Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Quest For Glory I - Practice Makes Perfect

I played a lot in this section but have surprisingly little to show for it puzzle-solving wise. I do have a lot to show for it statistic wise though, so let's see what I've been up to while trying to increase my characters' attributes.

Trevor the Thief Journal Entry #3: I found the thieves guild, where I bought a license in order to be able to steal in town without the sheriff being tipped off. Is now a good time to tell the guild master I've already stolen everything there is to steal in town? Can I get my license fee back now that I don't need it? Oh well. I'm still not sure how to make my way to the bandits using my special skills but I'm sure I'll either come up with something or temporarily become a fighter if I have to. I hope I won't have to become a fighter...

It's been a while since we've seen what our thief has been up to, so here's the list of quests I had to complete last time we met him,

  • Find thieves' guild password (perhaps in cemetery)
  • 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/thieving
and when I add to them other quests I'll need to complete...
  • Deal with troll cave
  • Deal with Ogre/Bear/Kobold cave
  • Deal with Bandits

Having done much of this with the other characters, we know we'll be able to get the fairy dust, flying water and mandrake root easily – and something I didn't know at the time but now do, is that after using the undead potion at the cemetery in order to get the mandrake, we'll have an empty flask in our inventory, so don't need to buy one – it's easily affordable, but if I can get one for free I'm sure as hell not paying for one.

Let's start at the beginning and try to get the thieves' guild password.

As I mentioned in previous posts, Bruno the thief sometimes appears outside the town gate and will give us some information in exchange for gold. The information isn't helpful, and he actually gives us the wrong information at one point, which puts us in danger.

And if we go to the cemetery at night without an Undead Potion, we get killed by ghosts - glad I paid good money for the tip, Bruno.

Talking to him is just a waste of money, but if I use my 'hand' icon on him...

Adventure Game Hero rule number 3: Touch EVERYTHING!

I read through the manual again to see if there was any mention of using the 'hand' icon to give someone a thief's sign, or even a mention of a thief's sign, but didn't find one. Was there some kind of indication within the game that I should use my hand on people I suspect are thieves?

Anyway, my compulsive need to touch everything had Bruno give me the information that to get the guild password I have to speak to Sneak in the alley at night.

As an aside, I can get the same information by using my hand on Bruno with my fighter or magic-user – as for how they will know the thieves' sign, perhaps Bruno is blind and assumes that everyone who touches him is a thief. Let's ignore this nitpick for now.

I go into town and wait for nightfall. In the alley, as before a knife whistles past my ear and the thief tells me to pay Sneak all my gold. Instead I use my 'hand' on Sneak.

Does this guy work for the Orbs?

Sneak gives me the password, 'schwertfisch', then threatens me for good measure. I go to the bar and tell Crusher the password. He then opens the trapdoor to the thieves' guild headquarters.

Is Crusher in two places at once, or is nobody guarding the trapdoor in the tavern?

I meet the guild master, whose name is 'Chief' and Boris, who works behind the metal door and can sell me a license, another lockpick or a thief''s toolkit.

To work in town I need a license. But in order to afford a license I need to steal some cash in town. If you were an android I could make your head explode due to this paradox!

Chief suggests I steal Otto's yo-yo, but that seems like he just wants to get me in trouble – and when I do try this later, the game suggests it isn't possible. Anyway, I buy a license for 25 silvers, and also a tool kit for 100 silvers. I'm not sure what the tool kit does, but I don't have one so I assume I want it. I have plenty of cash so it's not going to burn much of a hole in my medieval pocket.

The license allows me to steal in town, but also provides fencing services and flowers on my grave.

I don't think there's anything else in town for me to steal, but the fencing service could turn out useful. I sell some of my stolen goods for quite a bit of coin.
  • Pearl necklace – 500 silvers
  • Candelabra – 150 silvers
  • Vase (that won't hold water) – 40 silvers
  • Candle sticks – 100 silvers
I'm now quite rich and don't have anything to spend my money on – I suppose I can buy more daggers at 20 silver each, but don't see much need for now, or a 500 silver chain armor, but as a thief chain would only slow me down and make noise, so I figure I should stick to leather for now.

The one stolen item I don't sell is the music box - I'm guessing it can at some point be used as a distraction, and I don't need the money anyway.

Now that I'm a guild member, Chief will talk to me. He tells me that he suspects someone in his organisation is a spy for the brigands. I don't know if I'll end up finding the spy, but I suspect not. He also tells me that if I get good enough with a dagger we can play a game. Sounds like fun. Let's get to it – just let me save my game first. I expect to lose at first, not knowing how to play.

Practicing throwing works better than in a Sherlock Holmes game

I win my first game, increasing my throwing, luck, agility, strength, intelligence, and vitality skills in the process. I'm a little disappointed I only bet 5 silver on myself.

As for how to play, unlike Erasmus' Mage Maze, it's a very simple mini-game. My hand starts in a random position and I have to adjust the angle and force appropriately to try to get close to the centre of the target board. We both get three throws, and I always go first. My score is denoted by blue beads on the bottom of the screen while chief's score is denoted by red beads.

Chief won't let me bet 500 silver, or 99. I can bet 50 though so I try again. Is Chief just playing with me, playing badly while the stakes are low then playing well when I bet high? Having just saved my game, I don't care in the slightest. I win again. After a few more games, I get better at the game and keep winning - Chief always seems to do at least one bad throw.

I haven't lost a single game to this guy, and when I started my throwing skill was less than 33.

I finish with my 'Throwing' skill at 44 and my cash up to 81 gold and 201 silver. Having a stamina of zero, I attempt to sleep in the guild, described by Chief as my 'home away from home'

And if I try to go to sleep in my 'home' I get thrown out by a large goon.

Now that I'm rich, I pony up the 5 silver to sleep in Shameen's inn.

The next day, I decide to increase my skills. I did this last time with my fighter by increasing my fighting skills. My thief will attempt to increase his lock-picking, throwing, climbing and stealth skills. I spend the next part of the game permanently in sneak mode.

After I become Hero of Spielburg, I'm going to have to hire a good chiropractor

I killed a goblin at the goblin training zone, then just walked back and forth in the area for a while, knowing that now that the goblin is dead, I won't be attacked by a wandering monster in this screen

This went on for quite some time

After doing another little test on this screen, I discovered that simply standing still in sneak mode increased my skill as well, so sneaking back and forth was unnecessary. I left the game open and made a cup of coffee.

After about 20 minutes of sneaking, my sneak skill had gone from 18 to 69. Three cheers for me letting the game play itself. Hip hip... okay, that WAS a bit cheap of me, but hey, it's in the game, and wasting the game's time is better than wasting MY time so deal with it.

I could have done this for longer but wanted to do more questing, so I continued forth, attempting to save the Baronet/bear from the kobold, all while remaining in sneak mode.

Despite having a sneak score of 74, I couldn't sneak past the bear, so I had to go back to town to buy an apple.

I went to the frost giant to see if I could throw a rock at him David/Goliath style, and wasn't even slightly surprised to find my character slowly walking (sneaking!) up to the giant before trying to throw the stone...

This will not end well

In order to continue increasing my thief skills, I practice my throwing outside the healer's house by picking up rocks, throwing until I'm out of rocks, picking up more rocks, etc.

This goes on for quite some time

I climb the town gate at night and practice my lock-picking on all the locked doors, saving after each couple of tries, as I still fail often enough for it to be annoying.

I go from house to house for quite some time

With my sneak skill now in the 90s, it seems I can avoid most wandering monsters

I appreciate being able to avoid random encounters by sneaking

At some point I noticed that my 'Sneak' skill had advanced to 100, and wasn't increasing any more – it looks like I've found the skill limit.

Being a bit bored of skill grinding, I decide to try the antwerp/troll cave.

With my increased lock-picking skill, I can now unlock the rock door, but I can't open it because I'm not strong enough. I check my Strength, which is a paltry 31. If I leave the screen and return, the door is closed again, so I practice a bit more lock-picking here, which is better than doing it in town as failure doesn't result in me going to jail and reloading a saved game. I also note that trying to open the door increased my Strength to 32. You can guess what I'm going to do next. I keep using my hand on the rock door, which eventually gets my Strength to 36 and the door opens.

With my now-100 sneak skill, I sneak into the cave, hoping to be able to sneak past the troll and test my theory that this cave is the secret entrance to the bandit hideout.

I console myself with the thought that my skull will forever be attached to a trolls' loincloth.

Well, perhaps I can sneak past the bandits from their ambush instead.

Or perhaps not!

Oh well. It was worth a try. Having bought some apples from town, I head back to the bear cave. Despite my 100 Sneak skill, I still can't sneak past the bear, but I give it an apple and sneak into the kobold lair. My Sneak skill finally decides to be useful, as I can now sneak right up to the kobold and steal his key.

I can do this to a kobold wizard, but I still can't sneak past an ogre, troll, bear or bandits

Still sneaking, I purposely bump into the invisible chest at the bottom of the cave, and use my lock-picking skill to unlock the chest and disarm the trap. I take the money and the kobold's mushrooms, and leave the sleeping kobold.

I rescue the baronet by using the kobold's key on the bear, go to the castle and collect my reward, then go to the healer's to return the rest of the ingredients for the Dispel Potion, that I've gathered in my travels.

This... concerns me...

And here's where I'll soon be asking for assistance. I'm not sure when I last saved before stealing her potions, but it was a long, LONG time ago. And I've done a LOT of skill grinding lately.

I didn't even have a screenshot of me stealing her potions, as it was just a case of me using my hand on everything I see (which has earlier resulted in me knowing how to get the thieves' guild password) – I do recall the game saying something like, “While her back is turned, you take some healing potions” and me ending up with an extra two healing potions. But I didn't think this could create a dead end as the manual itself told me to act as the character would act. A thief would steal potions in order to save the land, surely... hopefully... please... Sierra...

In hoping that perhaps after another day to cool off, she'll be more accommodating, I keep playing the game. I try to break into her house in case that might help me somehow – at least perhaps she'll let me pay for the potions if she finds me standing above her bed in the dead of night...

That really wasn't a good plan anyway.

While waiting for tomorrow to come, I climb back and forth over the town gate to increase my climbing skill.

This goes on for quite some time

So I end my thief's section today with some concerns, and a request for assistance.


I have two questions I'd like to know the answer to.
  1. Will the healer's annoyance stop me from finishing the game?
  2. Will my thief have to practice his fighting skills in order to defeat either the troll or the bandits?
I shouldn't need detailed hints here. Just a simple Yes or No will likely suffice. If you wish to leave further hints encoded in ROT13, feel free – If I don't end up needing them I can always read them after finishing the game.

Note that I don't mind if I get a 'bad' ending with my thief character - perhaps not having a Dispel Potion will mean I'll have to kill the Baron's daughter instead of saving her, but as long as I can get an ending I'll keep playing as is. Not having an Undead Potion will also stop me being able to help Baba Yaga, but perhaps I can only go there after already getting the Magic Mirror and therefore turn her into a frog instead.

Anyway, here's my current Thief's skill levels...

Martak the Magic-User Journal Entry #4: I didn't solve many more puzzles, but I practiced spell casting... A LOT! Oh, and I out-magicked a kobold wizard and killed a troll.

A comment I received on a previous post by Torch made me think a bit about how I was going about the game.
"I see you sometimes apply adventure game logic to situations where rpg logic would be more suitable. As your spell skills increase, the effectiveness of some spells will increase too."
I'd already somewhat come up to this conclusion myself, but this made me think that some solutions were unavailable to my character due to his skill levels, and that there were times when I had the right solution, but not the right skills. I decided it was time to rectify that.

One particular example is the Flame Dart spell. When I last played as a magic-user, my skill level with that spell was 12. It appeared to be the main combat spell, and combat seems to be a necessary way to proceed in parts of this game, so let's practice the hell out of Flame Dart!

Like the fighter, I get into a lot of fights, this time using Flame Dart instead of Parrying and Striking. After a while, I get the idea that, perhaps like the thief practicing skills, I don't actually need an enemy to fight in order to level up the spell. It works.

Take that, random patch of grass!

I also practice my other spells, and with a greater 'Fetch' spell skill attempt to steal the kobold wizard's key without awakening him. It works, I once again use 'Detect Spell' to find the invisible chest, and cast an 'Open' spell on it.

This confirms the theory that increased spell skill has different effects. Earlier in the game casting the 'Open' spell just opened the chest while still springing the trap which awakens the kobold.

As with the fighter, then the thief, I rescue the Baronet and get my reward from the castle, practicing spells along the way. I have another go at fighting the troll in the cave.

I lose the fight, but not by a lot. My 'Flame Dart' spell is now 71, and does noticeable damage to the troll when I cast it.

Because I only just lost the fight, I try again a few times – after about the fifth attempt, I succeed.

Low on hit points and magic points, but victorious!

I take the troll's beard, which I know the healer wants for some reason. I travel through the cave, and my guess that it's another way into the bandit stronghold turns out to be correct.

I always like it when my guesses turn out right – and I always ignore it when my guesses turn out wrong

I cast the 'Calm' spell, which makes the minotaur yawn and sit on a rock. I also cast the 'Open' spell, which makes the gate hasp open. When I attempt to go towards the gate to open it, the minotaur wakes up, and I'm stuck in a fight

Hmmm. Zero magic points and only a few hit points. I'm sure I'll be fine.

At this point I have a thought. Knowing that spells have different effects when my level with them is higher, I guess that perhaps with a higher 'Calm' spell the minotaur might actually end up in a deep sleep instead of just resting on the rock. My current 'Calm' skill is 24.

I go back outside the cave to where the antwerp bounces and continue wandering around the forest, casting 'Calm' on everything I find. I find one place where I can cast the 'Calm' spell a few times, then leave and come back to try again after resting to regain magic points.

Calm ogre, wait, calm ogre, wait, run out of magic points, go west, rest for 60 minutes, go east, calm ogre... repeat...

As the ogre starts a distance from me, and the game gives me the warning that the ogre has recovered, and I have to click out of that warning before he can start moving again, this is the perfect spot to practice the 'Calm' spell without danger.

I do this for a while, at some point day turns to night, and I meet a monster I haven't seen before.


I run away from that super-saurus. I recall someone in the game mentioning something about this monster but couldn't be bothered finding out what. - I was too focussed on my mission to improve my magic skills. I also found out that mantrays aren't affected by 'Calm' spells, or at least not at my current 'Calm' spell level of 58.

At some point I got my 'Calm' spell to 73. I've also been practicing my other magic skills.

My current plan with my magic-user is to either 'Calm' the minotaur, with the backup plan of either 'Dazzle'ing the minotaur, or 'Open'ing the bandit gate with a higher open skill, which may allow me to get to the door without alerting the minotaur.

Which brings me to what I see as the major disadvantage of Quest for Glory's skill system from a pure adventure game playing perspective.

In most adventure games, I'll get an idea, then I'll test that idea and immediately either find out it works or find out it doesn't work and I need to think of another idea.

In this game, I get an idea (in this case, an increased 'Calm' spell will put the minotaur out of commission) then I have to work on practicing the 'Calm' spell for an hour or two, then I get to find out if my idea was right or not and either move on to the next puzzle or come up with another way of solving this puzzle. The many hours practicing the 'Calm' spell could well end up wasted. And the only way to find out (without someone who knows the solution telling me) is to spend those hours of repetition in order to find out.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for hints here. The last thing I want is for people in the comments to say anything like, “You won't need more than a 65 of 'Calm' or a 50 of 'Open' in order to solve all the puzzles in the game” as a big part of my plan is to play the game as I would if I got it in 1992, and be able to experience it and rate in under those limitations.

And so I feel inclined to practice my skills. But I've written enough for now, and practiced WAY too much for now, so I'll stop and continue trying to solve these puzzles next time.

Here are my magic-user's current skills. If nothing else, I'm definitely pleased at the number of spell points and the 'Flame Dart' skill level I now have.

Spell skill expertise:
Open: 59
Detect Spell: 30
Trigger: 15
Dazzle: 12
Zap: 29
Calm: 73
Flame Dart: 77
Fetch: 33

MARTAK: And thus I improved my magic abilities significantly
TREVOR: But not enough to help us out of this mess we're currently in
MARTAK: At least I made my way to the bandit camp. You're still wandering the forest with no idea what to do.
TREVOR: I'll get the help I need. Don't worry.
FRODO: You really should have gotten the Undead Potion and Dispel Potion before stealing from the healer.
TREVOR: The healer doesn't even have proof it was me. She just suspects me at this point.
MARTAK: And didn't you say you were rich? The healing potions are worth, what, only 20 silver or something
TREVOR: It's the principle of the thing. I'm a thief - I steal. It's like asking you two not to fight or not to... magic-use...
FRODO: Well, you'd better sort yourself out soon. I'm expecting both of you to have entered the bandit wizard's maze in your next section.
MARTAK: Count on it.
TREVOR: I'll get there. Now let's rest for a time.
Note that while I spent a lot of time in this section not achieving much, I've still been having fun (though, to be fair, not 9 hours worth of fun) - there's something I find rewarding about improving my character's stats - though I'm not even completely sure why.

Session time: 9 hours 25 minutes
Total time: 27 hours 10 minutes


  1. 1. Unfortunately, yes.
    2. No, but it might be easier that way.

    A general hint on how Thief character survives battles: Have you noticed you can throw your dagger(s) and pick them up afterwards?

    Also, just for the joke's sake - try to use your lockpick on yourself (with low and high picklock skills).

    Useless fact: The thief guild password is "swordfish" in German, which refers to the classic Marx Brothers scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySqec8WrEQQ

    1. Thanks for the tips!

      1. Nooooooooo! Oh well, I expected that would be the case.

      2. Cool. I'll find the hard way - I've already fought the troll as a mage and fought bandits as a fighter - I'll try a third way through as a thief.

      I didn't know I could pick up daggers after throwing them, and that could be useful information, although now that my sneak skill's maxed out I don't seem to be bothered by monsters any more.

      The troll/bandit fights put me in a situation where I don't have a chance to do anything before being brought to the combat screen so throwing knives aren't available for those fights unfortunately.

      I'll try that with the lockpick, and useless facts are my favourite kind of fact.

      The Marx Brothers are the only comedy group from the black-and-white days that can consistently amuse me.

    2. The solution to 2 is pretty easy to miss, so here are some more specific hints:

      1. Unir lbh abgvprq nalguvat vagrerfgvat va gur gnirea?
      2. Fcrpvsvpnyyl haqre n fgbby.
      3. Lbh fubhyq svaq n abgr gurer. Vs vg vfa'g gurer abj, pbzr onpx nabgure gvzr.
      4. Abj whfg tb gb n fcbg jurer lbh pna rnirfqebc gur cynpr zragvbarq va gur abgr.

    3. This is probably not useful at all, but in the EGA version, I think it's possible to get the Mandrake root without the undead potion by turning the speed down and running in to grab the root, then running back out before the ghosts get you.

    4. I seem to recall being able to get the root by just standing next to it during the day and waiting for midnight. As long as I didn't move, the ghosts did nothing. Probably one of the least interesting methods, though.

      Pretty sure that was fixed for the VGA version, though, and possibly even the later EGA releases. (My original playthroughs were on the version from when it was still called Hero's Quest.)

  2. my sneak skill had gone from 18 to 69


    1. And now that I've found the last saved game I had before stealing from the healer my sneak skill is 18 again.

      Not nice. :)

  3. 2. Will my thief have to practice his fighting skills in order to defeat either the troll or the bandits?

    As Ilmari indicates... nnnno, not necessarily. One of the notable aspects of QfG compared to many RPG series is that a pacifist playthrough is nearly possible. This is something the Coles are even specifically putting into Hero U - there are always alternatives.

    In QfG1, it should be possible to get through without killing a single creature, one way or another. Unless you're a pure Fighter...

    The Thief Sign is mentioned in the Qfg1VGA manual (Anthology edition) at the end. There's a whole paragraph, although it doesn't say *how* in-game you actually do the sign.

    The game is actually pretty well balanced, in that grinding for skills isn't super-necessary, assuming you've been using your skills regularly along the way as you explore. But then, practice makes perfect, and a row of 100's on your sheet does give a healthy glow.

    The thief's toolkit I never figured out. Bonus to lockpicking attempts, useless bling?

    1. Thanks. I'm too late to try a pure pacifist playthrough but I don't think my Thief's had a lot of fights so far.

      I also suspect the toolkit increases lockpicking skill slightly but that's just a feeling.

      As for the manual, it must be an oversight in the Quest For Glory Collection manual I have (from the Steam version of the game.) The last section is an early game walkthrough spoiler section and the section before that is the instructions for the 'Mage's Maze' minigame. It could be mentioned earlier in the manual. Maybe I should read it in detail again to satisfy my curiosity.

    2. The proper manuals appear to be available here:
      Great, if you appreciate puns. Groan, otherwise.

    3. it was better in the parser version, where you type "make thief sign" and this will either confuse people or get you info depending on who you do it in front of.

  4. Das passwort ist immer "Schwertfisch".