Part 4: Compensating For SomethingThis update brought to you by three straight nights of starting to work for like ten minutes, deciding "blaargh I don't want to work on this right now", and not procrastinating on the Internet like one might expect, but actually going to sleep for like 12~13 hours. I'm still not counting out the theory that those red marks on my neck I noticed some days ago were actually a vampire bite and I'm just now getting less rest from sleeping in a bed because I'm turning into a vampire. I should get a coffin and test this hypothesis. Anyway, on with the update!
Let me be very clear. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much blood as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new blood goes to the top 1 percent. This has got to change and, as your protagonist, together we will change it.
Yes, the thread has voted, and the thread has elected the team of Good/Manly Man as our guidelines for this LP, and with that, the thread has actuallly chosen the canon ending! So when we eventually get to Vampires Dawn 2, this should seamlessly flow into each other! I'll show off all the endings anyway, but it's the thought that counts!
Now, when we last left off, we were sent on some sort of scavenger hunt through the castle. This is good, because I can't remember in the slightest where anything in this big-ass fucking castle is. An excuse to trundle around it for 45 minutes should be good exercise. But first...
Yeah, that's more like it. Don't you tell me when I can and can't save.
I'm supposed to SLEEP in THERE? Alright, I guess... let's get to it...
Uh, Valnar, I didn't mean for you to do tha-
...alrighty then. I wonder what Asgar and Alaine must have thought of that. You send the guy on a scavenger hunt, and the first thing he does is jump right into the coffin and take a nap. Oh well, we're actually off now!
Amongst all these books, there's a big book of spells... but somehow, the text is completely incomprehensible to me...
Hm, what kind of chest is this? ...hm, can't open it!
Stuff for later.
Now, we're off exploring the castle again, this time not with the goal of finding the crypt, but going all over the place. This is a pretty big castle, so here's a rough map I pulled out of RPG Maker.
Stitching together the interiors would take forever, so this is what you're getting. Valnar's room is somewhere on the second floor, slightly to the left of where the main entrance is (which is at the bottom in the middle, but it's not on here because that's a separate map). One would think one could just locate the balcony from Valnar's room on the map, but that's not there either, that's another separate map. Anyway, if we go down the stairs from the room we're in right now, we end up in the entrance area, and if we go south from there, we exit the castle, so there's that for orientation. We're now going to circle around a bit, retreading the same ground we've gone before as Asgar.
Here's another copy of the bestseller "Dark Shadows"! "...and then, Christin and Alex kissed and lived happily ever after!" A wonderful book!
There's just some books about how Earth came to be here. But even a child knows that God created Earth!
Lord, you look sad!
Of course I'm sad! What else should I be? HAPPY?
Of course, lord. You are now a superior kind of creature!
I think I'll be the judge of that!
Lord, our master is so powerful!
If you say so...
Books about love and hate... bah, love only brings pain...
OH MY GOD SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANGST (WHICH IS ACTUALLY A GERMAN WORD MEANING FEAR OR ANXIETY IN CASE YOU DIDN'T KNOW) FOR MUCH LONGER
Hm, many old books... wait, I think I see something back there...
Oh, yes, this will very much do. This is some good shit we stumbled into right here. We have found three "blood potions". A blood potion is "a large bottle filled with blood (+100 Blood)", so it's a big BP recovery item. But that's not the great part, the great part is that this early in the game, this sells for a very pretty penny. We're not even close to that being a reasonable item to use to heal our BP with - I think that even at 0 blood, any of our three vampires would be wasting over half of it - so being able to sell it will give some great cash for early game gear.
Lord, do you believe the castle is secured well enough?
Why shouldn't it be? There are so many servants around here...
Yes, my lord. But you can never know what kind of an army could attack this place...
Asgar should be able to recognize a potential danger...
You know, I don't think Asgar is the kind of guy to recognize a "potential danger". He probably sorts problems into two different kinds - "I can kill it" and "I can't kill it". An army attacking the castle would be made of humans, so he would probably slot it under "I can kill it" and just wouldn't give a fuck.
We've now returned to Ronak's room, so this is where we started back when we were bopping around as Asgar.
Hm, there's some strange books here...
Ah, "Dark Shadows"... I like that one!
And what do we have here? Asgar's diary! Very interesting! Let's see what he's been writing... "12.04. Once again stilled my thirst for blood with a young girl. She was only about twelve years old, but her blood was fresh, warm and completely pure. I enjoyed her life juices as she became weaker and weaker, until her little heart stopped beating! Then I threw her corpse 10 meters into the forest, where she was very much enjoyed by the wolves waiting there. What a wonderful view, seeing her body torn to shreds. Yes, tonight was a good night." 1) That's disgusting! 2) Hm, that does sound fun!
So that's what you guys essentially voted for. Does Valnar think draining a twelve year old girl to death, then chucking her to the wolves and watching as her body gets torn to pieces sounds like a good time? Well, you said he doesn't!
Asgar is truly a brutal and revolting bastard! Hm, there's something else here... sounds like a password: DFFML. I should definitely remember that.
That you should! Asgar really should have destroyed that book. Oh, by the by, I'm skipping some things in this castle - things like Valnar talking to Ronak, which goes something like "are you looking for something in particular" "no" "then let me keep working or master gets mad", or looking into bookcases and getting "this is filled with history books, but there's nothing interesting in here" or "these books seem to have no interesting content whatsoever". There's a lot of that stuff around the castle, and I'm pretty sure I saw all of it, because we do have to go over this castle with a fine-toothed comb to find all these letters.
Hey, there's some spell books here... this one seems interesting... yes... hm... oh, so that's how that works...
And we learn the "Fireball" spell! "A little fireball burns your opponent." 5 BP to cast it, and we only have 20 available right now. Quite the pricy spell right now, though I presume that'll be better later on.
Here's a couple books with stories about heroic deeds. I like stories like that, but don't have any time for them now. Maybe later...
This is sort of showing how Valnar is torn between two worlds, or in other terms, his humanity score being sort of middling right now since we haven't really done anything yet. The remark about love only bringing pain was the low-humanity response, whereas this here was the high-humanity response. Actually, let me dig into the game code for a sec...
Actually, while I dig, have I mentioned how much I love it that for most of the update, I've only had to change between two different headshots, whose filenames I can easily remember? It's great! Much easier than having to find the correct one out of the 30+ different expressions Grandy had. Anyway...
Both bookcases check variable 18, that being "Menschlichkeit" (read: "humanity"). This one we have right here checks whether it's over 45 or not. In our case it was, but if it wasn't...
I'm beginning to realize just how disgusting humanity is! Vain, egotistic, arrogant! As opposed to the noble vampires!
The one about the love stories checks whether it's over 50 or not. In our case it wasn't, but if it was...
Love really is a wonderful thing!
And just for a bonus thing while I have this open, what if we decided that murdering twelve year old girls and feeding them to wolves was actually our idea of a good time?
Seems like he's had many enjoyable hours in his undead life...
So you can kind of see where this is going - one side is repulsing everything potentially enjoyable about the undead life and clinging to human things as hard as possible, the other side is throwing that human crap in the trash and getting a comfy chair to sit on on top of the food chain. I won't be dragging the other side out for every potential thing there is, because there seem to be a lot of them, and what would have been the point of picking if I was just doing both? Anyway...
...I finally find the next letter on the last possible tower roof I could have checked. Just my luck.
Here it is! Let's see what it says:
"The fire burns as normal, but this next letter has forgotten to turn into ashes!"
Hm, surely the next letter is close to a fire. That could only mean one of the fireplaces...
Well that doesn't fucking narrow it down, there's fireplaces all over the place here!
Lord, I'm responsible for the surveillance of this castle!
Well, then keep a close eye on it...
Of course, lord! Master shouldn't have to destroy me!
I don't know why, but it seems so right for Asgar to just take some random skeleton and tell him he's in charge of watching over the entire castle.
Here's more spell books! And here's one even I can read!
And with that, we learn the "Iceball" spell! Similar to the fireball, but with less damage and a chance of paralyzing the enemy it hits. We'll go over the spells in more detail when we get to the magic learning system this game has.
Hm, here's some books with facts about the world. This might be interesting: "The Silver Production of the World". It says: "...silver is found in five mines in total. As one can see, silver is relatively rare, but it is also only used rarely. Sometimes to forge weapons, but also for cutlery and in very rare cases also for pots. But these days, silver production is only profitable if one mines great amounts of this metal, as the price per kilo has dropped drastically in the last few years."
We'll get back to silver very soon.
Lord, you look like you could use some fresh blood!
I... 1) ...DON'T NEED ANY BLOOD! 2) ...think you're right!
We don't need that vampire crap!
I will NEVER drink blood!
But lord, all vampires need blood!
Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen. "SHUT UP MOM, I'M NEVER GOING TO EAT VEGETABLES EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE!"
From another bookcase, we learn the "Awakening" spell, which wakes up every party member that is sleeping. Useful!
We also find a leather shield in a barrel. "A simple leather shield (+2 DEFENSE)".
Here are a few books about this castle! This castle was inhabited by the noble family "Aldaines". The youngest member of this family took over ownership of the castle seven years ago as a present from his parents for his 18th birthday. I wonder what became of this "Adlaines" family...
Yes, it's written those two ways in that bit of text. Also, Valnar, just take a FUCKING guess what happened!
Here are some unimportant books... hm, there's something back here...
A click is heard.
Hm, and what did that switch do now?
OH BOY. The save stone is completely useless, but those blood elixirs, oh boy. "A bottle of purest human blood (max blood)". This completely maxes out our BP, and it will take ages before this becomes a useful healing item for us as opposed to a massive waste, but as you can imagine, this sells for the really big bucks. Excellent!
Books about murder, intrigue and backstabbing! Not my taste!
Lord, have you already heard of the ghost?
What kind of ghost?
They say that in the mountains that this castle is built on, there lives a ghost...
Ah, yeah... of course...
Believe me, lord! It's definitely true!
Valnar, I don't know if anybody told you, but you're a fucking vampire. You don't get to dismissively go "suuuure" when somebody tells you about a ghost. Especially when you're talking to a fucking zombie about that ghost.
Looks pretty old... the name "Aurora" is engraved in it.
This is the same for the shield, the bow and the armor. As far as I can tell this never changes. Community member reference, I guess?
Lord, I'm preparing some food...
Food? But Asgar and Alaine don't eat anything, or do they?
Yes, yes, every once in a while master eats a roasted human. And if he doesn't, I still have to cook, since master loves the smell so much!
Somehow, I have a really bad feeling about this staircase! I shouldn't go down here for now.
This way goes down to Asgar's spell chamber. We'll get down there eventually, but not now.
By the by, you really shouldn't be trying to work out where things are in this castle. There's like three important places, Valnar's room, the crypt, and the spell chamber. Just know that this is a big fuckin' castle, and by the time we're done with this update, you'll probably never see 75%+ of it again. Well, maybe. What I'm getting at is that this place is fucking big, and I think I'm lost, and I don't like it.
Lord, I hope you're happy with our work!
Well, I can't complain, it looks really clean here...
Yes, my lord. Master is a fanatic when it comes to cleanliness!
You know, I never had Asgar pegged as the cleanliness type. Just look at the crypt, shit looks horrible.
Lord, what are you doing here?
You dare criticize my presence? What kind of servant are you?
Lord, please, forgive me!
Alright... it's not like I'm Asgar...
Here's a book with the title "The Legend of the Seven Life Ghosts". "The seven life ghosts exist, but are hidden from everything living. They are the source. No mortal has ever seen them, and yet we are sure they exist. If somebody actually manages to find all seven life ghosts, he will surely be rewarded with eternal life, and will be able to build himself a wonderful life over centuries." Eternal life... I've already got that. And yet it's nothing but torture!
God damnit Valnar.
Here's a graveyard with eight gravestones.
Born for war,
died for peace"
May his soul finally find peace"
His name was a mystery
but his soul was pure"
May her beauty continue
to delight the world"
May his strength continue
to bring good to the world"
Not sure about these last two. The original text refers to "Erde", which in this context could either mean "earth", as in "soil, ground, the shit you bury people in", or "earth", as in "planet Earth, the big round thing we live on". This game has already referred to its world as "Erde", so it's not like it's actually clear because the planet is called "Xandorf" or whatever. I feel like hoping that your parents bring good things to the ground you buried them in sounds a bit weird, and referring to the world in general makes more sense, with them living on in spirit or some guff like that.
Oh right, I said "parents". Please tell me if you have not actually forgotten this one little factoid, because if so, your memory is a lot greater than mine, but Marline and Randolf are Asgar's parents, as evidenced by the one time Asgar's full name was mentioned back in the super-duper character exposition dimension as "Asgar Serran". He would also remark upon this if we had him in our party, so it's not like I'm pulling this out my ass.
His life was short and painful"
His castle is now mine"
His life was fighting,
his honor was death"
Some of these are community cameos, some are characters that have some sort of relation to our main characters, and some are just there. We'll take another look at these with Asgar in our party some time down the line. There's a fair share of things that have extra dialogue with Asgar in the party, so I guess we'll have to take a second sweep of the castle eventually, and what I said about not seeing 75%+ of the castle again was a lie. Whoops.
Now, I remember that the entrance area of the crypt had some fireplaces, and what do you know, there's the next letter!
Here it is! Let's see what it says:
"Lost in the grass, between trees and water, the next letter hides..."
Hm, the next letter should be somewhere in the inner courtyard then...
But before that, we have some stuff to find in the crypt.
Going up a ladder, we find a nice upgrade - a broad sword! "A sword with a broad blade (+6 ATTACK)", it gives double the bonus of the short sword we had before! We also find some "ice dust" in a barrel, which is essentially a magic ice attack in form of an item. I recall those being useful, and will probably use them in a boss battle and be utterly disappointed, so look forward to that, I guess.
Lord, in Melsan lives a rich man in a large house! If you keep an eye out for loot, there's bound to be some things you could "take with you" in the cellar!
Thanks for the tip! But where is Melsan?
Melsan is pretty far to the east of here!
Alright, guess we'll keep that in mind.
We also find some big-ass swanky throne room with statues probably ripped from some SNES game (though that's probably the case for a lot of assets).
Lord, isn't this throne room beautiful?
Well, it definitely has a certain flair for power and comfort. It's just a bit too big for my tastes!
Well, a true ruler has a claim to such spaciousness!
Also, while we're at it, let's check the actual crypt.
What a gruesome spectacle!
Oddly enough, nobody has anything to say about the kid heads on pikes. To me, that was the most imposing part of the room!
Hm, there's a password mechanism here on this door! Well, then let's get to it... DFFML.
Looks like Asgar has upgraded to what I guess is the vampiric equivalent to a double bed since we've been here the last time, but what we really want is this:
A "blood guard ring", which gives you "100% protection against bleeding out". Status effect preventing equipment is always welcome, especially with shitty effects like curses (for the talisman) and bleeding out.
After that, we head out and after not a lot of searching, we find the next letter. Also, I'm cutting off the first part of the text now, because I don't need to see "Here it is! Let's see what it says:" 17 more times.
"A wide hall, a blue carpet! The next letter is where you go when you've seen enough."
Now that's a bit more difficult... where's a wide hall here? Hm, somewhere in the entrance area!
One quick step over and we're already in the entrance hall!
A guestbook... let's see who's visited this castle: "Raziel - I came, saw and ate well..." "Shriekback - I have to say, there's a lot of spamming here!" "Coldy - Hey Shriekback, wouldn't this be a great place for some you know what?" Very, very strange people have been here...
Not sure what to make of this. I think this might be taken verbatim from the guestbook at Marlex's website, or maybe some RPG Maker community.
"Great knowledge, stacked between strong wooden planks... that's where you'll find the next letter!"
Great knowledge? That might mean books!
Yes, Valnar, it "might" mean books. Of course they fucking mean books. That's not the problem, the problem is that I'm fairly certain that about half the maps making up this castle contain bookcases, and they're spread out all over the god damn place. This letter could be anywhere.
Thankfully, we find it pretty quickly. Also, the "great knowledge" in these books? They're all cook books. And not even of the "To Serve Man" variety.
"The next letter refreshes itself with a mist of blood!"
A mist of blood? Where is there blood around here?
Yeah, I can't imagine that there would be any place where there would be blood in a vampire's castle. Nope.
Of course it's here.
"There used to be ruling in this room, but now the next letter is there!"
Oh, this just keeps getting harder! There used to be ruling? Maybe something with a king or something?
Fucking Christ, Valnar. I guess this kind of makes sense from a point of view that hasn't seen the throne room yet (or the crypt for the previous hint), but if you have, Valnar just looks like an idiot. Not that he's lacking any opportunities to do so anyway.
"The next letter loves flowers! Search there and you will find it!"
Flowers? Damn it! This castle has a TON of flowers! Flowers on barrels, flower beds, flowers in the corners... damn it...
Not as many flowers as there are bookcases. I distinctly recall a flower patch in the courtyard area...
...and there it is. Twenty seconds, maybe.
"The bones of the dead hide the next letter!"
Ha, this one's easy again! The bones of the dead!
Well, yes, you could say that you could just go to the graveyard and find it there. However, this could just as well have meant that any of the skeletons littering the castle could have the letter. Valnar and I clearly disagree about how difficult these riddles are.
"The next letter likes the smell of cooked meat!"
Cooked meat, I see... is there a kitchen somewhere around here?
Yes, there is.
"Angel statues shine their holy light upon the next letter..."
Alright then, one of the statues has the letter!
This is another one that can take a while, because those statues are also rather plentiful, but one quick circle around the floor we were already on and the letter is found.
"Fresh air and a good view are the only things the next letter wants!"
A good view...
So we just go through the balconies one by one until we find the right one, and actually, this is the first one I checked.
"The next letter lies where the bones of somebody long dead continue to haunt the place and control the state of the castle!"
What? A dead person controls the state of the castle?
Yeah, we've already talked to this guy. Having done a fairly thorough search of the castle to start with does make this very easy at times. But not quite this time.
"Look for eight pillars and you'll find the next letter!"
I'm supposed to look for eight pillars? Well, that can't be that difficult!
Really? I thought it was one of the more annoying ones, since the number of pillars in the room is hardly a landmark you pay attention to.
It takes quite a bit of bopping around, but we eventually find the right place. Also, I call foul:
This room somewhere else in the castle clearly also has eight pillars! Anyway:
"Steps are the place where the next letter lies! They lead directly to it!"
So steps lead to the next letter!
Metal Gear? Just go back and see how many comments Valnar makes about these letters that are just literal reiterations of what the letter says. Don't take a shot every time, though, it might end badly.
Again, just one that requires a bit of walking around, but there's not a lot of stairs around this place in general.
"A fresh wind blows above you! Search for this letter on a roof of the castle!"
Alright, let's go! I'll just have to search all the roofs!
Just to note, because I had to look it up and I'll be damned if I'm not going to mention it, "rooves" is an outdated, but still technically correct plural of "roof". I was unsure and immediately went to "hoof/hooves" as my word of choice to compare, but "rooves" just looked wrong to me. But still, technically correct!
And on a whim, I start with the roof of the crypt building, and I just happen to get it right again! Go me!
"The end is near! Don't give up! The next letter is very close to you!"
Very close to me? You couldn't make that a bit more specific? I sure hope this reward is worth it!
Oh, it is, Valnar. Also...
...the next letter isn't that hard to locate.
"The next letter lies hidden in a place that gives you a good view on the courtyard!"
So once again on one of the balconies!
I had the right idea on this one, but on the wrong floor.
"The last letter brings you back to the beginning!"
What's that supposed to mean?
Well, clearly, we have to return to where the game started. So that means we somehow need to cross dimensions and get to the old man telling the story, and that's where the letter will be. Or it could mean the beginning of Valnar's life as a vampire, meaning we need to go to the cave south of Klennar.
Or it could just be in Valnar's room. That works too.
"Very good, Valnar! Your reward is waiting for you! -Asgar"
Finally! Now I'm curious to find out what I'm going to get from him...
Really very good, Valnar! But I expected nothing less from my best slave! Here's your reward! Three major soul stones and this powerful spell: Summon Golem!
What? Soul stones and a spell? What is this?
Valnar, come with me, I'll explain it to you. Let's head to my spell chamber!
The chamber is below the southwest corner tower!
So now we have our three main characters together in one party for the first time. It seems like that Valnar is more combat focused, Asgar is sort of balanced and Alaine is more magic focused, just judging from HP and BP numbers.
Also, here's our new spell. It costs double the BP we have right now. So it might be a bit before we get to use this.
And here's a look at Alaine. Shit Attack rating, but good Intelligence. Defense and Agility are good too. She uses claws as her weapon, and currently has "short claws", "a simple weapon in form of a claw (+2 ATTACK)". Now, we're off to the spell chamber! As you can imagine, it's down the staircase that Valnar didn't want to go down earlier...
...which leads to this interestingly carpeted/tiled/whatever room...
...which leads to this place!
Welcome to my little magical playroom!
Hm... looks rather dilapidated to me!
Don't be so quick to judge, Valnar! This is a place filled with powerful magic! Dark magic!
What are those screams I'm hearing?
Those are the agonized screams of the damned souls trapped in this room! To be exact, the souls are trapped in that powerful apparatus back there!
This is a piece of the darkest magic there ever has been! It's a soul converter!
A soul converter? What's that supposed to be?
With this device, you can convert any soul in the world into a soul stone. Let me tell you, Valnar: Vampire magic requires a lot of soul stones... without soul stones, we couldn't cast over half our spells!
Especially the summoning spells require soul stones.
Let me correct you there, Asgar. As far as I can tell, only the summoning spells require soul stones. For one, I believe it's pretty difficult to make an in-battle spell dependent on items, though I think you can theoretically make it happen. I use those terms in the most technical sense possible, in that you could probably cook up a proof of concept to show that it can work with the shitty pseudo-Ruby coding RPG Maker 2000/2003 uses (as opposed to actual Ruby from RPG Maker XP onwards), but it'd be a nightmare to code, you'd probably have to make it work with the battle group editor, meaning you'd have to implement it into every single group of enemies you have in the game, and really, you'd just be better off not doing it. Anyway, back to mechanics chat. Asgar, take it away!
There are three kinds of soul stone: Minor, medium and major soul stones. The mightier the spell, the bigger the soul stone must be for you to be able to use that spell.
To note, here's the four summoning spells in the game (spoilers, I guess? This is all pretty cut and dry mechanics stuff, I don't think you're going to be super surprised by the stuff we can summon):
Skeleton: 5 minor
Skeleton Mage: 6 medium
Golem: 15 medium
Demon: 15 major
You'll note that Summon Golem is the second most powerful one, and it's the first one we get. Doing that sidequest is really worth it, and the golem can very much carry you in early encounters if necessary. Now we just need to get the BP we need to cast that damn spell...
And with this device, you can convert souls into soul stones!
And where do I get souls?
Oh, Valnar, don't play dumb!
I've been telling him that all the time, but he's not listening.
Kill humans, animals and anything else living on this world! Every living creature has a soul. You just have to capture it.
So I'm supposed to kill people to get their souls?
Exactly! It's a really simple system!
1) Never, you bloodthirsty pack! 2) Well, it really is quite simple!
Well, the summoning spells aren't that critical. If we wanted to, we surely could go through the entire game without ever turning a soul into a soulstone. Of course, since the local wildlife is so forthcoming with their souls, that won't be the case, but still, we can at least act as if we're not going to start an industry with this shit.
Oh, Valnar! You'll use it sooner or later. Believe me! The stronger your opponent was, the stronger the soul will be.
To note: Enemies don't drop cash in this game. They don't drop items, either - well, there's one enemy that drops a key at some point, but otherwise, it's all souls, all the time. So when you grind, that's all you're getting, meaning grinding isn't quite as simple as grinding, getting money, buying better equipment and healing items, and continuing to grind. You can get things like that from souls, but... well, I'll show you later.
With the soul converter, you can then convert the souls into soul stones. A weak soul results in a minor soul stone. A normal soul gives a medium soul stone. And finally, a strong soul gives a major soul stone! You can also convert soul stones themselves. Three minor soul stones give you one medium soul stone, and three medium soul stones give you a major soul stone. But you need to pay attention that you can carry the soul stones you create...
Read: Don't make over 99, you dumb shit.
But we haven't even gotten to the best part!
I'll now give you the power to combine souls and create mighty things from them!
But you can test that for yourself!
"To open the menu, use the item 'Menu'. You can change many things there. Under 'Options', you can change the battle music and the text background. Under 'Souls', you can get an overview over your summonings and you can mix soul stones there. Under 'Quests', you get a list of all quests you still have yet to complete. Under 'Status', you get useful and interesting statistics about your achievements."
Your vampiric aura automatically catches souls. All you have to do is kill your opponents! Now I'll give you a few souls, for you to try out the machine with!
And we get some of each soul type. I'm probably going to squander these in some way or another.
By the way, Asgar built a little "soul game" into the machine for me. You can bet a soul stone and either get something very rare, or nothing at all. I have a lot of fun with it, and I always have a soul stone available for it.
Sounds interesting... (What a barbaric game! Gambling with the souls of innocent humans!)
HARHAR! Now, now, NO human is innocent! Nobody has a truly innocent soul! Don't forget that...
How did you know tha-
You forgot that I can read your thoughts!
...then I should better watch out WHAT I think!
Not a problem... just go ahead and test the soul converter! When you're ready, we'll take a look at the rest of the room!
Before I forget... here are a few save stones! You can save your soul with these at any time... they're very rare, so think long and hard about whether you want to use one or not! The magic of save stones demands that you are not transformed, and all summonings must be dispelled!
Well, never mind that Asgar, I'm gaming the system there.
Now, the soul converter, that being the red thing. This really is quite simple. It shows you your available souls...
...and your available soul stones, sorted from top to bottom from minor to major.
We can then either convert souls to soul stones, convert soul stones to better soul stones, or play the "fate game". I'm going to stay away from the fate game, because there's better things to put your soul stones into. If we want to convert souls, we first get asked which, then get asked how many (the options there being 1, 10 and all of them). I convert all the souls to soul stones. After that, I go and check out the blue thing.
This is the magic learning system. Or at least that's what I call it. This is where you can learn new spells when you have enough experience.
"You can learn new spells at the following levels: 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45. Every character has their own magic learning system (the three gargoyles with the blue spheres)"
Damn straight I had to look up another translation for "Kugeln" because I wasn't going to write "blue balls".
"Just pick one of the available spells and hit Enter. Then you will learn that spell. You can leave with Escape."
Alright, so, the magic learning system. I've heard that people really hate this system, but personally, I kind of like it. It's clunky, but it's RPG Maker 2000, anything that deviates from the norm is going to be clunky.
Essentially, with every level threshold, you get to pick between spells, one of magic type A, one of magic type B, and Alaine and Asgar get access to a type C. The types are as follows:
Valnar's A: Light magic
Valnar's B: Shadow magic
Asgar's A: Ice magic
Asgar's B: Shadow magic
Asgar's C: Healing/death magic
Alaine's A: Fire magic
Alaine's B: Status magic
Alaine's C: Healing/death magic
I like this system, because it forces the player to make choices at regular intervals and allows them to adjust to their personal playstyle. Now, somebody brought up a reasonable complaint in the Düsterburg thread (Vampires Dawn naturally came up several times due to the interwovenness of the games, both in their stories with the occasional reference, and in the general system of German RPG Maker games), in that the game doesn't tell you what comes up later, so you end up with problems like "do I take a single-target version of the spell now, or do I hope I get a multi-target version later?" and you keep second-guessing yourself. However, I feel like the game just says "deal with it", and to be honest, I kind of agree. You don't need to get an optimal spell selection going, and while you can fuck yourself kind of badly at times, you can somehow find a way out most of the time. It's just an old-school mentality to say "oh, you got a sub-optimal party? Cry me a river". Bad comparison, probably, but Wizardry is known for being a series full of that kind of nut-kicking. It's just a mindset you need to get into first. Aaaaanyway...
So, for Valnar's first level, we get to pick between the following spells:
A: "Control Weather" - "Stops rain and thunderstorms". Blood cost: 5
B: "Dark Cloud" - "Chance to blind: 70%; one enemy is hit". Blood cost: 4
For the record, I have absolutely no idea whether Control Weather has any sensible applications. I don't think the weather is ever really a factor, though the game might prove me wrong there. I'm still picking it because of our character alignment. No evil spells allowed!
Valnar's first spell: Control Weather
(please excuse that last picture, I only noticed that third category existed after the fact and couldn't get the proper shot because of course I don't keep separate save files do you think I learned anything from the Düsterburg LP or something well if you did you're wrong)
Now, on to Asgar.
A: "Iceball" - "Base damage: 10; chance to paralyze: 30%; one enemy is hit". Blood cost: 5
B: "Dark Cloud" - "Chance to blind: 70%; one enemy is hit". Blood cost: 4
C: "Blood Healing" - "Base healing: 5; one person is healed". Blood cost: 3
I'm also not a big fan of Dark Cloud. Blinding can be useful, but if I'm inflicting status effects, I might as well use the blood sucking skill and go for Bleeding, which is a much better status to inflict, and the skill doesn't cost any BP. Shit, it restores BP! The healing might be useful, but this early in the game and with the money from selling the super blood restoration items, we can just use healing items instead of spells. We'll get one of those later.
Asgar's first spell: Iceball
A: "Fireball" - "Base damage: 12; one enemy is hit". Blood cost: 5
B: "Awaken" - "Awakens all that are sleeping; entire party is affected". Blood cost: 4
C: "Blood Healing" - "Base healing: 5; one person is healed". Blood cost: 3
This one isn't quite a contest - Alaine's good with magic, but bad with physical attacks. She needs an attack spell ASAP.
Alaine's first spell: Fireball
Also, to note, the spells we picked up for Valnar are the same as Asgar and Alaine can get. However, Valnar will always just have the puny versions of it, whereas Asgar and Alaine get more badass elemental spells down the line - well, if I pick them, that is. Also...
As astute readers will already have noticed, Asgar is already level 5, meaning he gets a second spell!
A: "Cold Breath" - "Base damage: 11; chance to paralyze: 30%; all enemies are hit". Blood cost: 11
B: "Dark Energy" - "Base damage: 11; all enemies are hit". Blood cost: 7
C: "Poison Cloud" - "Base damage 10; chance to poison: 90%; one enemy is hit". Blood cost: 6
Now, I'm not a big fan of pure status inflicting spells, however, I very much like them on my damaging spells compared to pure damage spells. In this case, assuming a group of three enemies, the chance to paralyze at least one of them is 65.7% (correct me if I'm wrong, but it should be 1 - (70%*70%*70%), assuming this follows the standard binomial experiment procedure and doesn't make it more likely for one to get paralyzed when the others don't or some shit like that, and I don't think that RPG Maker does that). I like those odds. Poison Cloud might have been an interesting spell (had I noticed it existed instead of being the fucking idiot I am), but I figure that getting group attacking spells early is very useful.
Asgar's second spell: Cold Breath
So that's the spells we have for now. Next stop, the "menu" item we got. If we use it...
...we get that picture again - which I'm told is from Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption - and four options, as mentioned in the tutorial text. Let's check out "Quests".
"Explore the mine east of Asgar's castle together with Asgar."
That's what we'll be doing once we get done with this room.
To note, the eyes in the picture actually follow the option you have selected. Neat.
In the options, we can set the battle music, set the "system" (which is an RPG Maker term for the text background and text color), set the walking speed and enable or disable the minimap on the overworld. The system I'm already happy with, the walking speed too, the minimap is set to "on", which I want.
Finally, the battle music gives us these four options, which all sound very interesting. However, as you miiiight expect with this kind of game, they're probably ripped from other sources. So in this case, we have the following:
Church Full Of Blood: I don't know...
Dark Boss: I don't know either...
Dracula Forever: "Bloody Tears", from several Castlevania games
Requiem: "Laughter", from Phantasy Star 4
I uploaded the original MIDIs for the two songs I don't know. You guys have been great at finding all the stuff ripped from other games in the Düsterburg thread, so maybe you can help me out here - I have no idea where those songs are from, but I know these games. I know these were ripped from something, I just don't know what.
Now, we have the status window.
Found secrets: 26 of 450
Current healing rate: 1 HP
Skeleton summoning duration: 60 seconds
Skeleton Mage summoning duration: 50 seconds
Demon summoning duration: 30 seconds
Golem summoning duration: 35 seconds
Wolf transformation duration: 60 seconds
Bat transformation duration: 60 seconds
Workload, Asgar's mine: 0 of 20 workers
Workload, Uruya mine: 0 of 10 workers
Workload, Tranak mine: 0 of 15 workers
Workload, Isthar mine: 0 of 20 workers
Workload, island mine: 0 of 15 workers
Stored silver: 0 kg
Playing time: 1 hour, 41 minutes (without battles)
Times saved: 5
Battles won: 1
Battles ran from: 0"
That is a lot of status information, and it tells us a few things:
1) Secrets are hidden items. These are what you find when you go "unf unf unf" against every suspicious looking object in the world like you're the god damn Doom guy. There's also a lot of them.
2) HP regenerates over time, and you can improve the amount that regenerates.
3) This also spoils the summons we get, and we can improve the amount of time that they stay summoned. Note the short durations. You're really just supposed to summon these for bosses.
4) Valnar can learn to transform into a wolf and a bat. We can also improve the amount of time we can stay in those forms.
5) There are five silver mines in the world, and we can take them all over.
6) Humanity is indeed just a number, and we can just see how much it is.
Finally, the "Souls" menu. This shows us how many souls we have, and then it asks us which souls we want to "use".
This is the menu for weak souls. We can get game tips for four souls, a little heal for twenty, a healing vial for ten, and money for thirty. Now, let's get some specifics. A "little heal" means 30 HP and 15 BP healed for each party member. Not a lot, but helpful early on. A healing vial is an item that heals 50 HP. Nothing outrageous, but that's 100 HP healing for the same amount as the little heal. The money option gives us a random number of bucks between 100 and 200. Not exactly great, especially for thirty souls. Finally, the game tips. I'm just going to write all 20 of them out here. These appear in the same order every time.
"Ghosts only appear at night!"
"Look for secret passages everywhere! There are a lot of them!"
"You should write down the location of the red chests, so you know where they are later!"
"Definitely look through all the cupboards and shelves in houses! You can find a lot of useful items there!"
"Insects and undead have no blood to drink!"
"You will run into enemies a lot less when you're transformed!"
"A cursed character can only be cured at the churches in Asdion or Iranis!"
"There are two kinds of forests. In one of them, the trees are large enough for you to pass under the tree tops!"
"Try estimating resistances and weaknesses of enemies! For instance, undead and enemies in icy regions are weak to fire, but resistant to ice!"
"The mines are important to your progress. Try getting them under your control ASAP and fill them with workers!"
"You don't have to worry about trap doors when you turn into a bat!"
"Some stores sell better weapons and armor earlier than others!"
"When transformed, you only run into enemies 50% of the time! When in bat form, you won't run into any enemies at all on the overworld map!"
"When some characters are in Berserk state, that still has an advantage: When you fail to run away, they still will attack the enemies!"
"You can use silver the best by taking 99 bars of it with you and transforming the rest (when possible)""
"You can only find secret places on the overworld map when you're not transformed into a bat!"
"Experience points are incredibly important! Those that avoid all fights won't have a chance later on..."
"You can get to the world map quickly from Valnar's balcony by turning into a bat and just flying south!"
"The day/night change only happens outside of buildings and dungeons!"
Some important tips there. Note the "don't run from battles dipshit" one.
Here's the normal soul menu. We can get healed for 20 souls, conjure up a blood potion for 25, get Agility for 25 and save for 30. So technically you can save an unlimited amount of times. Better be prepared to grind for it, fucker. The heal is 70 HP and 40 BP for every party member, which is a decent mid-sized heal I guess. The blood potion heals 100 blood, which is nice. Agility raises the party's Agility stat by a random value between 30 and 60 for 60 seconds, which can be a good boss-time boost (since it can't run out during a battle). And saving does exactly the same thing as a save stone does.
Finally, here's the strong soul menu. A strong heal for 20 souls, a healing elixir for 30 souls, Strength for 30 and save for 30. The strong heal heals 250 HP and 60 BP for every party member, which is a good whopper, the healing elixir heals one party member to full, which is always welcome, Strength does the same thing Agility does but with Strength instead of Agility (duh), and save again just lets you save. Would have figured it to be cheaper if you use strong souls, but Marlex disagrees.
With the menu explored, let's check out the other things in the room. First, this pentagram.
And what is this thing?
This is a soul assimilator. Here you can have souls fuse with yourself!
This is a very powerful device that can expand your power. Every soul raises your vampiric Strength, Defense, Intelligence or Agility. But to raise your attributes, you have to fuse with a certain amount of souls. For one point of an attribute, you either have to fuse with 30 weak souls, 20 normal souls or 10 strong souls.
When I have gathered enough souls, I just go into the pentagram?
Exactly. This is a good way to expand your power! But remember that you need souls for this ritual! You can't use soul stones. So think about just how many souls you convert to soul stones.
Some dipshit, a few minutes earlier posted:
And we get some of each soul type. I'm probably going to squander these in some way or another.
That same dipshit, about a minute later posted:
I convert all the souls to soul stones.
Me good at the vidya gaems.
Anyway, this is self-explanatory. You step into the pentagram, you pick the soul type, you pick the attribute, you pick the character you want it to benefit, and if you have enough souls, that attribute goes up by one and you lose the souls. Simples.
And what's over here?
These are some bookcases filled with spell books. Take a look, there should be two spells that you can already learn now and that will be very useful.
The first one is the "End Transformation" spell, and the other one is the "Dispel Summon" spell. With the first one, you can return to your normal form, and with the second one, you can send all summoned servants back.
What? Transforming and summoning servants?
Yes, sooner or later you're going to learn transformation spells as well. Every vampire learns them. For one, the transformation into a wolf. In this form, you're a lot faster. And then there's the transformation into a bat. With this, you can cross great distances in only a short time! And then there are the summonings of servants. When you become stronger, you will learn how to summon servants. To do that, as we already said, you'll need soul stones - a minor, medium or major one depending on the servant. There are different servants you can summon, amongst them skeletons and skeleton mages. They will give you their undead companionship and support you in battle.
So controlling the undead... I see...
But for now, just find those two spell books!
Ah, here's a spell book I can read! Hm... ah, here's one of the two spells!
"Learned the spell 'End Transformation'!"
Ah, here's a spell book I can read! Hm... ah, here's one of the two spells!
"Learned the spell 'Dispel Summon'!"
Well, that was anticlimactic.
Alright, now you've seen my little spell chamber. Next, I'll show you the surroundings a bit. We should leave the castle and head east. There's a mine there that I want to show you. Oh, one more thing. As you might have noticed, your wounds heal automatically ever since you've become a vampire. You can find the healing rate in the extra menu under "Status".
Way ahead of ya, Asgar.
OK, now let's head to the mine!
And that's where we'll leave it for now. The update is already over 50000 charactes long, and that's without me replacing the shorthands I have for images with the actual URLs! Next time, we'll check out Asgar's mine and the nearby town, and you know it's going to be great when we have humans and Asgar together again!