Part 21: Visiting Yew
A lot of good ideas. Obviously, with Lord British missing, the obvious step is to go to Britain and see if we can find anything about him. Of course to do that we have to actually get there. While I could walk overland from Iolo's Hut, I may as well go north to Yew and take a Moongate... provided I can figure out how they work.
If we want, we can swipe crops from Iolo's garden. For some reason it lowers karma by a point each, even though Iolo is our friend and presently in the party. It's not worth doing for 1 food each.
Wandering north, we break out into familiar territory. Yew's gotten a bit easier to reach in the intervening years, with a road running between it, the Moongate clearing, and Empathy Abbey to the west. Before checking out Yew, why not show off a new feature?
Ever wonder why the Moongates appear where they do? A little
I can then bury it anywhere I want. We'll come back at night for this one. Until then, into Yew, city of Justice!
...what the hell? This isn't a very friendly place at all! What's up with all the stocks and guillotines?
Maybe the people in them will know.
You see a small battered child, barely breathing and limp in the stocks.
: My name is Aleyn.
: I fear I have broken a law!
: I failed to enforce the Seventh Law of Virtue.
: I did not turn my father in for donating too little to charity!
You see a man torn and tattered from days in the stocks.
: Won't ye 'elp me please?
: Sure. I'm the Avatar, let's do this. Name?
: Oh, pity me! My name is Mario.
: I am bein' 'orribly punished for a trivial crime.
: I was convicted by Ye Court of Inquisition. I could afford only 40% of me earnings to give unto charity!
: What about your son?
: He too 'as been left to die!
This certainly isn't the Britannia of yesteryear! Guards bully their way through town, people seem to live in fear, and it would seem that Virtue has become law, punishable by death.
Obviously, this must be an excellent environment in which to engage in petty theft.
A green potion is found on the shelf of the reagent vendor. Green potions grant temporary invincibility, but they go rotten very quickly and turn into poison. In later Ultimas, they just are poison (as you might expect from green liquid). This is actually fairly useful in later games, but for right now it's a risky thing to grab a potion.
You see a man in flowing black robes.
: My name is Judge Dryden.
: I am the head Inquisitor.
: This is the Court of Inquisition of His Majesty Blackthorn! Art thou here to confess?
: Perhaps then to plead for the life of another, yes?
: Whom dost thou wish me to pity?
: That one deserves no pity!
The judge is unmoving. It looks like mercy isn't a big deal in the Blackthorn regime. There must be some way to set those people free, but we don't want to cause trouble until we have some idea what's going on around here.
Oh, and never confess, and never tell the judge your name. He'll know you're the Avatar and call the guards in on you.
You see a hearty blacksmith.
: My name is Chamfort.
: I own this smithy and also forge its goods!
: I'm a busy man and don't have time to chat. So, if thou wilt excuse me...
Wow, did an NPC just blow me off? I think an NPC just blew me off. I wonder what his problem is.
Wouldst I buy one? Hell yes. Canst I buy one? Hell no...eth. The Magic Axe is the best weapon in the game, with full-screen range, infinite ammo, and devastating damage, but I can't afford even one of them. There's a free one hidden away somewhere, but one is hardly enough, so I'll probably be back here later.
Moving around town, I bump into a guard, who demands I pay tribute to Blackthorn. Failing to do this gets you arrested or killed, so for now I'll have to cough it up.
Anyhoo, outside Yew I decide to camp for a while. Notice the new options. I can choose how long I want to rest (anything less than 6 hours isn't very useful though), and whether I want to set a watch. If someone is watching, they'll be able to wake everyone in the event of a night attack, but that person won't get any rest. I choose Steve, since the Avatar is the most powerful of the characters I've got right now and the one who needs the least rest.
When we wake, night has fallen, and a Moongate has appeared! Wait, that's not where Yew's Moongate is supposed to be!
Yes, burying the Moonstones means the Moongate will change to wherever you planted it. That's pretty handy, since not every moongate in the game will be needed. If I were a clever fellow, and I am, I would find a redundant moongate somewhere (perhaps Trinsic's, or Britain's, or Magincia's) and carry the Moonstone with me to create an easy teleport spot. Unfortunately, the way Moongates work now is confusing and slow. They all open every night, but they will only go to one of two locations, one before midnight and one after.
Since the current phases of the moon would just take me back to Yew, let's get in a fight with a snake until midnight.
The combat system is much changed. Illegal moves no longer waste your turn, and when you attack you get to choose a specific square to attack. Most weapons have a reach of one square, but you can attack in any direction now, even diagonally. Ranged weapons don't just shoot in a line; you pick where to aim. The cursor is "smart" and will alter the target square if an enemy moves, provided they're still in range. Killing a monster leaves behind either a chest or an awesome blood splotch. Searching the splotch sometimes turns up loot (chests have lots of loot, like food, gems, torches, and even weapons and armor), but most often it turns up "worms" or "guts." Sometimes searching a mangled corpse poisons you. Delightful.
Oh, and you might notice the arrow by Steve's name. Hitting a number on the keyboard goes into a focused control mode where the selected character and only the selected character moves. Thus, I can hit 1 at the start of a fight and kill all the monsters using only Steve. The downside to this is that the turns of other party members are skipped entirely. The upside is that by doing this, one character can earn all the experience from killing things. Since the Avatar has to be level 8 by the end of the game, Steve needs the majority of the experience right now. Since the Avatar is the best spellcaster and the best fighter, it would be stupid not to level up yourself first anyway.
Anyway when the moons change, I jump into the Moongate and...
Oh hey, it's the Shrine of Spirituality. Like I said, the Moongates work in a weird new way, and it's not really as predictable or convenient. Since I'm here though, I meditate at the shrine using the old mantra, which still works. My quest? Seek the Codex!
Didn't I just spend an entire game doing exactly that? Fucking shrines.