Welcome to Wizards & Warriors, which is kind-of, sort-of the alternate darker-timeline Wizardry 8. You'll note that it features a prominent "DESIGNED BY DW BRADLEY," who became part of creating the Wizardry series at V, stuck with it through VI and VII, and then left prior to VIII due to a dispute with Sir-Tech. I'm mildly curious as to why, but if there was ever an official statement on it from either Bradley or Sir-Tech I can't easily dig it up.
Wizards & Warriors was released a year prior to Wizardry 8, and got met by "average" reviews across the board, really impressing no one overly much. But for a nerd in the middle of his teens, that cover was a sure-fire way to get a purchase from me: a cool warrior, a cool wizard and some lady dungeoneering in borderline lingerie? Sign my hormonal ass up for that adventure. I then bounced off it several times over the years, getting into the end-game once before dumping it, as it turned out to be incredibly buggy, janky and designed by someone clearly less interested in the idea of "quality of life"-features than Sir-Tech was with Wizardry 8.
For instance, want to promote your Warrior to a Paladin? Or your Wizard to a Warlock? You gotta do a quest. But if, say, the quest requires finding and returning an item, only one will spawn. So if you have two Fighters to promote, you gotta do it once. Return, ask for the quest for the second guy, and do it again. The game's also sort-of locked into three kind-of-linear areas, and the promotion quests only occur in one area each, so if you decide to do a promotion late, you may have to haul your ass all the way back to the start of the game. And unlike Wizardry 8, which keeps almost everything in the manual in the game as well, Wizards & Warriors has almost zero in-game tip text, so without the manual close to hand, you're boned for a good few bits. Forget about not knowing what the racial traits do, if you don't have the manual out at chargen, you won't even know that the races get specific traits until you've made the characters!
You also absolutely want to check out the animated intro:
Three psychic crones, an angel and an old man all tell you a magic sword is real important. Seems legit.
As per usual, we'll need a party. What we get to pick is... Name, Gender(you better believe it affects stats in W&W!), Race and Class. There aren't a lot of skill and stat distribution choices to be made, as the game makes it relatively clear that certain stats are useless for certain classes. For instance, Rogues, Fighters and Barbarians gain nothing from Spirituality, while any class relying mostly on spellcasting gains nothing from Dexterity, and Presence doesn't do jack shit except make your characters more likely to get targeted. It vaguely affects "how much characters like you," but as far as I recall W&W doesn't have a diplomacy system or anything of the sort. Maybe it gives you some kind of discount? Be great if the game told us.
So I need six characters.
You know what a name is, it won't affect anything about the character except what dumb puns and comments I have available.
Male characters get +1 Fortitude(more HP) and Strength(more face-smashing, more carrying capacity)
Female characters get +1 Agility(act faster) and Presence(honestly who the fuck knows if this even does anything)
As per usual, humans have no stat modifiers. Their racial trait, however, is "Natural Leader" which provides an unspecified bonus to other characters' abilities to hit things and not get hit by things. Does it stack? Who knows. How much does it amount to? Who knows.
Elves are frailer, faster and smarter than humans and get the Quick Learner trait. This one is actually plainly useful as it amounts to a +10% boost to all XP gained from murdering(and with this being an old school RPG we will be getting a lot of XP from murdering) and they get more advancement from their skill points.
Slow, dim and tanky. Their inherent Snakeskin ability grants Lizzords a +50% resistance to poison.
Dwarven stat modifiers are much like a Lizzord's, but their natural ability is different. They have "War Cry" which has an unspecified chance to apply a vaguely specified debuff to an enemy if the dwarf hits it. I think I'd rather have the Lizzord's clearly defined and functional ability rather than something like this which might turn out to be dummied out or something.
Omphaaz are probably the #1 choice for any kind of caster class, since their inherent Mana Seed ability grants them the best mana regen of any of the choices. They're also slow, smart and can't hit the broad side of a barn with melee attacks.
Fast and a bit fragile, their natural ability is just that we can see better in the dark. Alternately we could bring a wizard who can cast Light at level 1.
Gnomes are the second-most-fragile choice and their special ability...
Wizards & Warriors Manual posted:
Lucky Charm: The character enjoys +10% resistance to all magical effects, and gains other additional special bonuses.
Wow no Mr. DW Bradley designer genius sir, I don't actually need to have any clue what these mechanical underpinnings of the game are!
Pixies are the most fragile character option, though this is supposed to be outweighed by their Dodge trait "greatly reducing" the ability of monsters to hit them. From my memory, most of the pain you'll be suffering in the later game is from spells, which don't give a shit how well you can dodge, so they seem to be largely a trap option that'll spend most of their time dead in someone else's backpack.
Gourks are predictably great choices for classes that just need to hit things real hard and not think about it. Penalized mental stats, boosted physical stats, and a vague Bloodscent ability to "sense nearby enemies." This is nothing near as useful as dots on a minimap like when casting X-Ray in Wizardry 8, but instead Shamino-esque "wow! i think there are giant rats nearby! "-statements.
Wizards & Warriors Manual posted:
If a monster is scented, a message will appear in the text window.
Ratlings are like Pixies but made to be thieves instead, and their special ability is that they probably roll better on the loot tables than anyone else. Probably. It'll be largely impossible to tell, because unlike Wizardry 8, which was good enough to get a number of competent FAQs and guides and getting people mining that data for info, Wizards & Warriors has like, three ancient FAQ's written in notepad, one of which is actually complete. Mostly everything else you can find is the ancient message board wailing of people complaining about the latest bug they've hit and how to get around it.
Unlike Wizardry, W&W only has four starting classes.
You hit things with a sword and you can advance to the Paladin, Barbarian, Ninja, Samurai and Ranger classes, most of which allow for crossing over to one of the other three trees of advanced classes.
Rogues steal things and try not to die until they can become a Bard, Ranger or Barbarian, at which point they can start contributing usefully to the party.
Tasked with stitching everyone's limbs back on. Their advancement takes them to Paladin or Warlock.
Tasked with blowing everyone's limbs off. They can become Warlocks or Bards.
Generally you want to roll every character through as many advanced classes as possible as each of them provides a unique trait which, unless the manual lies, should stick with them for the remainder of their career, and any class can advance into any other class as long as they can join the relevant guild. So, for instance, your Rogue can become a Barbarian to then become a Paladin or Ranger. Or a Bard to become a Warlock. You could also try to only advance one character to each advanced class, in order to avoid repeating quests and having to backtrack.
My only requirement, chargen-wise, is that I'll need at least one wizard since they get access to a school of magic that none of the advanced classes get, and which would otherwise be locked away until the very end-game when there might be access to the ultra-advanced classes.
Like Wizardry 8, probably an update every week to two weeks since it requires a decent amount of work harvesting screenshots, writing up a post and doing some minor video editing.
Table of Contents
- Update 001: Valeia
- Update 002: Ladders...
- Update 003: & Snakes
- Update 004: The Game Gets Better
- Update 005: The Worst Maze
- Update 006: Dubious Dungeon Design
- Update 007: We Broke The Dungeon, Guys
- Update 008: Haunted Hitboxes
- Update 009: The Vampires Aren't Horny This Time
- Update 010: Ye Can't Catch Me!
- Update 011: Crabby Dungeon Design
- Update 012: One Last Bug For The Road