The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

by Chokes McGee



Before we can get started, we'll need to roll up our interpred con man hero.

He will, of course, be Neutral alignment.

Now to roll for his bonus points...


...fuck this, I want my 22 bonus points and I'm impatient.

So, two minutes into the LP, and Sternn is already cheating. Sounds about right. Also, where would Sternn be without his faithful companion, Beezer?

And just like that, we're off!

Dungeon Crawling 101

A lovely spring day, and everyone is abuzz about the Archwizard Werdna...

Hey, did you guys hear about Werdna?
Yeah, I read about it in that last paragraph.
Oh. Well, anyway, Trebor just put a bounty on his head!
Wait. Trebor? As in, "The Mad Overlord" Trebor? The guy who runs a dungeon outside of town for no discernable reason?
Ayup. That'd be the one.
The same guy who imported monsters from around the globe to fill said dungeon?
Uh huh.
And now, an evil Archwizard decides to take up residence in said dungeon full of said monsters, and he wants one of us to hike down there and clean it out.
Sounds about right!
What kind of idiot would actually agree to this?!
Well, the Overlord's also promised vast fame and riches to whoever pulls it off.
Who said riches?

Attracted by tales of monetary compensation for stupidity, Captain Lincoln F. Sternn heads into town to question the natives.

Greetings, friend! I hear you're having a wizard problem as of late!
Omigosh! It's Superman!
We need you to save us from Werdna! Go to the tavern and assemble your party, Kal-El!
I certainly will, you strange little man!

Sternn locates Gilgamesh's Tavern. As the doors creak open, the tavern falls silent. All eyes turn to him.

I go into the jaws of death! WHO'S WITH ME!

Oh hmm. Would it help if I mentioned it had something to do with Werdna?
Then you have my sword!
And my axe!
And my zappy wand thing!
Excellent! Meet me outside of the tavern post-haste!


Holy crap, it's like Shiva had a three-way with an egg and a diesel engine! Are we actually going to party with it?

Now, Beezer, that's not polite! Sir, I wouldn't dream of going anywhere without him. He's incredibly reliable.
If you say so...
Now there's just the matter of equipment. Can't go into the dungeon without proper equipment. That'd be suicide.
So, I'll just nip over to Boltac's and pick up gear for all of us.
Hey, that's mighty nice of—waaaaaait a minute.
You don't have enough money to do that!
Oh, so I don't.
No sweat, we can pool our gold.

Excellent! I'll be back with shiny new weapons for everybody—and then we'll give that wizard what for!

Not five minutes after...

Heh. Suckers.
Hey, Hanover.
They fall for it?
Hook, line, and sinker. Go get the rest of the team and meet me back here, it's time to kick some archwizard ass.
You got it, boss.

Stealing gold from Wizardry starting characters is not only possible, but essential. It's one of those things that's borderline cheating, like forcing stats you could otherwise start off with or, I don't know, stuffing the dungeon full of instakill monsters. Still, as far as I'm concerned, it's well in-bounds.

Alright, roll call. Hanover?

Go to hell, Sternn.
That's the plan. Alright, let's do this thing!

I can't see shit.
A little help, Beez?

Great. I still can't see shit, and now everything looks like bad line art.

Dungeons are fairly straightforward and rendered in glorious 1982 CGA wireframe. Your guys don't need torches and the like, although there are spells that allow you to see farther that one step in front of you. Controls are obviously not very complicated—forward, turn left, turn right, turn 180 degrees around (which no one ever uses, ever). There's no separate (K)ick command for doors like in other games; you just go forward. Other than that, you can (C)amp, which allows your guys to cast spells, trade equipment around, etc.

Oh, do yourself a favor and turn the HUD (O)ff. Otherwise you won't be able to see what you're doing.

Pretty quiet in here.
Almost... too quiet.
You guys are worrywarts. Hey, look! A door!

Let's go through it! There couldn't possibly be a trap waiting on the other side!

...Boy, is my face red.

Combat is a little more complex, though not by much. You'll face up to four groups of monsters, with anywhere from 1 to 9 monsters in each group. Fight, Run, and Parry all speak for themselves. In classic RPG form, only the first three slots can directly attack. Priests and Lords can (D)ispell, which is basically Turn Undead—instakill if it works, but you get no experience for it. Using items is always an option, as some of the more powerful weapons in the game have special effects, but they can also break, because the game isn't letting you off THAT easy. Finally, (S)pell casts a spell, which you'll need to know the name of. We'll start here with Halito, which is a standard fireball. Not every spell is useful in combat, by the way—or useful at all, for that matter.

(T)ake Back is just a cancellation. Use it to back up if you fuck up your party's orders. You'll also get one last chance to (T)ake Back everyone's action in case you're particularly clumsy and/or dense. Also, one nice thing about the original PC version is that pressing Enter defaults to (A)ttack in the first three slots and (P)arry in the last three. This saves a LOT of time during the more mundane fights.

Stand fast! We can handle this, men!
Sorry, the jaw kinda throws me off sometimes.
Like you're one to talk!
Everybody stay calm! I can cast spells!

...Holy crap, I didn't think that would actually work.
You left eight of them still standing.
Bah, enough fartin' around. Everybody stand back, I got this.
You're kidding. Right? He is kidding.
Dude's a toothpick!

...oh. Oh no.
Oh dear God no. They laughed at Hanover.

Haw! Ain't so tough now, are ya?!
Great work, Hanover!

S'nothin', boss.
Although please stop eating his arm.
Hey, I think I see something through the pile of viscera!

If the monster had gold or treasure, it'll usually be in one of these things. Every chest in the game has some sort of trap on it more often than not. (Mercifully, there's no Mimics I'm aware of.) You have two options—bring a thief to (I)nspect, or bring a higher-level Priest to cast Calfo, which instantly reveals the trap. I suppose non-thieves can inspect/disarm, and with high enough agility and luck, they can probably get away with it. I haven't tried and am not inclined to.

Here, we'll use Beezer's skills to inspect.

Aha! Poison Needle! Now to (D)isarm it. Caaaarefully... Deeeeelicately...

Woot! Not pictured is the whopping 19 gold I got from it.

By the way, poison SUCKS early on in the game, and blowing a Poison Needle disarm is the fastest way to get it. Finding the exit automatically cures anyone poisoned, but with only 8 HP to start with, chances are good you'll be dead before you get there. Yet another reason to stay near the main stairs until level 3. The good news is, the traps at this point are pretty basic—Poison Needles, Stunners, and the occasional Crossbow Bolt. For now, if you get some wildly exotic result like "Priest Blaster," your thief probably boned his roll and it's best to leave that chest alone.

And that's pretty much it for basic dungeon crawing. We'll skip the grinding sections of the game by and large, since it's barely amusing to me, let alone you guys. Suffice to say I kick down a lot of doors over and over again until I'm at Level 3. Nevertheless, some problems do arise out in the field...

Say, Justine. You don't look so good.
I'm BLEEDING OUT, you ass!
No good. Out of spells.
Not a problem, we've got GOLD now!

Heyoooo! What can I do you for?
How much for a room? My friend here needs his rest.
Well, we have an economy suite available for 50 gold.

...fifty, you say.
If that's too much, we have cots available for 10.
Cots. For 10. 10 pieces of gold, which is a precious metal.
You know it!
Wait, I have an idea! How much for the stables?
...uh, free, I guess?

The next day...

How ya' feeling, Aldo?
I think I have fleas now.
Great! Now we can do something about Justine.
Gkk... must... secure... tournaquet...

At the Adventurer's Inn, you can buy all sorts of rooms, from a humble one-bed closet to the penthouse suite. But fuck that noise, it all costs way too much money and will age your characters to boot. Characters CAN age and die in this game, although there's only a few ways for that to happen.

The real solution is to stay at the stables. It doesn't do shit for your HP, but ALL your spell points regenerate, and your characters don't age. Run to the maze, heal up with Dios/Dial spells, run back, have your priest(s) sleep at the stables. Repeat as necessary. Plus, staying at the stables will still level your guys up! Apparently, they just needed a little nap to clear their heads, or something.

And a short while later...

Alright, crew. This is last of the doors we've seen, and the other three led to rooms full of monsters.
Tasty ones, too. *brrrp*
Through here lies the main dungeon. Are we ready?
Nuh uh.

Does this look gangrenous to you?
Then let's go!

NEXT UPDATE: The Twists and Turns of Dungeon Level 1!
(I swear to God we'll do some dungeon crawling in this one, please don't leave)