Thursday, March 10, 2011

Demon's Winter: Exploration

My crew turns out to be a bunch of sissies.

In my last posting, things looked pretty bleak. It turned out I underestimated my ability to escape the dungeon, heal up, and return. I noted that there's a random encounter every 43 moves, but they vary wildly in difficulty. The difficult ones killed me and caused me to reload; the easy ones I defeated and was able to save. When I got out of the dungeon, two of my characters were dead, but it was able to make my way up to the town of Woodhaven, heal, raise a level, and return. This time Xerxes fell in the first battle, and only my wizard died, costing another 900 gold to resurrect.

I was tempted to declare "Won!" at this point.

As far as my characters were concerned, they had won, defeating the demon that had unleashed the kobolds on their home town. Only an old man's warning that Xerxes was just a "puppet" kept us from celebratory feasts.

I was pretty flush with cash, so I treated myself with some weapon and armor upgrades. This would be a good time to mention that I really dislike the inventory system in this game. When you find objects, they are unidentified, and unless you have someone with the identify item skill, you have to take it to a town and pay 85 gold to get it identified. Even the identify skill doesn't much help because it only works once per day. Most of the stuff is nonmagical, meaning the identify fee is a waste of money. When you've identified a magic weapon or armor, the game doesn't change its name to something like "short sword +2"; instead, it puts a little * symbol next to it and you have to go into camp, view the character, page through to his equipment, then select the particular piece of equipment to see what it actually is.

Unmemorable symbols designate magic items.

At this point, I had no idea where to go next in my quest, so I started sailing around to the different islands, exploring, and getting into high-experience-winning sea battles. I leveled up a couple of times. I finally found the college of fire runes, but they told me my wizard wasn't smart enough. That hurts.

Where I grew up, we'd kill a man for saying that.

On a large island in the northeast, I found the College of Kung-Fu and gave a boost to my monk's fighting skills. I also found the College of Spirit Runes nearby. My wizard had started with spirit runes, and I had hoped when I found it I could give the skill to some of my other characters--they all have spell points, and nothing to cast with them. Alas, none of them had the requisite intellect.

I wasn't ready for this place.

Close to the College of Spirit Runes, on a mountainous island, I found a dungeon called the Vault of the White Knights. Figuring any port in a storm, I started exploring it, and I promptly got massacred by a large party of mountain giants.

This is about as bleak as it gets.

I kept exploring west and I came across another dungeon called The Crystal Cave, "carved out of a large glacier at the base of the mountain." A few steps into it, I figured I'd again stumbled in to the wrong place:

But the ice dragon turned out to be surprisingly easy. Beyond him, I found the College of Ice Runes, which I didn't need, and in another corridor of the dungeon--past an easy battle with a yeti--I found an icicle. There seems to be no place to use it in this dungeon, so I stuck it in my inventory, which is just about bursting with stuff I've picked up from various dungeons. I'm not sure what I can safely get rid of.

A nearby island gave me the town of Aurora, which unfortunately doesn't have a dock; my ship is dangerously low on health, and I'm at the north pole. And a third island in the area held a ruined temple, where my party explores as I say goodnight.

Hint time: was there something I was supposed to find in Qoorik that would tell me where to go next? (I left the place with a ton of equipment I never got a chance to use.) As far as I know, the main quest (the Demon's Winter) still hasn't started.


  1. The icicle is important. You should go west from the ice dragon cave. I think you can try and sell items to see if they are magical, gives higher price, then id them. I think you should have found clues telling you about the ice dragon in qoorik.

  2. This isn't on topic but, I just want to tell you how awesome you are for doing this!

  3. This game actually seems fun, lots of exploring, Dungeon Master like descriptions of events. I wish I played it back in the day I'm sure I would have lived it like I did the Ulitmas. Oh if you got an Android Phone please try my action RPG Legends Arcana.

  4. Is it Xerxes, or Xeres? The game spells it Xeres in the screenshot.

  5. I guess it's Xeres, Andrew. The game isn't very fastidious about its spellings (see my first post), but I think Xerxes was just a misinterpretation on my part.

  6. The only clue I found in Qoorik was that "The ruins of the Ice Temple of the Ancients lie in a tomb far to the north". I think it was from a book or a scroll.


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