Oh, you know, just:
- Dispelled an enchanted Leopardwoman;
- Won the Simbani initiation rite and became a Simbani warrior;
- Got married;
- Found the Leopardmen, returned their Magic Drum, and took the Spear of Death back to the Simbani;
- Arranged a peace conference between the Simbani and the Leopardmen before King Rajah of Tarna and the Council of Judgment;
- Inadvertently caused the outbreak of war;
- And even got a little reward for my troubles, if you know what I mean.
That’s right people, it’s time for another thrilling episode of Wages of War!
|Here’s another shot of me fighting a dinosaur, just because.|
For the most part, especially conceptually, I think the team succeeded. You’ll have to wait for the Final Rating to read my thoughts on the execution, but as far as content goes, Wages of War really puts the “adventure” in “adventure game.” It feels like something Edgar Rice Burroughs or Rudyard Kipling or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could’ve written, had they been into Dungeons & Dragons.
When we left off, I had just gotten my prophecy at the Temple of Sekhmet and was preparing to return to the Simbani village. I’ll break this post into three sections: the Initiation, the Leopardmen’s Village, and the Peace Conference.
|Striking the victory pose.|
There’s nothing going on at the Simbani Village, so I start grinding. Back at the spear area, Uhura walks over and challenges me to a spear-throwing contest, sort of how she challenged me to a wrestling match over at the bridge a few days prior.
|Solid advice and high praise from a worthy source.|
And then, an interesting thing happened as I went behind the Laibon’s hut to see what Yesufu was up to. He was there, alright, but he was guarding a captured Leopardman in the Simbani’s magic-preventing cage.
|Yesufu stands guard.|
As an aside, I figured out the trigger for the Leopardman’s capture, at least during a fighter/paladin playthrough: The impromptu spear-throwing contest with Uhura. I’m not sure what prompts this to happen as a thief or a wizard.
Whatever the case, the Simbani’s plan is to make him talk and tell them where the Leopardmen’s village is and trade him for the Spear of Death. The only problem is, he doesn’t want to talk. So maybe they’ll kill him.
I sort of stand there, thinking, “Gee, here’s this enchanted Leopardman, and I’m standing here with a few dispel potions burning a hole in my pocket . . . with all the trouble I went through to get the ingredients, it’d be a shame if these potions went to waste.” So I do the only sensible thing and douse the prisoner with a potion of dispel, courtesy of one Salim Nafs, apothecary of the majestic liontaur city of Tarna.
I Think It’s Time to Settle Down
The potion works as advertised, and the results are . . . interesting.
|Dispelling the Leopard|
*NOTE: I am aware of the “hero’s eyes bulge and tongue lolls out” Easter Egg animation when he dispels the Leopardwoman prisoner. As far as my Internet research indicates, this has around a 5% chance of happening. I really wanted to get a picture for you all, as I have seen it before and it was funny (while it also freaked me out as it was totally unexpected). Alas, after over a dozen reloads, it never happened and I got bored. Sorry.
Some relevant details:
- Yesufu has already asked his father if he can marry the Leopardwoman.
- The Laibon has set a high bride price for her: five zebra skins, a fine robe, and a fine spear (here, since the prisoner has no Simbani father to give her away, she becomes the Laibon’s “daughter”).
- Only Simbani warriors may marry.
- In order to become a Simbani warrior, a young man or woman must pass the initiation rite.
- In order to participate in the initiation rite, a young man or woman must give a dinosaur horn to the Laibon as proof of his or her bravery and courage.
- I just happen to have a dinosaur horn right here . . .
. . . but I reload after giving my horn to the Laibon. I want to go to Tarna and buy the bride price first. See, after conversing with the Laibon, the game automatically makes me hand over the horn. I do something kind of dumb then--I drop the horn from my inventory before talking to the Laibon about the prisoner, and then head on out to Tarna.
This is where the timing bugs come in.
|I had a dinosaur horn at this point, but was unable to give it to the Laibion.|
I’ll get to the bugs in a moment. First,here are the highlights of my return to Tarna.
- At some point, I gained the paladin’s ability to sense danger. All it does is tell you when you get to an encounter screen that you sense danger if there’s a monster. This also provides some flavor text later in the game that we’ll get to later.
|So I’m like Spider-Man, and any time I can be a little more like Spider-Man, I’d call that a win.|
- I ran into a honey bird! I followed it a few screens until we came to a hive swarming with angry bees. Remembering what the honey seller in Tarna said, I dumped honey on the ground, left, and returned to the screen thanks to the little icon of a bee that appeared on my world map. Sure enough, the little fella was wallowing in the honey. He flew away as I approached, leaving a feather behind. Salim was happy to have it, and gave me his last three healing pills while he whipped up a new batch (I thought I already bought his last stash of healing pills my first visit to his shop, but whatever).
|Following the honey bird.|
- Rakeesh and Kreesha are very interested in my tale of the dispelled Leopardwoman, and suggest it might be time for me to settle down, if you know what I mean.
|STOP TELLING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE, MOM! (Also: the thought of buying women generally makes me uneasy, but a hero’s gotta hero).|
- In the bazaar, all talk is about the impending war, demonic sightings, and other unsubstantiated gossip and rumors. Shallah the katta heard from a friend about the dispelled Leopardwoman and suggests he has a carved leopard she might like. I decide to buy it, and Shallah gives it to me as a gift in thanks for news from his beloved aunt Shema and his homeland of Shapeir.
|Shallah coming through like a real pal.|
- The survivor of the peace mission, Khatib Mukar’ram, has died. He was found dead by the river. The Inn served only rice and fruit that night--no meat is to be eaten during periods of mourning. Rest in peace, Khatib. May you find the respite in death you were denied in life.
|Janna says his last name as “Mukar’ram,” “Makar’ram,” and “Mukarram.” The hero has such sensitive ears he can tell the difference.|
- Harami is still miserable, but he doesn’t have anything new to say.
Bride-price in hand, I go back to the Simbani Village, expecting to just give the horn to the Laibon and get on with the show.
But no. Here come the bugs.
Timing Is Everything, Part I
As I got to the village at night, I checked in with Uhura and encountered a minor, though baffling, bug. She tells me some interesting stuff about wooing the Leopardwoman--or women in general, I guess?--but the Uhura: Relationship Doctor subplot ends when the game just refuses to let me question her further on the topic. Or any topic.
|Someone needs to make an inspirational quote poster thingie that says “No woman likes to be bought like a cow,” pronto!|
|NO! DO NOT STOP UHURA! TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!|
|Oh, come on, it wasn’t that bad!|
See, once the Leopardwoman has been dispelled, the game alternates between two conversations with the Laibon--one in which you can ask him about a whole raft of stuff that also allows you to give him the dinosaur horn and start the initiation rite, and another, shorter conversation where you cannot.
What I think the game expects you to do is this:
- Visit the Laibon after dispelling the Leopardwoman without the dinosaur horn (conversation 1--this is the one where, if you do have the horn, you give it to the Laiboin automatically).
- Visit the Laibon again without the dinosaur horn the next day for more information (conversation 2--this is the one where, if you do have the horn, you cannot give it to the Laibon).
- Go out and get a dinosaur horn and give it to the Laibon (conversation 1--where you have the option to tell the Laibon about the dinosaur).
See, if you have the dinosaur horn, but conversation 2 is the next in line, the guard will never let you in for conversation 1 the next day. You have to drop the horn, have conversation 2 with the Laibon, and then go get the horn, and then talk to the Laibon the next day when conversation 1 is next in line.
Nothing else works.
This isn’t the only Laibon-related bug in the game. There’s a famous one where the Laibon keeps putting out his hand and talking to the hero, preventing you from saying anything. He then kicks the hero out of the hut, and you lose honor.
I didn’t get that particular bug, but there was another timing-related issue that popped up after the initiation, which we’ll get to in a bit.
Becoming a Warrior
|Starting the initiation.|
I remember the story the Simbani storyteller told me when I found him hanging out by the Awari board several days before. He told a tale of two friends who competed in the initiation rite for the affections of the same women. The boys became enemies, one died during the wrestling bridge contest, and the girl did not marry the surviving boy. It was a warning wrapped in a foreshadowing, and exemplifies how much I appreciate the tight writing and attention to detail in this game, and in this series in general, continuity and plot nitpicks described elsewhere in this post notwithstanding.
Here’s how the initiation rite works:
- Participants race around the savannah from trial-to-trial and then back to the village.
- Winning each leg of the race confers points.
- Winning each trial confers points as well.
- The winner is not always the most physically strong, but the one who shows the most brains.
- After comes the spear-throwing and wrestling portions of the initiation.
- The Laibon will then declare the victor.
Do you think the Laibon will tip the scales in favor of his son, or is he a fair, just, and wise man? Will Yesufu and I remain friends when all this is through? Will one of us die?
Does it get any better than this?
Elder Mngoje explains that the point of this trial is to throw a spear at the ring hanging from the tree, and whoever takes the fewest moves will be the winner, but that a tie goes to the one who shows the most brains.
Yesufu goes first, and takes two trees to knock the ring down.
I’m up next, and I here’s where I have a bit of an advantage--I remember the way to win from previous playthroughs. If you throw spears, it takes you three tries to Yesufu’s two, and you lose. Instead, you grab the vine from the tree that’s hanging near the Elder (check the screenshot), tie it to the spear, and throw that spear; I suppose I could have used my rope as well.
After my first miss, I pull the spear out of the pit and throw it again, using the same spear to get the ring on my second throw. So although it took two throws, I only used one spear.
I used more brains, so I won the contest.
This is a bit of a cop-out, since if the Elder said “Whoever uses the fewest spears will win,” I could see how using the classic “vine-tied-to-spear” trick would result in a technical victory. It’s very lawyerly, but hey, that’s what I do. And anyway, if we’re talking fewest moves, throwing two spears equals two moves, while taking a vine, tying it to a spear, and throwing that spear is actually four moves, but what do I look like, a mathematician?
Circle of Thorns
I wonder why we can’t just jump over this relatively low circle of nasty brambles, but whatever.
Yesufu runs to one of the spears in the ground and starts digging through the thorns. I, having the advantage of knowing the solution, push that conveniently placed log into the thorns and use it to step over the wall and get the ring. Now this is a victory I feel good about.
Back to the village!
I’m Having a Flashback to a Magical Talking Fox . . .
It doesn’t matter. Yesufu needs my help and I’ll be damned if I let my friend suffer, even though I could finally win a race against him. What kind of victory would that be? Win or lose, I’m going to do it fair and square, Leopardwoman be damned! Bros before--
|“Watch it, buster!”|
|Friendship. Honor. All good stuff.|
Okay, enough sentimentality! I’ve got a bride to win!
Spear-Throwing, Wrestling, and Other Fun Ways to Spend a Sunny Afternoon
|Getting ready to throw spears.|
I manage to beat Yesufu at the stationary target by nailing the bullseye twice (2 points apiece), only missing the mark by a little bit with my third spear (1 point). Yesufu only hits the bullseye once, going down by a score of 5-4.
We both do pretty poorly throwing at the moving target, hitting the fence more often than we hit the target. Yesufu whiffs completely, and I only manage to hit the moving target once, winning this contest by a 1-0 margin and claiming victory at the overall spear-throwing competition.
|Squaring off against my friend and rival.|
Whenever your opponent makes the wrong countermove, you get to act again. But if your opponent appropriately pulls off the corresponding movement, they get to try to knock you off-balance. I found what worked the best was to keep making whichever movement Yesufu didn’t counter the right way until he fell.
It was a lot harder to knock Yesufu down the third time, but he eventually went down and I was able to claim a victory on this event as well.
And the Winner Is . . .
It was a great contest and honestly one of the most memorable sequences in the entire Quest for Glory series, mainly for its sheer novelty and fun, and how it furthered the plot while deepening the relationship between two characters. Well done!
The Leopardmen’s Village
Buying a Wife
|Asking the Laibon for a boon.|
A boon, you say? That’s a nice Drum of Magic you have there . . .
Although I can ask the Laibon about marriage, I instead tell him about peace. The Laibon listens, gives me the drum, tasks me with delivering it to the Leopardmen, and gives his word he will attend a peace conference should I set one up before sending me on my way.
But he didn’t tell me about another timing bug. Oh no. You thought this would be easy?
Timing is Everything, Part II
Of course not. You have to ask the Laibion about marriage in order to get married, and then talk to him about peace. Otherwise, after the Laibion gives you the drum and sends you on your way, you can’t go back into his hut to get married . . . ever. Or if there is a way, I sure never found it.
Thankfully, I keep multiple saves. With a few clicks of a button, I’m married. Whee!
If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free
|Uhura dispensing more relationship advice.|
Uhura’s guarding my wife’s cage, and she tells me about a tradition the Simbani have regarding courtship: a gift of beauty, a gift of friendship, and a gift of trust. Uhura reiterates the need to make her my friend when I try to open the cage, warning that my wife is likely to just run off, never to return.
One of these gifts is already in my possession: The carved leopard Shallah gave to me. I don’t know if this is beauty or friendship or trust, but whatever it is, my new bride is genuinely appreciative.
|What I really want to know is how Rakeesh wooed Kreesha.|
- Gift of friendship: something lovely to wear, representing the beauty of friendship
- Gift of something personally meaningful: I think the carved leopard fits this bill
- Gift of trust: Something they want badly. Kreesha suggests that what my wife really wants is to escape, but suggest I give her something else to demonstrate my trust first.
Full of new wisdom, I go buy some beads and a fine dagger. What else is there to give her?
|Checking in with Harami.|
Ah well. Back to woo my wife!
The gifts do the trick, but I’m still unable to free her with Uhura standing guard. I leave the screen and come back when she is guarded by the generic Simbani guy, open the cage, and watch as she clambers over the village wall to freedom.
|Now this is how you begin a honeymoon!|
|At least I know her name now.|
Her name is Johari, she is the daughter of the Leopardmen’s chief, and she taunts me that I made so much noise everything in the jungle could hear me. Honestly, this explains the endless supply of flying cobras I slogged through the last time I journeyed into the jungle. Note to self: invest a few points in the Stealth skill . . .
Wait a minute--did she just say that her father is the chief of the Leopardmen? Dang! I really married up, didn’t I?!
In any event, Johari’s anger has subsided somewhat, and she maintains that the Leopardmen did not steal the Spear of Death--it was left behind when one of the “cow people” (Simbani) stole their drum. She finds me and my talk of peace interesting in a what the hell is this guy’s deal? kind of way, but is most certainly not amused when I tell her I want to be her friend.
|Friendship is kind of an important thing between husband and wife, isn’t it?|
|But I just--|
|But that’s not what I said, I--|
|Quick! Change the subject!|
Sounds like my kind of odds.
|Hey, that’s racial profiling!|
|“I see you mirin’.”|
(But the only proper interpretation is that we totally consummated our marriage. Robin Hood would approve. So would this guy.)
|Hi, Robin Bro!|
|Observing the change ritual (from a fairly obvious vantage point).|
“It's pretty far out that in this QfG game and the next one, there's a strong theme of magical initiation (in the occult sense), given that in most fantasy rpgs magic is treated as an economic commodity (I have 50 mana, I can cast 10 flame darts before having to [consume mana item of choice] to regain my ability) and that's it.Helm nails it. Magic in Quest for Glory is much more than “Zap the bad guys.” It’s everywhere, affects everything, and utility spells like Fetch and Juggling Lights give a lot of verisimilitude (nice word, right?!) to the world that makes it feel truly different than our own. And as Kreesha explains at the beginning of the game, ritual magic is common in Fricana. We see this with the Leopardmen changing, Kreesha’s magic portals, and the creation of the wizard’s staff seen in Chet’s parallel playthrough.
This comes from the history of the tabletop ur-game of Dungeons and Dragons, where in an effort to avoid skirting even more controversy related to supposed satanic themes in the game, the designers decided to avoid the description of rituals in the core milieu, just the mechanical and economic effects of having magic around.
In QfG magic feels more like a colouring undercurrent that permeates everything than just an economy for killing orcs with flame darts, exactly because of scenes like this spiritual initiation (or the trials to become a wizard in QfG II which were more like a faux-scientific work application of magic for contrast). These non-combat-related magical acts feel like they have consequences and are echoed in the core narrative of the series.
Erana is at the heart of it all, of course. Her presence is like the holy spirit, always there but transparent to the uninitiated mind.
Being virtuous in these games is something the world acknowledges (and your honor stat is raised) because this world is animated with a magical spirit. It notices you, and it wants you to do good.”
Enough about magic. Let’s talk about the magic of PEACE. All it takes is six easy steps!
Step 1: Introduce yourself with a flourish.
|Pictured: all kinds of swag.|
|“Behold the Drum of Magic! Now we can continue our weekly poetry slams!”|
|Thank goodness for my high Communications stat!|
|For a spear that purportedly kills whomever it touches, I remain stubbornly alive and well.|
|Perhaps the most important step of all.|
|“Peace in our time!”|
I mean piece of cake. I’ve just got peace on the mind! And cake!
|Can you blame me?|
|Peace talks at Tarna’s Hall of Judgment|
The Laibon speaks first, and he’s a little more strident than I would have personally recommended he be . . .
|Starts off strong . . .|
|This is true. There’s nothing wrong with a recitation of the facts . . .|
|Okay Mkubwa, honey, this is a peace conference. Let’s use our helping words . . .|
|If I were the Laibon’s lawyer right now, I’d be waving my hands like “Shut up, SHUT UP!”|
|This is exactly what you want to hear at a highly contentious peace conference.|
|Honestly, in light of the Laibon’s rudeness, this reaction is completely understandable.|
Yeah, it’s kind of silly that we wasted so much time figuring out the Simbani-Leopardmen stuff when the real villains were across yon waterfall in yonder Lost City. Couldn’t I have just made my way over there instead of returning magical artifacts to various indigenous groups? Couldn’t an assault on the Lost City have saved both the Laibon and the Leopardman chef's lives? Maybe the thrust of the game could have been convincing Rajah, the Simbani, and the Leopardmen that the demons were behind everything instead of setting up this ultimately meaningless conference?
In light of this, the peace conference seemed like a complete and utter waste. But the plot demanded it, and it does work from a dramatic narrative perspective, so what do I know?
Anyway, Rakeesh tells me to split and find the demons now while I can still get out of Tarna.
While I can still get out of Tarna? What does he mean by this?
Session Time: 4 hours
Total Play Time: 9 hours, 10 minutes
Puzzle Points: 352
Paladin Points: 91
Paladin Abilities: Flaming sword, healing, danger sense, honor shield
Inventory: Money, Soulforge, chainmail armor, magic shield, tinderbox, throwing daggers, poison cure pills, healing pills, mana pills, empty waterskin, dispel potion, dried meat, vine, rope, sapphire pin, fire opal, waterskins with water from the Pool of Peace