The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

by Chokes McGee

Part 2: The Twists and Turns of Dungeon Level 1!

Chapter 2: The Twists and Turns of Dungeon Level 1!

Before we dive back into things, let's take a quick look at some info and suggestions that people have passed along.

Gabriel Pope posted:

The standard Wizardry bonus roll formula is 1d6+4, with an exploding 1-in-20 (or maybe just 1-in-10, possibly varying by version--I've seen it both ways) roll for an extra +10 points. You can start with Lords and Ninjas, it's just astronomically unlikely.

I'm still not convinced you can get a Ninja, honestly, even with a gnome and a perfect roll. Still, the more you know.

Indecisive posted:

Will you be posting maps? It's really hard to get a feel for a dungeon when it's just screenshots of rectangles and trapezoids.

Good catch. I wasn't before, but I sure am now!

With that being said, let's get back to the action.

When we last left our intrepred explorers...

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!

Looks about the same as every room we've seen so far.
Seriously. We need to start a map soon, or no one's ever going to hear from us again.
Or I could just tell you we're 9 east and 8 north of the entrance stairs.
Wh—How do you just happen to know that off the top of your head?
Natural talent. Ya either got it or you don't.
That, and we stole the dungeon blueprints from the Federation database before we got here.

The maps I'll be using are available at this fine site, and I'll be rehosting them so as not to steal bandwidth. They do contain a lot of spoilers, but nothing really devastating to gameplay. I may edit them as I go along, though, so keep in mind you may not always get the full story. (In other words, if you notice something missing, don't talk about it in the thread! It's that way on purpose.)

Our merry band of jerks has finally breached the first floor of the dungeon proper, so let's take a look around.

Hey, that looks interesting.

"Area out of bounds." Wonder what that means?
Let's go in and have a look!
...Do we have to?
Yes. Yes we do.

The crushing darkness is stealing the very breath from my body!

We've just been introduced to two new things. One is the floor plate you saw earlier. These usually signify something you can interact with, such as statues to search, signs to read, etc. You can't see everything coming in advance, but floor plates are generally safe to interact with—or at the very least, you have to actively do something to make them unsafe.

The other is a dark zone. You are flying completely blind in here, and not even light spells will help you out. (In fact, if you have one running, the dark zone will automatically extinguish it.) The only way out is to bump around aimlessly until you locate all the walls and/or map the entire area out.

Hey, watch it!
Am I dead? Is this death?

A short while later...

Urk. Let's never do that again.
But what if we missed someth—
Seriously, there could be something in the darkness we need, like a—
...well alright then.

Our heroes decide to search the rest of the floor rather than get eaten by Hanover, and soon they come across a curious anomaly...

Hmm. According to the map, there should be a door here. All I see is a blank wall.
Maybe it's a secret door!
Ah! Good point! That must mean there's a trigger, or a switch, or...

...or a Hanover that rips through the wall, yes.
Whatever it takes.

Secret doors abound in Wizardry. In the beginning, you (obviously) won't be able to see them. As we'll see later, your mage(s) will eventually pick up a light spell that reveals all of them. After that, they get kind of boring and pointless... except when they do something like this.

Didn't... didn't we just come through here?
But you ripped down the entire wall! What happened?
I put it back.
...What? How? WHY?
Mama Fiste always said t'pick up after myself.
Hanover's very tidy!

Comedy aside, that's a one-way door that just happened. Yes, the game has a lot of these, and usually in very inconvenient places. But that's just the start...

Well, we can only go forward! Onwards!

Funny, I don't remember an intersection on the map.

Well, no worries. We'll just pick a direction, and... er...

...What just happened?

Yes, the game has teleporters. No, you will not get a notification. If you're lucky, you'll get a change of surroundings to tip you off. You can probably already see where this is going, and it's nowhere good. Still, this is one of the few teleporters you actually have to trip to continue on.

Alright, nobody panic.
Who's panicking?
I said, nobody panic!
But we're not—

God, shut up. I'm going to try the door in the middle.

More doors?
Let's try the one in the middle again.

Footprints! There's someone else here in the maze with us!

Several hours later...

Hey. Sternn.
How do you keep an idiot busy?
I dunno, how?
Wait, let's get through this next door, then I'll tell you.

Several more hours later...

Wait a minute! This stupid thing is teleporting us back to where we started!
I wondered why we were chasing someone wearing the same shoes as us.
You idiot!
I'm almost afraid to say this, but let's try the left door instead.

Neat. Bet this thing's worth a tidy sum.
Sorry, boss. It's nailed down.
Well, make with the muscles!
No can do.
And why not?
Don't want to make a mess.
Does anyone else see a glinting at the base, or am I hallucinating again?

Neat! A key!

I have no idea why this particular statue looks the way it does. You'll come across a lot of weird idols in the upper floors, and they're by and large meaningless. At least they add character.

Well, I suppose it's not all bad.
Let's back up and try the other door on the right.

Okay, I've got this one!
Are you sure we should be randomly searching every statue we come across?
We're already 1-for-1! What could possibly go wrong?

I've GOT to stop saying things like that.
I rise from the ashes of my own grave!
Crap! He's coming this way!

Murphy's Ghost is one of the few legitimate "boss" fights in this game. I have no idea who Murphy is or why he's haunting this statue, nor do I care. Let's re-murder him and move on. Though this may prove to be a little more difficult than originally anticipated:

Is this bugging you? Is this bugging you?
Why is he just poking us?
Ow! Quit it!
Hold still, you little bastard!
Make me! Nyah!
I can't get a solid hit on him!
Well, he IS a ghost.
You got a better idea?
As a matter of fact, I do. Aldo?

Matu is a level 2 priest spell that drops everyone's AC by 2 during combat. Dilto supposedly raises a single monster group's AC, making them easier to hit. I've never seen any evidence to support this, but it makes me feel better, so we're going to cast it anyway.

NOW we're talking! *CLOBBER*
...what, is that it?

Murphy's Ghost also has a LOT of HP. By around level 3, your fighters should be sufficiently beefed up not to care about his puny little hits—he ALWAYS does 2 damage if he connects, every time—but you'll have to beat on him for a LONG time to send him back from whence he came. His AC isn't exactly high to begin with, either. Still, a little elbow grease, and...

Who's the man now, huh? WHO'S THE MAN NOW?!
...You... you can stop now. He's not moving.
Can you kill a ghost? Is that even possible?
I don't know, but apparently you can beat him unconscious with his own statue.
Never mind that, he's got a chest! Beezer, the lockpicks!


No, you don't get anything special for beating Murphy's Ghost—not outwardly, at least. What you do get is a gigantic amount of experience and money, far more than any other monster group you'll see on the first few levels. It's a relatively safe fight, too. Even if he brings a friend, a level 3-4 party should be able to dispatch both of them, though you may need to cast Dios (healing) a few times to be sure.

But Sternn, being Sternn, isn't quite done yet.

I've seen that look before.
What? What's "oh"?
Alright, everybody. I've got an angle. Let's search the statue again.
Why? There's nothing left! Besides that, Hanover broke it into three pieces.
Naw, I put it back together.
Okay, sure, why not. Let me check it again...

I rise from the... Hey, wait a minute. Don't I know you guys?
Hello, friend!

As far as I can tell, this is the real reason Murphy's Ghost exists: power levelling. So the party fights him again...

I rise from... oh god, not aga—

And again...

Seriously, I just live here, I—

And again...


...and so on and so forth. At a certain point, Hanover's arms get tired, and we need to find a way out. East and Northwest take us through a relatively pointless maze of secret doors and a lot of banging our heads into walls. Let's try west.

Now we're getting somewhere!


Time passes...

My hat!

And here we are, back where we started.
Great! Now we can head back to town.
Guys, I seriously think we ought to—

—go to the inn after this, I'm pooped.

Level-ups all around! Also, note that you can level up multiple times if you have enough experience. You'll have to stay once per level, though.

Furthermore, Nico and Aldo have been quietly amassing spells this entire time. Spell level does not equal experience level, though they're weakly correlated. Priests generally get all of their next spell level in one or two shots; mage spells seem to trickle in over several levels. New to our collection is Mahalito (big fireball, affects groups) and Calfo (instantly detect traps). Calfo is kind of a waste if you have a thief, but if you suspect your thief is at all wrong, it's not a bad idea to Calfo and make sure. Bamatu is also very interesting, as it drops everyone's AC by 4 when cast in a fight and seems to stack with other AC reduction spells. It can get you out of an early jam if you can live long enough to cast it.

Before we head back in, it looks like our guys have found some items in some of those chests...

Greetings, shopkeep!
Welcome to Boltac's! How can I help you?

I picked up this item whilst wandering about in the dungeon, and I was wondering if you could tell me what it is.
Certainly, though you understand there will be a charge.
Of course, of course. How much?
7 gold.
Strange, that seems to be exactly half the price of a regular robe.
Yeah. Weird, isn't it?
Sure is. Well, no deal. See ya!

A lot of the items you'll find have a next to them, which means your guy has no fucking clue what it does. The fastest way to determine whether or not you've picked up something of value is to check with Boltac. Don't actually pay Boltac, mind you—just check with him. He charges half of what he thinks the item's worth in order to identify, so if you have a normal weapon or armor, you'll know it right away. Just toss that garbage out, it's not worth identifying and selling. Something worth a ridiculous amount, like 5000, merits serious investigation. We won't be doing anything about it until later floors, but for now, it bears repeating: Never pay Boltac to identify anything.

Also, you don't want to randomly equip a high priced item, because there's -1 and -2 weapons and armor out there that are cursed and can't be unequipped normally. You won't pay as much to remove a cursed item as you would to identify it, but it still ain't cheap. The Temple of Cant's gotta keep the doors open.

And back into the dungeon the party goes, only to be ambushed...

I have no idea who these guys are.
Scruffy ain't never seen you before, neither.

On level 1, "Scruffy Men" is the generic, I-don't-know-what-these-are-yet placeholder for either Rogues or Bushwhackers.

No, not those.

That's a little more like it.

Sometimes you don't know what monsters are until later in the fight. If you really want, there's a mid-level spell that fixes this. I've never seen this be an issue expect here. Early on, you can fight rogues without any problems, but you'll want to run from Bushwhackers. They'll push in your shit if you're less than level 5 or so. We're fine now, so Hanover will take care of them.

Scruffy gon' die as he lived.

One last place of interest on floor one...

The map says there should be a key around here.
I got this one!

Aw. You're no fun.

Milwa is the light spell. It will allow you to see several steps down a corridor, as opposed to one, and will reveal hidden doors. However, it doesn't last very long, so it's more useful if you suspect a hidden door in the area. As shown earlier, you don't need to see a door to go through it. If you really want, you can just bump into every wall to see what happens. We've got something more efficient, but it'll have to wait until next update.

And on the other side of the hidden door...

Let me guess. Another monster.
Naw, it's probably another key.
10 gold says you're wrong.
You're on!

Pay up.
Well, the map says that's everything on this floor. I think we're ready to head down to the next level.
Indeed. Onwards, towards adventure! (And insanely lucrative compensation)

Next Time on Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord:

Dungeon Level 2 Fast 2 Serious!