Friday, November 4, 2016

Fate: Gravy Train

The developer got cute on Level 1. I hadn't really thought about it before, but I would have thought the game was called something like Schicksal: Toren der Morgendämmerung in its original German version.
    
For a while, I was going to title this post "Fate: Quest of the Cavetrain: Won!" and pretend that the Cavetrain quest was the whole game, ending with a note that the game allows you to "keep playing after you've won." It would have been clever, but it might have confused future generations of readers. Plus, it would have screwed up my A-B-C subtitle order, so I edited it out at the last minute.

(If you need a little refresher after all this time: In Fate, you play a guy named Winwood who has been magically transported from the real world into this fantasy kingdom, starting near the city of Larvin. He is being hunted for reasons unknown by a wizard named Thardan. Thardan's associate, Miras Athran, has sabotaged the "Cavetrain" that connects Larvin with the outside world so that Winwood can't leave the area. The first quest is to find and defeat Athran and restore the operation of the Cavetrain.)
   
Still, that's the big news: I solved the damned Cavetrain quest after mapping seven--yes, seven, not eight--dungeon levels, plus Larvin itself, plus the starting outdoor area. So far, the game has used around 40,000 coordinate squares and around 25,000 actual mapped squares (e.g., not empty space). That makes it already twice as large as the entirety of Might & Magic, three times as large as Pool of Radiance, and over six times as large as Wizardry. And judging by a quick scan of online maps, I've experienced at most 20% of the total game world so far. You have to give the developer points for ambition.
     
As we closed last time, I was about to start replaying a big chunk of the game so I could be better equipped to take on Miras Athran. Specifically, I needed to find and resurrect a dead girl with no combat experience to satisfy the part of the quest where "an innocent being without any hate in mind" can pierce Athran's "aura of evil." As we discussed in the comments, I guess you can do this by recruiting any new party member, keeping them out of combat, and using various magic options to de-age them below 18 or 15 or whatever, but the easier way is to retrieve the bones of a dead teenager and have them raised.

As I suspected, this replay--even running around to collect all the treasures I'd picked up in my previous explorations--didn't take very long, since the long part of exploring is making the maps in the first place. I suppose the only drawback is that I ended up earning less experience, as I wasn't exploring every corner and fighting all the monsters the way I had before.

The re-exploration turned out to be beneficial in one way: on the way to retrieve the girl, I stopped by an encounter that I had marked "unsolved" on my map. It involved a rope going up to some kind of panel on the ceiling. I'm not sure why I couldn't figure it out before, but this time I just had someone climb the rope and press a button on the panel. This caused a hatch to open below the party and dump them on a previously-unexplored area of Level 2.
    
     
I'm not sure what was going on in this new area. As I entered, a message warned, "This is the death spiral: Prepare to die!" There was indeed a small spiral, emerging into a large open area with a bunch of doors off of it. "The ground and walls are covered with blood," the game said ominously. In the rooms off the main area were no less than four fountains of full healing. It seemed like the game was setting us up for some kind of epic conflict, but the monsters in the area were few and not all that hard. Messages alerted me to "dig in Gord's chamber!" so when I finally got to an area labeled such, I dug and found a nice suit of armor. I also found Gord's Axe and Gord's Helmet, which were superior to what I already had.

When I got out of this area, I went back to the section of Larvin where I could find the dead girl. I can only assume I saw the monsters wandering around the first time I visited, concluded there was nothing to see here, and left. This is a reminder to step on every square.
     
You have to admire the game for doing its best to ensure every enemy is depicted.
    
The battle preceding the recovery of the bones had 17 enemies, 6 of them spellcasters, and it started them all at 8 yards away. This was a perfect time to use one of the pieces of miscellaneous equipment I'd found but haven't talked about: a "warpipe" that emits damaging smoke and affects every creature in the enemy groups (unless they resist). The resulting damage isn't usually enough to kill the creatures in the dungeons, but it generally kills surface enemies in one hit, and it's a great way to deal with the spellcasters-starting-at-a-distance issue. Each warpipe is good for maybe 10 uses, and I had three of them at the time.

Once they were dead, the game informed me that I had found a dead girl. At first, I tried to revive her a nontraditional way (which, as we'll see, turned out to be not all that stupid):
    
The developer thought of everything.
    
When that didn't work, I took her to the chapel and paid to have her resurrected. I had to reluctantly split Dichara, my banshee, off into her own party. More on Dichara in a bit.
 
The resulting NPC, Marina, is a 13-year-old Level 1 Pheyd "nymph" with only 3 strength, 6 stamina, 9 skill, and 12 hit points. To have her prevail against Miras Athran, I would have to keep her alive and out of combat (the moment she strikes a blow, she is no longer "innocent," apparently).
     
No word on why such a large party felt it necessary to kill and then protect the bones of a 13-year-old.
    
As we walked away from the resurrection, she had a few lines of dialogue, which NPCs sometimes do. She expressed gratitude and said she has "special abilities" that would help us out. I guess we'll see. She does come with a selection of nymph spells, including better healing spells than I already had plus "Youth," which I'm guessing reverts magical aging.
   
Is one of those special abilities going home to your mother? Because that's what you really ought to be doing.
    
Keeping her alive wasn't as hard as I thought. Enemies tended not to target her for whatever reason. The hardest part was not accidentally having her attack in combat. I had to reload a couple of times because my fingers were faster than my eyes. As we went down the various levels, she gained a couple of levels just from the ancillary experience that every party member gets whether they act or not.

Eventually, we made it back to the hole in the wall that I recounted in the previous post. I assumed we needed Marina for this mission, but when I told her to "Enter," she replied that she was too scared. We had found a "valor" potion nearby, and I reasoned that it must be for this purpose, so I had her drink it, and sure enough she scrambled on in. One way you could look at that is a defenseless 13-year-old girl was afraid to enter a dark hole alone in a dungeon full of monsters, so we drugged her until she complied.
    
That is, in fact, almost a certainty.
     
After that, we waited for a while. When she didn't come back out, we wandered around the dungeon and killed monsters. Even though she wasn't with the party, the game kept noting that she was leveling up, which was encouraging. We kept going back to the hole to no avail.

The only thing that I could imagine Marina could accomplish was finding a way to activate an inactive teleport field--it was literally the only possible way out of the area. So I kept bring my party back to the field. Eventually, bereft of anything else to do, I had them sleep.

Surprisingly, the game switched me over to Dichara while everyone else slept. There didn't seem to be any way to return to the original party as long as they were asleep, and 8 hours of game time is about an hour of real time, so I didn't want to just wander around. I had also left Dichara in an unfortunate position, in a section of town inaccessible from anywhere else except by dungeon, and she didn't have any lanterns or light spells. Eventually, I navigated her through the dungeon level by the map alone and brought her to the southeast isle. She met Mulradin again--who didn't have anything new to say--and convinced a huntress named Nadine to join her little sub-party. Eventually, I had her check into an inn on the island and go to sleep so the game would return me to my previous party.
    
The jilted Dichara starts forming a rival band.
    
When the other crew woke up, the teleporter was still inoperable, but by this time I had succumbed to spoilers and discovered that I had the right idea; I just needed to wait longer. I left the game running and let time pass while I checked my e-mail and did a few other things, and I actually heard a "bling!" sound when the teleporter came online. That was pretty cool.

The teleporter took us to a new succession of areas. Marina didn't show up on the other side. The game seemed determined to really use a good portion of the coordinates on Level 7, and it took a few hours to map. There was a very annoying section of one-way walls and doors. But eventually, we made it to the final area, and we found a hole in the wall identical to the one in which we had lost Marina. In short order, Marina came crawling out. She explained that she found herself in a large cave system and eventually discovered a switch that activated the teleporter.

On the way to Miras Athran, there was another one of those copy-protection maps, and it was a little unfair. The map depicts a 2 x 3 chamber with a one-way door on the south end. Just past the one-way door, there's a door leading to a single 1 x 1 room to the east. The problem is, you don't know that you're in the right area until you've already passed through the one-way door, at which point you can't return. I had to reload because the game makes it clear that if you don't search and pull the switches the moment you arrive, you're hosed.

Miras Athran was in a single 1 x 1 cell in a very unintuitive location, but a couple of messages--including my witch noting a "dreadful sphere of hate!"--had alerted me to his probable presence. When my party entered, everyone but Marina died immediately. But somehow, her pure aura pierced his hate bubble and managed to instantly kill him.
    
Who knew innocence could hurt so much?
     
The game then gave me a note that the "shade ghosts"--the beings that power the Cavetrain--"followed their master to his demise!" That can't be good. I think I would have been in a walking dead scenario if I'd continued.

I figured (correctly) that Marina needed to be holding the Staff of Gathalak. I reloaded, gave it to her, and tried again, and sure enough, the ghosts were all "sucked up" by the staff.
     
    
So far, so good, but 6 of my 7 party members, including Winwood, were now dead, and the game wouldn't let me move with that many corpses. (Picture a 13-year-old girl trying to drag 6 armored bodies down a dungeon hallway; you can't fault the game for realism.) After exploring the options a few times, it turns out that Marina--perhaps any nymph--has a kiss that can revive dead party members.
    
Just remember she's 13 before you make any jokes. You know who I'm talking to.
    
Sounds good, but those party members revived with only 1 in every attribute, and in any event Marina balked at kissing any more people after she'd resurrected three. I don't know if there's a maximum on the number of times she can use the power or if it was a race thing. Either way, I was still stuck.
    
It's nice of you to offer some hope, but I'm pretty sure they're just dead.
    
The solution has probably occurred to you already, but it took embarrassingly long to occur to me: split off Marina into her own party before going into to confront Athran. This, again, seems a little dubious ethically, but it worked just fine. Getting out of the dungeon involved using the Staff of Gathalak in a room labeled "Chamber of Gathalak."

The whole "shade ghost" thing, I should note, was kind of silly. They played a minor role in the quest, and I never encountered the "mongards" at all. Athran might has well have just been standing next to a big "on/off" switch for the Cavetrain.

Emerging into the sunlight, I was disappointed to discover that no one acknowledged our victory. I returned to royal isle and explored around, but there seemed no place to meet the king. Tinius, head of the Royal Mage's Guild, was nowhere to be found. I thought there was supposed to be a reward! And who's going to give me permission to enter the Altarian Vaults or whatever? Maybe I'll just enter without permission.

But sure enough, the two Cavetrain stations are now open for business, offering to take me to the rest of the cities in the gameworld. Finally, I can figure out how this whole "guild" business works and start upgrading these characters. I don't quite understand yet why some guilds are better than others, but I guess I have to revisit every guild in Larvin first to note what types of deals they offer.
   
The Cavetrain station seems to be run by a rat selling "rat soup."
    
The tie to the subtitle is in the fact that, in the course of solving the Cavetrain quest, I amassed over 1.3 million "piaster" and need to find a way to spend it. I assume the guilds will help. Yes, it's a lame explanation for the subtitle. I couldn't think of anything that began with "G" that had anything to do with solving a quest or splitting the party. I've been messing the whole thing up. "F" should have been "Finishing the Cavetrain" or "Finally!" That would have left "G" for "Guilds," which is probably going to be the topic of the next post. Now I'm stuck with "H" for the next one, and what about character development or exploring the rest of the world begins with "H"? At least I can get back on track with "I" for "Inventory."

Miscellaneous notes:

  • A lot of spellcasters have spells that make characters tired, hungry, or thirsty. After combat, I have to spend some time getting everyone back on the same sleep and meal schedule. These conditions can't possibly be enough to make a difference in combat, so these spellcasters are just being jackasses. "You may defeat me, but at least I'll inconvenience you afterwards," is what they're saying.
  • Marina made it to Level 10 before the quest was over. My other characters are Level 16-19. 
  • Looking at my notes, I see that one NPC told me that "a magical axe is hidden in the secret Benth chamber in the catacombs." I see where that is, on Level 3, but I didn't put two-and-two together while I was there. How neat is that axe?

As I ponder continuing the game, I'm left with two dilemmas:

1. Should I keep Marina? She's weak, but her charisma and dexterity are the best in the party, and her spells and abilities might come in useful. On the other hand, she seems destined to be a burden in combat.

2. Should I keep the other party? As the game gets huge, it might be useful to have one party able to travel to places the other party can't. (Having a second party would have prevented the "walking dead" issue that required me to replay a few hours of the game, among other things.) Oddly, everyone in all parties gets experience from kills made by any party, but that experience of course is diluted among more members. I also vaguely like the idea of having more potential character classes, and more characters to equip with the weapons and armor I'm finding.

On the other hand, two parties means more people to manage logistically. Characters in the non-active parties still get tired, hungry, and thirsty while waiting around, so you have to switch to them occasionally and take care of their needs. It's also a little annoying that I can't have Party 1 go to sleep without automatically switching to Party 2 and then either have them go to sleep or adventure around until Party 1 wakes up.

But whatever I do, I have to recognize that it's a unique approach to an RPG. The game allows for up to 4 parties and 28 party members, a definite RPG first.

The Cavetrain quest along was long enough to sustain an entire game, and if I'd just been using the guilds in Larvin, I would have enjoyed 18 levels of pretty solid character development. If I stopped now, Fate would be my 10th longest-played game and would probably rank in the top 10 or 15 on the GIMLET. Alas, it seems determined to wear out its welcome with the size of the game world, as it almost did in the size of the catacombs. I can't promise I'll play to the end, but I'll play at least a little farther.

Time so far: 67 hours

62 comments:

  1. Well someone has to comment on the game right?

    It feels like this one would be had to solve without hints. How many people would have been able to solve the cavetrain quest with no assistance?

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    1. The "never hit or kill anyone in combat" part is pretty evil. It makes sense in retrospect, but who could've figured it out with so few hints?

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    2. Is it a 100% prooved information?
      Because i am pretty sure i made a few hits with her and i think you just cannot kill anything.

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  2. "The resulting NPC, Marina, is a 13-year-old Level 1 Pheyd "nymph" with only 3 strength, 6 stamina, 9 skill, and 12 hit points."

    There's a form of "resurrection sickness" where freshly resurrected characters have vastly lower stats. The character screen only shows the actual values, not the maximum the character has. Resting should recover them.

    "She does come with a selection of nymph spells, including better healing spells than I already had plus "Youth," which I'm guessing reverts magical aging."

    Those are nice, but her real overpowered spells are R-Sphere and R-Sphere! (longer version) These create an aura around the party that automatically regenerates any and all damage received, essentially turning you invincible. It doesn't work on the last level of dungeons, though and costs a huge amount of spell points.

    "I think I would have been in a walking dead scenario if I'd continued."

    Indeed. But I think the way out won't open then, so you'd be stuck anyway.

    "Sounds good, but those party members revived with only 1 in every attribute, and in any event Marina balked at kissing any more people after she'd resurrected three. I don't know if there's a maximum on the number of times she can use the power or if it was a race thing."

    It's powered by her charisma stat. With every resurrection she loses some points temporarily.

    She can also touch people for lay-on-hands healing and maybe some debuff removal I think.

    "Tinius, head of the Royal Mage's Guild, was nowhere to be found."

    Well he should be around, as he'll give you the reward for completing the quest. Try switching parties or moving around a bit to reset the spawn.

    "And who's going to give me permission to enter the Altarian Vaults or whatever? Maybe I'll just enter without permission."

    You can.

    "I don't quite understand yet why some guilds are better than others, but I guess I have to revisit every guild in Larvin first to note what types of deals they offer."

    They give you more stat points per level up. For example, the guild in Larvin gives you +1 Magic Power points per training, the one in Cassida gives +3.

    This is probably a good time for some advice on which stats are best to train first, but it'll probably only fit in a separate comment. If you'd like, I could also add a list of best guilds.

    "The tie to the subtitle is in the fact that, in the course of solving the Cavetrain quest, I amassed over 1.3 million "piaster" and need to find a way to spend it."

    Training will take some, and shops in other large cities will have some nice stuff for sale. Then the ship dealer will laugh in your face.

    "Looking at my notes, I see that one NPC told me that "a magical axe is hidden in the secret Benth chamber in the catacombs." I see where that is, on Level 3, but I didn't put two-and-two together while I was there. How neat is that axe?"

    Not bad. Returns, hits critically, but not a melee (group hitting) weapon. Can also be used by warlocks.

    "Should I keep Marina? She's weak, but her charisma and dexterity are the best in the party, and her spells and abilities might come in useful. On the other hand, she seems destined to be a burden in combat."

    Yeah, she's not too good. R-Sphere is neat but costs way too much and doesn't work where it's needed most. Charisma is useless when you can just bribe anyone into talking. Moving her into the backup party is probably a good idea.

    "Should I keep the other party?"

    I didn't bother, but you won't lose anything by having one. Feel free to keep them. Experience gain is only determined by who delivers the killing blow, everyone else in all parties receive roughly 50-60% of his gains, party size doesn't matter at all.

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    1. Wow, you really know this game inside-out. Admit it, you're one if the programmers! :)

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    2. Nah, just translating info from a German fan site: http://www.mightandmagicworld.de/phpbb/forum10.html

      There's an insane amount of info there, including a program called FateMaster that contains basically everything about the game: full maps (including lines showing teleporter destinations), all items and where to find them, all shops, guilds, etc.

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    3. I personally like keeping Marina. You do know that once a mage knows all spells, he can switch to other mage classes (in guilds), right? Your Banshee will switch to an enormously useful class. And Marina quickly gains access to very useful classes, indeed.

      Plus, have you found the Jaggalak already? Give it to Marina. She is *very* good with it. Different classes can make items last longer or shorter, and a Jaggalak in Marina's hands lasts just about forever. (However, let the other characters also get their combat stats.)

      Incidentally, you could have let Marina "Hide" during combat - she will still be pure enough to deal with Miras Athran, and the Hide combat statistics come in handy.

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    4. Thanks as always for the detail of response. Some of this is probably in the manual, but the damned thing is huge. I should probably re-read it now that I'm this far into the game and would understand what it's talking about better. I definitely need to re-read spell descriptions.

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  3. Have to say, I originally thought you should have just ditched this one after 6 hours, but it's turning out to be an entertaining read!

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    1. I'm actually enjoying it a lot more now than in the opening hours, too.

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  4. A bizarre solution to a boss encounter, but I appreciate that this game doesn't rest on its laurels as simply being one of the most enormous CRPGs ever made, especially for its era. It still wants to be inventive and weird too.

    I don't think anyone would fault you if you decided to stop it here. Fortunately, you've thoroughly recorded your travails with maps/blogs, so might you consider putting it aside for a few months instead? How tough would it be to pick it up again after that amount of time?

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    1. It wouldn't be hard. I picked it up after dropping it for almost 2 months in the summer. But I don't want to quit, or even take a break, just yet. I want to see a bit of the wider world first.

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  5. Make The CRPG Addict fun again.

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  6. The more I read the more interesting the game sounds. I'm actually tempted to jump in after finishing my current run of X-COM 2.

    Then again, by then PS VR might actually be on stock again :)

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    1. How's x-com 2 compare to 1?

      I'm not sure I like the sound of turn limits for missions.

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    2. Pretty good actually. More variety between the missions, from pure static firefights to sprints across the map and cliffhanger extractions. Some interesting new mechanics like stealth, melee fighters and a chance to get a random extra skill from another class which can make some cool characters. The time limit missions aren't as bad as I thought they would be. You need to take more risks but not impossibly so.

      My main beef is that psychers level up by sitting around and not by doing missions. So if you take one along it's basically a wasted slot for levelling up someone. I only take them in the endgame when most characters are maxxed anyway.

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  7. The more I read these the more I feel that this game is "Alternate Reality that could".

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  8. "I can't promise I'll play to the end" Oh please, finish this one! I can understand if you use maps because it would take FOREVER to map everything, but i wanna see the ending!

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  9. Wasn't Magic Candle the first RPG to allow split parties?

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    1. "It features the ability to split the party and travel independently."

      From 2012 CRPG Addict post about Magic Candle.

      http://crpgaddict.blogspot.hr/2012/09/game-75-magic-candle-1989.html

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    2. Yes, you are right. At this point, there are only two CRPG-s that allow to split parties.

      Since CRPG Addict played Magic Candle in 2012, maybe he forgot about this?

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    3. I never forgot about The Magic Candle. When I said this was a "first," I was referring to the sheer number of parties and party members. Fate's approach to split parties is also very different than TMC.

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    4. Gotcha, yeah I wasn't sure how many parties you could have in the Magic Candle. It's certainly a rare feature even today.

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    5. Theoretically, you can have up 1 to 6 parties in Magic Candle. But you are limited to only 6 Player Characters IN TOTAL.

      Fate allows you to have full sub-parties.

      That said, I believe Wizardry lets you encounter another party that you yourself created earlier.

      Also, I think some of the games in the Final Fantasy franchise; specifically in boss fights, players will have to take control of multiple full parties of 4 characters to complete certain objectives/attacking certain weakness simultaneously.

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  10. Congratulations on finishing a game I never would have the patience to even try. You are a master of your hobby.

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    1. I'm another couple hundred hours from "finishing," I suspect.

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  11. I did not play with Marina after Athran, she is really weak. I used Priest character instead.

    Keeping second party is not very useful BUT it is not bad to have few different classes as a backup (that with "Special Class Ability") i recommend Alchemist for a one special reason but i do not want to spoil.
    And experience system works this way: Char dealing killing blow will receive EXP and all other Chars/Groups will receive 50% of that amount.

    The other argument against more parties is simple - thre is not enough Mega-Godlike-Superweapons in the entire game to equip multiple parties :-D
    I found 3 of that quality and one of the in the very very late phase of gameplay.
    There are many good weapons, some very-good weapons but only a very few of Superweapons.

    Actually i had the same plan as you, using 2 groups and playing non-stop 24 hours per day (12/12) but there is this equipment problem and changing weapons all the time between parties is more than mad. So after some time i simply realized that using only one maximally upgraded party is a better option.

    The good news is this whole Larvin Catacombs dungeon is the largest and most comlicated dungeon in the game. The last dungeon XYZ (will not name it/spoil) is quite complicated but not as much as Larvin.

    There is a +3 Skill Guild in Larvin, i think it is one of that reachable from catabombs and not directly in the free city.

    Did you find teleport shortcut from central island to the city?

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    1. Yes, I found out how to activate the teleporters. Very handy. I don't think I need to use the catacombs again unless I want to get to that smithy in the far northwest.

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    2. You'll be returning to the Alarian vaults too once in a while, but more on that after you reach them.

      Alchemists can translate foreign languages. Some points of interest have an inscription offering some hints that only they can read. Keeping one in the backup party (if you decided to make one) is not a bad idea, but other than that the class seems pretty much useless.

      I think we've already found that guild, it's reached via the FATE letters on the level 1 map. It's not a bad idea to do some training here as Skill is one of the stats that determine turn order in combat (the other is Dexterity) and this is the best guild in the world for this stat.

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    4. Alarian Vaults are very interesting place, i am not sure how much spoiler damage can be taken by revealing some informations about this place, but this a UNIQUE SACRED PLACE.
      Visiting the final altair will give you extra training points depending on acquired EXP.
      That means if you return to this place after another 50h of gameplay (you gain many EXP/Whatever points) you will be rewarded by another portion of bonus skillpoints (depending on how many EXP you gained from last visit).

      Sorry for deleting my last post, but i saw too much grammatical errors... i am not a native english speaker so please forgive me.

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    5. Okay, weird. The only place the letters FATE Took me was back to the level. I don't remember finding a guild through those letters. I certainly haven't found one that increases skill in Larvin.

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    6. The stairs up should be at the bottom part of the F.

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    7. Ah. I didn't record any stairs there. I must have teleported out before I completed the letter and just assumed it was a dead end. That's the second time I've missed something by not forcing myself to step on every square, which I usually do.

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  12. "Schicksal: Toren der Morgendämmerung" translates to "Fate: Fools of the Dawn", which I think is both funny and fitting for such a colossal game.
    Thank you, Addict, for all the fun I've had and will have reading your blog!

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    1. Really? I really thought "toren" meant "gates." What should I have used?

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    2. The plural of German 'Tor' is 'Tore'. 'Tor' is a 'Teekesselwort' and also means fool.

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    4. "Tore" - German is a pretty complicated language... "das Tor" - the gate, "die Tore" - the gates, "der Tor" - the fool, "die Toren" - the fools.
      Sometimes I think all of this has been invented only to confuse non-native speakers.

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    5. Isn't "Tor" also German for "goal" in football (soccer...)?

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    6. Mario Götze ... Toooooooooor!

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    7. Mario Götze ... Toooooooooor!

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    8. Yes indeed. "Tor" as in "gate" is etymologically essentially the same word as English "door", and it is used for a soccer goal because it is door-shaped with its two posts connected by a bar. (Also, like a real door, its main purpose is to have something pass through it.) As in English, the word for the physical structure is then reused for the more abstract concept of "scoring a goal".

      So "Tor" as in "gate" and "Tor" as in "goal" are essentially the same word. That "Tor" as in "fool" also has the same combination of letters is probably a coincidence of etymology, like "bank" as in money vs. "bank" as in rivers.

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    9. Cool!

      I think river bank and the financial institution might both derive from the word for 'bench'.

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    10. I guess I'll throw in that the German word "Bank" means both the financial institution and "bench" (but not the river bank).

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    11. I banked on banking in a bank on a bank.

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  14. This has certainly been a fascinating game to read about. On the one hand, based on your descriptions it seems to be nailing a lot of categories such as equipment and character development, but the sheer size of it boggles my mind.

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  15. One of the advantages that we readers have is that we get to experience these games on super fast-forward. I am fascinated by this game, but know there is no chance in heck I will ever have enough time to devote to playing it. I hope you are able to finish it because I'd love to hear how these mechanics come together at the end-- but if it gets too long, we'll understand. Good luck.

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  16. This game is friggin' huge! Never heard about it until your first post a few months ago and various comments leading up to it... Makes playing BG-Trilogy fully modded seem like child's play (and I no longer have time to make it through such a monster of a game!) As always, thanks for playing all these games as I'll never take the plunge to play such a beast, but it's very interesting to learn about some of the interesting gameplay and storylines from such gems as Fate.

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  17. Thank you so much, "Chet" for continuing to write your blog and play these games. I'm about to start playing FATE myself now!! :) Which is weird, since with running my youtube channel I barely have time to play even the games I play FOR the channel :) Your blog helped keep me on keel after my wife died- you weren't the ONLY thing, but you were a small but important part of the things that DID keep me on keel. I'm still wrecked and recovering from my wife's death but still fighting and hanging in and thank you again for your blog and your addiction! Oh- and PLEASE finish FATE :)

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  18. "But whatever I do, I have to recognize that it's a unique approach to an RPG. The game allows for up to 4 parties and 28 party members, a definite RPG first."

    No idea if I`m misreading that but from the games you played, you could already have multiple parties at once in M&M 1+2 and Wizardry ... Wizardry 5 even at once inside the dungeon :o

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    1. That's a little different. Those multiple characters/parties were holdovers from a multi-player mentality in which different players might share the same disk OR--in the case of Wizardry--a way to recover the bodies of dead characters. The many characters you could create in those games are not, in any meaningful way, playing the game "together." Here, your up-to-28-party-members co-exist in the same universe at the same time and even gain experience based on their colleagues' kills.

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    2. On reflection, what I just said is a little dismissive of Might & Magic, particularly the second one, where you can swap in and out a variety of player-created characters and NPCs.

      Nonetheless, I think Fate is the first game to allow multiple fully-staffed parties active in the game world at the same time.

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    3. True in M&M you need to go to the Inn in order to change characters. In Wiz 5 they were theoretically just there I don´t think you could swap chars there, unless both parties were lacking a character.

      uuuh the Bloodwych I had on the Schneider PC forced you to chose 2 full groups that could interact with each other in the dungeon, even attack and kill each other! :D No idea if other versions had that, I think two players could even play at the same time, each with their own party.

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    4. Oh and don´t wanna give ya a hard time or so xD Sorry if it sounds like that, just that these games came to mind that did it similar. 28 chars in total active as once seems pretty awesome for a game for that time :O

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    5. Amiga version also had it. Don't remember much about the game except that it was a disappointment compared to Dungeon Master and that the split screen was a huge waste of screen real estate as a solo player. Never had someone to play with, that probably would have been more fun.

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    6. You're right about Bloodwych. I had forgotten that because I didn't play it. Now we're down to Fate being the first game to allow multiple independent parties intended to be played by the same player. Still pretty cool.

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    7. *Didn't play the TWO-PLAYER edition of Bloodwych, to clarify.

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  19. These posts on Fate make me want to play it. Still haven't finished Lords of Xulima, and I have an ever-growing queue, so I doubt I'll ever have time. But thanks, Chet, for these wonderful posts!

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