The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry 8

by PurpleXVI

Part 3: The Umpani

Update 003: The Umpani

So the votes have, as I had kind of hoped, fallen in favour of heading north to Mt. Gigas! Let's see how that turns out by taking a right at the first intersection rather than a left.

The Arnika/Trynton/Mt. Gigas road is mostly a linear, woody path with the occasional small side area, with the section leading towards Mt. Gigas being the most linear of it. The road has an assortment of low-level enemies you can run into, though it's primarily plants, ants and bats you'll be meeting, with the occasional group of Higardi bandits to spice things up. Of course, those are the random encounters, Wizardry 8 also has a good number of set encounters which are the main threat when going "off-road." The random encounters will to some extent be levelled to match us(though they may still well kick our asses), but the set encounters will almost certainly be well above us in level and danger.

Enter the Hogar.

He has no special tricks whatsoever except that he will fuck you up by being a huge lump of HP and damage output. Hogars are normal spawns elsewhere, but this one is specifically placed here, probably as a "go to Arnika first, you fool"-barrier for new players.

This is what two rounds of combat against him looks like. He shakes off pretty much anything you can throw at him and kills one of your characters. Webbing him only lasts one round because he's strong enough to bust out of it, Sleep the same because we'll inevitably hit him. I settle in for the idea that maybe I'm going to have to try and run past him, or simply give up and go to Arnika, and proceed to bounce off him multiple times(and every single time he targets Aurora first, what a dick).

Take two at the fight doesn't start off much better. Once again Aurora gets flattened by the big boy right out of the gate.

Lady and Chewbecka are the only party members that can survive a round of attacks from him, though that still messes them up real good.

Then this happens:

The slow-motion replay is that Chewbecka sets off one of the rarer Samurai abilities, a LIGHTNING STRIKE where she hits four times in one action with her weapon, and one of them is a critical hit that instantly gibs the Hogar. It leaves behind a tusk, and a shitload of XP. The tusk is an item for the... pseudo-crafting system that we'll get introduced to once we find the right merchants(some of them will essentially take certain items in trade for giving you a unique item back, stating that they're going to hammer, say, some crab shells and a small mirror into a suit of unparallelled plate mail).

Did I mention characters also have voice samples for being resurrected? The amount of voice work is mental.

A quick overview of the area as explored so far. You may notice a small gap in the cliffs off to our right...

It hides a small side cave. I rather like how caves look in Wizardry in general, they all have a sort of curving, organic nature to them which makes them mildly unsettling and makes you worry that at any moment you could slide down them and get stuck somewhere.

The only really interesting thing about it is that it holds a new type of enemy, the Forest Mites, which look like walking nutsacks with fangs. Awful things, usually come in big swarms and their main thing is just overwhelming you with a bunch of small attacks and being in large enough numbers to surround your party and have a go at your back line.

I flatten them in short order and get back on the road which ends just around the corner.

The Northern Wilderness is very unlike the Roads. While it's bounded on all sides by cliffs and rivers, it has effectively no obstructions anywhere in the entire central area preventing you from going where you want. There are roads that'll direct you(though it's smarter to stay off the roads, because the high ground to the sides makes it harder for enemies to surprise you), and a few caves at the south, and a small structure or two, but it's mostly just open area to explore as you please...

Assuming, of course, you can handle the locals.

This is also the theme that plays there.

I promptly get owned by the first encounter I run into, while checking the southern bounds for caves.

Sorceresses are uncommon enemies that rarely show up on their own, usually leading packs of other creatures. In my experience they tend to mostly roll with mental, water and air magic and have a tendency to, much like the player would, lead with party-wide debilitating spells like Terror.

The Piercer Modais, on the other hand, are Hogar-like big blobs of HP and punchy attacks. So this is a nasty combo the game's coughed up.

The sorceress leads by terrifying the party and pelting them with ranged attacks while the modais get stabby, and it just ends poorly with me getting worn down faster than I can wear the enemy down, even after I snipe out the sorceress.

One reload later and I try out the northern side instead.

While doing so I come across one of the set encounters for the Northern Wilderness, a group of high-level Higardi Bandits camping at a small ruin.

Tons of HP, about as many of them as there are of the party. I make the wise decision to save and engage after circling around to a better angle of attack.

It does not go well.

After bouncing off them a couple of times, I decide to bypass them, which is easily done as they're not even a patrolling encounter, just a static one, and head onwards to where I really want to go.

This out-of-place looking steel bridge is the inviting entrance to the northern map exit of the Northern Wilderness(we entered from the South and there's also an exit to the East).

Predictably, the Umpani Base Camp has a shitload of Umpani hanging around. They tend to patrol in large squads with an officer leading a group of privates and they are uniformly non-mages, though they tend to wield muskets or pistols that give them a ranged option and besides that just hit for assloads of damage with their swords.

The generic Umpani are curt but polite, though, and don't want to talk to us. So let's go hassle a named NPC.

Also of note you can steal the Umpani flag to resolve a T'rang quest later if you're an idiot, as I believe lowering the flag off the flagpole and stealing it aggros the entire base. Why this is idiotic will be revealed shortly.

Private Panrack is a good fellow and waves us through after a brief chat.

The Base Camp is really just two large sheds in front of Mt. Gigas, most of the Umpani operations are inside the mountain itself. Still, let's go hassle the locals.

Some Umpani won't give us the time of day if we don't sign up, though. Saxx is actually a recruitable NPC, or an "RPC" a decently skilled bard. Most RPC's, being made out of the same building blocks as PC's, are useful, so generally the main way of assessing their usefulness is how cowardly they are. See, most RPC's(with one notable exception) have areas they won't enter, usually on the grounds of their being scary. The only options you then have are either to let them leave(most will return to their recruitment area, though the one exception to the earlier rule will just stay where it is)... or to make sure they can't complain. If you get them killed or knocked out(sprint back and forth a lot until they pass out from exhaustion) you can haul them in and revive them, at which point they ceaselessly bitch(and get a 25-point malus to all skills) until they're back somewhere they feel safe again. Though once you've settled on a certain pair of RPC's, you may as well do that so they can at least get XP and help carry loot, rather than having to haul your ass back to pick them up again.

Saxx will complain about going to most late-game areas, but for now he would be useful muscle.

Now let's see what's in the other half of the building.

Sgt. Kunar is kind of a dick. But he does at least sell replica Umpani flags so you can just get one for your T'rang quest that way.

He's also a T'rang agent. If you try to play both sides, you need to silence him before he rats you out to his handlers, thus locking that option away permanently. For now, though, he's not a threat, just an annoyance, but your first action on signing up with the Umpani should be to buy everything you can and then murder him.

Maybe the folks on the other side of the road will be more friendly.

Large groups of patrolling Umpani will regular enter and leave the barracks. The only threat they pose to us, as we're currently unaligned, is that they can cause a very annoying traffic jam. It's not possible to shove peaceful creatures out of the way, best you can do is try to squeeze past them.

That Trynnie in the middle, though, is Private Sparkle. An RPC we can actually recruit without joining the Umpani first. Unfortunately she'll cry about going to even more places than Saxx would, but there's no cost to recruiting her at all. She also has a decent bit of dialogue:

Okay with that conversation done lemme just squeeze past the bulky lads and...

Into the barracks. Every single locker in those sections of 3 has loot in them, every single footlocker has loot in it. We're going on a picking spree.

The lockers tend to be locked, and the footlockers trapped, and Stony, for the first time ever, manages to actually get the party perforated with poison darts and flung knives a couple of times. He also levels up his lockpicking/trapfuckling skill multiple times, so that's good.

One of the lockers also has a spicy surprise in it. Guess the Umpani like their women thicc.

I don't think I've ever triggered an Alarm trap before. It doesn't piss off any of the currently-friendly locals, but if I remember right, if there are any hostiles around, they instantly zoom towards your location, rather than the trap spawning any.

Mostly the haul is gold, potions and greaves for everyone, upgrading their pants situation for higher AC. It's a small boost for most of them, but every little thing counts.

The other side of the building has a bunch of military intelligence and propaganda scattered around, as well as Balbrak, the local recruiter.

He's chill about a polite no, but won't really talk to us besides that unless we sign up.

And Sergeant Balbrak is the last Umpani NPC we can meet here without breaking in or allying with the Umpani. Obviously there will be a couple of votes coming up at the end of the post.

After having the camp tapped out for now, I go back to the Northern Wilderness to explore a bit more and get some levelling in.

Monsters don't really have formations as such, but if you don't close the range with ranged enemies right away, they'll usually set up a firing line like this to try and maximize how many of them can hit you at once. This can be beneficial because if you rush right into the center of it, monsters can hit each other. Ranged attacks use "real" projectiles which means that a miss on the intended target could hit something else. I know some people have used this for bugged purposes to kill NPC's without aggroing their faction or to kill very powerful friendly NPC's before you're technically able to, but there's really no need to make use of it.

A bit farther east I encounter an enemy I have literally not, in like a dozen playthroughs, ever met before! Umpani Renegades! They're unexceptional, they're really just big strong lads with swords.

I manage to defeat a small group of Piercer Modais despite Werdna backfiring a Terror spell on to the party, thankfully most of them shake it off before it fucks anything up. Goddammit Werdna.

Not having anyone to cast Stamina, by the end of the fight, half the party is literally passed out on any given combat turn, getting in one or two swings and then taking a nap.

Being a genius I do it before saving and right next to a lake regularly patrolled by family-size Emerald Slimes.

On the bright side one round of attacks wakes up everyone still napping, on the less bright side he's soon got almost everyone nauseous and missing the occasional action as a result(and also paralyzes Chewbecka and Lady a couple of times). What prevents the battle from going poorly is that all those attacks raining down on the slime zeroes out its Stamina and makes it fall asleep before it can kill anyone. It wakes up every second round, but it still results in a lot of missed attacks.

It also gets a lot better when I think to put up Missile Shield which negates an unspecified percentage of ranged, non-spell attacks, I think somewhere between 50% and 75%, since most of what the slime attacks with is spitting. I also then realize that I could probably have taken the rogues from about an hour's gameplay ago with that spell since every second attack of theirs tends to be throwing knives rather than stabs, even in melee.

This is really just to get out east, I don't yet have the power to properly "clear" the area and raid all the small caches of stuff(or enter the zone's special dungeon), and show off what I have to put up with if I want to keep going off-road.

Fighting that thing is going to suck, but if that's what everyone ends up voting for, I'll do it.

I end the expedition by looping back to the rogues for some revenge. Besides my epiphany about Missile Shield, I've gotten some level-ups off fighting enemies(the Emerald Slime was the single biggest chunk of XP we've gotten so far, for instance).

They still hit like trucks, but this time I actually kill one of them before they kill one of my own goons.

And soon they're whittled down to just the leader.

Who, of course, kills Werdna literally the round before going down, the absolute fucker.

Thankfully I get Werdna rezzed on the same turn the rogue leader goes down, so he doesn't miss out on any XP.

The only relevant drop is a big-ass diamond. It can be sold for a decent amount of loot, but is also one of the pseudo-crafting items we care about.

Looks like a good place to take a nap until the next adventure.



Probably the biggest choice for any party in Wizardry 8 is who to ally with. We have five choices.

#1: Ally with the Umpani, destroy the T'rang
#2: Ally with the T'rang, destroy the Umpani
#3: Ally with both the T'rang and the Umpani, reconcile them with each other
#4: Ally with neither the T'rang or the Umpani, destroy both
#5: Ally with neither the T'rang or the Umpani, ignore both

My favourite option is #3, since it shows off the most content and I can easily show off the "faction kills" in short side videos/updates. And the only one I'd argue against is #5 since that misses out on a lot of content.


Who, if anyone, should we bring?

Private Sparkle: We already have a Ranger, but one more could be useful, at least until we get a better RPC or reach somewhere she won't go.
Saxx: We don't have a Bard, and while Saxx won't enter some end-game areas he will in fact enter the last end-game area with us. Not an option unless we join the Umpani, however.
None: We'll wait for someone cooler.

Recruits also have set starting levels. If we recruit someone "late," would people be okay with me editing up their XP so they can still play along and things don't become a huge pain to bring? Normally it wouldn't be an issue, but going around in the reverse order, it may get a bit fucky.


If we align with the Umpani they'll decide our next destination(into Mt. Gigas, which will likely consume an entire update).

If we don't, however, we have two options:

Turn back south and head towards Arnika or travel East and enter the Mountain Wilderness(if I can somehow manage to defeat that Marble Golem guarding the bridge)?