Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 25, 2017, 07:25:36 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Search:     Advanced search
Donate! | Subscribe! | Shop: Amazon

***DONATION DRIVE 2 HAS BEGUN:
CLICK HERE TO BURN MONEY***
*
Home Help Search Login Register
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  PC/Console Gaming  |  The f13 Radicalthon  |  Topic: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Pages: [1] 2 3 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard  (Read 3996 times)
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


on: November 30, 2016, 08:28:47 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.



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).





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).



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."



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.

« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 08:42:57 AM by Kail »
Sky
Terracotta Army
Posts: 28970

I love my TV an' hug my TV an' call it 'George'.


WWW
Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 11:44:45 AM

Runes are associated with dwarves, not elves.

Trippy
Administrator
Posts: 20305


Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 01:01:15 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
Paelos
Contributor
Posts: 26574

Error 404: Title not found.


Reply #3 on: December 02, 2016, 07:45:17 AM

I put on my wizard robe and hat while reading this.

CPA, Sports blogger, Mount and Blade enthusiast
Braves by the Numbers, my sports blog
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #4 on: December 03, 2016, 01:56:24 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.



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.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 08:43:51 AM by Kail »
Father mike
Terracotta Army
Posts: 335


Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 09:08:51 AM

Ultima IV was my first deep, formative, non-Atari gaming experience way back in 1985.  This brings back so many teen memories.

I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for ensuring that every member of the NPR news staff has had to say "Pussy Riot" on the air multiple times.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #6 on: December 06, 2016, 10:30:22 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.



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...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 08:48:09 AM by Kail »
cironian
Terracotta Army
Posts: 572

play his game!: solarwar.net


Reply #7 on: December 06, 2016, 11:41:17 AM

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...
Pagz
Terracotta Army
Posts: 481

I AM GOING TO WRESTLE THIS BEAR WITH MY BARE HANDS!


Reply #8 on: December 06, 2016, 05:00:12 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.
Father mike
Terracotta Army
Posts: 335


Reply #9 on: December 07, 2016, 08:30:04 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!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 09:15:53 AM by Father mike »

I would like to thank Vladimir Putin for ensuring that every member of the NPR news staff has had to say "Pussy Riot" on the air multiple times.
Slyfeind
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2037


Reply #10 on: December 08, 2016, 04:32:47 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'.  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

"Role playing in an MMO is more like an open orchestra with no conductor, anyone of any skill level can walk in at any time, and everyone brings their own instrument and plays whatever song they want.  Then toss PvP into the mix and things REALLY get ugly!" -Count Nerfedalot
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #11 on: December 09, 2016, 05:03:11 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.  



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)

« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 05:38:49 AM by Kail »
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2978

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 12:04:28 PM

The absolutely beautiful box of Ultima IV for the Atari 8-bit line :



 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.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Selby
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2825


Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 05:49:34 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...
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #14 on: December 11, 2016, 05:28:17 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:



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.



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.



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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #15 on: December 14, 2016, 09:46:55 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.



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.

Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 10:10:14 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.



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
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 11:17:37 AM by Kail »
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2978

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #17 on: December 20, 2016, 05:22:42 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  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #18 on: December 21, 2016, 01:27:30 PM

Looks like you're in for a very looong game  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

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.



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.

Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #19 on: December 26, 2016, 10:37:59 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.



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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #20 on: December 28, 2016, 10:07:48 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.



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.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 10:33:35 PM by Kail »
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #21 on: December 30, 2016, 03:01:49 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?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 03:06:57 PM by Kail »
cironian
Terracotta Army
Posts: 572

play his game!: solarwar.net


Reply #22 on: December 31, 2016, 09:25:18 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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #23 on: January 01, 2017, 10:39:28 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.



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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #24 on: January 04, 2017, 05:09:35 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.



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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #25 on: January 06, 2017, 05:01:04 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.



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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #26 on: January 09, 2017, 12:36:11 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.



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.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 12:38:23 AM by Kail »
Sir T
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10086


Reply #27 on: January 09, 2017, 01:11:42 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.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 04:18:22 AM by Sir T »

Be principled, but not too principled.
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2978

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #28 on: January 09, 2017, 04:11:52 AM

Keep writing, really enjoying this as well.  Thumbs up! Popcorn

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Reg
Terracotta Army
Posts: 4481


Reply #29 on: January 09, 2017, 11:34:24 AM

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.
Kail
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2746


Reply #30 on: January 12, 2017, 06:32:21 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.  



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.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 02:07:18 AM by Kail »
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2978

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #31 on: January 13, 2017, 07:01:32 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   Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

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

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Sir T
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10086


Reply #32 on: January 13, 2017, 09:01:41 AM

I never played this, so I'm fascinated at the "fuck u players" 80s style  why so serious?

Be principled, but not too principled.
Lucas
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2978

Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.


Reply #33 on: January 13, 2017, 09:19:04 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

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
Sir T
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10086


Reply #34 on: January 15, 2017, 07:46:13 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


Be principled, but not too principled.
Pages: [1] 2 3 Go Up Print 
f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  PC/Console Gaming  |  The f13 Radicalthon  |  Topic: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard  
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.10 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC