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!


  1. My family and I are going away for the weekend to the Blue Mountains (yes, us Aussies like to name things literally, such as the Harbour Bridge, the Great Sandy Desert, the Snowy Mountains etc.).

    I won't be back until late Monday, so my next post may not arrive until mid to late next week. I'll try to comment when I have reception, although comments made through Apple devices generally disappear without a trace.

    1. You have loads of time, the caravan is two weeks out. Have a nice trip!

    2. Enjoy your frabjous day! Callooh, callay! In the mountains you will stay, with much time to think and play!

    3. Man, you're doing it wrong. You take the laptop WITH you on the vacation and sneak in playing time at night while your family is asleep.

  2. Caption contest: A picture full of tiny things.

    1. Caption contest: Oh great... Now I pee in 3 streams?! "Do As The Romans Do", indeed. F#$%ing circumcision.

    2. I want to thank you, Kenny, for giving "waterskin" a new meaning (and a nice mental image to go with it)

    3. Caption contest: We didn't start the fire

  3. BTW, Chet didn't lift the rock to get the feather. He lifted HIMSELF to get one.

    1. Yeah, I totally thought initially that the magic answer was to use Fetch to lift the rock, or pull the feather out. There's no mention of a loose feather on the griffin that I found, and I didn't want to disturb it. So it took me a long time to try other things, and even then, the right spell was fiddly.

    2. My solution was simply hfvat gur zntvp ebcr. I wonder if that's the only option available to the thief.

    3. Charlers: I am sure that's the preferred solution for thieves.

    4. When I played it the first time, I didn't realize there was a second feather beneath the rock. Is there some reason that any class couldn't just lift the rock and take it?

    5. The only limitation for lifting the rock is strength, any class can take it. I don't think the strength requirement is particularly high either.

    6. It is high enough for my wimpy thief, even after digging around the rock. I wonder what would happen if I decided to grind strength to 70 or so by arm-wrestling Issur. Would I end up with 2 feathers?

      Also, I see nobody has mentioned anything about actually xvyyvat gur tevssva.

    7. Yes, you can end up with 2 feathers. Which means you can have 2 Po... er... okay, spoilerish enough. Nothing to see here.

  4. Oooohhh apparently I stumbled upon an incredibly simple exploit to earn unlimited money.

  5. Replies
    1. Gur gevpx jvgu fryyvat gur orneq?

    2. Yes! Is it a known exploit? I had no idea.

    3. *fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre-fcnpr-ragre*

    4. JGS!TGSB GRU VAREARGF!!11!! Weiiirrdd...

    5. You will have more fun if you do not take advantage of exploits - This one ruins the game's economy.

      Quest for Glory II did not get enough testing before Sierra released it. Note that Hero's Quest came out in October 1989, and Quest for Glory II in November 1990. That might have been ok in the 1980's Sierra, but in 1990 they switched to a much more demanding art creation process that slowed game development. QfG2 should have gotten at least another month of testing, and 3 months wouldn't have hurt.

    6. I agree, cheating makes everything pointless so I definitely won't take advantage of this. It just caught me unawares :-)

  6. Re: the parser, I have been using "mount" and "dismount" to get on/off the saurus.

    It took me a while to get used to right click on things to get descriptions, which is clearly the preferred method. Lots of things to check out at Aziza's and Keapon's, including references to different games and movies. And Lori really put some effort in all those book titles! XD.

    I'm at about the same point at Trickster and I seem to have run out of things to do or see in Shapeir. My only option apart from sleeping through a few days is grinding combat in the desert, but a) I'm not sure that's really needed or suitable for my thief, especially since my daggers seem to play no role in combat, and b) I'm not really looking forward to wander about a seemingly endless expanse hoping to hit upon a fortuitous encounter (I did get precise directions for the Dervish from someone, but finding the tree and the Griffin was pure luck - and they weren't too far off to begin with).

    I think this is what discouraged me several years ago, finding myself all of a sudden with no clear mission.

  7. I'm at the stage where I am nearly maxed out from grinding (throwing rocks is surprisingly effective, also the tightrope and Uhura sparring and random magic casting) but still waiting for various elementals. I think I would have preferred the game to time each elemental to your defeat of the previous - beat the first quickly, the game adjusts, etc.

    Charles - I vaguely remember that glitch from the old days, and it's been removed from the VGA version (I just checked), but I also remember never being too pressed for money either.

  8. BTW, Flash Humble Bundle for Putt Putt! Ending in 15 minutes!