Friday, July 29, 2022

Eye of the Beholder: Resolutions and Decisions of Divers Practicall Cases of Conscience

"Wish" is the entirely wrong word here.
        
I handled the four levels of the mage's guild in a couple of sessions. I started in a bad mood. The foyer of the curiously pristine guild has three teleporters. I had just come off a long session with The Return of Werdna, and I was barely interested in mapping, let alone mapping something with any complexity. What also annoys me about Beholder (I think this was true of the previous two games, too) is that there are no coordinates--or, at least, no way to determine them. When you take a teleporter, you have to start the new map in a random location on the sheet and try to figure out how it all fits later. I wasn't really in the mood for that, and my maps of the guild are incomplete and sloppy. There were some small areas that I didn't bother mapping at all.
       
The only CRPG enemy I've seen uglier than this are the "centaurs" of Fallout 3.
        
Level 1 had a lot of small areas interconnected by stairs and teleporters. It's a good thing that the game makes it clear, through loading times, which stairs are proper capital-S Stairs and which are just connections on the same level. Otherwise, I would have assumed the guild was eight or nine levels deep.
    
Enemies on the level were ogre slugs and watchghosts, neither of which I had encountered before. Ogre slugs are rather disgusting--head, torso and arms of an ogre, tail of a slug. Watchghosts have a cold attack. But both died in one hit, so there wasn't much need for protective spells. 
     
A watchghost. I don't know why so many of my screenshots say, "You can't go that way." I don't feel like I spend that much time bumping into walls.
      
One thing that I've appreciated about the Beholder series is how it's tried to include puzzles that transcend the purely mechanical ones of its Dungeon Master roots. Level 1's single serious puzzle--there were lots of levers and buttons and such, too--exemplifies the good and bad of this approach. Early in the level, we found a book called The Elemental Seasons that talked about the influence of the seasons and weather on elemental summonses. The book said that fire elementals favor the summer, earth elementals the winter, air elementals the autumn, and water elementals the spring.
   
Later, a room offered four teleporters, each with a plaque tying the teleporter to one of the four seasons.
        
Another plaque said: "To quicken the realm, the rains of spring." I think they would have made more sense the other way.
      
On the other side of the teleporter, a room branched off into four passages, and each passage had another teleporter and a painting that exemplified one of the four elementals.  
       
This painting suggests "earth" and, thus, winter.
    
Getting through the area required us to enter each seasonal teleporter, then return via the teleporter next to the associated elemental painting. Upon doing so for the last season, we were teleported to Level 2.
   
I like the approach, but the execution makes the puzzle far too easy. The book basically tells you what to do. If you get it wrong, incidentally, a single watchghost appears back in the original room, and you have to kill it. You may think that getting attacked is fitting punishment for getting it wrong, but the problem is that if the player knows he got it wrong, he can figure it out through brute force. Maybe I've been spoiled by Werdna, but I'd like to see a little more challenge.
          
The game spells everything out for you.
   
The same is true of a puzzle early on the second level. At the same place we found the Seasons book, we also found a journal written by Archmage Trobriand. A section deals with the summoning of scaladars, which are basically giant scorpions. The journal suggests he was killed by the beasts. Somewhere along the way, we found an artifact called Trobriand's Ring in a niche.

On Level 2, we were swarmed by scaladars, but the monsters did no damage. I thought they were just weirdly ineffective, but it turns out (I looked this up later) that if you have Trobriand's Ring in your inventory, they just don't attack. That's nice, but maybe we should have been required to wear it or something? Or even be aware that we were solving a puzzle? This and the gem puzzle on Level 3 (see below) should have come together and reached some kind of average. Later, we had to put the ring in another niche to open a door, but again the clue ("THE WAY IS REVEALED WITH THE LURE OF THE BEASTS") was too obvious.
      
I wasted a "Flesh to Stone" on him before I realized he was harmless.
     
Early on the level, we met another joinable NPC, a sprite named Bugenius ("Bug" for short). He offered to join, but I felt my party was already well-balanced, and his innocence turned me off. He asked if we were going to make evil creatures "sleep for a very long time." I brought him into the party just to check out his attributes--he's a neutral good mage of Level 10 with decent statistics--but I reloaded afterwards. My understanding is that NPCs disappear from the game once you reject or dismiss them from the party, which is too bad. It's also amusing how a dismissed NPC dumps literally everything he's carrying on the ground before stalking away, although for mechanical reasons I suppose it's better than forcing the player to reload and dispossess the NPC manually.
      
You seem annoying.
      
The scaladars didn't attack, but they were also nigh-indestructible, taking only a few points of damage with every "All Attack." It took us a while to clear them out (even if we wanted to spare non-hostile creatures, they swarmed us and blocked our passage). Other enemies on the level were steel shadows--suits of armor inhabited by some kind of worm thing that came lashing out of the armor's visor. 
       
The game found a couple of ways to animate armor.
      
Sounds remain aggressively unpleasant, and the scaladars are the worst so far, emitting a screeching noise that ought to have gotten someone fired.
   
On Level 2, we first faced trapped grates. If you walk over them, spikes may come shooting out and do significant damage, plus either shove you back or shove you into the next square. In a few cases, I found switches to disable them, but in others, I just had to take the damage in order to get to the other side. More than one "Raise Dead" scroll went to healing the damage from these traps.
      
It's all up to you, Delmair.
     
Level 2 ended with a square that stripped most of our equipment, animated it, and forced us to fight it. Cute, but the process of putting everything back on again was pretty annoying.
      
It looks like the party consists of a judge and five people being sworn in for jury duty.
      
Levels 3 and 4 redeemed the game a bit, offering both puzzles and enemies that were harder than anything in the game so far. The levels are interconnected by gratings in the floor, and you first have to find keys to unlock the grates, and then pull them open with a grapple that you find early on the level. Not hard, but at least unique.
         
This will take me to one section of Level 4.
       
Level 3 starts with a puzzle that I almost needed a hint to solve. In a niche, you find a blue gem and a red gem. A nearby sign reads: "THE HAND OF THE LEARNED HOLDS THE KEY." I read too fast and misread "LEARNED" as "LEADER." The hallway has a teleporter that kept knocking me back to the beginning if I passed a certain square, and there was no other place to go. I figured the gems were the "keys," and I put one in my lead character's hand, which didn't do anything. I tried the other, and still nothing. I tried Bugsy, thinking the game might have a different interpretation as to which slot is the "lead." We still got teleported. I hunted around through the interface and manual to see if there was a way to designate a certain party member as "leader" that had nothing to do with position. Lots of other games offer this. No dice. Finally, I re-read the plaque, realized my mistake, and got through by putting the gem in the hands of the character with the highest intelligence.
   
As usual, there were two regular enemies on the level, a pattern I'm finding more and more ridiculous. The first were water weirds--easy creatures that popped out of some grates and went down in a single hit. Their ease was balanced by the punching power of the earth elementals. They can somehow punch through the entire party, damaging everyone. For the first time in the game, I used spells heavily. I kept my buffing spells up, particularly "Haste," tried to nail them at a distance with offensive spells, and cast "Hold Monster" when they got close. If I needed a break, I cast "Wall of Force"--a spell I had severely under-rated until now--and took my time healing while the enemies paced impatiently on the other side.  
       
Careful! We might get wet!
        
I'm running hot and cold on combat in this game. There are little aspects of timing that seem off. For instance, if a monster steps into the square in front of you, you can often execute an attack and dance away. But if you cast a spell on a monster that has just stepped into the square in front of you, he'll always be able to get in his own attack between the end of the spell animation and your backward or sideward movement. The whole thing where the entire game freezes until the spell animation finishes is also very annoying, but I survived it in the previous two games. I think maybe "All Attack" is just throwing me off. Enemies seem faster, maybe, too? I'll backpedal down a long corridor and assume I have plenty of time, but then suddenly the foe is in my face again.
   
On the positive side, I found throwing weapons for both Marina and Father Jon that return after they're thrown, so they can participate in combat without having to pick up a bunch of missile weapons afterwards.
  
An interesting thing happened the first time Delmair was injured by one of the earth elementals. He turned into a tiger. Apparently, he's a were-tiger, and he transforms at the first sign of injury. In so transforming, he renders himself useless in the second rank (his claws don't reach enemies), and he drops his pole-arm on the ground, so I'm not enamored of the revelation. It also completely contradicts his background in the novelette. Hell, maybe this isn't Delmair at all, but rather someone impersonating him. Either way, it explains his line about "certain abilities that no other can offer," so you can all get your minds out of the gutters. 
    
When facing a being of living rock, I'm not sure it makes sense to discard your polearm in favor of claws.
     
I don't know how long he stays in that form. He's only ever transformed back after we've camped. I didn't want to put him in the front rank, so I just did my best not to get actually hit by the elementals.
    
Journals and scraps of paper started providing some background on the lich we're here to kill. He was once an archmage named Acwellan. (Have we encountered that name before? I Googled and couldn't find anything, but it sounds so familiar.) He sensed a rising evil in the ruins of Myth Drannor, something "connected with the fall of this once-beautiful city." To counteract the evil, he tried to make himself immortal, which backfired and turned him into a lich.
     
In case you're starting to feel sympathetic towards the lich, he also started to go megalomaniacal.
        
Finding Acwellan required us to go beneath Level 3, to the water-filled Level 4. I'm not a fan of water levels, and this game was no exception. The game had prepped us by offering us plenty of Scrolls of Water Breathing and even a Helmet of Water-Breathing. One casting covers the entire party and lasts for a solid amount of time. But then the developers included an entire region in which no magic, including water breathing, works.

Not having water breathing while underwater only damages you when you move, for some reason. You can even sleep, memorize spells, and cast them (outside the anti-magic area) as long as you don't leave the current square. But none of that helps in the anti-magic area, which I had to explore carefully, map, and keep people alive with healing potions (thankfully, I'd been hoarding them) and, ultimately, "Raise Dead." Some previous comments lead me to believe that others have a lot of trouble with this area, but I approached it from a Return of Werdna mentality: explore, get as far as you can, map, reload, and then make a final push through the area once you have a completed map. I didn't find it to be a big deal.
   
The area was swarming with water elementals and amphibious creatures called slithermorphs, but they died in one hit and are hardly worth mentioning.
       
This place is fond of enemies with sludge for legs.
      
The underwater area had some "jets of water" that forced us where we didn't want to go. Usually, these could be turned off by finding a switch, though in one case we (clued by a sign) used "Wall of Force" to block it. On both this and the previous level, there were piles of scrolls with Level 8 and Level 9 mage spells ("Meteor Swarm," "Time Stop," "Energy Drain"), and my two mages loaded up.
         
What kind of warning did we expect? "Attention, adventurers: I am about to unleash a torrent of icy water!"
      
There was an okay puzzle on Level 3 that required us to fill the two cups on a classic Libra-style set of scales with eight Rings of Protection with positive and negative values, achieving a net result of 0 on both sides. Easy, but like I said, the game is trying.
       
At least the game didn't make me identify all of them first.
     
We met Acwellan upon emerging from the underwater level in the southwest section.
        
It still doesn't look like a lich. It looks like a vampire.
       
Learning his backstory had prompted me to try to be a bit charitable, so I was annoyed by the generally hostile dialogue options. The options had us spare him if he would give us his "artifact," which prompted me to re-watch the opening cinematic. Sure enough--I didn't remember this--the weird little man who hired us specified that he wanted us to kill the lich and retrieve his artifact, not just kill him. Anyway, none of the dialogue options worked. Acwellan attacked us after warning us that if we defeat him, "the price you pay will be dear."
     
Judging by those options, you'd think everyone in the party had a charisma of less than 6.
      
The battle with Acwellan involved the first use of "Mirror Image" that I've seen in a first-person game, so that was kind of cool. He was capable of both holding and paralysis spells. But he still died in a couple of hits after we hacked away his images.
     
The party isn't doing so well.
      
A cinematic started after his death, and for a minute I thought we had actually won the game. Instead, the graphic showed Acwellan's body clutching a tome--probably Rex's Codex of the Planes. A shimmering appeared next to the lich's body. The little bastard who hired us appeared, grabbed the codex, and disappeared. (Technically, he also said: "Hahahahahahahaha! The Codex is now mine. I have this city and soon the entire world will join it!") I knew he was evil. You could tell by the fingernails.
          
Is this little twerp the Dark God or just his minion?
          
With his dying breath, Acwellan said that we must "stop the Dark God from opening his gate to the Realm of Shadow and taking over this world." Seriously--a world-ending threat? For Level 11 characters? I miss the days of Tyranthraxus, who just wanted to take over the lands around Phlan. Even the evil god Bane, in Pools of Darkness, limited his effect to the Moonsea region.
     
Uh, I'm pretty sure it was you who attacked us.
    
"His lair is in the Temple of Lathander," Acwellan continued. "I will teleport you near there. Now go!" In moments, we found ourselves back outside, where a convenient earthquake had opened a passage that had been closed before, leading to the temple.
      
I spent the entire last session not realizing that the area I was exploring is meant to be "outside." You can tell by the sky.
      
We'll do a quick character check before wrapping up:
   
  • Starling is a Level 11 paladin. Her armor class is -6. She is dual-wielding a long sword +4 and a short sword +3 and wearing a helm +1, plate mail +3, a scrying glass, Gauntlets of Fire Giant Strength, a Ring of Sustenance, a Ring of Protection +3, and leather boots. 

I had forgotten about the scrying glass until now. I had thought it might enable "True Seeing" or something, but it turns out it casts "Improved Identify." That means I can give my mages other Level 2 spells in those slots. Looking at Starling's inventory also reminded me that I haven't found any boots in this game so far. Before you object to the Ring of Protection, in this game, rings and bracers stack with armor, which I think is a violation of AD&D rules.
      
Starling carries the quest items.
  
  • Bugsy is a Level 10/12 fighter thief. His AC is -7. He is dual-wielding a long sword +4 and a short sword +3 "Frostbite." He wears chain mail +4, Bracers of Protection +1, a Ring of Protection +3, a Ring of Sustenance, leather boots, and a Necklace of Adornment.
   
I'm aware that the necklace does nothing, but it's not like there's any place to sell things in this game. On the subject of necklaces. Marina has a Necklace of Missiles, but you can't use it if you wear it like a necklace. You have to hold it in your hand. 
     
Bugsy's statistics.
      
  • Gaston is a Level 10/11 ranger/cleric with an AC of -7. He's fighting with a polearm +3 ("Zymoks") that I have to manually swap out with his blessed holy symbol when I want him to cast a spell. (It turns out the symbol gives him one extra spell per level). He wears a plate mail +3, Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength, a Ring of Protection +2, a Ring of Protection +3, leather boots, and another Necklace of Adornment. 
  
Rings of Protection may stack with armor, but they don't stack with each other, so Gaston having two didn't make any sense. When this investigation was over, I switched it with Father Jon's Ring of Feather Falling.
 
I completely missed when Gaston leveled up to 11 and got Level 6 spells. I had him memorize "Heal" and "Heroes' Feast," a spell I'm encountering for the first time, I think. It promises to heal, bless, cure disease, and make the characters immune to fear, poison, hopelessness, and panic (are the last two even present in this game?), and it affects the whole party. That sounds like it ought to be a higher level spell.
   
  • Delmair is a Level 13 ranger with an AC of -9. This is due to his banded mail +3, helm +2, Bracers of Protection +2, and Ring of Protection +2. He also has a Necklace of Adornment and wields a halberd +5. 

I didn't realize until now that he was so out of balance with the front line pair. Bugsy had no helm at all, so I gave Delmair's helm to Starling and Starling's to Bugsy, leaving them both at -8 and Delmair at -6.
       
Delmair levels up against an earth elemental. Or maybe from using the key.
    
  • Marina is a Level 13 mage with an AC of -1. When I don't have a wand or scroll in her hand, she has a dagger +4 ("Ocnor"), which returns after thrown. She has a robe +3, a Helm of Underwater Breathing, a Ring of Protection +3, Bracers of Protection +5, a Ring of Wizardry, and leather boots. 
    
Marina learns "Time Stop" but won't be able to cast it for 6 levels.
        
  • Father Jon is a Level 10/11 cleric/mage with an AC of -4. His black hammer +3 returns when thrown, but it means I can only put one of his spellcasting devices (spellbook or holy symbol) in his other hand. I usually keep his holy symbol there to keep his healing spells handy. He wears elven chain mail +3, a Helm of Underwater Breathing, Bracers of Protection +4, a Ring of Fire Resistance, and a Ring of Feather Falling.
    
I have no idea why we have a Ring of Feather Falling. I can't think of a single situation in any of these games in which it would have done anything. If the engine did let us fall any significant distance, having a single ring probably wouldn't make much of a difference. I feel similarly about the Ring of Fire Resistance. They make sense in the Gold Box games, where everyone is an individual in combat, and you can send the character with the ring against fire-wielding enemies, but in this game everyone takes damage from fire attacks or no one does.
    
I also spent some time re-memorizing spells. My mages are so overloaded with scrolls and wands, and I use offensive spells so rarely besides, that I figured from now on I'd concentrate more on buffing spells. I gave up "Magic Missiles" for "Armor" and "Shield," "Melf's Acid Arrow" for "Detect Invisibility," "Blur," and "Protection from Paralysis," "Fireball" for "Haste," and so forth. The longer life of these spells makes them more viable in this game than in previous ones.
    
This is a well-composed, evocative image. Nicely done.
        
My characters have each gained basically two levels (one each for multi-classed characters) since the game began, but they have a long way to go before they get anywhere near the theoretical maximum of 20. Marina has three entire spell levels to gain. I mention this because progress towards maximum level is the only way I have to gauge the length of the game. That would suggest I'm about a quarter to a third of the way through.

Time so far: 22 hours   

41 comments:

  1. Don't expect to hit the maximum level. When I played it my Mage never gained enough experience to memorize level 8 or 9 spells.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah but you can cast from scrolls instead of adding them to your spellbook.

      Delete
  2. stepped pyramidsJuly 29, 2022 at 1:30 AM

    "...Acwellan. (Have we encountered that name before? I Googled and couldn't find anything, but it sounds so familiar.)"

    One of the elemental lords in Might & Magic II is named "Acwalandar".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Acwellan" is an anagram for "n Wallace" (in Wallace).

      In Lew Wallace's 1893 novel The Prince of India, Vol 1, in chapter VI:

      "...beauty is altogether in the eye of the beholder..."

      Delete
    2. Acwellan sounds like Aqualung to me... Could be the water level.

      A quick google search shows a few dictionary references to Old English which translate to "kill, slay, destroy"

      Delete
    3. stepped pyramids is correct about why I thought I remembered the name. Catsmoke's theory as to the origin of the name is interesting, though.

      Delete
    4. Huh... I thought Acwellan sounds like "Aquilon". Silly me! =)

      Delete
  3. This plot has always bothered me. Despite being good aligned and highly intelligent, the lich attacks you no matter what? And then the evil guy just pops in and goes "ha hah" and grabs the artifact? And this evil god can't kill a lich himself and needs a mid-level party to do that for him? This all feels very nonsensical to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here's a funny one. Despite the rich Realms lore and detailed pantheon in the books, this game doesn't even specify who this "dark god" is! How's that for lazy writing?

      Delete
    2. And with all the high level enemies to choose from in the Monster Manual they just make up (I assume) some random enemies.

      Delete
    3. The druid who lets you chose a book is similarly unnamed. Trobriand IS an established FR character, but doesn't live in Myth Drannor, and he should build mecha-scorpions rather than summon anything. Two early game characters (Florin the ranger and dead Captain Fflar) are from earlier novels, but otherwise nothing in the game is from the FR setting.

      Delete
    4. What bothers me most about the plot is that it makes you work for the bad guy, then scolds you for doing so in something that is supposed to be a twist, but it's pretty obvious all along to the player who just doesn't have any other choice. An expansion for a game that is popular here pretty much does the same thing.

      I get that most games have a linear main plot, but at least provide some dialogue options that let the characters show they're not that stupid.

      Delete
  4. I appreciate that they're trying to put in unusual NPCs like the weretiger and the sprite, but then it bothers me that sprites are TINY and he somehow has the same carrying capacity as everyone else. At least Lands of Lore made its four-armed NPC mechanically different. Also, "bug" is a stupid name. Come to think of it, so are item names like "ocnor" and "zymok".

    Also, this is D&D: there is just no way that creature "could ONLY be a lich" when tons of other undead and shapeshifters and illusionists exist. Speaking from forgotten realms lore, Acwellan is probably be a "baelnorn" instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Forgotten Realms lore at least, the process for becoming a baelnorn has been lost for a while, and I believe can involve using magical elven energy fields called mythals, which are probably pretty messed up in Myth Drannor post-fall. He’s also depicted as getting increasingly power hungry and paranoid, as I recall. So the idea that he was trying to become immortal through something like the baelnorn method but something went wrong and he wound up as a lich is actually plausible I think, as well as making it more reasonable this would end in a boss fight no matter what, which I would assume was a design goal since EOB doesn’t have a tradition of talking past obstacles - plus from a player’s point of view, most know what a lich is whereas you’d need to explain an alternate kind of magic undead creature and it probably wouldn’t add much to the experience.

      I have no idea how to fix the many many holes in the bad guy’s plan that you point out above, though :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I'd say you've explained this better than the game does (frankly it sounds a bit like "whoopsidaisy, I accidentally became a lich! Clumsy me!")

      Delete
    3. About "Ocnor", the +4 dagger: I assume it secils, it secid, it senneiluj to perfection!

      Delete
    4. There actually is another +4 returning dagger named Ronco, found in the no-magic area. Speaking of which, there are small pockets outside of it on the edges where it's possible to cast Water Breathing and rest. The scrying glass has infinite charges, so it can be used to determine where those are.

      Delete
    5. Ocnor sounds a little like Loc-Nar. Let's hope that it doesn't have an evil ego :)

      Delete
    6. But wait, there's more! (tm)

      Sorry, I couldn't resist. Those silly commercials were quite the fixture of late-night TV during my childhood.

      Delete
  5. Rings do stack with armor. Bracers are not supposed to stack with armor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Rings of protection are supposed to only stack with non-magical armor. They lose all (or half) effect when worn with magical armor.

      The half is that, in at least one edition (not certain which), they still give their saving throw bonus. I think it was 1st, since I think I did that in the Gold Box games.

      Delete
  6. "This place is fond of enemies with sludge for legs."

    Well, they're much easier to animate that way, mind you ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also easier to squeeze onto the screen when you've drawn as far down as the torso and realized there's barely any space left for legs.

      Delete
  7. One of those stone creatures is your grinding opportunity for this game as there is one place where it respawns constantly.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "As usual, there were two regular enemies on the level, a pattern I'm finding more and more ridiculous."

    Commenters have claimed it was a technical limitation, but in 1993 it seems kind of silly if we compare it to, say, Ultima Underworld.

    "I mention this because progress towards maximum level is the only way I have to gauge the length of the game."

    I'm not sure how reliable it is, generally speaking. It seems to me that the approach varies wildly between different games.

    "An interesting thing happened the first time Delmair was injured by one of the earth elementals. He turned into a tiger. Apparently, he's a were-tiger, and he transforms at the first sign of injury. "

    I'm surprised it took you so long to find out, it happened to me as early as the forest. It is kind of annoying when it happens, also it feels completely random, lore-wise.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You think I'd be more fond of the series, given that EotB was the first game I bought - and one I played a ton of. But the only thing I really like about these days it is its aesthetic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, and you're not alone with that, game's looking very good for its time.

      Delete
  10. Regarding your notion that Heroes Feast should be a higher level spell, there's only one higher level for Clerics. For some reason in AD&D while Mages go to level 9 spells, Clerics only go to level 7. So while Heroes Feast is great, I don't think it's "the best level "great.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Scaladars, IIRC, were one of the very few "tough" enemy types in EOB3 - ones that seemed appropriately powerful against your high-level party. If you actually fight them, they rapidly spam lightning bolts that hit the backrow and shred the party, which coupled with their resistance to bladed weapons makes them relatively tough cookies. However, you're never forced to fight one so it's another huge waste - they're there just to look menacing more than anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a similar experience with Dungeon Hack. I played with permadeath and it was pretty easy, so I got careless. Lost a character when these things turned up and two of them hit me with lightning.

      Delete
  12. "When facing a being of living rock, I'm not sure it makes sense to discard your polearm in favor of claws."

    Maybe he does it for the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of his rival.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a nice creed to live by, but I'm not sure it increases his chance of survival.

      Delete
  13. At the same place we found the Seasons book, we also found a journal written by Archmage Trobriand.

    "Barkeep, get me a drink."
    "What kind, O mighty Archmage?"
    "Make it mead. Margaret Mead."
    "We don't got any of that, sir, but we've some Malinowski ale if that'll do?"
    "...That'll do."
    "Very good, sir."
    "But make sure it's ice-cold. I want it...straight from the Kula."

    ReplyDelete
  14. Bugenius looks like he's wearing a basketball uniform to me. Just add some numbers on the front.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "if you have Triobriand's Ring in your inventory, they just don't attack. That's nice, but maybe we should have been required to wear it or something? Or even be aware that we were solving a puzzle?"

    The gems in Chaos Strikes Back are similar; simply having them in your inventory changes things, but the game gives you no indication about it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Won't the rings of feather falling stop or reduce falling damage from pits/pit traps? There were plenty of those in EOB2!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do, and in EOB1 too; but falling damage is low enough (2-12 hp, I think) that this doesn't really matter.

      Delete
  17. Your prescient comment regarding the ring of protection nearly floored me, although by now I should hardly have been surprised. I was trying to recall if you had stated what Starling's dexterity was because on any case AC -6 seemed too good without the ring of protection affecting it, which you're right, by rule it should not have.

    Just another example of why I so thoroughly enjoy reading this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Level 2 ended with a square that stripped most of our equipment, animated it, and forced us to fight it"

    Wonder what happens if you pre-strip before stepping on that square?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure nothing changes. You're not really fighting your own armor. Your armor and weapons disappear, some animated things pop up in front of you, and when you kill them, your armor and weapons re-appear in a pile on the floor. The game just assumes you're wearing enough of an assortment of armor that the episode makes sense.

      Delete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

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. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

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."

Also, 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.