Monday, June 24, 2013

The Land of Make Believe

The lone adventurer has become a party.

I didn't want to post again on The Land until I've won, but about nine hours invested in that effort this week has not produced that outcome, and the game has gotten annoying enough that I'm not sure I'm going to continue.

When I closed last time, I was trying to find the Third Ward of Kevin's Lore, and now I'm trying to find the Sixth. But there was more than just Four and Five in between; after the Third Ward, I had to find Berek Halfhand's Staff, Kevin's Sphere, and the Adant of Damelain before I continued with the Fourth Ward, meaning I've solved six quests since I last posted. They have been exceedingly repetitive and mostly uninteresting, following the same formula:

1. Get the quest from Lord Morham.

2A. Wander around and talk to people until someone gives you the lore that tells where the item is. Keep talking until you get a different lore that tells you the Word of Power necessary to break through the barrier around the item. Or:

2B. Go to the library in Revelstone and pay $1,500 for a "lore search." This is a neat invention that I hadn't really understood until recently. After paying the fee, you enter a keyword and you get whatever lore is associated with the term that you normally would have gotten from talking to people. This allows rich players to avoid bumbling around until they get lucky with the right person, and I've essentially used it exclusively since I found it. The game glitches and just shows you a blank screen when you do the search, but the lore shows up in the "lore log" that you can access with SHIFT-L.

Searching for lore on my latest quest in the library. I like this idea, though the broken economy (thanks to the broken gambling system) also breaks this.

3. Travel overland to the dungeon entrance.

4. Battle hordes of monsters as you search for staircases and slowly descend through the levels. The "Clairvoyance" spell, which I got at Level 11, helps by revealing unexplored areas, so it's a little easier to find the staircases down.

5. On the last level--always Level 10 until this last quest--find the barrier surrounding the quest object. Use the Word of Power to break through and grab it.

Finding the Adant of Damelain. I don't think "adant" is a word.

6.  Zip your way to the surface and get out of there. This got easier when I discovered a Word of Power (ABAKAAL) that allows you to jump up a level, and it got a lot easier when I discovered a Word of Power (MINTAAL) that automatically whisks you to the exit. Thus, most of the effort in the dungeon is just getting down.

This was a nice quest reward.

7. Return to Morham for the next quest.

As repetitive as all this is, I had gotten used to it, so the game's changes to the current dungeon, where I'm trying to find the Sixth Ward, are unwelcome. It has 15 levels instead of 10, and the barrier and item aren't on the last level. I'm slowly trying to work my way up and search every level, a process greatly complicated by enemies supremely talented at killing me.

The big change since last time is that the game got hard. For the first four quests, I was unnaturally beefed up in equipment and skills thanks to my gambling winnings. I simply charged through the dungeons and slaughtered the pitiful denizens wherever they appeared. This period of gameplay reminded me unfavorably of Ultima II, with its legions of enemies lining up to be slaughtered. Then I started to notice they were getting harder, and doing significant hit point damage as I barreled through them with abandon. So I slowed down a bit, watched my hit points, and healed myself when necessary.

Before long, though, they got so tough that I started dying every once in a while. I compensated for this by starting to use a bow and sniping them from afar. But soon their own magic missile attacks began to outclass my own, and more important, they started attacking in groups. Instead of fighting them individually in the main dungeon window, I entered the special combat map used in outdoor areas to take on more than one enemy at once.

At first, they attacked in pairs. Then triplets. The numbers kept growing, and now I routinely face six or seven of them.

During this period, I managed to get a "party" of my own. I figured out what I'd been doing wrong, at least in the game's own logic. When you encounter an NPC in a town or dungeon, he'll either talk to you and give you lore or join you. He won't do both. My mistake had been to talk to them first. What I needed to do instead was run right up and hit the (J)oin command.
The NPCs are of varying quality. The mount--a pegasus--is most important, as it greatly limits the time taken in overland travel. Some of the others have died almost instantly. A few have lasted a while and do pretty good damage to enemies with spells and melee attacks while I sit in the back and shoot at them. I feel bad about using the NPCs as cannon fodder this way, but I die, the game's over. Can they say the same?

Group-on-group combat.

There really isn't much you can do with NPCs. They make their own combat choices, although you can give them a broad command as to whether to generally attack or generally evade (I chose "evade" for my pegasus). They gain their own experience from the kills that they make (often stealing it from me!) but I noticed their hit points and levels don't actually increase from this process.

The party command screen.
In this last dungeon, the enemies have been too tough for me even with a barrier of NPCs. Some of them are capable of wiping me out with a few missile shots. Thus, combat has become much more tactical. I have a few resources at my disposal:

  • Terrain. The pathfinding for enemies in this game is pretty much this: if there's no direct path between the enemy and the victim, the enemy jams himself behind a barrier until there is. (The same bad pathfinding applies to party members, too, who tend to bunch up behind each other in combat.) This makes it possible to rest, heal, and use the horn strategy below. Also, enemies won't step on traps or cross certain dropped objects. They can shoot magic at you from behind these objects (and at this point, almost every enemy is capable of doing that) but not if they can't see you. So one strategy is to get them trapped, go off-screen, and fire arrows or spells down the hallway until the enemy dies.
  • Spells. I started accumulating one per level (and occasionally a bonus one based on a scroll) when I switched to the "Loresraat" class. I have a few dozen now. Of them, I use "Cure Serious Wounds," "Identify," "Clairvoyance," and "Fireball" most often. "Lesser Summoning" replaces an NPC temporarily if one dies. "Continual Light" is an odd one; when I cast it the first time, it created a light like a torch, only it's never burned out in six hours of gameplay.

My current spell list.

  • Items and Words of Power. Through lore, I've discovered the Words of Power that work with certain items (liberally dropped by enemies) to convey healing, protection, and offensive spells. For instance, MELENDRI used with a Sphere of Protection increases my armor class. I'm still confused by a lot of these, though; many don't work as advertised. For instance, a Lore Staff is supposed to heal me when used with MELEN, but it doesn't.
  • Horns of Blasting. These are a strange addition to the game that have been the only things keeping me alive. When you blow the horn of blasting--each of which has hundreds of charges--it damages anyone within a four-square radius. My survival strategy is to try to lead enemies to areas where some barrier blocks them from getting at (or shooting at) me and use the horn to destroy them.

From here, I'm able to hit multiple groups of enemies with the Horn of Blasting. I know they're dead when the status window shows that I've collected their experience points A glitch in the game keeps their icons on-screen even when I've eliminated the parties.

The horn strategy might not work for the rest of the game, though, as I'm running out of them. Enemies in this game tend to drop treasure specific to their level (or the level of the dungeon). In the first few dungeons, healing potions and food were dropped in abundance, but at this time (when I could really use lots of the former) I hardly ever see them. Horns of Blasting existed for about two dungeons when I was Level 17-18, and I haven't seen them since.

As you know, I do generally like tactical combat, and there is a vague NetHack-like feel to my current game state, when every time I see an enemy I have to figure out which combination of terrain, spells, and items work best. Unfortunately, this process isn't nearly as enjoyable as NetHack for two reasons:

1. There are one billion enemies per dungeon. Seriously, I think that might not even be hyperbole. They're relentless. You kill half a dozen packs of 'em, walk four steps, and face half a dozen more. Even the most joyful NetHack player who loves outwitting vampire lords would lose patience if he had to face 600 per level.

2. The enemies themselves aren't interesting enough. They come in two basic varieties--those who use melee attacks and those who use magic attacks--and nothing else differentiates them but icon and difficulty level. There are some theoretically capable of casting "Sleep" and "Fear," but I've never noticed any effect from these spells on my characters. In general, there are no enemy-based special tactics or strategies.

One other weird thing that's happened is NPCs have started showing up in packs with enemies. It was already odd enough to find NPCs in the middle of dungeon levels, but now it's worse because although they might be friendly, their companions certainly aren't, and once combat starts, my other party members don't make any distinction between them. NPCs also keep getting caught in my Horn of Blasting radius. I'm not 100% sure, but I think every time I kill an NPC, it damages my "Oath" and makes my "service" due faster.

Leveling has slowed considerably, with millions of experience points now required between each level. I get about one per dungeon. Leveling randomly increases skills and attributes. For me, strength is the most important. I'm carrying around so many quest items that I barely have room for any equipment, and each increase in strength gives me more carrying capacity.

I feel like I'm close to the end, so I don't want to give up now, but between slowly exploring and reloading when I die, it's taking more than half an hour to clear each dungeon level, and if I have to explore all of them to find the quest item, that could easily come to more than seven hours per dungeon. If I can find the Sixth Ward soon, I might have a go at the Seventh Ward (this is all putting New Orleans on my mind) and see if it ends the game.

I recorded some video below that demonstrates the various gameplay elements and combat mechanisms I talked about:
It starts in Revelstone, with a couple of examples of talking to NPCs and shops. At 00:41, you see overland travel and an example of multi-enemy overland combat. At 01:03, the game re-sizes the screen (it uses a shorter vertical screen for inventory) and you see some of this posting, in draft, behind it.

At 01:11, I enter Mount Thunder, an early dungeon, and use "Clairvoyance" to expand the map. The combats that follow are indicative of early dungeons in which you just have to charge at enemies and beat them to death. At 02:07, I kill an enemy with a "Fireball" spell and a few others with arrows. At 02:33, I use the Word of Power to exit the dungeon.
When I enter the Westron Mountains next, things change. At 02:58, you see me maneuvering enemies into barriers so I can repeatedly use my Horn of Blasting and wipe them out. A few such combats follow. At 03:49, you see me maneuver enemies against a trap so I can fire at them repeatedly off-screen without them continuing to advance. Even though these icons are showing just one enemy, there are actually multiple enemies behind them, and if I approach them and engage them in melee combat, I enter party-style combat as in 04:55. At first, my character uses arrows but at 05:16, he charges into melee range and uses his sword. He can't survive many combats in such circumstances, and at the end of the video, he dies.

Before we go, we have to deal with my next game, Fire King. I really need to trim some games off the list, and Fire King seems like a good candidate. I read the manual and played it for a little while, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't deserve its "RPG" label. It has no character development, only the most basic action-game-style inventory, and combat is solely based on the speed of the player's maneuvering and clicking. If someone would like to defend it as an RPG, you have a few days.


  1. You can also safely trim Rance - it qualifies technically, but it's a porn game and a very offensive one at that.

    1. I thought Rance was more of a strategy game? I have the latest one and yes, it's porn, but at least the strategy/rpg portion doesn't feel tacked on.

    2. The first one is very simplistic. But technically it meets at least two of Chet's criteria - it has non-puzzle-related inventory and chance-based combat (character development is questionable). It's also very short, so it really doesn't matter much if it gets trimmed or not.

    3. A few of the Rance games are strategy games rather than straight up rpgs, but all of them have a fair number of rpg elements.

      If you skip it because of its adult nature that is fine, but keep in mind that if you plan to play any of the series then you are playing as the same protaganist and the stories are direct sequels for the most part, so you may lose some of the experience without playing the all of the games.

    4. So far, I haven't excluded any games on moral grounds, so I feel like I need to at least try Rance, even if I think it's revolting. Also, someone went through a lot of trouble to find me an English-translated version.

    5. Trust me, the first Rance game's graphics are so primitive that you may find yourself more bemused than revolted. Turns out I do not have the latest Rance, but the second-latest: Sengoku Rance.

      Now that game you'd certainly find revolting and bewildering, possibly in that order, but it does have a solid RPG/strategy engine built around it.

      Japan does have a wildly different video gaming culture than most of the rest of the world. I remember reading an article in the early nineties about the upcoming TurboGrafx-16 and how many of its games in Japan were eroge games. The article helpfully provided the requisite imagery. Things have only gotten weirder.

    6. just watched some Rance 'lets play'
      Some of the dialog was as shallow as you could conceive... literally "I'm gonna go to the province of X and FU#% her. and well shes a bit young now but give her 5 years and I'll come back around and make sure she is part of my portfolio, guaranteed.' so I'm pretty sure it lends ZERO historical value to the genre as a whole. It seems in the 10 min vid I watched that it is not so much visual porn as it is simply degrading to women in the dialog b/t characters. horrible stuff.
      but I ONLY watched 10 min. so... either its so bad that 10 min is all u need or its qualities stretch so deep that only a complete walkthrough will educate u on the 'pervertness' (sp? gr?) of the thing.

    7. I just think that games like Rance or Cobra Mission constitute their own genre. They may have some RPG or adventure elements thrown in to stretch playtime, but no one should be under the illusion, that these elements are the focus of these games.

    8. Haha, I had forgotten about Cobra Mission. Back then, it was quite a memorable title, despitle it's simplistic gameplay. :)

    9. Rance really isn't a representative of the genre in general. In fact, it exists as a response to certain RPG and storytelling tropes that were in existence at the time.

      The Rance series makes ridiculously leaps in gameplay quality as it progresses. You can argue that the early games have "gameplay" just as filler, but by the time 6 rolled around, it's undeniably a full-fledged RPG.

      The main character is extremely controversial, but I feel as if cherry picking 10 minutes doesn't really convey the full scope of the character. He says and he does horrible things, but at the end of the day you get the sense that he does care for what he decides to be his "support group" or "pack." He's essentially the male version of the Tsundere character archetype (that's usually reserved for women, but I digress) and also very similar to characters like Homer Simpson or Daffy Duck - free-spirited "wild souls" that end up hurting a lot of people through their thoughtlessness but tend to put things back together at the end.

      Also he was intentionally created as a counter-culture to the standard "Japanese" RPG protagonist of being a really nice guy who's oblivious about the opposite gender, brought to a really extreme end.

      An anecdotal story is that he actually won #1 in a popularity poll of "best eroge character", which lead the magazine to change the criteria to "best eroge FEMALE character" just to disqualify him from winning again.

    10. I wonder how much of the terrible dialogs is due to a bad translation? From what I understand Japan es is a terrible hard language to translate to English. I played a fan translation of a bad jrpg once and most of the problems with the dialog struck me as what someone translating fairly literally would create; very repetitive dialoge, as if you were translating a bunch of similar words into one English word, and were more focused on being accurate then sounding good.

  2. Seconding trimming Rance for the same reasons.

  3. Just watched Fire King gameplay, its reminde me to The Legend Of Zelda...

    From wikipedia: The game has been compared to Gauntlet, with its top-down view and endless enemies spawning from monster generators, but differs in that it contains more plot and puzzles than the typical hack and slash game.

  4. I'm not sure you'd want to play Rance even if it were a fully fledged CRPG as its focus is on a protagonist that goes around raping people. It's the first in a long series of games of that theme.

    Mines of Titan is absolutely a CRPG, and a good one at that.

  5. I also remember Fire King on the commodore 64 had a game ending bug. Near the end of the game was a door that simply would not open to allow progress. Grapically it would appear open, but the "space" was still solid. Not sure if the PC version suffers the same fate.

  6. If Fire King is anything like Demon Stalkers (which it's a sequel to), it's not an RPG at all. Skip it. I played the bejeezus out of Demon Stalkers on the Commodore 64 as a kid in the late 80s and it's basically just a Gauntlet clone with some neat touches thrown in.

    1. I haven't played DS, but I read the description for both, and I'm hard-pressed to determine what qualifies FK as an RPG and DS as not.

    2. I just Google Image Search'ed for some screenshots. Definitely just like Demon Stalkers. Definitely not an RPG. I think you're best off skipping this and Rance and going right to Mines of Titan.

      I know Quarterstaff was only only on the Macintosh, but I think if you can find a way to play it, you definitely should.

    3. I'd like to see an article on Quarterstaff too...

    4. In a million years, I never would have guessed there was ever a Mac-only RPG.

      For what it's worth, it's on my secondary list of games to try eventually.

    5. wow, this is new. you got my attention with the mac only rpg so i tried to check out some gameplay on youtube. and there was NOTHING. no lets play, no brief description, nada. i've never had this happen before, so it seems perfect for our addict :)

    6. Quarterstaff is an IF/RPG hybrid like Beyond Zork, almost purely text-based iirc, so there's really little point in a video LP.

      There were several Mac-only RPGs actually. Once you get to 1999 you may want to try Cythera - a very good indie Ultima-clone.

  7. "Continual Light" is an odd one; when I cast it the first time, it created a light like a torch, only it's never burned out in six hours of gameplay.

    Heh, well, if it burned out, it wouldn't be continual, now would it?

    I believe that spell comes from D&D; when cast on an object, that object glows permanently, unless/until being hit with a Dispel Magic. They're probably eliding the choice of an object, and just giving you a permanent light source.

    Heh, you may end up casting that spell exactly once, for the whole game, yet it may end up being one of your more valuable spells. (Dunno how light works in that game.)

    1. I beleive in NWN, you could cast it on items, thus permanently enchanting them with 'light' which in turn made them more valuable to sell.

      Taken to its logical conclusion, most people would have several objects enchanted with continual light in their homes and torches/lanterns would be used only by the poor.

    2. That must be how the candles in the dungeons of Skyrim stay lit despite not having been opened for thousands of years.

    3. Addict: In D&D 3.5 it was indeed changed to "Continual Flame", creating a torch that burns forever with no heat or smoke.

      Oddly I never thought of that in Skyrim...

    4. That sounds like it was intended to simply avoid having to micromanage the logistics of keeping torches going all the time. Next you're going to tell me that there's a spell called "Continual 10' Pole" that prods around the caster's radius forever.

    5. And here I thought you were tired of porn games.

    6. That was the intent of the continual light spell, so that you could cast it and never worry about light again. However, there is a benefit to using other light sources. The continual light will only reveal 1 square away (just like basic torches), whereas use of graveling or lomilialor will light up 2 squares away instead of just 1, this effect lasts for awhile and then it dims and only reveals 1 square away again.

  8. I find it amusing that the Land of the Lost is such an obscure game that when it starts getting problematically difficult, none of us (as of this posting) have any advice for the Addict except with regard to which game to try next.

    The gameplay described here sounds tediously padded with drawn out and difficult combat, and just plain unfun. I probably would have quit or started cheating long before this point.

    I can't help but wonder if some of the game's problems stem from the fact that it is a licensed video game - such titles tend to be notoriously low quality and rushed out the door for a quick buck. See: Superman 64.

    1. Jumping in with 2 bits of correction first:

      This is a fan-made game, not any sort of official release or licensed product. It was done by amateur programmers, from scratch.

      Like most fan-made games, there tend to be a lot of good ideas, but problems in execution. It takes time and practice to make a complex system that works well; someone's first few games are often a learning process. Fan-made games also tend to have a much smaller audience, so the creator's may not have felt pushed for making sure the game was easy enough for anyone to pick up, especially if they know the in's and out's of the system and can breeze through it.

      From what I've read, this one started as just CGA and has had been slowly improved over a decade.

    2. Yes, Kellandros is right. And it's just The Land. I titled a posting "The Land of the Lost" as a joke, 'cause I was lost in that particular posting.

      Here's the big mystery as I see it: the developer spent 20 years releasing new version, fixing problems, and upgrading it to new graphics standards, but as far as I can tell from my online searches, exactly one person--the guy who wrote the FAQ--has actually played it. It doesn't come up on a single message board that I can find.

    3. not too surprising that someone made it. there is even a fanmade "tv series" of the books, with similar quality. :) LOVE the dedication, LOVE the admiration, but yes, the execution leaves you wanting. I would love to give the guy a million bucks just for being so awesome and dedicated, but in the end i think yes, you may have raised the number of people who have played this game by a factor of ten, just by writing about it. Fan projects are important though. I think they shed a lot of light on the entire subject and could be worth a blog of their own.

    4. Thinking about it, if you do finish it you may be literally one of possibly 2 or 3 people able to claim so.
      Something fitting to you.

    5. Actually, I had around 100 registrations of this game, Shocking huh?!?!?! But they all predated the Internet being in nearly every home. It was originally only available on BBS systems and so was not the easiest game in the world to even come across. At some point PcSig added it their library which did manage to spread it around a bit more. I can believe that nearly all of the people who actually registered the game had gotten it from PcSig.

      By the time the Internet was more common, this game was probably long forgotten by those who played it (Except Baltirow, who was the only other person I ever found on the net who has played it)

      Versions after 2.3 were only available from my website, which was rather obscure, so it never really propogated in the Internet age, so not really a surprise you can find so little about it.

      Originally Home of the Underdogs had only the 2.3 version, where they got it from I do not know. When I found it there I had sent them the latest at the time 5.0.0.

      I am still shocked and amazed that you actually found this game and gave this much time and attention to it (Especially with all the problems you had with it). In all reality this is probably the rarest game you have ever played! eheheh

  9. I tried looking for a guide or FAQ online; the best I found was this:

    The main interesting thing I see is a mention that only certain classes can use artifacts; but it claims Loresraat should be able to use them all.

    Sounds like there may be a bug with the items that don't work right; it could just be the word of power given was wrong but it would be fairly tedious to find out.

    Most D&D based combat systems run into scaling problems, especially with monster encounters. The most reliable way to scale up monsters is normally through just hit points and damage output; giving them access to a wide range of magic powers can lead to unforseen broken combinations. So combat is much more predictible with them just spamming the same attacks.

    If this is running something like 2nd edition rules, where equipment is only restricted by cost and not level, then that explains your early success and recent problems. A +2 magic sword would let a level 1 fighter hit and do damage about as well as a level 3 fighter with no magic items.

    Your chance to hit increases with level, the same with monsters. Defense for you doesn't increase with level, only with better equipment. But monsters tend to be designed at a certain level, so one of near equal level should only be hit roughly half the time. Does that frequency of misses sound right to you?

    I'm not sure if you have found any better or hidden shops, or what else there has been for loot in the dungeon in terms of arms and armor. But it may be time for some upgrades.

    Also, is there any command to give equipment to NPCs- that may help them last longer. Or you may have to take them training into prior dungeons to level them up.

    Another thing might be to go to an earlier, less lethal dungeon and just try out all the different magic spells in combat. Learning new levels of spells only at odd levels also sounds very like D&D.

    Know enemy could either provide some useful hints for weaknesses, or be entirely useless.

    Understand Lore sounds like it could either be useful for figuring out Words of Power, or just be tied to the clue/Lore Library system you are already using.

    I see Detect Magic and Identify in the spell list too, those may give more information on why certain Words of Power didn't work correctly.

    Forbidding is the term in the books used to cover creating magic barriers and traps. It also is the term used to refer to the barriers blocking access to the Wards you are collecting. It could potentially give you more terrain control in combat, or wall monsters in so they can't get to you. Wall of Flame could be this style too, or just another mass damage spell.

    Enchantment in D&D is normally used for creating or upgrading magical items, though permanent effects require additional spells/cost. It may boost the enchantment on your weapons/armor for combat.

    Protection, Shield, and Blink should reduce how often you or your party get hit. Shield normally is primarily against ranged attacks, and traditionally completely blocks Magic Missile spells. Immunity sounds promising too, but it may just protect you from a limited set of spells.

    Scare in D&D normally only works on much weaker monsters, but it could take one or two attackers out of combat for a while.

    1. There is a lengthy FAQ coming with the game download, Chet just seems to not want to use it because see previous post ;)

      The Land is not DnD, it's stats just have the same names, like in Nethack.

    2. I looked at it tonight (see my posting tomorrow for why). It didn't really help my specific problems.

      Kellandros, thanks for giving me the term "forbidding." As for your other speculations, I may have given you the impression I was more confused than I was about spells. But "enchantment" doesn't seem to do anything at all, despite what it normally does, and the aforementioned FAQ indicates that the spell was "not implemented."

      The problem isn't my hit/miss ratio against opponents, nor the damage I do to them. Both are satisfyingly high. The problem is the damage they do to ME--in melee combat, most of the opponents in the late game can kill me in two hits, no matter what I do for protection.

  10. You can also skip "Space Rogue". It's a (fine)space trading sim, (think of "Elite" or the much later "Wing Commander - Privateer") with some arcade elements. A good game, but not an RPG IMHO.

    1. I have several notes to that effect, so other people must have said the same thing. MobyGames doesn't even classify it as an RPG; I get that from Wikipedia. I feel honor-bound to at least investigate it for a few minutes, but based on yours and others' comments, I'll probably dump it. Thanks!

    2. I'm going to have to disagree. Space Rogue has an actual plot (and yes, you can win the game), making it at least as legit an RPG as Starflight.

  11. I see you have 'Mines of Titan' coming up in a few games. When you gather the documentation make sure to separate out certain files (or better yet have someone else separate them for you). Some of the documentation is not meant to be looked at to mid game. In the boxed set it came in a separate manila folder labeled 'Top secret' and warned you not to open it till the game told you so.

  12. Where can I download this game? I have found it nowhere.

    1. Home of the Underdogs has the latest; they list it as previously shareware but the author offered it to them to provide as freeware.

    2. There's a download link ("Official site of The Land") on the RogueBasin page. That's certainly easier for me to access than Home of the Underdogs, which is rather slow. The RogueBasin link:

      (I think that link is likely to a later version, too. Hard to be sure since HotU keeps returning me server errors right now.)

    3. Thank you very much!

  13. I wanted to address this particular comment (Mainly because the mechanic for this is poorly documented):

    "For instance, a Lore Staff is supposed to heal me when used with MELEN, but it doesn't."

    MELEN is actually the wrong word here. The mechanic actually needs better explaining in the documentation, but, a multi-purpose item like a lore staff actually requires two words to invoke a function. There are usually three lore messages that need to be put together to know what two words are needed, the form of these messages is like:

    1. A artifact_name is used with word_1
    2. A artifact_name can do effect
    3. word_2 will trigger effect

    Now when you wanted to use that particular item with that particular effect you would use "word_1 word_2" as the activation words. So in your example, MELEN is only half of the necessary activation, you are missing the other half and therefore nothing would happen.

    There was a function added to some version of the game (5+ should have it) where you can store commonly used activation words in the F-keys. To store an activate word, you would activate the item, type in the activation word(s) and then press the F-key you wanted to store the word into (You can use F2 through F10). Now when you wanted to use the stored word, activate the item and then press the F-key containing the words you want instead of typing them. F1 will always produce the last words used.

    Spell casting also can use the F keys to store spell names. It works the same way. Start to cast a spell, type in the name and the press the F-key you want to store that spell in. After the spell is stored you can just press the F-key to activate spell casting and cast the spell assigned to the F-key (Without the need to initiate spell casting first). Again F1 will always recast the last spell cast.


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1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) This also includes user names that link to advertising.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters. I will delete comments containing profanity on a case-by-case basis.

3. NO ANONYMOUS COMMENTS. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. If you don't want to log in to Google to comment, either a) choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank, or b) sign your anonymous comment with a preferred user name in the text of the comment itself.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.