Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

[Archive] Wizardry 8, Ep. 17 – Luke, I am your daughter!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 6, 2015

Back in 2008, I did a playthrough of Wizardry 8, a game I’d missed the first time around. At the time, it was hard to acquire (yay for getting it brought back as a digital title!), and I felt (correctly!) that I’d missed out on a classic title. I blogged my efforts, but with the Great Blog Reboot we lost those articles. Since they’ve been requested, I’m re-posting them now. I hope that with the game now made available again via digital distribution, this may help other people discover this overlooked “final” game in the Sir-Tech series.

Wizardry 8 was the final episode in one of the longest-running computer RPG series of all time, spanning twenty years from 1981 to 2001. I missed the game when it was initially released, and recently got a chance to play through this classic of “old-school” style role-playing games. This series has been a chronicle of my adventures.

And now it finally comes to an end. Well, mostly.

Pee Wee
Scorpia, after reading my previous report and realizing I was about to hit Ascension Peak, emailed me with a cryptic warning: “Pay the Trynnie; life is easier that way. You’ll know when you get there.” It’s nice to get some helpful hints from other players. I guess that’s one advantage from playing a game that is several years old.

As it turns out, her warning was because said Trynnie had a pet: a level 30 giant-sized stone golem by the name of “Pee Wee.” He extorted what amounted to highway robbery from my party, but I figure he’s trying to recoup his investment — and I don’t imagine anybody traveling up Ascension Peak is going to be that short on cash. He even told me that Pee Wee would aid me in my battles.


Wiz8Robot-727871Well, that wasn’t quite the case. As it was, Pee Wee blocked my path, so I HAD to get him involved in a combat just so he’d move out of my way. His combat skills were largely useless – he’d hit maybe one turn in six. When he’d hit, he’d do a respectable amount of damage – but I was seriously considering just getting into a fight with him for bonus XP. He was a wimp.

We made it to some temple, where the robot Altheides appeared and asked us some questions. When we got the answer right, he let us through and we were able to go through a teleporter and place one of the artifacts (the Destinae Dominus) on its pedestal. The room shook, and we took a teleporter out – which took us back to a prior area with some statues.

Meet the Brat
We followed another road, fought some battles, and came to another temple where Altheides appeared again and asked some more questions. We went through the doorway, placed the second artifact (the Chaos Moliri), had another little earthquake, and teleported back to the statues.

On the third path, we met an army of Rapax, led by the Rapax Prince and some demon-gal who resembled the demon-goddess Al-Sedexus. Except this crazy demon-woman’s name was Al-Shakka. I thought that was a pretty cool name. After all, my gadgeteer was named Shakka, kinda close. Yeah, the gadgeteer who ended up… uh… with Al-Sedexus….

Oh. Crap.

Wiz8AlShakka-715859The prince denounced us, and introduced us to his “sister.” Al-Shakka spoke up and removed all doubt that indeed she WAS the love-child of Al-Sedexus and my permanently psychologically scarred gadgeteer, and now she was going to kill us all and stop us from whatever it was that we were doing on Ascension Peak.

Ah, kids. They grow up so fast these days.

Al-Shakka, the prince, about 18 other Rapax (plus six more summoned later), and seven wandering monsters that happened to be in the neighborhood suddenly launched their attack.

This was the most vicious and lengthy battle I’d yet experienced in the game, which is saying something. But in the end, my group killed Shakka’s brat daughter, the Rapax Prince, and everything else within about a half-mile radius, including another group of wandering monsters that jumped into the fight when it was almost over.

Wiz8DSavantPeak-720433The Cosmic Forge
We went through a third temple, answered more of Altheides‘ questions, and placed the third artifact (the Astral Dominae) on its pedestal. Big earthquake, and we left — now what?

After getting lost and wandering around a bit, we followed another path, encountered a bunch of giant monsters, and got to another structure where we found the Dark Savant. He was pissed off at us. He told us we could watch the entire world burn, while he made his way to the Cosmic Circle all by himself to have his revenge. With that, he tried to set off his world-destroying bomb in the tower in Arnika. Yeah, the one we’d disabled. Nothing happened. Now the dude was REALLY annoyed.

The Dark Savant jumped into a convenient teleporter, and a friendly gargoyle, Bela, whom we’d met before egged us on to chase him. We followed, and found ourselves in some mystical platform in outer space. Vi Dominae urged us forward, and we tried to pursue the Dark Savant.

In the meantime, the Savant got to the central circle and found the robot, Altheides, already there. The two argued for a while. The Dark Savant was really annoyed that the other gods – the Cosmic Lords – weren’t there. He wanted his revenge on them. Altheides explained that their time was over, and that they had left. It was time for new gods to step in. Already in a bad mood, the Dark Savant killed Altheides.

By that point, we’d arrived at the scene, and found ourselves in front of the artifacts that control the universe – the Cosmic Forge. In front of us was the book of the entire universe. Whatever was written there – or erased – would come to pass. With it, we could destroy the Dark Savant, and even undo what was already done.

The Dark Savant – Revealed!
We frantically looked for where the Dark Savant’s information was written, and discovered the page of his life…

Wiz8DSRevealed-746579And learned that he was none other than the kind, benevolent god worshipped by all the peaceful and good fuzzy-wuzzy beings in the universe – Phoonzang. For pulling a Prometheus and trying to share the secrets of the universe with mortals, he’d been cast out by his fellow Cosmic Lords and made a mere mortal. For a while, he was a contented old man doing good, but eventually succumbed to anger and frustration so that he “borged out” and became the Dark Savant.

And since Vi Dominae’s family had been the guardians of the artifacts he’d created as Phoonzang, he needed her genetic code to use them to get back to the Cosmic Circle. All he needed was her eye, so he’d plucked it out. That explained her piratey-look in the last couple of games.

The Dark Savant appeared himself to help fill in some of the details. I really appreciate it when the Ultimate Bad Guys begin monologuing.

The Fate of the Universe
So now we had a choice: Join the Dark Savant, because he really deserved to have his revenge; Tear out the pages from the book of the universe where Phoonzang had become banished, became the Dark Savant, and all that; or try to write the Dark Savant out of existence.

I really wasn’t much of a fan of the Dark Savant, so I wasn’t about to join him. As a blogger, I realized that creative writing under so much time pressure (and someone trying to kill me) wasn’t going to result in my best work. So I decided to rip out the pages from the book.

I succeeded. Mostly. The original Phoonzang appeared, before he’d developed anger management issues. But he wasn’t truly there, and the Dark Savant wasn’t totally gone. So we had another fight on our hands. Bella and Vi Dominae joined me in a big fight, and the Dark Savant summoned a bunch of henchman to even things up a bit.

The battle was nowhere near our most difficult. In the end, we kicked his cyborg butt.

Wiz800020-724896So there we were – us, Vi Dominae, Bela, Phoonzang, and the Cosmic Forge. But we had a problem. Tearing out those pages about the Dark Savant also destroyed a good bit of the universe that we’d known.

Oops. Sorry about that.

No matter. Phoonzang said he’d help us out as we restored the universe by writing in the book. And so we got started, pouring out what we knew onto pages and watching them take on reality.

We had become gods. That was pretty cool.

Except for Phoonzang critiquing our writing style. An eternity of THAT could get a little annoying.

Design Notes
I’m going to have a bigger set of notes in another post, since this one is ginormous already.

The Al-Sedexus plotline … with the child of one of my party-members… was a very fun little surprise. Sorry if I spoiled it for you here, but the game is like eight years’ old already (Editorial Note from 2015: Now nearly fourteen) – the statute of limitations on spoilers has to have expired by now. But naming her after my character was a really cool and clever addition that really made things rock.

The final battle against the Dark Savant wasn’t overly difficult, but it was very satisfying. Battles do not need to be overly long, drawn-out, or challenging in order to be fun and satisfying.

But the big win here for this game was this: How many RPGs end with your characters becoming GODS? Only two that I’ve played  (that I can think of) – this one, and Baldur’s Gate II. As rewards for a job well done go, it is a little hard to top that.

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