Monday, December 17, 2007

PoR: entry 20 (have fun stormin' the castle!)

Hmm. Cadorna didn't seemed to concerned about our welfare. Perhaps what the clerk told us immediately next sheds some light on that.
So now it's Lord Urslingen in place of the apparently evil Cadorna. We're out exploring mazes and killing monsters, but it looks like all the really fun stuff is taking place within the walls of the city council. Urslingen wasted no time in setting us off to work, though. Even though we still have one commission left to turn the tide of the lizardmen, Urslingen sent us off to capture the front gate of the big Phlan castle. It's kind of funny how we traversed the length and breadth of the land and the place we have to conclusively storm is the castle in our very home town. We probably should have phoned in all the long-distance stuff. Fortunately, Urslingen considers us to be the "best and bravest" so we are to secure the front gate. Who knows how many other bands of adventurers he's saving that "best and bravest" speech for though.

This guy outside the castle offered us his wheelbarrow. We didn't have a holocaust cloak, but we made it through the front gate anyway. Actually, did the wheelbarrow even do anything? Maybe the guy was betting that we'd just seen The Princess Bride. It came out in '87 too (I think).

Here we go with the crazy religious zealots at a new temple of Bane again. Chlorine and Pilgrim don't go all psycho like this. It just goes to show that there's a difference between living your religion and letting your religion live you (if that even makes sense).

Alright, we gonna complain a bit about the commerce in Phlan. First we need some money-back guarantees up in here! We stole the decorative long swords from the castle courtyard's temple of Bane, brought them back to our favorite shop in Phlan and paid 200 gold to have the shopkeeper tell us they were normal +2 long swords. Figuring Rexbasior didn't need his +1 long sword, he sold it to use the new ones. Mistake, apparently. The swords are cursed. They can't be readied. Every time Rex tries, he gets zapped. The point of the 200 gold identification payment is to find out stuff like that. Now we can't even buy the +1 sword back, Rex is out his favorite weapon and we can't even get or money back from the incomplete identification. Bollocks! Curse of the Azure Bonds better have more friendly customer service for stolen goods!

We secured the front gate. We told the city council. They told us to go ahead and take the rest of the castle. Suck. When do we get to give the orders? At least we got help from the laundresses. Maybe they gave us some fire cloaks. That'd be great, because behind the castle gates are a lot of these fire guys:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

PoR: entry 19 (oh! we were supposed to raze THIS town!)

So it turns out that we were envoys to the settlement a couple of miles west of the buccaneer base. One good slaughter deserves another, sort of like that classic part in Holy Grail where Lancelot just goes on this total killing spree.

The commandant reminds me a lot of the leader of the military school in the first season of Malcolm in the Middle. He's also a little too late nineteenth century German to be in a sword and sorcery type game. Hey, better to paint with broad strokes than with a single fiber (I just made that expression up -- did it make any sense?

Upon entrance into Zhentil Keep, our tour guide gave us a few bits of trivia. First, they've got six barracks of 100 men each. Hmm. That means it's either a stash of playable NPCs, or we're gonna be in a huge fight soon. The second bit of trivia our guide bragged about was that they've even survived a dragon attack. Hey, didn't the only dragon in the game so far actually turn out to be good?

The most open-ended part of the game happened with our dinner conversation with the commandant. We were able to talk about Phlan, magic and politics with changing points in the dialogue based on our responses. Personally, it stressed me out quite a bit, because he adjourns the dinner after too much talking and we weren't able to get every combination of dialogue in. Every last piece of information probably isn't that important, but the knowledge that we may be missing some is plenty annoying. Much of the conversation was just about the Phlan politics we're having a hard time following (who's more corrupt, Eberhard or Braccio?) The whole point of the conversation, though appears to be journal entry 46.

There were a couple of other things worth noting. He mentioned Tyran-somebody again. The name's popped up a few times as a villain. I'm aware that He's a pivotal bad guy, but is Tyr (as in temple of Tyr) a short name for the villain? Is Phlan worshiping the wrong god? Maybe we shouldn't have overturned that temple.

So, after escorting us back to our quarters the game gave us the option to "sleep with a watch." Yeah, all the hundreds of other times we camped out in dungeons and in the wilderness, and now suddenly we get the bright idea to have someone stand guard in the middle of a welcome city? Thanks for the foreshadowing programmers.

Omigosh, we got attacked in the middle of the night! Didn't see that one coming. The fights were sort of frustrating because we thought we had to go to a specific place to "clean house," but the house in the middle of town wouldn't even give us the option to attempt to break the door down. Turns out we had to face the commandant in the eastern outer wall. Chances are, the location was meaningless. We just faced him and his dwarf companion after facing four or five waves of other fighters. As usual, the 'hold person' spell worked swimmingly.

Why in the world did they attack us? Couldn't we get a little bit of exposition? We may be awesome fighters, but we don't know why everybody we meet needs to attack us. Where's the MO? Did the city council try to have us whacked by sending us on this envoy commission?

And why do I always forget to screengrab from all the good battles?