Friday, 25 July 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - Elementary School

Tricky Journal Entry 4: "Things have really heated up here in Shapeir, literally! A Fire Elemental started burning up everything in the plazas today, and as usual, everyone turned to me to solve the problem. Thankfully I got some sound advice from Aziza, then some supplies from Harik to lure the scorching thing in. All that was left was to capture it, which I've just now managed to do. I'd love it if that was the last Elemental I see in my life, but Omar's prophetic poetry suggests I won't be so lucky."

I really hope that saurus is there when I get back, if only so I can smack it over the head! (Please note that no saurus' were harmed during the playing of this game)

I was a little concerned at the end of my last post. During my first venture out into the desert, my saurus had run away as soon a Brigand appeared, leaving me to make my way back to Shapeir by foot. I had a horrible feeling that the saurus was now gone, and that perhaps I would need to buy another one. This fear was allayed as soon as I arrived back at the main gates, with the guard suggesting it wasn’t at all an unusual occurrence: “I see you left your saurus out in the desert. Most sauruses find their way back here to the stables.” Now trusting that my beast would return of its own accord, I made my way to Keapon Laffin’s Magic Shop to give him the “whirling part of a dervish” that I’d just found (aka some of Dervish’s beard from the Oasis). As expected, he was pleased: “You uncurled me some whirl from Dervish? Oh, frabjous day, hoorah, hooray! Here’s the Dinars that I must pay.” I’d kind of hoped that completing this quest would result in something above and beyond a bit of coin, but Keapon had nothing else to say to me of interest.

Actually, I'd say that my saurus left me out in the desert.

Seriously, is the guy at the Oasis called The Dervish or just Dervish...or both?

With little else concrete to do, I decided to follow up on something Aperama said in one of his comments. “Tricky, I might just point out that you might like to talk to the gate guards, and leave it at that.” This seemed awfully like a spoiler, but he assured me it was just a bit of friendly advice. I made my way back to the gate and tried talking to the guard. “My name is Uns al-Wujud, which means Delight in Existing Things.” What...that was it? I tried questioning the guard about all sorts of things, but he had very little to say, with none of it being new. I decided it was time to ask something that I only knew about through my previous experience with the game. I distinctly recall getting some sort of caravan from Shapeir to what I assume was Raseir when I played the game many years ago. No-one had mentioned anything about a caravan during this playthrough, but I thought it would be really helpful to know just how much time I had to explore Shapeir and the surrounding desert. I typed “ask about caravan”, and got “A caravan is many travellers journeying together. It is much less dangerous that way. There will be a caravan to Raseir in 14 days.” 14 days!!!! I had heaps of time!

I'd been worried that I hadn't been spending enough time grinding. I'm worried no longer!

I had a little bit of time left on day three, so I spent it in the Fighter’s Guild training with Uhura. Once my stamina was depleted, which still occurred much quicker than I liked, I made my way back to the Inn to see if the night’s entertainment had started. As I entered, Shameen informed me that the Poet Omar would soon speak, so I sat down at the table in preparation. (3 points) Omar took the stage, with the Inn musician accompanying his poetic words.

In the Month of the Serpent, in the Year of the Djinn,
A shadow passed over the Katta’s Tail Inn.
Astrologers foretell that Doom shall come to dwell
And Shapeir shall be but sand upon the wind.

Comes a hero from the north, riding on the very air,
And this is sign the first to then beware,
For darkness soon shall fall and shadow cover all,
The city and the ones now living there.

The first Doom shall be Fire, which shall burn the very stone,
The next is Air, and rocks are overthrown,
Earth shall be the third, then the final Doom is heard,
The Water gone, the city parched like bone.

Unless the one called Hero is a Hero true indeed,
Who comes to help the city in its need,
Then will face the depths of Doom in the darkness of the Tomb,
From the Elemental’s Master, we are freed.

No pressure or anything!

Once the show was over, I was able to wander up and have a chat to the infamous poet. Amusingly, he answered all of my questions with perfectly decipherable poetry, while his assistant translated into plain English. His answers were lengthy and clever, but I didn’t gain anything that seemed important from them. The only one that got me thinking was when I asked Omar about the Dervish: “The Dervish of the desert sits upon the sands beside the pool, Of the Oasis as men pass him and they laugh in ridicule at such a fool, But he watches and he listens and he thinks upon the things which pass him by, And he smiles upon his mockers when they question all his answers in reply.” Omar’s assistant Ja’Afar followed this up with the following translation: “Many people go to the Dervish for knowledge, but few understand him.” If many people were going to see the Dervish for knowledge, then perhaps he did know something of use. I noted to myself to spend a bit more time questioning him if I ever happened to stumble across the Oasis again.

Lori must have spent a LONG time writing all the answers I got out of Omar.

By the time I’d finished my questioning of Omar, it was getting pretty late. I slept for the rest of the night, only to wake up to a bit of a crisis! As soon as I left my room, Shameen announced that not all was well in Shapeir: “Hero-friend, a most strange fire has been seen outside the Inn. Take care as you leave.” Shameen wouldn’t give me any further information, suggesting I should speak to Abdulla about it. Unfortunately, Abdulla was nowhere to be seen, and Shema only added that “The Katta merchants could not set up in the plaza outside because of the fire this morning.” I stepped out into the plaza to find that it was all but empty. The only store left was the one owned by the annoying Alichica: “Fire sale today! I sella you real wood burned by real Fire Elemental. Be the first on your block to owna this.” A Fire Elemental! So already the predictions of Omar’s poetry were coming true! Alichica didn’t know anything interesting about the Elemental, so I set off to see whether it was now burning away somewhere else in the city. Perhaps I would find Abdulla on the way!

DANGER!!!! :)

I spent the next half an hour running through the streets and plazas of Shapeir. To this point I hadn’t actually spent any time just exploring, and now that I knew I could spare a day doing so, marked off streets as I passed through them. Eventually I had made my way through the entirety of Shapeir! I didn’t find the Fire Elemental anywhere, nor did I find Abdulla. In fact, the only new thing I discovered in the entire place was a locked and barred door in the north-western corner. I tried to use strength to break through it, but had no success.

Never one to miss an opportunity.

I was tempted to pick the lock, but I doubt that action would be conducive to becoming a Paladin, nor would my skill be anywhere near high enough.

Since there was still half of day four left, I filled my waterskins and headed back out into the desert. Unlike my first attempt at doing so, this time I opened up a spreadsheet and began mapping my progress. I kicked off this process by trying to discover just how big the desert area was. After walking out of Shapeir, I turned west and walked through screen after screen, with the mountains visible in the background. On the fourth screen I discovered something very interesting indeed! There was a Griffin asleep on a ledge, and some debris had fallen to the ground beneath it. (3 points) I didn’t think waking the creature was a good idea, but I hopped off my Saurus to investigate the debris. “You can see part of a feather sticking out from under a rock near the cliff base.” Harik at the Apothecary had requested a Griffin feather to make a Dispel Potion, so I had to be able to get it somehow. When I tried to pick it up I was told that I would need to move the rock first, but I didn’t seem to be able to do so as it was “firmly embedded in the sand”. Eventually I figured out that I could dig the sand around the rock, which would loosen it enough for me to lift the rock up and collect the feather. (7 points)

OoooOOOooOOOOOOooooOOOOOooo the lion eagle sleeps tonight!

I'm sure Chet's magic user character will have no trouble lifting this rock. *sigh*

I had quite a bit of trouble getting back onto my saurus after getting the feather. No matter where I was standing, typing “get on saurus” resulted in “Just walk on over and get it”. I was very close to giving up and walking back to town, but finally typed “ride saurus” to get the desired result. This was the first time I’d struggled with the parser in the game, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. After all that, I ran into a Brigand on the way back to Shapeir anyway, causing my saurus to dump me. Luckily I defeated him, and was able to walk back to town unopposed. I made my way straight to the Apothecary and gave the feather to Harik. “I still need the Fruit of Compassion. You need to add the victim’s hair at the last moment.” Hmmmm, it seems Harik is a hard man to impress. I didn’t even get points for my achievement! Before I could leave, he began talking about the Fire Elemental: “Have you seen the Fire Elemental? It is magic of the most marvellous kind. So very beautiful, the dancing flames. If I but had such a creature at my command, the pills I would make!” Clearly he knew something about it, but my questions resulted in information I was already well aware of.

You're welcome!

Leaving the Apothecary, I pondered what I might do next. I was a bit stumped as to the Fire Elemental event, as it seemingly had done its damage to the plaza and then vanished. I decided to pay Aziza a visit, since she seemed to know so much about Elementals. Perhaps she would start talking about it and things would become clearer. I sat down at her table and typed “ask about fire elemental”. As had occurred when she first explained Elementals to me, Aziza created the image of a Fire Elemental on the table. Initially I figured I was watching the same description I’d seen previously, but soon realised the Enchantress was giving me specific information about Fire Elementals! I hadn’t thought to ask her about each independent element during my first visit, but I assume I could have done so. It turned out to be incredibly important information! Fire Elemental: “The essence of Fire is hunger. As long as there is something nearby to burn, it will be able to move freely. It can consume the very bricks which make up the floor of the plazas. Until it is contained, it cannot be controlled. The weakness of Fire is Water, but the Elemental of Fire will avoid water by moving away from its source. Unless you find some way to drive or lure the Elemental away from the open plazas, where there is much it can burn, to a more confined area, you will not be able to use Water against it to capture it.”

Aziza really is the source of all knowledge regarding Elementals.

Well now I had a good idea how to capture the Fire Elemental, if only I could find it! I will save reciting what Aziza said about the other three Elementals until I am faced with them, as I’m quite sure I will be. By now it was getting late in the day again, so I decided to get some sleep and see what day five would bring. My answer came quickly! As I walked out of my room, fully refreshed after a long night’s sleep, I found Abdulla seated at the table. I sat with him, and he immediately expressed his concern: “Soon Shapeir will be awash in flames. Hero, you must save us all again! A dreadful Fire Elemental stalks the plazas, burning all it touches!” Surely I would find the Elemental this day! Abdulla had nothing further to say, so I ate my breakfast and stepped outside the Inn. The Fire Elemental was right there in the Gate Plaza, moving around in dangerous proximity to my Hero! I panicked a little, and tried throwing water on it, despite Aziza’s advice telling me that would do no good in the plaza. It caused the Elemental to shrink down to a tiny size, but after my failed attempts to contain it or destroy it, grew back to its original size soon enough. I needed a way to lure it out of the plaza. But how?!

Let's not panic people! I'm a Hero remember? With a capital H!

Oh man! Can I at least wake up a bit first before having to deal with this shit!?

Caption Contest! :)

I decided to visit each of the stores in the various plazas, asking all the Kattas and shop owners about the fire elemental. Surely one of them would give me some advice as to how to lure it out of the plaza. Keapon Laffin merely joked about the situation, but revisiting Harik Attar in the Apothecary produced the result I was after! As soon as I walked in he began excitedly talking about it again. I asked him about “fire”, at which point he gave me a bit of a demonstration. (3 points) He poured some incense onto the flames next to him, which burst to life, producing a larger green flame! “See how the flame reacts to incense? Fire is attracted to the things it burns because it is very vain. It would be very possible to lure the Fire Elemental away from the plazas using this incense, and where it is weak from hunger and water, capture it.” Yes! That was exactly what I was after! I purchased a pouch full of the incense for 70 centimes, and then rushed back to the Gate Plaza to give it a shot. (7 points)

Yes Harik. That really is very impressive. No, really!

As soon as I entered the plaza, I typed “use incense”. Tricky began letting the incense run out of the pouch on the stone, and the Fire Elemental set out for it straight away. I walked through the exit into the street beyond, and the Elemental followed me through. I thought I might have to lead it to a dead end, but as soon as it was fully in the street, a message popped up saying “You have lured the Fire Elemental away from the plaza. Now you must try to weaken and capture it.” I threw water at it again to shrink it down to size, but I’d given no consideration as to how exactly I might capture it. I couldn’t just pick it up, so I’d have to put it in some sort of container. Going through my inventory, the oil lamp seemed a good option. I typed “use lamp”, but just as I did so, the Fire Elemental grew back to its original size and retreated back into the plaza. I couldn’t help noticing that Tricky had responded to my command by putting the lamp on the ground though. Was I just too late? I tried the process again, and this time I must have used the lamp early enough. The Elemental moved straight into the lamp: “As you pick up the lamp and rub it, a small flame appears. When you rub it again, the flame goes away. You now have a magic lamp. You put the lamp safely away in your backpack.” One Elemental down…three to go!!!

Here boy! Come on! I got some yummy incense for ya!

Let's hope there wasn't any oil in the lamp!

Session Time: 2 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 5 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!

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!