|The party hits the road.|
I've accomplished so little in The Magic Candle that I probably shouldn't even be posting, but I wanted to assure you that, having come down from the height of my business season, I am still playing.
When I returned to the game, I could remember so little that I thought it would be best if I stated over. Also, I had The Book of Flame and Wax that I wanted to populate with notes from the characters in the Royal Castle and Port Azur. I'm actually glad that I restarted because I found a bunch more characters. I made about six loops through the Royal Castle and encountered different people each time. Some of them appear for only very short time frames.
|Depending on the time of day, there might be 0, 1, 3, or 12 people in this room. Unlike Ultima V, they can't be found elsewhere when they're gone; they just disappear.|
In restarting, I also did something kind of lame: I chose the easy mode. I had been following your conversation in my last posting, and it appears that the mode only affects the number of days you have to complete the main quest. Since it is my wont to explore and exhaustively document things--for both myself and my readers--I felt I was justified in giving myself the most time possible. Later, I encountered a woman in the castle who promised me an extra 60 days in an emergency:
|I assume this is a one-time offer, or it would render the time limit useless.|
After revisiting the two towns, I have a long "to do" list and a few mysteries. The major mystery involves a dungeon called Meardom, which is said to lie beneath the Royal Castle. I read about it in the Port Avur library. The previous king, Ongar, had a son named Aslan (current-king Rebnard's older brother) who wandered down there and was killed by gnolls. In response, Ongar had the dungeon sealed and made everyone swear an oath not to speak of it. Ongar's brother Banas apparently decided I needed to know about it because he gave me just enough to ask the right questions in Port Avur without betraying his oath. The problem is, I don't know what to do with any of this. I've asked every NPC I can find about MEARDOM and ASLAN and no one wants to tell me anything. Wandering around the lowest explorable level of the castle doesn't seem to produce a dungeon. Maybe I'll find something later.
The second mystery has to do with the queen, Rebnard's wife. I haven't been able to find her. I've heard from her servants that she's in a foul mood and unhealthy, but I don't see her anywhere.
The final mystery has to do with a servant in the castle named Beratt. He's rumored to be hiding a secret. There are whispers that some of the servants are spies. Unfortunately, he won't speak to me until I visit a halfling trainer and increase my charisma.
|Awfully haughty for a servant.|
My to do list has most of its items in Soldain, a dwarven town just south of where I am now, and Keof, an island town to which I need to take a ship's passage from Port Avur. The items involve asking different NPCs about different bits of game lore, including one monk who knows something about the vault holding the Zirvanad, the document I need to find that explains how to refresh the Magic Candle. I thought I'd go to the place I can walk first (Soldain), using the experience to learn a bit about overland travel. I have to burn a day hanging around Port Avur, though, because apparently you can't just buy armor like you can buy weapons; you have to wait a day or so for the armorsmith to make it.
I'm still in that stage of the game where I'm confused by many things and uncertain about the best logistical tactics, such as how much food, how many arrows, and how many mushrooms I should carry (especially since, other than Port Avur, I don't know where to buy them), the best way to allocate training funds, and how many bits of equipment I should buy. I got a blanket for everyone, but do I need more than one rope, shovel, or pick?
|Does this mean I'll need multiple picks but just one shovel?|
I did cast my first spell, giving an energy boost to Giauz after he'd been wandering around talking to people all night. Since I realized belatedly that every spell drains energy from the spellcaster, I'm probably better off just eating a Sermin mushroom, which seems to be cheap and accomplishes the same thing.
|Why, Giauz gets an energy boost!|
Just like the last time I started, I've had one battle against orcs on the road. I'm looking forward to exploring the combat a bit more, as it seems to have something of the tactical complexity of the Ultima series. Even this brief introductory combat took a long time, though, and I've heard rumors of 30+ minute combats in this game. Right now, my wizard has nothing to do; none of his spells are offensive. I have notes on where to buy other spellbooks.
|Eflun just hangs back and watches. He's good for other stuff.|
Sorry for the short posting, but I plan to invest some serious hours tomorrow, so we'll see what happens. In the meantime, if you see anything obvious I'm doing wrong at the introductory stages, please let me know.