Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wizardry V: Oh, Come All Ye Faithless

One of Level 2's mysteries.

Because I'm otherwise not going to have much to talk about tonight, let me describe what happened in cinematic terms. There's a tl;dr after the script in case you don't like the shtick. 

******
FADE IN

INT. DUNGEON LEVEL 2 - NIGHT

CLOSE-UP: A sword penetrates the slimy skin of a giant toad, piercing between his eyes and into his brain. The disgusting beast collapses in a heap. The sword is yanked roughly from the flesh, and as we DRAW BACK, we see it is held by a bald, scarred, grinning hulk of a man. This is STRONGARM. His left arm is gashed and dripping blood.

STRONGARM
Well, that's the last of them! Doc, I took a bite to my arm. I could use a little DIOS action.

There is no response. Strongarm turns and stares to his right, where four other adventurers are standing above a comical sight: an aged man in chainmail, collapsed on a floor in a contorted position, his legs spread apart and his arms extended as if in the middle of a swing.

STRONGARM
Aw, Christ.

The other four party members are relatively hale. They include a black-clad, hooded thief named 'BONE SHORTY, a robe-wearing elven wizard named MARSALIS, a lithe man in oriental armor named ROUGHINS, and another mail-wearing priest named BECHET.

'BONE SHORTY
Looks like that toad's spit paralyzed him. And Doc's the only one who can cast DIALKO.

BECHET
Let's leave him, then.

STRONGARM
We're not going to leave him! Can you imagine how long it'll take before we get another priest to his level? How long before you can cast the spell, Bechet? You know, we could use a second healer more than we could use a bunch of hocus-pocus nonsense. We have Marsalis for that.

Bechet gives Strongarm the finger.

STRONGARM
He's gonna die soon if we don't get him back up to the castle. Shorty, help me lift him.

'BONE SHORTY
Screw that. My arm still hurts from that jax spike trap I accidentally set off.

ROUGHINS
I'll carry him. Let's just hurry. None of us are in very good shape, and Doc was the only one with decent healing spells. 

Roughins spends some time bending Doc's limbs into a more conducive position before heaving him over his back in a fireman's carry.

ROUGHINS
Good thing we spent all that time on the strength re-rolls.

Slowly, the party lumbers down a cramped hallway, 'Bone Shorty's torch casting a flickering light on the rough, damp walls. After a time, they come to a staircase and lumber upward, Roughins straining under the weight.

STRONGARM
All right. We'll be at the entrance in a few minutes.

Around a corner in front of the party, a group of three men suddenly appear. Their robes bear the sigil of some forgotten dark god. The party tenses, preparing for battle, but the priests simply eye them warily.

PRIEST
Look, I know that normally, people like us just start attacking you. But frankly, we're not looking for a fight. And it looks like you're in pretty rough shape, too. So...

STRONGARM
Fine. Whatever. Just go on by.

The priests nod, edge past the party, and continue their way down the hallway.

STRONGARM
Okay, let's keep moving. We just need to...

He suddenly notices that 'Bone Shorty, Marsalis, and Bechet are staring at him, nostrils flaring.

STRONGARM
What?

'BONE SHORTY
You just let them go?

STRONGARM
Yeah. What? Did you want to fight them? With no priest and half our hit points missing?

MARSALIS
What are you? Like...you're good now?

STRONGARM
No! I'm just trying to get us to the surface! Believe me, I wanted to kill those jackasses. I wanted to drive my sword right through their chests! But I thought we were in a hurry, and...

He trails off. The other three clearly aren't impressed. Roughins is intently studying patterns on the dungeon walls.

'BONE SHORTY
Whatever, man. Let's just get out of here.


Being evil apparently means killing everyone you see.


INT. GILGAMESH'S TAVERN - LATER

Strongarm and Roughins are sharing a drink at a bar.

STRONGARM
They won't let me go with them any more? What is that supposed to mean?

ROUGHINS
Look, I'm sorry, man. You know me: I don't care about good and evil. I'll adventure with anyone. But these guys, they say they have "standards" or something, and they don't want--and I'm quoting Shorty here--"some lily-livered goody-goody showing things like 'mercy' all the time."

STRONGARM
It wasn't mercy! It was practicality! Those guys could have completely messed us up! I'm not good!

ROUGHINS
Tell that to the universe, buddy. You've got this big scarlet "G" branded on you now, and as long as you have it, the other boys say stay away.




STRONGARM
Well, what if I go back into the dungeon myself and slaughter the first friendly group of enemies I see? The universe will change the "G" to an "E" and we'll all be cool again, right?

ROUGHINS
Yeah, I think that'll work.


INT. DUNGEON LEVEL 1 - NIGHT

Strongarm stands in a dungeon hallway, underneath a ladder leading back to the castle. Corpses of bats, scorpions, and men surround him. He is holding his arms outstretched, spinning clockwise in place.

STRONGARM (screaming)
Two hours of this, and every bloody group of monsters that comes down this hallway is hostile! Damn it, someone friendly and non-belligerent--anyone at all--here I am!

An ominous noise responds from the end of the hallway. Strongarm stops spinning and peers into the gloom. Slowy, an ice phantom comes into view. It roars and charges.

STRONGARM
Great! Another hostile one! Aren't you even going to take time to say--hurk!

Strongarm's diatribe is cut short by the instant paralysis inflicted by the beast's claws. He collapses to the dungeon floor as the phantom begins systematically dismembering him.

FADE OUT
******

tl;dr: I was hauling my beaten-up party to the surface when I came across a party of wandering priests. Instead of engaging them, I decided to let them pass, and the game switched the alignment of my lead character to "good." Now none of the other party members except my neutral samurai will join his party. I took him down into the dungeon alone to try to find more friendly monsters to kill, hoping it would switch his alignment back to evil, but I couldn't find any and I eventually got killed.

Now, I either have to resurrect him and keep trying, or I have to train up a new fighter to Level 9. I thought maybe he'd go evil if I attacked an NPC, but it didn't work.

Before all of this happened, I had explored a fairly good chunk of Level 2. There was an odd beast, accessible from the teleporter (the one requiring the bag of tokens) on Level 1, called the "hurkle" beast. Killing him allowed me to explore his lair and find a bottle of rum, which I needed to get past a fighter on the same level.




I also made enough money to buy the last hint from the talking kettle, which made absolutely no sense at this stage, but I expect it will help me in the end.




Even if I manage to figure out the party/alignment situation, I can tell this game is going to take a long time. I just hope I don't run out of things to write about. I may take a return to Wizard Wars for my next posting, but if anyone has any suggestions about how I can make my fighter evil again, please share!

Later edit: Since posting this, I had the rest of my party retrieve Strongarm and resurrect him. I took him back into the dungeon and eventually encountered several wandering, "friendly" parties, but no matter how many times I attack them, my alignment won't shift from "Good." Looks like I'll have to dump the character. Bollocks.


32 comments:

  1. Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions for Wizardry V, but that was hilarious!

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  2. This post was funny in its fourth-wall breaking, but I dislike the title. I like your blog and will continue reading, but I'm Freewill Baptist and trying to walk on the straight and narrow.

    That aside, I will favorite that CRPG Phenomena Glossary, so keep updating (also add the names to the definitions now that we have some humorous ones; "Stat Eugenics" I believe fits more to the one I called "Prolonged Prototyping," and "Schultz Detour" fits just as good as my suggestion) and I will continue to tackle the challenge of coming up with humorous names (I see you mentioned 'Next.' Did you like that and my 'The Prestige' reference?).

    Merry Christmas and God bless!

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  3. PS: Can you guess my Adam Sandler movie referrence?

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  4. If alignment follows the same rules as when I played through Wizardry 1, your characters' alignment will switch back if you keep killing friendly monsters. It just has a low percent of success.

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  5. I know that in the original Wizardry you can leave a character in the maze, take another party, retrieve him, and he'll join the new party regardless of alignment. Did they take that bug/feature out of Wiz V?

    Also, the screenplay made me lol. Why is it always the priests who get paralyzed?

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  6. Kalinova! Wow, man, I haven't heard from you since Starflight. Good to have you back.

    I keep reading that you can leave characters in the dungeon in this game--one site even said that you can SAVE in the dungeon--but damned if I can figure out how. I don't see any option to drop a character or save the game.

    The whole thing became moot a little while ago when I lost my whole party in a combat on Level 2. I don't have any characters high enough to mount a rescue, so I'm going to detour to Wizard Wars before rolling a new set.

    Giauz, I'll update that soon. I saw The Prestige, but I'm afraid I didn't understand the reference. And the day I understand an Adam Sandler movie reference is the day I'll abandon my house and family and go live in a cave with his other troglodyte fans. No offense.

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  7. I am playing the same game. I started a while back and have been playing off and on. I just mopped up level 3 and I think I have one, maybe two more things to do on level 4. I have long been a Wizardry fan and I last played this one on SNES back in 1998 or so. I remember practically nothing about it. My guys are level 12-13. I'm thinking about changing classes to LORDS and NINJAs possibly, but not sure as of yet.

    I'm curious what level 5 has to offer...

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  8. Hit "Q" in the maze to quick-save your game. You can then hit "N" to keep playing or "Y" to quit when asked if you want to stop.

    Also, you can hit Alt-Q to automatically exit the program back to DOS. Then simply reload and go to utilities and restart your "out" party. Not sure if this is against your rules or not, but the game would be nearly impossible without this.

    There is a way to quit/leave guys in the maze. It's what you have to do to mix Evil/Good guys. You would load your good guys, go into the maze and QUIT, then ass your evil guys and SEARCH where your good guys are and pick them up. It's a real pain in the rear end to mix alignments, but it's certainly possible. (and totally necessary in Wizardry III)

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  9. Don't dump your character, he will eventually turn. Wander around level 1 for a bit and attack all those friendly monsters. He'll change. I wouldn't make a new guy over an alignment issue and I've been playing Wizardry since '85.

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  10. Hey, I don't blame you for the Adam Sandler trog thing as I am, if you knew me like my brother knows me (and dislikes when I do this for something we both like), self-critisizing about everything I like.

    The referrence was "Ten-Clicks Rick" for rapidly clicking through all the dialogue options only to accidently start it all over again/perpetuate it. It referrences '50 First Dates' Ten-Second Tom, a man who suffered a bullet to the head while hunting and can only retain a short-term memory of 10 seconds before starting all over again with, "Hello, my name is Tom." I'm a grade-A sucker for a ROMCOM and this is at the top of my list for the simple fact that when all is said and done it is not a pointless quirky love story (can't remember one that was this humbling and heartwarming).

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  11. The Prestige reference referred to *SPOILERS*




    Hue Jackman's character, Anjier, constantly making new bodies of himself through his teleportation machine. It's like he goes on living for a time and then creates a new him sort of like you described with the investing some odd long hours in a game before eventually wanting to make a new profile on the game.

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  12. Just to clarify what Delmoko was saying on how you leave people in the maze and add them to another party is.

    'Q' to quit the expedition
    Start a new group with room. Go to the same square 'I' inspect 'D' Dead bodies. Then 'G' them.

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  13. This was a very good story :) Thanks for sharing it.

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  14. I always knew not indiscriminately murdering everyone I met made me a good person.

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  15. I'd just like to say how impressed I am with your rpg "work ethic". I'm sure I'd have quit this game long ago, if I were you.

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  16. Dear CRPG addict,

    Very nice post! You have great imagination and literary skills. I am happy to say that Wizardry ditches the alingment thing in VI. In the meantime I am sorry but I cannot help you with the bug. I noticed a "Marsalis" in the party. I hope there is no Miles Davis monster stirring a brew down in the dungeon.

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  17. Ah, the Wizardry random alignment switching mechanic...gloriously masochistic.

    Life would be so much easier if alignment were a sliding scale, and actions advanced your characters on the evil-o-meter by a predictable amount. Or if the game tracked how individual characters felt about your approach to life [MORRIGAN DISAPPROVES].

    Still, it could be worse. Just imagine:

    'BONE SHORTY: Hey, check it out, you guys - he thinks he can join us even though he's LAWFUL evil!

    MARSALIS: Law-ful! Law-ful! Na-na-na-na-nahh-nahhh!

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  18. This is why I don't like alignments in computer roleplaying games. There are many reasons why you might not attack priests, even if you're evil (maybe your character just doesn't want to irritate their god, or maybe your character is tired and cranky). But to make someone "good" because they decided to skip one combat is just dumb.

    At this point, I would not consider it "cheating" if you used a character editor to return him to his original alignment.

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  19. But to make someone "evil" because they killed a friendly innocent is just dumb.

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  20. That had me chucking. But what, pray tell, is a tl;dr?

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  21. Amy K: Annoying netspeak for To Long; Didn't Read.

    Addict: Why don't you just save up your good characters until you have a full party of them? Or can you not do that? You occasionally need a second party anyway, don't you? Why not have two parties, one for each alignment?

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    Replies
    1. Also, I believe' tl;dr is a non-sequitur reference to /cr/lf...

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  22. I'd wager this is the origin of the "Hurkle":
    http://www.atariarchives.org/basicgames/showpage.php?page=94

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    Replies
    1. No, the origin is an old Theodor Sturgeon story called "The Hurkle is a Happy Beast".
      I wish I had read if before playing the name.

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  23. I think you're doing great Addict. Stick with it. I see your guys are level 8 or 9 or so. Thats great. They will fair well on Level 3.
    I'm around level 13.

    There is no need to make a second party. All you need is your 6 guys, and maybe a Bishop that is level 6 or 7 that sits back at Gilgamesh and you can pawn things off to him so he can identify them when you come back from a mission. That way you'll make a ton of money selling the stuff to Boltacs and not pay that creep to Identify your stuff.

    Also, you'll prolly want to create a guy that sits in Gilgamesh and just holds items you don't always need to cart around with you in the maze. I've found a ton of stuff, and with what you equip also there is limited space for picking up new booty post Calfo and disarmament of chests.

    I hope when you enter the maze you immediately cast Maporfic (lowers everybodies AC -2) and Litofeit (levetates you over pits and gas traps). Lomilwa (extended light) is also nice, but it goes out when you enter darkness. Latumapic will give you the true identity of all monsters. These can be useful (the first 2 are imperative if you ask me).

    Hope you got your guy to change alignment! I promise it will happen.

    Good luck!

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  24. Alignments in CRPGs are a holdover from D&D and even in D&D I think they were pretty useless. Luckily virtually all RPGs by now have gotten rid of them.

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  25. Ahh, I love the good/evil system in really old games. The only sense it makes is the sense it doesn't!

    'Course, modern games aren't much better. Isn't the amount of karma you gain from giving some dude water only a bit less than the amount you lose by murdering a guy in Fallout 3?

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  26. That story was hilarious, had me laugh out loud! I wouldn't object if you insert those more often, especially party banter like that!
    Happy rpg'ing

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  27. Delmoko, I didn't even know about the "Q" option. Thanks a lot for that. It didn't help in this case, because by the time you posted it, I had started over with a new party. But it means I won't have to trek all the way to the castle before ending a session, and that's a big deal.

    Giauz, if it's worthy anything, people keep telling me that 50 First Dates is "not a typical Adam Sandler movie." I just can't imagine wanting to watch a film in which Adam Sandler is the romantic protagonist. Other than that, I have a weakness for romantic comedies, too. Did you see How Do You Know?. I watched it a few days ago, and I can't figure if I liked it or not.

    JJ, the whole party was New Orleans jazz musicians. I was in NOLA when I started playing. Roughins = Kermit Ruffins. Dr. Whyte = Doctor Michael Whyte. 'Bone Shorty = Trombone Shorty. Bechet = Sidney Bechet. And Marsalis is, of course, Ellis Marsalis.

    It occurs to me that the Wizardry series is the first in which your alignment, however it starts, is at least partly affected by your gameplay. This reaches a conclusion in Neverwinter Nights, in which many of your actions adjust your chaotic/lawful and good/evil scales. But I agree that it makes more sense not to have designated alignments at all.

    I don't know what motivated me to use the netspeak "tl;dr" instead of just saying "summary." Too much Reddit lately, I guess.

    JavaJack, that was an impressive find! Thanks for enlightening me.

    Glad you liked the format of the post!

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  28. Canageek, thanks for the tl;dr explanation. I learned something... however dubious of value. ;)

    50 First Dates is an excellent movie! Like it for the funny stuff i the sea animals, if nothing else. :)

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  29. Watch 50 First Dates and Click. There is just something exceptional about them that I probably won't get with many or any other movies (Adam Sandler's commedy has faded for me a bit, but Happy Gilmore and Billy Maddison will live on as commedies that... Oh!...CAN'T...BREATH!HAHAHAAHAA!!).

    Also, does my "The Prestige Corollary" fit now? Huh? Huh?

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