Part 2: Game start and the Temple of FiendsDid I say to expect an update within a few days? I meant tonight!
As in vanilla, the game opens right outside Coneria, and the first priority is to buy some weapons and armor. Gear is inexpensive now, but that will eventually change rather dramatically.
The party's starting weapon and armor setups. Cleric is capable of using shields, but I've held off on buying one for reasons that will become apparent in a bit.
The party menu screen. Everyone currently has identical HP values; those will drift apart as they level up, but not by as much as you'd think.
You might also notice that Rogue and Viking have MP despite not being casters. This apparently a quirk of the game engine - I'm guessing it has something to do with class change being removed. Both of them will continue to advance, but as they can't learn any spells, it doesn't do them any good.
The magic shop offerings in Coneria. I'll cover what these spells do in another update, but you can probably guess at most of them. For the moment, I buy CURE for Cleric and both BOLT and CURE for Ranger. BOLT targets all enemies, making it more generally useful than the stronger FIRE.
Each town also has an NPC, usually near the magic shops, who gives a short blurb on what each spell does. My spell info updates will go into a little more detail and have some commentary.
The circle of sages in vanilla was located in Crescent Lake, and existed primarily to give you hints on where to go next. The hack relocates it to Coneria, and each sage has a brief description of one of the classes.
If you read the intro and are wondering why the queen's name changed, it didn't. Coneria has two queens instead of a king and queen. It's a nice nod toward inclusivity.
There's also the kidnapped prince's sister, whose dialogue I believe is unchanged from vanilla apart from the gender of her sibling.
But enough with the royal family, let's do some fighting! Grinding is, for the most part, not really required in UCE, but it's helpful to do some in the early game when the party's resources are limited. The forest around Coneria is mostly populated with imps, as in vanilla, and like in vanilla, they're the bottom of the barrel, with low HP and attack power. They are, however, tougher than in vanilla: at level 1, only Viking can reliably kill them in a single hit.
Speaking of Viking, I wasn't kidding when I said he's got high attack power. This is about four times what Rogue or Ranger can do on a standard hit.
Gray imps are more of the same, while wolves seem to have somewhat higher evasion than in vanilla, making them a nuisance to fight.
At level 2, I rest up at the inn and head to the Temple of Fiends.
The line in the intro about not being able to take the direct path to Garland wasn't a joke, by the way. That... whatever it is is an actual barrier. Note the doors to Garland's left and right. Those are how you have to get to him. But first, loot!
My first encounter in the Temple, which I'm showing off purely due to its similarity to the battle that ended the Fools. I ended this in a couple of hits. It's nice having actual competent classes for party members. In the future, I'll only be showing off encounters with new or interesting foes, or those that ended up being memorable.
In vanilla, this door and the one to the north of it are locked by the Key and contain some unique treasures. Here, the key only opens a few doors, and none of them are here.
And this is why I only bought one shield in Coneria. The bronze shield is an upgrade over the copper shield I bought for Ranger and will improve his defense nicely.
This is going to be our armor loadout for the rest of this update.
The northeast treasure room has a soft potion, which cures petrification (same as vanilla), and a cleanse potion, which cures all ailments except petrification and death and replaces vanilla's pure potions. This is, I think, mostly so the game is balanced for parties that lack magic that can cure those ailments, but even this party will want to have a stockpile eventually.
Bones in vanilla were about as weak as imps. UCE upgrades their damage output significantly.
Cleric's hammers are fairly weak in most cases, but I wasn't kidding about their efficacy against corporeal undead.
The northwest treasure room. Tents function the same as in vanilla, but cure potions restore much more HP: 100 out of battle and around that amount in battle. Unfortunately, at 250 GP apiece, they're also much more expensive. At this point, finding one is really nice.
I decided to fight this fight. It was a riskier play than I realized...
...because I had already forgotten how hard these fuckers can hit.
This was so, so lucky.
Ranger saves the day. This is a good example of one of the reasons I like this hack. This random battle was really tense! The level up I got afterward was all the sweeter for it.
Eagles are a new enemy. They don't hit too hard or have much HP, but they have sky-high evasion, making them rough for parties reliant on attacks for their offense. There are two ways to counter them: the BIND spell and the BOLT spell. I opted for the latter here:
After grabbing the last treasure from the southwest room (155 GP), I decided to head back to Coneria to rest up before tackling Garland. I also filled out the rest of my level 1 spell slots, buying INVS and WAKE for Cleric and FIRE for Ranger. I was tempted to go with SLEP, which is a bit more useful right now, but FIRE has more long-term usefulness. For those of you interested in seeing debuffs in action, worry not: he'll be grabbing more of those for the next few spell levels.
Garland still says the thing.
Garland doesn't fight much differently than in vanilla, but he is more difficult. He hits pretty hard (as seen here), and he's much more durable. Where vanilla Garland usually goes down in a round or two, this battle took me six rounds.
This part of why I grabbed FIRE. That's the low end of its damage, compared to an average hit for Rogue.
Finally, the party leader crits the black knight to end the battle.
He drops a nice chunk of cash, which will go a long way toward getting my level 2 spells.
The prince's dialogue is the same, and he takes us back to Coneria. Queen Klaizen is accordingly grateful.
So are Sarah and Queen Eva.
The author seems to have forgotten that he changed Jane's name.
I hope you enjoyed this taste of what's to come. This LP is just getting started!