Sunday, September 9, 2007

PoR: entry 7 (at what cost, victory?)

So I didn't decide to do the dragon thing. So what? I thought I'd at least check out the textile district. Funny. Didn't see any textiles at all.

Derfindor finally came in pretty handy as a thief/fighter. Just in time, too. After beginning the game with so much promise, the guy has been pretty darn lax lately. He's been missing easy shots, going unconscious all the time and as a result, he still has yet to level up once. Anyway, he came in handy because we came across a thieves' guild under a well that was only accessible to thieves themselves. Some of the other members of the party tried climbing down, but they merely fell to their deaths. Derfindor wasn't even 100% successful every time he tried. I still don't know what thieves are really for, but this was at least one reason to have one around.

Anyway, the thieves guild led me to a pretty hellish battle with some kind of witchy hobgoblin thing. It took several tries to eliminate her(/it?) and I had to do it with absolutely no random monster encounters. At this point in the game, the random monster encounters are ridiculously difficult. Behind locked doors after the witch battle, was the servant of Cadorna that we were able to free from shackles. We had access to the guy before the big battle, but we needed to win the key to his shackles through the battle. His name is, get this, "Skullcrusher." Of course the dude's not jokin' around. He was able to become a great NPC in the party and his 39 hit points were extremely helpful. We weren't finished after freeing him, however. Skullcrusher was bloodthirsty to eradicate the hobgoblins and he led us to conquer another room populated by a giant ogre and dozens more underlings. It took a little while to reign in his enthusiasm. I gave him our silver two-handed sword and he just rushed into battle, taking six or seven hobgoblins with him. Of course that meant that ten or so had enough time to surround him and beat him senseless by the end of the fight. As a result we had try again by giving him a long bow so he could easily pick off the guys the magic squad put to sleep. All of us felt pretty cheated that we did the work while he got the easy kills, but his stamina was really invaluable.

We were able to secure Cadorna's box after this other big battle. I decided not to open the box, but I did restore the game and peek inside without saving. Quite impressive. About 1000 gold, 8 gems, 4 jewels and then some weird stuff. The weird stuff consisted of a jeweled dragon statuette, a jewel-studded bowl, a gold wand and gauntlets of ogre power. I readied Skullcrusher with the gauntlets and he became much stronger. What a find! Alas, I made the decision to go with the path where I don't open the box. Maybe it doesn't matter so much, but I'm going to try to have integrity in this universe. I know it makes a huge difference in Ultima. Of course the more and more I play Pool of Radiance, the bigger the gap in similarity between the two franchises gets. Maybe playing with integrity in this game will make up for whatever integrity I lack in real life. I guess I'll need a million more hits on this blog for that to make any difference.

So after all was conquered, I realized several horrible things. First, was that Rexbasior and Disposa were dead! They had fallen in battle and couldn't get up. To make matters worse, I noticed Derfindor's armour class had gone down about five notches. I guess he readied a cursed necklace I found amongst the hobgoblins or somewhere. Cursed items can't be taken off, as is the case in many other popular games from this era, like Rogue (I'm putting the link to the popular ASCII version of Rogue, but the version I remember playing at my friend Pete's house as a kid was the Mac version that had mouse-interface and 8-bit graphics (why is there so little info about this version on the web?)). To make matters worse, Skullcrusher just up and left to go "serve his master" or some crap like that. And he took our silver bastard sword, silver two-handed sword and our long bow! Boo! Ultimately the reward for bringing the box back was 16 measely gems that we got lousy appraisals for. We were able to resurrect Rexbasior and Disposa with the money, but Derfindor's necklace remained cursed because of lack of funds.

At this point in the game, not only was i annoyed by the hardship my party was experiencing, but I was seriously peeved at the lack of banks in the land. According to the exchange rates, 200 copper is worth one gold, 20 silver is one gold, 2 electrum is one gold and one platinum is worth 5 gold. That pretty much means that copper isn't worth picking up. It also means that you don't have access to how much money you have at-a-glance; instead you need to count several different types of coins. Also, you are actually encumbered by coins, so if you're carrying too many around, you can't pick up other things. Could we please get a checking or credit system of some sort in Phlan? Thank you. Apparently the templars were really awesome at a medieval system of credit. Saw it on The History Channel.

It was a good time to leave the city, so we took a stroll. Just north of Phlan we found a weird pyramid-type structure. We...isn't it weird how I'm using "we" so much? My characters are really becoming a part of me. Anyway, we decided to go in even though it had nothing to do with any quests we were on and had no idea what was inside. I gulped when I discovered that the overhead view was disabled inside the structure and I'd really have to do some serious mapping for this puppy. It's the works too: repeating coordinates, teleportations, tight corners, thin walls. Egad! A few entries ago I joked that I didn't want to bother mapping out the Old Rope Guild. No doubt that everyone familiar with the game who read my complaint, actually laughed out loud when they read it. Obviously this game will have a tonload of mapping "opportunities." Anyway, this is what I was able to get done of the pyramid:
Hopefully you can kind of tell what's going on here. The adventure begins in the long-running north-south hallway with two teleporters in the western doors. The circled symbols and letters designate where the teleportations are from while the normal letters and symbols designate where they teleport to. The single lines through walls are secret doors. I got really lost in the area south of the displacer beasts. Speaking of, those suckers are wicked hard. I didn't even knock one over. I can't really figure out what the purpose of the pyramid is, but my best guess is that it's the home of some crazy, reclusive mad wizard we're gonna have to take down. I totally expect the wizard, but what I don't understand are the random groups of high-level adventurers just wandering the hallways. Every so often, we meet up with a "group of level-5 fighters" or "level-7 thieves" or something like that. It gives me the impression that they're adventurers like us on some kind of quest, but despite the ability to parlay with them, it says they "smile at us" and begin attacking. Is there a reason for this or are they just competitive?

After getting lost, I nearly despaired myself to go way back to an earlier savegame, but I bumped into this old guy who was tunneling out. He gave me a heckuva lame conversation. I thought for sure I was supposed to kill him just like all the other weird people I met in there.

On the way home, I crossed the river and entered Phlan on the north side. There I was able to check the graveyard out as a sort of "exhibitionary tale" -- one that I'd check out, but wouldn't save. I was able to fight this really cool giant skeleton and I barely beat him with only Rexbasior remaining -- yeah, the guy who died first on our last big quest. Rex secured a wonderful treasure with thousands and thousands of XP. I was never able to make it out of there alive though. I restored the game. Hopefully I'll be able to pass the area again and it will be much easier with another cleric to take care of the undead.

Back in Phlan I finally scraped enough money (3500 gp) to remove that stupid cursed necklace of Derfindor's. It's not a total loss, though. I was able to make a little dinero selling it.
As you can see, a ton happened during this entry. Sorry if it was just an episodic re-capping. I'm hoping that future entries will have more room for commentary. It's starting to get really really good, and like I said, playing is funner than writing.


Simeon Pilgrim said...

Integrity - AD&D knows not of this, therefore neither does Pool of Radiance. Take gold when you can.

On the lots of silly money front, go to a shop, pool your money, buy the cheapest thing you can find and sell it again. Then (most importantly) share your money out again. Ta-da, it's all gold again.

Kameron said...

Thieves are also good for opening locks, searching and backstabbing, a special attack that deals double damage if you hit an enemy that isn't facing you. I think you mentioned earlier that Derf was using a sling. He's a fighter, too! Get him a bow.

I see you learned the lesson about equipping NPCs (non-player characters) the hard way. I typically give Skullcrusher the armor and sword off of one of the hobgoblins we killed.


The Thieves' Guild (the guys down the well) will replicate the seal on Cadorna's treasure for a share of it. This allows you to plunder it without consequence. Those gauntlets of ogre strength are nice for your fighters.


Just a slight correction to Simeon's advice: pooling and purchasing will convert your coin to Platinum, worth 5 Gold. This condenses your load of coins even more, freeing up additional pounds of encumberance.

Simeon Pilgrim said...

Just a slight correction to Simeon's advice: pooling and purchasing will convert your coin to Platinum, worth 5 Gold. This condenses your load of coins even more, freeing up additional pounds of encumberance.

True that it appears to be Platinum, but the code is actually dealing in gold, thus if you have sub gold amounts are lost when pooled. Yet that is not really an issue, as money is only useful in large amount. But it still turned to Platinum when put back to PCs