Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Wizardry 8 Part XVI: Return of the Demon Goddess
Continuing my adventures playing the final game of the classic series, Wizardry. Wizardry 8 was originally released in 2001, but I only acquired it recently via E-Bay. So far, I've found it has stood the test of time fairly well. I've been blogging my progress throughout the game (which took a pause during the holiday season), and discussing some notes I've made on the games' design, which many consider to be the last "old-school" style mainstream Western RPG. They just don't make 'em like this anymore... except for the indies.
Once again - I think I'm pretty close to the end of the game, but I'm not quite there yet. But on my way to Ascension Peak and my dark date with destiny, my party took some time to flirt with a topless demon-goddess. We're such a naughty group of adventurers!
When the Rapax Get Bored with Battle, You KNOW It's Gone On Too Long...
If you may remember from my last Wizardry 8 post, I'd just mowed through a hundred Rapax Templars to expose the secret plot of the Rapax King, who had allied with the Dark Savant. This was after killing hundreds more Rapax in the Rift and in their own castle. I'd used this information to get the Umpani and T'Rang to ally with each other, and used that combined intelligence and firepower to blow up the Dark Savant's ship.
Making my way to a previously-discovered path to Ascension Peak for the final showdown, I found that the Rapax had blocked it off with a massive landslide. A bunch of low-level Rapax were patrolling the area, and mocked me with their announcement of how they rocked, I sucked, only they can go to Ascension Peak, nyah-nyah-nyah. I sent them to the Ascension Peak in the sky, and decided to head back to Castle Rapax to see if I could find out how they were planning on making it to the peak after causing the landslide.
Once I got there, it was once again nearly non-stop combat. At one point, I had so many Rapax lined up to fight me (six groups averaging six or seven Rapax each) as they chased me into a dead end that THEY actually got bored with the fight and left.
I'd maneuvered myself around a corner to reduce my exposure to ranged attacks and spells, but the line to beat on me went all the way around yet another corner. As the saying goes, "Out of fight, out of mind..." - or something like that. Anyway, many of the Rapax at the tail end of the mob got bored and wandered off. They didn't go far - once the fight was over, I bumped back into them and the conflict resumed.
I decided I'd like a little more RPC (recruitable PC) help, so I teleported back to Arnika to see if Vi Dominae would like to join us. She said she'd love to, and she always enjoyed getting together with "us guys." That lasted for about ten seconds, until we teleported directly back into the castle. At that point, we discovered that Vi Dominae could really, really gripe and complain in a nearly constant stream. She complained about being there, about always hooking up with losers, etc.
But she was able to materially contribute to the slaughter. She may not have been fighting at her peak, but she proved she was still able to kick some Rapax butt. Eventually, we killed enough Rapax that we could wander about unmolested near the throne room and feast hall area for about three minutes.
Let's Not Bicker and Argue Over Who Killed Who...
As it turns out, while the Templars now hated me along with all the rest of the Rapax, the offer made to me by the demon goddess Al-Sedexus still stood. I wandered into a Rapax Guard above the throne room who did not attack me - instead, he demanded to know who sent me. He snorted at any answer I gave him. I found another door that he was not protecting, however, and wandered through. Eventually I came to a Rapax named Al-Adryian who asked me if I was ready to become initiates in the church of Al-Sedexus or something.
Yeah, sure, why not? I had nothing better to do, except to save the world 'n stuff, but that could wait.
The initiation was no worse than your average frat-hazing. We had to acquire three pieces of clothing, answer three riddles, and kill a bunch of elementals. Oh, and dress one of our party members - the gadgeteer - in said clothing.
And I'm not sure - but I think he had to have sex with the topless demon-goddess in an altar room when we summoned her. I don't know for sure - she slipped us something in our drinks or something, and we all fell asleep to ecstatic sounds from Al-Sedexus the Demon Goddess. Afterwards, we found our poor gadgeteer quivering in the corner in the fetal position, refusing to talk about what had happened while the rest of the group was passed out on the floor for hours.
What's more, he was now under a curse. He couldn't leave the castle and rift area without suffering constant, slow damage. No magic would undo the curse. On the plus side, all the Rapax in the castle decided to let bygones be bygons and no longer attacked me. Nevermind the entire castle was stinking with the smell of hundreds of dead Rapax that had fallen under our blades - now that we'd let the demon-goddess have her way with our poor gadgeteer, all was forgiven.
A little bit of exploration revealed a portal to Ascension Peak! Huzzah! We went through the portal and arrived on the mountain road. All was well.... except for the gadgeteer, who was now taking constant damage.
This wouldn't do. Our gadgeteer has finally gotten to the level (after a flirtation with multi-classing that I wish I'd never tried) where he could use some seriously powerful gadgets a couple of times before passing out from exhaustion. We didn't want to lose him. Besides that, he sucks up some hits in combat that would otherwise hurt our spellcasters. And apparently he makes good bait for demon goddesses. So he's a valued member of the team that we couldn't leave gimped like that.
So I set a teleport location there in Ascension Peak and decided to go back to Rapax Rift to have a talk with Al-Sedexus. Unfortunately, this required us to go back through the castle, and Vi Dominae left the party immediately. Since I didn't want to clear out my other two portal locations for my other two casters (one goes directly to the inn in Arnika, the other to the Umpani fort), I figured I was on my own for a while.
The Rapax were very gracious and nice to me as I walked through their castle into the rift. Once there, it was only a walk around the corner into Al-Sedexus's temple. The demon goddess was there. I clicked to talk on her, and she told us she'd heard we were planning on leaving her. Since we could only do that feet-first, she immediately attacked us. On her first round, she summoned a bunch of templars to aid her in the fight.
We focused our attacks on her. As tough as the Rapax generally are at over 500 hitpoints each, Al-Sedexus had about twice as many hitpoints. The gal was no pushover, in spite of being armored with nothing more than an occasionally writing snake. In the end, we triumphed and grabbed the bag of goodies she left in her wake. We hadn't yet killed any of the templars, and I decided to experiment by running away rather than fighting them to the bitter end.
Mysteriously, the castle is still quite friendly to us. Apparently killing their demon-goddess isn't all that important to them. So long as I let the templars live, I guess.
With that, I bought and sold some stuff with the blacksmith there at the castle, and teleported out to the Umpani stronghold and to Arnika to pick up supplies (ammunition, mainly) and two of my favorite RPCs - Vi Dominae, and Sparkle the Trynnie Ranger. Upon teleporting back to Ascension Peak, we found Vi Dominae has no problem being with us there. Sparkle, on the other hand, has begun whining. Incessantly. Asking when we could go home. It's like baby-sitting a whiney-but-cute eight-year old.
An eight-year-old who can insta-kill with arrows at a hundred paces.
Faction systems are an interesting thing in RPGs. Wizardry 8 is no exception. From what I can tell, if I'd have killed the six Rapax Templar guards summoned to aid Al-Sedexus in a remote cave temple with nobody watching, I'd have hurt my faction with the Rapax. But by leaving them ALIVE to tell their story of how I came in and killed their goddess and fought with them, my relationship with the Rapax is unharmed.
Does that make any kind of sense?
I'd really love to see an RPG where faction is handled in a realistic, organic fashion. I realize that this would be difficult to pull off, as most combats in RPGs are to the death, and bodies tend to magically vanish over time. And there seems to be an infinite supply of potential opponents in the world, so it's not like anybody might NOTICE that their factional population has dropped significantly since the player characters came to town.
I can see the simulated conversation between randomly generated NPCs now:
"Hey Bob, I've noticed a pretty high turnover in respawns since the group of adventurers started wandering our zone."Well, okay. Maybe that's not just something you could drop into an existing game - you'd have to build the game around it. It'd be cool, though, huh?
"Those guys coming towards us right now?"
"Interesting observation. Maybe we ought to mention that to someb... ARGH! ICK! My torso! My precious torso!"
The initiation quest for the Templars was, unfortunately, not the best. Though answering riddles was kinda fun and different (not for this game - there are a lot of riddles - but it's not something you see much of anymore). But otherwise it was pretty much just an ordinary run-the-gauntlet, kill-the-guardian-monsters thing.
The most amusing part of this experience is that I clearly did things out-of-order. Fortunately, it didn't break the game, though it's unclear to me if I could have found my way through the portal without going through the initiation process.
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I just had a mental image of an NPC approaching the party and saying "Now, before you kill me yet again, let me tell you about ... hrrkk!"
In full pixellated gloryPost a Comment
I really prefer the pixies.
I really prefer the pixies.
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