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!


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

    In my first playthrough of the series, my character's name was Potato Brain. :-D

  2. Another comment lost to the ether... Al Njun is awfully close to the Arabic word for stars: nujuum.

    1. I've given up trying to comment from my phone or tablet. Most of them disappear without a trace.

    2. Yes!!! I have just discovered this.

      I'm starting my playback tonight, after I finish the second job I took on. I'll blow through QFG1 as a Magic User and then quickly catch up with you. WOoooooooooooo!

  3. I'll admit, I do enjoy watching you approach this from a true first timers perspective. It's quite hard to do when you know the game's map as well as I. You might want to make sure you head out the gates before too long, though!

    1. I'm sure I'll be out and about soon enough. It's always daunting stepping out into desert environment.

  4. My name for my Arcane Trickster was Villainous Scum.

  5. Lori wrote most of the dialogue for Quest for Glory, and I think all of the dialogue in QfG2. She is therefore responsible for the magic shop dialogue. She left most of the other messages (object descriptions and interactions) to me and the programmers, although she handled ones critical to the story.

    @JosephCurwen: The resemblance between al Njum and nujuum is not a coincidence. Lori used an English-Arabic dictionary and carefully chose most of the names to have appropriate meanings. Although sometimes a name is just a name, that isn't the way to bet.

    Incidentally, the apothecary sells pills and oils because we reasoned that potions would evaporate in the desert climate. Pills are much more portable and practical there.

    1. I really appreciate that attention to detail. It's a big part of why the world feels as alive and nuanced and complete as it does.

  6. Good gods! What a naughty woman!

  7. Ron Gilbert found design notes for his old games. He just shared his notes on Maniac Mansion.

    1. You should post this up back on the last Maniac Mansion post, for those that just drop in to read about one game, or who are reading the blog in order.

      Twinned crystals suck, and I can't wait for our new XRD computer with its faster processor, so we can run Cell Now faster. *Stares at command line, waiting*