IntroductionLet's Play Wizardry I!
Go into maze, kill evil wizard.
This is the only plot summary to be found on the Wizardry wiki site for Wizardry I (aka Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord). Wizardry does not preach to you, like Ultima. It does not actively despise your very existence, like Bard's Tale—though that doesn't mean it LIKES you, either. It doesn't even care if you're good or evil. You're here for one reason, and one reason only: stomp ass all the way down to the bottom, give the evil wizard Werdna a magical wedgie, then gank his Amulet of Power. Simple. Direct. Pure.
Naturally, your task won't be easy. Between you and the wizard is a legion of undead, dragons, brawlers, beasts, and weird little coin things. You risk not only death, but total annihilation of your soul... and that's BEFORE you get to the monsters that start draining levels with every hit.
So, why would you risk it?
Well, you're not, but I am. Pity me.
But First, Some Basics
Wizardry is usually described as being relatively straightforward, but with a certain level of nuance underneath. Fighters make with the hitty bonk, though they come in several different flavors—one noticiably tastier than others. (More about that shortly.) Priests heal and protect. Thieves pick locks and detect traps. Mages zap things into tiny little piles of ash. Pretty standard D&D stuff, and honestly, there's a lot of D&D in Wizardry. There's +1/+2 weapons and armor, everybody has an AC and THAC0, and the random number generator even "rolls" D6s and the like for effects.
This is the basic "in-town" menu. Gilgamesh's is where you assemble your party and get them ready to roll. The Adventurer's Inn is for healing and levelling up. The Temple of Cant will heal characters with status afflictions, including DEATH and ASHES, but the price is steep. A variety of equipment is always available at Boltac's, and finally, the Edge of Town is where you reach the Training Grounds and the dungeon itself.
The Training Grounds are where you'll start out. Here, you can create new characters and change existing characters' classes. (Yet you level up in the Inn, and not out here. Who knows.) When you create a character...
You'll get a certain amount of bonus points. As far as I can tell, it's 3D6, plus an extra 1D4 if you pop an 18. Don't like the number? You can back out of the character and try again. And again. Basically, as long as you have the patience for it, you shouldn't ever start a character with less than 20-22 points. I don't have the patience for it, by the way, so we're going to take a shortcut. But, more on that later.
Statistically, you have Strength, Intelligence, Piety, Vitality, Agility, and Luck. All of them are fairly obvious except Luck, which serves (I assume) as a catchall buffer during "Oh Shit" moments, like a treasure chest trap going off. Agility plays no role in AC that I can see but DOES influence initiative.
When you create a character, you'll also pick his or her alignment. Alignment determines which classes are available to you. In order to maintain your current alignment, you'll have to make decisions about friendly groups of monsters. Other than that, there's no penalties. The game doesn't give a crap if you want the amulet to save the world or to be the next person to take it over. All it cares about is whether or not you get it.
A standard list of races are available. Human provide the baseline average at 8, so keep that in mind as you continue.
- Human. You are one of these. The only drawback to humans is their low piety, because you never go to church with your parents anymore, you jerk.
- Elf. Pointy eared daisy-munching nancy boys. Good with a spell, not so much with a weapon.
- Dwarf. Short, bearded, surly attitude. Possibly a scottish accent. Surprisingly good stats across the board, save for agility and luck, so don't have these guys handling chests.
- Hobbits. Small with hairy feet, much like Danny DeVito. Have high agility and luck, making them accomplished thieves, also like Danny DeVito.
- Gnomes. Own at pretty much everything. Seriously. Nothing lower than a 7 to be found, and 10s in Piety and Agility give you a head start towards the elite fighter classes.
And here's the rundown on classes, along with their minimum required stats.
- Fighter. If you don't know what these guys do then you may be in the wrong LP. (Str 11)
- Mage. Again, pretty obvious. Mages do get some support spells, but almost all their high level stuff is shovelling out damage as fast and wide as possible. (Int 11)
- Priest. Healer, support, occasional damage. You're not going to get very far without at least one of these. (Piety 11)
- Thief. Detects traps on chests and disarms them. Early on, these guys are indispensible. Their usefulness is somewhat questionable late game once your priest(s) start learning the Calto spell. (Agi 11)
- Bishop. The first of the "elite" classes, bishops are easily available from the beginning of the game. They're able to cast mage AND priest spells, though they're handicapped by learning both spell types more slowly. They also have the hugely useful ability to identify unknown items; you'll need this, because beyond a certain point, items cost way too much to pay Boltac to identify. (Piety 12, Int 12, Can't Be Neutral)
- Samurai. For some unknown reason, these guys are fighters who get mage spells as they level up. Their higher stats usually make them better fighters; I don't know if it's inherant to their class. They may get fewer hit points as they level up but I'm too lazy to check. Finally, they do gain the ability to instakill, but it's not as effective as the Ninja's. You can actually start with one of these on a good roll. (Str 15, Int 11, Piety 10, Vit 14, Agi 10)
- Lord. A paladin, basically. They get priest spells along with their fighting ability, but their best ability is to equip a Garb of Lords. If you get one of these and have a Lord in your party, you're in business. (Str 15, Int 12, Piety 12, Vit 15, Agi 14, Luck 15, Must Be Good)
- Ninja. No explanation needed. These motherfuckers can instakill even high level monsters, making them the very best, tippy-top fighters in the entire game. Not surprisingly, the requirements for getting one are INSANE—although there's a rare item you can acquire that gets around it. (17s across the board, Must Be Evil)
Magic you'll see in action once we get rolling, but here are some basics. Instead of MP, characters get a certain number of spellcasts per spell level. Once they've exhausted their casts, they have to stay at the inn in order to recharge. Casting is like Bard's Tale inasmuch as every spell has a MYSTIC NAME and you literally have to type the name in to cast it. You can read your characters' spell books to see what they can and can't cast, but there's no description of what each spell does without a manual for reference.
And Here's Where the Other Shoe Drops
One "unique" aspect of Wizadry is that it saves after every combat and (I think) periodically as you're walking around the dungeon. What does this mean to us?
It means if you get party-wiped, poisoned, killed, or some other horrible fate, you better quit before combat is over and reload, or you're fucked.
It also means once your party is in the dungeon, they're really in the dungeon. Instead of being at the Tavern, they're permanently filed under "Out" and have to go through a special menu option to pick up where they left off. That means they're not coming back unless they find their way out or some other party (of less than 6 people) goes back to haul their asses out. There are turntables, dark zones, and teleporters to make sure this is as hard as humanly possibly. Oh, and there are monsters in the bottom levels who will drain a level every time they successfully hit you. Yeah. You can fight back by exploiting a few (unintentional) cheats in the game to turn your characters into the God Kings of Old, but we'll be avoiding those for a full experience. (At least at first, I can't guarantee anything once we get down to dungeon level 5 or so.)
And this, all on top of the game's big, nasty secret. Those of you who have played Wizardry 1 may know what I'm talking about. It's a deflating moment when you realize what's going on and just how many hours of your life you've needlessly thrown away.
Ready to Rock!
Well, that's the full rundown. Now all we need is a hero, a legend, a man willing to assemble a party of daring adventurers and foolhardy enough to stand up to the awesome might of the wizard Werdna.
Unfortunately, we're stuck with this jerk.
NEXT UPDATE: STERNNNNNNNNNNN!
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: STERRRRRRRRRRRRN
- Chapter 2: The Twists and Turns of Dungeon Level 1!
- Chapter 2: Dungeon Level 2 Fast 2 Serious!
- Chapter 4: Sternn Knows Shit About What They Do! (Also Dungeon Level 3)
- Chapter 5: It's the Eye of the Tiger, It's the Thrill of the Fight
- Chapter 6: What Do You Mean, "Take the Lift"?!
- Chapter 7: "...Is that you, God?" (Or: Thread Title Delivers)
- Chapter 8: The Gauntlet! (Or: How We Saved the World with Katino)
- Bonus Feature: The Breaking of Wizardry!