Friday, August 6, 2021

Wizardry III: Good omens

With no idea what to do next with my evil party, I switched back to my good one to explore floor 2 for clues.

Which way? Better try all of them to be sure.

This floor was a comparatively straightforward maze compared to floor 3. Still a complex one, with many branches and one-way doors, but mapping it out wasn't terribly difficult, just time consuming.

I did get stuck early on, unable to find a way out of the southeast quadrant, until I realized that my light spell had expired and was not revealing hidden doors. Then I realized that part of the map actually extinguishes your light spell much like dark zones in the original Wizardry, only without any warning or accompanying blindness. By bumping into all of the walls in that area, I found the way forward.

The monsters I fought here were largely the same as in floor 3. New ones included:

  • Hobgoblins. Tough fighters, but cowardly. In two rounds, I killed one with melee attacks, and the rest of them ran.
  • Mummies. Not a new monster, but a new discovery - thanks to a surprise attack, I found they can level drain you. Lovely.
  • Acolytes. Moderately strong priests with magic that can hurt and silence your spellcasters. Accompanied by slightly weaker friars.
  • Giant Ants. Tough animals that attack in big groups and hit with paralyzing stings. After a swarm of 18 of them paralyzed two of my fighters, I ran for it so I could Dialko them back to health.
  • Ninjas. Weakly armored. Probably capable of critical hits, but I always sedated them all with Katino before I could find out.
  • Were vultures. Weak animals accompanied by packs of regular vultures. Capable of inflicting poison.

The poison from the were vultures forced a retreat; I had no ability to cure it, and poison is deadlier than in previous games, draining a point of health on every step and combat round instead of every four of them. With the maze twisting and winding as much as it did, I stood no chance of getting back to the stairs before my poisoned fighter would expire, requiring an expensive and risky resurrection. The rest of my party looked pretty beat up too. Lesson learned - bring a Latumofis potion or two next time.

My second trip in yielded enough experience to take everyone to level 7 (and my priest finally learned Latumofis), and enough gold to buy Boltac's best weapon, a Broadsword +1, for one of the fighters. I found no chests on either run.

On my third trip, after backing out of a dead-end, something was amiss; the room didn't match the map I had just been making. I instantly knew the dead-end was a teleporter, and a cast of Dumapic set me straight again. Finding my way out of this new maze, I came across a featureless corridor, and a riddle just came out of nowhere.



Air, obviously.

The corridor led to stairs going up. Multiple portions of the floor remained unexplored, but I couldn't find a way to reach them, and the XP rewards were getting pretty stingy. I went up to see what would I'd find.

I found more maze, and before any encounters, I found another riddle.


Earth, maybe? This turned out to be wrong. After trying nature, life, and time, I facepalmed and realized the answer was fire.

The room beyond had several invisible alarms that summoned monsters, which included:

  • Strangling Vines. Weak but numerous, and I dealt with them with Mahalito's at the rear ranks while hacking at the front one.
  • Dwarf Fighters. Stronger men-at-arms, accompanied by actual men-at-arms who aren't so cowardly with dwarves in the vanguard. But once the dwarves start to fall, they all start running.
  • 2-Headed Snakes. Stronger anacondas with poison infliction accompanied by many anacondas.
  • Banshees. More level-draining undead.
  • Berserkers. Even stronger than dwarf fighters.

A fight against the 2-headed snakes killed Bo, and soon after a party of berserkers, dwarf fighters, and men-at-arms killed everyone else. Clearly I wasn't meant to take on this area just yet, so I grinded in floor 2 some more.

It's difficult to elaborate on just how tedious this was. Reaching level 8 from 7 takes between 10,000 and 12,000 XP, and these encounters, which posed little threat, awarded 100-300 XP per character. I estimate it took about four hours of mindlessly wandering through a loop, using "kick" to stomp through the corridors and thereby raising the encounter rate, and fighting weak monsters with my sleep and paralysis spells to help pacify the bigger crowds until I gained the requisite experience, and enough gold to buy my fighters and priest full armor accessories at Boltac's.

I gave floor 4 another try, and quickly found a back entrance into the alarm room. I had much better success this time.

Lucky me.

Some of the fights:

  • Two groups of banshees, which I surprise attacked. My fighters targeted one group, and my priest dispelled the other. Only one survived, which quickly died the next round. This got 366 XP/character.
  • I got surprise attacked by giant ants, but all 14 missed. My armor investments must have paid off. The mages kept them asleep with continuous casts of Katino while the fighters slowly whittled down their ranks. One fighter got stung and paralyzed, but a cast of Dialko would fix that. This got 420 XP/character.
  • Necromancers, accompanied by dwarven fighters and two ranks of men at arms. I targeted the necromancers first, with melee attacks and silence, while the mages put the dwarves and one rank of men at arms to sleep. Thankfully, none of the necromancers got any of their spells out. In rounds 2 and 3, I finished them off and continued to put the fighters to sleep. The men-at-arms were starting to run! Round 4 I targeted the dwarf fighters with sleep magic and melee, and for the rest of the battle I just fought them while their rearguard fled. This got 866 XP/character.
  • A dark rider on a dark steed got off a single group-targeting spell before falling to my fighters, and the horse he rode on followed. 166 XP/character.
  • Two ranks of fire-breathing komodo dragons. I targeted the smaller with my fighters and the bigger one with mahalito, which made their breath attack weaker, but six weak breath attacks add up. A second cast finished them off and earned 866 XP/character.

The accumulation of damage from these fights and more eventually compelled me to retreat when the priest ran out of healing juice. My mages hadn't used up all of their magic, but I was glad; their group damaging spells proved useful for resolving fights during the long trip back home, where I found I gained about 5,5000 XP per character; not even enough for a single level up. My mages, the most XP-costly class, still needed another 11,000! I don't think this was any more efficient than grinding easy fights in floor 2, but it was more interesting.

What's more is that the fights in floor 4's alarm room yielded chests. Lots of chests. Unfortunately, I didn't dare open them without a thief. One cast of Calfo revealed a nasty gas bomb, and I decided my priest's magic was better saved for hold and silence spells.

So I decided to bring a thief on my next trip. Unfortunately, I had made my thief evil, with the idea that he might class change to priest upon reaching level 13, which increasingly seemed like a laughable proposition. So I made a party of the thief and my two neutral mages Luke and Frank to seek out friendly corsairs and try to flip him around to good. With their pathetic melee skills and the mages' useless armor, I'd have to rely on mass damage spells to deal with most encounters, but eventually got the thief to flip his alignment to good by refusing to fight a friendly group of Garian guards, and incorporated him into my good party, temporarily replacing one of the mages.

A good-aligned treasure hunting party

The extra firepower from having two mages was definitely missed, and meant a shorter run. I couldn't, for instance, reliably delay two groups of monsters with Katino; I'd have to rely on my priest's less reliable paralysis spell Manifo when he wasn't busy silencing other spellcasters. But I managed to scrape by, and just barely haul my injured and exhausted party back with some useful loot; a broadsword +2, a broadsword +1, and heater +1, which I gave to my fighters. With the gold saved up, I bought Boltac's short sword +1 for the thief. From now on, all of my gear upgrades would have to be found in the dungeon.

I did another grinding trip up there with Fred the Bishop replacing the thief, primarily to get him a few levels. I also swapped out my mage for the other to spread the XP gains between them. This run felt like it went much smoother than before, perhaps thanks to the magic broadswords, and perhaps also thanks to a little bit of experience from fighting these monsters before, and earned enough XP to get Fred to level 5, and everyone else except the mage to level 9.

Reforming my original good party, I explored floor 4 some more.

  • At the very back of the alarm room were stairs leading up. I assumed my party was definitely not ready for whatever lay at the top of them.
  • South of the center of the map was a seemingly inaccessible room could be entered by kicking through a solid wall that my light spells had failed to reveal as a door. Inside, a pool of oily black liquid paralyzed anyone foolish enough to wade. Magic could at least cure this.
  • A small maze of Tetromino-shaped rooms in the center of the map led to an inner chamber.

A chute here dropped me back down on floor 2. According to Dumapic, this was a previously inaccessible room!

Heading down south through some corridors and fighting a few easy monsters, I entered a room with a warning.

Since when is listening to these warnings a good idea? Oh, right, since the last post.

I kicked down the door anyway, where four fiends and a ghost lived.

Round 1, I attacked the fiends, dispelled the ghosts, and hit the fiends with my most powerful damage spells. This killed all but two fiends, but they hit me back with their own magic causing some amount of pain. But my fighters finished them off before they could cause any more. I had to abandon their treasure, as Calfo revealed it to be a dangerous teleporter.

I entered Po'le's study, where I found his magic staff, and not much else.

Every time I searched, I got a magic staff.

Exploring the areas further, a 2x2 rooms seemed impossible to enter, until I realized a corridor leading to it was another trick area that extinguished my light, and I kicked my way through a secret door.

Abdul gets around.

"Abdul sent you," of course.

This led to the wizard's dining room, where I caught him in the kitchen in the back, sipping wine.

Why are there two of you?

Po'le very nearly killed Bo and Charles with group-targeting magic, and only a lucky cast of Katino stopped his clone from finishing them off. Once again, I could not risk taking his treasure, and found nothing else of value in his wine cellar.

After healing up, I explored the rest of the floor, and found stairs back to floor 4, taking me directly to the room with the chute to Po'le's lair.

Heading around the mini-maze and up through a corridor to the north area, I found one last surprise for this session.

Delf hit my party with group-targeting magic but eventually succumbed to concentrated melee damage. His minions, however, resisted Katino. Then I learned the hard way that their hits turn you into stone, and I effectively lost two fighters. But my own group-targeting magic finished them off, and I was rewarded with the mysterious crystal of evil.

I took my now nearly-useless party and ran back to the stairs to floor 2, back through floor 2 to the stairs to floor 1, and into the teleporter to town. Amazingly, I did not encounter a single random encounter until reaching floor 1, which was weak enough to handle without trouble.

The temple de-stoned my fighters, I healed up, and advanced my mages to level 9. Fred identified my loot, and among the junk was a nunchaka, which I gave to my priest, and a short sword +2, which I gave to the thief.

Apart from the grind, which I must stress was terrible, these floors were kind of fun. These are easily the most event-dense dungeons I've seen yet, and the up-and-down interconnecting floors are pretty neat. And it was pretty satisfying to trounce the fourth floor baddies after my initial troubles facing them. But apart from the improved viability of disabling spells, the combat isn't much improved or expanded at all from the original game. There are no new spells, no new tactics, and no new monsters abilities - they're just deadlier and less rewarding. And the repeated journeys from the start to the higher levels and back is mighty tiresome.


  1. Was the staff you found in Po'le's study anything interesting?

    1. I assumed it was a plot token, but on closer inspection you can cast Manifo with it. That's a pretty good ability for a thief to have, even if it's not as reliable as Katino.


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