Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fate: Failure

Any experienced RPG player would make a save at this point and not save over it.
    
This post ends with another screw-up involving not being intelligent about save slots. I mention this in case my recent entry on Pools of Darkness enraged you, and you can't bear to read about yet another amateur mistake. Skip this one.

16 more hours invested in Fate and I still haven't solved the damned Cavetrain quest in the first city. Last time, I called the game and its dungeon maps "indecently large." That was before I knew the half of it. I had barely gotten started.

The overall structure became clear at some point. The City of Larvin is composed of three sections: the major part that I mapped a long time ago, a southeast island that I had to visit to find the druid Mulradin (recounted last time), and the "royal island" in the center of the map. The first set of catacomb maps leads from a stairway in the main part of Larvin to (ultimately) the southeast island. A second set of catacomb maps leads from an inn in the main part of Larvin to the royal island. A third set leads from the royal island to the end of the quest. 
    
Some banshees in the woods explain the geography.
    
A fourth set of (very small) maps serves as an "escape stair" and emerges in the northwest part of the main Larvin map. (For a while, much earlier in the game, I laughably thought that these small levels were the main catacomb maps.) As you explore the catacombs, you frequently come across teleporters that whisk you to the escape stairs so you can get out and try again. These are usually cued with signs that read "coward's path" or "exit this way."

At the end of my last adventure I had found the druid Mulradin, who informed me that to kill the evil wizard Miras Athran and free the "shade ghosts" so they can get the Cavetrain operating again, I would need "an innocent being without any hate in mind" to pierce Athran's "aura of evil" as well as a magical Staff of Gathalak. As we'll see, I spent far too much time worrying about the latter piece and not the former. I just assumed the solution to that would present itself at the appropriate time. As for the staff, some follow-up NPCs said that it was in the royal castle, and I should talk to Tinuis, head of the Royal Mage Guild.

Around this time, I had run out of places to explore, save for a set of levels called the Alarian Vaults, which I was warned I needed "royal permission" to enter. But a hint had alerted me to another way to enter the catacombs by staying at the "Lich's Inn," a dungeon in the northwest part of the town map.

Before I visited the inn, I took the time to straighten out the rest of my party. I dumped my fighter and searched around until I found an enchantress capable of casting the "Flare" spell, which saves me from (a) having to lug around a bunch of lanterns; and (b) having to bump into every wall to test for secret doors. (The spell takes nearly half her spell points, but is well worth it.) Little did I know that she would also come with "Location," which finally allowed me to assign coordinates to my maps and arrange them properly.
    
This was a god-send.
    
Then I kicked out my warlock and hunted around until I found a magician willing to join me. This took quite a while. I brought him to the pit in the middle of the woods, had him cast "Strength" repeatedly on Derek (who started with the highest) and went to send him into the pit. He refused to go. So I had to repeat the process on Winwood, who wasn't as scared as Derek, and sent him down. Winwood returned with the body. Or so the game said. I guess I was expecting it to show up as an inventory item, so I was confused when it didn't. Ultimately, I realized what I had to do was kick out the magician I'd spent so long acquiring, then "join" the dead body to the party.
    
Resurrecting the recovered skeleton.
    
After that, I was able to return to a chapel and pay for the body's resurrection. It was worth it indeed. The resulting warlock, Toronar, has the highest attributes in the game as well as three spell classes: warlock, banshee, and valkyrie. This means I could get rid of Dichara, my other banshee, if I need a slot.
   
Toronar is a reasonably powerful guy.
   
With my more-or-less permanent party (Winwood, enchantress, witch, priestess, banshee, assassin, warlock) in place, I went to the Lich's Inn to continue exploring the catacombs. I had to bumble about for a while before I realized that I needed to rent a specific room--the "suite"--to find the entrance. 
     
Do the citizens of Larvin have to pay for this room and explore 8 levels of catacombs every time they want to meet with their king?
   
Exploring this section of the catacombs was the longest part of this session. It was 7 levels down and back up again. Multiple staircases and one-way teleporters made comprehensive mapping difficult, and I ultimately had to run through the maps three times to make sure I'd mapped everything. The game tries to make the path somewhat easier by putting a couple of "blue crystals" on each level that, if a witch "listens" to them, will tell you the shortest path. But of course you have to map everything if you want to be comprehensive, and exploring every nook was worth it for the weapon and armor upgrades that they provided. (I'll have a comprehensive posting on equipment eventually.)
    
My witch "listens" to a blue crystal.
    
From my enchantress's spell, I figured out that the dungeon levels occupy 60 x 60 areas. Not all of the squares are used, but since there are no spaces between walls, they could potentially be used. This means that each of the levels to the catacombs--I've found 8 so far--is, at 3,600 squares, almost as large as the entire game of Wizardry (4,000 squares).
   
The various sections that make up "Level 3" of the catacombs.
   
Without recounting a blow-by-blow, here are some themes and encounters from this much longer catacomb exploration:

  • The game is fond of one-way teleporters that really mess up your progress if you don't save before trying them.
  • A couple of side-areas were specifically labeled with messages on the walls, like the "Crypt of Candor." It led to an encounter with an "ancient mage" and netted me a magic suit of armor.
    
One of the handful of fixed encounters in the catacombs.
   
  • WHAT is going on with all of these damned holes in the walls?! I'll take an explicit spoiler on this one. I've encountered about 12 of them, and in no case does anything I do have any effect except "close," which closes them permanently, which seems like a bad idea(?) 
     
I'm getting fed up with these.
    
  • A couple of places indicted that I found maps on the floor. These were clues to look at one of the maps in the game manual, which instructed me to dig in various places in a certain order and pull the levers found there, which in turn opened up the way through the dungeon level. This seems to be a copy-protection exercise.
    
A combination of a light puzzle and copy protection exercise.
    
  • In the chambers of the "Juggernaut," a high-level earth-elemental-like creature that was very tough to kill, I got a "Doomsword" for my assassin. There was a body of a warrior turned to stone in this area, but my party was full and I declined to pick him up. I fully expect someone to now tell me that he's absolutely essential.
  • Grues and a related monster called a "slimer" swiftly became my most hated foes. Each grue is capable of spraying a spore cloud which has a chance of causing disease or poison to each character. If you face a pack of 6 of them, particularly if they start out of melee range, it's almost a certainty that almost everyone is going to get both conditions. Poison and disease don't work in Fate like in other games, where they're binary conditions. Instead, you get them to varying degrees, and the "Cure" and "Cleanse" spells might only allay a portion of what you have. I can easily exhaust my priestess's spell points incrementally curing the poison of a single character. The only other options are to find a (rare) curing fountain or go back up to the surface for healing in a chapel.
   
This is not what I pictured a "grue" looking like.
    
  • Always happy to find these fountains, which seem to offer unlimited uses. But there are only 2 or 3 in the catacombs. More common fountains simply quench thirst. I found one that resurrects.
    
    
  • Almost 60 hours into the game, I suddenly encountered, for the first time, an explicit copy-protection  question. Even more strangely, there was nothing valuable in the area behind where I got the question.
    
    
  • You hear a heartbeat sometimes, and I don't fully know why. It's not when characters are low in health. It may be when a particularly difficult foe is nearby, but there are times I can't find anyone when the heartbeat is going. It's kind of annoying.
  • Once I entered the area past the stone guardian (below), the game upped the ambient noise complexity, with several eerie sounds and a frequent low voice going "woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!"

The catacombs eventually emerged on the "royal isle" in the center of Larvin. The complex contained a chapel, a guild, a tavern, and an inn--all far more expensive then their main island counterparts. Another set of stairs led to the final areas of the catacombs. A teleporter switch activated teleport fields between the royal island, the southeast island, and the main part of Larvin, meaning I don't have to go through the catacombs again to get to those areas.

More important, in a room next to the guild, I found Tinius. He "gave" me a package (a pointer to a diagram in the manual) that I would need to pass a "stone guardian." He also told me where the Staff of Gathalak was buried nearby. I soon had it in my possession.
    
I'm not sure what the "glowing gems" were about.
    
Oddly, there was no room on the island that seemed to have a throne room or the king's castle or anything. I'm not sure where I'm supposed to encounter him.

After my first visit to the royal island, I had to return to the same catacombs that got me there a few times to finish mapping them. Ultimately, when I was done, I descended into the new area. It wasn't long before I was face to face with the "stone guardian" who asked me 10 questions related to the diagram in the game manual. When I answered them successfully, he teleported me to the next dungeon level, with no way to return. It's important to note here that I wish I'd made a save just before the guardian.
     
The guardian asked questions of this diagram such as "what word is opposite BROG?"
     
Seven more dungeon levels down, and I came to an area cued with the message "you've entered the forgotten vaults!" A room here has 8 exits, each fill of high-level monsters, though one fortunately leads to a fountain that heals all damage and spell points. Unfortunately, I can't find a way to get out of here. The only possibility seems to be a small, dark "opening in the wall" that only my female characters will fit into (and some refuse to go). If I send one into it, she disappears from the party and never reappears no matter how long I hang around the hole, sleep, and so forth.
   
What are the odds of that?
    
There's also an inactive teleport field in the area, which suggests there ought to be some way to re-activate it, but I haven't found a mechanism. Light hints welcome for this.

While trying to find a light spoiler on how to get through this area, however, I came upon a more serious problem: I needed to have solved the entire "innocent being without any hate in mind" thing before passing the stone guardian. Apparently, I could have done this by resurrecting some bones of a child that I never found, or by regressing one of my own characters to a child-like age.

Either way, this means reloading the last save I made before passing the stone guardian, which was....all the way back in the catacombs before reaching the royal island for the first time. About 6 hours ago. When am I ever going to learn? At least I have the maps, which should make re-playing the areas much faster.
     
Miscellaneous notes:

  • In what is definitely a "first," Fate's publisher, reLINE, shoe-horned an advertisement for one of its other titles into Fate. Specifically, my party found a poker game on the ground. When we picked it up, it added a half-dressed woman to the party (with no stats or inventory) and said that if I wanted to see more, I should buy Hollywood Poker Pro, a strip poker game. 
    
See, we have something called the "Internet" nowadays...
    
  • One of the catacomb branches led me to a small island in the northwest of Larvin where there was a single smithy. It had better weapons and armor than some of my characters were carrying, so I spent liberally. 
    
Emerging onto a tiny island in the northwest corner. Note that as far as the jewel is concerned, the game map wraps around on itself.
    
  • Even so, my explorations left me with almost $1 million in cash. I'd better find someplace to spend all of this.
  • It took me a long time to learn to interpret the various meters around the character names. There are four bars representing the character's weapon quality, armor quality, dexterity, and skill. There's not much I can do about the latter two just yet, but I clearly need to find better weapons for a couple of characters. A series of square lights under the characters' names represent whether they're hungry, thirsty, tired, over-encumbered, sick, diseased, poisoned, or drunk, with green indicating "no," blue indicating "sort-of," and dark gray indicating "very."
  • Winwood is a bit of a spaz.
    
    
  • Several of my characters now have weapons capable of hitting an entire stack of enemies per round. My banshee, of all characters, seems capable of "critical hits" that can instantly kill high-level foes, but I don't know if this is because of her weapon (an "argondagger") or something innate to her class.
  • Other than specific creatures like grues, my real frustration with enemies is how far away some of them start in an encounter. Defeating 6 witches isn't hard. Defeating 6 witches that start 10 feet away is very hard. You have to advance on them 2 feet per round while each of them gets to fire off spells each round. For one group of monsters, this isn't a big deal because the witch spell "Pullnear" yanks them into melee range, but for multiple parties, advancing under fire is a disaster. 
   
I don't mind all the other dudes. It's the grues "in 6 yds." that bother me.
   
  • The distance between you and various foes in an encounter stack seem hard-coded. For instance, if you run into a group of archwizards at 12 yards, you can't say "hell no," run away, and then re-encounter them hoping for a closer distance. You'll get 12 yards again. Only by saving and reloading does this change.
  • But I've found that saving and reloading re-seeds the fixed encounters in the dungeons, so it's a bad idea.
  • Since some commenters noted that you can't just keep feeding characters rations--they need nutritious meals at a tavern now and then--I've been making sure to mix up their diets. I try to get some vegetables, meat, and carbs with every tavern outing.
   
We're having filets, dates, and potatoes.
   
Aside from its ridiculous length, I honestly like Fate. It offers a classic RPG experience with original monsters and complex twists. It was a perfect game to play for a long time on a rainy Saturday in Maine. But I'm not looking forward to replaying so much territory, so we'll have another title in between. 
 
Time so far: 61 hours



51 comments:

  1. "A couple of side-areas were specifically labeled with messages on the walls, like the "Crypt of Candor.""

    There's often a magic item hidden in named rooms like these. But you have to dig or search every square of the room to find it.

    "WHAT is going on with all of these damned holes in the walls?! I'll take an explicit spoiler on this one."

    Olaf Patzenhauer admitted that "these holes were meant as a gag. They have no meaning for the game!"

    "There was a body of a warrior turned to stone in this area, but my party was full and I declined to pick him up. I fully expect someone to now tell me that he's absolutely essential."

    He's not essential, but it's a good idea to resurrect him. He gives a Gemstaff as thanks and leaves. This item displays the magic jewel automap with unlimited charges and you won't find another for quite some time.

    "Almost 60 hours into the game, I suddenly encountered, for the first time, an explicit copy-protection question. Even more strangely, there was nothing valuable in the area behind where I got the question."

    It can appear anytime and anywhere, it's completely random.

    "You hear a heartbeat sometimes, and I don't fully know why."

    I think it's just one of the ambient noises.

    "Seven more dungeon levels down, and I came to an area cued with the message "you've entered the forgotten vaults!""

    Forgot to mention this last time, but the catacombs has 7 levels, not 8.

    "There's also an inactive teleport field in the area, which suggests there ought to be some way to re-activate it, but I haven't found a mechanism. Light hints welcome for this."

    Keep poking around that hole, you already tried all the parts of the solution, you just need to do them at the same time. It's hard to hint this one without spoiling it :)

    "Apparently, I could have done this by resurrecting some bones of a child that I never found, or by regressing one of my own characters to a child-like age."

    There's another requirement that involves game mechanics. A character is only considered innocent if she's never committed any harmful acts in combat. (Combat statistics page must read all 0s.)

    Your characters probably no longer fit the bill, so you'll need to get that child. I'm not sure how you missed her if you map thoroughly (probably those damn teleporters), but you could've found her in your previous post already.

    "Either way, this means reloading the last save I made before passing the stone guardian, which was....all the way back in the catacombs before reaching the royal island for the first time. About 6 hours ago. When am I ever going to learn? At least I have the maps, which should make re-playing the areas much faster."

    Why? There are many teleporters scattered around that send you to the escape stairs, you can leave at any time.

    "My banshee, of all characters, seems capable of "critical hits" that can instantly kill high-level foes, but I don't know if this is because of her weapon (an "argondagger") or something innate to her class."

    The dagger did it.

    "Since some commenters noted that you can't just keep feeding characters rations--they need nutritious meals at a tavern now and then--I've been making sure to mix up their diets. I try to get some vegetables, meat, and carbs with every tavern outing."

    I don't think this one is actually implemented, but it's a nice way to roleplay. :) But some taverns have some rather exotic cuisine, like "roast cat."

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    1. Wow, thanks for all this. Some comments:

      "Catacombs has 7 levels, not 8." Well, bollocks. I have sections mapped on the eighth level. I must have lost track where I was or something.

      "You could've found her in your previous post already." I needed a bigger hint than this. I looked it up. Apparently, she's over in some part of Larvin that I mapped but somehow didnt find her in. I'll return there, then. I guess I'll have to get rid of someone. Either my banshee or my ninja.

      "There are many teleporters scattered around that send you to the escape stairs." Not where I am. After you pass the stone guardian, there's no way back up. (At least, not that I can find.)

      Delete
    2. You find the young lady in question in a smallish part of Larvin that is accessible only via the catacombs. Descend from Mulradin's isle, wander around a bit, and you will find the stairs up (you don't need to go any deeper than the first catacomb level.) You'll need to kill the ruffians that killed her. She is definitely good to have in your party.

      However, if think you don't need her *specifically*. AFAIR, you can also recruit someone deep in the catacombs, then not let that someone do anything in combat. ("Hide" is fine.) And you'll only need that person when you encounter Miras Athran. For your, um, present predicament, you don't need that "pure in heart" person. Send someone into that hole, then hang around the inactive teleport, maybe have a nap...

      Finally, there *was* an escape stair right after the stone guardian, through a secret door to the east. However, if you didn't take this, then you'll get a message a little later ("One more step..." or some such), then walk through a one-way door, and then there is no way out unless you have the Gathalak. (As I wrote, you should be able to recruit someone locally for the second part of the requirement. Nevertheless, I recommend getting that particular young lady. She's *good*. And she gets better with a Jaggalak...)

      Finally, don't save and reload too often. Olaf claimed the game keeps track of this, and if you overdo it, it will start sending bigger and badder enemies your way.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. "However, if think you don't need her *specifically*. AFAIR, you can also recruit someone deep in the catacombs, then not let that someone do anything in combat."

      That's right, but you also need her to be 15 years old or less and there's no youth potion in there.

      "then walk through a one-way door, and then there is no way out unless you have the Gathalak."

      Ah damn, forgot about this evil trick. Does this mean that using the Gathalak now removes the one-way door, or you need to defeat Miras first?

      "Finally, don't save and reload too often. Olaf claimed the game keeps track of this, and if you overdo it, it will start sending bigger and badder enemies your way."

      Now that's definitely true. But I don't think it's recorded into the saved game, so a reset and reload should work.

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    5. Okay, right. I see where I did map a teleporter to the "escape stairs" on Level 2. But on Level 3, I show a one-way wall just after the stairway that closes behind you. There also seems to be TWO one-way walls on Level 4 between the two stairways. So unless walking up to them and "using" the staff somehow dispels them, I suspect I have to reload that earlier save. My guess is that the note to not enter without the Gathalak means that you need to go all the way and defeat Miras.

      As for the girl, I SUPPOSE I could (a) split two people out from my party; (b) wander around until I find a good candidate; and (c) wander around some more until I find a priest with the "rejuvenation" spell (I suppose b and c could be the same person). But it strikes me that this will likely take longer than just reloading and doing everything again.

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    6. Is it possible to create a second party for such mule services? In that case, it might be helpful to have 2 or 3 guys waiting outside.

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    7. That's not a bad idea. I don't see why it wouldn't work, but unfortunately it doesn't help me now, because you can only "create" a party by spinning them off Winwood's existing party, so he needs to be outside the dungeon.

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    8. Ah, too bad, I somehow assumed you didn't kick your old party members permanently, but have them wait in some tavern.

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  2. This game was incredibly ambitious - Thankfully, unlike some of the other such titles you've played, this one came together enough to be a memorable experience.

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  3. Has anyone else noticed that the game seems to be trying very hard to get you hyped? Something like 3/4ths of text dialog are punctuated with exclamation points - even quite mundane sentences.

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    1. Graduates of the Stan Lee school of dialogue and punctuation.

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    2. But the lack of all-CAPS would have failed the developer from the school.

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    3. Definitely. For top marks, the dialogue writer should take the credit for everyone else's work on the game.

      Delete
  4. Chet: Me and someone else have both offered to help you implement backup solutions of various sorts to help with this. I was thinking an icon that makes a copy of your game folder every 10 minutes or so until you close that command line window, they had something involving Dropbox's version feature. My offer is still open, if you want.

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    1. I appreciate it, but that's a $50 solution for a $0.50 problem. I just need to focus.

      Delete
    2. Well, if you consider few hours of your free time worth $0.50...

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    3. A few hours is what I lost, not what it would take me to implement a solution. Saves #1-4 are for the major "quarters" of the game. Save #5 is before I enter a new area. Save #6 is before I enter a new level. Save #7 is my "regular" save. Boom, problem solved. I just have to force myself to do it.

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    4. I would just embrace it! Here, I've modified your Rules section for you:

      4. I cannot use cheats. I cannot look at FAQs or walkthroughs until I have finished playing. I cannot use more than one save state.

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    5. Eh? I think I'm describing it badly. It would just be a batch file that has a loop consisting of a wait command and a command to backup that folder. I was just going with Git or Mercurial as they are fast and don't need to save every byte. (Also Mercurial is dead easy to install, and if you are a student or academic you get free storage space at Bitbucket.)

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    6. You don't even need to do this. Google Drive and Dropbox (I think) should have version history on synced files. You could literally just go to the file in the web interface, look at prior versions, and select what/when you want to download. No script needed.

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    7. Long-time lurker here (thanks for the blog BTW...), with a one-time post due to Blogger's reliance on super-snoopy Google code. :( Also, this is the fourth post attempt with Blogger having swallowed the previous two despite passing CAPTCHAs and checking that it appeared.

      You don't need any fancy backup system to avoid losing old saves - there are several file-versioning utilities available (which automatically copy a file/folder when it changes and keep a user-set number of older versions). Aside from savegames, these also come in useful for personal documents (allowing you to recover from accidental overwrites or, with proper setup, ransomware attacks).

      For Windows, the first I would recommend is Aphar Backup (the webpage is Dutch but the program runs in English) which is small, fast and free. AutoVer and Yadis Backup are also free but require .NET Framework. Finally there are commercial utilities like FileHamster or Syncovery.

      It is well worth it for anyone here to use such utilities to complement a more comprehensive backup solution (using another drive for the backups is an excellent idea to cover against media failure). The commercial tools do offer more options but these can be handled by other means (e.g. enabling NTFS compression on the destination folder to reduce space usage, or using Pismo to create a folder that is mapped onto a zip/rar archive).

      As I use Aphar Backup I will highlight one issue with it - it won't pick up changes in NTFS junctions though it will backup files there on startup (if you have the appropriate option selected). Not an issue if you don't use junctions - but I find it very handy to have every game's savegame folder linked through to one central folder (which then only needs one profile in Aphar Backup). I would, by the way, recommend another piece of free software, Link Shell Extension, for creating NTFS junctions or hardlinks/symlinks.

      This issue is easy to fix though, you just create a savegame folder in your central location (e.g. C:\Documents\Saved Games\Flying Wombats) and copy your savegames to it. If you have LSE installed then do the following:

      *Right-click on that folder and select "Pick Link Source".
      *Right-click on the parent folder of the original savegame location (e.g. if it was C:\Program Files\Flying Wombats\Saves, then right-click on C:\Program Files\Flying Wombats) and select "Drop As/Junction".
      *This will create a junction with the same name as the original folder, which in this case would be C:\Program Files\Flying Wombats\Flying Wombats.
      *Delete the original save folder (you should have copied all its contents across previously) and rename the junction to its name (in this case, rename the Flying Wombats junction to Saves)

      A slightly convoluted procedure, but which only has to be done one per game install and has the potential to save an awful lot of grief later.

      This post brought to you by the up-and-coming (not to mention down-and-going) Flying Wombats CRPG, due any decade now. Free cuddly wombat included with all pre-orders!

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  5. Canageek's system seems a bit too complicated. If you install the game in a Dropbox folder, you should be able to rely on it syncing every time you save. The free version of Dropbox will keep each save for 30 days. That should be good enough to deal with accidental overwrites. (I've never used Dropbox for this purpose, but it should work fine.)

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    1. Rangerous the SecondNovember 3, 2016 at 8:14 PM

      If you're using Dropbox, maybe you shouldn't play the German version... we wouldn't want to see those hacked photos!

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  6. A warlock with access to 2 other schools of magic is a freaking moron? Wow...
    It's Upside-Down day all over again, guys.

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    1. I actually meant to say something about that. So far, race hasn't been a factor in any of the gameplay, and I haven't really even been noticing the races of my companions. They all look like regular humans.

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    2. An earlier post talked about that. It's a translation issue--"moron" was meant to be just a random nonsense word, like "wookiee," and the race actually has bonuses to mental stats.

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    3. Race determines maximum stats, other than that it's not acknowledged ingame at all.

      In general humans are average with stats around 65-80 and can be any class. Other races are limited in class selection, may reach 99 in certain stats, but to compensate they're either slower (dexterity and skill determines turn order) or have higher experience point requirements.

      Morons are the best mages and mutants make the best fighters, but the difference is quite minimal at any rate.

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    4. I guess there should be some mixed races (like half-elves in Forgotten Realms).

      Maybe Moronic Mutants? Or Mutated Morons?

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    5. We just discovered that humans and elves are cross-fertile in our GURPS (D&D but not) game. So my character is now the father of this campaign worlds first half-elf. Which could make his upcoming mission to do diplomacy with the vikings somewhat interesting.

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    6. To say nothing of "mongtards"...

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    7. That was a typo, it's "mongards" in the game.

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  7. "Winwood is a bit of a spaz" LOL :D

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    1. I thought that was an incredibly offensive thing to say, but then I found out the word is not as bad in the US as it is in Britain. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spastic, e.g. the paragraph starting with "The difference in appreciation of the term between British and American audiences...").

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    2. The word is spaz, not spastic. A spaz is someone who gets overly excited easily and often shouts. No detail is too small for a spaz to have an outburst of excitement. Spastic means a nerve problem.

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    3. "Spaz" is short for "spastic". Follow the link; the sentence I partially quoted actually talks about an example of "spaz" specifically.

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    4. This may be a better link: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/spaz#Usage_notes

      "The offensiveness of this term ["spaz"] and of spastic differs considerably between the US and the UK. In the United States, the terms are inoffensive; in the UK, they are very offensive; see spastic for more."

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    5. > In the United States, the terms are inoffensive

      I wouldn't quite say that. It's lightly offensive as it's often used to refer to transient behavior ("hey, don't be a spaz" or "stop spazzing out"). It can also be used more offensively (or jokingly, from a friend), as in "you're such a spaz". That can be harmful depending on the details of why, how, who says it. In that respect, I would consider it equal to geek or nerd in offensiveness (depending on how you interpret those), but with a different connotation.

      Delete
  8. Incidentally, magic users that have gone crazy don't use their spells all that much. Nor do grues spit. Try the Banshee "Madness" spell. Fate has quite a number of spells for softening the opponents up before whacking them, and those preliminary spells actually do make a difference.

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  9. The game doesn't sound too bad. It actually makes you feel as if you're on that epic adventure. Walking through the city actually takes as long as walking through any city actually does. What's the ratio of time-passing in game to passed time in reality?

    I see Mafia is coming up... I actually played that myself in the 90s. It didn't occur to me that it might be regarded as a CRPG, but it's justified. It was a fun game, especially as a multiplayer game.

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  10. I think, you can prevent "loosing of innocence" by not-equipping any weapon to character, because it is very easy to missclick during combat and attack when you do not want to attack.

    About that hole/cave where one of your characters dissapers - this is a must-do part and after you will progress through the dungeon you will find your char, but it will take some time (not time like spend time by resting, but "progressing forward" time).

    About that spellschools - all magical characters will learn all existing spell school if they can level-up to very (very!) high levels. The starting class of character only determines the ORDER of more spellschools.
    Mechanics are simple - when you learn (buy) all spells from first school, you can buy access to another school, which one it will be depends on your character starting class.
    For example:
    Cleric > Priest > Monk...
    Magician > Conjurer > Sorcerer...
    Banshee > Elementary > Warlock...

    So, teoretically if you can accumulate enough levels (magical training points) you can learn absolutely all schools and all spells available in the game.

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  11. Doesn't the game actually require multiple parties some time in the game? If so, isn't it better to put leveled characters in another party instead of dismissing them?

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    Replies
    1. From previous comments, I get the impression that some future puzzles will at least require me to split my party, but I'm not sure that it's necessary to maintain more than one "full" party. I'll be discussing it in my next posting, in any event.

      Delete
  12. There is something to be said for SOME restraint in game length. "Fate" might be a good choice to take along if you could only take a handful of games to a decade long prison sentence. Otherwise.....

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    Replies
    1. Or one for the classic "deserted island" scenario!

      Though personally I'd prefer something with endless replayability =p perhaps something from the Rogue school?

      Delete
    2. How about a list of "10 Offline PC Games To Last You For 10 Years"?

      Here's mine in no particular order:
      1) Ultima Collection (I'd delete 1, 2, 8 & 9!)
      2) Neverwinter Nights 2 Diamond Edition (Make my own campaigns!)
      3) GTA V Complete Edition (Slam my face against the cliff wall repeatedly from a plane!)
      4) Minecraft (Build a giant wiener monument!)
      5) Fallout 4 GOTY Edition (Build a giant wiener monument in 4K graphical glory!)
      6) Yandere Simulator (hopefully finished by the time I go to prison!)
      7) Civilization 6 (Endless replayability and name my state religion as "Penis Worship"!)
      8) Chaos Overlords (A tongue-in-cheek cyberpunk boardgame!)
      9) Scribblenauts Unlimited (Imagine Cthulu riding on a unicorn fighting against a magical monkey piloting a nuclear-powered mecha? You could do it!)
      10) Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition (Punch the entire Hong Kong population Bruce Lee-style!)

      Delete
    3. I could get behind a Chaos Overlords remake. All it needs is a few more options and a better AI.

      Pity that it currently appears in legal and technical limbo.

      Delete
    4. > How about a list of "10 Offline PC Games To Last You For 10 Years"?
      > 1) Ultima Collection (I'd delete 1, 2, 8 & 9!)

      Aww, 8 get ways more hate than I think is justified, just because it's so different. As a standalone game, I actually like it (but the post launch patch is a must. Targeted jumping!)

      > ) Civilization 6 (Endless replayability and name my state religion as "Penis Worship"!)

      I keep hearing really good things about Stellaris, in case you haven't tried it.

      > 6) Yandere Simulator

      ...holy shit that's dark. And weird. I understand the pull of GTA, you can live vicariously through the character and do things you wouldn't in real life, but wonder about. But do people really *want* to be a murderous stalker?

      I think I might need to find a way to play this at some point just to find out.

      Delete
    5. 1. Space Quest collection
      2. leisure Suit larry collection
      3. Wing Commander collection
      4. Interstate 76
      5. Mechwarrior 2
      6. Doom
      7. Vice City
      8. Discworld collection
      9. Pirates
      10. Starflight collection, since I will hve the time to deal with permadeath caused by the terrible combat and controls.

      Delete
    6. Of course Kenny likes one of the very few games banned on Twitch.

      Delete
  13. This has nothing to do with your current undertaking, but...thanks for the 'Goldbox Companion' hint. Playing Pool of radiance is now actually fun (and not a chore).

    On topic:
    A miracle has happened! My favorite computer gaming historian enjoys a German crpg! Hooray!
    :-)

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