Monday, September 3, 2007

PoR: entry 5 (new faces, new places)

Meet the newest members of the crazy Phlan-venturing hodge-podge party from Hell and Heaven: Disposa and Disposo. As you may assume from their names, I'm not planning on keeping them around for the long haul. They're really only traveling spellbooks. As for their statistics, I just had to make sure that their intelligence was up to snuff for proper casting. To be honest, I haven't figured out how important intelligence actually is. The instructions say that intelligence affects how much a character can memorize, but magic-users seem to always start with four spells anyway. A nice little table on page 36 of The Adventurer's Journal also explicitly spells out the acquisition of new spells as experience levels progress. Perhaps when I created these two I should have kept rolling in hopes of getting their hit points better than 3 and 4.

Not that it matters, because they served their purpose quite well. My final two rooms in the Phlan slums, the guard rooms to the hemp market, are now completely cleared! Having the ability to cast four sleep spells which could potentially affect up to nine monsters each is quite an arsenal. One was filled entirely with Gobins, while the other was filled with Orcs.

I was slightly disappointed in what lay beyond the "end commission" rooms. Beyond the Orc room was another room of "monster leaders" having a conference. Unfortunately (actually thankfully, since I was so weak from the previous battle) they were anti-climacticly easy to exterminate. They left behind some gems and jewelry which I'll hold onto for now and hope to get a better price for them when I need them to level up later at the stupid "Phlan University" that tells me to go kill monsters and then tells me I need to PAY them for the honor and experience. Read the previous two entries for my whining about paying for level ups.

Anyway, thankfully I finally got the clerk to tell me a new mission, which I haven't looked at since I captured the image of it. Hmm. Podal Plaza, eh? According to entry #37 of The Adventurer's Journal, Podal Plaza is three large city blocks to the west of the civilized area of Phlan. I wasn't planning on peeking at the journal entries before it actually tells me to, but I'm a sucker for looking at maps. I'm also pretty miffed that I haven't had to bust out The Adventurer's Journal at all so far. What's up with that? I assumed that during gameplay I'd be referring to it quite a bit.

Have you ever played Wasteland? That question is sort of rhetorical because there really aren't that many people reading this to respond right now and also if you're reading this, you've probably played it. Remember the paragraphs book in that game? I thought The Adventurer's Journal would be a lot like that. That game referenced a new paragraph with just about every progression. Perhaps Wasteland just put more emphasis on having some kind of outside medium to better broaden the gameplay. Perhaps Pool of Radiance is just way way bigger and I haven't even gotten to the first real plot-point. Today a friend of mine familiar to PoR talked to me about the Blogging Forgotten Realms project and asked me, "Does that game even have an end?" I don't actually know the answer to that question. If the game doesn't have an end, at least this blog will have plenty of staying power.

So anyway, we've got to hit up Podal Plaza, the sewer gang in Kuto's Well and our other upstanding commission is to clean up Sokol Keep. All these areas are places I'm frankly not good enough to conquer. I've experimented with Sokol Keep a couple of times. I can "warp" there by a boat directly from the civilized area. It's populated by the undead. As a cleric, Chlorine can turn away some of the undead during battle. I'm wondering if I need to pull out clerical versions of Disposa and Disposo for the conquering of the Keep.

Another curious commission I'm supposedly working on is to find books about the history of Phlan before the fall. I imagine such information is available at Mendor's library if I could figure out how to get in. Once again, why is the dirty work that the powers-that-be want me to accomplish simply library-card related? I shouldn't have started that sentence with "Once again..." since I've never really mentioned library work before. I guess it just goes with my paranoid suspicion that the government of "civilized" Phlan really isn't that legit and they need me to trespass into a legit book source. Ever read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Once again, rhetorical. It's the book the movie Blade Runner was based on. There's a weird scene in the book that isn't in the movie where our hero cop ran afoot of another police station that he didn't even know existed and they didn't know his existed. It's pretty surreal. It's like they both had their universes and they thought they knew what was going on, and they thought society revolved a certain way; but one or both were deceived.

So with all this existential stuff going through my head, it was nice to actually leave the city. Turns out the whole game doesn't take place in Phlan! Ever see Dark City? Ok, moving on...

Anyway, life outside of Phlan is... kinda hard. One giant snake can ruin lots of lives. Those snakes are life-ruiners. It'd be real nice if I had a bigger overhead map view of the countryside. Mapping out the countryside will probably be just as annoying as mapping out the Rope Guild.

So I met this weird dragon in the mountains named (I think) Diogenes. A talking dragon? Now I've seen everything. I assumed that dragons have a strict tendency to be creatures for the slaying. The dragon gave me a quest. I foolishly saved right after i got the quest instead of right before. I was hoping that I could see what would happen if I handled the situation differently instead of just going right for the quest. Could this beast be more vague about where I'm supposed to find this den of kobolds? "Far to the East?" If this world is anything like Earth, "The Far East" is, like, half of the freaking world. It's doubtful I'll get all the way through the wilderness at this stage in the game.

On my second sojourn outside the walls of Phlan I actually royally pounded on quite a few monsters. Unfortunately, I realized too late that Chlorine didn't just get knocked unconscious by a giant snake; she freaking got killed. for the first time I sought out the healers for a resurrection. It was a bit pricey. Not quite worth the experience points from my bushwhacking adventure. Going back to an old savegame was quite in order.

After all this, I was able to still level up Silver the Enchantress. Level 2 spells seem to be way lamer than level 1. What's up with that? We've got detect invisibility, invisibility, knock, mirror image, ray of enfeeblement, stinking cloud and strength. The invisibility spells seem like they might be cool, but apparently you only stay invisible until you attack someone and I haven't come across anybody remotely invisible enough to want to use "detect invisibility" on them. Stinking cloud sounds kind of nice, but the sleep spell seems to be more effective. Ultimately I went with learning mirror image which I guess makes decoy characters for monsters to attack. Hopefully it will be worth what I ultimately paid for it.

I'm leaving you with a series of random images of my misadventures in the wilderness. I'll have plenty of time to explore them more fully later, but I am slightly nervous. Right now, my party is so weak, I can't fight off any of these things I'm dealing with right now. I might have to wander around for a few weeks getting enough experience to actually do some damage. We'll see.

1 comment:

Kameron said...

Intelligence (like Wisdom for clerics) determines the highest level of spells your character can learn. Not a factor in POR because of the level cap, but will come into play later in the series.

Be sure you use the Search function in each room, as there is often hidden treasure. You might also find pieces of information described in the Adventurers Journal entries.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the selection of 2nd level spells, either. Knock allows you to open locks. Stinking Cloud is a good complement to Sleep and can be use to funnel enemies (they don't like to enter the cloud). Cast Strength on your Cleric or non-human Fighters to boost their melee combat effectiveness. Invisibility and Mirror Image are decent defensive spells. Ray of Enfeeblement is the reverse of Strength; you cast it on your enemies. I've never taken/used any of them other than Knock and Stinking Cloud.