Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Summoning: All for the Want of a Horseshoe Nail

Who doesn't use an Odin rune the moment they possess it?
        
Well, I'm stuck. Perhaps not really stuck; just stuck in the way that all of my options are really annoying.
     
I had complained in the last entry about the developers ruining what would have otherwise been a fun mapping puzzle by providing the answer to the teleportation maze. Little did I know that the Otherworld One level would feature another such maze, this time unmapped. One section of the level had 15 squares, each 2 x 2, each with two teleporters. Most of them had no other features, although several had broken vials, clearly meant to confuse the player. By dropping my own items to identify each square, I was able to map all of them. The goal was to get to a lever and then to an exit square.
         
My teleporter map.
        
Shortly after I visited this area, alas, my adventures in the Otherworld came to an end. I reached a point where the only direction left to explore required putting items into slots. I lacked the first two items--a black pearl and what I assume is an Isa rune. I certainly hope I find those things going forward because I don't feel like turning around. I spoke to King Evermore and he sent me back to the basement of End Four, where I resumed my exploration of the upper and lower levels.
            
Each of these ladders goes to a separate room on the level above.
           
End Four took an incredible amount of time. Both the upper and lower levels were huge, definitely the largest so far, with no blank space at all. Most of the levels consisted of small rooms with between one and four ladders. Rooms were configured differently on the upper and lower levels, so getting from one place to another was a long process of climbing down, moving across a room, climbing up, moving across a room, climbing down, and so on. The level maximized backtracking by requiring me to find a key in one far-flung area then open a lock on the other side of the dungeon.
 
In the end, I'm not sure the rewards were worth it. Well, one probably was: a suit of enchanted plate mail, gloves, and greaves. I got this by finding the key components in various remote parts of the levels and bringing them back to the dwarven smith. But another series of puzzles and trekking got me no more than a handful of runes. Granted, one was an Odin rune and it increased my power to 21, but I'm still not sure it was worth several hours. 
         
My enchanted plate is forged.
        
There weren't many fights in End Four. I think they were all with cyclopes. Still, Warmonger continued leveling in power, until ultimately I had all eight symbols and the sword said it was capable of taking on the guardian swords outside Shadow Weaver's chambers. At that point, I put it away and equipped my glaive because my skill with pole-arms is very low. Ultimately, though, I broke the glaive, two axes, a flanged mace, and most of my arrows, and thus had to pick up Warmonger again.
         
Warmonger reaches his level cap.
        
I was still trying to find my way through End Four when I found the entrance to the sewers. I had been warned that they were dangerous, but I decided to check them out. Unfortunately, the character actually sinks in the sewers until she can't use her weapons. I couldn't figure out any way to solve this. My Boots of Levitation vanished while I was using them to cross some glyphs and pits in part of End Four, and I don't believe there's any kind of "Levitation" spell in the game. Thus, I turned around and returned to End Four and figured I'd skip the sewers.
         
This isn't going to work.
       
End Three was the only other exit, and it also took a long time, but this time because of puzzles. Right near the entrance was an entire long hallway full of pressure plates, each of which de-activated or re-activated a teleporter in a different hallway. I had to stop a ball from rolling east-west and instead get it rolling north-south down the first hallway, then watch the effect on the teleporters, figure out the pattern, and use it to safely get down the second hallway without stepping on a teleporter.
          
This is intimidating.
       
No sooner had I figured that out than I ran into another huge batch of teleporters and had to figure out how to turn them off by throwing rocks into the right ones. To shut them down. (The rocks teleported to a room with pressure plates and activated the plates, thus killing the teleporters.) In both puzzles, I had some hints--a magic mouth in the former case and the fact that there was a pile of rocks next to the teleporters in the latter. You have to watch for these things.
    
Assassins and creeping vines were the level's enemies, both capable of poisoning. There was one room that had about 10 assassins, but fortunately they seem to walk around randomly, only attacking when they happen to encounter you, rather than swarming you. When my glaive broke, I switched to my bow and shot them from a distance; this was particularly effective against the slow-moving vines. There were a lot more teleporters, pressure plates, and keyholes on the level, but when I finished, the map made it look like I'd only completed half a level. I particularly hadn't found an assassin named Raven, whose fellow assassin offered a reward for his head.
        
Level 3 doesn't look like it could possibly be complete, but I didn't find any other paths.
         
Exits gave me a choice of End Two or End Five. The map at the back of the manual suggested that End Two and End One were both optional and that End Five would connect with the first Citadel level. But I needed items and experience, so I reasoned I'd try End Two until it got annoying, at least.
    
It never really did. The level was battle-heavy, and there were a lot of teleporters, but no really tough puzzles. Monsters were mostly cyclopes, but there were phoenixes (a new monster) in some areas that cause constant fire damage as they attack. A casting of "Fire Shield" helped quite a bit with those.
         
Attacked by multiple phoenixes.
       
I met a wizard named Ehdrik who wanted me to find the Staff of the Serpent for him. In return, he taught me the "Dispel" spell.
          
HOOK a LITTLE PAPER, DUDE. Then SERVE the PAPER.
        
There was also a cobbler who offered to make me a pair of lava boots for walking in the lava level. He needed a sandstone, which I eventually found, and six gold pieces in payment. Well, wouldn't you know, several levels after I ditched a bunch of "extra" gold pieces, I've now run out. I hoped to find more on the level but I only found one or two.
    
I did dip in to the lava level, but it's another place where you take constant damage even if you're not walking in lava. I suspect I really need the boots if I want to survive there.
          
There was also this.
        
A warrior named Thorfin Ironfist, meanwhile, told me that only messengers are allowed through the gates and into the first level of the citadel. I had met a hostile messenger in End Four and swiped his pass, hat, and uniform when he was dead. I met another one in End Two and got a duplicate set.
    
With no way to progress from here, I returned to End Three and went to the exit to End Five. End Five is the home of the assassin Raven, who at least two NPCs want me to kill, though I haven't found him yet. Throughout the large, largely open level, magic mouths request various "donations" to the assassins' guild, such as an apple of vigor, a pearl, a great plate helmet, a gold key, a rowan wand, an Odin rune, a harpy feather, an iron token, a diamond, a "Zap Away" parchment, and a suit of chainmail. I had a few of these items but didn't have most of them. I know that some are in my backpath, but way back.
          
Killing his rivals--that's so Raven.
        
I explored this level as far as I could, but clearly my lack of some of these items is prohibiting me from moving forward, both to the base of the citadel and also to Raven. Meanwhile, a healer named Ghervass is offering to teach me a healing spell (which won't require a potion jar) for even more gold that I don't have.

Thus, at this point, I have several options, none of which really appeal to me:
   
  • Backtrack to previous levels to find the items that the magic mouths require. I'm 100% sure I never left a gold key in my backpath, though. Keys are usually used right away. Even if I can't find all the items I need for End Five, I could probably at least find enough gold for Ghervass and the cobbler.
  • In conjunction with the first option, then explore the lava level. Maybe there are items there sufficient for End Five.
      
The game seems to be discouraging me from this option.
         
  • Explore around some more. Maybe I missed something on one of these levels. There are lots of levers and plates and teleporters, some with multiple destinations, and it would be easy to overlook something. Without knowing specifically what I'm looking for, though, this isn't appealing.
  • Try the sewer route. It's supposed to be an alternative to getting into the citadel, but very hard, and I don't know how I can fight without the ability to swing my arms. Spells don't work, either.
  • I have a Fehu rune. I could scum for one of the items that End Five needs, but I don't know what specific item will break the roadblock. I don't know if Fehu ever produces some items, like keys.
    
I will take suggestions and even outright spoilers at this point.
     
A few miscellaneous notes:
   
  • The "Battle Rage" spell is completely worth it. I wish I'd used it sooner (although the battles haven't been very hard, especially since I got my magic plate). It significantly increases speed and damage of weapons.
  • I keep accidentally throwing my sword just because my fingers twitch on the keys. I'm worried that one of these times, I'm not going to notice until I've lost it.
  • Not only has Jera not leveled up in about 10 hours, she's not really even close to the next level. It is impossible to imagine reaching the 600,000 experience points needed for Level 12 ("Vanquisher") without any respawning. I've only earned 107,000 points in the game so far.
  • She has, however, reached "Expert" with edged weapons (9/10) and "Stalwart" with missile weapons. No changes in magic levels.
  • Despite needing several types of keys to move forward, for some reason I have three excess "sun keys."
        
Commenters did try to warn me about these unreasonable requests for items, but other than never using anything unless he has a copy, I don't really know what a player is supposed to do. Some of them are absurd, like the spell parchment--there's no reason in the game to save parchments after recording the gestures. As much as I've been enjoying the game, this kind of nonsense is going to hurt its score.
    
Time so far: 37 hours

25 comments:

  1. I peeked at a walkthrough, it seems you only need two of those items. There are conflicting descriptions weather these can be found in end five or must be collected earlier (the crimson domain was mentioned). I'm sure someone who finished the game can help.

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  2. I'm just now looking the game hint book to see what it says about the item locations of End Five, and it seems that all the items are present at that level, so you shouldn't need to do any backtracking.

    Here's a link to the hintbook, for if you're really desperate. I don't remember any trouble with lacking items when I played the game, but I do remember that I wasn't able to explore all the last levels. I think I never killed Raven, and I went instead for finishing the main quest.

    https://mocagh.org/ssi/summoning-cluebook.pdf

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    1. A little correction to my previous message: reading some walkthrough, it seems that some of the required items of Level Five are not present at that level, but without them you are only missing some rooms with additional treasure. The worrisome thing is that of the two items that they are REALLY NEEDED to continue, reading the hintbook I've only managed to locate one of them in End Five.

      I haven't found any mention about how to fight or cast spells in the Sewers, so maybe you're supposed to having to traverse them without being able to fight or cast spells.

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    2. Well, I've located the two objects which you definitely need to keep progressing without trying the Sewers. One of them should be at End Five, and the other can be obtained at End Three (where it is lying on the floor) or at End Two (it is dropped by a slain enemy). Its location in End Three seems to be in the part you've already explored, so there are some good chances that you've already found it and used it.

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    3. I broke down and took a look at the cluebook, which was no picnic. More than 100 annotations per map!

      The book seems to suggest that I have to activate a teleporter at 51B near the entrance, which requires stepping on a plate at 51A. But the only way to get into the area that has that plate seems to be to take the teleporter at 51B, so I'm not sure how that's supposed to work. I tried tracing other paths but either couldn't find the relevant numbers or encountered other routes that seemed to be circles. This is the first cluebook I've ever seen that feels more complicated than figuring things out on your own.

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    4. Yes, I understand what you must have felt reading the cluebook. When I was reading it yesterday trying to locate the missing itsm, I was feeling something like this:

      https://media1.tenor.com/images/e9af3f0667b412e07df7da21c3adb80f/tenor.gif

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    5. The fun part is that the clue book is completely wrong at some points. I had to refer to the only playthrough on YouTube to get through a couple of places.

      Funnily enough, you could hear the guy doing the playthrough getting just as frustrated with The Summoning as I was toward the end. It's definitely a game that goes on far too long for it's mechanics.

      RE: Leveling, I didn't even hit 250k experience before finishing the game, but I also skipped the sewers and the lava level. I also ran past a bunch of enemies at different points (which resulted in me having to go back to kill some to find keys).

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    6. Now I'm wondering how I managed to complete the game without getting stuck. I'm very bad at solving puzzles in computer games, so when reading the descriptions of some of the teleporter challenges encountered by Chet (and how the are supposed to be resolved in the cluebook), I don't understand how I managed to get past them. Maybe I just got incredibly lucky.

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  3. You only need one item that you can't (technically) find in End 5. All the 'donations' otherwise just open loot rooms.

    I had to use a Fehu rune for Otherworld to get my Isa rune. I tossed the other one I'd picked up ages ago.

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  4. Chet, did you follow your own advice regarding teleporters in Otherworld One?

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    1. If I had to guess, I'd think they meant the "go through twice" thing?

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    2. Yarr. Everything you need in the Otherworlds can be found there.

      Don't give up, you can keep it together. (You're really great at keeping it together.)

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    3. @Dan: I'm a he, my online name is a she, take your pick :) (they also works)

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    4. Ha, these days I generally ere on the side of not assuming anything :)

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  5. If you're early in the game, make a habit of saving before you use that key. You may find that whatever room was beyond that door you can reach some other way, or just ignore it if the loot wasn't that good. Later in the game the extra keys will come in quite handy, saving a lot of time having to search for duplicate ones.

    Boots of levitation are quite rare and should only be used to reach new areas or in lieu of having to use a key, or to get additional treasures when presented with the choice of only one.

    If you're on a quest to retreive a specific weapon, you can use it until its nearly broken and then return it, to save wear on your own weapons while still training the skill.

    You can gain a great deal of experience in the sewers. The trick is to position yourself and attack at range with spells. Poison is cheap and effective, the down side is it also requires some waiting. Rounding up mobs then hiding behind corridor walls is also effective as all mobs in the sewers use range attacks and will eventually range attack each other, and you still get the experience as long as you're in the vicinity. You can periodically exit to a safe location via spell to rest and recuperate.

    Always try to keep 1 of every item if you can, or store them in an unused treasure box placed near a level entrance or exit. That way if you ever have to backtrack, you'll have it available right on the path and won't have to go hunting within the level for it. Fehu runes are an option and can produce some items including iron tokens, but never keys.

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  6. If you find yourself utterly stuck and losing the will to proceed, there's a cheat allowing you to experience the ending sequence.

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  7. This game seems to brake down pretty bad, it's regretfull to an otherwise interesting title. I still really enjoy your postings in it.

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  8. This has seemed like a fun/interesting game so far, but it seems to be overstaying its welcome. I get the impression that it is far too long/big for its own good.

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    1. I suppose that's indeed possible for 'mario' type gamers, those impatient or with a short attention span. The Summoning isn't your typical dungeon crawler; it demands a bit more thought and planning than the usual fare. If you expect to traverse Shadow Weaver's labyrinth guns-a-blazing then I expect you'll be sorely disappointed, and possibly stuck near the end as this blogger is.

      Careful consideration of actions is best here. Should I perform this action? Should I kill this creature? Weigh down this plate? Open this door? Activate this item? Train this skill? Etcetera. For the meticulous or retrospective player this game is a cinch. For the reckless one not so much.

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    2. If there's something we all know about Chet, it's that he's a "Mario" type gamer who is always going into games guns-a-blazing and hates games that require thought or planning. That's what we've all come to expect here at Twitch Gaming Addict.

      The problem here is not that the game requires thought or planning, or really even that it's too long, it's that it appears to punish lack of prophetic foresight with tedious backtracking and searching. That would be less obnoxious in a longer game.

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    3. Yeah, that comment bordered on obnoxious, particularly in calling me "this blogger."

      Mylar, this is my 382nd game I've played for this blog, and probably my 420th in general. In no other game that I've ever played has the game, without warning, started to feature levels in which you were expected to have dragged random items from previous levels along with you just so you can feed them into slots. Even if I'd had that warning, I would have had to keep a duplicate of every item found throughout the game. That's an unreasonable expectation in any game, and failure to meet it does not mean that the player is "reckless."

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  9. Hey, everyone. It will be a while before I post again on this game, but I wanted you to know that everything is cool. I found a teleporter I'd previously overlooked that led to a new area with some of the items I needed, including a gold key dropped by a cyclops (the hint book says he drops a gold COIN, so I won't be consulting that again). I think I have plenty of paths open now.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Good to hear! There's nothing worse than realizing "Oh, I should have gotten the golden banana from the panda all the way back in the starting town BEFORE I jumped into the volcano of no return to face the wizard".

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