Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Phantasie Island

Area 9: "Dragonor"

Continuing my exploration of Gelnor, all that remains are the four sectors on the east coast. I started at the bottom, where I am clearly overleveled for the encounters present. I found nothing of interest - just a town and inn, and a lot of empty terrain. But the experience gained from the various snakes, orcs, and occasional devils was enough to level up Lenny, as if he needed more.

Area 7: "Trollport"

One screen north held a town, more unchallenging encounters, and a second bubbling pool.

We took the plunge.

The results:

  • Lenny's strength increased from 20 to 23!
  • Lambert's charisma increased from 12 to 14.
  • Claude's intelligence increased from 18 to 22.
  • Rasputin's intelligence increased from 15 to 18.
  • Dennis' dexterity increased from 22 to 24.
  • Minmax's strength increased from 3 to 5.

The experience gained also leveled up Lambert, who learned an outmoded spell (Double Fireflash), and Rasputin, whose newfound intelligence let him learn three new spells. I picked Double Mindblast, Vision, and Transportation.

The Vision spell, as it turns out, reveals a portion of the map sector. Convenient, but with only two sectors left to map out, a bit late to really take advantage of.

I finished mapping out the last two areas with relative quickness and no real difficulty.

Area 10: "Northford"

Gelnor's northeast corner

Before going to the dungeon in the serpent-shaped archipelago, I had a bit of unfinished overworld business. A portion of the map in the southwest remained unexplored, surrounded by deep, unswimmable waters. Two of Gelnor's eleven towns also remained undiscovered, Asgard or wherever the gods lived notwithstanding.

I returned to Northford and Minmax cast Transportation, selecting town #5 as a destination. This brought me to a new town, "Appleton," but as I left, I got a surprise.


"Appleton" is just an inn on the southwest coast, where I've already been! If you teleport there by magic, it behaves as a town, but if you walk there (or leave and come back), it's just an inn.

We walked north to Greenville and cast Transportation again, going to area 8 - Phantasia.

Checking out the armory, which had long ceased to offer interesting wares, there was another surprise.

Ah, so this is where one of the missing rings wound up!

I bought the ring, and left town to map the surrounding area.

Great. Another Brigadoon that vanishes when you set foot outside of it.

Recalling the scroll concerning the magic pools, I knew a third one could be found here, and I found it, hidden among the ocean tiles, but revealed by its irregular oval tile pattern among the waves.

The area is surrounded by deep ocean, which you normally cannot cross, and without any town to go back into and cast Transportation, we seemed stranded, but there's a way out, thanks to a quirk in the game logic. By leaving on the east side of the screen, the party is deposited onto the west side of the next screen, onto a normally impassable "deep ocean" tile, and allowed to swim away from it, onto the shore.

 The results from the third and final pool:

  • Lenny's charisma increased from 12 to 15.
  • Lambert's dexterity increased from 13 to 15.
  • Claude's intelligence increased from 22 to 26.
  • Rasputin's charisma increased from 12 to 15.
  • Dennis' constitution increased from 14 to 16.
  • Minmax's dexterity increased from 15 to 17.


Not terrific, but my party isn't exactly struggling.


My basically complete map:

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Phantasie: J.R. Trolkien's Castle

My party awakened in a jail cell with an unpickable lock. Nothing to do but search the walls for a secret exit, and of course there was one.

A new enemy, "High Rangers," guarded the passage out. but we killed them before they could demonstrate any mischief.

At the end of the passage is a bloody arena.

Just a troll. His hits barely tickle my weakest member, and went down with a single round of sustained hits. Some human soldiers attacked next, but they went down with little trouble too.

The arena exit was, once again, locked, and so I searched the walls for another secret passage, which I found in the north end of the tunnel, leading to a control room.

Three levels stuck out from a panel, and I pulled them all before continuing eastward, through a secret passageway, where I met the big guy - J.R. Trollkin.

He was a bit of a pushover who went down in five rounds of combat, and I looted his bedroom and closet.

Further up north, a group of high rangers supported by two big groups of scribes hit us with repeated debuff spells to the point where our attacks ceased to be effective, so I hit them with Mind Blast, Minmax's most powerful group-targeting spell, and finished off the survivors with a thousand cuts.

I explored the majority of the map, though some doors remained impossible to open. Some rooms of note included hidden corridors that led to the arena viewing area, an armory filled with weapons, and another library. Eventually I returned to the starting area.


But the exit door wouldn't open!

I went back to the jail - the door there was open, and led to a few storage areas where I got more treasures, including a key.

I backtracked all the way to the entrance, and unlocked the exit door.


This was the first dungeon that I effectively had to complete in one go. Previous dungeons could be entered and left at will to heal and level up, apart from the occasional curveball such as being kidnapped at the lizard men's caves and being forced to fight my way out of an arena before I could leave. But this dungeon kidnaps you from the start, and makes you fight your way out, find the secret passageways, and find a key somewhere in a maze-like layout where the doors open and close from a three-lever control panel. By the time I did all that, I probably saw the entire dungeon, unless I missed some secrets. There is no opportunity to rest, which would have been a problem in levels past, but by now I really didn't need it - I barely even needed to use magic healing.

I went back north to Splitwater to check out the loot and gains. The game doesn't tell you what you found until you return to town.

The haul included three numbered rings - likely found among the treasures in J.R.T's bedroom closet - as described by the prisoner's scrolls in Lord Wood's dungeon.

The weapons - good lord there were so many - were all vendor junk downgrades from what I brought with me, but a few pieces of armor were improvements. Nobody gained quite enough experience to gain a level, but by now we had so much money that a few characters couldn't even store their shares in the bank - the limit is $65,535 per person.

The scroll found in Trolkin's library gave a clue that you probably don't need if you've managed to escape the castle and read it.

Oof. That last one didn't age well.

My party:

  • Mystic-rated party score of 42 - "You are almost ready to visit the gods"
  • Air rune, earth rune, and fire rune
  • Three rings of power
  • Lenny - Level 12 dwarf fighter
    • Needs 14,000xp to level
    • 216 HP, 5 MP
    • 22/10/22 combat stats (God knife, plate mail, god shield)
    • Slash can hit up to four times per round without magic buffs
    • Knows one spell - Monster Evaluation.
  • Lambert - Level 11 dwarf ranger
    • Needs 44,000xp to level
    • 168 HP, 17MP
    • 19/9/18 combat stats (Halberd +4, banded mail, giant shield +2)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Healing and Awaken
  • Claude - Level 12 human priest
    • Needs 162,000xp to level
    • 126 HP, 20 MP
    • 19/8/16 combat stats (Sword +10, splint mail, giant shield)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Healing, Quadruple Fireflash, and Awaken.
    • Untested spells include Triple Protection, Quadruple Confusion, Triple Weakness, Triple Binding, Teleportation, and Resurrection.
  • Rasputin - Level 11 halfling monk
    • Needs 59,000xp to level
    • 142 HP, 13 MP
    • 19/6/13 combat stats (Sword +10, ring mail +1, large shield +1)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Fireflash and Double Ninja
    • One untested spell - summon elemental
  • Dennis - Level 13 sprite thief
    • Needs 95,000xp to level
    • 113 HP, 8 MP
    • 18/6/12 combat stats (Halberd +3, ring mail +1, large shield)
    • Generally excellent thieving skills, with a so far 100% success rate at lockpicking and trap disarmament
    • Knows three spells, but none of them have been useful lately (and two of them never were).
  • Minmax - Level 12 elf wizard
    • Needs 350,000xp to level
    • 92 HP, 17 MP
    • 8/3/2 combat stats (Flail +1, Robes +1, wood shield)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Fireflash, Triple Quickness, Quadruple Mindblast, Double Ninja, Awaken, and Transportation.
    • Untested spells include Triple Strength, Triple Flamebolt, Fear, and Summon Elemental.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Phantasie Starville


Two screens north of Lord Wood's castle, on an island a few day's swim east of the starting town, Nikademus' castle is carved into the mountains. We can't enter yet.

I kept exploring.

Area 11: "Starville"

A bit out of numerical order from the previously visited locations, Starville has nothing but a town and a lot of hilly terrain, where once-tough monsters like fire elementals, orange dragons, sorcerers, and high demons attack frequently, but by now have become more nuisance than menace.

South of Starville, the terrain and random encounters are more of the same, but this is where I found the next dungeon.

Except we couldn't enter this one yet either.

Further south we go.

Area 6: "Splitwater"

Just another town with another pointless inn. Encounters are easier than they were in the areas to the north, but no less of a constant annoying interruption to the mapping effort.

We kept going south, to the edge of the map.

And inside the castle, this happened.

My Gelnor map (so far):

Hey, I'm almost 75% done!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Phantasie: Lord Wood's Castle

Map of Gelnor

Now that my party is fairly high level, we're all pretty good at swimming. Incredibly good, actually - we can swim for days on end, as each map tile represents a day's travel. Each tile's distance carries a slight chance of somebody sinking, but this only damages that character for 4-5 HP, which at this point is no big deal.

And so, I took this opportunity to revisit my partially mapped areas and fill in the missing ocean terrain. The gulf east of Woodville still has some deep waters where my party can't go yet, but other than that, nothing is especially interesting yet, and the monsters are not troublesome. Black Knights, of which I've fought multiple now, are chumps.

Area 4, "Hobbiton"

North of the gulf, east of Greenville is Hobbiton. Nothing remarkable about the town itself, but close by is the next logical dungeon - Lord Wood's castle.


A butler at the door bid me entrance, advising me Lord Wood was not home, and an old captain fought me in his quarters on the bottom floor.

Then, after climbing two sets of stairs, I arrived on a diabolical maze of tiled floor.


There's one safe path through to the end, and any deviation from it dumps you down to the ground floor. I eventually found the way through force pathfinding and a whole lot of magical healing and potion drinking, but it took time.


At the end, a storage room held some gold, and a clue.


In the south, at the bottom of some stairs, is the dungeon.

I went back and circled around the keep before entering the several rooms inside it.

  • A magic wave kept me out of a corridor to the east.
  • A "messy library with scrolls everywhere" contains no scrolls for me to take.
  • Another storage room has a trunk with several items.
  • In the barracks, a precious gem is found under one of the beds.
  • Robed sorcerers warn me to stay out of the southeast room, and I fight them to get in, where I find nothing but a guest bed.

  • Another guest room is guarded by lords and magic users. And a viper. Above the bed is inscribed "JRT."
  • Lord Wood's bedroom above that has a walk-in closet where two scrolls are found, and the safe path through the tile maze is inscribed.
I was this close to putting off the maze to look for a clue like this.
  • Going south from the main entrance is a great hall and kitchen, but nothing interesting in either.

Recalling the words of the imprisoned elves, I searched the western wall of the great hall, where I found a secret passage guarded by some ogres. At the end of it are chests containing treasure and a key, which did indeed unlock one of the cells.

Before leaving, I searched the walls in the southwest corner, noting a suspicious amount of negative space in the map, and found a secret garbage chute, where a large number of devils lurked.

The mostly-explored map - I still can't visit the keeper

The trip didn't get me any equipment upgrades, and the experience only leveled up Rasputin and Dennis, but it did fetch four new scrolls (the two found in Lord Wood's closet were duplicates).

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Phantasie: Woodville's jealous gods


Ah, Woodville-by-the-sea. Once a magnificent walled coastal city built in honor of Lord Wood, now a wretched hive of scum and villainy. My party would fit right in.

Though laid out like an Ultima town, Woodville is considered a dungeon by the game engine, and has the usual locked doors, loot, random and fixed encounters and special events. For the first time yet, Woodville is no longer anywhere near a proper town where one can save the game, sell loot, train for more levels, and identify and equip acquired gear, though an inn where one can rest (for a fee) sits closer. Given how long it takes to travel multiple screens to reach the nearest town, I felt tempted to rely on the inn to rest between sessions, but since you can't save your progress there, it's risky.

Exploring in a counter-clockwise direction,

  • A "private residence" is broken into, its tenants of orcs and ogres killed, and valuables looted.
  • A "pet shop" with numerous locked display cases - the "pets" are the likes of dragons and were-bears, and will, of course, attack if you enter their cages.
  • The temple has statues on the north and south walls, which prompt you "break them?" as you approach. Being no fool, I declined. A priest guarding a combination lock mechanism here also offers a dire warning regarding the numbers.

  • The inn at the southwest corner has three rooms. In the first, Kilmore gave me the clue "79" to punch in at the temple. In the third, I got arrested for trespassing and sent to jail, where I had to pay a $500 fine to leave.
  • Another set of private residences house lords, who are harmed only by magic or by characters under the effect of the Ninja spell.
  • A jewellery store in the southeast corner has precious ornaments to smash and grab.
  • The bar is full of colorful characters to have brief interactions with, like a grumpy dwarf, a bibulous hobbit, and some hill giants playing poker (who throw their cards at you for damage if you ask to join).

And coquettish elves. I already know room three means trouble, and so do they.

Deep inside the Woodville archives - the building near the south

I went to the temple and entered both numbers - '79' and '45'. Both caused loud shifting noises elsewhere in Woodville, and I soon discovered an open passage in the fountains to the north.

Going in, a written message declared "ONLY THE FOOLHARDY WILL GO FARTHER." Guess I'm a fool, because I went farther. Without saving. And got blasted to bits.


One reload and multiple trips to Woodville later, I returned with a collection of, among other things, multiple "giant shields" - major upgrades to my party's set of large and medium shields, but of dubious value as I never parry.

I returned and tried smashing one of the statues to see what would happen.

The angry god that this awakens is tough, but repeat casts of quad fireflash and quad healing eventually take it down, though this almost totally depletes my mana reserves.

But nets me some good loot.

The best part is - this action is repeatable! Risky, but worth it. Breaking the other statue, though, just gets you thrown in jail and fined.

I used this encounter to train everyone to level 10+, which gave everyone except Minmax 100+ HP. I then returned and used code 79 to open the southern fountain, where I found a scroll. Code 45 opened the north fountain, where I teleported to an alley and got revenge on the demons that jumped me before. Further back the alley, I fought spirits - weak monsters that were utterly impervious to any sort of melee attack and went down with fireflashes.

Lastly, recalling the dying words of Lord Wood's uncle, I tried code 48.

After returning back to Greenville, I found I had some powerful items in my inventory, including a God Knife and God Shield. I also read my new scrolls:


You're probably wondering if the priest is telling the truth about what happens if you put in a wrong number. I was, anyway. He is! If you enter a wrong number, your entire party gets hit with two powerful spells and then you fight Zeus.

My party:

  • Mystic-rated party score of 22 - "You are not yet ready to visit the gods"
  • Air rune, earth rune, and fire rune
  • Lenny - Level 11 dwarf fighter
    • Needs 30,000xp to level
    • 190 HP, 5 MP
    • 22/9/22 combat stats (God knife, banded mail, god shield)
  • Lambert - Level 10 dwarf ranger
    • Needs 23,000xp to level
    • 154 HP, 16 MP
    • 19/8/17 combat stats (Halberd +4, splint mail, giant shield +1)
    • Knows Quadruple Healing, plus some useless spells
  • Claude - Level 11 human priest
    • Needs 117,000xp to level
    • 119 HP, 16 MP
    • 19/6/16 combat stats (Sword +10, scale mail, giant shield)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Healing, Quadruple Fireflash, Sleep, and Awaken.
    • Untested spells include Triple Protection, Triple Confusion, Triple Binding, Teleportation, and Resurrection.
  • Rasputin - Level 10 halfling monk
    • Needs 66,000xp to level
    • 135 HP, 11 MP
    • 19/6/12 combat stats (Sword +10, scale mail, large shield)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Fireflash and Double Ninja
    • Untested spell - summon elemental
  • Dennis - Level 12 sprite thief
    • Needs 82,000xp to level
    • 100 HP, 7 MP
    • 18/6/12 combat stats (Halberd +3, scale mail, large shield)
    • Generally excellent thieving skills, with a so far 100% success rate at lockpicking and trap disarmament
    • Knows sleep (useful), Double protection (dubious), and charm (useless)
  • Minmax - Level 11 elf wizard
    • Needs 204,000xp to level
    • 78 HP, 16 MP
    • 8/3/2 combat stats (Flail +1, Robes +1, wood shield)
    • Useful spells include Quadruple Fireflash, Triple Quickness, Double Ninja, Awaken, and Transportation.
    • Untested spells include Triple Strength, Triple Mindblast, Triple Flamebolt, and Fear.

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