The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

by Chokes McGee

Part 3: Dungeon Level 2 Fast 2 Serious!

Chapter 2: Dungeon Level 2 Fast 2 Serious!

Welcome back to the LP! Let's hit the mailbag, shall we?

Phy posted:

Ah, this would appear to be an idol to a minor Roman lar, or household god, known as Chatori. She was known for making a mighty fine rustic-style meal, and not much else. But she was so good at what she did, her name is remembered to this day. I mean, surely you've heard of  Chicken-Cat Chatori ?

...actually, on second thought, let's not.

Oh, very well. One more from a fellow Wizardry lover:

The Wizard of Oz posted:

The most important thing to know about Wizardry is that when you get wiped in a battle, you can turn off your computer before you get back to the exploration screen and when you restart you'll end up right before the door you entered. Save scumming 1981 style.

I was getting to this, Mr. Spoiler Pants! But the Great and Terrible One is nevertheless right, and it's a positive corellary to the "restart before combat ends or you're fucked" rule. If you reset in the middle of combat and (R)estart your "out" party from the utility menu, you're left standing on the square you walked into, with the same HP and stats as before combat—and no monsters to be found. You can obviously use this to cross dangerous areas in the most irritating manner possible, but it won't get you out of scripted fights. The check for those apparently happens on arrival to the square and not on initiated movement, like combat. Restarting an "out" party counts as arriving into the last square they were on.

Wizardry: It's a game of inches.

The Wizard of Oz posted:

Exploiting what you can is integral to the Wizardry experience.

Amen to that. The game will show no mercy, I don't know why people think it deserves any in return.

The Wizard of Oz posted:

Just no more hex editing (unless if you do it with

So use from now on. Right, got it.

Our adventurers are now Level 6—save for Sternn, who's Level 5. Captains Samurai level up slightly slower than everyone else, since they're an elite class with mixed abilities. You'll also note our fighers' AC has gone down. They're currently decked out in plate mail, large shields, and helms. The only starting armor piece missing are Copper Gauntlets. They're still swinging long swords, but that'll be plenty good enough until next level, where we'll start getting better things to use.

Equipment-wise, the back three don't actually matter much. If one of them ever has to take over a fighter slot, chances are good we're already fucked beyond repair. Still, the completionist in me says to deck them out in the best gear available, and so we do.

Everything's looking good. Time to check out Level 2!

Welp, these are the only stairs down.
Everyone ready?
The answer is still no, but I assume you're going to make us go down there anyway.
I sure am, Nico. I sure am.

Same ol' same old.
Seriously, all these walls are starting to look the same.
Ahem. I may have something to help with that.

Oh God, my eyes are bleeding.

Lomilwa is the extended light spell, with all of the great taste of Milwa and none of the short lifespan. Once you cast it, it stays cast—at least, until you hit a dark zone, leave the dungeon, or (R)estart an out party. That last one is the most annoying, but c'est la guerre. You can always see what effects are active on the HUD ((O)ff or (O)n to toggle it). There's only three permanent spell effects anyway, so we might as well go ahead and cast the other one we know.

We now recognize monster groups on sight! Though it's not really worth it, since we'll rarely see more than one type of monster per picture per level. But hey, it's kind of nifty  and makes the next screenshots easier .

Alright, let's get the map out before we get lost for good.

Where to first?
Well, we definitely don't want to head down to level 3 yet. Say, those little bubbly things to the east look interesting!
Awright, let's rawk!

There are some new faces on this level. We didn't bother with monsters much on dungeon level 1, since most of them existed solely to be reduced to paste by Hanover within a turn or two. The monsters will start getting interesting from here on out, though, so they're worth a look.

Mages and priests start cropping up, though they're too low level to make much of a difference. Still, be careful. Whereas only the first three party members can be targeted by attacks, spells can tag guys in the back rows, and your mages probably won't have much in the way of hit points. If the fight drags on, you can end up with a dead mage before you know what happened.

Oh, and Priests are absolutely worse than mages in this game. They don't heal or support much—they just cast lethal spells and then laugh at you. Literally lethal. (Not these guys though, they're scrubs.)

Creeping Cruds aren't very exciting—other than poisoning your guys, which isn't nearly as dangerous as it was at the start. (It still means you drop what you're doing and leave the dungeon immediately.) They are, however, in possession of the single coolest monster name in RPG history. To this day, I still refer to wildly contagious, hacking chest colds as "the creeping crud." This proves both how much of an influence this game had on my childhood and how big of a dork I am.  pretty big 

Hey, Free money!
Something about this doesn't seem right.
Hey, free money!
Seriously. Up until this point, we've had to risk life and limb to squeeze a measely 19 gold out of treasure chests. Isn't it a little weird there's bags of gold just laying out in the open like this?

You know what? Knock yourselves out. I'll be way back here if you need me.
Fine, more for us! Now to just pick up these coins and—


Creeping Coins can either be your best friend or worst nightmare. They have zero defense and HP, and they only have two moves—call for help, or employ a breath weapon. The breath weapon hits everyone in your party, but only for 1 damage. The catch is, there's usually 21+ of them spread over three parties, and they can knock some serious holes in you if they all decide not to be retarded at once. If you want to risk it, you'll need to get your Mahalito on. It will clear out an entire group of them in one shot, giving them much less time to wreak havoc. And the reward is well worth it—I've gotten easily 2k experience average from these things, which is the most I've seen since Murphy's Ghost.

Word of warning: I've read in a beastiary somewhere that their breath weapon can sap levels from people. I have yet to see any evidence to this, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Beeeewaaaare... the dead live again...
Big deal.
Seriously. Who cares.
Okay, what the fuck, guys. I'm a shambling corpse.
So? Last time we went adventuring, we fought zombie dinosaurs.
Yeah, let's see you top that!
I... Well... Well fuck you guys

As a general rule, you don't want to fuck around with undead in this game. Zombies are probably the nicest it's gonna get, as they only (only!) paralyze. Paralyze is not particularly devastating, but it doesn't autoheal like poison. Once you're paralyzed, you'll have to pay the Temple of Cant to remove it. If you're an idiot, I mean. If you're not, just have your priest cast Dialko. Dialko will also cure sleep and darkness, in case one of your fights starts going REALLY wrong. Level 2 likes its status ailments, and you'll probably collect all of them (save for darkness) at one point or another. Think of it as a primer.

Also, keep in mind paralyzed and sleeping members get shuffled to the back of your group. Make sure you (C)amp and rearrange your party accordingly, or else you may suddenly find your mage as the party's front line. As you can imagine, this is not so good.

So, that's the usual cast of suspects you'll see on dungeon level 2.

Oh yeah, plus these guys.

Hello, Sternn.
Wait. You know who we are?
But of course. We know all about you. We are Werdna's finest assassins, after all.
I see. And what might your names be?
We have none. We've long forsaken such antiquated vanities in service of our master.
Bah! Y'all look like a bunch of pushovers to me!
Oh, to someone your size, no doubt. But I wonder. Can you kill all of us... before we kill you?
Haw! What're you gonna do to me, small fry?

I don't have a screenshot for you, since I had to restart fairly quickly, but yes. They cut off Hanover's fucking head.

Ninjas instakill. Samurai instakill. Highwaymen instakill sometimes, and I don't even know what the fuck those are. All are available to attack you on level 2. It doesn't matter if they're only Lvl. 1 monsters for now; their instakills are somehow massively more effective than yours will ever be. There's more of them than you, anyway, so odds are good at least one of them will eventually get through. I was going to introduce the concept of bailing out and reloading the game here, but it's already been talked about, so I won't belabour the point. Long story short, target instakill monsters first (with one exception, which we won't get to until much later on), keep your finger on the reset button, and don't barge blindly through combat messages until the instakillers are thoroughly, irrevocably dead. You don't want to accidentally end combat after someone gets decapitated and be stuck with an expense corpse a dead friend.

Fortunately, through the magic of reloading, Hanover is just fine.

Hey, where'd the guys in black go? And why are my sinuses the clearest they've ever been in my life?
Absolutely no reason.
That doesn't make any sense, there were a bunch of 'em just here and—
Moving on

Believe it or not, except for the occasional instakill snafu, this floor isn't so tough for a party with 6 or 7 levels to their name. That gives us ample opportunity to go exploring.

Here we go, just like the map said.
Floor panels a-plenty! What do they say?

Accursed riddles!
Sternn, I wouldn't take another step forward if I were you.
Well, you're not me, and besides, I have to find out the last part of the AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ...

Yup, that's a pit trap. This is the kindest the game will ever be when it comes to them, and it's really more of an introduction to the concept—a very pointed, painful introduction. Pit traps are nasty. The game will do everything in its power to steer you into one, and it'll do a pretty good chunk of damage to anyone who blows their luck roll. But the worst thing of all? If a pit trap kills a character, they're dead. The restart exploit will not work, because you weren't in combat. Instead, it's back to the Temple to shell out thousands of gold to breathe life into their battered cadaver.

We have a map, and I won't be hiding pits from here on out (mostly ), so they're not as big of a deal as they could be. But if you're drawing your own maps, pit traps fucking suck. And even with a map, you may still fuck up and end up inside one of these things. You'll see how this happens on the later levels.

Mercifully, they're just damage squares. They don't actually drop you a dungeon level down, which would be hideous. Let's all give thanks this thought never crossed the developers' minds.

Good thing I brought a rope!
Yeah. Now I can hang myself before this stupid dungeon kills me first.
Aw. Chin up, sis!
...Sorry, forgot how sensitive you are to the whole man-jaw thing.
I hate each and every one of you. You know that, right?
Upsy-daisy! There you go, boss.

There's a few other areas of interest on this level:

Looks fairly innocent.

We are the gatekeepers!
And I am the Keymaster!
Oh, well. Off you go then.
How did you do that?
Ya got it or you don't!

Some floor panels require a certain item to be in your inventory in order to walk over them, or else it'll kick you back out of the room. In this case, we need a silver key. If you remember, one of the statue upstairs was silver and warned of demons. Pretty simple stuff, really.

Note that you won't get a message if you have the right key. The panel will just fail to activate, and you'll pass over it without a message. I'm including the original messages for completion's sake. Also, if you ever lose a key, you can go back and get another. There's an unlimited amount.

Continuing onwards, our team comes across another mark on the map...

You know what? I'm not going to say it.
I've learned my lesson.
Uh huh. And this has nothing to do with Hanover's hand on your shoulder?
No. And I can't feel my clavicle, either.
Just keeping you safe, buddy!

The party goes through...

Alright, be ready for anything.
There's somebody in here!
I can barely make it out! It's... it's...

Wokka wokka wokka!
Say, how do you tell the difference between a gold coin and a creeping coin?
I dunno, how?
You can get change for a gold coin, but the creeping coin changes you! Into a corpse!
What? That's not funny at all, that's—

Grab the goddamn statue and run!

Fleeing from the Bear God of Madness, our party stumbles into another trap...

Urp... Bronze gas!... Must... utilize... bronze key...

You did it, Sternn!
And not a moment too soon!
You might want to watch where you step, I had a big lunch.

Some more exploration later...

...Right, I got the statue.
Good. Let us never speak of this again.

Checking the northwest corner of the dungeon, the party comes across an unassailable obstacle!

Hanover's been ramming his head into the wall for ten minutes straight now. I don't think this door's coming down.
Maybe you're right... Wait! The statues I picked up earlier!
We picked up.
Right, like I said. I picked up. They're glowing!

Ha! I knew these things would come in handy.
Anybody got some aspirin? Brain no worky good no more, me hurty real bad like.
No time! ONWARD!


Even more fumbling around later...

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.


This looks disappointingly familiar.
Yeah, well, it's the last key marked on the map, and someone didn't want us to be here. That means it's valuable and we're taking it.
Sternn? Are... Are you crying?
I'm just... just so proud, that's all...
They do grow up fast, boss.

And that's more or less it for dungeon level 2. But wait! With all the fighting our party's been doing, they seem to have picked up quite the arsenal of weapons!

I seem to have picked up quite the arsenal of weapons! Too bad I don't know shit about what they do.

NEXT UPDATE: Sternn Knows Shit About What They Do! (Also, Dungeon Level 3)