Saturday, January 28, 2017

Fate: Spells

Winwood prepares to enter the Chamber of Lhanis.
   
Fate has 200 different spells organized into 20 different books, giving it more spellcasting classes than any game I've experienced so far. Spellcasting characters generally start with the same class as one of the books--magician, conjurer, sorcerer, wizard, archmage, fairy, witch, enchanter, valkyrie, cleric, priest, angel, warlock, nymph, druid, alchemist, monk, banshee, elementary, and master. (The last two are exceptions, having no particular class.) But each class can learn additional books in a fixed progression. Once the enchanter or enchantress acquires the 10 spells of her initial class, for instance, she can learn witch, conjurer, magician, angel, nymph, alchemist, monk, and banshee spells. I'm not sure about the exact order, and I'm not sure if characters can ultimately acquire all 20 classes (9 is the maximum that any of my characters have), and I'm not even sure if the ladder is the same for all characters of the same class. But whatever the case, once the character has acquired 4 of 5 spellbooks, he or she is pretty well-rounded.

Spells in each book are acquired by paying guilds for one spell at a time, and they basically go in order of power.  The banshee book starts with a "Mindzap" that costs 6 points and hits one creature, and it ends with "Mindcrack" that costs 40 points and affects every creature in every enemy group, often killing them. The cleric progresses from a 3-point "Heal 7" that only works on one party member to a 36-point "Healall" that restores all hit points to all party members.
      
The manual tells you a little about what each spell does, but you have to figure out a lot on your own.
     
Spellbooks tend to be organized around a theme. Aside from a couple of "Light" spells, for instance, the conjurer's book is all offensive spells, and all of them have something to do with casting status effects on the enemies: "Nuts," "Greed," "Weaken," "Scare," and "Entangle," for instance. Wizard spells are also entirely about enemies (not one targets the party), but in a more directly damaging way: "Poison," "Iceball," "Icefist," "Shock." In sharp contrast, every angel spell affects the party or a party member, with several types of "Heal," "Cure," and "Protect." Cleric and priest spells are similarly weighted towards healing and undesirable effects. The valkyrie gets a set of spells that all improve melee combat, such as "Deprotect" (destroys enemy armor), "Surehit," "Longthrow," and "Weapon!" (strengthens the power of all party members' weapons).

Spells in the elementary book are largely about exploration: "Light," "Rain," "Zaptraps," "Zaprain," "Invisible," "Teleports" (turns them off), and "Storm" (for sailing) highlight the book. "Rain" and "Zaprain" are quite unusual, even unique for the era. Rain does have the effect of suppressing the number of enemy parties, but for the most part its effects are seen and heard. Very few games give you spells to manipulate the nature of the graphics on the screen for purely aesthetic reasons; perhaps the "Clear Skies" shout in Skyrim is the closest I can think of. Between "Zaprain" and "Storm," I must really be messing with this world's ecosystem.
     
"Calm winds" sounds great unless you're trying to sail. Looks like it's time for "Storm."
    
More than half of the druid's and alchemist's spells involve creating potions. For these to work, the caster has to have a water bottle (purchased at taverns) in his inventory. The idea isn't bad, but the potions are so underpowered that it's laughable, and almost all of them have redundant non-potion spells in other books. Since potion spells require creating the potion, then trading it to the character you want to have drink it, and then drinking it, they're far more annoying than other spells. Even at the beginning of the game, "AC Plus 1," "Heal 4," or "Dexterity +1" would have been more trouble than their slight advantages provided. (Attribute and skill boosts from created potions are temporary, I should clarify.)

There are quite a few redundancies so that early-game characters of any class can make a go of it. For instance, a bunch of classes start out with a weak-to-moderate spell that does direct damage to a single enemy, like the wizard's "Poison," the archmage's "Acid," the witch's "Stormfist," and the valkyrie's "Blast." Later, they get spells that damage an entire enemy group (e.g., banshee's "Firestorm," warlock's "Mindfire," witch's "Fireball") and from there maybe one or two that affect all enemies at once. A lot of classes have a spell that removes an enemy group from combat for a few rounds, like the Nymph's "Calm," the druid's "Passout," the wizard's "Sleep," and the enchanter's "Tornado." There are a handful of spells meant to soften enemies for other characters' melee attacks, and several classes have some variants of "Heal," "Cure," and "Cleanse."

A few classes are mysteriously worthless. The monk is foremost of these. He comes with a couple of very weak healing spells, and a handful of offensive spells that do less than the typical melee attack to a single enemy. His most powerful spell is "Slimefist," which costs 15 points and does a whopping 5-20 damage to a single enemy group. The master class is the opposite of this, with one spell that by itself costs 70 points and does 5,000 to 9,000 damage to all enemies on the screen. But none of my characters have yet achieved this book.

By the time you have several spellbooks, things get really complicated and you find yourself wishing you could delete some of the lower-level ones to save time and space. Fairies, clerics, priests, angels, and nymphs all come with healing spells that heal less than 10 points of damage to a single character. I'll never cast them again. Ditto all of the single-enemy offensive spells from the bottoms of several lists.

I should also point out that once you complete a few books, you no longer have to pay attention to a lot of the logistical considerations of the game. Early on, any number of "Light" spells obviate torches--and once you have the enchanter's "Flare," which not only lights things up but also reveals secret doors, you'll never cast a regular "Light" again. The cleric's "Zapsin" means you can murder friendly NPCs without having to pay for absolution at chapels anymore. The priest's "Zaphunger" and the cleric's "Vitamins" and "Rejuvenate" make resting, eating, and drinking a thing of the past (although I'm not sure if they're perfect substitutes, and I only use them when I can't stop for the night in a town). A priest with half a dozen spellbooks and a few "Restore" potions (which restore all magic points) substitutes for almost all of the taverns, inns, chapels, healers, and potion-sellers in the game.
    
The enchanter's "Locate" is easily the most-cast spell in my game.
    
Finally, there are a handful of starkly original spells among the lists. Oh, you'll tell me that they have analogues in other games, which is fine, but I've never seen them before, and they must be unusual if not unique. I guess I'd start with the enchanter's "Reveal," which "exposes an opponent's treasure." You cast it during a battle, and when the battle is over, you get more gold than you would have originally. For getting rich, there's also the alchemist's "Goldrain" which literally creates a few hundred gold pieces out of nowhere. Since the average mid-game combat might deliver 10,000 gold, the spell is hardly worth casting, but at the beginning of the game it can make a difference.

"Invisible" appears in many games, of course, but rarely like it does here, where you use it to avoid tripping encounters with enemy or friendly parties. You just walk through them as if they were ghosts. Several "Time Stop" spells are unique because of the effects they have in the game: not only do they prevent enemies from acting, but they also prevent a bunch of environmental effects, like teleporters, from operating.

I've covered "Getback" before, which retrieves characters' thrown weapons in combat and allows them to continue using them. Another odd one is the druid's "Mummy": if you want to revive a dead character, you have to do it within a time limit or they're too decomposed. "Mummy" preserves them until you can get to a healer (of course, once you have "Revive" yourself, that's moot).

My favorite pair, in the early part of the game, is the warlock's "Berserker" and "Candor." "Berserker" turns a single character into a humanoid monster with 99 strength, dexterity, skill, and stamina, but only 1 intelligence, wisdom, and charisma. He acts on his own in combat, performing devastating melee attacks, and he has a way of attacking friendly NPCs, too, without your consent. As fun as he is, he ignores his equipped weapon, and once you have greater melee weapons (which damage all enemies at once), you'd rather he didn't do that. "Candor" (an odd name) restores him to regular form. I wonder if the German developer wasn't translating offenheit, which I believe can mean something like "plainness" in German.
   
The "1 charisma" thing makes sense....this is a female character.
     
There is one particular oddity to spells that I find half-vexing, half-relieving: enemies don't seem to have particular resistances. Or if they do, they're quite rare. There are some enemies highly resistant to magic in general, no doubt, but fire-based enemies don't seem to have any special resistance to fire attacks, for instance. Enemies without "minds" to speak of (e.g., snakes) will still be affected by mental spells. Undead will respond to "Itch," "Cough," "Sleep," and "Scare." In some ways, this is good--I don't have to learn a bunch of resistances along with the spells themselves--but it's also uncomfortably weird. Because of this quirk, damage spells are just damage spells--whether the manual tells you the damage is caused by fire, ice, acid, or whatever, they all have the same effect.
    
This is almost embarrassing.
   
A lot of my time lately has been sussing out which spells work reliably against NUKEs: "nigh-unkillable enemies." These include the bane giants of Katloch, the dracs in the Valvice grottoes, and the ingols in Mernoc. These creatures seem invulnerable to physical damage. The combat screen will tell me that I've dealt it to them, but no matter how much I do, they never die. They have some kind of Wolverine-like regeneration going on between rounds, I guess.

The only way to kill these guys is through some kind of critical hit or a spell that causes an effect like stoning or instant-death. Fortunately, many of the weakness spells (e.g., the magician's "Armorzot," the valkyrie's "Weaksphere," the banshee's "Unprotect") seem to make them more vulnerable to critical hits. A few spells (e.g., the banshee's "Mindcrack," the warlock's "Stonecloud") have a chance of killing them, and the magic-resistant ones are softened by the warlock's "Zappower." Finally, while I'm testing all of these things, some of the "incapacitation" spells like "Time Stop" and "Faint" at least keep them from attacking me. Such high-level spells drain magic points quickly, so I suspect I'm going to have to stock up on "Restore" potions before the end of the game.
     
"Deprotect" seems to make NUKEs like ingols more vulnerable to melee attacks.
    
It's only late in the game that I've bothered to experiment with spells in such detail. Melee attacks are so effective, and all my spellcasters have excellent melee weapons, that it's easy to just spam attacks against everything except NUKEs. I'm now paying for the lack of accumulated experience. I'd appreciate if those who have played the game can respond with any spell tricks I might be missing.
  
In plot terms, a few things have happened since last time. I found the location of the Chamber of Lhanis--a paved area in the middle of the woods. My hints had only said to "linger," so I had to leave the game running for about 3 hours of real time, checking periodically as I worked on other things, before a gate opened in the middle of the area at 03:00. After some trial and error, I determined that Winwood had to enter the gate alone (in a split party) carrying each of the Moonwand pieces. When he came out, he had a re-forged Moonwand, but he noted that the Dreamstone had not been absorbed in it.
    
      
I had promised to return the Dreamstone to its owner, Rinoges, in Laronnes, and I didn't see any reason to delay that task. I boarded the Cavetrain at one of the forest stations, rode it to Laronnes, and sought out Rinoges in his usual place after midnight. He was happy to get his Dreamstone back and rewarded me with 7 ability improvement slots.
     
     
After that, it was time to use the Moonwand for its intended purpose. Unable to find where I parked my boat, I spent another $3 million on a new one, set sail, and moments later:
     
Doh!
    
I stopped at Pirate Rock on the way to Katloch and stocked up on "Restore" potions. Given that these are my final "money sink," they don't really cost that much. Even having wasted money on six ships, I could purchase about 3,000 of them.
    
I haven't bought anything in a store since the lamps I used to explore the first dungeon level.
     
I fought my way through the streets of Katloch and to the "blood circle" (really just a platform surrounded by water), used the Moonwand, and was automatically teleported to a walled-off section of town. There, a set of stairs led to the fabled Agyssium.
    
The walls and creatures of the Agyssium.
     
I suspect the Agyssium is a large, 7-level dungeon full of NUKEs and plenty of opportunities to update our understanding of combat in the later stages of the game.

Time so far: 236 hours

63 comments:

  1. The end feels close enough to taste, seems about time to discover that the Agyssium is passage to the other side of the world and you are now starting Darkside of Fate

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    1. That's a comment to give people nightmares

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  2. "(The last two are exceptions, having no particular class.)"

    Three, there are no angels either.

    "I'm not sure about the exact order, and I'm not sure if characters can ultimately acquire all 20 classes (9 is the maximum that any of my characters have), and I'm not even sure if the ladder is the same for all characters of the same class."

    It all depends on the starting class, each has its own progression. Some of it makes sense (clerics, priests and monks learn each other's spells first), most don't. Everyone can learn all 200 spells.

    "The master class is the opposite of this, with one spell that by itself costs 70 points and does 5,000 to 9,000 damage to all enemies on the screen. But none of my characters have yet achieved this book."

    Which is still just damage, so it's not very useful and way overpriced against nukes. The buffing and healing spells are very nice though. Anyway, the master spellbook comes fairly late in most classes progression. Of the characters I think you have, the witch gets it first as her 11th spellbook. Priest and Warlock 13, Banshee 15, and Archmage 19 (which makes no sense). Fairies and Nymphs get it the fastest at 8 and 9 respectively, probably to give Marina some firepower for players that still have her.

    "As fun as he is, he ignores his equipped weapon, and once you have greater melee weapons (which damage all enemies at once), you'd rather he didn't do that. "

    On the other hand, his attacks instantly destroy any
    opponent regardless of level and defenses, including NUKEs. Having several berserkers combined with Doublehit for two guaranteed kills per berserker per round is a fairly potent tactic.

    "I wonder if the German developer wasn't translating offenheit, which I believe can mean something like "plainness" in German."

    It's "candor" in the German version too. Strange.

    "I'd appreciate if those who have played the game can respond with any spell tricks I might be missing."

    The spells I've used most often:

    - Elementary/Doublehit gives everyone two actions per round, lasts several combats and is never nerfed.
    - Banshee/Hammer only kills one enemy, but has a much higher chance of working, even at lower levels.
    - Archmage/Evilhammer is my generic killing spell, works against almost everything.
    - Valkyrie/Revmagic crits all mages and magical beings (ghosts, demons).
    - Enchanter/Block stops a lot of incoming damage.

    "I suspect the Agyssium is a large, 7-level dungeon full of NUKEs and plenty of opportunities to update our understanding of combat in the later stages of the game."

    The first few levels aren't so bad (having the last few monsters susceptible to physical damage), and the level design is fairly simple, so it's probably the shortest dungeon. You still have the Opal Key from the Grottos, right?

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    1. Another spell to consider is the Priest's Soulbind. This supposedly helps with complaining characters, preventing them from leaving for some time. I've never had to use it, but it's there in a pinch.

      "They have some kind of Wolverine-like regeneration going on between rounds, I guess."

      That's likely correct. In fact, everyone has this effect. It just wasn't noticeable so far since weapons vastly overdamaged enemy hitpoint totals. Something like a barbarian will die from a single 100-point hit but can endure 300-400 damage total from a dagger or staff. Now that we're reaching totals in the tens of thousands, many enemies appear invincible. I really don't like this feature. Making fighters next to useless 2/3 into the game is not a good design.

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    2. Zardas, if you know the answer to this, I wouldn't mind an explicit spoiler. I have the stone heart but the statue is gone. I wandered around trying to find anything else to do to no avail. Finally, I looked at a spoiler site and it said I should return to Naristos's tower. I returned to the area and found Naristos's body, but his tower is behind a rock, and I can't find his servant, Jordak or whatever, who the site says I need to find. Any ideas?

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    4. If you want a explicit spoiler so here you go:

      When you search Naristos body, Winwood should notice that the dead body has some Magic wand in its hand.
      You just need to take it, i remember i had a some problem with that so it is probably not well designed. So experiment somehow and take that wand.

      And now the real fun begins.... enjoy.

      Listen to Toronar carefully and continue....

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    5. Unfortunately, none of the options with any character produce the revelation that Naristos has a magic wand in his hand or allows me to take it.

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    6. Keep examining the body with Winwood until he acts. Not sure if you need to walk around until Winwood pipes up and tells you to return to him, but may help.

      After that, this is the part when the wand you found north of Cassida comes into play. Have a mage (Mandrag didn't work for me) touch it.

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    7. Got it. You literally have to hit "Examine" like 5 times in a row. That's awful. I can't imagine how many players must have missed this when there was no Internet to help them.

      I'm still not sure where I was supposed to find his servant.

      Anyway, thanks. I would have been stuck in the mud.

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    8. Awful indeed.

      There is no servant, that's just something added by the walkthrough writer for flavor or something.

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    9. This a interesting point, i am not 100% if Toronar is a "Must have character" but maybe this is his "must have" time. I did it with Toronar.

      Just little helpful hint - after you did manipulate the map-place wand, move your party to cassida plaza with inactive teleporter.

      BTW - enjoy the most difficult dungeon in the whole game :-D

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    10. Jesus, how do you get Toronar to say anything? This screwing around waiting for my own characters to pipe up with the hint is really getting on my nerves.

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    11. Well, i do not know :-D
      I just read (past tense?) my posts from "game playthrough diary" and there was a post saying "Toronar said something about remembering that wand place".
      I did it during year 2011 so i do not remember exactly what was going on, but i wrote this diary and i always browse my posts before i write down something here :-D

      My hint is, do not care, just go there and chceck if this is another ""walkthrough shield" or you just click that wand a proceed.

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    12. Never had Toronar or anyone say anything about this, just went and clicked the wand. So it's definitely not a walkthrough shield.

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  3. Candor=freedom from bias, prejudice or malice. Does it make sense? The word has its roots in Latin, something like white, shining, bright..

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  4. The more I read about it, the more this game sounds like a vastly expanded version of Bard's Tale with better graphics.

    The division of enemies into "groups" which could attacked as a unit by a single weapon or spell was definitely derived from Bard's Tale, and the quest for the Moonwand reminded me of the quest for the Destiny Wand in Bard's Tale II. You should be grateful that the designers of this game didn't include a Snare of Death type of puzzle.

    The Bard's Tale games also had some similar quirks with the spell system. There are lots of buffing spells, for example, which you hardly ever use because the only time they would make a big difference is at the start of the game and your spell points are so precious that they are almost always better spent elsewhere. Fire spells and frost spells will both damage fire- and ice-based enemies equally, only differing in what word the battle report uses to describe the damage. The games also had tons of spells that became obsolete as you improved and got a better version. For example, you would never cast Mage Flame after getting Lesser Revelation, since the latter would also reveal secret doors. The temples became obsolete as your healers increased in power too.

    One other similarity, at least in Destiny Knight, is that there is also a sweet spot in the middle of the game where your characters feel invincible. But the last couple of dungeons are stocked with level-draining, stoning, critical-hitting killers who you have to run from nearly every time.

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    1. There's definitely a BT influence. Most German games of the era, including Legend of Faerghail and Antares owe a lot to The Bard's Tale. What makes this one unique is the clear Alternate Reality influence.

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    2. I've been thinking about this (BT 1 was certainly my first RPG and 30 years later I'm still here...): IMHO a key issue is that the release coincides with the time the C64 became really popular and affordable with a floppy drive. This is when the "home compuing" really started and very few if any people had exposure to the Plato type and other games.

      Earlier there were some Atari, Schneider and Sinclair around (I even remember one guy with an Apple but he was a total odd-one-out) but they never reached the critical mass of the C64 - including the black market game trading and copying scene which had a strong feedback effect on the installed base and vice versa. So this was just taking off in 85, 86 when BT1 came along so no surprise that it had a huge influence on the future German gaming scene.

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    3. Both gold rain and buffing spells are very helpful early in the game, when you're grinding in the vicinity of the fountain between Larvin and Laronnes, and when even the modest gold or buffs can really matter. The problem with both is the administrative overhead they require -- they're not very much fun. This is where a macro program like AutoHotkey shines. One keypress, then go get a cup of coffee while your party becomes either more wealthy or fully buffed. The macro must drink from the fountain multiple times to restore mana.

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    4. The upcoming Spirit of Adventure by Attic (later famous for Realms of Arkania) is another German Bard's Tale clone.

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  5. I'm waiting for some entrepreneurial inhabitant of this world to find all of your abandoned ships and usher in a new era of trade and globalization.

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    1. That you don't encounter any other ships is a little odd, but then again the only places to visit are a city of pirates and a city of monsters. I can't imagine there's robust trade from the mainland to either. This, of course, raises the question of who the pirates are pirating.

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    2. Adventurers. 400k for a quest item and some skill points? Yes please.

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  6. I'm going to miss Fate when it is gone.

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    1. It's taken over this blog in a way I didn't intend. To me, it's time for it to be over.

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    2. One of the many things I enjoy about this blog is its charming unpredictability. Sometimes it's just a single post for a whole game and then you get lost in a single game for what seems like forever.

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  7. Re: Mummy spell - in our AD&D campaign we've had a house rule for years to use "Purify food and water" spells for the same application :)

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    1. If it's a zombie game, purify food to keep bodies fresh seems appropriate :)

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    2. In ADOM, dipping corpses in holy water has the same effect.

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    3. That has always bothered me a bit; how do you dip a corpse in a potion that is hand held ? :D

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    4. I know you're asking a rhetorical question, but I'd guess that either, since you have no problem lugging several corpses around, the potions are keg-sized, or you are dipping "just the tip" :P, or maybe both in the case of Molochs or Ancient Karmic Dragons.

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    5. In later editions there's "gentle repose" specifically for preserving corpses and preventing them from being turned into undead.

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  8. FWIW, Skyrim also has the "Storm Call" shout, which conjures up a thunderstorm. While superfluous by the time I found it, it's still so cool to see a dragon get hit by a bolt of lightning. :)

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    1. Though most useful is the one call the Dragon on the ground so that you can beat it to pulp without being forced to wait.

      Idea for those dragons is nice by my god do I hate killing them every time I fast travel to somewhere.

      "hey dwarven ruins let's explore!" *roar* "oh for fucks sake go away!" *swats the dragon and goes to exploring after riding home to dump the dragon bones and scales* and then I don't have the time to do anything else in the game because I had to spend my time with the dragon and I only have like an hour or two on a day to spend gaming.

      just so annoying, really.

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    2. Agree 100%. And I still haven't managed to stifle the urge to collect and at least sell--if not save--the bones and scales, even though I have no need of money and no plans to take any more Smithing perks.

      I could go on about Skyrim's issues with difficulty scaling, crafting, and the broken economy (and how to fix them), but I doubt Chet would look kindly on such a threadjacking.

      Although...I don't recall ever seeing that GIMLET you promised us for Skyrim, Chet....Perhaps a good "break from Fate entry"? ;)

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  9. I love your blog, both the revisiting of games I played as a kid, and all these strange new games I never heard of.

    Has anyone ever done this for console JRPGs? I've considered it in the past because I can read Japanese so I would be able to play the old Famicom games and find information about them. But I don't know if there's as much interest as for the CRPGs.

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    1. There's The RPG Consoler. IIRC, it was inspired by this blog. Haven't read it myself, as I don't have much background in console RPGs, but it might be worth a look.

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    2. Thanks -- yeah, that seems pretty much on point. He/she is (I think) only doing games released in English, so there still might be room for a companion blog focused on the Japanese-only games (of which there were a large number for the old consoles).

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    3. I'm doing games released in any language that I can either figure out or type into Google Translate without much trouble.

      I'd love to see a full account of what is widely considered the first JRPG, Dragon and Princess (1982). I got it running on a PC-88 emulator and got through character creation but I couldn't read any of the text after that.

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    4. Oh right, I had sort of forgotten about all those PC-88 games like Dragon Slayer and Legend of Heroes -- some of them were ported to consoles later but I don't think all of them were.

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    5. I would LOVE reading a blog that covered all the obscure Japan only RPGs. The SNES had so many... Ive wanted to play Emerald Dragon for decades but it is still not translated.

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    6. Emerald Dragon for SNES was fan-translated in 2014.

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    7. So I'm still considering whether or not to do this, but if I do I will start with the slightly more modest goal of playing all the Super Famicom RPGs in release order, with a focus on the ones that were not released in the US.

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    8. I did complete a couple PC88 RPGs if anyone is curious about what he might "miss out on". Fantasian & Advanced Fantasian. Also Crimson I and II. (the only PC88 dump of III is corrupt and CANNOT be beaten). Admittedly, as with most 80s-RPGs, some of them are more tedious than anything else. Although many have really really good music - which you can't say of any Western RPG of the era.
      There's no way I could suffer through anything even more tedious than Fantasian though, my life feels too important for that :/

      Also Emerald Dragon should really be played in one of the computer incarnations or at least on PC-Engine, since the SFC version is just quite different - in the inferior sense.

      Also Chitei Tansaku by Koei can be argued to be the first JRPG, although people still argue whether it is an RPG (Koei themselves wrote Simulation game on the box, but it seems pretty much in the vein of Rogue and Hack).

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    9. At this point we're getting into the distinction between jRPG (meaning "RPG developed in Japan") and jRPG (meaning "the distinct subgenre of RPG that is most commonly developed in Japan, often focusing on a semi-linear path with detailed plot and characterization instead of the generally free-roaming style with undistintive player-insert characters that is dominant in the Western RPG subgenre"). What game qualifies as "First jRPG" depends on which of these two definitions you use.

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    10. Or you could just laugh at that discourse (that I first heard of last year) :)
      And if you want to use the last one, which also could be described as Japanese console-RPG even though games like the Crimson series frankly follow the same formula...but once the PC-RPG scene pretty much died off outside a handful of 18+-RPGs in the 90s with the death of the PC98, there's really not much coming. The Japanese themselves use(d) to use the term 日本製RPG (RPG made in Japan), another system applied 2D-3D-Action subgenres to RPGs, where 2D pretty much lumped DragonQuest/FinalFantasy and Ultima together vs. Wizardry vs. Zelda/Ys-likes.

      Personally I prefer keeping serious history to my field of expertise though which pretty much ends in 1333 :D

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    11. Also reading my own comment I feel like I am drunk. Hence the not so elaborate writing. Oh my.

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  11. " This, of course, raises the question of who the pirates are pirating."

    Maybe the pirates are victims of their own success at pirating. Consider that that is a pretty small, enclosed, sea without cities at war with each other. So now they are patiently waiting for the sea economy of the region to restart.

    "It's taken over this blog in a way I didn't intend. To me, it's time for it to be over."

    I'll probably miss a bit the adventures of Winwood, cartographer from another reality, but i think i get how you feel about it. Anyway,both in the context of the blog and in the context of the crpgs of the time, it feels like an important title. It gives a possible answer to the question: "what would Alternate Reality have looked like if it was finished?". I think it will came back a lot in the future in senteces like: " ...not as big as fate's map but not as empty either".

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  12. +1 LOL What would Fate look like if IT was finished?

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  13. I think I will miss Fate as well. It feels comfortable, and it is deep enough that you can really get into the guts of it. I am glad though, as while it may be the longest you aren't that far off of Fallout and similar games that are going to take a large number of posts, and this shows you won't loose your readers during them, and that you'll be able to keep the post quality high.

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    1. I don't think Fallout will take much longer than 20 hours. Too much handcrafted content for the game to have been massive. Baldur's Gate 2 was probably the largest handcrafted game ever when it was made.

      But you got me curious.

      Fallout is game #1677

      About 37% of games appear on the play list, making it ~#616th game played.

      He has played 240 games, so only 376 remaining! (Then I realised there was a way to quickly filter and count and came up with....376 again)

      Chet has played 240 games in 7 years, so we're looking at...Jan 2028. ;)

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    2. FFFFFFFffffffffffffff. Well, still. Longer games like....I don't know RPGs before that much to be honest. X-COM? It technically qualifies (your troops stats go up over time, non-puzzle inventory.

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    3. I reject about 15% of games not on the original list as RPGs by my rules, so we might get to it by 2026.

      Or...I might contemplate a rules change at some point. "Only games with English releases" would help a little.

      I could start being more discriminating with my "six hour" rule. For the past few years, it's morphed into an unwritten rule that I need to try my best to finish a game, come hell or high water, unless I get to the point that I'm absolutely stuck. Even if I "lemon law" only 50% of games at the 6-hour mark, I'd still churn through them much faster.

      I'll entertain other ideas.

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    4. The upcoming Martian Dreams would be a perfect one to skip. I don't really want to play it. It gave me emulation problems that I haven't solved. Plenty has been written about it already. The mechanics will be identical to two games I've already played, and the plot will be idiotic. I should just look up some information about the endgame, give it a best-guess GIMLET, and move on. But I won't because I have some kind of disorder or something.

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    5. On the other hand, your work on these older games is super valuable, as they are the least documented and written about.

      Plus, as people have said, once you get into the windows 95/98 era we'll be skipping more and more games due to either not being able to find a copy, or not being able to get it to run (unless you build a Windows 98 machine just to play games on like The Lazy Game Reviewer, and even then it would be hit or miss based on if you have the right video card, sound card, etc).

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    6. That won't be a problem. PCemu is approaching a very high state of development, and already runs most 2D titles easily (3D is a bit more difficult because of system requirements, but it does emulate a 3Dfx accelerator card that will work with just about anything). By the time the Addict gets to 1995 or 1996, just about anything that doesn't have a newer port (the PC versions of FF7 and FF8, for example, were notoriously finicky to get working, but the Steam rerelease fixes that) will be easy enough to run.

      Two things are probably going to speed things up. The first is the general post-DooM RPG downturn. Between the demise of the non-PC computers and the introduction of a new and popular genre of game, from late 93 until late 96, the RPG industry took a major dive, and this period on the Master Game List not only is considerably shorter (1992 and 1993 have 64 titles, while 1994 has 42 and 1995 has 44), but many of these entries are dubious titles like the Xcom games that the Addict very well might decide do not qualify.

      Second, the (average) quality is going up, which means that even very big games aren't likely to bloat time the way Fate is doing because the games themselves will be more engaging. While something like Morrowind might take a hundred hours to finish if the Addict runs into "Bethedsa ADD", it won't take months to get through it because he'll be hooked.

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    7. That is pretty cool, I hadn't heard of that. Thanks!

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    8. Now that I think about it, the Addict may want to consider experimenting with it now, as it has several advantages over DosBox.

      For one thing, getting something close to the right speed is much easier. Instead of trying to hit on the right number of cycles, you just select a BIOS and CPU (for example,if you want to run Might And Magic Book I you'd pick an 8088 processor and not have to worry about the area near Sorpigal that crashes your game if the system is running too fast) and get something very, very close to what you'd get when the game came out. Some users have reported the emu running at around 25% faster than the actual chip selected, but that is within the range of what you'd get on actual hardware.

      The second big advantage is that some games crash when you try to run their sound setup in DosBOX because that program has almost every possible option enabled by default. You can get around this by editing the ini, but it is a pain. With PCemu you'll only have one or two cards in play, and if you choose to have two it will be something like Adlib+Sound Blaster that play nice together.

      The final advantage is, I admit, a bit questionable. Because PCemu doesn't access your hard drive directly, but uses virtual hard drive images, your file system is a lot cleaner, and you can back up your entire setup with a single file.

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    9. DOSBox supports selecting CPU instead of cycles counts, if you really want. Also it doesn't start with every sound card available: Soundblaster 16, Gravis Ultrasound, and PC Speaker.

      (Also editing the DOSBOX ini is pretty easy, to be honest. It is quite well laid out. Plus there are a ton of 3rd party GUIs for it if you really can't figure it out)

      I'd say he should stay away from your emulator, as it is an unknown factor. DOSBOX is very widely used, and is very close to 100% emulating DOS. We don't know what bugs might be lurking within another one, and that could change his opinion of a game. It will probably be highly useful when we get to 1995, but until then I think staying with DOSBOX is probably for the best.

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    10. Gnoman, can you give a link to this PCemu? I can only find variants of this thing: http://pcemu.sourceforge.net/ but that looks ancient and abandoned.

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    11. That is probably because the title is PCem, not PCemu (which is a mistake I can't seem to stop making).

      The official site is at pcem-emulator(dot)co(dot)uk

      You will need to get BIOS files for the system(s) you want to emulate (there are packs available), as well as install media for the old operating systems. It is a bit of a hassle to set up.

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