Sunday, February 28, 2021

Magic Candle III: Already in Snuff

Traveling by "Teleport" actually saves aggregate stamina.
Our adventure this session begins with the party in Telermain, having rested and restocked (as much as their finances will allow) after exploring the Tower of Wesgar and returning with a magic mirror. We hire a ship and make our way back to the large island in the south-center of the Solian islands. I don't think I've mentioned it, but you hire ships at 50 gold pieces per day. It takes about one full day to get to the two extreme ends of the map, so you only need one or two days (an extra day is a nice buffer in case you misinterpret the map) to get where you're going. The question is whether you want the ship to hang around so you can take it back. That costs extra days. Not having a ship isn't a huge problem because the "Caravel" spell will summon one, plus there are those teleportal rooms that I still haven't used once.
The next thing I find on the island is the city of West Tasur. West and East Tasur are co-joined, but East Tasur has been overrun with the Blight, all of its houses abandoned. The western side has the usual shops and NPCs. I find the codewords of two gods in their respective temples. An NPC named Shalama tells me of her friend, Lucia, a priestess of the god Vorhamme (who forged my magic sword, Brennix). Lucia was married to the chandler of Tasur. Before they were forced to abandon their home on the east side of town, he buried a scroll next to his front door telling where to find a cache of magic candle wicks. The house should also have a supply of rubies in a chest.
I leave Fiz in the wizard's lodge studying "Felmis." In literally the next house, I find an NPC named Jarron selling "Felmis" for 1,750 coins. I don't have that much, but I mark it as a priority. An NPC named Delpina gives me the password (KAVITAR) for the dungeon of Sora on the island of Minalt, in the far southeast.
Ignoring a sign warning us away, we enter East Tasur and start exploring the buildings and fighting various blight creatures who ambush us on the streets. I'm already low on "Medicin" from curing illnesses.
The house with a chest full of rubies is the third one that we search. We dig up the scroll next to the front door and it tells us to find a building with a courtyard in the southwest corner, then search in the northeastern corner. We do so and find a magic wick. I don't know for sure what it's for, but some things said elsewhere in the game make me suspect that we're going to be constructing a new Magic Candle, probably to trap whatever demon is responsible for the Blight.
So . . . a piece of string?
Back in West Tasur, we sell the rubies for just enough money for "Felmis," so I finally don't have to worry about memorizing "Restsoul" anymore. 
We continue poking around the island. East of Eisheim, we find the sleeping place of the goddess Seine, and one of the code words I've been tracking awakens her. I forget to note what she increases for us, but one of the attributes is intelligence.
"Wait a minute. That time King Rebnard invited me to his chambers to 'wield his favorite staff' . . ."
Aside from a stronghold and a teleportal chamber, the last thing we find on the island is the ruined city of Nekros, the centerpiece of which is the Great Library of Archos. There's a locked door in the library and somebody beyond it, but we don't have his name so he won't let us in.
Some cool statues.
It's a relief when we're done with the large island. At this point, I've been moving mostly west-east, but I decide to pretend like I've been going around the islands counter-clockwise, and thus make Minalt my next stop. It has a teleportal, a stronghold, and an "ominous gateway" leading to the dungeon of Sora, which my passcode soon opens.
I wonder what happens if I yell it.
Sora is only three levels, which is a relief. All three are sectioned, with some areas only accessible from higher or lower levels or teleporters. There are a fair number of rooms, but with easy enemies. We find a handful of diamonds and other gems, which will be nice to sell. A puzzle on the second floor requires us to split the party and station three people on three different pressure plates while stepping on a fourth. This opens a wall that allows us to get to Level 3. 
Game, please. I've won Chaos Strikes Back.
On Level 3, we find a magic axe called "Meatus" that only dwarves can use. This causes some reshuffling, because now I have two magic axes and only one character with a decent skill with axes. After some angst, I give the other magic axe to Eneri so she can develop her skill with it and give her magic sword to Fiz.
A teleporter brings us to a hidden area of Level 1. An NPC ghost there (I have to cast "Soulspeak") tells us the name of the ghost in the Nekros library: GORION. This is, of course, also the name of the PC's mentor in Baldur's Gate. Given that the later game also starts in a library, I wonder if it's a deliberate homage, or if there's a source character in some fiction I haven't read. 
"But it will cost you 10,000 gold pieces or a rare book to get in."
Vorhamme's sleeping chamber is the final room of the dungeon, and we have to pass it by because we don't know his code word. We find it in literally the next place we stop. Upon doing so, we hustle back to Sora, wake up Vorhamme, and get raised in strength, carpentry, and a few other attributes.
Finished with Minalt, we move to the eastern island, starting with the city of Elport and soon moving on to the city of Tiara. This is where we finally get some information about the Blight. It comes from the east, they say, and is worst around the Tower of Hitmos (we get the password). An NPC in Tiara named Rozimel blames the Blight on Alvirex, a wizard from the "northern lands" now living in Hitmos. I don't know; "Alvirex" sure sounds like a demon's name, like "Dreax" from the original game.
We finally get a name!
Hitmos sounds like an endgame sort of place, but it's on the same island, and we have the pass code, so we decide to give it a try. But shortly after we enter, it becomes clear that I'm simply not "feeling" this game session or this entry--literally the only thing that has remotely interested me is the Gorion thing--so I think I'm just going to end it prematurely, post it so I'll have something that will go out on Sunday, and start again fresh in a couple of days. Maybe I'll do one of those ultra-detailed ones that gives the blow-by-blow of every corner of the dungeon. Some people like that.
Alvirex doesn't like halflings, I guess.
Miscellaneous notes:
  • While exploring Minalt, we ended up fighting a few battles on a surface of light volcanic ash. God, I wish all combats in this game took place on this backdrop. In nearly every battle, I miss at least one enemy because it's camouflaged by the background texture.
This makes me long for the days when we didn't try to graphically depict things.
  • The game has a severely annoying bug by which sometimes when you're wandering outdoors, it has to stop to load. When it finishes loading, everyone's energy levels drop to 0 for no reason. I have to then waste 6 Sermins.
Son(a bitch).
Next entry tomorrow to make up for the brevity of this one.

Time so far: 22 hours


  1. One must be pretty badass to attack enemies with their Meatus.

    1. I had this immediate thought as well... guess the programmers were medical guys. Or... maybe the knew what they were doing!

    2. Drat, you made that joke before I could...

  2. Six Hour Rule.

    I know you won't, but I feel for you. I've been struggling with 'The Witcher' and finally decided to pack it in. The core gameplay loop of:

    Fight; Loot; Level Up


    Infantile; Frustrating; Unengaging

    respectively. I really wanted to like it, and thought it might just be a hump to get over, but the payoffs just aren't there.

    1. This one isn't very well documented. I want to get the ending on record. Plus, while the game has something to do with it, I've just been in a funk the last few days. I need to try again with a clear head.

    2. It's a bit of a minor spoiler but be mentally prepared to hate the final act.

    3. Not only the final act design choices you’re referring to, but from memory the final stage of the final dungeon is a completely empty room. It must’ve been a rush at the finish with this game.

    4. I remember playing through the Witcher 1 back in 2007 and reasonably enjoying it, but it did have its share of problems.

      One negative memory that sticks with me is a chapter set in a swamp, where I had to backtrack between two villages several times, and in the swamp between the villages there was always one drowner who'd crawl out of the water and attack me.

      I would have been ok with the lack of fast travel, but throwing the same trivial encounter at me again and again every time I walk through that swamp? Holy f*ck no. That was just annoying. Respawning low level enemies along a major travel route is just bad design.

    5. I'd totally understand invoking the six hours rule, but for my own selfish reason I'd love to see the ending of MC3. I tried several times to get through this one when it was new and I bounced off of it every single time.

    6. JarlFrank. I remember that drowner. The first Witcher game was a strange kind of torture as far as I'm concerned. The opening area was flawed, but very compelling. I was convinced the game would get better as my character got stronger. No such luck.

  3. "Maybe I'll do one of those ultra-detailed ones that gives the blow-by-blow of every corner of the dungeon."

    Please don't. Put it out of its misery. For yourself more than for us :)

    1. For completely selfish reasons please do I love these detailed entrys.

  4. That’s not a bug that is draining your energy to 0, it’s from swimming.

    Your dwarf must have more than zero swimming skill.

    1. It's not from swimming. It happens even if I'm nowhere near water. And EVERYONE suddenly goes to 0, not just the dwarf.

    2. Is it maybe from entering the blight?

    3. No, it happens on all kinds of territory. It's always after the game has to spend a few seconds loading. I'm 99% sure it is a bug.

    4. Possibly it's a timer conflict. That is, some parts of the game run on a "frame timer" and some parts of the game run on a "real world clock timer". If character stamina decreases based on frame timer, then on a contemporary system, that doesn't make a difference; but on a modern system, halting to load (for a fraction of a real world second) can be SOOOO many frames that a character's stamina just runs to zero.

      Such bugs are not uncommon with games of the early 90s.

  5. Gorion (Forgotten Realms) is, as far as I'm aware, an original creation for Baldur's Gate 1 (1998), likely created by lead writer Lukas Kristjanson, and Gorion (Magic Candle 3) appears to be a fairly minor character. There is also some tradition of "Gorion" being a name within Jewish culture.

    I suppose it's possible Kristjanson was aware of the MC3 character and made a reference, either deliberately or subconsciously, or that they're both drawing from a Jewish source, but I think it's much more likely it's pure coincidence of reusing a fairly generic fantasy name in two similar contexts.

    1. I think Joseph ben Gorion could well serve as an inspiration for a librarian.

  6. Wow, SMBC! It's been a while. Might just do some catching up...

  7. After your coverage of the first two games, it's a bummer this one is turning out to be a bit of a dud.

    1. 3 is actually my favorite of them. I think he’s just not in the mood for more Magic Candle right now. All three games are daunting chores if you’re not having fun.

    2. I agree, I really liked MC3 on my playthrough years ago - up until the final act that is. It's just the kind of game that requires more micromanagement with all its logistic challenges, which you do need a right mood for. I remember being completely enthralled with all the things the game simulates, like putting characters to work and stuff, rather than getting annoyed at them. But I also kinda understand Chet's experience; I'm not sure I can master this kind of investment in a game anymore myself.

  8. "Next entry tomorrow to make up for the brevity of this one."

    Poor Magic Candle 3 fights a losing battle for Chet's attention against World of Xeen :)

    1. And I made a promise I couldn't keep. I had too much to do today to finish the next MMIV entry. It's almost done, though.

  9. This looks a bit like Ultima6.

  10. I never played any of the magic candle series. How does the magic system work exactly? I got curious reading that you're spending time studying to randomly get spells memorized, but you can pay to keep from having to do that anymore? Sorry if this had been explained before, I either missed it or read and forgot.


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