Monday, September 28, 2020

The Summoning: Blow by Blow

My last inventory nerve is tested.
       
I continue to have a good time with The Summoning but also continue to have very little to blog about, so this entry is going to be one of those kinds where I go into extraordinary detail about a single level, capturing the intricacies of gameplay and my decision-making process along the way.
   
The level I'll be describing is the third one I cleared in this session. As I began, I was in the realm of the Five Knights, a quintet of color-coded warriors who each rule one level and each have a medallion that I need to ultimately enter the citadel. I cleared the Blue Domain and killed the Blue Knight last session. This one opened in the White Domain. Like all of the levels in this part of the game, it was a multi-sectioned area, with each section connected to the others with teleporters, many of which had to be activated by weighing down pressure plates and whatnot. That's all getting pretty rote at this point.
    
The White Domain opened with a tough battle against a couple of samurai and a mage, the mage being the most difficult, but my strategy of casting "Freeze" and running away to heal once my hit points get too low has worked reliably, and it did so here. I ran into a couple of NPCs that told me about a local warleader named Korguz, saying that if I met him, I needed to honor the traditions of his homeland by removing my boots before entering his chamber. From the conversations, Korguz seems to be unaligned with Shadow Weaver.
        
The White Knight approaches even as a skull warns me about him.
      
I encountered the White Knight in his domain. The battle against him was the toughest of the game so far; he could whack away more than half my hit points with a single blow. I defeated him mostly with spells. A few uses of an Ashwood Wand (which shoots fireballs) coupled with my own spells was enough, but it took me two tries. I otherwise haven't had to reload much in this game. I found a scroll of "Lightning Bolt" ("DUDE, use a LITTLE HOOK for a LITTLE fish") in his chambers. I also found the fourth mage's-skull-embedded-on-a-pole, Zakiel, and he gave me the fourth symbol for "Gateway."
     
In a kind-of basement for the White Domain, I met Korguz and showed him the proper respect. He related that to defeat Shadow Weaver, I would need to seek out the sword Warmonger, "in a hidden area in the caverns below the levels controlled by the five knights." He said that using the sword was a risk, being inhabited by a demon and all, but he didn't know of any other way to defeat the sorcerer.
         
What do you bet the game doesn't even have a way to test for "pure of heart"?
      
I had a good idea what he meant about the cavern. The two knights' domains so far had both offered ladders down to an area labeled "Crossroad Cavern" on my map. At first, it appeared to be a small linear level with a single corridor connecting the two domains. But when I tried the Gebo rune (which teleports you to the closes Gebo glyph), I found myself in an area of large, interconnected rooms. The primary enemies here were statues of snakes that came alive and spit fire at me. Every one of them had a brief cinematic when they died. I took the opportunity to use up a bunch of Bloodstones, which cast "Fire Shield," even though I knew the spell.
         
A little animation accompanies the death of each statue.
      
After killing what seems like a billion of these things, I finally found a rusted sword. I assume this is Warmonger and I have to do something to polish it up later. For now, I traced my way back to the exit from the White Domain. At this point, my detailed account begins.
       
A skull warns me about picking up Warmonger.
          
First, however, I was determined to get rid of some excess weight. Even with the Bag of Lightness, Jera was carrying 97 kilograms against a maximum of 90. I also wanted to take stock of her statistics.
  
Jera has just become a "Warder" (9/12) and has to earn as much experience as she's already earned in the game for the next level, "Hero." She'll have to earn 9 times as much as she's already earned for the top level, "Vanquisher," which doesn't give me a lot of hope that the five medallions will lead to a one-level citadel with the final battle. She is a "Savant" with edged weapons (8/10), "Adept" with axes (7/10), "Skilled" with missile weapons (5/10), and "Average" with polearms (4/10). There frankly haven't been a lot of polearms.
    
On the spell side, she's a "Maren" (9/10) with healing magic, an "Adept" with wizardry (7/10), "Skilled" with sorcery (5/10), and "Average" with enchantment (4/10). I do cast a lot of healing spells, but I think that category is mostly high because of Perth runes. I'm surprised enchantment is so low given all the "Freeze" spells I use.
    
Jera's strength and talent are 18, her agility, endurance, and accuracy are all 17, and her power is 19. She has a maximum of 154 hit points and 168 spell points.
          
Some of Jera's stats and items.
      
As I take stock of her inventory, she has her items spread across six sacks, two chests, and one Bag of Lightness. They are:
     
  • Great plate helmet (worn)
  • Enchanted chainmail (worn)
  • Chain gauntlets (worn)
  • Shell boots (worn)
  • Quiver with 3 arrows, 2 poison arrows, 1 barbed arrow (worn)
  • War axe (carried)
  • 2 great shields (one carried, one in my Bag of Lightness)
  • Bow
  • Flanged mace
  • Tempest. A magic sword that does like a lightning bolt attack (with limited charges, I'm sure)
  • Rancor, another magic sword. 
  • Silver sword
  • Shield of Spell Absorption
  • Shield of Swiftness 
  • Shield of Teleportation
  • Rusted Blade. I assume it's Warmonger in disguise.
  • 5 Gebo runes, 5 Raido runes, 4 Thurisaz runes. All of these teleport you to their associated glyphs on each level. Sometimes they're the only way to progress. I'm just not sure I need this many.
  • 2 Berkana runes. This completely restores spell points.
  • Sowelu rune. Cures poison and confusion.
  • Dagaz rune. Casts a spell of slaying. I was planning to use it on the next knight.
  • Skull of Zona, Skull of Searaven, Skull of Erastus, Skull of Zekiel. I don't know if I need to keep these. It seems rude to leave them on the ground.
  • Wizard's Hat. This restores spell points when worn and I'm anxious not to wear it out.
  • Wizard's Staff. Also restores spell points. I assume it has a limited number of charges.
  • Palimpsest. Shows the auto map.
  • Mirror. I used it for the gazers a while ago, and I don't know if there's any reason to keep it.
  • 6 rubies, 3 emeralds, 2 pearls, 4 amethysts, 1 diamond. These gems create various potions but are also often the solutions to puzzles.
  • Moonstone. Creates a lightning shield. Once I have the spell, I can get rid of it.
  • 30 gold coins. I occasionally run across an NPC who takes them for this or that, but I haven't found any kind of true money sink yet. It's a lot of space and weight to be tying up with money I might not need.
  • Rabbit's foot. I don't know why I keep it.
  • Sprig of nightshade. It restores magic, but I'm keeping it more in case a puzzle needs it.
  • Dr. Jojo's Snake Oil. No idea what it does. I assumed it was a puzzle solution, but I've had it for a while.
  • White medallion, blue medallion. Two of the five I need to move out of this area.
  • 2 Figurines of Resurrection. I don't know what they're supposed to do, but they don't seem to resurrect me when I die. Maybe I need to be holding them.
  • 2 empty flasks. I need at least one for healing potions. 
  • 2 ashwood wands. They cast a limited number of "Fireballs."
  • Boots of Levitation. I haven't used them since the one level that required them.
  • "Invisibility" parchment. It's my first spell that requires six hand movements. ONE LITTLE ROCK CRUSHES PAPER, WAITER.
        
If you're wondering why I'm using a regular axe and shield when I have magic versions of these things, the answer is that I've been trying to break the basic stuff and save the good stuff, but I just keep finding more basic stuff. I have the heaviest stuff--most of the weapons and shields--in the Bag of Lightness.
    
The next level turns out to be the Green Domain. A centaur attacks as soon as I enter. He dies in a couple of hits from my axe and shield and drops a Moonstone when he does. Since I already have one in reserve and I'm not taking any new items now, thanks, I just use it right away. A couple of nearby skulls tell me what I already know: "Beyond this tunnel lies the domain of the White Knight." 
        
Not anymore!
        
The corridor heads to the east. I note that there's a hidden door in the north wall, so I hit it with a "Kano" spell to open it so I won't forget later. Another centaur comes spilling out, and he drops another Moonstone. This makes me think there's going to be lightning later on. Against my better judgement, I keep this one.
   
A few more steps, and there's an exit from the corridor, with skulls telling me that it leads the way to the domain of the Ebon Knight. I'm not ready to leave yet, of course, so I turn back and enter the door I opened. It leads to a long northern corridor in which another skull informs me I am entering the Green Knight's domain. That reminds me: what happened to that film with Dev Patel? The trailer looked awesome. I guess it's been delayed indefinitely because of COVID. Is there nothing this epidemic won't ruin?!
   
The corridor turns to the west, where another "Kano" is necessary to open a door. A rolling black ball immediately greets me on the other side. I pause and note that it goes back and forth along the corridor, returning every few seconds, so the corridor can't be very large. I wait for it to pass me heading south and then dart into the northern branch. It swiftly ends in a little nook with a Jera potion (healing) and two Algit potions (cure poison). I can cast both on my own, so I don't really need them. I swallow the Jera. I wait for the rolling ball to come back, then follow it back down to the original corridor, step aside, wait for it to pass heading north, and then continue my journey to the south.
       
Waiting for the ball to pass so I can go the other way.
       
The corridor bends west and ends at a pressure plate. I step on it and a door opens to the north. There's a pressure plate on the other side. This is a common construction in the game--two plates on either side of the door, both opening and closing the door--and no puzzle to it.
    
The room beyond has another pressure plate, a lever, and an NPC. I talk to him first. This is our dialogue:
   
Him: "You have finally come, Jera. Welcome to my realm, the realm of the Green Knight. Are you surprised that I know your name? I should also tell you that I know your cause. My spies have been keeping a close eye on you." 
 
Me: "Spies? I do not recall being spied upon."
         
Jera really didn't think this sentence through.
      
Him: "I knew about you the moment you spoke to Malachi. He had better beware. If Shadow Weaver knew of Malachi's true allegiance, he would be skinned alive." [Malachi was the first NPC I encountered, a "messenger from Rowena" stationed in the antechamber of the labyrinth.] 

Me: "If you are aware of the cause that I serve, then why do I still live?"
 
Him: "You live because I do not care who wins this war. Power is what I seek, and your help will give me greater power. To continue past my realm, and those of the other four knights, you need the medallion each of us wears. Only all five of the discs will open the gate."
 
Me: "What are these counterparts you speak of?"
 
Him: "Why, the other four knights. Who else would I speak of? We were the strongest of Shadow Weaver's horde when he first waged war upon the lands. For our skills, and as a reward for our services each of us was given control of an area of the labyrinth. There is the Ebon Knight; he is the strongest of the five. There is also the Blue, White, and Crimson Knights. And then there is me, the Green Knight, the weakest of the five. Until now, for our pact will make me the strongest!"
 
Me: "I will not make a pact with one such as you!"
 
Him: "Spare me your noble words. You have no other alternative. If you wish to succeed, you must have all five medallions, including mine."
 
Me: "How can you be so sure that I will not simply take your head as well?"
 
Him: "I am sure that you could. But if you do, you will have failed. I told you, I have known about you and your plans from the start. I have also gone great lengths to hide your movements from the others. I am no fool. You see, I have hidden my medallion where no one, especially you, shall ever find it."
         
This sounds like it's headed some place disgusting.
        
Me: "I must say, you are very clever. Tell me then, what must I do?"
 
Him: "Naturally, you must meet the other knights in combat and best them. That will give you four of the medallions."
 
Me: "Aye, four. And what of yours, the fifth medallion?"
 
Him: "I will give it to you when you bring me the Ebon Knight's head. He is the strongest, thus he is my greatest opponent in this game of power. If you bring me his head, I will know that you are strong enough to overcome the other three. Not much of a risk on my part, for I know you must kill the others. My only concern lies in your ability to defeat the Ebon Knight. He is very strong."
    
The dialogue isn't bad, but I would prefer to have choices. I wouldn't have refused to make a pact with him initially, for instance.

The lever and the pressure plate do nothing more than open the doors near them--there's not a lot of complexity so far this level. I exit to the north. The short corridor ends at a door with a skull next to it; he offers, "One must tread the safest pass, or he shall pay the price of a misplaced step."
        
Isn't this always true?
         
I "Kano" the door open, and immediately three things that look like fireballs come spilling through the doorway. I think they are fireballs and try to outrun them, but when they refuse to disappear, it becomes clear that they're wisps. They start zapping me with electricity, so I quickly use a Moonstone to make a lightning shield. I then attack them with my axe and shield. My encumbrance makes my movements slower than normal, and I should really drop something during combat so that doesn't happen, but these guys aren't hard enough to worry about.
   
The skull's warning soon becomes clear as I enter the next room. There are a bunch of glyphs on the floor that do 1 point of damage when I walk on them. By staying on the non-glyph spaces, I'm safe. Not much of a puzzle, although it's possible that I miss something because I encounter several places where it was impossible to pass without stepping on a glyph. The room turns out to be a fairly large diamond, but with walls that force you to traverse it in a clockwise manner There are numerous will-o-wisps along the way. I use up my Moonstones repeatedly casting the lightning shield. I have to "Freeze" and heal once.
           
Fighting will-o-wisps while avoiding the glyphs.
      
The room ends in a closed door that resists "Kano," but I have a good idea how to open it. There's a pressure plate near the entrance and the room is strewn with boulders. Two of them are enough to weigh it down which, as I suspected, opens the door. This is exactly the kind of puzzle that would have been much harder in DarkSpyre.
    
The door opens to a long eastern corridor with another closed door at the end. This one opens to "Kano," my last saved version of that spell. I'm also low on "Freeze" and "Liquify," so I stop to prepare a few more castings of all three. I also prepare an "Invisibility," just to see how it works.
   
The corridor bends to the south before ending in another pressure-plate activated door. Two balls are rolling through the room on the other side. There are three boulders lined up on the north end of the room, and beyond the north wall seems to be three small "cells," each too small for a person or object. I'm not sure what to make of it. Boulders can't block the path of the balls, which are easy enough to run past anyway. This game often sets up something that looks like a puzzle and turns out to be nothing, so I simply walk past the balls and continue on.
          
If there was anything special to do here, I never figured it out.
         
A centaur attacks as I leave the room, and drops a gold coin, which is the last thing I need, plus a war axe. This makes me realize that I'll probably never run out of regular weapons, and I'll thus never end up using my magic weapons. I put both war axes into the Bag of Lightness and equip the sword Rancor instead.
     
In the room beyond, I meet an NPC named Torhan, an ex-guard who was thrown out of Shadow Weaver's forces because his tends to spill secrets when he drinks. He asks me to bring him wine skins if I ever find any. I have not seen any in the game so far, but I suspect I'm about to. 
    
Torhan's room has exits to the northeast and south, and I take the southern one. The passage ends with a door to the west and another corridor to the east. A boulder lies in the middle of the floor. I "Kano" the door to the west, but since my "Kano" spells are under my "Invisibility," I have to waste that first. The long room beyond is full of pressure plates--seventeen of them, lined up side-by-side in two rows. It's impossible to enter the room without walking down at least one row. Some of the plates seem to open things (judging by sound), and others launch fireballs, lightning bolts, or poison globs from the ends of the room. I find that walking on the bottom side of the top row of plates makes these spells miss me.
         
I stand invisible (you can see my boots) as two fireballs zip by on either side of me.
        
This could be a nightmare, but it soon becomes clear that only one plate is necessary.. The second from the right in the top row opens the door at the west end of the room but closes it when I step off. The one boulder from the corridor isn't enough to weigh it down, so I go back and grab a second from the room with the rolling balls. This does the trick, and the door stays open. I walk down the corridor, dodging balls and bolts, and walk north through the door.
   
The next room has a Raido glyph on the floor, indicating I could have used the rune to teleport here. There's a lever that simply opens and closes the door I just came through (it would have been necessary if I had teleported). Some kind of wizard-looking NPC sits at the north end of the room, surrounded by equipment. He introduces himself as Sidonius, a master wizard, who specializes in casting "Battlerage" on Shadow Weaver's soldiers just before battle. He voluntarily teaches it to me, but it's hard to imagine using it. It's like the "Berserk" ability of barbarians in D&D: it gives you extra power for a while but leaves you exhausted.
          
Preparing to talk with Sidonius. Note the Raido glyph to the south.
      
I investigate the items around him even though the last thing I need is more stuff. One chest has a +3 amulet of talent, which I put on despite knowing that it will disappear within minutes. It also has a Healer's Tome, which elevates me to a "Master" (10/10) in healing magic, and several sprigs of nightshade, which I use to restore my spell points. A second chest has three runes: Berkana, Eihwaz, and Wunjo. Berkana is worth keeping, since it restores all spell points. The other two have temporary effects (+2 accuracy, fire shield), which I care less about, so I leave them for later in case some puzzle needs those runes. The chest also has a rabbit's foot, which I leave because I already have one, and a "four-way fireball" spell, which I learn.
   
Finally, a pile behind Sidonius has the Skull of Firefang and two wineskins. Firefang gives me the sixth gesture in the "Gateway" spell, although I note that I still don't have #5. I return to Torhan with the wine, but two skins apparently aren't enough to loosen his tongue.
           
Do you suppose these are given names?
      
The east branch of the passage south of Torhan's room leads to a teleporter flanked by two skulls, both of which say, "Restricted area. Enter at your own risk!" I toss an extra flask into it, just to see if it has an effect on this side, but nothing happens. I return to Torhan's room and head northeast. This leads to a square area with east and north exits. I go east first and get attacked by a centaur, which drops a +2 Amulet of Protection. His room is otherwise a dead end. The north exit leads to a corridor with an east-west split. East takes me to a room with a skull who announces I'm entering the "training grounds."
   
Beyond him is a pressure plate and a lever. The plate seems to activate the lever, which opens a door. I see several centaurs beyond, so I drop a few containers to fight. There are ultimately five centaurs in the room, but they're not hard; they die in one or two sword swipes and shield bashes. They collectively drop a full wineskin, an empty wineskin, two throwing knives, a round key, and an Ansuz rune. Only the full wineskin and the key really interest me.
   
The large room from which they attacked me has some interesting features. There are pressure plates in the northeast and northwest corners and levers in the southeast and southwest. Flame arrows fire continuously between two small walls in the middle of the room. There are four skulls, each of which gives me a combat tip: creatures that fight with fire usually have defenses against the same; skeletons are weak against axes; polearms negate height advantages; and swords may be the most common weapons, but the most common defenses are designed with swords in mind. The pressure plates turn out to activate and deactivate the flame arrows, and the two levers open the doors on their respective ends of the room.
        
Why are the skulls programmed to say this? It's not like the good armies use skeletons.
      
I return to Torhan with the wine, but I guess it's still not enough. I don't even know what secrets I'm plying him with wine for. Back in the corridor, a keyhole accepts the round key but doesn't seem to have any immediate effects. The door that would have been obvious to open with it opens with a "Kano" instead. Two will-o-wisps attack me on the other side. Two more doors open to "Kano." One leads to a chest with another wineskin (and two empty ones), but Torhan still offers nothing.
     
The other door leads to a series of rooms at the top of the level map labeled "barracks" by a skull. The area has four levers that open four doors. The first leads to a battle with three centaurs, one of which drops another war axe. I don't even pick it up. The second door releases another centaur, which drops a wineskin and two gold coins, which I also leave. There's a cross key in the room beyond him that unlocks a door at the west end of this area.
 
Centaurs are pretty lame opponents at this point in the game.
        
The third lever opens a teleporter in front of the room I just left. The fourth seems to activate the keyhole that takes the cross key. Another room offers three more centaur combats, giving me another wineskin, an Eye of Sight, which I don't need, and an Odin rune. Odin runes are the only thing with which I allow myself to save-scum. I don't want to change sexes, which is the first thing that happens when I try it. I reload and try again. My power attribute goes up to 20. I would have preferred strength, but that's good enough.
           
An unacceptable outcome of using Odin.
           
A skull announces the final room--the one opened by the cross key--as a "storage area." When the doors opened to reveal five piles of things, the camel's back broke. Without touching anything, I run back to Torhan and give him the two wineskins. This is finally enough to get him drunk enough to spill his secret: at some point, I'll run into a specter guarding a door, and I'll need to use the password ZARF to get by.
          
Torhan justifies his discharge.
      
Then I start going through my inventory. I have a wineskin left over, so I drink it, which confuses me, so I use the Sowelu rune to cure that. I toss all but 10 gold coins, 2 of each gem, and 2 of each teleportation rune. I drop my parchments and any rune that casts a spell I'm capable of without it. This consolidation allows me to get rid of all my chests. When I'm done, I've managed to trim myself down to 83 kilograms from a maximum encumbrance of 90. That doesn't seem like much.
   
Back to the storage room. The first thing I pick up is a quiver. It has two arrows and two poison arrows; I use them to fill up my own quiver and then discard the extra. I leave another war axe and warboard (shield) behind. A third war axe also stays on the floor, but a Shield of Striking seems useful. I replace my great shield with it and dump the former in the discard pile. There are two more wineskins I don't need. A suit of elven chainmail is better (and weighs less) than my damaged magic chainmail, so I replace it. Chain leggings and chain gauntlets do nothing for me. Neither does a horsehair helm.
    
At this point, the only thing I haven't tried is teleportation. I make a save and jump into the teleporter that I previously skipped. It takes me to a corridor with fire glyphs (I guess) on the floor and a specter who demands a password. I didn't expect to meet him so soon. I use ZARF and he lets me pass through an open door behind him, into a room that contains three chests and a pile of runes. Man, this game does not let up when it comes to inventory. 
         
Jera displays a bit of arrogance.
        
Chest 1 has a Wizard's Tome and the Skull of Silvanus. The Wizard's Tome increases my wizardry level to "Sage" (8/10). Silvanus teaches me the seventh part of the "Gateway" spell and says that once I find both pieces of the Staff of Summoning I'm going to need to mend it and then use it to summon someone who can save the world from Shadow Weaver. To do this, I have to hold something of importance that belonged to the person I wish to summon. Shadow Weaver plans to use a necklace that once belonged to the God of Magic to summon the god.

The second chest has three sprigs of nightshade and three gold coins. I leave them all. The third chest has a diamond, two rubies, an emerald, and an amethyst. I take the diamond because I otherwise only have one, but leave the rest. Finally, the pile of runes. Eihwaz temporarily increases accuracy by 2 points. Yay. I use it immediately. Tejwaz does the same for endurance. The third is Raido. I don't even need it to get out of here because the portal is still open.
   
Back in the main dungeon area, I attempt the Thurisaz and Gebo runes, but there are no destinations nearby. A scan of the map suggests I missed a door near the entrance. I return, "Kano" it open, and kill a couple of centaurs with my bow, which for some reason I've decided to prioritize for a while. They drop Moonstones. Through another door, a skull warns me that I am in the "Green Knight's Domain." An exit lies beyond him; I test it and find myself in the Crimson Domain.
         
The final map of the Green Domain.
        
I check my numbers. I've gained only about 5,000 experience points on this level, so I'm still far short of the 125,000 I need for the next. Other than the two magic levels I gained with books, I only gained one sorcerer level (I'm "Accomplished" now). Worse, nothing broke! 

Now I have to make a decision between the Crimson Domain and the Ebon Domain. I suppose I'll try Crimson first. I hope all this detail was at least a little interesting even if there were no significant puzzles.
    
Time so far: 26 hours


56 comments:

  1. Didn't you just say that you haven't much to tell this time?
    Well you managed to conceal that :)

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  2. Ow, I just "love" when a game gives you several weapon skills but then says: "Hey, the Big Bad is vulnerable only to that very special sword. Good luck if like axes, polearms or bows!" And that developers actually did it again in a later game.

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    1. Well, that's not strictly exactly true for this game.

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    2. That "later game" would it be "Anvil of Dawn"? "Veil of Darkness" had a lot of enemies which were only vulnerable to a specific weapon, but I think it didn't had weapon skills (or any development in character stats).

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    3. That's actually a good question. I'm pretty sure you don't fight the Big Bad in regular combat in AoD. I would assume he's talking about one of Ravenloft games, but those being ADnD don't have weapon skills...

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. @Agrivar
      Yes, they did it in "Anvil of Dawn".

      Strictly speaking, the special sword was needed to kill the Big Bad's top bodyguard, not the Big Bad himself. Still, the general concept of needing a specific weapon type for the ultimate fight remains.

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  3. The least explicit thing I can tell you about Warmonger is that you're half right about it. Try recounting what you know about the sword or ask around people in the know.

    "but since my "Kano" spells are under my "Invisibility," I have to waste that first" - you can cycle through memorized spells of the same school IIRC by right-clicking on them.

    "which doesn't give me a lot of hope that the five medallions will lead to a one-level citadel with the final battle" - you know that there's a world map printed on the back of the manual that tells you the exact number of levels in each area, right? It doesn't show one area though, for obvious reasons.

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    1. You can also cycle through spells with ALT+F#.

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    2. I really liked the way to "awaken" the Warmonger, because you can deduce it from what you know about the sword. I remember having it for some time, wondering what I was supposed to do, thinking "Hey, I haven't tried this, Wouldn't be cool if that was the answer?". And when I found that it worked, my reaction was "Oh, this is so cool!".

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    3. Is this another Stormbringer reference?

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    4. Ugh, I hate manuals. I know they're important to this era, but it annoys me that I have to read them a couple of times to make sure I don't miss anything.

      Yeah, somehow I missed the "Level Layout Map" in the back. Now I wish I didn't know about it. I'm not even halfway done. Ugh.

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    5. I suspect what you're telling me is that the sword will slowly improve as I use it to kill people. I was toying with that idea, but I have so many other weapons to break first...

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    6. I actually don't know why you've been doing that because you already have had one weapon that never breaks (silver sword), and now you got another one. Just keep one of each other weapon categories in case you meet a sword-resistant enemy (though you probably won't) and throw the rest away.

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    7. You're actually exactly halfway done, in mathematical terms (if you count the underground levels). And there are some optional levels you can skip ahead of you.

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    8. "I actually don't know why you've been doing that because you already have had one weapon that never breaks (silver sword), and now you got another one." Neither is very good when it comes to damage, and both keep me locked in to a single weapon skill.

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    9. Not to mention, there's a lot of talk about how using Warmonger is evil.

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    10. "Neither is very good when it comes to damage" - I wonder why would that be :D
      It's a dark fantasy setting, you can't expect to play a knight in shining armor. I mean, as you've just seen, even knights in shining armor in this world are assholes.

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    11. Oh, and I'm pretty sure all the damage benefits you're getting from using those weapons is more than offset by the encumbrance debuffs you get from not throwing them away.

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    12. I specifically noted that in a particular case, I didn't drop anything because the wisps weren't all that hard. In most levels, I've been dropping a couple of chests before exploring. Anyway, I'm no longer encumbered since I went through an inventory purge mid-entry.

      What I'm getting from this conversation is that Warmonger being "evil" is more a philisophical thing, and once you have it, there's really no reason to use other weapons, which means the "Edged Weapon" ability is the only one that really matters. If that's not the case, please clarify. If that IS the case, I wish I'd found it out on my own rather than through being told that I'm playing the game "wrong." All I'm doing is going off what a blind player knows.

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    13. I didn't mean to imply you're playing the game wrong. Other weapon types have their merits, as the four skulls just told you. It's just from my perspective, the hassle of hauling them around and finding replacements outweighs those benefits - but you're absolutely entitled to having your preferences.
      However, you've been just told by a very trustworthy NPC that you'll need the sword to win the game, no matter the possible cost. I would listen to that if I were a blind player. There's a tiny chance of the game becoming unwinnable otherwise.

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    14. He also said it's evil and I should avoid using it. The only way to reconcile the two statements is to avoid using it except where it alone must be used.

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    15. Nevermind, I'm forgetting another plot point. You're all good.

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  4. Bringing back a lot of good memories with this entry; had completely forgotten how the Green Knight wanted you to kill the others first

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  5. "since my "Kano" spells are under my "Invisibility," I have to waste that first."

    I think that if you right-click one of the blue gems reserved for spells, the selected spell changes. So, if you have a Kano and an Invisibility memorized, and the blue gem is showing the Kano, you can right-click on it to change it to the Invisibility spell. You don't have to cast and waste the Kano to gain access to the previously memorized Invisibility spell.

    I didn't noticed this in my first playthrough of the game, so I spent the full game having only one spell memorized at any time for each blue gem!

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    1. Yep, that's what I've been doing so far. Thanks for the tip.

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    2. I love that the interface gives different options for doing the same thing. You can move and attack/use items/cast spells/etc with only the keyboard, only the mouse, or a mix of both. When fighting, sometimes I changed from mouse to combat if I needed added precision (i.e., because they were traps, or because I was using a bow). Even when the way you're playing is not optimal (like wasting spells to gain access to a previous memorized one, like I did in my first playthrough), I didn't felt that I was "fighting against the interface". And key shortcuts like using "T" to pick objects allow you to find items which are obscured by walls or corpses.

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  6. As a sidenote, I played the game in Spanish, and although the translation was very well done, the Warmonger sword name lost a lot of appeal, because it was translated as "la espada Guerrera" (the Warrior sword). The word "Warmonger" it is not easy to translate to Spanish, because the closest would be "Belicista" (Bellicist), but instead of going for "Guerrera", they could have translated it as "BelĂ­gera" (Belligerent) or "Belicosa" (Bellicose), or even "Batalladora" (Battler), which are words not so common used as "Guerrera", and to a Spanish speaker have a much better ring than its English equivalent (I suppose that for an English speaker, "the Battler sword" sounds quite bad, but "la espada Batalladora" is a name which could perfectly appear in an Spanish medieval epic poem).

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    1. Yeah, "Warmonger" means a very unique thing--something that actively (almost perversely) seeks violence, that TRADES IN violence. Even "belligerent" doesn't quite cut it.

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    2. Perhaps "Conquistador" would be a good analog.

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  7. I love your blog to death and have read it since 2013. Lately, on entries like this, however, I seem a bit burned out regarding these blow-by-blow descriptions. Buck Rogers was the same, couldn't bring myself to read the inane 'story' descriptions. I think the blog shines whenever you do analysis, come up with new technical terms and such, but I wonder whether there is some decreasing marginal returns to the nth description of the typical gameplay of dungeon crawler number y. Maybe it's just me... but I'd prefer less entries on bland games that don't add anything regarding the bigger picture. Hmm. I don't mean to come off as critical, I think your project is awesome and makes the world a better place. Just wondering why I started losing interest.

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    1. No, I agree. I don't like writing such entries very much, either, but they're part of the process of documenting the game completely, and some readers seem to get SOMETHING out of them. If I didn't write them, I wouldn't have anything to write ABOUT mid-game.

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    2. I obviously know this game, but when I'm reading such an entry about one I don't, it really helps me imagine the experience.

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    3. I like these more detailed entries. I admit that I skim sometimes if the game isn't very interesting and don't get a good picture of the game itself as a whole, but more detailed entries help fill in assumptions and blind spots about the game.

      The only entries I really dislike are the "in-character" ones, and AFAIK those were only for Darklands and a few special topics.

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    4. I find it all right; not your best work but still worth reading. It definitely informs me that this is not the game for me.

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    5. One of the issues of these detailed entries is that most people reading won't be familiar enough with the game to really understand what's going on, especially in a game relatively obscure and with many unique mechanics as this (as I played this ahead it's not my case, but it was with other games).

      I don't think it can be avoided (and people reminiscing the game probably appreciate the detail), I'd rather have a entry like this I can skim if I get bored than no post at all.

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    6. As a person who never seen this particular game before encountering it on this blog, I very much like entries like this one. This is at least partially because I have no desire to play it myself, what with limited time for games and all, but those detailed entries give me a much better feel for how it would be to actually play it - and I very much enjoy it. I'd go as far as saying that I enjoy them at least as much as more 'standard' entries, even if in a different way.

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  8. Yes, and it probably would be worse having to wait weeks before you posted another entry. I'm sorry for raising this, but it really creeped me out how much I lost interest in such posts over time and was wondering what other people and you thought about it. For instance, reading the posts in Ultima was such a highlight, but so many other games are just so ... mediocre ... it hurts. Can't imagine how much it must hurt playing them ;)

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    1. I wonder if this trend is not something of a reflection on the industry? At the outset, everything was novel and new. The (now) seemingly crude and very limited Akalabeth was amazing, immersive, and something we had never experienced before! Aside from many inevitable clones of whatever succeeded, newly imagined RPGs were an entirely different take in many different styles, and we found a good number of them refreshingly novel and exciting. As the genre and industry matured, and as processing, display, and storage increasingly improved, maybe by now we've seen so many that the CRPG structural space is becoming somewhat exhausted, and we think, "Ho hum, another one of THESE" (whatever THESE might be). CRPGAddict's early blogs reflected our delight with the seminal creativity that had freed us from the tedium of the tabletop genre, while itself struggling within home computing's evolving technical constraints, and, as you mentioned for Ultima, we see that original sort of delight re-emerge whenever he is able to cover another of the historical masters, and (especially wonderful for this blog) for those rarely discovered masters that have somehow remained unrecognized in the community.

      So, in part, I agree with your premise, but I think that, no matter how diverse and beautiful, if all you write about is roses, it's difficult to produce a blog several times a week for ten years and have each one remain fresh and exciting, plus, that rare, exquisite, and special rose only appears once in a blue moon, or else it would not be so rare and exquisite (or, when they are more common, we become jaded with them more quickly).

      So, while imagining that the issue Anonymous raises is somewhat inevitable, I'd like to join probably all of your readers, CRPGAddict, in again thanking you for this incredible trove of history and of FUN! Thanks for wading through the now vast amounts of dross to uncover those gems that WE might decide to enjoy first hand, and for sharing your many I-wish-this-would-just-get-over nights with us to bring us better insight into a genre that so many of us love so well!

      (Gasping for breath after a series of my usual unconscionable run-on sentences).

      A simple thank-you is inadequate to express the depth of our appreciation, but, nevertheless, thank you, CRPGAddict!

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    2. Very well put, Rangerous. Hedonic adaptation, it's hard to keep the romance alive. I also appreciate the other posters' comments above about how such posts are great for those people who know and like a game first hand from back then. And more entries mean getting faster to the games we all are waiting for. Oh well.

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    3. I'm not waiting for any games. Well, it is nice to have new games pop up on the upcoming list now and then. And the end of 1992 is really close.

      Never played The Summoning, but I enjoyed this entry very much nonetheless. Given its length it will probably start to drag a little (like with Ultima and Fate, for me at least).

      But what's more important is that it's at least somewhat fun to write these entries.

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    4. I must agree somewhat with Anonymous' sentiment: it does drag from time to time. I wonder if the very mediocre games, or more specifically, those games that don't manage to change the playing experience after the initial "oh, so this is how this one works" phase is over, shouldn't be more readily discarded. By now, the Addict and all his readers probably know more or less all there is to know about this game, except the way the endgame plays out. Will knowing that really change anything about the Addict's overall reception (and GIMLETing) of The Summoning or its ilk? I feel like some games are worth to be discarded after trying them out, so those rarer, harder to find gems have a slightly increased amount of spotlight.

      But then, as the Addict himself found in his mission statement, every game is somebody's favorite. And this one seems to have quite a few fans, so seeing it through to the end might be worthwhile after all.

      I just get the impression that this game, as many others before it, doesn't really amount to much fun for the Addict anymore. Worse, the way in which it continues to be less than perfectly funny doesn't lend itself to a good nice rant, or ridicule, or panning. Above all else, I'm hoping the Addict is deriving some measure of enjoyment from the games he plays for all our benefit. And I'd advocate quitting those games that don't provide that earlier rather than later.

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    5. The project is about finishing the games, not playing them for arbitrary amounts of time and wrapping up with "go find the rest for yourselves" when it gets boring. It's the journey that matters, not the destination. If he settled for just sampling games until they no longer amused him, this blog would be no different from the many thousands of let's players out there that start games and never finish them.

      Besides, Addict's role is a historian, not a reviewer. Historians ideally don't decide, on their own judgment and nothing else, what to record and what not to record.

      Delete
  9. 2 Figurines of Resurrection. I don't know what they're supposed to do, but they don't seem to resurrect me when I die. Maybe I need to be holding them.

    Have you tried to put them in a hand to see if they can be used like a potion, and in affirmative case, if doing that shows any message like "Now you're protected against death"?

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  10. This is one of those games that really makes me wonder about dungeon ecology.

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  11. Would the boots of levitation have helped you against the damaging glyphs?

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    1. That's actually their purpose, but the glyphs do so little damage per tick that it's easy to just heal through.

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  12. Yeah, probably. But since there's always plenty of time to rest and heal, it's almost better to get the experience casting healing spells. I guess that's no longer true since I hit the highest level.

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  13. The white knight was actually the easiest for me; I cast freeze, threw a poison potion I made at him, freezed again, then ran out of the room to the south corner. It took some time but he just ran back and forth along that wall until he died. Using walls, corridors and teleporters like this can be helpful against the tougher enemies that can one shot you.

    The game punishes and cripples you for being over encumbered. Movement, attack speed, accuracy and defense are reduced significantly--you'll take more damage so must heal more often. Seriously consider dropping some stuff, there's no need to carry around all of that. Yes its shiny and all that but you can just return for it later if you need it.

    Regarding the rusted blade. Its not mentioned anywhere in the game, but one of the skulls has additional information for you if certain conditions are met.

    Once you've finished with an NPC and have no further need of their services or dialogue, consider slaughtering them for the experience if you are able to, since XP is limited. This is the labyrinth of Shadow Weaver after all..

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    1. The one skull that is very slightly more useful than the others is mentioned at one point.

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    2. I don't think Chet is that desperate for EXP to roleplay as a psychopath.

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  14. Do the magic swords break? I seem to remember they don't, or maybe they just didn't for me. Incidentally, this game taught me the word 'rancor.'

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    1. IIRC regular magic weapons do break, although a fair bit more slowly than non-magical ones. It's only quest-related weapons that never break.

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  15. I must have just gotten lucky. Or maybe I'm misremembering.

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