Monday, May 23, 2011

Omega: Rich Game World

A quest at last!

Returning to the drawing board after my last character death and a Paladin break, I created a new character--Bozo--donated at the orphanage, joined the paladins, won two arena battles, gambled at a casino and won a jackpot of more than 1,500 gold, and was told to go to hell by a haunt in the cemetery.

Anyone know the language and translation of the first part of the sentence?

The extra money allowed me to get entrance to the library, where I read a history of the City of Rampart and got a little more information of the game world, which might be called LOCUS. The world seems to be torn between the forces of law and chaos, each with its pantheon of deities. The Gods of Law include Odin and Athena, and the Gods of Chaos are Set and Hecate. Nice blending of mythologies there. There are also Druids, who seek to maintain a balance and some mysterious beings called Lords of Destiny, who arbitrate between the two forces.

There was a "mysterious document" in the library, heavily annotated by the librarian, which suggested something about the main quest: basically, character improvement to the level of Adepthood. It ended with the statement that "the final test of an Adept is Mastery of that Void which lies both within and without the self" and that "only an Adept can become a Total Winner."

Determined to fully explore Rampart before setting out and dying again, I found a few places I had overlooked in my previous games (some of the city is randomized with each new character, too). Among my deeds:

  • Slew two haunts in the cemetery and rose a couple of levels
  • Tried to bash a statue that was in my way and had it turn into a "catoblepas," which I killed and then salvaged its eyes.

  • Explored a hedge maze, killed several monsters, found several treasures, and found the entrance to a sewer (didn't go down just yet).
  • Found the Oracle in the center of the hedge maze. All she told me was "The ArchDruid speaks wisdom in his forest shrine." The Oracle's mirror also tells you your alignment; it gave mine as on the "chaos" side of "neutral," which surprised me. I wonder if attacking creatures that weren't attacking me is to blame.
  • Visited a tavern when it opened (hours, days, and months pass in the game) and spent 100 gold on a round for the house.

Grateful NPCs.

  • Spent 900 gold on a partial suit of plate armor.
  • Got refused by the Mercenary Legion because of my paladin membership.
  • Joined the "Explorer's Club" and was taught a spell that would automatically teleport me in dungeons.

By this time, I had gained enough levels that the Duke granted me an audience and gave me a quest to bring him the head of the Goblin King. The manual says that the Goblin King's lair is due south of Rampart but I'll have to search for it. I found it almost immediately, about three squares south of the city. The game forced me to let my horse go free, unfortunately.

The Goblin Caves turned out to be large and multi-leveled, and as I sign off for the day, I'm in the middle of them. I'm very worried about survival. Permanent death is one thing in a game like Rogue, where nothing much changes from one game to another, and the point is not to "win" the game so much as see how close you can come. It's another thing in this game, which is more like a traditional CRPG. Imagine if every time your character died in Baldur's Gate or Morrowind, you had to start completely over from the beginning.

Tomorrow, I'll let you know if the episode left me victorious, or howling at the walls in frustration. It's a roguelike, so do you want to lay odds?


  1. I can't believe that anyone who has got anywhere with Omega did so without using backup save files: it's just too frustrating otherwise. Go on, you know it makes sense ...

  2. Is the mystery language Esperanto, perhaps?

  3. I'll be another voice of temptation. Backup your save files! It's easy! No one will blame you!

  4. "kurav tu ando mul" is Romani (Romanes), the language of the gypsies. It means, quite literally, "I will f*** you in the mouth". "go to hell" translates the meaning quite well, though...

    I am, quite honestly, astonished to see the use of Romanes in an 80ies CRPG. apart from some play with a few Romanes words in some of the Ultima games, thats maybe the only Romanes reference in computer game history...

  5. Catoblepas is a common enemy in the (handheld) Castlevania series.

  6. Thanks, Anon. You deserve to have that nugget of information to your credit, so I'm sorry you chose to be anonymous!

    The second phrase, which I was translating, "Go to hell," is either in Spanish or for those particular words the two languages are identical.

    I probably will continue on by allowing myself limited backups of the save game. I want to get further in this game and I never will if I keep dying.

  7. Catoblepas eh? There's a monster name I haven't seen in a long time.

  8. odd your omega is not colour ascii... you must have an old version. beware omega is BUGGY and unmaintained for MANY years, I dont remember if it is completeable, as in has a win situation.

    1. Buggy? I have been playing Omega off/on since 1988 and have yet to see any of the .80 versions quit with an error. And, it *is* maintained... check the page:
      'Completeable' is a very subjective experience, but as far as the High Score screen at the start of Omega, taking any of those positions could be considered 'completeable'. But, even after killing Death, your character can still be killed and there are many dungeons which continue... But why not just start from the beginning to capture some of the other High Score screen positions?

  9. I knew about Catoblepas as well: When I was young I read my Dad's D&D books, and I kept trying to read the Monster Manual end to end. I think I did it when I was young, though I've never managed it with a modern book now that I'm a bit less obsessive. Anyway, Catoblepas occur near the start of the book, so I have read there entry a number of times. Do the ones in the game kill with a death gaze?

  10. Hey, I put your spreadsheet into a google document: If you give me a gmail account then I will hand over ownership to you (Or you can reupload it yourself, it takes off of 10 seconds which is why I could do it at work).

  11. Thanks, Canageek, for showing how easy it is. Next time I update it, I'll give the conversion a go.

  12. Oh, and on the Catoblepas: it didn't kill ME with a death gaze, but maybe I just got lucky.

  13. Hi Addict!

    You're correct about the spanish worlds. Is not 100% correct (should have been ¡Vete al infierno!, and not !Va al infierno!) but ina any case is clearly translated as Go to hell! in english


  14. Wow... Omega. I remember putting my months of my childhood into that game!

    You asked for help. I'll see what I can remember from 20 years ago.

    1. Biggest early decision you will make - who to worship. Each god gives you a different spell list. Odin and Set are Law/Chaos combat spells. Hecate and Athena less combat related. spells give you a huge huge huge advantage. Lords of destiny give you no spells but do give you the ability to use ritual magic. I don't remember exactly but I think it had something to do with casting ritual magic in rooms with crystal omega alters in dungeons to get wish's. That was some deep hidden voodoo figuring that out.
    2. i remember killing the goblin king (and later a dragon in sewers) as being excellent risk/reward pathways to get to mid level and become pretty tough.
    3. you can gain 'titles' as shown on the opening screen by performing feats. I recall 'Lord of Chaos' requires you kill all the guards in the town (not easy).
    4. I remember a thieves guild hidden in town behind a locked door who could identify treasure. a HUGE boon since most items are useless until identified.
    5. I remember a 'small gray tablet' random treasure which restores mana and quickly became the most valuable thing in the universe ... 'stimtab'
    6. arena gets deadly/dangerous fast - careful - but becoming the champion gets you an artifact spear. I recall being invisible, blinking and shooting as a tactic for beating that place.
    7. its possible with trap doors / pits / teleports to go PAST the lowest level in a dungeon after which you can keep going down forever... makes quick diving very dangerous. If you're new to a dungeon. Only ever go down via stairs. A friend of mine did this and not realizing what happened broke down upon reaching level 256 of a dungeon crashing the game (when the goal was 20). I think goblin king is on level 8 or 12.
    8. The game sometimes talks about becoming a "Wizard". If memory serves correct this is a god/debugging mode for the game. I think I remember how to trigger it if you care (bash an object you'd never thing of bashing...)

  15. Thanks for the confirmation, Joselu. Anon, thanks a bunch for the tips. I've staked my claim on the chaos side of things, so I figured I'd have to go to Set or Hecate. As you'll see to night, I did find the thieves' guild (but I didn't know about the free identification; thanks!). I'm currently trying to kill the Goblin King.

  16. Omega looks intriguing. Particularily using guilds and deities to drive your characters abilities.

    Otherwise looks a bit like ADOM which I find highly enjoyable (even if I haven't played it for a few years).

    1. I believe Omega was one of Thomas Biskup's big influences, which is why you see the similarities.

  17. In case anyone cares, further information regarding the catoblepas: It did appear in Dungeons & Dragons, and that's likely where the creator of Omega got it, but not necessarily: the catoblepas actually predates D&D by a couple of thousand years; it was a mythological/folkloric being mentioned by Pliny the Elder.

    In a way, actually, the catoblepas inspired not one, but two classic D&D monsters. Though the D&D catoblepas is pretty faithful to the legendary version, one difference is that in the original accounts the catoblepas was usually said to be bull-like (a fact that has led some modern euhemerists to suppose that the legends of the catoblepas actually arose from distorted accounts of wildebeests). Also, in some accounts the catoblepas killed not with its gaze, but with its breath (or both). Furthermore, the catoblepas appeared in many medieval bestiaries, though sometimes given the alternate name of the "gorgon". Put that all together and you get why the D&D gorgon bears little resemblance to the gorgon from Greek mythology (which of course appears in D&D as a "medusa")... because it's presumably taken from a medieval bestiary entry for a catoblepas! (Whether Gygax was aware that the medieval bestiarists considered the catoblepas and the gorgon to be the same creature I don't know. In any case, it's likely that the fact that the gorgon's breath petrifies opponents instead of just killing them was borrowed from the Greek Medusa-type Gorgon... I'm unaware of any legendary account of catoblepae having petrifactive powers.

  18. I guess I'm a few years late - but here goes anyway.
    Besides all kinds of RPGs, and roguelikes in particular, my second major passion is linguistics and everything to do with language. That being the case, reading through your thoroughly entertaining posts on Omega, which I played and enjoyed a lot some time ago, I was intrigued by that haunt's strange utterings.
    The latter part has been identified as poorly translated spanish, and what little I remember from back in school makes me draw the same conclusion. I had considered it being italian, in which case the imperative "va" would be correct, but the rest would have to be "all'inferno". So much for that theory.
    Anyway, moving on. "Kurav tu ando mul" seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. In most cases, I have at least an idea as to what language family an unknown phrase might belong to, but not in this case. It bothered me, and so I turned to Google for help. As it turned out, that phrase was used in a book I read as a child, "Star of Gypsies" by Robert Silverberg. Further research confirmed Anon's above translation. The obscurity of the language, the literal nature of the quote, and the fact that the book was released in 1986 make me assume that that's probably where Brothers got it from.
    Dubious as the value of this piece of information may be, at the very least my own curiosity is sated. Also I now know a tiny little bit about the Romani language(s), which is more than I could say an hour ago :)

    1. Haha, guess I should have kept reading the Omega posts. Apparently, de Lint's book (Mulengro) predates Silverberg's by one year, and it uses exactly the same phrase. Given the large number of Romani "dialects" and ways to spell words, that's either an immense coincidence, or... you decide.

  19. I played this a lot. It's deep and rich.
    Listened to a lot of Pink Floyd while playing. Atom Heart Mother was a big one.
    Cheated as much as possible. Probably save scummed. Might have edited save file. I forget.
    I'm more about seeing the far weird stuff than overcoming obstacles.
    I made some weird geometry stuff. Fleen forsythia kisrhhombille. Thought of doing a roguelike based on that. But probably not. More into meditation now. There's real magic there and that's no hokum.


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