Part 4: Update 002 Fort Exile and the Road to SilvarUpdate 002 Fort Exile and the Road to Silvar
"Thank you for waiting."
"It was nothing! I was having an enlightening discussion with these two gentlemen."
"I agree. It was quite nice, having the first intelligent conversation since I arrived."
"What? I'm not good enough for 'ya?"
"If you two are still looking to head towards Silvar, the Committee will be headed that way shortly in order to organize our immediate goals. You'd be welcome to join us on the road."
"Having a base of operations in a city would be useful. And the journey would be better with good company."
"What am I? Chopped liver?"
"I would never degenerate liver like that."
"Well, thank you for joining us. We'll meet up with Art and Ember over at the south gate. Please make sure you've collected supplies from Tor if you haven't already."
"I shall do so forthwith. Thank you for the reminder."
"Hey! I heard someone singing back here. Want to check it out?"
This NPC is located by the pool of water behind Tor's location on the map in the previous update.
"Sure. I think we got a few minutes."
"Oh! Hello. You must be new arrivals."
"That obvious, huh?"
"Quite. Oh, where are my manners? I'm Diane!"
"Art. This is Ember. What is it that you do around here, Diane?"
"It's nice to see other women. I'm Tor's wife, by the way. But to answer your question, well, I cook mostly."
"Well, a couple times a week a cook meals for everyone here. I'm actually a very good musician, but there's not much call for that around the fort. Oh well, we won't be here forever."
"That is so neat! We heard you singing, so that's why we came over here."
"I'm not that good. Did you want to hear some more? I could always use an audience."
"Ember, I'll wait for you at the gate there."
She sings a song which you've never heard before. It long and sad, about life in caves and missing the sun above. She has a beautiful voice.
"That was nice! And awesome! Thank you! I got to catch up with Art and the others. I'll come back later though! Bye!"
The other skipped NPC is located in the room to the 'west' of Tor's office.
"Oh! Hello! You're in the wrong room. This is the storage for Tor's shop."
"Ah, my apologies ma'am. My name is Karmas Michaeli, and I am sorry to have disturbed your work."
"No, that's alright. I'm Janice, dear. But only Thairl calls me that. Everyone else uses Jan. New arrival, right? Tor is back that way. Just go around the corner, first door down."
"Thank you. If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you do around here?"
"I'm in charge of supplies for the fort. The soldiers, they cook on their own, and I'm the one they go to for the food. And weapons. And clothes. It's tedious work, but it keeps me busy as long as Thairl is stationed out here."
"What of the soldiers? There seemed to be something of an incident earlier."
"Good lads, every one. Well, most every one anyway. Just between you and me, the best get sent to the front."
"I'm sorry. The front?"
"To the north. Where all the Nephilim are."
"I've heard them mentioned a few times. But they are quite civilized on the surface."
"Ah. The doom of all of us, if the Sliths don't get us first. Lots of them have been sent down here, along with the humans. Many migrate to lower caverns, but many more stay here, determined to take our land. A large tribe of them lives to the north." she sighs "They don't arrive at Fort Exile, by the way. They teleport in somewhere else."
Interesting. Multiple arrival points. That will be something to pass along to Art and Rook. "Thank you for your time and directions, ma'am. I hope you have a pleasant day."
"Well, is that everyone?"
Well, to Silvar it is then. There's a nice road we can just follow that. Is everyone geared up? We know there's the likelihood of attacks on the road."
When you get supplies from Tor, he gives you 100 gold 60 food. He also gives every party member a Stone Knife (the worst non-cursed weapon in the game) and a Leather Baldric (The worst non-cursed armor in the game). The Party Leader (in this case, Art) is also given 2 Bronze Helmets, two Bronze Shields and 3 sets of 12 Darts for throwing.
It's a whole lot of nothing. But anyways, Karmas and Art get a Helmet, while Karmas and Rook get a shield. This is because Karmas is our best melee fighter, and he'll need the protection. Duncan, Peregrine and Ember all get Darts, though only Ember has skill in them.
And before we leave town, I should explain the town interface. The upper left section is the active window. It shows our party and everything within four squares. You can see the outer wall of Fort Exile, as well as two guard NPCs. You can use the arrow keys, or the number pad to move, as well as the mouse. You can click on the edges of that sub-screen to pan the viewing area around a little bit, but I tend not to, unless it's for long range combat.
The upper right is our status screen. It starts with an overview of all the characters, an can be clicked to cycle through all their individual status screens and inventories in order. At the end of the cycle are the key items, of which we will collect a lot over the course of the game.
The lower right is the log. It records things, and lets you know what's happening. Very simple.
The lower left is the button bar. From the left to the right, you have "Cast Mage Spell", "Cast Priest Spell", "Look", "Talk", "Pick up", "Bash Door", "Alchemy", "Pick Lock", "Map" and finally the Sword changes you to "Fight" mode.
I think it's pretty self-explanatory. On with the show!
"Wow. I mean it. Wow."
"I know. Caverns so large they have their own ecosystems. I saw rainclouds over westerly ways. Large body of water unless I'm an idiot."
"Always an option."
"Oh, hey, Sign!"
The numbers are backwards. Dunvo is 20 miles north, while Silvar is 30 west. You can tell by counting the spaces you have to move to get to each.
But the most important thing here is that we can use these numbers to get a sense of scale. The 'world map' of Exile consists of a number of submaps that are connected in a grid that's 7 across and 6 tall. Each 'grid' is 48x48 squares. It's about 30 squares from Fort Exile to Silvar. Therefore, about 1 mile per square.
Let's do the math. On a North<-> South axis, the 'world is (6*48) Miles, or about 288 miles or about 463.5km. On the West<->East line, that's (7*48) or 336 miles/540.7km.
This brings the total 'area' of Exile to.... 96,768sq miles, or 250,614sq km. That makes it larger than the United Kingdom (including territorial waters) and Guinea, but smaller than Ecuador and New Zealand. This is also the smallest map in the Exile trilogy.
Back to your regularly scheduled LP.
"Yeesh, that's a bit of a hike. Glad we got enough food."
"Can't argue. You take the lead, or shall I?"
"I will. Being the leader and all that."
"I would like to see what studies have been made of the local flora and fauna though."
"Oh? To what end?"
"Agriculture, animal husbandry, all necessary stepping stones towards higher technological and societal progress."
"I'm warning ya, you don't want him to get started."
"Oh, hush. At least this woman is endeavoring to expand her knowledge in a civilized manner, before the pulpit of a good teacher."
"Tell me when you see one."
"Karmas, up with me and Art! The rest of you fall back a little!"
And welcome to the combat screen. When you get into a random encounter outdoors, you're taken to a mini-combat arena. When inside, the party disperses on the town/dungeon map.
Here, as we are outside, the party forms up into a triangle with everyone ordered by their position in the party. Art, being the party leader, is at the head, followed by Karmas, Rook, Duncan, Peregrine and Ember.
You can see two goblins towards the top of the screen, while a third is out of immediate sight.
I tried taking screen caps of the battle, but for some reason, it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped as I couldn't catch any damage being done. I'll keep at it as I go along.
The log sub-window is useful as it will allow you to keep track of what people are doing, especially as I like to run combat as fast as possible.
The most important change though is the command bar at the bottom.
You can see there is a tile with "Art (ap:4)" in it. This means that the current PC is Art and she has 4 AP or action points left in the turn. Once everyone has used up all their AP, it's the enemies turn, and when they've used all theirs up, it's yours, and visa-versa. Moving one square costs 1 AP in any direction. Other actions cost more. It's important to note that you can perform any action as long as you still have 1 AP remaining. So Art could move three tiles and cast a spell to end her portion of the PC's turn.
Along the bottom, we have "Cast Mage Spell" (again). Casting one costs 6AP. Priest Spells cost 5AP. "Look" costs nothing. "Defend" costs 4AP, and puts your character into a defensive position, making them harder to hit, and taking less damage. "Gather" works in two ways. If there are no enemies left, it picks up all the spoils of battle and ends the active characters turn. If there are enemies around, it will only cause the character to pick up items adjacent to them. "Wait" moves on to the next character if you don't feel like using the status window. The Arrow triggers Archery (3AP) or Thrown weapons (2AP) if equipped. "End" ends combat if you can (i.e, no enemies), while "Act" goes for the inventory (2AP).
Speaking of spells, time to show off how they are used.
Oh yea, spoilers for the names of future spells.
First up, we have the Mage Spells. Spells that are not available due to level, lack of SP, or because it's the wrong situation are grayed out. This picture was taken in town, so the only available Mage spell for Peregrine is "Light" (you can see his name in the lower right). If I had Ember selected, she could have cast Unlock or Long Light as well. Select caster. Select spell, Select target (the game will drop you back to the main window if you need to aim at something outside the party), and you're done!
Priest Spells, with Art selected. Same deal, different options.
Meanwhile, back in combat, I have Art simply cast Bless on herself. She's in a good position right now with the trees and rocks preventing the goblins from getting past her to anyone else. You can also see on the status screen that her SP has gone down 2 points from 14 to 12, and that she now has the "Bless" status, which is the two golden crosses and the 'B'. It's also Karmas' turn.
A little bit into the first turn. Karmas moved off behind the other tree to block off that approach, while Rook and Duncan moved forward and tossed darts, only to miss. In this picture, you should have seen Peregrine targeting the lone Goblin with a 'Flame' spell, but it did't catch. He dealt 8 damage, killing it.
And here we have the end of our first combat! Ember got hit once (5HP) by a lucky Goblin, but Art took care of it. You can see in the log that Ember tried to use a "Flame" herself, but didn't deal enough damage to kill it. On the Goblin's turn, he attacked Ember, then Art moved and killed it to finish of the fight. Karmas, being next in line, gathered up all the loot. 43 Gold!
"OW! FUCK! THIS HURTS!"
"Oh, it's not that bad. Here, let me take care of that."
"Should have stayed behind the front line there, girl. Being off to one side like that made you a target."
"I can still roast you."
"Done! Now, I think we can make it to Silvar now."
"I agree. No more Goblins on the way."
Experience is earned in combat, as well as through plot actions. It takes 100 XP to level up, and the game goes to Level 50. You earn more XP for killing things higher level than you, less for lower levels. At Level 1, a Goblin (Level 1) gives out 5XP to the person that kills it. However, all other party members get 20% of the XP so earned in order that they don't fall too far behind. Thus, at the end of the first battle, Art has 7/100 XP, Peregrine has 11/100 (two kills, one 'assist', while everyone else has 3/100 XP. I'll be updating you all on everyone's stats as we go along.
"That must be Silvar! Excellent!"