- The game saves your progress for you. There's no way to "reload" after a bad battle.
- If one character dies in combat, you either have to raise him with the DI spell or haul him back up to the surface to get raised at the temple.
- If you use the DI spell, there's a chance it will fail, turning your character to ash, requiring you to pay even more to get him resurrected. I say "there's a chance," but in fact DI has not worked a single time I have tried to use it. I finally just gave up. Every death requires a trip to the surface.
- There's a spell called KADORTO that allows you to do your own resurrection, but if it fails, your character is gone for good. Not worth the risk, especially since DI never works.
- If your entire party is killed, you have to send a search party down into the dungeons to retrieve their bodies. Problem is, most deaths will occur at locations of fixed battles, so your relief party will have to fight the same battle that wiped out your first party. You therefore have to have relief characters as strong as the original party.
- If your relief party is similarly wiped out, you're screwed. It's back to Level 1 with a brand new party.
Consider this screen shot from the beginning of a battle.
As with every battle, my goal is to wipe out these foes while minimizing damage to myself. There are two other considerations to add to the mix:
- My spellcasters have a limited number of spells. You only replenish spells when you revisit the surface (which is kind of a pain in the neck). So you want to use as few spells as possible in each battle, saving your high-level spells for the battles that really need them.
- For a few rounds, I won't know what groups 1 and 3 are. The "mean in leather" are some kind of thief class and the "men in armor" are some kind of samurai or fighter class--I can tell this easy enough from the pictures. But I don't know what levels they are or, hence, how powerful they are.
Crokus is a thief. His options are really just attack and parry. His hit points are quite low, so perhaps I should parry this battle, although I hate to lose out on the chance to make an attack.
Itkhovian is my priest. He can't attack, since he's not in the first three ranks, but here are a lot of things he can do, and all of them seem like good options. First, he could cast a healing spell on Crokus and limit the odds that Crokus will get killed this round. Or he could cast MANIFO to try to paralyze one of the three groups. I could also have him cast MONTINO to silence the arch mages, but if I'm more concerned about the fighters perhaps I should have him cast BAMATU to lower my party's armor class. Or I could ask him to cast LATUMAPIC to identify the monsters, but I'll probably identify them automatically next round anyway.
Tattersail is a mage. Almost certainly the best use of her is to cast a spell that damages all members of a group. The question is: what level do I want to cast? MAHALITO does 4-24 damage, LAHALITO 6-36, and MADALTO 8-64. I have fewer of the high level ones, so I don't want to waste them. But I also don't want to cast an underpowered spell and leave a group of six archmages alive to cast the same spells against me.
Feather Witch, finally, is a bishop, meaning that she has both mage and priest spells but at lower levels. Good options for her are KATINO, which attempts to sleep a group, MOGREF, which reduces everyone's armor class, or MORLIS, which makes monsters easier to hit. She can also cast one or two MAHALITOs, so perhaps I should use her for that.
In this case, I decided that the archmages were the top priority, but I'd try to wipe them out with spells. The "men in armor," if high-level, could do some serious damage, but the "men in leather" were probably thieves and low priority. I had Tattersail MADALTO the archmages, told Itkhovian to paralyze the fighters, and had Feather Witch MAHALITO the archmages just in case some survived Tattersail. Gruntle and Karsa attacked the thieves while Crokus parried.
I forgot to take screen shots of the rest of the battle, but basically Itkhovian's paralyze only worked on a couple of the fighters. Crokus, despite his parrying, was killed by the fighters. Tattersail's spell did its trick and killed all of the mages, meaning Feather Witch's spell was wasted--I should have had her heal Crokus instead. In the next two rounds, I finished off the thieves and fighters and headed up to the surface to raise Crokus.
It's not only in battle that tactics come into play. The aftermath of every battle involves an agonizing decision about whether I should try to open the chest or ignore it. On one hand, if I don't open it, I won't get any better equipment (gold isn't a problem any more), but on the other hand, there's a really good chance that my worthless thief will either misidentify or fail to disarm the trap. The possible consequences of this are:
- Everybody gets poisoned by a gas bomb (requiring, yes, a trip back up to the surface)
- My entire party gets wiped out by an exploding box trap
- Crokus, Itkhovian, or Tattersail are taken out of commission by a crossbow bolt, a priest blaster, or a mage blaster, respectively
- A teleport trap tosses my characters into part of the dungeon I haven't mapped, and therefore don't know the way back to the elevator to the surface (very dangerous; the way back to the surface is a constant lifeline for me)
- An alarm trap summons more parties of monsters
Since I blogged about Wizardry last time, I lost both my main party and my relief party and had to start all over. It's not as bad as it sounds. Mapping took longer than actually playing, and with the maps already done, I just need to build up my character levels. There are a couple of ghosts on level 1 that give a lot of experience while doing very little damage, so I've basically been killing the ghosts over and over while doing other things in the background.
My last party died on Level 9 and I had almost finished mapping it. I actually did touch Level 10--the last level--when I got dumped there by an invisible chute, but a teleporter brought me immediately back up the castle. The lower levels started to introduce a lot of nastiness, including dead-magic zones, pit traps that did serious damage, level-draining monsters, and constant teleporters. For someone who likes mapping as much as I do, teleporters are a constant annoyance.
My plan for now is to carefully build my characters up to level 15, then finish mapping Level 9 of the dungeon and try my luck against Werdna. I'm rotating my characters again, with three complete parties this time, so it will take a while, but if I keep at it all night (read the name of my blog again), I still might be able to win this thing by tomorrow. Wish me luck.