Part 7: Level One: Break Time? But We Only Just Started!Level One: Break Time? But We Only Just Started!
Righto. We were crossing a log over a stream in the woods when a woodsman showed up and demanded we back down. I gave folks some options, and very few people suggested we be deferential to him. This is good, because doing so is incredibly underwhelming:
Back Down: "Thank 'ee," says the Forester, and makes his way past you. He disappears into the forest.
Yeah, so let's stand our ground. We were on this log first!
"Nay. Canst you not see where you are going? Make way, friend, or you shall gain greater acquaintance with these waters."
Apparently we suddenly became a badass. I have a feeling this may not end well.
The Forester unslings his quarterstaff. "I know this stream well, and have no need to know it better. Go ye to yonder bank and cut yourself a staff, that we may contend."
At this point we can do just that, attack him with our dagger, or flee. But most of you said to be trusting, so let's behave honorably here and accede to his demand.
The Forester politely waits till you trim yourself a neat shaft and return to your place on the log. Then, the two of you fall at one another with a will.
No knight you, though without magic arms and steed you can acquit yourself with honor. The younglings of your town amuse themselves with staff-play, and the soldiers of the Usurper worry naught about peasants bearing sticks. Soon, you have smacked the Forester a hefty blow on the pate.
Wait... we did... well? Maybe there's hope for us after all.
I mean we could just agree, but there's no way I'm not taking that first option.
He tumbles off the log with a splash and surfaces, sputtering and laughing heartily. "You are a saucy one, I'll give you that. Come friend, let us eat."
Again, folks voted to be trusting, and leaving now just lets us continue on. Let's take up his offer.
Will builds a fire and you hang your garments on twigs to dry over it. "My name is Will Woodman," he boasts, "and I can track and slay any beast and find my way through any forest."
Hmmmm. Well, we do have a little problem with a forest. Wonder what he knows about that?
"There is a grove of mighty trees at the exit to this maze. 'Tis said that many who visit lose their way and wander the grove till their flesh gives out."
But how do we get through it?
"Why, as you would in any forest," he says in some surprise. You tell him that you are ignorant of the woods. He shrugs. "If you can see the sun, set your course by it. If you merely wish to find habitation, find a stream and follow it as the water flows. But as your path lies to the west, I advise you to look at the trunks of the trees for moss; for in winter, the fierce wind blows from the west, so moss grows mostly on the eastern side of the trunk."
I see. May as well mention our quest as well. I get the sense this guy is not one of Timozel's toadies.
"Then you serve King Carlon!" he cries, and slaps your shoulder. "Well met!" He turns suddenly sober. "Know you that Carlon's resting place is guarded by a fearsome beast, Ogrok by name?"
We in fact do know that. But not a lot else.
He leans close to you across the fire. "I have made a study of the means by which such monsters may be slain. Ogrok is not unlike a scorpion, though far vaster and more intelligent. 'Tis said that such creatures are most easily slain by striking in the hind. However, I have heard that Ogrok was created by the evil mage Madragor, and that only a blade enchanted may slay it, wheresoe'er one may strike."
Sadly, Will has no information about where we might acquire ourselves a magic sword, but it does appear that such a thing will be absolutely necessary if we hope to get through the Castle Perilous. That's all Will's got, so we can head back to the grove.
Alright now. Will gave us some pointers. We already tried following the stream to no avail. Can we navigate by the sun?
It is very difficult. The sun is hidden high behind the canopy of the forest giants. You can catch only glimpses of it.
Moss it is, then. But surely this won't actually wor-
The cold winter wind blows from the north; wherefore, moss grows on the eastern side of each tree's trunk. Ergo, you walk so that the moss always covers the sides of the trunks you see before you. Soon, you find yourself at a gate."
Magic forest, I suppose, but not that much magic. On to the next maze!
We're up top in a red wall night maze, and the first PoPs are quite close. There's a reason for that.
More heraldry/foreignese: "Gules" is red, so this is the Red Dragon Inn. There will be more inns, each a different dragon color.
As tempting as one of those options is, let's go ahead and rest.
"Excellent!" says the innkeeper, and conducts you to a plush feather bed that seems remarkably free of fleas. Happily, you retire.
So what does this actually do for us? The next screen clues us in:
Yep, this is a sort of "save point," to which we can return at any time by selecting "The Cipher" from the main menu. Should we ever fuck up our save or something, we can input the poem's lines in order to travel right back to this PoP. Not terribly useful though, since we aren't all that far into the game as it is.
It's also not terribly useful because the game has a save feature, and worse, the game basically forgets about the Cipher by the middle of the second level of the Maze. Really annoying. In fact, there's a poem to go directly to the third level that isn't available anywhere in-game; the only reason I know about it is because I think one of the developers or someone who had studied the Cipher closely revealed it.
There is also no reason to leave the game right now. This entire PoP is kind of a weird feature, and I can't help but wonder if it was planned that the Cipher was the only way to save before the developers (or Prodigy itself) were able to just implement a save feature.
Ah well! Join us next time as we proceed on our way. No puzzles today, things are about to get a good deal more complex and we'll have all the puzzles we could ask for soon.
Alternate Solutions & Deaths
If we were the untrusting sort, we could always just attack the Forester before he expects us to.
Attack: At close range, you plunge your dagger into the man's breast before he can respond. He clutches the wound in agony and tumbles into the brook. There are a few bubbles, and he is gone. You continue across the bridge.
That technically solves the PoP and lets us move on, but obviously we miss quite a lot of information by doing so. Still, it counts!
Meanwhile, in the Forest, what if we'd prayed to a goddess? Surely she'd help us.
You pray to the Lady in Silver, whose domain is all things natural, who brings the spring and the harvest. You feel better for your piety, but you're still lost in the woods.
So much for God. How about magic?
Lot of options here (one or two of which are funny if you've played the game already), but no matter what we choose...
You shout a magic word into the forest dimness -- If it has any effect, you don't notice one.
Ah well. At least you can't actually die in the forest like Will warned, you just get lost and ejected back at the start of the game.
Now back to the inn. Would you believe you can die there? Just tell the fat man it's time to die.
Hey, at least we found a magic sword! Too bad that dude only appears in this one scene, to murder us. He could've saved us a lot of trouble.