Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fate: Pieces Falling into Place

My fantasy is someone else's idea of hell.
At the end of the last post, I had one of the seven pieces of the Moonwand: the Crimcross. Now I have four.

The Dreamstone was the easiest. Thanks to a hint from Zardas, I knew that I just needed to return to Laronnes and keep trying to "charm" Rinoges until it worked. It actually worked on my first try. I guess I just got unlucky last time.
You're under my spell. I don't have to promise anything.
The Dreamstone turned out to be the key to finding the Marbeye, which I was on the cusp of retrieving last time. I had heard that it was part of Captain Bloodhawk's treasure and that Bloodhawk's ghost was wandering around Fainvil, probably staying in the fancy room at the inn. After I had the Dreamstone, I stayed in the finest suite at the inn again. Almost immediately afterward, Jeanie--who was in possession of the stone--said that she had a dream about a pirate digging in the sand and then drawing a treasure map.
Jeanie recounts her dream.
The map had been imprinted on the Dreamstone, so "using" the stone caused it to reveal itself.
I returned to the high seas and kept using my jewels and gemstaff to view the surrounding area. Eventually, I found a cluster of likely islands.
Northeast quadrant.
But this turned out to be the wrong place. After exploring and mapping all of them, I set sail again and within a couple hours found the right set of islands:
That makes more sense. The other islands were about one square each.
Digging in the area indicated by an "X" on the map produced the artifact!
Winwood isn't the brightest bulb.
I was lost for a bit after this. I only had any intelligence on one other piece--the Spiralgem held by the fairies of Fawn Island--and I didn't know where Fawn Island was. I spent a while touring the cities, but I didn't find any new hints in any of them. You can tell when you need to stick around an area because your characters ask for something specific like, "Have you heard anything about pieces of the Dreamwand?" When they start saying generic things--"Do you know anything about mystical objects?"--you know you've exhausted the hint chain in that location. Unfortunately, that happened everywhere I went: Larvin, Laronnes, Fainvil, Valvice, Perdida, Katloch, Pirate Rock, and of course Cassida, where everyone is just unhelpful by default.

Back to the waves, then. I let the overhead maps guide me to large islands, and after a few hours, I found Fawn Island. A path led to a wooded glen, where the queen admitted that she had the Spiralgem. But she wanted me to do her a favor first: retrieve a fairy named Myriam, who had been abducted when a "wild crowd of pirates" attacked the island a few months before.
Given what these fairies looked like in the original version of the game, I'm surprised the pirates ever leave the island.
I don't know why it didn't occur to me to go to Pirate Rock immediately. Instead, I got the idea that the pirates must be on the large island south of Fawn Island, and I spent a long time mapping it only to emerge empty-handed. That island mystifies me a bit. It's the second-largest of the islands in the game world, and it has a broken road running all around it, but ultimately leading to nothing. I searched a number of likely-looking squares but found no treasure.

Eventually, it occurred to me that the pirates might be in, duh,  the city of pirates. The NPCs in Pirate Rock had nothing to offer, but I started to get hints when I visited the taverns--specifically, that the fairy was imprisoned in one of them.
It turned out to be the Black Rock Tavern, accessible only by a teleporter. To free Myriam, I had to pay a 400,000 gold piece ransom--the game didn't even give me the option to fight. I also had to kick someone out of the party (temporarily, by shuffling him to a new party) to free up the space. It turns out that two parties can't board the same boat--in fact, you can't even see the boat if another party is aboard--so I left Toronar on Pirate Rock while I returned Myriam to Fawn Island.
If my party looks so strong, why did I have to pay 400,000 gold pieces?
There was no option to keep Myriam, but I wouldn't have even if there were. She was weak and only Level 14 (most of my characters are above Level 40). The fairy queen was so happy that she not only gave me the Spiralgem, but three improvement slots and three new spells for each mage character.
I think I'd be a bit more demanding than Winwood.
I have no idea what to do for the last three pieces except to explore the city of Mernoc, in the Forbidden Zone, which promises to be pretty hard. If there's something I've missed, I'll be happy to accept light hints (i.e., the general area that I should go to search for clues). 

Miscellaneous notes:

  • It would be nice if new spellbooks for characters appeared at the bottom of the list instead of the top. I get used to patterns--for instance, to cast "Locate," I need to select Jeanie and type 3-3-3. Then she gets a new spellbook and I have to memorize a new sequence (3-4-3) to cast the spell quickly.
  • This random message appeared when I was walking around some city--Fainvil, I think. I have no idea what it means, but I guess I won't be putting anything in the banks.
  • At some point, I found another "Vixhammer," which does damage to every opponent, in all groups, with every attack. That means three of my characters now have such weapons. In contrast, I've been unable to find any decent weapon for Elgarette,  my priestess. She's the only character who still has a blue bar for weapons, indicating "adequate" rather than "excellent."
  • No matter where you are on the map, wolves come out at night. They were almost impossible for my pre-Level 20 characters, but now they're no trouble at all. Yet the annoying darkness actually encourages me to sleep for the night, since "Light" spells just cast everything in a reddish tint.
  • I lost a bunch of progress at one point because I kept my characters out exploring too long and they started to starve. Juliet abruptly announced she was leaving and took off, taking some of the Moonwand pieces with her. I had to reload a save from hours earlier (I had gotten cocky). My characters have been pretty hungry before, but that's the first time that happened.
  • Drunk party members are useless in combat. If everyone is drunk, the game becomes a real challenge.
  • New maps below for readers who enjoy seeing those squares get filled in.

The Moonwand quest is done the way a multi-part quest should be done: with a lot of variety in the effort and time necessary to find each piece. Ultima VI did the same thing with its pieces of the map. A game gets boring quickly if every subquest takes exactly the same amount of time and toil, just like a paragraph gets boring if each sentence is exactly the same number of words. You want some quests that can be handled in a single location (e.g., the Dreamstone) and other compound quests that require several stages (e.g., the Spiralgem), and you want the length and effort to be a bit unpredictable. Of course, the Moonwand is just one quest in an enormous game, so the pleasantness of this variety is somewhat blunted by the breadth of the rest of it.

As usual, it took a long time (15 hours) to produce a fairly small amount of material. But for the next post--if I can figure out a way to sensibly make it start with "Q"--we're going to have a very long analysis of the spell system.

Time so far: 201 hours


  1. Are you planning on a Qualitative or Quantitative analysis of the spell system? ;-)

    1. Or maybe just a Quick update on your progress..?

    2. You could simply use "Questing in ...", inserting the place you spent time in during your play session.

  2. Made some progress with your Moonwand quest, I see. Good luck with your alphabetical quandary. I wish I was more qualified to help, but my command of vocabulary just quit on me.

    Also, fine work with that map. If you're anything like me and jigsaws, I bet that incomplete outer boundary along the top right corner is causing you some irritation. If that's the Forbidden Zone, I'm guessing it's a no-go for now. I wonder if anyone's ever published an atlas of fictional CRPG maps? Not just general geography, but all the grids and such.

  3. Looking at your map, I notice that the uneven edges of the world make it look like an old, raggedy map. It's cool, obviously an effect intended only for the most zealous mappers. I wonder how many hand-mappers back in the day noticed?

    1. I think it's less an artistic decision and more an attempt to avoid unrealistically straight mountain ranges at the borders.

    2. It could be both. I have strong suspicion how they created the map, at least the base layer for the map.

      The size 640x400 is very suspicious and someone linked an image of it in an earlier post and it had exactly 16 different tiles. That is a standard screenmode on the Amiga, and 16 colours is the highest it can do in that mode. Large parts of the map also looked like someone had painted it with a spraycan brush, so I suspect they created it in something like Deluxe Paint by drawing.

      So they'd be seeing it visually themselves, so they could be doing little flourishes like that even if it's never going to be seen by anyone else.

  4. "Digging in the area indicated by an "X" on the map produced the artifact!"

    The devs also thought about walkthrough users on this one. If you try to dig here without properly following the quest, this happens:

    "I have no idea what to do for the last three pieces except to explore the city of Mernoc, in the Forbidden Zone, which promises to be pretty hard."

    "The seven parts of the Moonwand are scattered over the whole land," one hint said. You've had the Lightstone in the northwest, the Crincross to the north, the Marbeye to the west and east, and the Spiralgem in the center. That leaves southwest, south, and northeast. (Well southeast too, but that's where the Agyssium is.)

    Before exploring Mernoc, there's a circle of rocks to the north of Cassida. Step in the center to receive a hint. Also explore the area near Mernoc.

    "This random message appeared when I was walking around some city--Fainvil, I think. I have no idea what it means, but I guess I won't be putting anything in the banks."

    It's the game's strange way of telling you that your investment have failed and you've lost all your money in that account. Either the devs or the translators had a love affair with spheres. Almost everything is a sphere in this game.

    "In contrast, I've been unable to find any decent weapon for Elgarette, my priestess. She's the only character who still has a blue bar for weapons, indicating "adequate" rather than "excellent.""

    I think the Medustaff (with a secondary Crim Whip for stats) is pretty much the best one for her, priest classes are very limited in weapons. And that bar is light grey, not blue. :)

    1. Dreamstone of course, not Lightstone.

    2. I visited Mernoc again before reading your hints and I didn't get any clues in the rare dialogues, so I hope that circle of rocks will help.

      I also hope that Mernoc is as bloody impossible for everyone else as it is for me. It's absolutely choked with enemies who can't be killed with melee weapons and shrug off every spell. Only through praying and running was I able to map even the smallest portion of the city.

    3. Wait until nightfall, those really tough monsters do not spawn during the night.

    4. Really? (See my update on Mernoc in the next post.) That's like...the opposite of what makes sense.

      Thanks, though. I'll try it. I was despairing the idea of mapping the entire city like that.

  5. Questing for a piece
    Quality exploration
    Quota of adventure


  6. You know, that map is almost complete... Couldn't take more than a few hours to finish... but you know, only if you want to...

    1. I've spent 12 hours since this post just finishing the islands. Fully mapping the entire inland will easily take another 20-30.

    2. The Inner Forbidden Zone is inaccessible at this point. It's pretty small though, so you could achieve ~97% completion... but we're not forcing you or anything.

  7. Quintessential ┼┐pells of Larvin and its ┼┐urrounds

  8. "Given what these fairies looked like in the original version of the game, I'm surprised the pirates ever leave the island."

    Though they beastly of countenance and callous of bearing, a pirate's proclivities are ne'er so superficial!

  9. Well Fate now has the record on your blog for the most posts about a game, overtaking Ultima 5 which you did 15 posts on. Only 62 more hours and it will dethrone NetHack at the top of the "Longest Played" list too! It does look like you are starting to near the end game though, so good luck with it, I've been enjoying your Fate journey and I'm absolutely fascinated as to how your Gimlet post for this is going to turn out.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Looking at how you mapped most of the world and how long you have alredy played it, I'd suggest "Questioning my sanity" as a title for the next post.

  12. Quentin, look at dem spells!

  13. Quite a selection of spells. Querying my magic book. Questioning my sanity. Qurious about magick (you get 'wow! crowley!' bonus points for this one). Queens and kings of spells. Queer world full of magic.

    Damn, coming up with a good title is harder than it sounds.

  14. "within a couple hours found the right set of islands" I still find it hard to grasp that someone could have the stamina to keep playing a game that demands this degree of dedication on such a regular basis.

    1. It's just an excuse to make the pretty map.

    2. I'm the opposite - I read a sentence like that and it makes me want to play the game right now.

    3. True, the map is the first piece of Excel at I've ever seen.

  15. Quirky quintessential quotes quell quantum questers quickly.

  16. How about quantity over quality which I think sums up this game pretty well ?

  17. Fate: Quite. No, but half of you were ready to hate me, weren't you?

    Fate: Quail. Because eff it.

  18. Hi, I've been reading your blog for some time now, really enjoying it. Reading your entries about Fate actually makes me consider installing an Amiga emulator and trying it out myself. Not that I have 200 hours to spend though...

    As for your next post: Wouldn't it be logical to do something about Quests first, and keep Spells for when the S comes around? Just a thought, it is your blog after all.

    Anyway, thanks for your great blog!

  19. Wonderful map. You keep saying how you are "crazy" to keep on drawing the map, but honestly, given the size of the game and the amount of stuff to do, how are you to remember what is where and get around without a map? Doesn't seem like an optional OCD thing to me.

    1. This is the kind of game that really should have come with a map. Then, the player could just record coordinates.

    2. MobyGames has an allegedly scanned map of the mainland on file:,352998/

    3. This map was indeed included:

    4. Just a small portion of the western mainland, thankfully. If the entire world map had been included with the game, I'd probably ragequit.

    5. OH, but that would have shown me where Fawn Island was. Damn.

  20. Quick question - What is the column/row count on these maps?

    1. 640 columns, 400 rows for the main map and 56/56 for dungeons.


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