I woke up determined to acquire this dispel potion. I needed green fur, "flying water," and fairy dust, with no idea how I was going to get any of them. But by the end of the day, I had them all.
The green fur came from an odd creature called a "meep" living under a rock in the western part of the valley. There was a whole colony of them. At first, I didn't know what to do with them, but I tried just talking to them and one of them happily offered me his fur. I wish I could have learned more about them, but they're skittish little creatures (1).
"Flying water" was a bit of a puzzle, though not a very difficult one: I collected it from a waterfall near 'Enry the 'Hermit's cave.
That left fairy dust. I hadn't found any fairies during my explorations of Spielburg Valley, but the healer helped me to understand that Spielburg Valley at night is a very different place than Spielburg Valley during the day. I needed to re-explore all the areas I'd previously explored after the sun went down to see what had changed.
I had previously found the mushroom ring and I brought some of the mushrooms to the healer for silver. More notably, I ate one, and...well, let's not talk about it.
|That Italian plumber was a liar.|
At night, the mushroom patch came alive with fairies--annoying fairies. They buzzed around my head and chattered incessantly, demanding that I dance for them. Well, I can't dance. All right? I said it. I've tried. But when the music starts, I just can't find a beat and my legs won't cooperate with anything I tell them to do. The fairies weren't having any of that, though. So I lurched around a bit, and it seemed to please them. They gave me the dust (2).
The fairy ring wasn't the only place different at night. Nearby, I found the graveyard alive (ha!) with ghosts and specters. But after a mental "flash-forward" in which I pictured them sucking the life out of my body, I "restored" my mind to the present and ran away fast.
|The unspeakable thoughts of torture were actually coming up.|
I bedded down in Erana's Peace for a good night's sleep.
In the morning, I popped into the healer's and got my dispel potion.
|That last bit turned out to be important.|
Now to figure out where to use it. There were three places in the valley I hadn't explored: the bandit camp, Baba Yaga's hut, and a cave guarded by an ogre. The ogre looked fairly tough, and I didn't trust my ability to sneak around him. I decided I needed to take him in melee combat. But I needed to bulk up first (3).
For two days, I exercised and practiced. I climbed trees and fences, picked locks on barred doors, ran through the forest, threw daggers on the archery range, played Dag-Nab-It with the guildmaster, worked at the castle stables, and fought battle after battle with lesser foes (4).
|Mantrays were tough opponents who had no treasure, but they certainly helped increase my skills.|
I capped off Day 6 with a long night's sleep in the inn and headed off to the cave the next morning.
After all that work, the ogre fell distressingly quickly to my dagger. He was all bulk and no skill.
Inside the cave, I found a bear chained to the floor. With the part of the prophecy about freeing the man from the beast in mind, I figured that it was Baronet Barnard ensorcelled. But the dispel potion clearly wasn't meant for him.
|A bear, there was. A bear! A bear! All black and brown and covered with hair!|
It turned out he was being held in place (and in form) by a magic manacle, and as the healer said, the potion doesn't work if the source of the enchantment is an object. So I made friends with the bear by giving him a ration and moved past him into the cave beyond (5).
|Note: do not try this in the wild.|
The next cave housed the bear's captor, a kobold wizard, wearing the key to the manacle around his neck. I could have sneaked up to him and stolen it right from him--I'm that good--but I decided it would be heroic not to leave an evil kobold wizard loose in the valley (6). At least, not unless I could team up with him, and he didn't seem amenable to that. I sneaked up to him and stabbed him until he was dead.
Exploring the kobold's cave later, I rammed my shin into some object on the floor. But there was nothing there! Feeling around, I discovered an invisible treasure chest, and I was able to pick its lock by feel alone (I'm that good). The treasure was amazing (7).
|That's enough for a chainmail and a dozen healing potions.|
I was still counting the coins and tossing them to myself when I suddenly remembered the real reason I came to the cave. I returned to the outer cave and unlocked the bear's manacle. That could have been a really bad idea, but instead it did what I'd hoped and turned him back into a man.
|"Belle?" he said hopefully, after resuming his human form.|
He was a total jackass:
But at least he was honest. When I went back to the castle, Baron Stefan von Spielburg not only invited me in for dinner and a night in the royal chambers (I could get used to both), he gave me a bunch of gold.
|Rescuing your son isn't enough?|
With my new chainmail, it's time to save the girl! Because the bandit leader seems to have some affection for the townsfolk, I had thought it might be Barnard, but clearly I was wrong about that. Now I'm thinking it's Elsa and her faithful jester, the missing Yorick, is the "warlock" Erasmus disparaged for not having any real magic (8).
Unfortunately, I can't imagine storming the front gates of the stronghold, so I need to find another way in. While I'm pondering it, I think a visit to Baba Yaga is in order first.
Notes and Comments
1. Meeps. I couldn't resist trying "kill meeps." The game has a little animation in which you play whack-a-mole with their rocks, to no effect. But I reloaded just in case it caused them to get meep revenge later on.
|It doesn't even increase your strength.|
2. Fairies. There are also special endings if you attempt violence on the fairies or eat the mushrooms more than once. I think I'm going to create a video montage of all the funny ways to die.
3. Bulking Up. I've talked before about how skills increase with use. Training works very well in this game. In about an hour (a couple of days in game time), I went from not being able to hold my own against a bandit to absolutely dominating a troll. If the game were larger, it would actually be a bit too easy for this reason, but an hour or so of "grinding" seems reasonable for a game of this size.
|The red scores indicate abilities that have changed since the last time I looked.|
There are a lot of ways to train skills in Hero's Quest, including simply fighting monster after monster, sparring with the weapon master, cleaning the stables every day, climbing (trees, rocks, the town gate), running everywhere, sneaking everywhere (although I had bad luck with this one), picking locks on doors that are barred on the other side, playing Dag-Nab-It with the thieves' guildmaster, and throwing daggers or rocks at the target board south of town. I haven't played as a mage, but I suspect the "Mage's Maze" mini-game trains you, too. I'm sure I missed a few. Not only do these sessions increase the associated skills, they also increase related attributes like strength, agility, and vitality, plus your maximum stamina, hit points, and magic points.
I created a quick video montage of Hero's Quest training. It's embedded below, and here if you want to go directly to YouTube. [Edit: Alas, I had copyrighted music in the video and it made it unavailable in most countries. I had to remove it.]
4. Combats. In the last posting, I mentioned that I didn't really like the combat system, but I didn't really talk about how they occur. Except for a few fixed combats, most of them occur randomly as you wander through the forest. Certain very difficult creatures--cheetaurs, mantrays, and trolls--only come out at night at the beginning of the game, but you're more likely to see them in the day as the game drags on. For the most part, it's not tough to avoid them, if you really want to, by sneaking or running.
It's not tough to find monsters by just wandering around, but if you really want to find guaranteed combats, I've found one area that spawns endless bandits, and another screen where a group of goblins lurks behind bushes and rocks, occasionally coming out to fight.
|Goblins everywhere. I feel like there must be more to do on this screen, but I couldn't find it.|
5. Cave. My unreliable narrator glossed over it, but it took me a long time to figure out what to do in the cave. The big problem is that it looks like the cave continues at the top of the screen, when instead the entrance to the next cave is on the right side, past the bear, where it barely looks like you can walk. In fact, the first time I tried to walk right, I got stuck on some obstacle and couldn't move, and I figured there was nowhere to go there.
Oh, by the way: What happens if you kill the bear? Bad stuff.
The combat in this cave is also a little messed up. Instead of going to the regular combat screen, you end up fighting on the main screen (but using the same commands). At first, I didn't realize what was going on and kept typing "FIGHT KOBOLD" while the kobold calmly killed me.
7. The invisible chest. This and the solution to the healer's lost ring were the only two things I clearly remembered from my play of Quest for Glory 14 years ago. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have wandered around the cave long enough to find it.
8. Elsa, Yorick, and the Brigands. You'd think I would have remembered this from my previous playing, but I didn't. Until close to the end, I thought Elsa was being held by the brigands, not the leader of the brigands. It wasn't until I realized that I still had a dispel potion to use on someone that I remembered that Elsa has magical amnesia. I guess I just spoiled the next posting.