three I, two N, one F and one T... and we've only got one letter to go.  I'm guessing it will be a Y, giving us "INFINITY".  Is that supposed to be the "one axiom" that the sages in Cove were talking about?  Endless as the whatevers and so on?  Because infinity is not an axiom.

Well, either way, my "to do" list is getting shorter.  I may as well try to get the white stone, since I think I ditched that damned balloon just south of here. 

Well, shit.  I just floated over and it does look like the shrine (or whatever it is) is one of those stupid one tile landing squares.  Maybe I can blink up there if the wind isn't cooperating?  Might as well try it the "normal" way first.

I did manage to make the landing on the third pass or so.  So now I can look forward to never having to do this again.  The area is this little two tile enclosure of a single tile landing space and a giant ankh.  The white stone is just lying on the ground in the open, and I can't find anything to do with the ankh.  I hope the stone is all I need from here, I really don't want to have to try that landing again.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day28.gif)

Next up: probably heading back over to Verity Isle to get the last syllable of the word of passage as well as the black stone, and then back to Hythloth to make the three part key.  After that, I'm running out of things to do.  Gotta find the skull and hope I stumble on either the Isle of the Abyss or Vesper.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 25, 2017, 02:13:39 AM
Sailed to the Lycaeum, and got the third and (as far as I know) final syllable of the word of passage, which is "ver".  Cor amo ver.  Yeah, don't know about the order, unless I'm missing something obvious this isn't a real word, at least in English. 

Next stop is the town of Moonglow, to do some shopping.  I'm pretty flush with cash at the moment, after doing all that dungeon crawling, and now would be a good time to stock up on reagents and food.  So, now I should be good to go for a while.  And now to find that black stone.

No surprises there.  Just walked in to the moongate during a double new moon and reappeared on the same spot, which I then searched and got the stone.  It didn't take me anywhere special or anything like that.  I wonder if I could have found it without waiting for the new moon, if my original trip through the gate caused the stone to appear or if you have to search during a new moon.  I suppose it doesn't matter now.

I now have all eight stones, so I can go back to Hythloth and form the three part key.  First, I think I'll try to track down the Skull of Mondain, though. 

Heading to P'F" M'F", and it looks like it's near the exit to Hythloth, those freaky lava tiles I sailed over in the balloon on the first trip when I didn't have any wind spells.  Takes me a minute or so of searching and sailing in circles before I remember that Jude said to search on the darkest night or something presumably suggesting double new moons.  Waiting around for the moons to line up, I was able to successfully dive and find the skull.

Since I'm exploring coastlines, I figure I may as well explore that island that Hythloth exits on to.  I hadn't noticed during my original trip, but the exit to Hythloth is actually inaccessible by boat, it's bordered by shoals, and since I already grabbed the balloon, I think the only way on or off the island is to take the long way through the dungeon.

The island is actually surprisingly large, but there is a small beach on the north side that leads deeper inland.  Exploring on this for a while, I spot a tile that looks like a shrine, and then I'm immediately jumped by demons.  Like, six or seven different fights with different groups of demons, all in a row.  I lost count after five.  I thought partway through the second to last one that maybe there's just an infinite number of them and I maybe need to use the horn, but it didn't seem to do anything. 

Anyways, I managed to fight my way past an army of demons and took a step south and was immediately assaulted by ANOTHER gigantic mob of demons, and then seven or eight or whatever many waves immediately following THEM.  Ok, this is getting stupid.  I thought maybe it was like the ending room of Ultima 3, where you get attacked by a bunch of invisible enemies one after the other, and it seems like there's an infinite number of them but you just clear out the room, but no, after I finish beating this army of demons I take another step and get to fight YET MORE demons.

I realize that they probably want me to use the silver horn outside of combat to avert this somehow, but screw it, it's a matter of principle now.  I'm just marching up the middle.  Demons want to start something even after I played the horn, whining about how it was in combat or it doesn't count or whatever, well, tough.  Oh, you guys think I have this horn for MY protection?  I gave you a chance to run.  Now we do things the hard way, and I have to pave a road through these hills with your stupid corpses.  I fight my way to the Shrine of Humility, taking down armies of demons with literally every step, but I eventually made it. 

This took about an hour and a half, by the way.

Meditating at the shrine (the mantra was LUM, by the way, the mantra of pride reversed) and I got a vision for the next letter, which is indeed the rune corresponding to Y.

Making my way back out, I'm... not attacked by demons?  I guess they only attack on the way in.  I mistakenly took a step back towards the shrine to try to loot a treasure chest and got jumped by one last farewell series of demon battles before I made it out.  I think status effects in this game don't overwrite each other, meaning if you get one, you don't get another one until you cure the first one.  So, ironically, my guys take way less damage after they've been poisoned, because that means they're immune to the full screen sleep.  Ugh.  I think I killed more demons here than in a full run of DOOM.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day29.gif)

Back to the shore aaaaaannnnd... where the hell is my boat.  WHERE THE HELL IS MY BOAT?  WHAT THE GOD DAMN HELL HAPPENED TO MY GOD DAMN BOAT YOU GOD DAMMAAAAAAAARGHHH


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on February 25, 2017, 03:40:00 AM
Ahh, the legendary demon swarm  :grin: , much akin to the infamous 9999 berserks of Bard's Tale I  :drill:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on February 25, 2017, 05:31:40 PM
I just had this image of him arriving at the Shrine of Humility after chopping through 2 million demons, and its the Statue of Liberty from Planet of the Apes.  :drill:


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on February 27, 2017, 06:39:33 PM
Survivor's Journal, Day 174
   Still no sign of what happened to our boat.  I didn't hear anything while we were inland, and there's no sign of wreckage or combat, and I don't see who could have stolen it since we're on a deserted island inhabited only by thousands of demons who don't use boats anyway.  We just got back to the shore and the boat was gone.  Since we've been stranded on this island, tensions among the party have gotten high.  I'm not sure how much longer we can hold out.  Food and supplies are impossible to buy here.  I fear we may have to eat Dupre.

Day 179
   Dupre freaked out after waking up covered in mustard, with Jaana putting a hot dog bun around his calf.  He pointed out that we have something like 3,000 food, probably enough to last us for years.  I believe he fails to grasp the severity of the situation.

Day 181
   Wandered the island a bit and killed some demons.  I wonder if it's possible to eat demons.  I suppose you'd have to prepare them first or something, and we don't have any cooking equipment.  I don't know any recipes for demons, either.  Devilled eggs, maybe, but we have no eggs.

Day 190
   Sighted a ship off the coast.  Maybe they saw the signal pyre we set up with demon corpses?  They seem to be approaching us, which is good.  It's pretty impressive that they've found us given we're way deep in a bay on an uncharted island off the main trade routes.  Perhaps Lord British sent them to - NOPE they're thieves.  What is it with this world.  "Hey, guys, we need to rob something, but the towns are all too well guarded."  "Let's head to a deserted island in the middle of the ocean, rob the hell out of some castaways!"  "Yeah, great idea!  No guards there, we'll make MILLIONS of banannas!"  "Look, there's some victims now!  I don't see any goods or treasure, but they do all look desperate and heavily armed enough to take down a hundred demons!  LET'S GET 'EM!"

So, yeah, we killed the hell out of them and took their boat.  I still have no idea what happened to our ship.  Did it despawn when we were fighting demons?  Like, the game can only handle 256 objects in the overworld at a time or something, and killing all those demons generated so many treasure chests that it started despawning things like the ship to keep memory free?  Or is this, like, a scripted thing?  Like, we're about to become some divine figure of morality, but Richard Garriot still needs to remind us who wears the pants in this relationship, so he just starts deleting stuff in some weird Lawnmower Man "I'M THE GOD HERE" scene?

Ahh, the legendary demon swarm  :grin: , much akin to the infamous 9999 berserks of Bard's Tale I  :drill:

I just had this image of him arriving at the Shrine of Humility after chopping through 2 million demons, and its the Statue of Liberty from Planet of the Apes.  :drill:

Yeah, I just hope I didn't screw things up somehow.  Like blowing the horn causes the demons to stop attacking and ALSO causes the lady of the lake to show up and give me the magical ring that will allow me to beat the game.

Anyways, got the new boat, and now I'm an eight part Avatar.  I do some exploring around the island, but since that was the Shrine of Humility, I think that means this is the Isle of the Abyss, and I don't want to go the Abyss just yet.  Off the western side there's a small passage between two mountains that opens in to a huge bay, which is patrolled by a bunch of boats.  It's fairly easy to hold them off at the mouth of the bay, since the inlet is only one tile wide and three tiles long, which means that if I sit at the end of it, enemy ships have to sail down the passage into the line of fire of my cannons and since they'll be facing me, they won't be able to fire broadsides without turning, so mostly they just ram right in to me which results in a boarding action which I win anyway.  Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize this isn't a winning strategy, because the boats respawn infinitely once you pass a certain tile in the bay.  The irony is thick: a few minutes ago I would have killed for a boat, now I'm getting destroyed by infinite numbers of them.  To get past, I'll have to fight my way through with no cover.  It took a while (this island is eating up a disturbing amount of time) but I did manage to make it across the bay, largely by running across the hulls of defeated ships (some of them aren't actual ships and are really phantom ships, though, which makes it tricky).  The other side of the bay is... nothing?  I mean, there's a huge passage with magma flows and so on, but I can't find any actual entrance to the Abyss or anything.  To be clear, I wasn't going to go in, but I thought there'd at least be a visible stairway or door or something.  I assume this is the right place, I mean, Isle of the Abyss and all that, gauntlet of phantoms guarding this caldera, it looks like the spot for an epic showdown, but I don't see anything.  There are a bunch of lava tiles and, annoyingly, fire fields which look very similar to them.  I found two and dispelled them, but there was just another lava tile underneath, so no idea if there's a reason for that or what.

Exploration will have to wait for another day, I suppose.  I'm SUPER low on hit points.  After fighting off the entire bestiary of Diablo 2 in the last update, I've since had to also fight off an infinite number of respawning ghost pirate ships to get here, and THEN I had to ACTUALLY WALK ON LAVA to explore this part of the island, so I'm heading back.  I'll return when I have everything I need for the Abyss.  Maybe having the three part key will make the door appear or something.  The entrance for this bay is at O'A" N'K" for future reference.  Boats don't spawn on the way out, so probably that means this is another setup like the Shrine of Humility, where you only have to fight going in.  Unfortunately, that probably means I'll have to go through this gauntlet all over again.

First, though, it's back to civilization for some rest and relaxation.  First stop is Paws, where now that I'm an eight part Avatar, I can get the information on the mystic arms and armor.  The arms are in Serpent Castle, and the armor is in Empath Abbey, apparently, so now I have to make ANOTHER trip over there.  I notice that my faithful steed is no longer chilling on the plains outside of Paws, maybe fighting all those demos did despawn everything else in the world?  I wonder if the balloon is still there.

It takes a bit of time to trek over to the castles again, but nothing much interesting happened on the trip.  Sailed over to Serpents Hassle first, to grab the arms, and they turn out to be right in the middle of the training room of the castle.  I guess they're invisible or something if you're not an 8-part Avatar?  The mystic weapons might be really powerful, but they're also short range, so I don't think I'll be using them until we hit the Abyss (at which point I suspect no other weapons will work, if U3 is anything to go by).

Back up north to Castle British, and getting the three part key from Hythloth.  That's pretty straightforward, too, I think.  Every altar room you solve gives you one third of the key, you don't get any "you got the entire thing" message, so I hope you don't have to visit some reclusive blacksmith or something to combine the parts together.  Left through the exit in Wrong to get me closer to Empath Abbey, and grabbed the Mystic Robes, which are lying on the ground in the middle of the clearing.  

Anyone can use the mystic arms and mystic armor, by the way, which means my mage is now the most badass warrior in the party, able to wear the best armor, use the best weapon, and cast the best spells.  He's also level 8, while the others are level 7 for some reason, not sure why.  I have 9999 XP, while everyone else is a little under 5,000 and I'm not sure why there's such a gap.  I didn't spend THAT much time solo leveling.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day30.gif)

But, as far as I know... this is it.  Time to go.  One last inventory check:  I've got eight stones, eight runes, the bell, book and candle.  I've got the three part key, the silver horn, the magical steering wheel, and the Skull of Mondain.  I've visited Lord British and got full HP on everybody.  I'm an eight part Avatar, and I have the mystic arms and mystic armor.  I have a sextant, plus eleven skeleton keys and thirty map gems.  I have over 2,700 food, and over 1,300 gold in case I need more supplies. I have over 75 of every spell component, save the two I never found.  I never did find Vesper, come to think of it, maybe it's inland somewhere.  I also have ten of my most common spells (fireball, dispell, cure poison, Xit, light, etc.) prepared.  I know the three syllables of the word of passage.  I think it's time to take on the Abyss.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Selby on February 27, 2017, 07:09:56 PM
I just want to say this is awesome reading.  It inspired me to take my own step back in time to around 1989 to a game I never beat that's cryptic and brutally unfair as well.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on February 27, 2017, 07:46:46 PM
A little not-so-blatant spoiler for you, Kail: feel free to totally ignore it.

Anyway...


Good luck, AVATARD.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 05, 2017, 06:02:06 PM
A little not-so-blatant spoiler for you, Kail: feel free to totally ignore it.

Anyway...


Good luck, AVATARD.

Sigh.  So I guess this means I'm not ready to go to the Abyss yet.  Each individual part?  Well, I have all eight runes and all eight stones.  The only other thing I can think of that represents a specific virtue are the towns and classes, with each town and each class corresponding to one of the virtues.  So, do I need the full party of 8 adventurers to even get IN to the Abyss?

Ugh.  Well, I guess it's better to be prepared, in any case.  So, the short part is going around and picking everybody up.  A few of them I guessed, like Geoffrey, due to them saying something about wanting to join you, but some of them I didn't guess and had to wander around town asking everybody to "join".  The trickiest one was probably Katrina the shepherd, who I think is the only living person in the ruins of Magincia, who I'd actually missed the first time in the town (and the next few times) because she's hiding on the outskirts of town, another one of those little cul-de-sacs where you have to skirt along the one tile wide border between the edge of the map which warps you back to the overworld and some impassable wall or obstacle.

Anyways, say hello to the new party members.  Julia, the tinker, starts at level 2 and can equip most gear but is terrible at magic.  Shamino the ranger joins at level 2 and seems to be kind of a hybrid character, with mediocre magic and gear.  Sir Geoffrey the fighter starts at level 3 and can equip pretty much any equipment, but has no mana.  And Katrina the shepherd sucks.

Next up is the grind, and I am really not digging this, suddenly.  I had forgotten how tedious combat is with characters whose attributes aren't maxed.  And I can't even max any of these characters out yet, they'd die if they touched an orb.  I need to grind levels first, then heal up, then get orbs, then heal again.  It's maddening watching these newbies fight, too.  Suddenly all the frustrating bullshit of only being able to hit every third attack is back, except now it's backed up by the monsters wailing on my front line while the back line is shooting the walls.  It's not like they're in serious danger, my original four all have tons of HP and the best armor in the game, but knowing that they could just reach out at any moment and probably one-shot the monster while the goddamn Merry Men here are annihilating the far wall with misfires is super aggravating.

This is the reason this update took so long, by the way.  This game sits in that valley between "so simple you can turn your brain off and grind while you listen to a podcast or watch a video on your phone" and "so complex that it's interesting and fun". I couldn't play for more than a few minutes at a time before I just kind of zoned out and went in to that mental state where you just sit there staring at nothing for an eternity and then you realize a half hour has passed an you've done nothing but hit "space, space, space, space, A, left, A, left, A, left, A, left" over and over again in the brief instant of time that this life provides you between birth and your inevitable death.  I was already drafting this post game summary thing praising how little grinding there was, and now this.  I don't know what's worse: the idea that they require you to have all eight party members but nobody mentions that EVER (I'm guessing it's from British, but I don't remember hearing the quote Lucas dropped, and if I had, it's not like it SCREAMS "you must have all party members" unless you already know that it's not talking about any of the million bits of magical tat you've got to pick up) or the idea that I don't, that you're referring to something else, and I'm wasting my time with this.  I don't know if these characters all have to be combat ready or what, so I'm preparing for the worst.  I did find a shop that sells crossbows, so their gear is pretty much the best they can have at this point (which isn't saying much for Katrina) with mystic armor and ranged weapons.  I ended up just heading to a dungeon and grinding one of the encounter rooms over and over.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOXuxjTKS_Y (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOXuxjTKS_Y)

After playing for ten billion years, I finally got everyone to level 5, which I THINK is the level you need to be at to survive touching an orb.  That takes about 1,000 XP or so, by the way, and those enemies were giving 5 a pop.  So you can do the math if you're really curious about how much *fun* I was having.  Anyways, next stop was going to be Covetous again, to give them some orbs.  The plan was to do all this grinding and then head right to the Abyss so that I wouldn't have been lying last time when I said "we're heading to the Abyss next time".  On the way to Covetous, though, I happened to spot a village nestled inland, just south of the Shrine of Compassion.  I assume it's Vesper, and I am really torn between visiting it and just continuing on like I don't see anything.  I just really want to move on at this point.  But I suppose I have to be thorough here.

The town does turn out to be Vesper.  I don't really know what the deal is with this town.  There's a Thieves Guild shop here, and some guy talking about how great thieves are and how easy it is to steal horses, but the place is built like a fortress and there's a bunch of non-thief people hanging around chatting about the virtues. The only thing I know I have to do here is ask at the bar about Nightshade.  The barkeep there says to check with Virgil in Trinsic.  Sure, Trinsic, why not, opposite side of the planet obviously. There's a couple people in this town who tell me I >must< do certain things.  That is goddamn infuriating at this point in the game.  One of them tells me I >must< meditate at the shrines for 1, 2, and 3 cycles each.  Fucking hell.  I suppose that's what the seahorse was talking about, then.  I was just meditating for 3 cycles, presumably the other durations give different visions or something.  Sigh.  Just when I think I'm almost done, suddenly "hey, here's fifty new things to do".  And of course I have no idea how many, if any, are things I don't already know, and how many are "food is good, try not to run out or you'll die".  Like, there's a bunch of shepherds here in town, and one of them tells me that the Shrine of Humility is guarded by an endless horde of demons.  Yeah, thanks for the heads up.  They have the power to dematerialize boats, too, by the way.  One of the kids here tells me to ask Virgil in Yew about the quickness spell.  I don't care too much about quickness, but I do have down in my notes to chat with Vergil about where to find mandrake root, and now I at least know where he is.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day31.gif)

So, yeah, no Abyss this time.  Plan for next time is to get some orbs for the newbies, then head to Yew and Trinsic to get information on magical reagents, THEN it's off to pick up the next link in that chain (because you know they aren't going to have it there with them or anything crazy like that) and then hit up the shrines AGAIN.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 06, 2017, 12:02:39 PM
Heh, sorry for the hassle but, while it would have been fun and perfectly in the spirit of a 1985 game  (ah, the sweet tears of rage  :grin:) I didn't want you to backtrack while you were on the verge of finishing the game :P. The only companion you can't recruit is, of course, the honesty one: Have you figured out who he/she is? If not, answer is


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Slayerik on March 07, 2017, 07:29:11 AM
Kail, thanks for this. Great writing and really took me back to another age of gaming. I look forward to the next post!


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Draegan on March 07, 2017, 06:22:36 PM
Thankfully you're playing this so I don't have to and satisfy my nostalgia.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on March 07, 2017, 06:34:40 PM
Yeah I think this would have caused me to chew my keyboard in rage.  :why_so_serious:

Yeah, great writing!


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 07, 2017, 07:24:09 PM
Among the many "firsts" you can backtrack to the Ultima saga (feel free to correct me), there's also the "Companions" concept, as in NPCs with "personalities" that you can recruit as you progress and meet them, although they were pretty straightforward and rough in Ultima IV (Iolo first appearance is in Ultima I, actually). Still, a novelty compared to the "build your own party" from other games before and after it.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 09, 2017, 04:39:28 AM
Next stop on the fun bus is grinding for orbs in Covetous.  This is fairly straightforward, but more tedious than the last time since moving the party around the cramped dungeon is more time consuming with a larger party.  For example, there's that one room that with the Liches that was gated off with a sleep field that everybody has to move through single file to get to the next room, right?  Let's say that each person in that field falls asleep for five turns.  Before, that was about twenty turns of standing around hitting space.  Well, now that I've got eight people, not only does that mean I have to now wait for forty turns, but each turn of waiting ALSO takes longer since I'm waiting through seven other character's turns rather than just three.

Hmm, that's odd.  I went to sleep in the inn, and my boat is gone.  My OTHER boat is still here, from back when I was first grinding my original party, but the one I snagged on the Isle of the Abyss is gone.  This is getting alarming.  I remember at one point I had a ton of boats scattered around the shores of the continent, but now I think I'm on the last one, and I don't know what is happening to the others.

Got jumped on my boat by demons and the new employees are unable to deal with it, while the old ones are all holding mystic swords now and have to wait until the demons fly in to range before wrecking them.  It really doesn't feel like this is how the game is supposed to be played.  It's like playing Civilization: the first hundred turns, every decision you make is important and engaging, and then the mid game happens and you have to worry about strategy and how all your little decisions have impacted the overall picture... and then you get to the late game and at some point every single thing that pops up on to your screen is just an annoyance.  Like every time your advisor shows up with one more thing for you to deal with when you just want to click "next turn" a few dozen more times to win a science victory, and then Gandhi rolls up to your border whining about some city you took in the bronze age and declares war with an army that couldn't conquer a shopping mall, and now you've got to divert stacks of units and spend half an hour dealing with THAT nonsense and then you'll have to optimize all the cities you just conquered and it's all just a whole tedious ordeal.  In Ultima, everything is getting easier as my guys get more powered up, but also more cumbersome and awkward to maneuver.  I'm still fighting the same orcs and skeletons that my mage was soloing at level one with a stick (there's harder monsters too, but the rats and spiders don't stop spawning), and probably about 90% of my time "in combat" is spent walking towards the enemy.  It's weird how much difference a change in weaponry can make: when I was using ranged weapons, it felt like I was gunning down hordes of enemies as they charged at us.  Now, that I'm using melee weapons, it feels more sinister, like my guys are this slowly advancing force of grim murderers, this creeping doom that spreads across the map scouring it of all life.  I assume that these orcs and things are doing evil stuff elsewhere in the world, I just never see it, but it does kind of bruise the whole "champion of compassion" vibe when I feel less like the Fellowship of the Ring and more like the Black Riders, kicking down the door, walking in to a room, killing everyone in it, and hunting down fleeing survivors so I don't lose courage points by leaving the screen with enemies alive.

I think I may have discovered what keeps happening to my boats.  When I exited Minoc after healing, I noticed one of those triangle looking mobs floating around the area.  I mentioned seeing one before, and I thought it was a whirlpool, but I guess that's not the case because it can go over land.  It's not a monster, though, it just hurts you if you touch it, I guess maybe it's a tornado or something.  But when it moved over my boat, which was docked nearby, it just straight up deleted it.

So, now I have no boat.  Again.

That means I can't get back to the dungeon to finish grinding at the moment.  Not sure if I'll bother.  Everyone is at the max of 50 except for Katrina who's at 49 and 47 for STR and DEX.  I still haven't found a way to raise INT, maybe another dungeon or something, but I'm not so worried about that since I can probably handle the spell casting myself.

I may as well hit up the sacrifice shrine since I'm near Minoc.  You do indeed get different messages if you meditate for one or two cycles.  One cycle gave me the hot tip that sacrifice can be raised by donating gold, which I thought was a compassion thing but whatever.  The two cycle version was that fleeing combat and leaving companions is selfish and cowardly.  So, does that mean my main character has to be the last one off the screen or what?  You can't meditate twice in a row, by the way, so you have to wait a whole bunch of turns.  Not such a big deal at the shrine of sacrifice, since it's basically protected by a moat, but I can see monsters wandering around and I don't know if it'll go as smoothly at the other shrines.

Heading over to the shrine of compassion, I have to walk through swamp tiles and now everyone is poisoned.  This was annoying when it was four people, but with eight it is maddening.  Every time you try to take a step the game stops, ticks the poison on every party member individually and plays a little static burst and THEN moves.  It takes, no joke, maybe a second, maybe a second and a half to take ONE STEP like this.  And, obviously, it then takes seven or eight cure spells to restore the party, as opposed to the three or four it used to.

The vision at the shrine says "kill not the non-evil beasts of the land, and attack not the fair people!"  Well, that wouldst be a lot easier if thee wouldst tell THEM to extend the same courtesy unto ME.  Damn snakes leaping at eye height towards Iolo, I'm not going to start singing about the circle of life as he's on the ground wrestling with the thing's fangs buried in him.  I mean, it's not like I can just live and let live here, these fuckers chase me across the continent like goddamn terriers or something. Not once or twice, either, they do this CONSTANTLY, enemies show up like every ten steps or something ridiculous like that.  I have a train of them following me most of the time.  I'm not fighting these guys because I'm some mean jerk who wants to beat up weak defenseless monsters, I'm fighting them because they are always chasing me down and WILL NOT LEAVE ME ALONE.  Trust me, I would LOVE to be able to wander around without having to hurt anyone, but these idiots literally come running the second I step foot outside, like surely my number is up NOW, and the previous eight million identical encounters that ended in utter devastation for their side were just flukes.  Argh.  It's just a bit frustrating, is all!  The two cycle meditation is just another "give poor people money" quote.  These are not turning out to be super useful.  And if it is what that magic talking seahorse meant, then it's still not giving me any more insight to how to enter the Abyss.

Onward to Trinsic, to chat with Virgil.  I think last update I mistakenly wrote down Virgil when I meant Calumny.  Calumny is in Yew and knows about mandrake, Virgil is in Trinsic and knows about nightshade.  It turns out he's that guy sitting in the middle of a ring of poison fields, so I get to have some more fun with poison.  Virgil tells me that Nightshade can be found at J'F" C'O" on the darkest nights.

Meditating at the shrine of Honor again gives me the advice to not steal from people and not attack non-evil characters.  Yeah, these are pointless.  I'm probably going to check the one at Yew since I'm headed there anyway, but otherwise these are just a waste of time at this point.

Searching J'F" C'O" on the new moon gives me... eight nightshade.  And it doesn't come back next time there's a full moon, either.  Either it regrows very slowly over time, or I'll only be able to ever cast eight spells that use nightshade.  Continuing on to Yew, Calumny says mandrake grows on the Fens of the Dead or the Blood Plains, but only where the ground is always damp.  Does that mean swamp tiles?  I have to stand on swamp tiles, don't I.  Ugh.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day32.gif)

The Shrine of Compassion is another bust.  "Don't steal" and "don't attack the innocent".  Yeah, I'm thinking I'm done with these.  That seahorse is full of shit.

Well, that is officially it, I think.  I have nothing left to do.  I've visited all the towns in the game, talked to everybody in the world as far as I know, and got all eight companions up to a decent level.  I think it may finally be time to hijack another unlucky pirate ship... and head to the Abyss.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 11, 2017, 11:00:50 PM
All right, who's ready to go on the ULTIMATE ADVENTURE!

...

[three hours pass]

Okay, so pirate ships do not spawn very frequently.  Not like, say, (and I'm just pulling names at random) goddamn orcs and skeletons, for example.  I swear, if every orc I met was carrying a single wooden plank, I could have built a damn BRIDGE to the Abyss by now.

This is probably a good time to hunt down some mandrake.  The Bloody Plains are nearby, so I head over there to check out the swamp.  I managed to finally grab a sample, three doses worth, eventually.  However, Calumny neglected to mention that like Nightshade, Mandrake can ALSO only be harvested on a double new moon, so I ended up going over a few different areas before I got it.  Because this involved swamp tiles, it meant I got poisoned.  Because I have eight people in my party, this meant I ended up going through something like thirty or forty cure spells, so now I'll have to restock before I head to the Abyss.

Or IF I ever head to the Abyss.  Still no sign of any ships.  It takes about five hundred more turns of holding down the space bar for someone to show up.  I take their ship and am, of course, attacked by two more pirate ships almost immediately after.  Sigh.

Step one is to restock.  I head to Buccaneer's Den to grab some reagents, and the weapon shop there has something called a magic wand.  It costs 5,000 gold, but I maxed out my gold when I was grinding, so I can afford one (the max gold is 9,999 and I've already spent a bunch on more food and weapons).  I can't say no to new ways to end orcs so I grab one.  There are also magic bows here, but the wand already basically zeroed my purse and I'm not sure I'll even be able to use these weapons once I get to the Abyss.

And, finally, it's off to the Isle.

The bay packed with pirate ships is still there, and it's still probably the hardest part of the game so far.  The ship can only take 5 hits by default before it sinks, and bear in mind that it takes a full turn to change your direction and there's a pretty good chance whenever you're sailing of just not moving at all because of the wind, so it's easy for the enemy to get some cheap shots in as you're trying to close with them.  Once you can board them, the fight is basically over, since the enemy crew is all melee and have to board your ship across narrow gangplanks which makes it pretty simple to win every fight without taking any damage.  It's getting to them which is complicated, because you either have to sail in to cannon fire or stay at range, and while their shots do 10 HP every time, the efficiency of your shots seem to vary highly.  One complication is that sometimes you'll have to fight phantom ships, and phantom ships don't move or attack, they just float in the water.  My first trip, I thought they were free XP bags, but now, suddenly, they have a nasty tendency to spawn somewhere I can't reach, up in some corner of the screen that I don't have an angle on from any tile on the surface of my boat.  I can't attack diagonally, as far as I know, and the ship doesn't fill up the entire screen, and my party can't walk on the water.  I have no idea how to win the fight when they spawn somewhere outside the length of the ship.  I can't kill them, they can't kill me, we just spend the combat waiting for something to happen but nothing ever does.  Since we're on a ship, we can't even flee, because we can't leave the deck.  I assume this is a glitch or something, and I haven't found a way past it aside from closing the game when I get in to one of those situations.

But eventually, I made my way through.  I still have no idea how to get in to the Abyss.

After futzing around for a while, I do find there's a square in the middle of the caldera where I can use the bell, book, and candle.  After that, I draw some dicks on the Skull of Mondain and cast it in to the Abyss.  I hope that was the right thing to do?  I still don't see a door or anything.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day33.gif)

Took me seriously about five minutes of banging on my keyboard like a monkey to figure out what I was doing wrong.  The one tile on the middle of the lava IS the entrance to the Abyss, it's just that the entrance is invisible.  You're just supposed to know it's there.  Which I kind of did since that's the only tile where you can use the bell, book, and candle, but what I tried first was to (d)escend in to the Abyss, like you do at Hythloth.  But you enter Hythloth from Castle Britain, and when you enter a town or dungeon from the overworld map you don't (d)escend in to it (even though you do (k)limb to get back out) you (e)nter it.  Once I figured that out, I made it in to the evilest pit on Britannia: The Stygian Abyss.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Slayerik on March 13, 2017, 09:29:22 AM
Good luck! You seem well prepared, Avatar.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Slayerik on March 15, 2017, 08:56:37 AM
The suspense...its killing me. :)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on March 16, 2017, 01:48:27 AM
He didn't make it back.

Time to roll up a new f13 poster and try again.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 16, 2017, 04:40:58 AM
Heh, sorry.  I actually had this done on Sunday but have been too busy to upload it.

All right, the Abyss.  Not sure what the difficulty is going to be like here.  Honestly, it's going to have to be a pretty huge spike to even slow down my party at this point, but then, a massive spike in difficulty would not be a particularly shocking twist.  I have killed, I think, every enemy in the bestiary already, so unless there are different monsters specific to the Abyss this is going to be pretty straightforward.

Checking a gem, the first floor looks pretty straightforward.  A single hallway down to what looks like a huge room with an altar in the middle?  Weird.  Are there more stones in the Abyss?  Even here, at the end of worlds, thy collect-a-thons haunt me.  There's a pair of fountains there, too, I still don't know what the purpose of fountains is.  But before we get there, there are two series of four encounter rooms each, looks like.

The first series of encounter rooms is a bunch of rooms paved with lava and defended by lava lizards and hydra.  These monsters can spit fire which, if it hits you, does a bunch of damage, and if it MISSES you, it creates a lava tile on the floor, which deals damage.  Normally these guys are a nuisance, but here, for some reason, I can't hit them with any attacks.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't expect this: you have to equip the mystic weapons to damage anything here.  Because reasons.  In other dungeons, I have killed these guys with a rock and a piece of string, but here, no.  I assume any armor other than the mystic armor would likewise result in you getting wrecked with every attack, but I don't have a reason to wear anything but mystic armor. I would like the range that my non-mystic weapons give me, especially when the enemies are sitting on lava, though.  But at least with the mystic sword they die pretty quick once you reach them.  For some reason, the magic wand still seems to hit enemies fairly well, I notice, which is kind of surprising.  Another glitch?  Well, I think it's probably too late to go back and grind four times as much gold as I can carry just to outfit everyone with wands, plus I'm not even sure who all can equip them.

Once I hand out swords to everyone, the enemies are not much of a threat, but I do end up taking a stupid amount of damage from the lava.  There are sections where I don't think you can avoid walking on it, you HAVE to just march across active magma flows.  But, we get through it without any casualties.

The theme for the second series of rooms is "demons with sleep and lightning fields".  That reminds me, I need to prepare some more dispels.  If I had a dozen of those to throw around, I could just blow a hole through these rooms and march through, but instead I have to wait for people to walk in to the sleep fields blocking us, fall asleep, wake up, and then move out of the way for the next person.  The duration of a sleep effect is random, as far as I know.  The final room in this series has a gap one tile wide covered by a sleep field, so I figured I'd cover the rest of the party as they went through but Shamino, the second person through, fell asleep for about twenty five turns, so Dupre, the only person to make it through, had to fight every demon in the room by himself.  Fortunately, they aren't too threatening, it's more of a frustration watching Dupre getting mobbed by demons and knowing that there's a half dozen heavily armed badasses here who could help but we can't get around Shamino's sleeping bag.

On the other side, we make it to the altar.  It looks like the engine can't really render big rooms that well, so it puts walls at every tile corner, but it's a wall that's always parallel to you so it doesn't block off the paths.  So, getting to the altar is no problem, but what to DO with the altar I have no idea.  Searching it just gives me the unhelpful "you don't find anything" message, not a "you need the hex crank" or something.  The fountains just poison or damage whoever drinks from them, so I still don't know if they have an actual purpose.  The three part key doesn't work, so I ended up going through my inventory Space Quest style, rubbing every item on the altar to see if it does something.  Finally, turns out I can use the virtue stones on it.  Phew, was getting worried there for a minute.  The altar asks me which virtue corresponds to truth, and I think that's honesty, the mage virtue.  Then it asks me to use a stone, and gives me an option to select which color.  Well, blue is the color for honesty, so presumably that's the answer here.  Holding up the blue stone, the altar changes in to a ladder down to the next level.  That's one down, who knows how many to go.

Level two is another looping floor, starting with us in a huge 3 x 3 grid of encounter rooms.  These encounter rooms are mostly styled after water themes, with giant sea serpents, nixies, and hydra.  This is actually fairly easy.  I can't actually enter the water to fight these guys, but they are pretty weak once you lure them to the shore, and there aren't any super annoying lava or magical field hazards to deal with.  Once I clear those rooms, I get out in to the main hallway for this level.  The gem shows the altars behind a secret wall, but on the way I find the staircase down.  I suppose I could just descend, but I suspect I should check out the altars first.  They're secured behind a wall of poison fields (grr) but otherwise easy to reach.  The first altar asks me what virtue stems from love, and when I answer compassion, asks me for a stone again, and the yellow stone changes it in to a ladder down.  The second altar, weirdly, does the same thing: same question, same stone.  So, there's two altars and one normal ladder down, meaning three ways down total.  I may as well try one of the altars to start.

Each of the dungeons in the game so far, except for this one, have been eight floors deep.  And if this dungeon has one virtue for each floor, then presumably it's going to be eight floors deep, also.  Possibly nine, if they decide to "turn it up to eleven" for the last dungeon and give us one final level that represents all the virtues combined or something.  So I'm hoping for eight floors, and budgeting supplies for nine.

Using the gem, this level looks like a small cross shape around a central room.  There are two ladders up, so I'm guessing that either of the altar ladders would take us here, while the other one leads to a dead end somewhere.  The encounter rooms here are... weird as heck.  The first one is just empty, the second one contains two demons embedded in the walls, Cask of Amontillado style.  They can't attack and I don't see a way to let them out, I just hope I don't get dinged as a coward for letting them live their sinful lifestyle for the rest of eternity in a 3x3 foot brick cube.  Actually, judging by how many attacks I'm hearing, there's like seven or eight demons in there, all piled on top of each other.  Weird.  Wait, actually, once I pass the middle of the room, a hidden switch removes the walls and the demons come pouring out.  I guess this is what inspired Doom 3's level design.  You know you're playing kind of a weird game when hordes of demons leap out of a trap and you breathe a sigh of relief.  At least I know I won't lose any valor.

The altar room is just beyond and asks for the stone of valor.  Ladder down appears, and we're off to the fourth floor.

A glance at a map gem shows that this is a tricky one.  Obvious exit to the south, takes us to a series of encounter rooms... leading to a dead end.  The rest of the level is off to the east through a hidden passage.  Hmm.  Going to assume the east path is the way to go.  It leads to a branch with a fire field that enters in to an encounter room with a bunch of ghosts and liches, after which is another encounter in tight corridors with a bunch of gremlins and demons and gazers, which is tricky because with my lack of ranged weapons, if a gremlin isn't killed in one hit, that means I'm losing tons of food, and since the corridors are so narrow it means I can't surround enemies or focus my attacks.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day34.gif)

On the other side of that, though, is the altar, which asks for the stone of truth and love, the green stone of justice.  So with that, it turns in to a ladder, and we're through level 4 and on to level 5.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on March 16, 2017, 02:44:24 PM
Yeah, dont want to disturb the guys sleep

Whats that sound? *sound of one guy screaming and hillish roaring*

Dunno, if it was too bad it would disturb Brians rest.

Yeah best leave him to it. Lord knows he could do with the beauty sleep.

Is that a severed arm? Naaa...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 18, 2017, 12:02:15 PM
Floor five looks pretty straightforward from the gem.  One big room at the start, a bottleneck with encounter rooms in the middle, and two altars on the other side.  Hopefully they'll both lead to viable staircases, but since they're not separated by any hazards it shouldn't be a problem if they're not.

The first room encounter room is kind of a pain.  Looks like a dead end, so there's obviously a switch somewhere, probably behind those lightning fields.  But casting dispel magic on the lightning fields fails.  Took me a while to figure out why: there's a Zorn behind the fields, and they can negate magic, but only magic spells that are being cast, not magic fields that are already present.  Apparently.  They can also phase through walls like ghosts, so the only way to get through here is to lure the Zorn through the wall (it can't pass through the lightning fields), kill it, and then dispel the fields.

The next room has nine reapers, four gazers, and four phantoms in it.  Man, FUCK this dungeon design.  Nothing in here is even remotely capable of putting up a decent fight so it's all just cheesy bullshit like this.  Your party starts in a big area gated off by a one tile wide choke point so unless you can get everyone through single file resisting eight sleep spells every turn, the person you have in the front is going to get destroyed while the rest of your party can't reach anything.  This is the kind of encounter I would have designed for D&D when I was like seven years old.  I mean, there's no defense against this, no strategy.  The only way I know of to resist sleep spells is to get another status effect, like poison, and you can't poison your entire party before every room just in the off chance that the designers will pull this bullshit, because then you'll have to cure poison AFTER every room.  The party has eight members in it, and I can't hold more than 99 reagents, so mathematically you can't do this more than 12 times before you go from completely 100% stocked up to completely broke.  And that assumes you don't need the reagents for anything else.  Garlic, for example, is used for both cure and dispel, and if you have, say, some bullshit room with magic nullifying enemies that cancel out your dispels without saying why or what's going on, you might need to mix a few of those.  I'm already down to 20 garlic, and I'm maybe halfway through this thing. MAYBE.  

So, yeah, we lost Julia in there, and almost lost Iolo too (he was the unlucky bastard who got caught in the choke point).  I think I have the reagents to resurrect her, but I only have three casts, so I'd like to hold off for a few levels.  With the way these fights are going, having more party members is not really important.  My guys can one or two shot everything they see, it's just the bullshit like lava tiles or full room sleep spells that are doing anything, the actual enemies are basically a formality at this point. I'll maybe aim to get her back on her feet at the end of level 7.  I'm not sure if this dungeon is only eight floors long, but I don't want to walk in to the final room by accident and get disintegrated (or whatever the penalty is) for not having enough friends.

The next and final room looks empty until we get to the halfway mark at which point a line of poison fields appears across the room.  Kind of a parting "fuck you" to the player.  So now I have to antidote everyone anyways.

The stone for this floor is sacrifice, fittingly enough.  Sacrifice is the virtue associated with tinkers, and Julia the Tinker certainly embodied that.

Level 6 looks basically the same as level 4: a series of encounter rooms between your starting point and the altar.  But it doesn't take long to get lost; this series of encounter rooms is less about the fighting and more about being a maze.  The "rooms" are mostly corridors which lead to other encounter rooms.  There's really nothing tricky here, the enemies are mostly easy, the only thing is that there's a few branches that are secret paths (meaning you have to walk on specific tiles to open them up) so after every fight I have to comb the battlegrounds and make sure I've stood on every tile.  They like to throw balrons behind lightning fields and put the switches back there, so I blew through a bunch of dispels, too.  Towards the end of the maze, there's a narrow hallway that forces everybody to get poisoned with reapers at the end which would have been infuriating (though still less infuriating than the one on level 6, since this one only had four reapers) except that because of the poison fields I could just walk right up to them and punch them in their stupid goddamn faces.  Spent a lot of spells, but in the end I made it out OK.  The virtue for this floor is honor.  If there's some connection between the encounters on a floor and the virtue it corresponds to, it's not obvious to me.

Anyways, floor 7.  A look at the gems is not promising.  The path to the altar is set up on a diagonal, with encounter rooms along the middle, but since I can't move on a diagonal I'll have to hit every one of those rooms.  Actually, on getting in to them, they're pretty straightforward encounters.  There's a bunch of stuff with disappearing walls, but otherwise not a huge challenge.  The game does lean on one interesting quirk here: since monsters can attack on diagonals but your party can't, it's possible to build a set of walls around a monster that will allow it to shoot out diagonally but not allow any of us to attack it.  But overall, this level was pretty straightforward and we got to the altar with little trouble.  The stone here was the white stone of spirituality.

That done, it's time to resurrect Julia and move on to level 8.  The resurrection works OK, but Julia comes back at 0 HP, and when we rest to heal, we're ambushed immediately, so if she gets tapped once she's done and that's one valuable resurrection spell down the drain.  Fortunately, the monsters attack from the other side and we're on to the next level.

Level 8 looks like kind of a pain.  Two sets of encounter rooms: one by the entrance, and a second by the altar.  The first one is another big maze, like on level 6, except instead of dumping me back to the hallway, it just loops in around itself with this room in the middle where there's a big wall in the middle, and touching the north side opens a north/south passage, while touching the west side opens an east/west passage, so you end up doing a figure eight through this thing.  The switch to open the door out is actually in the lava, and the exit is over some more lava, so thanks for that.  Julia is still weak, and only has 48 hp by the time we're back in to the hallway.

It's a short jog to the second set of encounter rooms.  The first one is... weird.  Staring at us from across a pond are mirror images of the party.  Are we supposed to see ourselves as our foes see us?  Have we been the monsters all along?  Perhaps violence is not the answer andACK nope, violence it is, then.  For such a cool, unique fight, they all go down really easily.  After that is another room with demons and gazers and stuff, and after THAT is hell.

Whoever designed this shit needs to be kicked in the balls.  Room is partitioned down the middle with a bunch of magical fields that would take forever to dispel, and on the other side of that is TEN FUCKING BALRONS.  Every turn, there's up to ten full screen sleep spells.  There's also a few gazers chucking sleep rays and stuff, but who cares about that when we've got a whole ROOM FULL OF FUN.  Remember that thing they did on level 7 with monsters attacking diagonally through walls?  Well, that's this room also.  It took me literally about forty five minutes to get through this one, most of it tabbed in another window watching a video as monsters beat the shit out of my unconscious party.  Geoffrey died on the last turn, got caught by a sleep spell in the line of fire of one of the diagonals after everyone else had already left the room and wouldn't wake up.  Interesting tidbit: in this game, waking up takes up your entire turn, so when you do wake up, you can't act right away, you have to wait through the rest of your companions and then the enemies get another shot before you can move.  So, if you're in a room with, say, ten fucking balrons in it, you have to make ten consecutive savings throws to even be able to take one step or else it's back to sleep.   Next up on the fun tour is a room with a bunch of dragons, and again, a balron in the middle of the map encased in brick that we can't get to but which can sit there casting full room sleep spells.  God damn, you know they KNEW how fucking annoying this was, entire rooms here are built with the sole purpose of abusing this full room sleep spell.  It's not enough that the spell itself is complete bullshit and the enemies can cast it at will and there's no counter to it, but on TOP of that EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY CAST IT we get the sound effect that accompanies it, this shrill PC Speaker screech that sounds like a cross between a beep and the sound of ultimate suffering.  The way out of this room is one of those bits where you have to find a secret tile hidden in the wall (across some lava, naturally) which makes another tile passable (letting us finally murder that balron) to let us get to another hidden switch which makes another tile passable which masks another hidden switch which opens the door (which, again, across some more lava).

FINALLY made it out the other side of that, blow another resurrect on Geoffrey, and it's time to hit the last altar.  It's the black stone of humility, and everything goes black, and I'm alone in a dark room.  

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/day35.gif)

I can see a socket to use the three part key, so I do that, and then a voice asks for the word of passage.  Once I answer, it gives me a series of questions about the eight virtues.  Fortunately, it's not a big deal to answer wrong, because I messed up a few of them... questions like "what should apply to Nobles and Serfs alike" are pretty ambiguous, in my opinion.  After that, it moves on to asking about the three principles, and eventually, it asks for the one axiom, and then... the codex of ultimate wisdom.

(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/ending.gif)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on March 18, 2017, 05:37:09 PM
Congratulations! If you tell him on Twitter, he'll actually answer and congratulate you too :)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Selby on March 18, 2017, 05:40:16 PM
There's definitely a rewarding feeling for solving these older games.  Like, you put up with some complete BS that most kids would have said "I'd rather go play outside than deal with this again" yet you persevered!  This is almost making me think of digging out my old U0-8 CD and playing through these again... *almost*


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Father mike on March 18, 2017, 06:31:22 PM
Congratulations, man! Awesome work finishing that.

Off to U5 now?   :drill:

In all seriousness, I'm impressed with your perseverance.  I was inspired  by your first entry to fire up Ultima 7 (EXULT), and I never made it out of the starting city.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 19, 2017, 06:49:21 AM
Congrats Kail  :thumbs_up:

Heh, the ending might be cheesy and kinda paternalistic, but surely quite unique for its time. Anyway, left me quite impressed as my father read (and translated it) aloud to me back in the day. Game and series as a whole, no matter the overall quality judged in hindsight, still holds a special place in my gaming memories, as my forum avatar shows :)

So, now rest AVATARD, Britannia might be in need of his champion once again...


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Jade Falcon on March 19, 2017, 01:27:11 PM
Congrats!

 It's almost like the devs back then were pissed they didn't have games like these growing up so punished the players as cruelly as humanly possible. You can almost picture them gathered around the break room cackling about what they coded as others were  looking on saying " No,you didn't really do that did you? "


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on March 20, 2017, 05:50:21 AM
Congratulations! If you tell him on Twitter, he'll actually answer and congratulate you too :)

Haha, that's pretty awesome.  I think that's probably my favorite thing about these old games: they feel like they were made by people who actually wanted to do things or say things even if they weren't always super polished or anything.  There's something really charming about that kind of feeling that even most modern indie games don't really bring.

There's definitely a rewarding feeling for solving these older games.  Like, you put up with some complete BS that most kids would have said "I'd rather go play outside than deal with this again" yet you persevered!  This is almost making me think of digging out my old U0-8 CD and playing through these again... *almost*

Yeah, I'm not sure my younger self would have finished this game.  Mapping the dungeons probably would have broken me, if I even got that far.  The fact that leveling up doesn't raise your attributes would have REALLY thrown me off.

Off to U5 now?   :drill:

I'm not sure what I'm doing for U5 yet...  The reaction to this thread has been amazing, way better than I was expecting, and while it's really encouraging, I also don't want to sour that.  Part of the success I think was due to Ultima 4 being a really great game to do this with, difficult enough to make finding information difficult but also easy enough to be possible without needing a copy of Nintendo Power.  And, on the other hand, having people to tell me when I'm about to make a trip to the final dungeon without having done all the prerequisites (cough, thanks for that, by the way) saves a lot of frustration, too.  So I'm not sure if I should do another one of these for Ultima 5, if people would still want to read that or if that would just bring the whole thing down and get boring, I'll have to think about it.  Either way, I will probably at least play through U5, so this isn't the end for me. 

Heh, the ending might be cheesy and kinda paternalistic, but surely quite unique for its time. Anyway, left me quite impressed as my father read (and translated it) aloud to me back in the day. Game and series as a whole, no matter the overall quality judged in hindsight, still holds a special place in my gaming memories, as my forum avatar shows :)

I kind of like the call back to the idea of virtue: that learning to cast fireballs or pilot giant mecha aren't exactly skills with real world applicability, but being kind and honest and so on are all things that do apply to life outside the game.  On the other hand, aside from some extremely basic morality about lying and so on, I guess a lot of the "Quest of the Avatar" is tied up in collecting magical runes and fighting demons and other stuff that doesn't have much to do with real life.  I suppose that it makes sense for a game aimed at children, sometimes just telling a kid that "lying is bad" is important, but from an adult point of view, it's kind of difficult to go deeper than that with what the game gives us.  It also sets up nicely for a sequel, in a lot of RPGs it's kind of contrived how characters go from high level badasses at the end of one game to green newbies at the beginning of the next game, but it makes more sense when it comes to virtue that this is an ongoing thing, it's not just a matter of continuing to eat right and exercise.

It's almost like the devs back then were pissed they didn't have games like these growing up so punished the players as cruelly as humanly possible. You can almost picture them gathered around the break room cackling about what they coded as others were  looking on saying " No,you didn't really do that did you? "

It really feels a lot like the games my friends and I used to code for each other in grade school.  We weren't selling them or anything, just trading them among each other, so it's not like we had to worry about the player being pissed off, so we ended up making them SUPER impossible just due to A) knowing that as a programmer you don't have to suffer through the bullshit encounters you write, you can just cheat, B) it being easier to make something really unfairly difficult than a genuinely engaging challenge and C) being funny and annoying to each other was more interesting than being kind of average and boring.  People talked about infuriating unfairness more than they talked about someone being competent.



So, at the end, I really liked this game.  The first three Ultimas, I kind of got the impression that the series was so well liked mainly because it was so old, but U4 has a lot of genuinely interesting elements that I'm surprised haven't been picked up on much in modern games.  Mainly: the fact that gathering and cataloguing information is really important, and the fact that the game isn't about saving the world by defeating some powerful evil character in a fight, it's about improving yourself. 

LONG WINDED RANT ABOUT GAME MECHANICS


FINAL STATS
Game finished in 84,494 steps
/played = 88h 49m (may be a bit misleading since that includes a lot of time paused while typing up entries or fiddling with screenshots)
Real time: 3 months, 2 weeks, 5 days (unless my math is off)
Total Party Wipes: 3 (all due to boats sinking, I Xed out immediately so I'm not actually sure what happens when you game over come to think of it)
Notes: 8 pages of paper, 284 MB of data (hmm, for a 11MB game, I guess that may have been a bit excessive)
Total character deaths: 3
   Kail (killed by touching balls in a dungeon)
   Julia (killed by reapers in level 5 of the abyss)
   Gregory (killed by balrons in level 8 of the abyss)


(http://www.kerao.net/external/U4/Ultima4.gif)


I really had a ton of fun with this game, thanks a lot for the support, everyone!



Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on March 20, 2017, 12:12:12 PM
Quote
I think that's probably my favorite thing about these old games: they feel like they were made by people who actually wanted to do things or say things even if they weren't always super polished or anything.

U4 really was Richard's direct response to people accusing him of corrupting youth. The way he tells it, he started thinking about the fact that the RPGs at the time -- his included -- really were just about wholesale slaughter and looting, with a veneer of "get the bad guy."

Quote
I guess a lot of the "Quest of the Avatar" is tied up in collecting magical runes and fighting demons and other stuff that doesn't have much to do with real life.  I suppose that it makes sense for a game aimed at children, sometimes just telling a kid that "lying is bad" is important, but from an adult point of view, it's kind of difficult to go deeper than that with what the game gives us.

It wasn't particularly aimed at children. Quite a lot of the computer game market (I typed "PC game" and had to correct it, heh) back then was grownup hobbyists because computers cost a fortune. The Apple IIe was $1395 when it launched in '83. That's $3380 in today's dollars. (The Apple III was out by 85, actually... but I don't know anyone who had one. It was even more egregiously expensive. And the original Mac launched in 84 at a today price of basically $6000.

When I went to user group meetings back in those days, it was all grownup hobbyists, with some of their kids.

Quote
the fact that the game isn't about saving the world by defeating some powerful evil character in a fight, it's about improving yourself. 

Don't forget, it was pretty much the FIRST morality system. Historically, that's what really made U4 special. The biggest reason to continue on is that the series basically escalates that. Where 4 is about having amorality system at all, the others are about


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Draegan on March 21, 2017, 01:33:16 PM
Excellent work!

I don't remember playing U5. The rest I do remember though.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Father mike on March 21, 2017, 02:11:37 PM
U5 was very similar to U4, graphically -- just a few new tiles and tweaks to existing tiles.  Was somewhat of a return to the 'get powerful enough to kill the big bad' trope, but it ties into the existing world nicely.  It's the one with the Shadowlords.

Looking back across the entire series, I think Garriot's greatest strength as a designer was the ability to figure out what the current technology would allow him to get away with, then build a compelling experience within that framework.  Later on, when he had no technological limits to be clever about, his designs suffered.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 21, 2017, 03:39:21 PM
Ultima V is usually regarded as the most difficult Ultima game and probably the "darkest" one (yeah, also because of that frickin'  day/night system they implemented: I HATED it back in the day) along with Ultima VIII. From an historical point of view, the fifth chapter might also be considered the last, almost entirely "Garriott's Ultima", at least when it comes to design. Afterwards, Warren Spector arrived and, thanks to him and  others, we got Ultima VI-VII and the Underworlds. 'nuff said  :awesome_for_real:

If and whenever you feel like giving it a try, Kail, be sure to:

- Read the "Book of Lore" (along with the expedition journal)  manual, because, like the previous one, it's a nice in-lore introduction to the game; it also includes details about the backstory of Britannia and Lord British not mentioned in previous or subsequent books;

- Patch in the music via Pix's Ultima patcher: soundtrack is great.
http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/category/ultima-patcher/


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Druzil on March 22, 2017, 11:55:13 AM
Awesome Kail! Congrats!

This has been a fun read.  I remember resolving to finish Ultima 4 because my friend said it was impossible.  I'm pretty sure I never finished it  :grin: 

Without looking it up I'm not sure how closely Dragon Quest 3 and Ultima 5 lined up, but when DQ3 added the day/night system I loved it.  At the time, getting different NPCs and dialog at night and only being able to finish certain 'quests' at night seemed like this revolutionary thing that I wanted all RPGs to do going forward.  I'm not sure how well that actually played out over time.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Sir T on March 22, 2017, 12:39:23 PM
That probably influence Morrowinds infamous "Its night so the stores are locked but the NPC is still standing there" thing.

I've been thinking about the whole Morality thing since I read Kalis rant (congrats on finishing the game btw) And I think I prefer this to the more modern "light/dark, Paragon/Renegade" think that are in vouge now. Because the modern things are not a choice, really. If you want to get the best results, you HAVE to do the Paragon thing all the way through, even if you actually think its stupid. It's actually the oppposite of choice. its actually forcing you to play the gane twice to see what happens when you push the OTHER button. It would actually be more honest just to sat at the stare "always chise light/always chose dark/make choices" at the beginning. becasue frankly you are not actually making choices through the game.

And the other thing is that the game has to be designed so that doing ether choices will not actually affect the story at all, as the story has to proceed regardless of your choices. So aside from a few dialogue choices the message is "Your morality and action matters pretty much jack all and wont affect the world long term whatsoever."

Whee. What a message. Clap. Clap.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 24, 2017, 02:07:51 PM
Yeah, the NPC schedules in Ultima V were quite revolutionary, and of course they actually pre-date the much more touted (and still unparalleled in any 3D world to this day) Ultima VII ones; I was referring to the inconvenient representation of night time in Ultima V. Sure, there is "ignite torch" or "hole up & camp", but whenever your vision was reduced to one square away, I always thought "well, fuck this, why the game is telling me  I should stop having fun right now, even if for just a couple minutes?".


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on March 26, 2017, 12:52:10 PM
We had NPC schedules tied to day/night in UO. Players rebelled and demanded that shops be open at night. :(


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on March 26, 2017, 01:02:52 PM
We had NPC schedules tied to day/night in UO. Players rebelled and demanded that shops be open at night. :(

Yep, I remember that debate during...late beta? (I got into it around July '97 and I vaguely remember shops being closed from time to time) Or schedules made it into the initial release stages?

Personally I wasn't against the concept 'cause I like the world to be immersive and, for that kind of sandbox, I didn't need to have the "GET TO THE FUN NAO!!" mentality. But yeah, putting it into the MMOG history context, it must have been quite tricky to balance day/night in-game vs. the permanent access of players (at one point, weren't you considering to reflect real time day/night like WoW did years later? I also remember something about it as well).


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Reg on March 26, 2017, 02:50:45 PM
Origin did their best to keep UO as unfun as they could make it for years after release.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Torinak on March 26, 2017, 03:08:21 PM
There were a lot of interesting ideas in UO that showed how "realism" can make a game unfun. NPC schedules and the wildlife spawning/population dynamics thing come to mind.

It was still a magical experience, at least until the combination of bugs and exploits (especially exploiting PKs) ground me down. I still look fondly on my Collector's Edition box and remember what UO was, and dream of what it could have been.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Slayerik on March 27, 2017, 11:47:06 AM
I personally loved UO for what it was. I never played a minute of EQ. It was a dream come true for me, despite any of its flaws it was an revolutionary experience that sported my favorite PVP of all time. Nothing got your heart pumping like red names popping up in a dungeon, and that rare occasion when you beat the odds and took a head of a red. As an anti-PK, the odds were against me but I loved it. Even played on a free server about a year ago, and the PVP is still excellent.

I even remember the name of the first PK to slaughter me while I was farming random mobs south of Trinsic. David Killmore. Corp Por, what the .... OoooOoOoooOOO

Thanks for the good times Raph :)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Raph on March 28, 2017, 06:33:01 PM
putting it into the MMOG history context, it must have been quite tricky to balance day/night in-game vs. the permanent access of players (at one point, weren't you considering to reflect real time day/night like WoW did years later? I also remember something about it as well).

No... actually we (I?) carefully did the math so that the day/night cycle would happen at an oddball rate so that someone who always logged in at 8pm would not always get the same in-game time of day.

I still think stuff like NPC schedules, and yes, the ecology, can work. Stuff like Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress show that a rich enough system can be a really compelling playground. It just needs to be designed to be more resistant to players mucking with the cycles.


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Lucas on May 04, 2017, 05:19:26 AM
AVATAARD!! Where art thou?  (no pressure tho,  :grin:)


Title: Re: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard
Post by: Kail on May 07, 2017, 12:07:58 PM
AVATAARD!! Where art thou?  (no pressure tho,  :grin:)

Working for the moment.  I will probably be unemployed in a month or so, which on the up side means more time for video games, hopefully I can get started then.