The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

by Chokes McGee

Part 4: Sternn Knows Shit About What They Do! (Also Dungeon Level 3)

Chapter 4: Sternn Knows Shit About What They Do! (Also Dungeon Level 3)

Welcome back to the stage of history LP! The more observant among you may be wondering where Chapter 3 went. Well, it turns out I can't count properly. Take my word for it, this is Chapter 4.

Anyway, when last we left he of the impressive chin:

I seem to have picked up quite the arsenal of weapons! Too bad I don't know shit about they do.
You know, we can fix that.
I'm not paying Boltac.
Oh, hell no. You'd have to be an idiot.
There's another way?
Yes. And if you ever went to church, you'd know that.
I'm not following.
Church. Going to it.
I know these words mean something, I know they're in the right places, and yet I still can't decypher what they mean.
Oh, never mind. Follow me.

So what's your angle, Justine?
I have a friend at the Temple of Cant who can identify your gear.
They can do that?
Of course. Haven't you ever heard of...

I'm glad you could see me on such short notice, Father!
Sure ting.
See, I just found these scrolls in the dungeon...
...the scrolls!
Let me just unfurl them so we can take a look...
Don't read the scrolls!

We wuz too late.

Alright, I know this is alien territory for you and Hanover, so I'll handle this.
Sure, I—holy crap, is that Terry Jones?
Never mind them. Bless us, father, for we have sinned.
Ehn, who hasn't.
Tell me about it!
We were wondering if you could help identify our gear. We've got quite a lot of it.
Sure, why not.
We will, of course, compensate the Church for its time.
Don't worry about it, dollface. I do this in my spare time for kicks.
It's free? You're right, I do have to come to church more often.
Hey, should I be on fire right now? Is that normal?
For you? Probably. Anyway, here's what we've collected on our journey.
Sock it to me!

Oh yeah. What you got dere is a Breast Plate+1. Real good for those of the clerical-type persuation.
Yes, yes. How much is it worth?
1500 gold sticker price, 750 trade-in. Give or take.

This is why you never pay Boltac for anything. Bishops are easy to roll from the start, they can cast both mage and priest spells, but most importantly, they can identify unknown items. Not only that, but—and pay attention, this is important...

Identify is Not Affected By the Bishop's Level

Besides that, you get as many shots as you want to identify. They're not going to fuck up and break the item or anything. The worst thing that will happen is a cursed item (i.e. Short Sword-1) will transfer its curse to the Bishop, and he'll be stuck with it until he's uncursed. This is one of many reasons to just make a throwaway Bishop character. Run back to Gilgamesh's, dump all your stuff into his inventory, and have him identify it. If he gets cursed, who cares? He's a man of the cloth, he'll enjoy taking that bullet for the faithful.

Of course, there's the argument to be made of why I didn't have a Bishop in the party to begin with. Quite frankly, I don't care for them. They learn spells slower than a straight mage or priest, which is absolutely crippling when starting out—unless you trade a thief for a third spellcaster, which I don't like to do. Worse than that, they don't get priest spells until a few levels in. If I really want one that badly, I'll change Aldo's class late game. I honestly don't anticipate wanting one, though.

There's another neat (unintentional) trick you can do with Bishops, and anyone who's played Wizardry on a PC or Apple probably knows it already. We're not going to do it right now in order to preserve what little air of legitimacy we have. Chances are good it will come into play eventually, so if you know it, don't spoil it.

Alright, we have a Breast Plate+1 for Aldo and Shield+1 for all the frontline fighters.
I can't help but notice you took the one we got for free.
Finders keepers!
...But I'm the one who found it.
It looks like our safety's fairly well assured, so onwards to the next level!

Multiple staircases later...

Seriously, I swear all this stuff is looking alike. It has for a while now.
You're just not acclimated t'being underground.
And I suppose you can tell where we are at any given time, Mr. Natural Ability?
Sure can. The trick is to locate a landmark, some sorta unique feature, something that's easily distinguishable from the...

You were saying?
You win this round, Thyme.
Good grief, all these intersections look the same! How are we supposed to find our way around?
Pfft, just pick a direction and go with it! That's my motto.

See? Everything's going exactly as AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ...
I'll get the rope.

Time passes.

Okay, I have a new plan.
You better. That's the third time you've fallen into that pit.
You see how almost all of these intersections have floor plates?

If they have floor plates, they can't have pits.
Conversely, if they don't have floor plates, they must have a pit.
And contrary likewise.
That's logic!
Or we could just look at the map.

Sure, if you want to take the easy way out. Alright, let's get to work. These floor plaques aren't going to read themselves.

Left, eh? Very well, sign, you've intrigued me.
It occurs to me that we should probably not be following the dungeon's directions, as it's demonstrated multiple times that it hates us and everything we stand for.
It occurs to me that shut your face.
Oooh, burn.
What are you guys, 12?

Oho, a pit. Well played, dungeon, but the game is mine.
Amazing. He can be taught.
We'll just turn around and go back the way we came, and...

Left, eh? Very well, sign, you've intrigued me.

Obviously this is going to take a while, so I'll step in here and tell you what's painfully obvious to everyone but Sternn. Those signs are bullshit, they don't mean anything. They're just there to spin you around in multiple directions until you're completely lost and/or bumble your way into one of the floor's many pit traps.

Speaking of spinning you around, this level also introduces a new concept: turntables. There's only a few of them, and you can barely tell on this level when you hit one, so they're not worth talking about (yet). The mechanics are as you'd expect: You go in facing one direction, and as soon as you step on the square, you're immediately rotated to face a different direction.

Finally, you'll notice this level wraps on the sides. This occurs on all dungeon levels—if you go off one side of the map, you appear on the other. This is how the game is able to produce "endless hallway" effects, which it loves to do.

Returning to our explorers...

...and I really don't understand, as obvious as it is, how you keep managing to fall into pits.
Hmm? Where you saying something? I was just checking this plaque for our next clue.
Okay, we're never going to get anywhere at this rate. I'm taking one of these doors.
I wouldn't do that if I were you.
Oh, come on. What are they going to have behind it? Some sort of crazy monster dojo full of samurai in training?

Well I'll be damned.

You got ninjas last level, you'll get samurai this level. To repeat, samurai instakill. Do not fuck around with these guys. Mahalito them to tiny little pieces before they can separate your fighters' collective heads from their necks. You can also cast Katino, which is getting more effective by the level. It's dicey, but when it works, it REALLY works. There's no better feeling than teeing off on a group of sleeping ninja.

You also start seeing some new types of beasts:

Oh, I get it. Dragon fly.

Dragonflies use a breath weapon, as the name suggests, and it's more effective than the Creeping Coins'. Keep an eye on your back party members so they don't accidentally get roasted, and heal up as necessary.

Aw! Cute widdle bunnies!
Good God, man, have you never seen Monty Python?

Hey, Vorpal Bunnies instakill too! I like a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference as much as the next neckbeard, but this is getting kind of ridiculous.

Puppies or not, these things will murder you dead. Dragon Puppies' breath weapons do 15+ to everyone, guaranteed. Stay way the hell away.

Oh, hey. Sup.
Wait. You're not trying to kill us?
Nah, it's all good. Just hangin' out. Y'know.
Monster! KILL!
Great. Should we tell someone, or notify an authority, or...
Nope. No witnesses down here.
This never happened.
I'm simultaneously unsurprised and disappointed in myself that I agree.

Monster groups can be friendly towards you. I've never really understood the logistics or philosophy behind this, but it happens. The purpose of this is to convert characters back and forth from good and evil alignments. Leaving groups of monsters alone has a chance to switch you to good, attacking them has a chance to flip you to evil. This only applies for non-neutral characters; neutrals don't give a crap and will always remain neutral. This is how you can swing putting a Lord and a Ninja in the same party, although there's other (less salient) ways. We may or may not explore those, depending on our stats late game, our item drops, and how lazy I am.

Note this is the only thing that alignment effects. Remember, kids—change your morals at the drop of a hat to suit your goals. The ends justify the means.

And how!

Also featured on floor 3:

Ah, men of the cloth. Surely this fight will be a welcome respite from the previous brutal slugfests.
More Blood for the Bear God
Though I could be wrong.

Add Lvl. 5 Priests (not identified here) to the list of guys not to fuck around with. They'll squat back, rain Badial and Montino spells down on your party, and laugh. The former is a damage spell that will take a pretty good chunk off anyone it hits; the latter is Silence, which cuts off your spellcasters for the rest of the fight. Occasionally, they'll cast Badi, which is an instakill if it hits. (Noticing a theme?) Suffice to say you should probably counter with your own Molino, but—you guessed it—theirs seems to work far more often than yours.

One thing should be fairly clear at this point, though. We are hideously outmatched, and it's time to back up to floor 2 and grind out a level.

During which, this happens.

Some explanation: A couple of Gas Clouds cast Dilto multiple times on our guys. At least this confirms it raises AC. It also wears off after the fight is over; the game's not that mean. But, the fight's not technically over until any chests are dealt with, which leads to a really funny screenshot for anyone who's played D&D.

At any rate, one level later, Aldo discovers something of earth-shattering importance.

So, I've been thinking.
These spells we've been casting seem to have a pretty consistent linguistic breakdown. "Lo" and "Ma" seem to increase potency, "Ba" seems to invert the effect, et cetera.
Neat. But what does that have to do with anything?
Well. You know how Porfic protects us in combat?
Well, what happens when I do... THIS?

Maporfic is the last of our in-field buffs, and it's a doozy. When it's cast, everyone's AC drops by 2. It's permanent until you leave the dungeon or restart, and it stacks with other in-combat AC buff spells. Yes, this is a big deal. Armed with this, we can now dominate the third floor of the—

...shit. Turns out Samurai, being a dual class, can cast Katino. Still, nobody's head comes off thanks to Maporfic, and the party eventually rouses themselves from their nap to murder the fuck out of them, so no harm done. The rest goes pretty smoothly, except for the occasional paralysis.

And sadly, that's just about it for floor three. With Maporfic under our belts, we should be able to grind as safely here as anywhere, although Dragon Pups and Lvl 5. Priests still send us running for cover. Outside of new monster types, there's just not a lot interesting happening on floor 3.

Yeah, but what about the secret door marked on the—

Just not a whole lot interesting going on here. Nope.

You know, I'm getting kinda tired of that.

Next Time on Wizardry: It's the Eye of the Tiger, It's the Thrill of the Fight