Tuesday 28 May 2024

Missed Classic: Loremaster - No Prayer for the Dying

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

I need to get money. That's the clear thought I have starting up this game with a completely new world and save. Firstly and oddly, I'm buying the leather armor I have just a bit too little money for last time, it's a better choice as of yet. Since I should try to be a "proper" player, I guess I won't try to rob the church. Playing at being Henry VIII isn't my best choice anyway.

And someone may or may not smite you for it.

While trying to check my stats again, I realize that the command "help history" won't help me with my command history, but tells me what's going on. It's nothing we didn't already know. The King Yelraf (Farley backwards, guess there's someone with that name on this game's team) and Queen Tei live in the Kingdom of Peace and Tranquility, the kingdom to the north has been conquered by the evil Gaiasbane. We need your help LOREMASTER! (Player is not actually said to be Loremaster)

You're not missing anything not getting the visuals of these, unless you really wanted to see SVGA pixel cleavage.

Speaking of which, I find the castle one east of the store, then north. Couldn't really find anything west, except that I need to find another path to get even further west. Now, you might be asking, what important things do the king and queen have to say? I'm wondering that to. Shame that whenever I ask them something nothing happens, and that's my only real way of talking to anyone.

This, actually, presents a problem. I've been everywhere. Since the main plot seems to involve taking out the evil Gaiasbane, and Francis said something about caverns, I go ask him about it. "A worthy LOREMASTER can find them himself." Balls. I find out where to go quite by accident. There's a hole in the room with the chests.

Now I'm in some caves. Marvelous. Even better, said caves have enemies who don't make one move and then stop, they automatically move. Faster than I can type a direction and move, this isn't an action and reaction thing, this is real-time. Ugh. This is bad. I find my way to another hole one screen over...and...
...I'm back outside? I'm one west of where I was, and the hole I took disappeared. Uh-oh. I can go forward now, since I'm missing a lot of the underground, but I need to have more than just leather armor, and I really need a weapon. I'm going to have to restart again, buy a sword and hope for the best.

The sword is considerably more expensive than the armor, costing some 2300 gold coins, putting me 2128 gold into debt. Right, time to test it out.
Good, it dies in one hit. Huh, first enemy I've fought and it gives me multiple levels. They didn't really put a lot of thought into how you level up in this one. Now, how do I search it for goodies? Search is apparently read or something. I have no idea why. I try to take...

...only for it to resurrect and kill me. I go down multiple levels. I kill it again, and I go up one level than before. I quit and ponder this. This doesn't help me towards getting money, but as I think about it, it occurs to me that yes, this is helpful. It's always been me and one other character, and there's no sign that they're that much stronger than me. I can search the underground with this in mind.

Reloading, it seems as though saving sometimes occurs in-session. As evidence by how I've died multiple times upon reloading. I wonder if this game is pulling some post-modern stuff. It would be interesting, anyway. It's certainly trying to be weird about this, since after killing it, the darn thing talks to me as a ghost. It's freaky.
This is apparently quite bad for my karma, which I'll try to play out, but gosh, level 62 and my IQ is only 71, talk about harsh numbers. Unfortunately, after taking this, the creature I'm fighting kills me and they won't resurrect me anymore. Okay, how is this going to happen? Because so far I've seen no indication I can actually restart the game without just reinstalling it. The game sends me to a screen where I can only logon or halt, and logon is confusing. I quit and restart the game.

I'm still dead, but the game suggests I pray. Well, that...works...and I'm resurrected. Turns out that praying slightly increases piety and karma. Hang on, what does the logon command do then? Aha, that creates a character! I can create a fighter, cleric, mage, sage or merchant. Then I need to put a password because you don't want your little brother sneaking in and playing as your character. Or...something, because none of these options seem to work, even following things precisely.

At this point, I play around with some of the game's files. Been a long time since I did that, hasn't it? It is informative, but doesn't really help me in any way. I can't see the dialog through my search, which is the most important part, or how to pick up items. I know which file has Myth's stats, but I don't really know how to change them. I have to reinstall after this, because killing a random animal causes Francis to come after me. Glad that happens and the guy who is supposed to be a cleric says absolutely nothing to any religion-related topics.

Unfortunately, down in the underground, while I can kill the beastie consequence free, I have to find a way around him. Can't walk past bones and you really don't want to be next to them when he comes back from the dead. Also, it's too dark down here to actually do anything, so no examining those bones. I eventually notice there's just enough space around one area to get past. I take him out again...and there's nothing to the right. I can't go anywhere. The developers of this game are comparable to a giant pit filled with donkeys.

You know, when I pulled this one out, I thought it would be easier to play than Valhalla, and that it was something I could play during lunch. Ha. Ha. Ha. I sat down and pondered. I do what I should have done at the start, look through all the help options. Here's what I didn't know before:

  • It's the create command that creates a new character. In my defense the system this game uses is utterly bizarre and confusing. It also still doesn't work.
  • Various actions in addition to pray increase stats. Meditate increases my IQ, while rest increases physical stats. Allegedly.
  • Open is only used in Loremaster II. (Translation, never) I still don't know why it actually functions as a speak alternative, and why that happens is still left as an exercise up to the reader, because I'm trying to figure out this game.

As you can see, nothing much has changed. In a fit of desperation, I pick up junk from next to the shopkeeper. Since by now I know that to pick something up I have to stand on it, and I don't care if I restart again. He doesn't attack me. I sell it to him, he gives me 0 gold coins. Despite sounding like an exercise in futility, this was vitally important, I now know that I can actually pick things up and sell them, before it was all theory. I start trying other things, and while they aren't takeable, the game recognizes that they exist. This means that I have to guess the noun with the gold ring. Only took me nearly three hours.

I spotted...something west of the merchant's shack, so I figure that's what I should go to get. Unfortunately this journey proves complex. The area with the item is blocked off east/west, so I head north until something looks promising. I can attack trees by typing attack oak or something, and only that way. I realized I could use the cursor to attack, but that only works against objects the game wants me to attack. Not that it matters, The mighty Myth can cause a tree to be dying and then nothing happens. Incidentally, the thing you might be thinking of, what if there's more than one oak? Well, it just picks one.

I go south, and I can't go south anymore, blocked off. I go east to a garden south of the starting area. I thought I couldn't go west from there...I was wrong. West I find a rather lame looking dragon, it's one tile in size, barely larger than Myth. Like a wimpy Asian dragon. Then I head once more west.

This guy moves and talks, which immediately sets off my danger alarm. He talks again after a delay, but stays still. That's his second statement. I ask him something, he says the usual response to something he isn't programmed for. Oh, and then he turns into Myth and walks towards me. Hang on, let me just put on some appropriate music for the following paragraphs. (Very appropriate, trust me)
Throwing caution to the wind, I charge after him. I'm not really striking first because he cast a spell at me. I'm hoping that's going to be good enough so I can sell crap to the merchant later. He goes down, dead. I run to the west swiftly. No taunting, but the description warns me of something following me.

Next, a dragon, he charges straight after me, but casts a...sleep spell? I check my karma, -6. Crap, what the heck was going on with that last screen? Haven't you been cruel enough? There have certainly been harder games around, but I'm not sure I've played an adventure game quite as cruel as this one before. I just miss being fast enough on the draw to attacking the dragon, but he kills me. Thankfully, prayer helps me resurrect. Sadly, I can't hurt the dragon. After another death I just run past him.
Something else...hopefully useful. It's food. I can't get it...being foolish I try taking it. Myth takes the food. He can take things but not get things. I wonder why this game didn't sell. I can't eat it, so I will do...uh...something with it. As I leave to the west, a doppelganger shows up on the east. Nope, don't like that, don't like that at all.

There's a "manticor" here, and I get my explanation as for why things are now attacking me. I'm outside the town, and everything has a chip on their shoulder now. Also, I can't hurt the manticore. Or maybe I could have if I didn't accidentally type attack lion or using the cursor later cause Myth to kill himself. I'm guessing that doesn't cause my karma to sink because everyone here believes in a bizarre form of Bushido which involves two additional "l"s and an addition "t". Right, restart. And no, taking items doesn't allow me to take the gold ring from earlier. Why? Reread my earlier guess.

It's not actually clear how I can advance here, since I would like to be able to do things without being attacked by resurrecting monsters every 30 seconds. When I've tried to play Doom in Nightmare, you were basically speedrunning it, but that said, you got practice and you didn't have to type "shoot cocodamo" every time you wanted to kill something. Oh, and I wasn't trying to figure out how to actually advance.
A serious game for serious people.
I hit upon something talking to Gerald. He offers to teach me for a price. Asking him to please train me. That'll help me in the future, but I still think I should get some more gold before plunging myself into debt. And what do you know, I can take some old coins from the building Gerald is guarding, and I'm not even in trouble for doing so. Now they're an item, so I'll have to sell them to the shopkeeper.
I take a scenic route to the store, and end up falling down a different hole. The first room just had a slime, probably nothing of concern. Then I end up going north to here. I didn't realize it right away, but that says Wind Elemental. It's not visible...because it shows up later. I can talk to her. She just talks about philosophical concepts of magic, which would have been better if I had a good grounding of magic beforehand. This is just putting the horse before the carriage. This hole really opened up the underground, but it also doesn't really give me anything I can actually do. I need light. Somehow.

Well, let's ask some people about a light. Nope, they don't have anything to say about that. But if I ask Butterman about gold, he'll tell me to find his father's sword, which he sold to an adventurer. He'll give a very good price for it. Mind you, this guy is more salty that the adventurer owes him money rather than losing his father's sword. Holy Hannah, by asking him about money I've uncovered more about this game in 5 minutes than I have the entire time before now. There's an oracle named Iseult, of Iseult and Tristan, out in the old forest, and she knows the future. Even more curious, Tristan apparently wanders around talking about synchronicity. (Or something, he sounds out the word rather than says it, since Butterman doesn't know)

Then things get really strange, because if I ask him about the sword, directly under the name Rune, he talks about how it was stolen in a battle with the north. Which means this one is probably bugged in some way. Going back to Gerald, I find out there's a...Samwise the Peasant in the north where the evil sorcerer lives. You can stop the Maiden now if you want, because now things are going to get serious.

Normally, as in if this were just me playing this, I'd quit now. It isn't fun, anything good about it is dragged down by 10 things I hate, and the biggest positive right now is that I can listen to music while playing. But I'm not the only one playing it.

Nevertheless, to make this not a drag, I'm going to make a game out of all this. I'm going to listen to every Ningen-Isu album in order, sort of a Japanese Black Sabbath, of which there are 23 albums by my count. When I'm done, I'll go over again. I really hope that doesn't happen, but it'll be a nice little informal check on how far I'm along in the game. No, it isn't a one hour average or anything, but I've never done it before, and it's more interesting at the moment than doing it with a different band.

(Side note, I've played the game for four hours in total at this point, which should give you an idea about how long this game is)

No Longer Human

I swear I didn't  do this knowing that. I knew the title was Ningen Shikkaku, but I didn't know what Shikkaku meant. All I really know is that one of the tracks is about an apple crying. (apparently someone was nice enough to translate it into English) Oddly enough, not because he's playing this game. Right, serious face.

Reloading after the delay I put in after the last part, I didn't realize I could get trained by Gerald again...and again. There's no limit except my desire to type "ask gerald please train" again. The Ancient coins I could pick up this time. I go to the church first and ask Francis to train me, that works too. Why do I want to create another character when this one seems to work as well as it ever will? I mean, if character creation actually worked as opposed to glitching out.

Selling the coins to Butterman gets me...110 gold to a total of 410. That works out to both of them, somehow. Possibly the game counted both coins as one item, as if I expect more out of this game. Let's try the king and queen again, only this time, let's ask them about my parents.

You know what the problem was? You don't ask the king and queen things, you ask Yelraf and Tei things, because I expect too much out of the game, like telling me something doesn't work or someone doesn't exist. Apparently Myth's parents were kings of the seventh kingdom, and they're dead now. (probably) Judging by what Yelraf says, there were seven kingdoms that made up an empire. This explains why I'm so powerful, in theory anyway.

Two things come out of future note. Iseult engaged in combat with some sort of creature doing bad things to the weather, probably the wind elemental. Myth is also on a vague quest, implied to be reclaiming his father's kingdom. The actual Loremaster bit is just legend. That's about all of value I could figure out. I'm technically back where I was, but I have an option now, find Iseult. Cue the Iron Maiden again.

Last time I went west from the area just outside the town, so I go south. Blocked. I go east and try south whenever possible. Blocked. Enemies on most screens and I usually escape by the skin of my teeth, only to end up at a dead end. Thus, it is unavoidable that I have to go past doppelgangers and enemies constantly getting in my path. Fortunately, I can buy platemail. I do learn that there's some money in some spots of the old town I wrote off, because I assumed they were blocked. I assume they're treasures, the game tells me so, but they might be junk.

Well, the Doppelganger is dead, but I didn't stop to make sure. It's not like I know of any way of robbing his corpse. Or her corpse. My armor proves effective once I get past the second doppelganger and get stuck on a manticor. Hopefully durability isn't a thing, because he stunlocked me for a bit. South leads nowhere, so north it is. I've traveled far enough west.

I eventually end up in a place with a gold item I tried to get, but couldn't, turns out there are multiple ways out of the old town. They're still both not obvious. So I have to go west whether I want to or not. I wonder what's east, in that case? I find a wraith blocking a path further north, which I probably don't want to go down anyway. Interestingly, I'm noticing that the game has something of a problem with combat. In addition to everything I mentioned before, it's pure action spam, entirely reflex, because if you don't spam actions, the enemy will. Weird. You know, when they aren't spending several moments doing nothing.

Anyway, at this point, I'm going to stop, not because I've gotten any further, but because my album ran out and I died. To a spider. In platemail. This isn't fun. I've got some more areas to search, so things are not quite FUBAR just yet. We'll see what happens next time.

This Session: 4 hours 00 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes


  1. This game looks like a real trainwreck. I hope for your sake that at least it is not very long.

    1. If the third entry goes well it should be done fairly, since everything seems to be falling into place faster than one would expect.

  2. this does not sound fun at all! well done on persevering with it so far

  3. While it's a game (and genre) I would never want to have played, I am enjoying this immensely. I suppose that makes me a sadist, enjoying watching you suffer, but I suppose I can come to terms with that.

    1. Since the Addict is covering this game in parallel you can have twice the fun if you want. That is, unless you get a special kick out of seeing Morpheus Kitami suffering.

    2. Why can't it be both? ;)

    3. Even as a RPG it isn't very fun, because despite the adventure part feeling very questionable, the RPG aspect isn't exactly well thought out. I appreciate it has the balls to drain your levels for casting powerful spells, but it's hardly troublesome regaining those levels.

      Anyway, watching me suffer at this point is pretty much what my entries tend to be. Hopefully when I get back to Valhalla despite the difficulty that one will be fun.

    4. This reminds me of an old movie. Hope that blogger won't eat the URL as it might cause indigestion.


  4. Loving these joint entries! And definitely appreciate the music suggestion... but I hope for your sake, there's only a few more albums you need to listen to.

    1. I think I can confidently say that I won't be relistening to any albums or even reaching the current end of their discography, but I am going to make a decent dent in it.

  5. MK, if you figure out how to get the bell, would you give me a hint? I've found the NPC who has it, and I've given him everything that I think he wants, but he won't give me the damned thing.

    1. No, but you mentioning that he wants stuff is a worry, considering that those have a tendency to both disappear because of the bizarre save system, and otherwise just turn into junk. Ah, that's why you copy the entire folder to make saves, isn't it? I may need to reinstall, but at least I know what I'm doing now.

    2. Yeah, I created a couple of batch files to backup and restore all the files in the DATA folder for use when "reloading."

      I solved the problem I alluded to here. He just wants a couple of things before he'll hand over the bell.


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