Sunday, August 11, 2019

Game 85: Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

I’ve hacked together a “fixed” version of Wizardry for the Apple II which restores the initial game state to what I believe is the correct out-of-the-box status. To my knowledge, none of the disk images on the Internet except for this one are correct. The main difference is the restoration of a miniboss on level 4 who can, intentionally, only be fought once, and is then deleted from the disk forever, and his unique treasure goes with him. On every Apple II copy out there that I’ve looked at, this miniboss is already gone, and his unique treasure has been sold to Boltac’s.

I’ve brought back this miniboss, and adjusted Boltac’s initial stock to match the values seen in the PC and NES ports, which I believe were also intended to be the initial values in the Apple II version.

This version is the one I’ll be playing, and you can download it here, along with my notes on the changes:

Two emulation notes - first, configure the emulator to emulate an Apple ][+, and not an Apple //e, or else the ingame font will look funny. Second, make sure the boot disk is mounted in read-only mode, or it won’t work!

Update: As of January 11th 2020, there's been a WOZ release of Wizardry v2.1 which more or less confirms my assumptions to be correct. I was off on Boltac's stock of cursed short swords (which he won't sell you anyway), but the rest of the initial game state matches my fixed version, including the miniboss. Note that if you want to play that version, you will need to use the ingame utilities to create a duplicate scenario disk, since MAME and AppleWin can't write to WOZ files yet, and I could only get that utility to work correctly in MAME. 

Update 2: In March 2023, Eric Labelle, aka Snafaru, released an extensive update with over 100 bug fixes, data fixes, enhancements, and bits of restored missing content, some of it not seen in any official release of the game. It may be downloaded here:

You can read the manual here:

I’ve played through Wizardry several times already. My first exposure was the “Story of Llylgamyn” trilogy on SNES, played on an emulator, sometime around 2004. I didn’t get very far, but soon decided to play through the DOS-based Ultimate Wizardry Archives versions instead. I played through the first seven over the course of a few years, and as of this writing, haven’t yet gotten around to playing Wizardry 8. Sometime after finishing 7, I learned that the first five games had Japan-only 3D graphical remakes on the PS1, and I imported copies of them so I could play them again with all of the 32-bit bells and whistles.

Fast-forward to now, and Wizardry is an excellent candidate to replay for Data Driven Gamer. For one, there just is so much data in this game to extract and analyze. In fact, I’ve already done a good amount of data analysis already in preparation for my replay – that’s how I discovered something was funny about the disk images. Second, I’ve never actually played the original Apple II version – even the DOS-based Ultimate Wizardry Archives represent the state of the game in 1998 rather than 1981, so the original may yet have some game experience that I have yet to untap.

I’ll be sticking to my rule about saving only after 30m of play. I tried and failed to beat Rogue this way, but I’m pretty sure I can do it in Wizardry, thanks to its slower pace, lessened reliance on randomness, and option to do things like rest in town or grind.

Starting off, I reviewed the manual. We take it for granted now, but as of 1981, this is, by far, the best paper manual I've seen in a computer game. A far cry from Akalabeth's dot-matrix printings on a series of cocktail napkins, this is 27 pages of well organized and useful gameplay instructions, with silly illustrations by Will McLean, one of the O.G. D&D comic artists.

Re-releases of the Zorks, Ultima, and to a lesser extent Akalabeth would get similar treatment in the future, but Wizardry alone came right out the gate with this kind of quality, which could very well be owed to Wizardry's PLATO roots, but the overall style anticipates later DOS RPGs more closely than it does the PLATO helpfiles, front-loaded with overviews rather than nitty-gritty details, and gameplay concepts are described broadly except when specifics are absolutely necessary (such as the controls). There's no list of monsters and weapons as there were in Moria and Oubliette, but there is a complete list of spells and their effects, which is probably the most PLATO-like part of the manual.

Booting into the game, there’s an elaborately-animated intro sequence:

The next screen reveals something interesting:

This is version 2.1, released in January 1982! Wizardry has a release date of September 1981. Could there have been an earlier version, perhaps 2.0 or even 1.0, which existed in 1981? Does it exist anywhere today? And what changed? I know that Wizardry had been prototyped as early as September 1980, and its release had been delayed thanks to Apple not yet having a consumer-ready Pascal runtime environment.

Delving into the utilities shows a clue about at least one thing that may have changed:

If you shut off your computer while exploring the dungeon, your party members will be stuck in a sort of limbo, where they aren’t available to recruit in town, but you also cannot resume their dungeon expedition in order to return them to town. This utility zaps those characters back to town, and evidently an early build had aged them 10 years as a cruel disincentive to abuse the feature.

The manual at MOCAGH marked “First Release” mentions this penalty, while another manual marked “Second edition” doesn’t. I have to conclude that I am playing the second edition, and the first release may be lost to time. Perhaps version 1.0 was the prototype, and version 2.0 was the first commercial release.

Starting the game proper, the castle and town are pretty austere, displayed entirely in text using the stock Apple II font, but in the Apple II's high-res color mode and not the sharper text mode for some reason.

The first step is to go to the training grounds on the edge of town and roll some characters. Here it switches to text mode - note that the font appears sharper than it does in town.

I had never really taken advantage of Wizardry’s class change system before, so I decided that this time, I’d abuse it as much as possible. Learned spells, HP, and some amount of SP are kept when changing classes, so a character who has been a high level fighter, mage, and cleric will have lots of HP/SP and know all of the spells, and can still change into a class with intrinsic abilities.

To that end, the gnome seemed like the best race for multiclassing, as it doesn’t have any particularly low stats.

I’d also never had any Lord characters before, so I decided I’d make my party good, except for the thief, who would have to be neutral.

When rolling new characters, you get a random number of bonus attribute points to assign, usually 7-10, but there’s a slight change of getting 17-20 points instead - and a very small chance of getting 27-30 points. I re-rolled each character until I got 17-20 points.

Odds are a bit less than 10% that this happens

My last character, without intention, hit the points jackpot.

Odds were less than 1% this would happen! Still not enough to start as a Lord though.

My army of munchkins:

Owing to its PLATO multiplayer roots, you don’t just start the game with a party of characters you rolled. You have to visit Gilgamesh’s Tavern, where you add available characters to your party. You can password-protect your characters so that only you may use them; not really something we would value nowadays, but back in 1981 you might have shared a computer and your single copy of Wizardry with your family or even your entire school. You might have opted to let your level 11 samurai freelance himself to any player that wanted a powerful escort, but you might have also password-protected him to prevent your reckless siblings / classmates from getting him killed or worse.

A full party recruited at Gilgamesh's Tavern

Next stop, Boltac’s! My characters had 805 gold between them, not enough to buy Bolcac’s good stuff, but enough to get some starting gear for everyone.

Boltac's shopping interface

Reviewing prices and stats, I made this shopping list:
  • Fighters
    • 2x long swords
    • 2x breast plates
    • 2x large shields
  • Priest
    • Anointed flail
    • Chain mail
  • Thief
    • Short sword
  • Mages
    • 2x daggers

I equipped everyone at Gilgamesh’s, and went into the dungeon.

Only the fighters and priest had any armor, so I’d have to be careful to not let my anemic thief and mages in the rearguard face any combat until I could better equip them. They'd be safe on this level, as long as my vanguard held up.

Putting Luke the thief in the rearguard meant he’d have no use at all in combat. Only characters in the first three ranks may attack, and thieves have no back-row abilities at all. Luke would only be there to watch, and open treasure chests afterward. I could have, instead, swapped him with Parker, so that he could at least fight while Parker cast Priest spells, but I felt Luke was too vulnerable compared to Parker.

The Apple II version’s tiny dungeon view.

One of the not-so-well-known secrets of Wizardry is that when entering a level, a number of designated “treasure rooms” are randomly seeded with up to nine treasure chests. Entering a treasure room that contains a treasure chest guarantees an enemy encounter with a treasure chest reward, and this is the only way to obtain treasure chests.

Red regions are treasure rooms. Original provided by John Hubbard of

I headed for such a treasure room, and had my first encounter.

No point in Katino, skeletons never sleep!

My party won without taking a scratch, partly thanks to Parker’s Dispell, but exhausted our mages’ spell points in doing so.

No treasure chest here, but the gold reward was doubled!

I returned to the castle to recharge my spells at the stables, and in the meantime, picked up a large shield for my priest, and leather armor and small shield for my thief.

The second attempt scored us some armor. At this point, I rolled a new character, a bishop, whose sole purpose would be to identify items.

Fred the Bishop

It took a few tries, but eventually he identified it as another breast plate, which I gave to Parker, and sold his chain mail for enough to buy my mages some robes.

I pushed my luck a bit on the next expedition and endured three treasure rooms, exhausting my spell points and putting Morty and Parker on the brink of death.

Traps can devastate you, but this one was untrapped.

With the accumulated gold from these fights, I bought helmets for my fighters, and then had every cheap item worth buying.

My party after the third expedition

After some repeated trips, Parker suddenly leveled up when I had him rest in the stables. I had the rest of the characters rest in turn, and they all leveled as well.

Sometimes your stats go down, and this gets more common with old age.

One annoying gameplay pattern in Wizardry is the healing cycle. Money is tight, so it’s better to heal with priests, who recharge their healing spells for free for a night at the stables. But you can only cast them in the dungeon. So, to heal your party, you go to the inn, have your priest rest, then go into the dungeon, camp, inspect your priest, cast DIOS repeatedly, then return to town, and repeat. It gets less bad as your priest learns better healing spells, but never stops being somewhat tedious.

My party’s new stats.

Luke got paralyzed by a misidentified stunner trap, and the Temple of Cant took most of my money to heal him.

Healing is free, for a large fee

At a party level of 3, I was able to explore the entire dungeon on a single expedition, collecting bronze and silver keys in the process. The monsters mostly fled, and the rewards left behind weren’t terrific, though the small piles of gold added up enough that I could buy Boltac’s only Plate Mail +1 and a Shield +1.

But the real treasure is in the lower-right quadrant of the map:

Murphy’s Ghosts are robust foes with 10d10+6 HP, -3 AC, regeneration, 40% spell resistance, and immunity to fire and cold spells, but they don’t hit very hard. Your reward for beating them? 4,450 XP per ghost divided among the party – worth more than ten kobolds. You don’t even start encountering monsters with comparable XP rewards until dungeon level 7! And this encounter is guaranteed and repeatable, making it the go-to XP grinding location for most of the game.

It was a long fight, so I MATU’d everyone a few times

The encounter was enough to level everyone, and with a few more I leveled everyone to 6, and descended to level 2.

Take another step and you fall in a pit.

Level 2 posed little problem for my party. Barring an area in the center of the map only accessible by elevator, I hit every treasure room in a single trip, and gathered the plot tokens within – namely, a bear and frog statue sealed behind doors that I unlocked with the keys from the first floor, and a golden key in a sealed-off room which required both statues to enter.

The frog statue. Is this an allusion to something?

I used spells in a few of the tougher looking fights, but returned with plenty of HP and SP to spare. For this effort, Luke hit level 7, and everyone else gained over half the XP required for it.

I took Fred the Bishop with a reduced-size party down to the Murphy’s Ghosts to level him up a bit, just so that he’d have a better chance of doing his one job of identifying items without accidentally equipping something with a curse. By only taking my three front-line party members plus Fred, he could get 1/4th of the XP instead of only 1/6th, and still be protected from all melee combat in the back row. A few combats raised Fred to level 5, and my frontline fighters the rest of the way to level 8.

With the money earned from level 2 and these fights, I bought Fred a Staff + 2, a Small Shield, and leather armor so he could join in on the frontline fun and get 1/3rd the XP. This got Fred a lot more beat up than I anticipated, but a single fight raised him and my two fighters another level.

Regrouping and re-equipping my main party, I descended to level 3. It was tougher. On my first trip, I used spells quite a bit, exhausting my best circle after just a few fights, but the XP reward was enough to level up my lagging mages.

One of the unusual features of this level, which I haven’t seen anyone else mention, is a fixed-location fight near the upper-right quadrant. What makes this unusual is that this location not only spawns higher level enemies than the level normally features, but there is an absolute limit to how many times they will spawn. After five encounters, it permanently reverts to a standard treasure room with standard-leveled encounters. Even starting a new game with brand new characters won’t change it back.

Another level 3 run was cut short when Parker got poisoned and I hadn’t any cure spells left, and had to hightail back to town. Parker had gained enough XP to hit level 8.

A third run got Morty killed by ninjas. I ran back to town, and just barely had enough to resurrect him. Luke, Bo, and Sam reached level 8 from the experience.

A fourth run was once again cut short when ninjas surprised my party and poisoned my entire front guard. I had exactly three casts worth of Latumofis, but Luke misidentified their treasure and sprang the poison needle trap inside (but found stuff in it). Charles was the toughest, so I used my casts to heal the other three. This didn’t help much, as a random encounter with capybaras poisoned my whole front row all over again. Regardless, I made it back with everyone alive and with HP to spare, and my fighters reached level 9.

A fifth run trashed my party. I encountered some gargoyles and spirits, who resisted my spells, and the spirits cast multiple rounds of Molito on my whole party, killing everyone but my two fighters. They ran and made it back to town, but were too broke to resurrect anybody. So I recruited Fred, had him heal my fighters, and farmed Murphy’s Ghosts for a while until I could afford to resurrect everyone. The experience took my fighters to level 10 and Fred to level 9.

A sixth run was successful at hitting each treasure room. There weren’t any particularly important locations or any plot tokens, and I got lost a few times in the repetitive layout, but it yielded enough experience to bring my fighters to level 11 and everyone else to level 9, plus a rare Mace +1 for Parker, and enough loot to buy some Copper Gloves for Morty.

Level 4, like with levels 2 and 3, can be reached by stairs or by elevator. Directly north of the elevator shaft was a stern warning.

Kicking it down sounded an alarm, and my next step set off an encounter which I won easily.

Beyond was a room with a door marked "Monster allocation center."

In any of the copies of Wizardry 1 on Asimov, the LVL 7 Fighters won’t be present in this encounter. As I mentioned, they are programmed to be fought only once, and are then deleted from the disk forever, and their unique treasure goes with them.

I had my fighters attack the priests, I had Parker cast Porfic on himself for a -4 AC bonus, Luke parried (what else could he do?), and my mages both cast the group-damaging Dalto spell on the fighters. This wiped out the fighters and hurt the priests, but the spellcasters did some good damage to my whole party. The ninja, whose strikes are capable of decapitation, missed.

Next, I had my fighters attack the weakened priests, and had my spellcasters all target the mages with their best group-damaging spells. This killed all of the spellcasters. The lone ninja hit Morty for some nonlethal damage.

On the last round, my fighters attacked the ninja, and Parker went for an instant Badi kill. The spell failed, but the fighters felled him, and I claimed the reward inside the chest.

Past this room was an antechamber filled with useless once-magical trinkets, and beyond it was Trebor’s office. He congratulated us for surviving his proving grounds, and revealed our quest.





This, however, was no time to go joyriding in the elevator. I returned to the castle posthaste.

Among the treasures dropped by the LVL 7 Fighters is the notorious Deadly Ring. Long ago, the first time I ever played this game, I stupidly equipped it. It’s a cursed item that drains HP until the wearer dies, and costs more to remove than you'll ever make. However, it’s worth 250,000 gold if you sell it. I gave it (along with my other treasures) to Fred to identify. If he was successful, I’d never have to worry about money again. If not, then Fred would be cursed to die, and I’d never be able to remove it from his corpse, or ever be able to find the ring again.

Luckily, he was successful, and at his level, the odds were in his favor. The other, less notable treasures, were a latumofis potion and a Rod of Flame, which I gave to Bo more for the fire protection than for the ability to cast Mahalito.

At this point, there wasn’t that much worth buying from Boltac’s. I got a very expensive Short Sword +1 for Luke and Staves +2 for my mages – the latter almost completely pointless since I was certainly screwed if I ever got into a situation where my mages would need to fight with melee weapons, but this was an upgrade in theory.

With the express elevator at my disposal, I could take it directly down to the entrance to Werdna’s lair and take on his minions… if I wanted to get obliterated. Time enough for that later, I suppose.


  1. Pretty sure that frog statue is just a reference to Kermit and his standard arm flailing.

  2. I used to play Wizardry with one of my best childhood friends, I'm not sure he ever won the game though. My own experience started with mowing yards and saving money to buy Wizardy, only to find out that it was not compatible with our Tandy 1000... argh! Fortunately, our small independent software dealer had an ace up his sleeve and let me exchange for Ultima III. I never really made it back to Wizardy on my own at that point.

    My friend's computer was an ancient PC XT clone with a green monochrome monitor... quite the experience!

  3. Murphy's Ghost is the only way I won Wizardry. It might be interesting to actually play through without that crutch, but after losing a party at Werdna I didn't feel much like grinding through the whole dungeon again. I've also only gone through the game with starting six fighters that became other classes for the increased HP in order to survive a tiltowait casting.

    1. Good idea! I needed that advice for my next playthrough!

  4. Yeah, the frog and bear are Kermit and Fozzie.

  5. "Healing is free, for a large fee." I snorted. Isn't that the truth?

  6. Even though you bailed early, is the SNES one worth trying? (I played the DOS version off the CD collection about 10 years ago.)

    1. I honestly can't say. I personally don't have any particular desire to go back and replay the SNES version, and nothing about it sticks in my memory, but if you're curious, it can't hurt to try it.

    2. The SNES version is one of those remakes that tone down the difficulty somewhat, even in ways that clearly go against the original design. Not a huge fan.

  7. I've been playing the Apple II version as well and had no idea about that missing boss battle. I just picked up the ribbons without realizing I was supposed to have an epic battle first (the mages at the door were already pretty tough). Do you know if there are similar issues in either of the next two Wizardry installments?

    Interesting about the version ambiguity. There were several instances where I closed the emulator while in the maze and couldn't get my party back without a restore. I was glad to see there was no 10-year age penalty (that would have been super cruel), but wondered why they mentioned it to begin with. I *do* use save states to back up my games, but I try to keep their use to a minimum because I've had them cause crashes in other games (Apple II crashes, not emulator crashes).

    Oh, and did you jack up the speed on the Apple II emulator? I found the authentic speed to be unbearably slow...

    1. I don't know about any issues with later Wizardry installments, but I will be dissecting the available disk images before playing and checking for anything funny like that.

      I played using enhanced disk speed, but authentic CPU speed. I think I would have torn my hair out if I had to use authentic disk speed, and even with enhanced disk speed, there were still a lot of interruptions I could have done without, but overall I didn't find it unbearable.

  8. This game (along with Wiz2) has just been WOZ'd, and contains the missing miniboss as well as a Boltac's inventory almost exactly matching my fixed version. I've added a paragraph about it to the intro.

    1. Have you ever tried the newly WOZ'd version under MAME? I just grabbed it from the Internet Archive, but couldn't get it to work with MAME 0.227, and I'm wondering if that is MAME's fault or a problem with the Internet Archive's image. It boots to the title screen, but when you press a key to move on to the first menu, the screen just goes blank and the emulated machine hangs.

    2. On further investigation, this looks like a MAME problem; when I booted the disk under AppleWin (running under Wine 5.0), it could get past the title screen to the first menu just fine. I assume there's something about MAME's disk emulation that Wizardry's disk code doesn't like.

    3. It works for me on 0.226. Make sure the boot disk WOZ file is set to read-only, or else it will hang, as it would on real hardware if the disk is not write-protected.

      AppleWin mounts the disk image as write-protected based on WOZ metadata, so with that, you don't need to mark the file as read-only.

    4. Huh. I just tried 0.226, but it didn't work either. I've been mounting the file with access mode read-only in every case, so that shouldn't be the culprit unless something is going wrong with MAME's write-protection logic.

      (When I tried AppleWin, I also explicitly set the file to be mounted read-only, since I knew nothing about AppleWin's WOZ metadata sensing.)

      Could there be some other difference between the systems we are emulating? I'm doing a standard Apple II+ with Apple II 16K Language Card and Apple Disk II NG controller (16-sector).

      Also I'm running at standard emulation speed, no speedups.

    5. The file itself needs to have the read-only attribute. It's not enough to just mount it in read-only access mode. I tested this myself with a fresh copy of MAME 0.227, using Apple II+ with the default configuration.

      Also, AppleWin doesn't give me any option to set the file's access mode. For a dsk, I would set this by right-clicking the disk slot button and getting a dropdown menu, but when I mount a woz, the options are greyed out.

    6. > The file itself needs to have the read-only attribute. It's not enough to just mount it in read-only access mode. I tested this myself with a fresh copy of MAME 0.227, using Apple II+ with the default configuration.

      Huh. And that works on my end too: turning off the file's write permissions makes it work with both MAME 0.226 and 0.227. Good to have a solution! The current MAME behavior is a bit weird and confusing. I would think that if MAME says it's setting the access mode to read-only, the file permissions on its host system shouldn't override that. I should ask the MAME devs about that.

      > Also, AppleWin doesn't give me any option to set the file's access mode. For a dsk, I would set this by right-clicking the disk slot button and getting a dropdown menu, but when I mount a woz, the options are greyed out.

      Ah, now I see what you mean; I didn't know about and didn't check the disk button context menu. I selected the image file for drive 1 from the Disk tab in the AppleWin Configuration window. When you select a disk image file from there, you get a dialog box which has a check box at the bottom labeled "Open as read-only", which I activated. This dialog box doesn't seem to test the file type or extension, since the check box remains active even for a .woz file. But the context menu reveals that this check box doesn't actually do anything in this case, as you explained.

    7. My guess is that MAME's read-only access mode doesn't actually simulate the write-protected notch that is required for Wizardry's copy protection routine to work, and simply causes all disk writes to vanish into the aether. This isn't a WOZ-specific thing either; my "fixed" DSK copy also will not work in MAME unless the file itself is read-only.

      AppleWin does seem to handle the WOZ format better than MAME does. Reading the metadata is the more logical approach, since the write-protection is a physical attribute of the disk that ideally should be modeled. Also last time I checked, MAME wasn't capable of persisting WOZ writes to disk, not even in write-to-diff mode.

  9. I remember playing this with friends for an insane amount of time in 1981-82 til we finally defeated Werdna. We were in 8th grade and after getting killed repeatedly we learned we had to read every word of the manual, keep creating characters until we had 6 characters with high attribute points and pool the gold from all of the deleted characters to start with Boltac's best items, and to accurately map the levels using Dumapic and graph paper while kicking every wall looking for secret doors. Most important of all was to back up our characters after every expedition.

    We finished 1 & 2 without any cheats but it took a long long time. I think we thought we were to old for this by the time the 3rd scenario came out. It's crazy almost 40 years later and I still remember Lomilwa, Maporfic, Bamatu, Dios, Dial, Dialma, Madi, and our favorite spell of all Tiltowait.

  10. You might be interested to know that the reason for the text looking funny is apparently an incompatibility in the Pascal runtime. By default Pascal tries to invoke 80-column mode. This is the default when working with Apple Pascal. You can change this behaviour by altering a bit flag on the disk which forces 40 column mode. Wizardry actually has this flag set. So what's the problem? Apple Pascal 1.0 came out around the same time as the II+ and the Apple 80 column card had not been invented yet. So it attempes to disable the prevailing standard card. The Videx Videoterm 80. Which has a different firmware layout and the address that gets to disable the Videx card. - ends up entering this oddball 80/40 mode on the Apple IIe and //c.

  11. Ahab, thanks for the help with AppleWin.

    I'm playing Wiz1 and I was wondering what I should be doing when you boot the game and it asks for the "scenario master" disk and the "scenario duplicate" disk. I've played the game a decent amount already on the AppleWin emulator and I've always only been using 1 scenario disk. When it asks for the "scenario master" I put in the scenario disk and then when it asks for the "scenario duplicate" disk I just leave the master in there and hit enter and it always works fine.

    Should I create a duplicate of the scenario and use that when it asks for it? And how would I create a duplicate? Just make a copy of the master scenario disk file and rename it duplicate?

    1. For my Wiz1 crack you can just use the scenario master, but for WOZ images (including later Wizardries) you will need to make duplicates. The WOZ copies know the difference between master and duplicate and will refuse to run on the master. The purpose is to keep the master disk pristine (but it checks for the master first so that you can't just give unlimited duplicates to your friends).

      You make a duplicate by using the Utilities on the boot disk and then following the instructions.

  12. I never get wrapped up in this game, and I find it hard to see why you like it so much. It’s frustrating when my characters die

    1. For you, me, and so many, many others...

      To be honest, I'm pretty sure either nostalgia or historical interest were driving factors for many, if not most, of us who decided to revisit this game. It was a very impressive achievement when it was new, and there really wasn't anything like it at the time, when personal computers themselves were still a very new thing and astoundingly crude by modern standards. But this game was also brutally unforgiving, in retrospect to the point of being downright unfair. Below a certain point in the dungeon, you can very easily be surprised and slaughtered by the wrong sort of wandering monsters, with no chance to save yourself, no matter how carefully you play. Certain hidden game bugs make the unfairness worse! Much of the game's play value, if you can call it that, lay in just throwing party after party into the meatgrinder in the slim hope than one, someday, would finally make it through...

      To a degree, this may have reflected the way pencil-and-paper Dungeons & Dragons, the game that inspired Wizardry, was sometimes played at that time. Though now we think of that game as ideally involving extended development of long-lived player characters, back then the reverse was often true. Gary Gygax originally designed D&D to have characters that were easy to roll up and just as easy to lose, with short, eventful, violent lives spent in dungeons that were brutal deathtraps. (A famous early TSR Dungeon Module named "Tomb of Horrors", written by Gygax himself, is perhaps the archetype of this view of D&D.)

      Anyway, I myself encountered Wizardry I in my teens when it was new, and very quickly got, frankly, traumatized when I got lost while mapping the 1st level, thanks to some rather unexpected features of that place. The mental image of being lost in pitch blackness, even though only on a computer, was a bit much for my overactive imagination. I continued a little further, but I really didn't have the heart to stick with it. So when I came back to the game, nearly 40 years later, it was in no small part with the idea of "let's finally get through this damned thing"! :D And, not having the patience to go through the original cycle of grind/lose party/build new party/grind/lather-rinse-and-repeat, I eventually decided to blatantly cheat by making extensive use of emulator state-saving to ensure I would never get wiped out or greatly set back in progress. I just wanted to get through the old game and be done with it. Well, I managed that.

      Consider this my confession. :)

    2. In my retrospective of Wizardry, I actually found it to be quite a bit fairer than I remembered it. Absolutely unforgiving, but even that was part of the appeal - the combat, the dungeon exploration, and the agonizing trips back to town after fights gone badly were all suitably tense with such high stakes, and unlike the PLATO games that inspired it, the gameplay is deep enough that success or failure felt like a consequence of my decisions and not just down to luck. I would not have rated it as high as I did if I had been going from memory, though had my session been terminated by a surprise encounter against powerful spellcasters obliterating my party with powerful turn 1 spells, perhaps it would have been soured.

      Wizardry III, on the other hand, is unfair to the point of it being flawed.

  13. Hi Ahab.

    I do not know how else to reach you.

    The scenario I put on Asimov already has the proper inventory (as per the original "always in inventory bit, the rest is out" and boss fight.

    You can reach me at to discuss.



  14. Recently, a WOZ file of 1.0 surfaced on the Archive. Mind posting about it?

    1. I assume you are referring to the copy dated 05-Sep-81? This copy doesn't have a version number on it, so it isn't necessarily v1.0, but it could be. I did take a look at it, and though I don't have the means to analyze its code to find the full extent of its differences, I did poke around a bit and also extracted the data tables to compare with 1982's version 2.1, and it does give an impression of an incomplete build.

      One thing that isn't different is that, even in this early version, the Thundarr Easter egg and level 7 fire dragons are still disabled.

      Here's a list of differences I found:
      * There's no scenario backup utility, and the game does not prompt you to use a backup disk. Any changes made to the scenario are permanent.
      * There is a character backup utility, but there doesn't seem to be any way to restore them.
      * The lost character restore utility has its 10 year penalty intact.
      * Level 10's monster table includes the possibility to spawn Vampire Lords, Werdnas (yes, really), High Ninjas, and High Priests in random encounters.
      * The richest treasures can drop deadly rings and also item 94, which doesn't exist and will probably give you a corrupted item.
      * In levels 4, 8, & 9, some of the dead space areas are missing the one-way doors that let you escape should you MALOR into them.
      * Levels 8 & 9 do not have any room flags set except for a single tile in level 8's spinner area.

      Item differences:
      Thieves can use CHAIN MAIL (but not its enchanted or cursed varieties)
      Priests can use HELM, HELM +1, HELM + 2 (EVIL), and CURSED HELMET
      LATUMOFIS POT. has unlimited uses.
      SCROLL/BADIOS is instead a one-use POTION OF DIOS. Note that this item's unidentified name in v2.1 is PAPER rather than SCROLL like the others.
      THIEVES DAGGER is of type MISC instead of WEAPON.
      DEADLY RING is worth $10 instead of $500,000.

      Monster differences:
      HIGHWAYMAN has class "Undead" instead of "Fighter."
      MURPHY'S GHOST has the "run" ability instead of the "sleep" ability. Good luck farming them now!
      MURPHY'S GHOST hits for 1d0+1 instead of 1d1+1. In other words, 1 damage instead of 2.

      Low-level monsters in the September build have better odds of spawning with partners.
      BUBBLY SLIME (ORC): 30% -> 10%
      ORC (KOBOLD): 50% -> 20%
      KOBOLD (ORC): 30% -> 15%
      UNDEAD KOBOLD (KOBOLD): 35% -> 10%
      ROGUE (ORC): 50% -> 20%
      BUSHWACKER (ZOMBIE): 45% -> 20%
      HIGHWAYMAN (ZOMBIE): 50% -> 20%
      ZOMBIE (CREEPING CRUD): 50% -> 20%
      CREEPING CRUD (BUBBLY SLIME): 70% -> 24%
      GAS CLOUD (BUBBLY SLIME): 25% -> 15%
      LVL 1 MAGE (HIGHWAYMAN): 50% -> 20%

      A few monsters have different names:

      Some have incorrect plural versions that got fixed in 2.1:

    2. There is also a December build, but this version is mostly identical to v2.1. The only differences I could see are that the level 10 monster tables are different (same as September build), and the treasure tables are slightly different in all three builds.

      Level 10 monsters:

      | Sept/Dec | 2.1
      Group 1 | 70-79 | 70-79
      Group 2 | 75-84 | 74-83
      Group 3 | 90-98 | 86-94


      | Reward 18 | Reward 19
      Sept: | Item 82-94 | Item 82-94
      Dec: | Item 81-93 | Item 81-93
      Final: | Item 81-93 | Item 80-92

      I believe that even in the final version, reward 18 is incorrectly entered and should be item 80-92 (reward 19 includes more gold and has 10% odds of dropping a top-tier item, making it better than reward 18 even if the range of items should be the same).

  15. Sorry to bother you, but I want ask for a little bit of help with getting the regular version of Wizardry 1 to run on mame (latest version 0.261, running all versions of Wizardry 1 from the current 0.261 software list, all have the same problem). I read several times I have to set the boot disk to read/only - I have the problem that the game freezes after the title screen, too. Now, setting the dsk file for the bootdisk to read/only with Win explorer works perfectly with the AppleWin emulator. But setting the zip files from the apple2 mame software list to read-only doesn't change anything, it still freezes. How I'm supposed to run the boot disk write-protected for the mame version? Do I somehow have to make mame start directly with the dsk file without using its software list mode? I found some options for the slots in the mame game menu, but nothing about anything within the emulator settings to set anything to read-only. I'd really like to run the game on mame because I'm more used to the setup within mame and can't seem to get AppleWin to run without black borders surrounding the game screen in fullscreen mode (whereas mame cuts off these borders just fine).

    1. Oh sorry again. I just noticed I can start apple2 as "empty"within mame and THEN mount a dsk-file and mame will ask me for setting it in different modes, also read only. This way it works fine- I assume there is no way to do this with the generic automatic start with the software list.

    2. I'm afraid I've never bothered with MAME's software list mode. I only use MAMEUI, which does allow you to select specific disk images before booting.

      I'm not sure how MAME's software list mode manages write access, but you need to write protect the dsk file, not the zip file. Which means the dsk file has to be extracted. Unless there's another way of doing it that I just don't know about.

    3. Thanks a lot for the reply! To me, the problem is solved now, because I found out I can just direct a mame standalone shortcut to a dsk-file of the write-protected boot disk (with apple2p -flop1 "pahttodisk.dsk") and it works and mame starts automatically loading up Wizardry without that freezing problem just fine. The software list mode and the zip archive it uses may just not work at the moment with this particular game, because that mode can only use its own specific zip files. But as I said, it works just perfectly with that other method and an unzipped dsk-file now.


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