Monday, 30 October 2017

Quest for Glory I - The Hero of Information Dump Central

Written by TBD.

The 'who will I play as' poll is complete. And you voted to have me play as all three characters in the game. So be it. I wouldn't go to the extra effort for just anyone, but for you Adventure Gamer Blog Readers, I'll do it!

Final results:
ALL THAT I CAN BE - 38%
MAGIC-USER 28%
THIEF – 23%
FIGHTER – 9%
Deep breath - okay. I'm ready to be all that I can be!

I'll play it similarly to how I played three characters in Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2. I'll start a post as one character, then play the same section with the others and note the differences. But as the Quest for Glory characters have no pre-defined personality I decided to give them rudimentary RPG-style personalities. Is this a waste of my time? Most likely, but it helps me keep them separate in my mind rather than just being 'me solving puzzles slightly differently'.

We'll start by meeting our three protagonists in a future adventure I like to call “Stuck In A Dungeon”

We have Frodo the Fighter, Martak the Magic User and Trevor (pronounced Treevore because fantasy characters pronounce their names weirdly) the Thief
Frodo followed his companions into the abandoned castle. Distracted by a shiny glint at the far end of the room, he noticed neither his companions screaming something at him nor the door slamming ominously shut behind him.

MARTAK – What part of 'hold the door' don't you understand?
FRODO – I'm sorry. I didn't hear you properly
MARTAK – Between the two of us we must have screamed 'hold the door' at least twenty times and you just stood there like a giant fool.
FRODO – You were drowning each other out. I missed the whole middle of your sentence
MARTAK – But that still doesn't...
TREVOR – Do you guys know the only other exit to this room is completely blocked?
FRODO – This door won't open either. It's too strong.
MARTAK – Great.
FRODO – Well, if we're going to be stuck here for a while...
TREVOR - ...forever...
FRODO - ...maybe we should trade stories. I could tell you all about the time I became Hero of Spielburg
MARTAK – Wait, I'm the Hero of Spielburg
TREVOR – Yeah, who isn't. I think they hand those things out like free Garlic Bread with a Pizza
FRODO – I'm sure I'm the real Hero...
MARTAK – Just tell your story, Frodo. I'm too tired to argue.
TREVOR – I'll see if there's another way out.
FRODO – Well, it all started when I arrived at the town gates after an arduous journey...

FIGHTER

Frodo the Fighter Journal Entry #1: I went to Spielburg to become a hero. I started my heroic quest by talking... a lot!











I increased Strength, Agility, Vitality, Weapon Use and Parry. This guy's a fighter and nothing else.

I started as a fighter, partly because the manual claimed it would be the easiest, and partly because when I started playing he looked to be losing the vote and I felt sorry for him.

Not a lot happened during this first part of the game, as I largely just explored the town and randomly wandered the wilderness. I got a LOT of exposition though. I suspect the correct way to play the game, and the way the game originally played when using the parser is to explore early and ask people information after you know you need it. With the new point-and-click interface, I can get seemingly all the information from the beginning. It's possible there'll be more information I can get later after finding more out about the world, but I suspect not, or at least not much. We'll find out later.

The start of the game has us entering the town of Spielburg and being greeted by the Sheriff

Note my score is 1 before I get to do anything – ACHIEVEMENT!

The big guy is said to be playing with a yo-yo, but it seems more like some other kind of toy to me – it rolls back and forth on the string and he can throw it off the string and catch it again

The sheriff tells me that the town could use a hero due to all the monsters and brigands.

The big dumb assistant, called Otto Von Goon is from an Ogre-like race called Goons and he is also a goon! Never let it be said the game is being too subtle

The sheriff dumps a lot of info on me, in a screen I'll be seeing a lot of in the first section of this game (in triplicate, thanks to your voting!)

Clicking on any of these, apart from the last one, has the sheriff tell me about the subject. Some also then give me another similar 'Ask about' menu with more options.

I've already noticed a slight annoyance about this dialogue tree system. After clicking on something and reading what the sheriff has to say, I then have to click on him again with the 'talk' icon to be able to ask him something else. It's not gamebreaking at all, but most games, even in this era, did it a lot better by leaving us in dialogue until we clicked the 'enough already' or similar option.

I get a lot of info about the land I'll be adventuring in,. I won't get into the details until they become relevant, but he mentiones the places I should visit in town: the GuildHall, the Magic Shop and the Inn. I don't particularly care what places he suggests I visit, because I know I'll be visiting everything that's visitable anyway.

There are three doors in the first screen. Two of them are locked, and the door to the left is the inn.

HERO TALE INN

I enter the inn, and find a cat-man inkeeper.

I picked up another point somewhere. I'm on a roll! 498 to go!

Shameen is a Katta, and his people live in the southern desert town of Shapeir. He suggests I sit at the table if I'm hungry. I'm not hungry, but I sit anyway and Shameen's wife, Sheema appears from the kitchen

Mmmmm. Free coffee....

Some things I find out from Shameen and Sheema that I suspect may be of use:
  • I can sleep here (and dream – relevant?) for 5 silvers 
  • Coffee (1 silver) will bring me to full alertness 
  • There is a guest staying here, a merchant called Abdulla, who has recently been robbed. He should be back around suppertime 
I leave the inn and go to the left. The screen to the left of the starting screen contains a magic shop, which I'll go into more detail of when I play as a Magic User, a house with a sleeping woman in front, who won't wake up, and the guild hall.

GUILD HALL


This guy fell asleep while polishing his sword... I hope.

In the guild hall, I can sign my name in the log book, talk to the guild master or check out the bulletin board.

The bulletin board has six quests on it
  • Return Baronet Barnard von Spielburg – reward 50 gold
  • Spell components needed – inquire at the Healer's
  • Provide proof of Brigand Leader's identity – 60 gold and title 'Hero of the Realm'
  • Capture or Kill Brigand Warlock – 30 gold
  • Return lost ring – inquire at the Healer's
  • Safe Return of Elsa von Spielburg – reward 50 gold

From this bulletin board we can conclude that Baron von Spielburg's children are worth 50 gold apiece and the Healer refuses to agree on a price before delivery

Wolfgang the Guild Master, when we wake him up and talk to him, has something to say about all the monsters, but where I was hoping to get useful information on how to fight the different creatures, he didn't seem to have much helpful information to impart

Okay, so beware of something coming out of nowhere? Thanks for the help. I'll use that information wisely

Wolfgang told me he used to adventure with the Baron, but after he angered Baba Yaga, the Baron goes nowhere and sees no one. I suspect I'll be solving the Baron's agoraphobia problem before too long.

He also says that after Stefan von Spielburg killed one of two dragons, some people still see his companion high overhead occasionally. I suspect we might be meeting that dragon later.

Wolfgang also gives me a clue for one of the bulletin board quests.

I'll probably find Barnard or his body near the nest of a clawed creature – perhaps the aformentioned second dragon

Space Quest reference
Courage – sure. Brains – ah, pass. Skills – yeah, why not.

I then take a short trip outside the gate.


Not wanting to overwhelm myself with excitement, I go back to town and find the sheriff and Otto are no longer there. I go back to the inn and see a sad man with his head on the table. I speak to him.

Abdulla Doo? Any relation to Scooby and Scrappy?

Abdulla tells me that he was ambushed by about twelve brigands, including a minotaur. The wizard (likely the Brigand Warlock I read about on the bounty board) blinded them before attacking.

The wizard has capsicum spray?

Abdulla gives me some potentially useful information
  • The leader's voice was high pitched. A woman, perhaps? 
  • The wizard was short and giggled a lot – perhaps the bandits are children who obtained access to some powerful magic. Seems far fetched so I'm confident I'm wrong here.
  • Abdulla had a Magic Carpet among the stolen goods. I'm sure I could find a use for that item!

Exploring to the north of the sheriff's office, I find a market with a teenage centaur called Hilde manning a vegetable stand.

She gives me some potentially useful food-based information that is likely just flavour text (get it?) so I won't detail it now and will bring it up if it becomes useful later.

She does tell me that the robbers ran away to the southwest after attacking her father, so now I have an approximate direction to find the bandits who've been bothering everyone in town.

I buy 10 apples for a silver coin and move on.

Next to her stall is the dry goods stall, run by Kaspar.

Well, that's not promising

There I can find some general adventuring items.

I don't buy any of these yet but take note in case they'll be helpful later.

And Abdulla told me that one of the brigands was a minotaur – hmmm

Yeah, I know. '...until he took and arrow to the knee'

You can't tell from the screenshot, but the small alley has a glow coming out of it. Seems inviting.

In fact, it seems too inviting. I save the game before entering the alley.


Seems all above board to me. What do you think, Admiral Ackbar

"Looks safe to me. I'd go ahead"

Thanks for the tip, Admiral. I'll take your advice. First, I look around. There are curious marks on the north ends of the buildings. I hold my breath and go ahead. A dagger suddenly whizzes past my ear.

A trap! What a surprise!

The thieves demand my money for my life. Being the brave fighter I am, I pop into my inventory and use my broadsword on one of the thieves. But the game won't let me. I feel a sudden calmness and sense of peace when I consider thoughts of violence. There's certainly no way they're getting my money, so I try to leave instead.

TIP: I skimmed through the manual again and found nothing about how to deal with thieves

After reloading, I go to the only other enterable door, the tavern. The butcher and baker are playing cards and the barber's drunk at the bar – no wonder most of the shops are closed.

There's a note on the floor. I pick it up and read it.

I have no idea what this means, or who B is, or who B is.

The butcher suggests that there isn't enough meat in town for him to butcher but suggests that if someone were to bring down the stag in the forest that might change... do I sense another mission?

I try to talk to the goon, Crusher, a few times, but he doesn't like that and throws me out.

I feel it's time to go to sleep. I go back to the inn and pay my 5 silvers for a bed.


MARTAK: Well, that was a boring story. You just talked to people all day.
FRODO: But I got killed
MARTAK: …
FRODO: I got better. What do you think Trevor? A good start to an adventure?
TREVOR: I don't know. I stopped listening half an hour ago.
FRODO: I've only been talking for 20 minutes! 
Trevor had been attempting to get the door open and has managed to wedge various items in the small crack including pebbles, multiple daggers and a small smooth piece of wood with intricate runes carved on it. 
MARTAK: Is that my wand?
TREVOR: We're stuck here – possibly forever. Is now really the time to argue about personal property?
MARTAK: Yes. It's mine and I want it back. We may need it later.
TREVOR: Okay, but if we never get out of here we know who to blame. 
Martak takes the wand and puts it back in his backpack that still looked like it hadn't been opened. 
MARTAK: Nice work, thief.
TREVOR: I AM a professional.
MARTAK: Anyway, I had a similar experience in Spielburg, but you missed the best parts. Let me tell how my adventure began...

MAGIC USER

Martak the Magic User Journal Entry #1: I spoke to a large number of people who are beneath my notice, and one of the faery folk who ran the local magic shop. I learned my first spell – the first of many I'm sure...










I increased Intelligence and Magic, and also put points in Luck and Vitality to hopefully keep me alive longer

As Martak the Magic User, I did most of the same things as the fighter. I spent more time in the magic shop, unsurprisingly, so we'll focus on what I did there.

Magic Shop

The Magic Shop contains a gargoyle like creature and many of the kind of items you expect to see in a magic shop, such as scrolls and potions. As I approach the counter, the gargoyle awakens and Zara, the proprietor, appears. She makes a point of saying that the items in this shop are designed for those skilled in the use of magic. The gargoyle-like creature is her familiar, Damiano. Zara is part human and part Faery Folk.

And when you can take the pebble from my hand, then it will be time for you to leave

Zara gives me a lot of useful information.
  • Zara mentions that there is a place in the distant south that I must journey to after I become a hero here.
  • Erasmus is a Wizard who lives in a tower northeast of town
  • I can buy a Power Potion that restores my magical energy for 75 silver, a Healing Potion for 50 or a Vigor (Stamina) Potion for 25.
  • Importantly, she tells me that there is an Aura protecting this town from danger and there can be no act of violence or cruel magic within most of its walls – why she specifies most, I can surmise due to my fighter's experience in the dark alley.
  • Baba Yaga is a powerful and wicked Hag who cursed Baron von Spielburg and all his family


  • I need to know the rhyme to enter Baba Yaga's hut, but Zara doesn't know it.

I'm not sure what this means, but it might become clear later

These are the spells I can buy
  • Perhaps importantly, her description of the Open spell tells me that it unfastens locks and knots. I suspect it will be used to undo a knot in a rope at some point.
  • She also mentions that I can also find another spell if I can learn the secret of Erana's Peace. There is supposed to be a gift there for clever Magic Users. Sounds like a place I should find.

Let's move on.

I attempt to buy the Fire Dart spell, but don't have enough money. I'm guessing 10 silver pieces makes one gold piece, but then my inventory specifies 4 gold and 10 silver so I'm not completely sure. I can buy the open spell so I do so, hoping ot open some of the locked doors I found in town with my fighter. I now know my first spell, but only have 1 gold and 10 silver pieces left. I assume I'll be able to get more by solving some adventurer's guild quests so I'm not too concerned.

Now, armed with my new spell I go to one of the locked doors in town.

Bugger.

It seems my spells won't work in town due to the protection spell which works all over town apart from the dark alley.

I go to the dark alley again, expecting a similar result, and this is when I realise something I hadn't noticed before -  it had been night-time when I got here with my fighter.

This time there's no glow that I could see from outside the alley, and a new character instead of the killer thieves.

Alms for an ex-leper

I give him some money and can talk to him. Like everyone else in town, he has a lot of topics. Unlike most others, after answering a bunch of questions he shuts up until I pay him more. I exhaust his dialogue tree after three payments, then consider reloading because he didn't tell me anything interesting (chargebacks for the win)

Actually he does tell me I can get a job cleaning the Castle's stable which is good to build up muscles or have a space to spend the night. Free bed and extra strength – sounds useful – maybe I shouldn't reload to save money.

One of many modern-day Earth references/jokes in the game

Now that I can look at the alley in the light and without the looming danger of a dagger in my back, my character notes that the back wall reminds him of a time he thought about climbing. Methinks I've found a use for the Climbing skill. I don't have that skill with my mage, but my thief will have the skill. There's something to try with my third character.

I go to the tavern, and this time I don't talk to Crusher the Goon and therefore don't get thrown out. I do notice that he's standing on a trapdoor. I wonder what would happen if I cast my 'Open' spell on the trapdoor while he's standing there.

Bugger
TREVOR: So... that's it. The only thing you did differently to Frodo was buy a magic spell.
MARTAK: I... I also met a beggar.
FRODO: And I'm so disappointed I missed that riveting conversation.
TREVOR: Well it seems I'm the only one of us who walked out of town with more money than I came in with.
MARTAK: Oh, do tell us how the noble thief saved the poor people of Spielburg.
TREVOR: If you insist. Like your stories, it starts with me talking to everyone in town, but really gets interesting once the sun goes down...

THIEF

Trevor the Thief Journal Entry #1: I heard the town of Spielburg was looking for a hero. I'm sure that's something I can do, so I'll give it a go – and perhaps make some extra coin on the side for my trouble.










This time I upped, Luck, Agility and Vitality, Dodge, Stealth, Pick Locks, Throwing and Climbing.

Once again, my Thief playthrough began with me talking to everyone about everything. I didn't buy any spells this time obviously, and nothing unusual happened until night-time.

I did have the option to ask some people in the tavern about the 'Thieves' Guild', but didn't get much in response. The bartender told me he was an honest establishment but Crusher the Goon has something to say.

Boidbath?

I'll need to find the password somewhere. My guess was that the beggar is a member of the guild, but I can't ask him about it, so wasted 4 silver talking to him for nothing.

Perhaps if I break into a house I might get their attention. If I attempt to use my lockpick on one of the locked doors during the day the game admonishes me for attempting to break in in broad daylight. That's fair, so I wander randomly until nightfall.

After nightfall, I attempt to enter some of the locked buildings. Some are barred from the other side, so I can't get in, but the game tells me my lockpicking skill increases for trying anyway. After many failures I eventually succeed in lockpicking a door.

This small bit of text made me very happy. I'd achieved something!

I ended up in a house where I could hear snoring behind the doors. The occupants turned out the be the sheriff, Otto and the sheriff's wife.


I can steal 3 silvers from the drawers under the candlestick, steal the candlestick itself, get the vase, move the painting, then lockpick the safe under the painting until I succeed. It sounds like I've been quite clever but everything I've just written is solved by clicking the 'hand' icon on stuff.

There's a bit of randomization in the lockpicking mechanism – the first time I attempted to open the safe, I failed multiple times and eventually the noise woke the sheriff up.

Being intelligent and quieter will consist of getting some good luck with the randomizer and opening the safe earlier.

After reloading, I open the safe on the first attempt.

I'm rich!

I close the safe and put the painting and vase back to hide my tracks, and attempt to take the music box on the small table in front of the fireplace.

For some stupid reason instead of taking the box, my thief decides to open the box, and what happens when one opens a music box?

A goon with a teddy bear turns it off without noticing the caped invader standing directly in front of him in a heroic pose

After this, I can take the music box without incident, so I do.

I didn't see anything else I can take, and if I use the hand icon on any of the doors the occupant finds me and I go to jail. My favourite is when the sheriff's wife hits me with a pillow, knocking me over the bannister before Otto bursts through his door.


On writing this I thought of something else I could try here, which is to attempt to put my guy into sneak mode, but I'll try that later and if it works discuss it in a future installment.

The only other house I found I could enter was the one next to the adventurer's guild that earlier had a sleeping old lady outside. I break in, and ransack the house while her kitty-cat looks on.

I get 20 silvers from a purse, a single silver in a drawer, some candlesticks, and a string of pearls from a knitting bag. I open an inviting chest, but it contains nothing of value.

There's a covered birdcage that, if uncovered wakes the sleeping woman who just tells her cat to stop bothering the bird.

At some point I step on the wrong spot and the cat gets annoyed. It transforms into a panther and jumps on me, surprisingly not killing me.

Nice kitty???

The panther licks me until the old lady awakens (was it licking me all through the night?) and calls the sheriff.
MARTAK: Yes, a much better story than mine. You end up in jail... at least five times!
TREVOR: That was just me embellishing the story for effect. That's what would have happened if I wasn't as skilled at lockpicking and being stealthy as I clearly am.
FRODO: Speaking of lockpicking, do you think you can do something about the door we're stuck behind.
TREVOR: I'll keep working on it. You two are welcome to come up with some ideas yourself you know.
FRODO: Actually I'm tired.
MARTAK: Yes, let's have a rest. Next time I'll tell you about what happened outside the town. That's where most of the excitement took place.
TREVOR: Maybe the great magic user will actually cast a spell next time. Or the fighter might actually fight something. I'm the only one who's used one of his skills so far. But yes, let's stop for now.
And that's it for our first foray into the land of Spielburg. Tune in next time when we'll climb a tree, fight a bandit and maybe even cast a spell! And yes, we'll talk to some new people as well.

FRODO Inventory:
  • 4 gold, 9 silver
  • 4 food rations
  • 1 broadsword
  • 1 leather jerkin
  • 1 shield
  • 10 small apples
  • 1 paper piece
MARTAK Inventory:
  • I dagger
  • 1 leather jerkin
  • 4 food rations
  • 1 gold piece, 5 silver pieces
  • 1 paper piece
TREVOR Inventory:
  • *10 gold 59 silver
  • 4 food rations
  • 1 leather jerkin
  • 1 dagger
  • 1 lock pick
  • *5 small rocks
  • *2 healing potions 
  • 1 fine porcelain vase
  • 1 candelabra
  • 1 music box
  • 1 paper piece
*I did things out of order with Trevor so at this point the cash should be a bit lower and I won't have rocks or healing potions

Time played: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes

10 comments:

  1. Glad to see that you started into this game, although I suspect that your plan of playing all three won't keep working as well as you head through. Perhaps pick one viewpoint for each post? There are several major quests in this game which will have different solutions for the classes. I'm not sure the best way, honestly.

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    Replies
    1. Playing as all three definitely made it more time consuming to play, and much more difficult to write, but I am enjoying trying to come up with different ways to solve the same puzzle. It's a case of trying to find with the best way to describe it in these posts without it getting too disjointed, which I'm still working on

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  2. Mooooorrreeeeeeee!!!!

    I agree some points will be unwieldy, but you can edit pretty heavily to get around that, perhaps.

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  3. One has to question the level of heroism involved in burglarizing old ladies, but this was nevertheless a fun read. Looking forward to the next post.

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    Replies
    1. I agree that it is hard to see the "Thief" as the hero. I'm really looking forward to what the Coles do with this in their new game which will be thief-focused.

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    2. Since the thief was always my primary character, I always considered him... Pragmatic. Ultimately he's saving the community, but in the moment he might have to bend a few rules to gather the resources he needs to do it. I also greatly appreciated the opportunity to operate outside the normal boundaries; it can be very tiresome to be bound to a sword or a wand.

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    3. I don't think it's even that uncommon to find thief-heroes in fiction. Just take Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat - always ready to rob a bank, while in the middle of saving the world.

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    4. From memory Garrett in the Thief series always seems to accidentally get in a position where he has to save the world while just trying to make money stealing.

      I kind of see this character doing the same - he's trying to get rich, and the best way to do it at this point is help the city and claim the rewards while stealing whatever he can on the way

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  4. Or a different kind of pragmatic, becoming known as a hero and liked by the baron might be a good way for someone just arrived in town to divert suspicion from a recent string of burglaries that happened to coincide with their arrival in the small, isolated town.

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    Replies
    1. Nice, nobody suspects the hero!

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