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Author Topic: Ultima: Quest of the Avatard  (Read 41232 times)
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2826

Reply #35 on: January 16, 2017, 09:05:50 PM

Yeah, Magincia is a royal pain in the ass; imagine those who chose the path of humility at Gypsy's, discovered they were now a "sheperd" and were dumped in that hell hole with just a meager staff. Sure, island size is limited and moongate is right there, but anyway... New Player Experience, 1985 style   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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not sure where to go next.  I can sail east to try to find this mysterious pirate island, go back to Moonglow to restock my spell components (which, like an idiot, I forgot to do when I was moongate jumping last time) or continue on to Serpent Castle.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2017, 09:26:52 PM by Kail »
Sir T
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Posts: 13761

Reply #36 on: January 17, 2017, 06:39:14 AM

"Art thou dim" is my new favourite phrase.

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 9969

Reply #37 on: January 17, 2017, 08:23:15 AM

Ultima 3 was my first RPG. I remember 4 as a kid an hating it. Had a difficult time since I was just playing the story and wasn't playing the game an stocking up on shit and min maxing.

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

Loved reading this.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2826

Reply #38 on: January 19, 2017, 03:01:59 AM

Ultima 3 was my first RPG. I remember 4 as a kid an hating it. Had a difficult time since I was just playing the story and wasn't playing the game an stocking up on shit and min maxing.

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

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

"Art thou dim" is my new favourite phrase.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans for next time: search for that wheel, and then search for that pirate island.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2826

Reply #39 on: January 22, 2017, 02:26:16 AM

All right, job one: investigate shipwreck.  Not really sure how to go about this one, will I need special gear, like a diving suit or crane or something?  I headed back to my ship and apparently even though I'm on a boat I can still "search" the tile.  So I guess that will be my first option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need to tidy up my notes, so I don't have a solid plan for next time.  Probably going to try to find that mystery isle to the northeast, and then wander around chasing down the few leads I can remember.
Sir T
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Posts: 13761

Reply #40 on: January 22, 2017, 10:35:10 PM

Guards don't seem to have a good job satisfaction program

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2826

Reply #41 on: January 25, 2017, 06:02:56 AM

Guards don't seem to have a good job satisfaction program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can't find any more secrets in the castle.  Searched around outside, too, couldn't find any airships or any secret dungeon entrances.  Next up, probably going to hit up the castles again and talk to the Antos Bros.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2826

Reply #42 on: January 28, 2017, 01:46:09 AM

Starting off the update today with a bit of grinding, because I need the cash.  Ran in to a new group of enemies, Hydras and Lava Lizards. I assumed they were exclusively dungeon monsters, because the list of monsters I haven't seen is getting short.  Their icon makes them look like Godzilla, and they have lava breath, so they feel pretty epic to fight.

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

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

A dungeon, Covetous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan for next time is to get healed up and do some more grinding.  Finally know how to get stats up, so maybe now I can stop missing 95% of my shots.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 01:53:10 AM by Kail »
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.

Reply #43 on: January 28, 2017, 02:57:41 AM

Out of curiosity, how many (and which ones) stones have you heard of so far? Also, not really a spoiler, because probably it's been a conscious decision on your part, but you probably already figured out that the number "8" it's really of some importance in this game, and that also relates to the potential companions that might join you, and how that relates to the Britannia main towns.

And yeah, group of Reapers, I was like...NOPE, whenever I met them :P
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 02:59:15 AM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Reply #44 on: January 30, 2017, 07:55:34 AM

Out of curiosity, how many (and which ones) stones have you heard of so far? Also, not really a spoiler, because probably it's been a conscious decision on your part, but you probably already figured out that the number "8" it's really of some importance in this game, and that also relates to the potential companions that might join you, and how that relates to the Britannia main towns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reply #45 on: February 01, 2017, 07:08:36 PM

I love this  Heart

No Nerf, but I put a link to this very thread and I said that you all can guarantee for my purity. I even mentioned your case, and see if they can take a look at your lawn from a Michigan perspective.
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Reply #46 on: February 02, 2017, 01:18:47 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With the ladder nonfunctional, the second option would probably be the Xit spell, but casting it takes me to... somewhere that's not Castle British.  Hmmmmmm.
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Reply #47 on: February 02, 2017, 06:48:27 PM

I just want to say I'm glad you're playing this instead of me. I played it 20+ years ago and I'm not sure I have the patience to not just hit gamefaqs or something within an hour. I played MM2 like this with no guidance and it took me almost 3 months in jr high school playing hours a day to figure out how to finish it (with similar pages of hand written notes). I don't have that patience anymore!!
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.

Reply #48 on: February 02, 2017, 07:14:55 PM

Glad you went back and managed to find the orange stone in Covetous  as well as the cool secret passage leading outside Castle British and that hideous entrance to Hythloth  DRILLING AND MANLINESS .

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

By the way, you're inspiring me to do a Radicalthon of a very old fantasy series trilogy from the mid-eighties that is extremely dear to my heart, albeit inferior to Ultima, IMO (nope, not the original Bard's Tale).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 07:18:05 PM by Lucas »

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Reply #49 on: February 05, 2017, 07:51:34 AM

I just want to say I'm glad you're playing this instead of me. I played it 20+ years ago and I'm not sure I have the patience to not just hit gamefaqs or something within an hour. I played MM2 like this with no guidance and it took me almost 3 months in jr high school playing hours a day to figure out how to finish it (with similar pages of hand written notes). I don't have that patience anymore!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I at least SAW the village from the balloon, I think.  It's just across the water from the shrine of compassion.  But trying to land on the TWO FUCKING TILES of open land there ate up ALL of my prepared change wind magic, because the balloon keeps fucking moving while I'm casting the spell.  AND, it's not like you can line up in one axis and then move along the other until you hit the idea tile, because the direction of the wind still changes on it's own sometimes.  Fuck this, I'm walking.  Maybe I can use Blink.  I have no idea how else to get there, it's not like I can see getting a real boat in there and now I'm out of fucking blood moss so I can't mix any more wind change spells.  No, wait, I can't use blink EITHER right now because I need blood moss for the blink spell, too.  FUCK.  Now I have to abandon this stupid fucking balloon in the middle of fucking nowhere and trek all the way over to Britain, gate back to Moonglow, restock my reagents again, gate BACK to Britain, trek all the way back to the balloon, and try to make this stupid pinpoint landing AGAIN.  AAAAARGH.  Well, I guess that's all for today, then.  I need to do some shopping.
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Reply #50 on: February 07, 2017, 08:31:41 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, next time, we explore this town and hopefully get some answers.
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Reply #51 on: February 10, 2017, 01:27:51 PM

All right, not gonna lie, I've been looking forward to this for a while.  I think there's this village and one more before I've been everywhere, and a lot of information seems to point to this village.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edit: Moonglow, not Magincia...
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 04:29:17 PM by Kail »
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.

Reply #52 on: February 10, 2017, 02:18:57 PM

Ah, finally making some good progress, Cove is kinda a turning point :)

And again highlights how unique this game was and still is with the approach to its main quest (and the janky-ness of the whole thing). And this is not just for the sake of old times or for Garriott to rinse&repeat the usual stuff an conventions; it was really one of a kind (and fantastic and historic) game.

About the Chamber of the Codex access...you're mostly right with your observations but...still missing an important part.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Title delayed while we "find the fun."

Reply #53 on: February 10, 2017, 08:36:26 PM

So much fun reading these. :)
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Reply #54 on: February 12, 2017, 04:48:51 PM

Long one today.  All right.  Ugh.  Back in to the pits of hell to get these stones.  Five stones to get still, hopefully I can get them all or mostly on this run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But for now... I'm going to get some sleep.  Ugh.  At least that's presumably 3/4 of the dungeons in the game behind me, now.  Next time, I think I'll take a nice relaxing cruise down south, do some exploring on the eastern shore and wrap up some threads in Jhelom and Skara Brae.
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Reply #55 on: February 16, 2017, 01:58:16 PM

The plan for the next bit is to sail around the southern tip of the continent, dealing with stuff in Jhelom, Skara Brae, and Serpent Hassle, and seeing if there's anything interesting on the west coast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plans for the future: heading to Skara Brae and hopefully getting the white stone, then sailing north around the continent.
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Reply #56 on: February 19, 2017, 07:51:38 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the way out, I actually ran in to Malchor in the healers room.  That was close, almost assumed he wasn't here.  He says the horn is buried on an island off the tip of Spiritwood.  I think I passed a whole cluster of islands off the end of that peninsula on the way here, so now I either go back the way I came or make a full circuit and a half of the continent to try and find Vesper.
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Reply #57 on: February 23, 2017, 03:18:35 AM

I figure the best option at this point is to head back south and pick up the horn, then continue north.  It might take a while longer to play, but shouldn't make the update much longer to read unless I find something new.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: probably heading back over to Verity Isle to get the last syllable of the word of passage as well as the black stone, and then back to Hythloth to make the three part key.  After that, I'm running out of things to do.  Gotta find the skull and hope I stumble on either the Isle of the Abyss or Vesper.
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Reply #58 on: February 25, 2017, 02:13:39 AM

Sailed to the Lycaeum, and got the third and (as far as I know) final syllable of the word of passage, which is "ver".  Cor amo ver.  Yeah, don't know about the order, unless I'm missing something obvious this isn't a real word, at least in English. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reply #59 on: February 25, 2017, 03:40:00 AM

Ahh, the legendary demon swarm  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly? , much akin to the infamous 9999 berserks of Bard's Tale I  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Reply #60 on: February 25, 2017, 05:31:40 PM

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

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
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Reply #61 on: February 27, 2017, 06:39:33 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Ahh, the legendary demon swarm  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly? , much akin to the infamous 9999 berserks of Bard's Tale I  DRILLING AND MANLINESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, as far as I know... this is it.  Time to go.  One last inventory check:  I've got eight stones, eight runes, the bell, book and candle.  I've got the three part key, the silver horn, the magical steering wheel, and the Skull of Mondain.  I've visited Lord British and got full HP on everybody.  I'm an eight part Avatar, and I have the mystic arms and mystic armor.  I have a sextant, plus eleven skeleton keys and thirty map gems.  I have over 2,700 food, and over 1,300 gold in case I need more supplies. I have over 75 of every spell component, save the two I never found.  I never did find Vesper, come to think of it, maybe it's inland somewhere.  I also have ten of my most common spells (fireball, dispell, cure poison, Xit, light, etc.) prepared.  I know the three syllables of the word of passage.  I think it's time to take on the Abyss.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:28:12 PM by Kail »
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Reply #62 on: February 27, 2017, 07:09:56 PM

I just want to say this is awesome reading.  It inspired me to take my own step back in time to around 1989 to a game I never beat that's cryptic and brutally unfair as well.
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Reply #63 on: February 27, 2017, 07:46:46 PM

A little not-so-blatant spoiler for you, Kail: feel free to totally ignore it.


Good luck, AVATARD.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Reply #64 on: March 05, 2017, 06:02:06 PM

A little not-so-blatant spoiler for you, Kail: feel free to totally ignore it.


Good luck, AVATARD.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

So, yeah, no Abyss this time.  Plan for next time is to get some orbs for the newbies, then head to Yew and Trinsic to get information on magical reagents, THEN it's off to pick up the next link in that chain (because you know they aren't going to have it there with them or anything crazy like that) and then hit up the shrines AGAIN.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 06:07:29 PM by Kail »
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Reply #65 on: March 06, 2017, 12:02:39 PM

Heh, sorry for the hassle but, while it would have been fun and perfectly in the spirit of a 1985 game  (ah, the sweet tears of rage  Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?) I didn't want you to backtrack while you were on the verge of finishing the game :P. The only companion you can't recruit is, of course, the honesty one: Have you figured out who he/she is? If not, answer is

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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Victim: Sirius Maximus

Reply #66 on: March 07, 2017, 07:29:11 AM

Kail, thanks for this. Great writing and really took me back to another age of gaming. I look forward to the next post!

"I have more qualifications than Jesus and earn more than this whole board put together.  My ego is huge and my modesty non-existant." -Ironwood
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Reply #67 on: March 07, 2017, 06:22:36 PM

Thankfully you're playing this so I don't have to and satisfy my nostalgia.
Sir T
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Reply #68 on: March 07, 2017, 06:34:40 PM

Yeah I think this would have caused me to chew my keyboard in rage.  why so serious?

Yeah, great writing!

Sometimes irony is pretty ironic.
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Further proof that Italians have suspect taste in games.

Reply #69 on: March 07, 2017, 07:24:09 PM

Among the many "firsts" you can backtrack to the Ultima saga (feel free to correct me), there's also the "Companions" concept, as in NPCs with "personalities" that you can recruit as you progress and meet them, although they were pretty straightforward and rough in Ultima IV (Iolo first appearance is in Ultima I, actually). Still, a novelty compared to the "build your own party" from other games before and after it.

" He's so impatient, it's like watching a teenager fuck a glorious older woman." - Ironwood on J.J. Abrams
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