Sunday, August 19, 2007

PoR: entry 3 (action!)

I quickly discovered that the tavern tales are almost not worth writing down. Look at tavern tale 2. Funnily enough I don't know if it's describing the guy telling tale 2 or if he's actually telling me the story of a drunk bard talking to an unappreciative crowd in some other tavern.

After a little bit of battle experimenting, I finally went over to the town hall to grab a commission. I was pretty disappointed to discover that they pretty much just handed off a "go out and kill" mission. I suppose I wasn't expecting anything too detailed.

I headed over to the western slums area and started figuring out how this whole combat thing works. I quickly learned that magic-users can't throw daggers, so I wasted some money there. Also, there was no sense in Chlorine, my cleric, to have javelins. At least all this stuff was really really cheap. The most obnoxious thing about Chlorine is that as a cleric she can't wield a long-range weapon of any sort. As a result, I'm required to put her at the point. She's gotten totally clobbered in a few battles. Derfindor has been the party's savior, just like I predicted. He chills in the back with his sling and is pretty good with it. When the enemy gets close enough, he whips out his bastard sword and is even more consistent.

We've mostly hit parties of orcs, goblins and kobolds. Kobolds are my favorite. They're the weakest. I don't really know what a kobold is, but based on the picture, they look like some sort of canine theatre troupe. Hmm. according to wikipedia, kobolds are sort of like German leprechauns.

After getting used to the battle technique (which took a while actually -- I may have to go into detail about my complaints with the battle system later), the kobolds were no real problem. There are some specific set-piece battle rooms full of kobolds that proved to be more difficult. Even though the rooms contain like 20 of the cute and fuzzy things, I still don't like getting womped by them since wikipedia also informs me that kobolds are sort of considered a perennial loser running gag in RPGs.

For the big kobold rooms (and orc rooms and goblin rooms), my party developed an ingenious strategy. Silver the Enchantress would cast a sleep spell on the front two or so rows of monsters. The sleeping monsters would block the way of the rear advancing monsters and Rexbasior and Derfindor would sling the back ranks to death before putting killing blows on the sleeping foes. This strategem didn't actually work every time and it also only worked once per journey. I had to clean out a room, save the game, go back into civilized Phlan to recharge Silver's spell and then go back into the slums to attempt it again.

In the course of my slum wanderings I happened upon a somewhat more interesting quest. It involved running potion errands for a wizard smack in the middle monster-land. He pointed me toward the Old Rope Guild elsewhere in the slums. The mission was refreshing because I got into something of a story instead of the same old monster and battle screens.

Old Rope was worse than anticipated, however. For some reason (probably just to make the quest interesting) the overhead mapping mode ability is turned off in that area. Also the coordinates seem to fly all over the place. I eventually got to the back-alley potion shop by metaphorically touching my left hand to the left wall and following the same wall through the whole guild. Just for fun I saved the game and investigated the guild further. The monsters I found that killed me will haunt my dreams for several weeks.

In the course of potion-fetching and monster eviction by genocide, I came across not only money, but useful items. The most frustrating thing about finding short swords is that half the time when you try to sell them, the shopkeepers offer you "0 gold." I'm not the kind of person to throw things away so I wind up just being burdened with junk until the keeper gives me one lousy piece of gold for each dumb knife. I stressed out even more about a couple of gems I searched for and found in the slum stable. I sold one for 100 gold and the other for 500 gold then restored the game to see if I could swing a better deal at another shop. After pulling this cheap stunt and finding nothing better I discovered that the original shop wasn't even giving me original prices. In fact the buyback got marked down to something like 14. I had to restore a few more times before I got the right price back. Kind of makes me think that worrying about all the shop prices is pretty unnecessary. I'm also wondering if the items I find aren't worth anything unless I pay 200 gp for their identification. I identified a necklace of missiles (I'm really lost as to what it does) and a +1 ring of protection before restoring the game to just get my money back. Do I still get my missiles and protection? maybe I should just splurge.

Here's the most excellent map I made of the slum areas:

Excellent stuff. It appears there's more fun stuff even further west. Ruins and bigger and nastier monsters. As I was playing last night, my roommate walked by and asked: "How long is that game anyway?" I was like, uh... I really have no idea in the slightest. I've been playing quite a bit already and I'm not even out of the town yet. It looks like it could be a lot more since I haven't really stumbled upon a clear plotline. Sheesh. This could be a much bigger endeavor than I bargained for.

My final stress for the day was when I realized I had earned enough experience points to level up, but I hadn't. I was seriously worried that there was a bug associated with the version I had that disabled me from ever going up a level. Fortunately, before spending too much time online trying to figure it out (how do you google a problem like that?) I found the solution in the training center in civilized Phlan (even though it seems to unjustly cost me some dough). After leveling up, I clobbered Rolf, the guy who knocked Rexbasior unconscious on my first day of actually playing. Oh man, it felt so very sweet. The new spell I picked for Silver the Enchantress is the "charm person" spell. Hopefully I can get a few kobold NPCs to wander around with me. How fun! Pets!


Simeon Pilgrim said...

You can map the rope guild, you just need to map where you walk, and not rely on the map or coordinates.

You'll soon learn what equipment is worth selling, and what's not worth picking up. A good point to note is to have a detect magic spell, so when you find treasure and get a extra large experience, you can cast the detect magic and see which items are magical, and thus gave that large exp.

Necklace of missiles, is just a item that can cast magic missile spell (limited charges), but useful for your cleric. Ring +1 protection improves Armour Class by one of the wearer. Very much worth having for mage types.

Yes you need to pay to be "trained" to level, where else did you think the new skills where going to come from. Also if you fight Rolf, he is a duplicate of what ever character you use. Spells and all.

Charm Person is a combat spell.

Best thing about kobolds is that as they are a small creature, once you level up your fighters a bit more, you can multi-attack them. Very satisfying killing 8 in one turn.

Kameron said...

Yeah, the tavern tales are basically rumors: some are true, most aren't, and none of them really give crucial information. Just a bit of fun. The biggest benefit of taverns is gambling. It's a quick way to make money in the early levels to pay for training. I never used it for such, myself.

Sleep is your best friend in the early game. It takes out up to 9 monsters. That's one of the reasons it's good to have 2 magic-users. Like Simeon said, Detect Magic is good for sorting through the treasure to pick out what is worth taking (and selling) what is junk.

Don't lose sleep over the sell value of gems and jewelry. It's fairly random. You could load a saved game and get different values almost every time.