Monday, 21 July 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - The Tail of Nervous Rex

Tricky Journal Entry 3: "I finally paid a visit to Aziza last night. After answering all the beautiful enchantress' questions, she let me in and taught me all about Elementals and the Fruit of Compassion. I wish I could have stayed there longer, drinking tea and chatting, but I needed a good night's sleep before heading out into the desert today. I'm glad I had lots of energy too, as the saurus I purchased on the way out ran away at the first sign of a creature. I managed to win a couple of fights, and even got a bit of the Dervish's beard for Keapon Laffin. I won't say I'm looking forward to heading back out, but it's not quite as daunting now."

You don't say!

So, the Astrologer had told me to come back the next day to hear my future. The end of day two was rapidly approaching, but I still figured I had time to pay the Enchantress Aziza a visit before heading back to the Katta’s Tail Inn to watch Shema dance before bed. I knew that Aziza’s place was on a street called Shmali Tarik, so opened up my PDF map and followed the most logical path to get there. On arrival, I found a purple door at the end of an alley that had a large eye painted on it. When I knocked, a woman’s voice came from within; asking who it was that was seeking entrance. I answered with “tricky”, after which she asked me who had sent me. I actually couldn’t remember who it was that had first told me to pay Aziza a visit, but looking back over my screenshots revealed that it was the Liontaur Rakeesh in the Fighter’s Guild. I answered “rakeesh”, and was set aback when her next question was “How did the leg of Rakeesh get injured?” I had noticed that his leg had a bandage on it, but had never thought to ask him how the injury had occurred. I typed “sword” as my answer, knowing that it wouldn’t be right. “Perhaps you should learn more about who sent you before you seek me.” Damn!

The Doors Have Eyes 3: Spying Purple People Meeter

Perhaps you should be a little less picky about who visits you!

Thankfully I had a save game in the Fighter’s Guild, so could quickly restore to find out what the correct answer was. When I asked Rakeesh about his leg, I got what I needed: “My leg was damaged a long time ago when I tried to fight a Demon that was destroying my people. The Demon struck me with its poisoned tail. The bone was shattered, and because of the poison, the leg did not heal correctly, even with magic.” My further questioning revealed that the Demon had been sent by a Wizard that had sought to overthrow Rakeesh’s kingdom (which was called Tarna), but that Rakeesh had defeated both the Demon and the Wizard. I restored back to Aziza’s door, and when she asked me what had caused the injury, I typed “demon”. I received another question, with this one being a riddle! “My first is the first, My second is the last, Next comes Myself, Then back to the end, And beginning again. Who am I?” Looking over it, I immediately thought of “me, myself and I”, but wasn’t certain which word would be the answer. I tried “me”, but that was wrong: “If you know not whom you seek, you will surely not find that person here.” Well, Aziza was the person I was seeking, so I restored and tried that answer instead. “You may enter freely into my home, Tricky.” Victory! (7 points)

Yeah, good story Rakeesh! Now what really happened?

I still don't completely get this riddle, but I figured out the answer.

Aziza’s house was predominately blue and green, and the various fish related items on the shelves suggested a water theme. Aziza requested I come and sit down, so I did, accepting her offer of tea in the process. She asked me why I had come, so I began firing questions at her one after another. Most of her answers didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, but they were very clear and thorough, filling in a few little details that I wasn’t aware of. Rakeesh had told me that Aziza was a “very powerful enchantress, wise in the ways of the elements”, so I asked her about “elements”. I was given a closer view of the two of us seated at the table, and Aziza began explaining the purpose of each of the four basic elements that make up the universe: Water, Earth, Air and Fire. She went on to talk about Elementals, and as she did so, the four basic Elementals magically appeared on the table and moved around. “An Elemental is formed when Magic shapes an element into a semblance of a living creature. Elementals can be very powerful and destructive. They can be weakened by the contrary Element, but they cannot be destroyed. Once weakened, the Elemental can be captured. Once captured, the magical nature of the Elemental can be used for helpful rather than harmful purposes.”

Nothing like a civilized cup of tea with a beautiful enchantress. I could get used to this!

Uh-huh, that's interesting...say, have you seen my sword? Cool isn't it!?

This was all pretty interesting, but I wondered how much I was going to be able to play around with Elementals as a Fighter. The next thing I asked Aziza about was the Fruit of Compassion (which was needed to make a dispel potion), since Harik Attar at the Apothecary had told me she would know something about it. Once again I was given a close-up view of the table, and Aziza set off on a lengthy tale that I will relate in full, since it’s both important and nicely written:

Ooooh, a story! I love stories!

“I will tell you of a time long ago when women wore veils and were but wives and chattel to men. There was a woman – a beautiful woman, a loving woman – who wished with her very soul to become a Healer, and thus aid others. Her father tried to dissuade her, saying that this was no task for a woman of her gentleness and sensitivity. She would go about her duties quietly, but each evening she would tell him again that she wished to become a healer. At last her father gave in, and she was trained in the art of healing, despite the jeers and condescension of the male students and teachers. She became a Healer, and removed her veil forever. She soon discovered that life was not easy for a woman Healer. Many men distrusted her skills and refused to call upon her. Some men called upon her only to try to take advantage of her beauty. One day a man came to her and told the tale of his brother dying in the desert. She did not quite trust his manner of looking at her, but she could not refuse aid to one who might need it. She followed him out of the city and into the desert. She was lead to an encampment of ragged tents. She soon learned to her sorrow that the tale of the brother was but a lie. These were brigands, and what they did with her, I shall not say. She tried to escape them the next day, and ran to the mountains to hide. They were swift to follow. They had nearly recaptured her when she called aloud for help. A Djinni heard her cry, and transformed her into a tree. You could be the one to give her back her soul and free her heart from wood. You will try this, Hero, will you not?”

Oh I know this one! Don't tell me! She needs to eat some of the defoil plant to turn back into a human! I'm right aren't I?!

It goes without saying that I agreed to try to rescue the unfortunate woman from her lonely fate, at which point Aziza told me how that might be achieved: “There are three things you must give her to save her soul: a gift of Kindness, a gift of Magic, and a gift of Love. The gift of Kindness is simple. It is only what you would give to someone who has been in the desert far too long.” Clearly the gift of kindness would be water, and I’ll be making sure I stock up on heaps of that prior to going into the desert anyway. “You must then tell her about yourself, remind her what it is to be human. Your words are as important as the gift, for they give meaning to the act.” OK, I wasn’t certain what that would entail, but perhaps simply talking to the tree would be enough. “The gift of Magic is the gift of sacrifice. The gift must be something you gained through hardship and from aiding others. It must also be something from which a plant can gain strength.” Hmmmm...what could that be? I pondered what plants might gain strength from for a while. It wouldn’t be water, since I would have already supplied that. Sunlight? Soil? Roots? I couldn’t say that I’d gained anything through hardship at this point, so perhaps the answer would be obvious once I had. Aziza confirmed my belief that I didn’t yet hold the key, but this sadly meant she didn’t bother to tell me what the gift of Love might be: “I know you can achieve the gift of Kindness, but you do not yet have a suitable gift of Sacrifice. Perhaps you will be able to do this another time.”

Have you been going through my stuff?

I left Aziza at this point, knowing I would return at some point. I’d received a warning during my conversation with her that I was tired, and this had reminded me that I was supposed to get back to the Inn to watch Shema’s dance. It was now midnight. Had I missed it? When I got there, there was no sign of Shema, so I figured I had. Not wanting to miss out, I saved my game and restored an earlier one where the time of day was close to sunset. This time when I reached the inn, Shameen informed me that the dance was about to begin. I sat down, and watched as Shema shimmied and spun, her hips, gyrating in a way not dissimilar to the performance of Fatima in Conquests of Camelot. The main difference here was that Shema was basically a cat, making the whole thing more uncomfortable than sexy. It makes Rafield’s story a couple of posts back even more astounding to be honest! Anyway, I received no points for having viewed it, so I restored back to my post-Aziza game and sent Tricky to bed until dawn with no pre-sleep entertainment.

Caption Contest

I began day three by sitting down for breakfast, which Shema brought out to me. As I left the inn, Shameen informed me that there would be another show on that night: “The Poet Omar will thrill all who hear with his words of song after the setting of the sun, in our own Inn!” I told myself not to be late this time, and set out into Shapeir, ready to have my future read to me by Abu al-Njun, the Astrologer. As soon as I arrived at his joint, he told me he had much to tell me. “Alas, never before have I read such troubling signs as those which guide you. Your future is very dark. Darkness will lead you into a tomb. You will walk in fire, earth, water, and air, through temptation, and at last into despair and desolation. Darkness will triumph unless you stop the last light. Maybe you should consider a new line of work and get out of this Hero business. Have you considered accounting?” (5 points) This foretelling certainly made my future seem bleak! I tried getting more information out of the Abu, but he kept responding with “I can only tell you what the stars say. You are the one who has to figure out what they mean.”

Am I the only one that imagined a battle of fertility?

I'm on vacation damn it!

Right, I’d done enough sniffing around in the city. It was time I went out into the wider world! That meant going into the desert, so I refilled my waterskins and stocked up on rations in Fountain Plaza. While there I noticed a beggar that hadn’t been there previously. “Centime for the poor, Effendi? Centime for the poor?” I gave the beggar a centime, but gained nothing but points for the nicety as far as I could tell. (3 points) I walked out of Shapeir through the exit in Gate Plaza, only to be accosted by another tiresome salesman! He quickly went into his well auditioned spiel, hoping to sell me a saurus. “I’m Ali Fakir. Honest Ai Fakir. Welcome to Honest Ali Fakir’s Used Saurus Lot. If we don’t have the saurus you want, then you don’t want one.” I won’t recite his entire pitch, as he banged on for quite some time. Lucky for Ali, I did want to purchase one, but his asking price was a lot more than I was hoping to pay! “I’ll be happy to sell you a saurus for 100 dinars, but I’ll settle for 50.” I typed “bargain”, and was very pleased when doing so got me a green saurus for a much more reasonable 20 dinars. (7 points)

Knowing that Lori was responsible for this beauty makes it even better!


My newly acquired saurus gave me a huge lick on the face, clearly appreciating being removed from captivity. I hopped onto its back, and rode off into the desert. I very quickly found myself in the middle of nowhere, with endless sand dunes in every direction as far as the eye could see. The only two things I knew I needed to do in the desert were to find the Dervish at the Oasis and the woman that had been turned into a tree. I had no idea where I might find the tree, but I did know that the Dervish would be found “somewhere south of Shapeir and in inches a bit east”. Did that mean I should go one screen to the east and then head south? I figured I’d try that approach and see how things went. I hadn’t gone two screens before a huge scorpion appeared! I was thrown from my saurus, which ran away and left me stranded! I could either run for my life or confront the scorpion in combat. I chose the latter, figuring I wasn’t going to be able to avoid combat forever. I managed to get quite a few hits in while avoiding the majority of its swipes. Unfortunately I’d forgotten that Harik in the Apothecary had told me that multiple stings from a scorpion’s tail would be certain death. Just before its hit points were depleted, it skewered me with its tail, and I hung a foot off the ground, dead.

I've got a bad feeling about this! about easing me into things!

I restored, and this time I very quickly ran into a Brigand. He was much easier to defeat, and I gained 2 dinars and 15 centimes, as well as some much needed skill points for the effort. (3 points) I continued to the south, hoping to come across the Oasis, but instead ran into a TerrorSaurus!!!! This bright pink dinosaur-like creature kicked my ass, letting me know in no uncertain terms that I really needed to get some practice in. I should also mention that during my all too brief journeys through the desert, I came across some rather humorous sights. The first one was King Arthur from Conquests of Camelot, lying dead in the sand. When I looked at him I got: “He looks vaguely familiar... maybe you’ve seen him in a camel lot?” I had to smile when I read that, but I actually laughed out loud a couple of screens later when I crossed an unfortunate golfer in the Persian Golf Tournament. The poorguy was trying to get his ball out of the sand trap from hell, shouting “832...Argh! 833...”. I soon defeated another Brigand, collecting 4 dinars and 21 centimes from his body, but still couldn’t find an Oasis. Not having my saurus meant I was surely going to die if I didn’t find my way back to Shapeir in a reasonable time. I decided to head back, so I could at least regain my strength while keeping the coin and skill points I’d earned. To my dismay, following what I thought was the path I’d come from back to the city didn’t get me there! Damn it, I was lost!


When I said "kicked my ass", I meant it!

Comedy gold! Or is that comedy golf???

I began wandering from screen to screen, feeling like all hope was lost. Was I supposed to have some more solid directions? To my utter disbelief, I stumbled upon a screen where a man with an incredibly long beard sat next to a small pool of water. It was the Oasis!!! Thanking the gaming gods, I had a chat with Dervish. He seemed very reluctant to give a straight answer, instead spurting Confucius-like statements all over the place. As soon as I saw his beard, I figured that must be the “whirling part of a dervish” that Keapon Laffin had requested. When I asked him about it, he said “Difference between beard and world is one whirls around tree, the other twirls around me.” I doubted it would work, but I tried simply taking some of the beard. It worked! (5 points) After deciding that I wasn’t going to get anything else useful out of Dervish, I rested and filled up on water in preparation for a likely futile attempt at finding my way back to Shapeir. I knew that I must now be to the south-east of the city, so I set off in what I hoped would be the right direction. Within just a few screens, I was stoked to see Shapeir in the distance. I’d found the Oasis and collected what I needed, winning a couple of battles in the process, and then made my way back to the city. Things were looking good, which I’ve learnt over time is always the best way to end a session.

Yes, you're right. Hang on...what?

I really have no idea how I found my way back here. Perhaps my "luck" attribute came into play?

I hope I get time to do some grinding at some point.

Session Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - The Future Arrives Tomorrow

Tricky Journal Entry 2: "Shapeir sure is an interesting place. After visiting the guild to get some jobs and train in combat, I spent the rest of the day at the Magic Shop, the Apothecary and the Astrologer. Some strange characters run those places, but all of them seemed willing to share information in their own ways. A lot of my conversations seem to end with people recommending I pay the Enchantress Aziza a visit. I might just have time to do that before nightfall, if I go now."

I was tempted to start session two by wrestling with Issur again, but couldn't bear the shame of losing.

My last post finished with me being thoroughly beaten in an arm wrestle by the Weapon Shop owner Issur. Despite having pretty decent starting fighter stats, I clearly wasn’t a match for him just yet, so having checked everything in the store out, I left with my pride in tatters. I’d come to the Plaza of Fighters intending the visit the Guild Hall, but had been distracted by the weapon shop on the way through. Now I made my way to the western half of the plaza to find yet another distraction! A tightrope walker had set up his kit there, and was challenging a waiting audience to try to complete what he was making look very easy indeed. Obviously the local attire that Shema had fitted me with wasn’t fooling anyone, as he quickly picked me out as a tourist: “You, stranger from a distant land! Are you brave and skilled enough to cross this rope?” Not one to decline a challenge, even though I knew any attempt would likely end in failure, I accepted his five to one dinar bet and climbed the rope. As with the arm wrestling mini game, I was given some straight forward instructions on how to cross, and then left to it. I took two careful steps out and then Tricky began to lose his balance. I tried to correct, but it was futile. Another failed challenge...

No, I'm not interested in your little game. I've got far more...wait...what did you just say? No one with courage? Hah! We'll see about that!

I thought I might at least have made it halfway across!

I’d had enough of making a fool of myself at this point, so left the performer behind and finally entered the Guild Hall. Inside I found a creature that appeared to be half man and half lion resting next to a human baby, and there was also a dark skinned warrior woman standing against the back wall. The room otherwise looked as I expected it might, with weapons and a moose head on the wall, and a noticeboard and logbook where I could sign in as an adventurer. The woman, named Uhura, knew exactly who I was, announcing that “this be the new Hero” before the four legged creature, named Rakeesh, spoke directly to me: “You are most welcome in Shapeir. The sultan has been seeking a Hero since the forces of Dark Magic overwhelmed Raseir.” I spent some time questioning him, discovering that he was a Liontaur, and that his full name was Rasha Rakeesh SahTarna. When I asked him about the sultan, I found out why he was in Shapeir: “The Sultan summoned me to Shapeir to aid against the Dark Magic which even now hovers near this city. I fear, though, that I am not the Hero I was once. Perhaps you will become the Hero they need.”

Thank goodness for that! What would I do with myself if there wasn't any dark magic around?!

Rakeesh had mentioned Dark Magic numerous times already, so I focussed in on it to see what I could find out. “Magic surrounds all of us in this world and is a part of us also. Aziza has many more answers than I.” I hadn’t heard that name before, so asked for more information: “Aziza is a very powerful enchantress, wise in the ways of the elements. You might visit her house near the Smali Tarik, if you can win her respect.” I jotted down the enchantress’ name and street, and after gaining nothing else of note from Rakeesh, moved onto Uhura. Strangely, when I tried to talk to her I received a message saying “Don’t bother trying to talk to the warrior Uhura”. I'm glad I didn’t just walk away, as asking about “fighting” got a very different result: “Maybe we practice combat skills, you and I.” That seemed like a good way to increase my stats, but I was eager to find out what the noticeboard held first.

Why of course m'lady. I could do with a bit of "practice" myself, yes indeed.

There were five notices on the board. 
1. “There will be given to the one who restores the Emir Arus Al-Din to his rightful place in the palace at Raseir the sum of 1000 dinars. By order of the Sultan Harun Al-Rashid.” I already knew about Arus’ situation, but it was nice to know there was a 1000 dinar reward for rescuing him!
2. “He who is willing to brave the desert should seek Harik Attar in his shop at the sign of the mortar and pestle by the fountain. That one shall find rewards for his courage.” I’d seen the door with that sign in the Fountain Plaza, but hadn’t entered without the local currency. I marked it down to visit soon.
3. “There is needed for a Spell of Great Power the whirling part of a Dervish. Inquire at the Magic Shop. Keapon Laffin, Prop.” Magic Shop? I figured that must be the second shop I’d ignored in the Fountain Plaza.
4. “Those who do service to the city and land of Shapeir shall know the rewards of goodness. By order of the Sultan Harun Al-Rashid.” That was pretty ambiguous, but I figured I’d meet the Sultan at some point in the game.
5. “The Way of the Paladin: To seek. To learn. To do.” That didn’t really tell me much either, so I walked away from the board a bit disappointed not to have a long list of things to do.

Not much room to stick notices up. Optimistic much?!

I signed into the adventurer’s book (3 points) and then agreed to train with Uhura. We moved into the room to the right of screen and got down to business. I can’t remember if the controls are the same as the first game, but combat required attacking and defending with the number pad. I could dodge left, right and back; parry high, middle and low; swing back and low; or thrust. I fought very clumsily, struggling to time anything appropriately or choose the right attacks at the right times. As with the arm wrestling, I soon ran out of stamina, and Uhura stopped the fight. I realised I hadn’t checked my stats since starting the game, so did so now. My Intelligence and Agility had increased, as had my Parry, Dodge and Communication attributes. This was actually the first time that I noticed there was a Communication attribute in Quest for Glory II, as it hadn’t been visible while creating my character. Checking the manual revealed that it had been described there perfectly well, but hadn’t registered with me for some reason: “Communication is the skill of putting your thoughts in order and expressing yourself effectively to others.”

I believe I just did!

I really need to work on these stats!

Having completed my initial business in the Guild Hall, I decided to head back to the Fountain Plaza to check out the two shops I'd seen earlier. Just as I’d hoped it would be, the first shop I entered was the Magic Shop. The eye-rollingly named Keapon Laffin was found there, floating in mid air on what appeared to be a small cloud. I soon discovered that the funny little man had serious verbal diarrhoea, spouting nonsense all over the place. “Nharak sa’id! Aloha Oe! Well come in! Gesundheit! Top a canoe and how do you do? Please to meet you and I mean to please you! Welcome to my little shop of wonders! Wonder what shop it is? It’s magic, of course! I am Keapon Laffin, Proprietor. You must be Nobile Caws. Proud to know you, Mister Caws. Shapeir always hopes for heroes.” Like the other shop owners, there was a particular item that Keapon Laffin seemed extra keen to sell: “It’s sad, Dad, but if you need to climb to the sublime, you need a rope, Dope. I happen to have a Magic Rope for sale, direct from some Hindoo who did the best he kin do.”

I only just got the Nobile Caws joke just now. *facepalm*

Alright Corey, who was behind Keapon Laffin's dialogue?

I asked about the rope, and found it to be very expensive indeed! “If you are inclined to climb, a Magic Rope can give you hop. To make it rise, close your eyes, raise your arms high, and watch it fly. If the time is right, you’re in a plight, you can get it across if you give it a toss. Burma Shave. It’s a good tool, fool, but remember the rule – Magic can’t last, and on your last cast, it’ll go fast – so don’t waste it, or you might find yourself hanging in the air with nothing there. We have a special on Magic Ropes this year. It usually costs 12,500 centimes. For a limited time only, though, it’s only 125 dinars. So do you wanta scope a rope, Miss Anthrope?” Taking in all of this information, it was clear that having the rope would be extremely useful, if not essential, at some point in the game, but I couldn’t even nearly afford it. Fortunately, a bit of questioning resulted in some pretty useful information, despite Laffin’s unique way of relating. When asked about magic, I received the following riddle: “Magic, magic everywhere. Find it at Aziza’s lair. Magic, magic, wait a bit. Find it in the soul of WIT. Magic, magic in the stars. The astrologer can see that far.”

You've really got to pay attention in this game if you're going to pick up on all the hints and leads.

This was the second time someone had mentioned Aziza’s name when speaking about magic, but I was more interested in knowing why the salesman emphasised the word WIT the way he did. I typed “ask about wit”: “If you want to be WITty, then search in the city. The nitty-gritty to this ditty: you need magic to find it, ‘twas designed by committee.” After reading this a couple of times, I had to assume that there was some sort of magic user club called WIT, but given my lack of magic skill, it seemed pretty unlikely that I would ever be able to access it. My whole reason for visiting the Magic Shop was to ask Keapon Laffin about the Spell of Great Power that was mentioned on the notice board. I went ahead and asked about the Dervish: “The Dervish of the Desert oversees his own oasis as he sits upon the sands by the shore of his small spring. It is somewhere south of Shapeir and in inches a bit east. If you’re going to go and gab with him, you’d better take a beast.” So the Dervish was a man in the desert! I had to wonder what the “whirling part of a Dervish” might be, but after being told that the reward for getting one would be 1500 centimes, I moved on to the shop with the Mortar and Pestle above the door.

It's hard to tell what I should read into and what I should just leave alone.

This shop was the Apothecary, where I found all sorts of potions, pills and powders shelved around the room. Harik Attar was sitting at a desk concocting something or other, and once I caught his attention he welcomed me: “This is the Apothecary, where one can buy many wondrous pills and oils. I am Harik. If you need something, just let me know.” I soon discovered that I could purchase four different pills (Vigor, Healing, Poison Cure and Mana) for various prices. When I asked him about "potions", Harik informed me that he doesn’t normally make them, but he did have a recipe for a Dispel Potion. Sadly, he didn’t have all the ingredients needed to make one, but if I could just get my hands on the feather of a Griffin and the Fruit of Compassion, he’d happily make one for me. There was no need to ask where I’d get a Griffin feather from (i.e. it would be on a Griffin), but I was keen to know a bit more about the fruit. “The Fruit of Compassion is extremely rare. It can only be given, never taken or bought. I have heard rumors of but one Plant in the entire land where you might find this." Intrigued, I asked for more information on this plant: “There are tales told to me of a woman transformed into a plant through a Djinni’s spell. She stands like a tree somewhere out in the desert, but it is said she bears no fruit. You should talk to the Enchantress Aziza, for she would know more about this than I.”

I'm glad it's not actually aflame. I imagine that would cause quite a stench!

Another list of items that I don't know if I can afford.

Yet again the Enchantress Aziza had been mentioned. I jotted down another reason to visit her, but I had a few more questions before I was ready to leave the Apothecary. Asking about oil revealed that Harik sold lamp oil, so I purchased some for 20 centimes. Finally, before leaving, I asked him about “courage”, since the noticeboard message had mentioned that courage would be rewarded. “I am always in need of certain components for my work. If you are brave enough to bring some of these components to me, I am more than willing to pay for them.” I asked Harik about the components, and he was quite happy to give me more information: "I am always out of Scorpion Venom to make Poison Cure Pills and Ghoul claws for my experiments. I will pay twenty dinars for the tail of a scorpion and fifteen dinars for the claws of a Ghoul." Well at least now I knew how I could make a bit of coin, but it didn't sound like easy money to me!

As long as I don't have to arm wrestle anyone or walk over any tightropes...sure, why not!?

Having completed my visits to the Magic Shop and the Apothecary, I had every intention of tracking down the Astrologer next. I knew that he could be found on Smali Tarik, and looking at my PDF map revealed that it was just to the south of the Palace Plaza. Since that was the only plaza I hadn’t visited yet, it made sense for me to check out what it held before heading to the Astrologer’s. There really wasn’t all that much to see. The two shops in the plaza sold carpets and jewellery respectively, and only the jeweller seemed willing to sell me something. “I have many types of necklaces and bracelets, but my specialty is to sell the jewellery best suited to the customer. I believe, O Hero, that for you I have a pin.” The pin had a “sapphire of exceeding clarity and color”, and Sashanan the store owner was asking 500 dinars for it! She seemed willing to bargain, but I figured there was no chance that I could possibly get her price down to something I could afford at this point. The other half of the Palace Plaza contained, surprise surprise, the palace! There were four guards standing outside its doors, and they certainly weren’t going to let me go in: “No one enters the gates of the Palace of the Sultan Harun al-Rashid (May he reign forever!) unless ordered to do so.” I of course hadn’t been ordered to go anywhere, so left in the direction of the Astrologer.

My map was slowly but surely filling up with locations of interest.

A gift worthy of a Sultan you say? Hmmm....

Dammit, I thought I might be able to earn some easy coin again.

A few twisting streets later and I was standing in the Astrologer’s abode. It was a strange sight to be sure, with the hooded man sitting cross-legged beneath a bunk bed in a room more suited to a child. He seemed cheery enough: “Come in, and welcome. I am Abu Al-Njun and I am the Astrologer of the Stars and Omens.” I got down to business and asked Abu about my future: “If you wish to know your fortune, I will need to know your guiding signs. Tell me about your past and the things you have done.” I typed “tell about past”, at which point I was supposed to assume that Tricky told Abu everything that had happened in Spielburg and beyond. “You have lived a most interesting life. I will look into what signs have guided your life thus far, and see how they will affect you in the future. This will take many hours, so you will need to come back some other day.” I asked him about my future again straight afterwards, but it looked like I really was going to have to come back another day to get my answer. Before leaving, I attempted to climb the ladder leading up out of the room. Abu stopped me, telling me he’d prefer it if I didn’t disturb the delicate instruments he had up in his observatory. I decided this was a decent enough spot to end my session. I’m still very keen to get back to Shapeir, although the leads are beginning to run a bit short. I have a feeling I might have to venture out into the desert shortly, but my short term plan is to go visit Aziza. She must have something important to say!

I wish I'd used a really silly name now. "Ah, Poobum. It is indeed a name for heroes."

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - A Whole New World

Tricky Journal Entry 1: "We'd only been in Shapeir for a matter of days when it became clear that this city also needs a hero. A man named Arus Al-Din, the Emir of Raseir, has gone missing. Rumor has it that the city of Raseir itself is also in some sort of trouble, so I spent some time purchasing a few things I will need for the journey. I really must be going though, as I don't want to miss Shema's dance tonight. I've heard it's really something!"

There's always something exciting about starting a new game.

I’ve spent a day and a bit in Shapeir, and while I haven’t achieved an awful lot, I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely. There’s something magical about this game, and it’s only through sheer determination not to get too far behind Chet (who has suggested he will play the game through at the same time as me over at CRPG Addict) that I’ve been able to pull myself away long enough to write this post. I should state that I’d intended to import my character from Hero’s Quest after reading through the comments on the intro post, but after making that decision I’ve not been able to find the save game. I distinctly recall saving it somewhere in case I wanted to use it when I reached part II, but I sadly can’t figure out where I put it. Accepting that I was going to have to create a new hero, I loaded up the game and clicked Introduction on the menu.

This looks like as good a place as any don't you think?

After flying from Spielburg to Shapeir on a magic carpet, the hero and his three friends Abdulla Doo, Shameen and Shema, landed in a plaza where locals went about their business among shops and buskers. The hero was still dressed just as he was in the first game, which clearly wasn’t going to do in this new desert-based city. Shema, a Katta with some magical ability, stated as much and then cast a spell that changed the outfit into something more suitable. With that the introduction was over, and it was time to create my character.

Man...I'm lookin' good!

I’d already made the decision that I would once again play as a Fighter, since I was very keen to try to gain access to the new Paladin class (apparently Fighters have the best chance of achieving it and only the most honourable of them at that). After making that choice, I was faced with the skills and attributes screen. I had stats very typical of my chosen class, with high Strength, Vitality and Agility, but low Intelligence and Luck. I also had significant numbers in Weapon Use, Parry, Dodge and Throwing, yet nothing at all for Stealth, Pick Locks, Climbing and Magic. I had 50 points to spend, but it wasn’t just a matter of throwing them around however I wanted to, as increasing any of the zeros to 5 cost 15 points! After playing around for a while, I decided to use up 30 points by adding 5 to Pick Locks and Climbing. I figured I could very easily grind up my pre-existing skills, but unless I’m mistaken, leaving any stats at 0 means I wouldn’t be able to use them for the entirety of the game. The final 20 points were added to my Strength, Agility and Vitality, boosting my combat potential. All that was left was to give myself a name, so I entered “Tricky” and pressed the Start Game button.

I just love swords alright!

I figure I might need to pick a lock at some point...legally, of course!

The game proper starts in The Katta’s Tail, a newly established inn run by my three friends. After a bit of small talk to set up the scene, Abdulla announced some bad news: “It is good to be back home, even though I have had troubling news. My old friend Arus Al-Din, the Emir of Raseir, is missing. He was a good man, but not as wise as I. Ah, but you have not even seen our beautiful Shapeir, and already I speak of problems. You need to go out, explore and discover why this is indeed a land of enchantment.” With that I was given control of the hero, who I will from this point on call Tricky. Before I began firing off questions, I took a look at my inventory to see what I was carrying. I had 5 food rations, a broadsword, a shield, a lock pick, some chainmail armor, 150 gold coins, and a full waterskin. The gold coins were clearly carried over from my exploits in game one, but it didn’t look like they were usable in Shapeir as the inventory screen made a point of telling me that I had 0 Golden Dinars and Brass Centimes. The final piece of information to be gleamed was that I was currently carrying 61 of a possible 77 weight units.

Yes, I think this will do.

I do wonder what I might have had in my possession had I been able to import a save game.

I spent the next few minutes asking Abdulla about everything I could think of. The parser was already extremely impressive, giving me quality responses for pretty much every question. Most of what I gathered was interesting background information about Shapeir and its sister city Raseir. Clearly there was something bad going down in Raseir, but Abdulla couldn’t give me any specific details about what that might be. When I asked about Arus Al-Din (the missing friend), I got some seemingly important information: “He was a generous and friendly man, and Raseir was a place worth living. Now Arus is lost, his brother sits on the throne, and Raseir stagnates.” When I asked about “money”, Abdulla informed me that I should find the Money Changer, and further questioning revealed that she could be found at the end of Dinar Tarik, a street to the west. The only other line of questioning that ended up with something attention-grabbing was when I asked about the Sultan. Harun Al-Rashid is his name, and Abdulla was convinced that he had been talking to the local Astrologer. “The Astrologer is a very important man here. He can see the future in the stars! You should go to him and find out your fortune, for is it not written, ‘A man should know his fate’? His house is at the end of the Tarik of Stars.”

Abdulla tells it how it is.

So already I needed to find Arus Al-Din, the Money Changer, and the Astrologer. I stood up, and after briefly chatting with Shameen, walked out of the inn and into the plaza I’d seen in the game’s intro. In true Stan S. Stanman style, I was immediately set upon by an overly-enthusiastic salesman. “You! Stranger! You justa in luck. I gotta everything you need right here. You needa map? I gotta map! You needa compass? I gotta compass!” After reading the manual, I figured I did indeed need a map and a compass, but it was doubtful I would be able to make any purchases without first exchanging my coins. The other shopkeeper was much gentler in approach, being a Katta named Lisha selling flowers. I didn’t have any reason to even consider purchasing flowers, so I opened up the manual to peruse the map of Shapeir. I recalled from playing the game all those years ago that the streets were labyrinthine, so I wasn’t willing to wander aimlessly out of the plaza. I could see the street called Dinar Tarik to the west of the plaza, so I walked through the gateway to the north with the intention of finding it. annoying, arrogant persona.

The manual map does perfectly well in the early stages of the game.

As soon as I saw Tricky standing in the rather claustrophobic looking street, memories came rushing back to me. Typing "look" let me know what street I was on, plus any streets coming up on the left or right. At first I wondered whether I needed to be checking out any of the numerous doors along the side of the street, but checking them out revealed they were irrelevant. A short trip north and I was standing in a new plaza, with this one being split into two screens with a fountain in the centre. I decided to at least see what the various shopkeepers around the edge were selling before continuing my search for the Money Changer. The first one sold honey almonds for 30 centimes and lamb falafels for 70 centimes. The second shop sold pots and glazes, with one particularly pretty pot costing 3 dinars. The third shopkeeper was selling flowering plants for 100 centimes. The fourth shop was trading in baskets, with each one costing 1 dinar each. Finally, the fifth shop contained all sorts of brass items, including lanterns, lamps, braziers, tea servers and cups. A lamp seemed like something an adventurer like Tricky might need, and inquiring about them revealed that one would cost 15 dinars. Since I had no spendable coin, I couldn’t purchase anything at this point, and ignoring the two doors in the wall of the plaza for now, continued on my merry way to the north.

I seem to recall wandering aimlessly through these streets the first time I played the game as a kid.

The food that Scoree and Sloree were selling sounded seriously mouth-watering!

15 dinars!!!! Are you serious? much is 15 dinars worth anyway?

I walked through the twisting maze of streets, carefully checking my progress on the PDF map. Soon enough I reached the Money Changer, a woman peering out through a guarded window. “So we have a stranger to our fair land. Welcome, Traveler from afar. Come closer, that you might find all that you seek here. I am Dinarzad, Changer of money for Shapeir. Would you like to exchange something with me?” I certainly did, but first I tried chatting with the guard. He was completely unresponsive, but I have to relate the humorous way the parser gave me this news: “Franc, the guard, Marks you with his glare. You suspect he would give no Quarter in a fight. He would likely Pound you into Ruble. In any case, he has no Dime to speak to you (to Coin a phrase). To fight him would make no Cents. Better leave him a Loan for a Change.” Clever stuff to be sure, and to think I’d forgotten just how funny the Quest for Glory series could be.

I believe Abdulla would like to make an exchange of sorts with you!

I asked Dinarzad the Money Changer a bunch of questions, with the only interesting fact I gained coming when I asked about Raseir. “Now that things have changed under the new Emir, only those who toady to the authorities can get ahead. Ferrari is an excellent example of the type of person – only too willing to kiss and tell.” I wondered who this Ferrari guy was that she spoke of, so questioned her further. “Do not trust him in Raseir unless you are a thief. Even then, watch your backside.” Eventually I got around to exchanging my 150 gold coins into 105 Golden Dinars (7 points), then immediately made my way back to the Fountain Plaza. I bought myself a lamp (7 points), then returned to the starting plaza to continue my shopping spree. There I purchased both the map (7 points) and the compass (7 points) from the annoying salesman. Now I felt ready to explore Shapeir properly, so had a think about where I might go next. I typed “look at map” to check out my new acquisition, and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw! I was given a slightly three dimensional layout of the entirety of Shapeir, with the four plazas and the Money Changer that I’d already visited clearly marked. I could now visit any of the locations on the map just by clicking on them!

I don't see any reason why I should have kept any of these.

It doesn't top Monkey Island's overhead view but this is a fine map!

Looking over the map, I noticed that the plaza to the west was titled Plaza of the Fighters, and there was a Guild clearly marked there on my PDF version. The Fighter’s Guild seemed a pretty good place for me to go at this point, so I clicked on it. As I reappeared in the eastern half of the Plaza of the Fighters, I was surprised to find that there was no-one around. The screen had a blue tinge to it, and I quickly realised it was night time! Knowing that there was no point wandering around the city when nothing was open, I restored back to the starting plaza and selected Time / Day from the menu system. “Sunset approaches on day 1.” A good night’s rest would do me the world of good, so I entered the Katta’s Tail Inn and asked Shameen about a room: “Your room awaits you, just off the passage behind me. You will have a place to stay here as long as you wish to be our guest.” Wandering into the room behind her, my view changed to one of Tricky lying in bed. I could sleep “Until Dawn”, “Until Evening”, “One Hour”, or I could choose to “Stay Awake”. I chose to sleep until dawn, and awoke much refreshed mere moments later.

Oh come on! I heard the nightlife was rocking in Shapeir!

Like me, this Tricky never misses an opportunity to flex his biceps.

Ready for a new day, I went to leave the inn. As I did so, Shameen informed me that Shema would dance this evening in the inn. It looked like I might get a chance to see what companion Raifield’s friend’s mother was so stirred up about a couple of decades ago. This time when I reached the The Plaza of the Fighter, there was a lot more going on. The first store I checked out sold “cloth of the finest of weaves and the loveliest of colors”, but more importantly cloth bags to contain extra equipment. The bags cost only 50 centimes each, so I bought one. (7 points) All I’d done so far was buy a few items, yet I already had 35 of the possible 500 points! The second store in the plaza was selling leatherwork, made from dyed Saurus skin. The item of interest there was a waterskin, and despite already having one in my possession, I decided spending a single dinar to get another one probably wasn’t a bad idea. I received no points for making the purchase, but that wasn’t unexpected given I already owned one.

If one waterskin lasts a day I figure two will last a couple.

There was also a Weapons Shop in the eastern half of the plaza, so I wandered in to check it out. There I found a posing, bald blacksmith named Issur. There were numerous weapons on the wall, which I began to investigate. The parser responses I received were more humorous than useful, such as: “A mace in the face will make you race with haste to the nearest plastic surgeon’s place.” I started trying to buy things to see how much they cost, but the only items that hadn’t already been sold to someone else were the sword  (100 dinars) and some daggers (5 dinars apiece). I didn’t have 100 dinars left after all my earlier purchases, so the sword would have to wait until I’d had some success elsewhere. As for the daggers, I wasn’t willing to spend too much of my money just yet until I knew what else I needed, but would probably get some later on. When I looked at the shields on the back wall, Issur announced that they were “trophies from Arm Wrestling tournaments in Petalumair” and not for sale. This made me wonder whether I might be able to challenge the big man to an arm wrestle, so I tried. “You want to wrestle, eh? Just to make it worth my while to put you in your place, why don’t we make a little wager, say, 1 dinar?”

A guy like me hey? Don't you know who I am?

It seemed like a silly idea to take Issur on, but my strength stats were pretty high, so I saved my game and agreed to his terms. My display switched to a first person one, and I was given some instructions on how to wrestle. There were also two Force bars at the top of the screen that would show how much force either of us were exerting on the other. Soon enough I was mashing the left arrow to increase pressure and then smashing the space bar in an attempt to slam Issur’s hand down onto the table. While I was convinced this was the right tactic, it didn’t work in the slightest. Before I knew it I’d run out of stamina, and the back of my hand pounded into the table. Clearly I was going to need a bit more Vitality and possibly Strength before attempting this again! This raised a question for me though, and it’s one I’d like to discuss with you fine readers before I continue. I recall needing to slow the speed of the game down before getting into combat during Hero’s Quest (using DOSBox on a modern PC of course), as failing to do so made it almost impossible to predict when attacks were about to come. Will I need to do something similar in Quest for Glory II? I’d rather agree on a suitable approach so I don’t feel like I’m cheating by adjusting speeds etc. I might sneak in a bit more play though in the meantime...

Decrease pressure? That's just not in my nature!

Thankfully I have a secret weapon. I like to call it...RESTORE!!!!

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 00 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!