October 03, 2011

Wizardry I - Difficult To Cure

Any misgivings I had about the difficulty of Wizardry has been rectified in the past week.  Level 3 saw the introduction of ninjas to the monster mix.  Now, Shen Nung is no stranger to fending off teeming throngs of ninja assassins but these ones can kill in a single blow via decapitation.  A pack (murder?) of ninjas can wipe out half the party if they get surprise.  A well-placed Lahalito (fireball) spell can take care of them if the mage can bust it off in time but come on.  He's competing with ninjas here.  I can hardly expect him to keep his shit together when his compadre's heads are flying all over the place.  Thankfully they are the only creatures so far that have the instakill ability.  Stupidly enough, there is another creature in the same level that should be able to decapitate but cannot.

Insert obvious Python caption here.

As the mapping of level three got underway, I was treated to yet another one of Wizardry's tricks.  The layout of the level has a bunch of intersections with a directional message at most of them.  The others are pits, complete with damage taking and an effect that makes it look like one is falling.  Since the damage from the fall itself was enough to kill Shen Nung, I had to restart (as per my rules).  This time the party went without Nung because everyone knew that Wizardry wasn't going to put just one pit in the entire floor.  It didn't take long to find another one.  With the wimpy mage dead this time, the rest of the party ran wildly looking for an elevator or stairs to get back out.  I didn't bother to map while they were down there and I couldn't use Dumapic (location) magic since the mage had died.  It took another pit trap before I realized that level four looked very familiar to level three.  Identical, in fact.  I believed so much in the power of the pit traps that it never occurred to me that they could be faked.  After all, I could see myself falling!  Wizardry impressively warped the very fabric of reality in order to mess with me.  I can't even trust what I'm seeing on the screen.  Perhaps none of these creatures are real.  Perhaps this whole dungeon complex is a single quasi-universal energy consciousness who is just awakening to sentience and is trying to make sense out of what it is to being?

Or perhaps it's just a dick.

My third rule states that if the Nung character should die then the game immediately ends and the last saved state is reloaded.  From a role playing standpoint, my cyber-essence is in the Nung character itself.  Any death immediately blacks me out and I awake back at the nearest saved state (edit: This rule has been altered to allow for resurrection before combat ends.  In death by traps the rule applies as normal).  It also has the intention to increase the difficulty a bit since I tend towards oh-so-killable spellcasters.  In Wizardry however, this rule is a boon as losing an entire party normally leaves the characters and their items in the spot that they died.  Another party has to be made to find and gather them.  Wizardry is so twisted that it has taken a rule that was meant to increase difficulty and somehow exceeded the concept of difficulty itself which then wrapped back around and made it helpful.  How much more twisted can Wizardry get?

"Please save us... from
all the money?"

After finally getting past level 3, progress was a lot more solid for the next two levels.  Nothing too tricksy, just a few tough fights.  One in particular had some high level mages and priests.  The resulting firefight between our spellcasters and theirs left only the hardiest warriors still alive amid the smoking, charred bodies.  Luckily our priest had survived to be able to heal herself and the remaining fighters somewhat.  A search through the dying embers yielded the party's first magic ring.  Somewhat excited by the find, they started scurrying back up to the surface.  About halfway back, the fighter carrying the ring noticed that he was feeling weaker and weaker.  Suspecting the ring, he handed it off to the other fighter who was equally weakened after walking some ways.  Determined to find out what secret power lay in this ring, they kept handing off the ring and letting the priest heal with what little power she had left.  Upon their arrival, they found that it was an aptly named Ring of Death.  It didn't appear to have any other abilities so it was off to Boltac's Trading Post to shuck it off.  The party collectively sprayed from their mouths the drinks they had when Boltac wrote down the selling price of the Ring of Death.

Quarter mil or a ring that slowly
kills you?  Decisions, decisions.

Even after all the weapon and armour upgrades for everyone possible, there is still lots of golds left over.  Resurrection woes are now a thing of the past.  I hope this doesn't go too much to the warrior's heads.  Which they might lose anyway depending on what dwells on the sixth level...