Firstly, apologies for taking so long to get this second post out to you all. Thankfully Joe and Voltgloss have been keeping us all entertained with Sorcerer, Sherlock Holmes and Cyborg posts.
I did lots of exploring this time, so rather than babble on more at the start, let's get to it. We'll start with where we left off last time - with the thief.
Trevor the Thief Journal Entry #2: After my night-time exploits in town that gave me a lot of coin, I did a lot of exploring outside of town. I didn't find much to steal, but I found a lot of things that wanted me dead.
After being jumped by a panther and taken to jail last time I tried to steal the old cat lady's stuff, I reloaded and stole her stuff but avoided walking too close to the cat before leaving. It was simple, it worked, and I escaped with my ill-gotten booty. A good night's work for a thief.
Despite now being rich, I decided the thief wouldn't want to pay for accomodations, so I went to sleep inside the town gates and woke up in the morning.
|Why pay for a bed when I can rest here for free!|
|It took many attempts, and when I finally made it I felt as proud as I look!|
Due to a serendipitous mouse click, I also use my hand on the ground outside the house, which has me picking up a few rocks. They could come in useful. I throw the rocks at the nest for a while to increase my stats.
With all the throwing and climbing I've done, I've increased my Strength, Intelligence, Agility, Luck, Vitality, Climbing and Experience, but decreased my Stamina. I feel like I can take on the world! But don't worry, that feeling won't last long.
I enter the house, which I find out belongs to the healer. I talk to her for a while, and among other things, she tells me about her lost ring, and offers a gold reward. Not being one to turn down gold, I give her the ring I got from the nest outside and she gives me 6 gold and 2 healing potions.
|I get the feeling if I stayed I might have had to fill out sexual harassment paperwork|
|I sense his hostile intent by the spear he's just thrust into my crotch|
|Oh, don't worry about me game. I saved!|
To the south of town I find an archery target, where I practice throwing my dagger.
|Look down, you bearded fool! (at least I hope that's a beard)|
|No, but I'm guessing you'll say exactly the same thing if I come back later, so nice way of avoiding writing multiple lines of dialogue, game!|
As always when I meet someone that isn't trying to kill me, I ask him about everything I can. He offers me a TRIGGER spell. According to 'Enry, “It's the spell wot sets off uther spells.” I can't get it because as a thief I don't know magic, but I'm sure Martak will be able to use it when I come back as a magic-user.
|The bandits have a mirror that sounds useful|
|This man has 2 seconds to live.|
I meet and kill a goblin. I'm not sure if I'm getting better at fighting or if goblins are just easier to beat than bandits. My fighting tactic is to do lots of dodging followed by stabbing. It seems to work so far...
|A successful fight, but my stamina points are dwindling, which will become important later|
To the west of town I find a cemetery, with a mandrake root growing next to a tombstone. I can take the root, but it shrivels in my hand, so I don't think I'm doing it correctly. After checking my previous screenshots I found that I have to take the mandrake at midnight, so I'll come back at night-time.
I also find a white stag. I startle it, and it goes west (life is peaceful there). I follow it for a few screens until it stops behind a tree. When I get close to the tree, a dryad, who is part of the tree, climbs out and asks me a question
|Ray, when somebody asks you if you're one with the woods, you say “YES”|
I agree, then proceed to prove I'm one with the woods by attempting to throw my dagger at the stag and cut the dryad tree.
|Wouldn't being one with the woods make me by definition a woodsman?|
I'm not sure when it started, but at some point the game started annoying me. I don't solely blame the game for this as a big part of my annoyance was directly related to blogging the game rather than just playing it. My blogging requires me to often have my character stand still while writing a note or updating my map. And often while doing that a random enemy will appear on the screen and make a bee-line for my character, forcing me into a battle.
So mapping these outskirts areas ended up being an exercise in frustration. Each time I fight, it drains my stamina until eventually I collapse and die during the next battle. I've been wondering if I'm better off spending a few ingame weeks just fighting until my stamina gets low, then sleeping and repeating the process. This used to be a big part of the gameplay in 80s and early 90s RPGs, and as this game attempts to be a hybrid adventure/RPG and is from that era, it's not surprising that it uses the same process. That, of course, doesn't stop it annoying me.
And I know I can buy a stamina potion, but I'm the guy who finishes every RPG with hundreds of potions because I'm saving them for a time where they might become important later. Games from the 80s and 90s taught me that items are scarce and need to be hoarded and never used if you want to complete the game. And I can't just blame RPGs for this - Sierra taught me exactly the same lesson, and it's a lesson I should have grown out of but somehow still haven't decades later.
The cynic in me could point out that after removing much of this grind with scarce money and statistics for fifteen years or so, modern games are putting it back in specifically to cause the frustration I'm currently feeling, and then adding in the ability to pay an extra $20 to buy more experience points and decrease that frustration.
For just 480 GloryBucks you can increase your stamina by a point!
Buy 40,000 GloryBucks for $99.95 (BEST VALUE!)
It wasn't until I was writing this post that I thought of pressing the menu button as soon as I reach a new screen or want to make a note, thus pausing the game. That would still be a little bit time consuming, but would decrease my frustration at reloading after getting into a fight I wasn't ready for. I really wish I'd thought of that sooner. I should point out that some fights are unavoidable as when the enemy enters the screen from the same direction I'm coming from a fight will start immediately.
Anyway, now that I've pointed out a negative that I could largely have avoided with some simple forethought, here's a map of my explorations in this post. It's a mess, and I changed pen colour at some point, but I feel it has more personality than it would if I had transferred it neatly to a spreadsheet or mapping program.
|If you want to hire me to draw your maps, I'm surprisingly available!|
- I found a ring of mushrooms.
- A goblin sneaking around in a bush while his friend watches from behind a rock
|I can go into sneak mode too, suspicious moving bush|
Everything I try with the bush; poking it with a sword, throwing a dagger or rock at it, or touching it results in a fight with the goblin. I've had a few fights by now, and my stamina is not what it used to be.
|This happens a lot between game reloads|
- I find an area with small furry creatures called 'meeps' living under a bunch of rocks.
|I'm guessing Meeps reappear in the Coles' new game, Hero-U. Meeps for sale|
The green meep happily crawls out from whatever rock he's been living under and talks to me.
|He, like, talks a bit like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.|
He offers me a scroll, but I can't do anything with it before it fades away (I remind myself to return when I'm a magic-user.) He also lets me take some of his fur.
Armed with some green fur, I continue to explore.
- I find Baba Yaga's hut, and talk to a green skull outside
|By the power of greenskull|
Greenskull blatantly tells me how to enter the hut – I just have to say “Hut of brown, Now sit down”, but won't let me into the gate unless I give him some cool glowing eyes like all the other skulls have.
|Yeah, but the other skulls can't talk and haven't achieved sentience, so think about someone else before you start complaining about your own situation.|
- I find the spitting spirea area that the Dryad asked me to get a seed from.
The four spirea plants sit atop rocks and spit the seed from one to the other.
As a thief, I can climb the rock and catch the seed if I time it right.
|Score check: Trevor 1 – Spitting Spirea 0|
Frodo the Fighter Journal Entry #2: I've fought obscure creatures including antwerps, spitting spirea , bandits, goblins and even a troll. Fighting is easy.
Exploring south of the city, I find a weird bouncing... jug? bubble?
On the next screen, I hear a noise like a bomb falling from a plane, and the antwerp lands on me, killing me
After more exploring, I find what I suspect is the lair of the bandits I keep hearing about
|I wonder if they'll be my friends|
My fighter also goes to the areas my thief had been to.
He told the Dryad he was not one with the woods, and it didn't seem to make a difference as she told me the same thing about getting the seed. I go to the spitting flowers to get the seed.
As I can't climb as a fighter, I have to solve this puzzle a different way. What would Frodo the Fighter do? The obvious answer is to poke things with a sharp metal stick. I stab all the flowers with my sword
|Score check: Frodo 1 – Spitting Spirea -3|
Even though I get the seed this way, I lose points by killing the flowers, so I'm guessing there's another way. I reload and once again take note to try again later.
Fortunately, as a fighter I can last a lot more fights as I won't have the same problem with stamina that I had as a thief...
Near Erana's Peace, which I called 'meadow' on my map, I find a cave with some kind of red troll in front of it. He kills me quite easily, but he's easy to dodge past so I'll kill him later when I'm more powerful.
Inside the troll's cave is a bear chained to a rock. I can give the bear an apple, which makes him happy.
In the next room I find a sleeping kobold with a brass key hanging around his neck. I expect that is the key to the bear's chains. There's also some food (mushrooms?) on a table. When I get close to the kobold he wakes up and kills me with magic.
I find a centaur, who is the father of the vegetable stand vendor. He talks to me, giving me more information on the town and its surroundings, or not so much more information but a slightly reworded version of the same information I already have. As I mentioned in my “Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2” posts I like it when game characters give me the same information in their own way – it helps improve the characterization of the people/centaurs and reiterates the information in case I play without taking hundreds of screenshots I can refer to later.
|There's only two streets in town – is the other one called NotMarket Street?|
I go to the healer's house, and once again use different skills to get an item I'd gotten while climbing as a thief. As a fighter I threw rocks at the bird's nest and took the ring after I callously destroyed the bird's house.
|I may be heartless, but I didn't lose any points and I have a cool new ring!|
|I'll mellow your mead horn, if you know what I mean.|
Hmmm. A blonde guy with a red cape fighting a Frost Giant seems familiar... did someone steal a scene from this game to make their movie...?
|Here be wizards|
Martak the Magic-user Journal Entry #2: Unlike the others, I did much of my outskirts exploring at night. It's much more dangerous, but I'm a wizard with an 'open' spell, so I'm not concerned.
As the wizard, I popped outside of town on the first day, and after it got dark attempted to go back to the city to sleep, but instead noticed that the city gates are now closed.
Seeing as this gives me an excuse to explore at night-time, I do so. I go to Erana's Peace to sleep, but before I do I finally have the opportunity to use my “Open” spell. I cast the spell on the rock I couldn't move as a fighter or thief, and find a scroll of “Calm”
|I'm really starting to regret buying this spell.|
|I'll need this guy's claws, but I know I won't be powerful enough to beat him so I run away for now.|
|Don't look at it, Marion. Keep your eyes SHUT!|
|I run away from this battle before it goes on too long|
After reloading, I go back to Erana's Peace, where I sleep for the rest of the night, waking up to a graphical glitch that I thought might be part of the game until I noticed it happened everywhere
Trevor the Thief Journal Entry Addendum: Hi. Me again. Just thought I'd let you know I went back to the dryad to see what reward I'd get for the spirea seed.
With my thief, I took the spirea seed back to the dryad.
|She rewards me with a Star Trek reference|
- Flowers from Erana's Peace (already taken)
- Green Fur (Got it from the meep)
- Fairy Dust (Need to find a way to not dance to my death)
- A Magic Acorn (which the tree spat out as soon as the dryad went back into it)
- Flying Water (water from the flying falls, I expect)
How is giving me extra work after I did my job well in any way a reward? You're a crappy boss, Dryad!
I mentioned earlier that I thought the bandit chief might be controlled. I'm guessing this potion I'm now collecting ingredients for will help me defeat the bandits in the future.
Before finishing this section my thief tries to get some water using the vase he stole the night before.
|Yeah, stupid of me to think a vase would hold water. My mistake|
Here is a short to do list of things I hope to accomplish in my next Spielburgian day.
QUESTS I NEED TO DO
- Find thieves' guild password (perhaps in cemetery)
- Get spirea seed (I suspect after buying a fetch/telekinesis spell)
- Get Healer's ring (Again, I feel telekinesis is the answer)
- Find a way into the hermit's cave
- Find a way into the hermit's cave
- Get spirea seed, hopefully without murdering the plants
- Get Fairy Dust from mushroom ring without dancing to death
- Get flying water (after buying an empty flask from the provisioner)
- Get mandrake root (after buying Undead potion from healer)
- Do something about the antwerp – it's not bothering anyone, but I hate that it exists and want it dead!
- Get better at fighting
Tune in next time when I do some of those things as well as visit a wizard and enter a castle.
Here's my current stats for my three characters... (My fighter has the wrong name - try to ignore it)
MARTAK: So I see you two are afraid to leave the city after darkFinally, a note about my current feelings on the game. Despite my whingeing about the grinding of this game, I'm still keen to see what happens next. In comparing this game with the other Sierra game I've played for the blog, King's Quest V, I like that I have quests I need to complete and come up with a planned strategy for rather than just solving problems by randomly collecting everything I see.
TREVOR: Not afraid. I was busy working in the city after dark. Did you see all the stuff I picked up from those houses?
FRODO: I think I have more money than you. I take it off the corpses of my enemies.
TREVOR: Yeah, but I have more things. I have a candlestick... and a music box... and a vase...
MARTAK: ...a vase that doesn't hold water.
TREVOR: I don't want to talk about this anymore. Let's get some sleep. My stamina is getting low
MARTAK: Same here
FRODO: Isn't it always
Session time: 4 hours 5 minutes (I'm surprised. I really thought this number would be longer)
Total time: 6 hours 45 minutes