Thursday 31 July 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - Butt Kicking for Goodness

Tricky Journal Entry 5: "Things were pretty quiet in the days following my capture of the Fire Elemental. I took advantage of the lull to get some training in at the guild, and then tested my increasing skills out on various villains I crossed paths with in the desert. The hard work is really paying off too, as I finally managed to defeat Issur in an arm wrestle. More importantly though, today I captured an Air Elemental that was tearing up the city in a similar way to the Fire Elemental. I guess it's only a matter of time before Wind and Earth come to complete the set!"

If I only had a dinar for every thanks I received!

Right, I’m back from my little break, and completed a lengthy four hour session of Quest for Glory II last evening. It was a session I needed to have, spending the vast majority of the time grinding and trying to defeat the various creatures found in the desert surrounding Shapeir. I’ll include a screenshot of my character stats before and after the session so you can all judge how successful I was.

If I haven't already mentioned it, the numbers in red are the ones that have changed since I last viewed the character screen. Very helpful!

My session began mid-morning on day 5, having just captured the Fire Elemental in my oil lamp. With the first of four Elementals out of the way, I had a think about what I might be able to achieve while I waited for the next one to arrive. I decided heading back out into the desert was the best thing to do, giving me the opportunity to increase my stats fighting foes while hopefully uncovering some interesting locations. I’d found the griffin while walking directly west of Shapeir, so this time I traveled east. After passing through five or six barren screens, I discovered an odd tree! It was the human-shaped tree that Aziza had told me about! I was happy to have found it, but I also knew that I was not going to be able to help the poor woman that was trapped within. Aziza had told me that I would need to give her three gifts, with the first one (the gift of Kindness) being some water, but she’d also informed me that I didn’t have the sacrifice needed to fulfill the second gift (the gift of Magic). I considered giving the tree some water from my waterskin, but decided it was too valuable to me while I was still exploring the desert. I soon made my way back to Shapeir, defeating a couple of Brigands in battle on the way.

I'm surprised my wussy saurus didn't bolt at the sight of this creepy tree.

Given my success rate with other creatures, this Brigand should be ashamed of himself!

After filling my waterskins and having some rest at the Inn to recover my stamina, I spent some time training with Uhura in the Fighter’s Guild. I have to admit that I really struggle with the combat system early on. Hitting things wasn't the issue, as it was just a matter of choosing whether I wanted to swing high or low, or thrust my sword up the middle. Defending was something else entirely! I was determined to increase my Parry skill, since it was higher than my Dodge skill by default, but I never seemed to be able to choose the right block. It was only when I realised the three parry keys were low, middle and high rather then left, middle and right (it’s really not that clear from the visuals and I obviously didn’t read the manual properly) that things started to click a bit. Soon I was doing much better, training for quite some time before running out of stamina. I spent most of an entire day going between the Fighter's Guild and the Inn, recovering my stamina before expending it once again. Doing this not only increased my stats fairly significantly, but Uhura also gave me some tips on how to fight some of the creatures found in the game. “Scorpion always wiggle tail before it strikes. Be ready to dodge.” “Jackalmen may be cowards, but they fight well. Keep sword on one at a time. Take it out as fast as possible.”

This lesson wasn't particularly helpful.

By midday on day six I’d increased my Strength stat to 92, my Agility to 87, my Vitality to 89, and my Weapon Use to 105. My Intelligence, Luck, Honor, Parry, Dodge and Communication were all gradually increasing as well. I’d planned to train for a bit longer, but when I next visited the Guild, Rakeesh announced on my arrival that the city wished to reward me for saving it from the Fire Elemental. “You have saved the city with your courage and your resourcefulness. The land of Shapeir is indebted to you. By order of the Sultan, Harun Al-Rashid, I have been asked to give you this reward for your actions.” The Liontaur gave me 50 dinars! (3 points) This sudden increase in funds reminded me that Issur was selling a sword for 100 dinars in the Weapon Shop. I now had over 150, so raced over and bought it! “Having traded in your old sword and paid 100 dinars, you now have one of Issur’s swords. For all his bragging, he does make a fine weapon.” Having been totally embarrassed by Chet’s magic user earlier on, I decided to try my luck at arm wrestling Issur while I was there. I lasted a bit longer this time, even getting into a winning position temporarily, but couldn't finish the guy off before running out of stamina! Either Chet’s character was seriously buff after being imported, or I’m really losing my touch when it comes to action mini games.

Hey, you don't think you could get me an invite to his palace do you? Cause that would be like, cool and shit!

Oh come on! You could have at least called it a Fine Sword of Lightning Bolts + 2!

YOU: Suck. ISSUR: Doesn't suck.

After another morning of training on day 7, I felt determined to go and fight some nasties. To this point I’d only managed to defeat Brigands in the desert, having been crushed in battles with Scorpions and Terrorsaurus’. It didn’t take me long to find a Scorpion, and while my stamina was pretty much gone at the end of the fight, my hit points were well and truly intact. I’d won! (3 points) I remembered to pick up the Scorpion’s tail before leaving the scene, as that was one of the ingredients Harik had asked for at the Apothecary. (5 points) I was feeling much more formidable after this victory, and with all my major fighting stats now over 100, I raced back to Shapeir to rest before taking on Issur once again! I finally defeated him on my next attempt, not only having the required strength, but also finally getting the hang of the wrestling system. (7 points)

Of course it might just have been the sword!

YOU: Finally don't suck! ISSUR: Has taken over suckage.

All my grinding was finally paying off, so after selling the Scorpion tail to Harik for 20 dinars, I went Terrorsaurus hunting! It actually took me quite some time to find one, but when I did it simply didn’t stand a chance. Just about every one of my swings made contact, and I was able to parry the majority of its kicks as well. It went down quickly, giving me no reward apart from pride and some increased stats. (3 points) My supply of water seemed to be decreasing much slower now, probably due to my increased Vitality, so I figured I could spare some. I made my way east to the woman shaped tree and typed “pour water on tree”. Tricky bent down and poured it into the roots, and while nothing visible occurred, I gained some points for it. (7 points) I recalled that Aziza had told me to tell the woman about myself to “give meaning to the gift”. I typed “tell woman about self”, at which point Tricky told her of all my adventures, covering all the major events from Spielburg to Shapeir. (5 points) When the story was complete, the tree twisted around, revealing the woman’s face in the wood. I still couldn’t give her the second gift, and didn’t yet know what the Gift of Love even was (perhaps a kiss?), but at least I was making progress.

20 Dinars!!! I'm going on a Scorpion hunt!

Damn straight it is!

She's a little stiff for my liking.

On the morning of day 8 I awoke to another crisis. An Air Elemental was causing much destruction in the Plaza of the Palace! I raced over there, confident that I would be able to handle the situation. It was only when I was standing in front of the twister-with-eyes that I wondered how the heck I was going to do anything about it. Nothing in my inventory looked like it would be useful, so I went through my screenshots to see what Aziza had had to say: “The essence of Air is freedom of movement. As long as there is a place for Air to go, it will continue to grow in destructive power. Only when it is bound to the Earth can it be contained. You should ask someone better versed then I in the nature of Air how to go about this.” Someone better versed in the nature of air? Well, Keapon Laffin seemingly spends his whole life levitating in the Magic Shop. Perhaps he would have some cryptic words of wisdom.

Perhaps the Air Elemental is a blessing in disguise!

As soon as I walked into the Magic Shop, I knew it was the right place to be. Keapon started spurting out lines about the Elemental with his usual play-on-word aplomb: “I heard the gusty Air Elemental has a tempestuous relationship with his own twister. They had a whirlwind affair, but it’s winding down if you catch my drift.” I asked him about the Air Elemental, and got the info I was after: “If you’re led to behead an airhead, don’t let him lead the chase. Glue his shoes with goo, Blue, and throw mud in his face. It’s fair to snare the air there, then put him in his place.”(5 points)  Did he mean that I should literally throw mud at the Elemental? I asked him about mud, and it turned out he had some Fooler’s Earth in stock that he was willing to part with. “It used to make dark stains on light clothes. If you need it to ground old Blowhard, it’s yours for a song. Dust in the Wind. All you need is dust in the wind.” I took the pot of dirt and went to leave, but the crazy shop owner had something else he wanted me to know: “The Dervish of the desert sent a Bedouin to my boudoir, and I hear he needs a hero for to help him bait a beast.” Now I had another reason to pay the Dervish a visit in his Oasis, but first I had an Air Elemental to catch!

I'm inspired to use the word "dearth" in a normal conversation before the week is out.

This time when I was confronted by the Elemental in the Plaza of the Palace, I typed “throw mud at air elemental”. Tricky did as I commanded, but the projectile failed to hit the mark. I tried a couple more times and finally received a message saying “You have managed to throw the dirt into the centre of the funnel.” The Elemental continued to spin, but now it appeared to be stuck in the one spot. Clearly I was supposed to capture it was restrained, but unlike the Fire Elemental, I didn’t seem to have anything that would be suitable. Eventually the Air Elemental broke free of its captivity and continued on its merry way around the plaza. What would I catch air in? Bellows? Had I seen bellows somewhere? I thought perhaps I had in the Weapon Shop, but since the Magic Shop was on the way, decided to drop in and ask Keapon Laffin how to contain the air. His answer confirmed my belief that bellows were the key: “Go find a fellow who’ll loan you his bellows. And if you can’t play, just take them away, Jay.” I made my way to the Weapon Shop and asked Issur about bellows: “The bellows is a sign of my trade. What about it?” I asked him for them and to my surprise he actually gave them to me! “You have shown yourself worthy by defeating me at arm wrestling. Let me get them for you.” (7 points)

I'm glad I had a Throwing skill of 50 to begin with.

Has anyone tried just taking the bellows as a fighter? Keapon seems to suggest it's possible.

With the bellows in my possession, I went back to the plaza, threw some dirt into the Air Elemental’s funnel, and then used the bellows. It worked perfectly, and the Elemental was sucked into the bellows before my eyes! (20 points) I’d now captured the Fire Elemental and the Air Elemental, and had them in my inventory within the oil lamp and the bellows respectively. I figured this meant I likely had a few more days to grind away before a third Elemental attacked the city. I'd have to come up with an efficient use of the time. I’d already defeated all the foes I’d seen in the desert during the day, but I’d never been out at night. If Hero’s Quest was anything to go by, the creatures I would find after dark would be different to the ones that roam in the sunlight. Now that this post is done, I plan to rest Tricky until nightfall, then head out to see what’s about. I may pay the Dervish a visit while I’m there, since he seems to have a quest for me to undertake.

Who ya gonna call?!

Damn I'm good!!!

It took a near four hour session, but I finally feel like a Hero!

Session Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 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!

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!