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Completed Let's play Wizardry 4!

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Crooked Bee, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    After the Wizardry LP I did, it's time for me to move on to its direct sequel. No, not Wizardry II. It's Wizardry IV. I am aware theverybigslayer LPed it already back in 2008, but the more Wizardry IV, the better.

    This is going to be a slow and LARP-free LP, so beware.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    1: Trapped!
    2: The Pyramid of Entrapment
    3: The Catacombs
    4: The Death of a Thousand Cuts
    5: Temple of the Dreampainter
    6: Realm of the Whirling Dervish
    7: Creatures of Light and Darkness
    8: Maze of Wandering (or, It's Not All Butterflies)
    9: To Hell and back
    10: The Costmic Cube
    11: Werdna Reformed
    12: So You Want To Be a God
    12a: Interlude: The Softalk All-Stars
    13: Grandmaster Werdna

    wiz4_logo3.jpg

    Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna, released by Sir-Tech in 1987, is not just the fourth game in the legendary Wizardry series - it is the hardest game in the history of computer RPGs. There is nothing harder. The majority of those who have played the game were unable to leave the very first room. Incidentally, Wizardry IV remains to this day one of the most innovative role-playing titles.

    You are Werdna, the evil wizard who once decided to conquer the entire world. You were busy trying to unlock the secrets of the magical amulet you "acquired" from your nemesis Trebor when an unruly mob of adventurers burst into your inner sanctum and defeated you. At first they thought you were dead. Foolish mortals. It is most difficult to kill a master of the arcane arts! When the authorities realized that your indestructible body lay in a deep trance, they adapted an ancient subterranean ruin into an escape proof prison. They surrounded your bier with patrols, traps, and guardians. You awake in a small room at the bottom of this prison maze, a room with no doors. You are as weak as a newborn babe, your magical powers drained from you. Getting out of this room won't be easy; escaping from the rest of prison may prove near impossible. But you are undaunted. You want revenge and the amulet back!

    Turning things on their head, Wizardry IV reverses the standard RPG premise. In this game you play Werdna, the end boss villain you defeated back in Wizardry I: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, trying to escape his escape proof underground prison. As such, Wizardry IV is a direct sequel to the first Wizardry title. Contrary to the first three Wizardry games, however, which were at least somewhat, if marginally, fair, Wizardry IV fervently hates your very existence and takes the notion of resource management to a whole new level, turning it into starvation and despair. Stripped of his powers, Werdna starts out extremely weak. Doing away with the customary experience-based character development system, the game has you rely on summoned monsters and only increase your power at pentagrams - specific, sparsely placed points in the dungeon. Basically, though not quite so, each dungeon floor you survive brings you a level-up, so that your power is directly tied to your progress. Allied with monsters, you battle parties of adventurers fully intent on banishing you back to your eternal rest. Simply put, Wizardry IV has you fight as a monster party against an adventuring party.

    Monsters are, however, an unruly bunch. They do not follow Werdna's orders directly. To make things worse, most enemies you encounter - Werdna sarcastically dubs them "do-gooders" - can kill you in one or at most two hits, and you tend to encounter them every other step. An unlucky roll of a die, a wrong step or a foolish decision, and bam! you're dead and have to reload the game.

    Beginning at the bottom of the penal dungeon, you struggle to climb up to the surface, not down to the depths of the dungeon. (To be fair, it isn't the first Wizardry to feature a bottom-to-top dungeon crawl: Wizardry III had you ascend a volcano.) Useful loot is minimal, being mostly limited to puzzle-related items, and there's no way of telling a plot-critical item from a fluff one beforehand. And even if by some miracle the enemies don't get you, the dungeon itself will. To that end, Wizardry IV features the most sadistic, and brilliant, dungeon and puzzle design that no other cRPG except maybe Dark Heart of Uukrul or Chaos Strikes Back can compete with, where not only every step you take may mean certain death or a devilish puzzle or both, but the dungeon itself is basically one large puzzle that you must figure out to make progress or at least survive. The dungeon is also insanely hard to map. Overall, it's plain incredible just how much evil Sir-Tech managed to cram into the standard 20x20 grid.

    WARNING: EXPERT LEVEL SCENARIO!
    The Return of Werdna is an EXPERT level scenario for experienced Wizardry players ONLY. Novices will rapidly become totally frustrated - this game is VERY difficult! If you have never played Wizardry before, you may find it difficult or impossible to finish this game. We very strongly recommend that you play the first scenario, Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, before you attempt to play The Return of Werdna.


    Given the above warning, printed on the back of the Wizardry IV box as well as on a separate sheet of paper inside it, it should come as no surprise that Sir-Tech placed a sealed envelope containing the solution to the very first in-game puzzle in the packaging. And it only gets worse from there.

    And did I mention the immortal ghost of your nemesis Trebor who pursues you in real time, and as soon as he touches you, you drop dead and it's game over? Or that you're only given a limited number of keystrokes to beat the game?

    logo_thelp1.png

    What kind of LP will this be?
    This will be a completionist, and hopefully informative, screenshot LP. There are five different endings to Wizardry IV, and the ultimate one, Grandmaster ending, is infamously impossible difficult to achieve. I'll do my best to show off each of the five endings - including the Grandmaster one.

    Since the dungeons are this game's highest point and main challenge, I will occasionally post dungeon maps so you can have a better grasp of what is going on.

    What version of the game are you playing?
    The original Apple II version. Remakes are always inferior to the original experience in my book.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
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  2. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    logo_characters1.png

    av_werdna1.jpg
    Werdna
    Named after Andrew C. Greenberg, one of the game's developers (clever isn't it?), Werdna is the antagonist of Wizardry I: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. In that game's prologue, the evil magician Werdna steals an all-potent amulet from Trebor, the overlord of the land of Llylgamyn and an anagram of Robert Woodhead, another Wizardry designer. Granting Werdna's wish to escape to safety and study it in peace, the amulet creates a 10 floor dungeon underneath Trebor's castle, teleports Werdna to the lowest floor and surrounds him with powerful monstrous guardians. In his attempts to get back the amulet, the overlord Trebor goes mad, seals off the access to the fifth floor and begins to utilise the top four dungeon floors as his personal proving grounds for adventurers. If they can conquer the first four floors, they're allowed access to the floors below to try claiming the amulet back from Werdna. After many years, the group of adventurers you created in Wizardry I attempts the task successfully. In Werdna's own words,

    I was entertaining a Vampire Lord and several of his liegemen, when the door to my study was kicked open and in burst a wild-eyed team of adventurers bent on my destruction. I was too far away from the amulet to reach it in time, and my pentagram for summoning monster allies was on the other side of the room. I quickly gathered up my energy and began to cast the awesome Tiltowait spell, while my guests rushed forward to my defense. Just as I unleashed that hellish fireball, I saw the Vampire Lord dissolved by a Zilwan spell! So, they had a high mage also. What! They still stood! That's one very tough team. Another Tiltowait should finish them, though. Before I could cast it, the leader of the team stepped in under my outstretched arms and delivered a critical hit to me. As my consciousness faded, I heard one of his men say, "Hawkwind, I have the amulet! Trebor will be pleased." I cursed Trebor with my last breath that he might endure endless torment. My final view was of their black banner bearing both a gold and a silver dragon in bend, and of the amulet dangling from the end of a sword. The darkness claimed me and I slept as unto death.

    The above is taken from Werdna's rather lengthy backstory found in Wizardry IV's manual and reproduced below in a separate post for those who care.

    av_trebor1.jpg
    Trebor's ghost
    Long years have passed since the events of Wizardry I, years that the mad overlord Trebor's physical form couldn't outlast. But even in death, Trebor keeps vigil and begins hunting for Werdna as soon as the evil wizard rises from his sleep. The problem is, you can't fight Trebor's ghost; as soon as he catches up with you, his one touch chills you unto death. Major threat in the original Apple II version as well as the Ultimate Wizardry Archives DOS version, where he pursues the player in real time, Trebor's ghost is toned down in all subsequent versions and remakes, where his movement is turn-based and simultaneous to the player's.

    av_monsters.png
    Monsters
    In Wizardry IV, monsters are your allies, your minions. Coming from the three previous Wizardry scenarios, they range from weakly Kobolds to poisonous Hydras to level-draining Wights and Vampires to mighty Giants. As has been said, they do not, however, directly follow Werdna's orders, fighting on your side yet on their own. They can even flee the battle whenever they might feel like it. After all, you can't really reason with monsters. Be thankful they're even still allied with you after all these years! As you climb up trying to escape and your powers grow, the monsters you can summon become stronger... but so do your foes.

    av_dogooders1.jpg
    Do-gooders
    It sucks being an evil magician bent on world domination - everyone's out to get you. The do-gooders you battle in Wizardry IV are typical adventuring parties and lone adventurers, many of which were extracted from actual user disks sent to Sir-Tech for recovery. As such, they follow all the standard Wizardry character development rules. Typical doesn't, however, mean average, and some of the do-gooders bear clear marks of powergaming through Wizardry's trademark class-switching mechanic. Enemy parties behave like typical adventuring parties in Wizardry, even to the point of recovering their dead comrades' bodies and trying to carry them to the temple for resurrection (kind of, they never really leave the dungeon floor they're on), something you'd normally be doing yourself when playing the first three Wizardry titles.

    To quote the description from the packaging: Over 400 adventurers developed by Wizardry players form the cadre of Werdna's jailers! Your favorite character may have been selected for this honor. If you meet him, show no mercy... he surely won't! Wizardry IV isn't ashamed to put you as the underdog in every battle you fight. Then again, you're fucking Werdna! Kill those foolish heroes with your monster hordes!

    logo_extras1.png

    FRONT & BACK COVER
    w4_cover2.jpg w4_scenario.jpg

    PRIEST & MAGE SPELLS CHART
    w4_priestspells.jpg w4_magespells1.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  3. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    logo_backstory1.png

    Do I absolutely have to read through this?
    Absolutely not. Feel free to skip it. The backstory does give you an insight into Werdna's motivations, but it's not like they aren't pretty obvious already. It also contains an extremely important hint for the endgame, but I'll point it out when the time comes anyway.

    Five years have passed since I captured the mystical amulet from the Mad Overlord Trebor. His agents had only been a few hours ahead of me in obtaining the artifact. The amulet had lain hanging around the neck of a forgotten god's statue in an ancient crumbling Temple. Whose Temple it once was is now whispered faintly only in ancient and forbidden tomes. Never is the full name used, perhaps for fear of invoking something dreadful that might be merely slumbering. The mist enshrouded valley that hides the Temple has been known throughout time as the Gods' Hopyard, supposedly because of a great portal that was opened one night by a demented archmage. It is said in arcane legends that on that night the Gods came here and played. The world shook and mountains danced. The whole sky was afire with shimmering colors. As dawn rose, a gigantic voice suddenly blasted out a harsh command, and everything in the world froze in mid-stride. Then there seemed to be a great inhaling, a loud implosion, and the world moved again. The portal was gone. Who or what chased back the Gods and closed the portal no one knows. It was a long while before anyone was brave enough to venture into the valley to find out what had occurred. It was quite difficult to see, a dense mist now covering the valley edges. In the far end of the valley there loomed a gigantic Temple of a style never before seen. In its center was an altar room wherein stood a statue. Around the neck of the statue hung an amulet that glowed with such magical energy that none could gaze upon it for long.

    amulet2.png

    As to what this amulet is, or to whom it might have belonged, the greatest scholars of the last three millennia have debated. Some feel that it was the focus by which the portal was opened, and any who possessed it could open the way for the Gods' return. Others theorized that it was too powerful to have originated on this worldly plane, and so must have been left behind during the retreat of the Gods. A third group partially agreed with the second; the amulet was not of this dimension, but was used by whatever chased away the Gods. Thus the artifact was more powerful than the Gods themselves! Furthermore, they warned, the Temple, statue and amulet were placed in the valley to seal the portal and prevent the Gods' return. This group was, of course, scoffed at by other scholars, as the implications of their theory was much too disturbing to contemplate.

    Over the ages, many thieves and mages have been drawn to the amulet and the legends that surround it. All who have sought to possess it have failed. I, Werdna, the most powerful Wizard of this Age, was always intrigued by speculations about the wonders of the amulet, but was much too prudent to enter the Temple without the proper safeguards. The most infuriating thing to me was no one knew so much as a hint of what those safeguards might be. No one had any idea why each previous attempt into that eldritch vale had met with disaster.

    art1.png

    Then one day I was approached by a dealer of dubious antiques. Amongst the obvious fakes and worthless old bones was a scroll that he claimed was over a thousand years old. He assured me that no one had ever opened it, and demanded an outrageous 500 g.p. for the item. Intrigued, I haggled him down to a mere 80 g.p. and took the scroll back to my study. When I attempted to break open the seal, it popped off in my hand! The scroll had been carefully opened and then gently resealed. Making a note to summon a demon to deal with the scurrilous knave, I settled down to study the scroll. It actually seemed quite old and was in very poor condition. The inscriptions were faded and of a tongue quite unknown to me. It took but a few minutes for my arts to restore the lettering to legibility, but it took almost a year's worth of intense research to translate the message.

    Wonder of all wonders, the scroll appeared to be written by the apprentice to the wizard who opened the gate that night so long ago. His mind seemed to have been blasted by what he had seen, for only stray bits and snatches of thought were scribbled on the scroll. He kept repeating over and over again something about the glowing eye of THE GOD, which I took to mean the amulet. He also ranted about losing the Mythril Gauntlets entrusted to his care, and groveling for forgiveness from someone or something. The last part of the scroll was filled with dire prophecies and fears for his own eternal torment.

    I was filled with hope. If I could correctly follow the clues this document provided, the amulet and all its power could be mine. Now I regretted consigning the soul of the antique dealer to Hell. In the hope that the gauntlets mentioned in the ancient scroll were the means by which the amulet could be handled safely, my agents went into search of them. After many months of seeking, they were able to procure but a single glove. In my gratitude for their obtaining half of a pair of gloves, I only had half of them executed. Well, one gauntlet would have to suffice.

    art2.png

    Now armed, I set off for the misty vale in search of my destiny. Alas, mere hours ahead of me, others entered the Temple and absconded with the amulet. At first, I was so shocked to see it gone that I just slumped to the floor. Then I noticed what appeared to be fresh footprints in the thick dust on the floor. I followed them for a short while, but lost them on the hard ground outside the Temple. Racing back to my tower, I used my scrying mirror to show me what had transpired outside the valley, for even my skills could not penetrate that mist within the valley.

    art3.png

    Four men shrouded in black robes entered the valley. Shortly, three men left. (I had seen no body, so what happened to the fourth man?) One of the men carried something at arm's distance. For an instant I caught a glimpse of a bluish-gray gleaming glove on the man's hand, then the mirror was blasted into a thousand fragments. He also had one of the fabled gauntlets. The scroll was right! Now I understood why it had been unsealed...that old fraud had made copies of the scroll!

    I conjured up two of my favorite demons and sent them to pay the antique dealer's soul a visit. They returned shortly, having "persuaded" the shade to talk. I learned that although the dealer had made five copies of the scroll, he had sold only one of them prior to his demonic dismemberment. The Mad Overlord, Trebor was the owner of this copy. I gathered my creatures about me and cast a Malor to Trebor's Castle. While my pets were keeping the staff quite busy, I cast a Mamorlis spell on everyone in Trebor's audience room. It was quite humorous to see Trebor frozen in abject terror upon his throne. He wore the mystic gauntlet upon his right hand and dangling from that glove was a captured sun, so bright was its radiance. Carefully, I put my gauntlet and plucked the amulet from the cradle of his glove. So as not to seem ungrateful, I did leave Trebor one of the Damien stones I usually carried around with me. They make such fine thoughtful gifts, heh, heh, heh! Calling my servants to me, I cast another Malor back to my tower.

    At last, the amulet was mine!!! The power of a universe was at my disposal. Ah, so drunk was I with visions of great and terrible deeds. What to do first? My tower seemed unfitting for a would-be god. Something more splendid, more spacious. Perhaps a split level...no, many levels...ten levels, that's it! Where to put this magnificent edifice? Well, it should be somewhere away from prying eyes and possible thieves, yet not to far from a food source for my hungry pets. Aha, I'll put it under Trebor's nose, literally. I'll build it under his poor excuse for a Castle!

    art4.png

    The very next day I started the major invocation. Everything went smoothly until I keyed in to the amulet. I only opened a tiny conduit to it in order to provide more power for my conjuring. What I got was a blast of raw energy that almost vaporized me on the spot. It was a good thing that I had been working behind a shield. The ground beneath the Castle was melted, churned, and twisted out like pulled taffy. When everything cooled, I indeed had my ten level underground fortress maze, although it was much wilder than I had envisioned. That was good, for the backlash of that awesome force had completely obliterated my tower! More than somewhat shaken, I Malored down to my new abode. I had barely tapped whatever lay within the amulet, yet it had almost destroyed me. I vowed never to invoke it again until I could discover how to channel its power.

    art5.png

    The five years passed without the amulet yielding up any of its secrets. Oh, I did discover a few small details, like why a gauntlet was necessary. One evening I was preoccupied with my studies, and I asked one of my many minions to fetch the amulet from behind its darkly smoked glass case so I could examine it. Suddenly, I heard a pop and a thud of the amulet dropping to the floor. My servant had failed to put on the gauntlet. When it touched the amulet, the creature had just vanished. That could have been me! After that I kept the gauntlet on the case, so I wouldn't forget again.

    Finally, tragedy did strike, but of a different form. I was entertaining a Vampire Lord and several of his liegemen, when the door to my study was kicked open and in burst a wild-eyed team of adventurers bent on my destruction. I was too far away from the amulet to reach it in time, and my pentagram for summoning monster allies was on the other side of the room. I quickly gathered up my energy and began to cast the awesome Tiltowait spell, while my guests rushed forward to my defense. Just as I unleashed that hellish fireball, I saw the Vampire Lord dissolved by a Zilwan spell! So, they had a high mage also. What! They still stood! That's one very tough team. Another Tiltowait should finish them, though. Before I could cast it, the leader of the team stepped in under my outstretched arms and delivered a critical hit to me. As my consciousness faded, I heard one of his men say, "Hawkwind, I have the amulet! Trebor will be pleased." I cursed Trebor with my last breath that he might endure endless torment. My final view was of their black banner bearing both a gold and a silver dragon in bend, and of the amulet dangling from the end of a sword. The darkness claimed me and I slept as unto death.
     
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  4. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    YAy, moar Bee lps!! :love:

    Wait, didn't you say you were too busy to do stuff like that??:roll:

    Sounds like Pokemon Digimon Jade cocoon Dragon Quest Shin Megami. :M
     
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  5. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    1: Trapped!

    titlescreen.gif

    "See us? Any one of us might be the death of you!" As if in mockery, Wizardry IV's title screen introduces the different kinds of do-gooders you'll be facing throughout the game. Weak do-gooders and overpowered do-gooders, solo do-gooders and do-gooding groups... There have been eight classes in the first three Wizardry titles - Fighter, Mage, Priest, Thief, Bishop, Ninja, Lord, and Samurai - and they're all present in the fourth scenario, with different character models to distinguish just what and how strong they are or even what weapon they wield (hence the infamous Blade Cusinart' among the title screen images). On top of that, some boss encounters have their own, unique looks, to be shown off in the LP.

    Interestingly, Wizardry IV was originally advertised as graphically an improvement over the previous Wizardry titles. More graphics, more plot and more adventure than any previous Wizardry scenario, the back of the box proudly proclaimed. Well, the character models do look pretty good, I dare say. That, however, is the only element to the game that can even be called "graphical." The rest are, of course, the wireframe dungeons we all know and love.

    01wizfour043.png

    The next screen recaps the basics of Werdna's backstory that you should already be familiar with from the OP. Basically, you were killed, but not quite, and now you awaken on the lowest floor of your 10-floor prison and want to reclaim the all-powerful amulet that had been stolen (back) from you.

    Your ultimate goal? World domination, of course!

    01wizfour045.png

    Werdna's awake, true, but even staying alive will prove troublesome for him, not to speak of regaining the lost powers, which will only happen a looong way down from here.

    reload.gif

    Summoning The Guardians! -- Laying Out Patrol Areas! -- Setting Up The Traps!

    Whenever you enter a new level, restart or reload the game, the current floor gets reset, and its guardians promptly respawn. The guardians include not just all the do-gooders that roam the floor, but also a number of fixed encounters that guard specific passages or puzzle-related items. Since you can only save when quitting the game, that means Wizardry IV punishes you for saving and tries its best to prevent you from save-scumming. On the other hand, saving the game and thereby resetting the level has one important benefit -- it pushes Trebor's ghost away from you, a much needed thing at times, even at the cost of having to fight through the adventurer hordes again.

    01wizfour049.png

    And so it begins.

    Your line of sight is really limited in Wizardry IV. Basically, you can only see the walls and places of interest located no farther than two squares in front and one square to the side of you. Hence the apparent absence of a wall to your right when in fact you start out in a closed off 4x4 room.

    To add insult to injury, the annoying Status window won't even let you see the floor. It may show the current party composition, the character's class, AC, HP and status (poisoned, turned to stone and the like), but it's also way too huge and makes finding your way around much harder.

    01wizfour052.png

    Good thing it can be turned off by pressing S, then. Which is the first thing you should do when you start playing the game. It's not like you really need that screen anyway.

    01wizfour065.png

    Pressing C brings up the Camp screen. It also pauses the game -- a crucial thing, what with Trebor's ghost pursuing you in real time.

    His powers completely drained from him, Werdna is at the moment a level 0 human Mage of evil alignment. His starting statistics are all 8s, but that doesn't really matter the way it would in any of the previous (or later) Wizardry games. In Wizardry IV, there is no attribute point allocation or anything. A level-up will always improve Werdna's attributes by 1 and give him access to a new tier of Mage spells, of which he cannot currently cast any. Being a Mage, Werdna won't be learning Priest spells at all, despite them being present on the screen, so having monsters able to cast Priest spells among those you summon is going to be extremely important in the course of the game.

    One particularly notable thing on the character screen is the Keys stat -- this is the number of keystrokes you're given to beat the game. When it reaches zero, the game ends. Be aware that Wizardry IV even takes invalid keypresses into account, so no matter what key on your keyboard you press, it brings you one step closer to a game over. Thankfully, the keystroke limit is relatively generous, so you shouldn't really run into any troubles with it in a regular play through.

    Per D&D, of which the rules Wizardry uses are derivative, the lower a character's AC, or armor class, the better; it should come as no surprise, then, that Werdna's starting AC is the highest one possible.

    AC_explained2.jpg

    The picture above, taken from the Wizardry I manual, should give you an idea.

    Werdna can lower his AC by equipping the kind of stuff a Mage can equip as well as through some of the spells his allies can cast on him during combat.

    01wizfour066.png

    What you see in front of you in the above screenshot is an "event" square. In a minimalistic and abstract kind of game that is Wizardry IV, all event squares look the same, no matter what kind of event is supposed to take place there -- a fixed encounter, a message, a summoning pentagram, an NPC, or even a trap.

    01wizfour067.png

    In this particular case, the event square is a pentagram -- really helpful given that you start out alone and at 1 HP, and woe to you if you hit a random encounter before you get your first monsters!

    (The game is certainly very hard as it is, but the reason why Werdna's jailers would leave all these pentagrams inside the prison dungeon, including one just two steps away from his coffin, is beyond me.)

    01wizfour068.png

    Now bear with me.

    Whenever Werdna arrives at a pentagram, he regains a fraction of his lost power. He goes up one level, accesses another tier of Mage spells, gains 10 HP, and improves all his attributes by one point. But most importantly, pentagrams are summoning gates. At a pentagram, Werdna can call forth three different groups of monsters to fight at his side. (Remember how you faced Werdna accompanied by up to three groups of vampires in Wizardry I's endgame? Things are the other way around now.) The list of monsters differs from floor to floor, and the higher you climb, the stronger monsters you can summon.

    The monsters come from the previous Wizardry games, which has nothing to do with a lack of imagination in the developers, but rather with the fact that assuming an intimate familiarity with Wizardry I to III is just what Wizardry IV does, or even the very principle on which it is based. A Dink is a dwarf first introduced in Wizardry II who always appeared alone and went by the name of Little Old Man when unidentified:

    dink_littleoldman.png

    Given that you can only summon no more than one Dink, that it has a whopping 3 HP and that it can only attack for 1 point of damage once per turn, it looks totally worthless -- and indeed it is for the most part. However, in The Return of Werdna, A Dink is a special, very special kind of monster, it's just that its significance will only become apparent much later, in one of those dick moves this game is so full of. Fuzzballs also made their first appearance in Wizardry II, notable for the fact they didn't attack you. Instead, all they did was call for help so that more and more Fuzzballs arrived... Nothing was changed about them for Wizardry IV, so there's no point in summoning them. Creeping Coins are okay, actually, and worth summoning despite only having 1 HP. They always come in groups of nine, and similar to Fuzzballs in that they can call for help - except they can also deal minor damage on top of that, both in melee and with their breath attack that targets the entire enemy party and almost always hits for 1 HP. Bubbly Slimes are exactly as pathetic as Slimes tend to be. (By the way, did you know Wizardry I was the first cRPG to introduce Slimes? It was only afterwards that they migrated to JRPGs thanks to Yuji Horii's love for the game.) Technically, their attack can inflict poison, but from what I've seen that happens too rarely to really matter. Orcs are pretty decent albeit standard lvl1 creatures. They come in groups of 3 to 6 depending on the roll of a die, attack for 1D4, and have 1 to 4 HP. Lvl 1 Mages are exactly as frail as you would expect them to be. They know a couple of useful spells that I'll elaborate upon when describing Werdna's own spell list, but why have them when Werdna himself is a Mage?

    Next, Gas Clouds are probably my favorite of the bunch. These magical creatures have decent HP, get summoned in groups of 2 to 8, but most importantly they can cast Mage spells of both 1st and 2nd tiers while their regular attack can inflict paralysis -- and a paralyzed character is as good as dead. Skeletons are the simplest of the undead. They're stronger than Orcs, but being undead they're susceptible to being dispelled by enemy Priests. From what I can tell, it doesn't really happen too often; it really sucks when it does, though. And as far as the undead go, Zombies are definitely a better choice. Not only do they have 2 to 11 HP, but they can also paralyze by touch. Summoning them is risky, but on the other hand well worth the risk. Garian Raiders are melee-only warriors from Wizardry III, pretty average in every way. They might be a decent choice for those not willing to take the risk of traveling with the undead maybe. Kobolds are also pure fighters. You may remember them from back when you were exploring the first floor of the mad overlord's dungeon, but they're plain unremarkable otherwise. Finally, Lvl 1 Priests are without a doubt the most essential creatures on that list, and not just because Werdna's going to rely on them for healing, but mostly because they're directly tied into the game's very first puzzle -- as we're about to see.

    01wizfour069.png

    Given all that, summoning Gas Clouds and Lvl 1 Priests is pretty much a given. In a bout of eccentricity, I also decided to go for Orcs instead of Zombies this time, for no particular reason except wanting to be a unique snowflake. The walkthrough I checked when preparing this update to make sure I don't miss out on anything assured me the best combination of monsters to summon would be Zombies, Creeping Coins and Lvl 1 Priests. That does indeed seem to be the best possible combo, even though I'm pretty sure I didn't find Creeping Coins to be particularly efficient in my last playthrough.

    01wizfour071.png

    You can approach a given pentagram as many times as you want, and it will restore your HP and spell points every time as well as make you re-summon all the monsters again. There may be a limit to how many times a single pentagram can restore your spell points, but I'm not too sure about that.

    As a matter of fact, re-summoning monsters is often mandatory. True to its D&D roots, Wizardry is essentially a roll-playing game. The amount of monsters that get summoned is randomized, and you just won't be able to get far with too few of them. So we re-roll until the number of monsters summoned suits us. I won't always be aiming for the highest number of monsters possible, but generally the more monsters, the better are your chances of survival.

    01wizfour074.png

    On the Camp screen, we can see Werdna's now improved stats. Note that for each tier of Mage spells he gets access to, Werdna automatically has 9 spell points, which is the maximum but still not too many, so they should be managed carefully.

    Pressing S for Spell, we access the spell book. It lists all the Mage spells there are, but naturally we can't cast them all yet.

    01wizfour076.png

    I will be explaining the spells as we access them, but if you're feeling impatient you can consult the Mage Spell Chart in the "Extras" section of the OP.

    Currently, Werdna can only cast the 4 most basic spells. Halito, or Little Fire, is the rudimentary fireball spell that causes a flame ball the size of a baseball to hit a single opponent for 1d8 points of damage. In Wizardry I, it was basically your Mage's base attack, and just like in the first scenario, in Wizardry IV it won't be of much use to you past the early game. Ceteris paribus, that spell charge is better spent on Katino, the mass target spell that attempts to put the entire enemy party to sleep by turning the air surrounding them into miasmatic "bad air". Note that Katino targets a group of monsters; note further that your own party counts as three groups and the enemy, adventuring party, being your normal Wizardry party, counts as one group. That means your Katino affects all the enemies, whereas their Katino only affects a relatively small part of your monstrous gang.

    Next, Dumapic, the Clarity spell, gives your location on the current dungeon floor relative to (0,0) as well as the direction you're facing. This spell is extremely useful for mapping -- naturally, Wizardry IV doesn't have an automap, assuming instead that the player will be mapping out the dungeon on graph paper. It won't be of much use to us in this LP, though, since I already know my way around full well. To the first time player, however, it is highly essential. The last of the four spells, Mogref, also known as Body Iron, reduces the caster's AC by 2 for the duration of the encounter. Even so, AC of 8 isn't that much better than 10 AC, so you're better off relying on your spell-casting allies to lower your AC instead of wasting time and spell points on Mogref.

    We also have Gas Clouds in our party, with the 2nd tier spells available to them. Dilto causes the enemy group to be enveloped in darkness, which raises their AC and thus reduces their ability to defend against your attacks. Sopic, or Glass, causes the caster to become transparent and lowers their armor class by 4. Given that there are only two tier 2 spells in Wizardry I to IV and none of them is particularly strong or imaginative, it should come as no surprise that later Wizardry V significantly expanded this tier by adding a stoning spell, a group lightning attack spell, an unlock spell, and a speed up spell to this list.

    01wizfour078.png

    The 4x4 room that you start in has no apparent way out. There is a way out, of course, but to discover it, you have to get really creative.

    First thing we do (after having summoned the 1st Lvl Priests) is wander aimlessly around the room waiting for a random encounter to pop up.

    01wizfour079.png

    Luckily, our first encounter is against a neutral Mage named Werty who only has 2 HP. Should be a piece of cake.

    In combat, you only control Werdna directly. "Fight" makes him attempt a melee attack, and the other options should be self-explanatory. As for the monsters, you can't just order them around; instead, they do whatever dice rolls tell them to, and it is indeed as frustrating as it sounds.

    01wizfour081.png

    After we've chosen a combat option for Werdna, the game takes us to a screen where we must confirm it or take it back. Once we've confirmed it, and only after that, the game rolls for the opponent's action. In this case, Werty has decided to cast a Halito. Naturally, an opponent's spell can target any group in our party, including Werdna himself.

    Halito only hits for 1-8 points, however, so even if it targeted and hit Werdna, it couldn't kill him outright anyway...

    01wizfour084.png

    ...on the other hand, killing a squishy 2HP Mage isn't that hard. :P

    01wizfour085.png

    Back to the topic of getting out of the starting room: in an encounter, wait for one of your Priests to cast Milwa, the 1st tier Light spell. That is the key to escaping.

    01wizfour093.png

    A Milwa lasts even when out of combat, and with its help, you can finally discover a secret door leading out of the room! (Incidentally, that means you can only enter a secret door you see. No random bumping into walls in search of a door for you.)

    To sum it up, this is what Wizardry IV's infamous first puzzle consists in: summon a group of Lvl 1 Priests -- wait for an encounter -- wait until a Priest casts Milwa; if he doesn't, wait for the next encounter, etc.

    That, naturally, is the only way you can get out of the starting room. The rationale behind the puzzle being probably as follows: it is only natural to assume there has to be a way out of the starting room -- otherwise what would be the point of the game? On the other hand, any experienced Wizardry player knows that, being a Mage, there is no way for Werdna himself to cast Milwa, as well as that you can only see (and enter) secret doors with light on. From all that, it follows that if you can't, then someone in your party should be able to cast Milwa, so summoning a group of Priests is the logical next step. Finally, you can't just order the Priests to cast a Milwa since you don't control them directly, so you should wait for them to cast it in combat when they feel like it.

    01wizfour097.png

    Freedom and revenge at last!

    Well, not really. We still have a long way to go. And first we must make our way through and out of the Pyramid of Entrapment, coming up next on Wizardry IV!

    P.S. The question mark in the last screenshot is a unique wandering NPC that you must "catch" to trigger an encounter. I'll be sure to do just that as soon as I can.
     

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  6. Jack █▓▒░

    Jack
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    :bounce:
     
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  7. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
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    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
  8. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
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    :what:

    I envy your endurance and passion for making LPs (looks at his own "accomplishments" and hangs head down in shame). Regardless,

    :thumbsup:
     
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  9. Whisper Arcane Vatnik

    Whisper
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    Crooked Bee, thanks for choosing this game. It seems you select most hardcore CRPGs.

    I didnt finish Dark Heart of Uukrul though, game is too tough with weapons breaking, saves overwriting when chars die and puzzles for native english speakers.
     
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  10. Whisper Arcane Vatnik

    Whisper
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    About LP done by user "theverybigslayer" - its somewhat too short, no story explained, no explanation of actions, etc.
     
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  11. CappenVarra phantasmist Patron

    CappenVarra
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    :love:
     
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  12. lightbane Arcane

    lightbane
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    :decline: of Bee. Not so hardcore after all, aren't we? :M

    That Werdna sure had an insane Charisma score, judging from his haggling skills. Also, I bet that dark god that's mentioned is yet another Cthulhu substitute.
     
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  13. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Very interesting, bookmarked. Love how you're using the Apple II version as well (where Trebor's ghost indeed moves in real time).
     
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  14. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    Edit: Extremely vague spoiler redacted.

    Either way, you who are about to Bee dying, I salute you. :salute:
     
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  15. Cowboy Moment Arcane

    Cowboy Moment
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    Ironman?
     
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  16. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I don't think there's anything really "crippled" about not having a particular weapon in this game -- it just doesn't matter much, in my experience. Maybe to a newbie player it does, but not so much to an experienced one. So yeah, I'm going to be delaying it.

    P.S. Please don't spoil it anymore than I've already done. :)
     
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  17. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    Ha, damn. I personally found the game ridiculously hard even when squeezing out every advantage I could, though I suppose I was closer to being a newbie then. Color me impressed!
     
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  18. LeStryfe79 Deal Breaker Patron

    LeStryfe79
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    Where the fuck is Richard Garriott?
     
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  19. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
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    Project: Eternity
    In Ultima?
     
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  20. spekkio Arcane

    spekkio
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    I masterbate to this thread using Left Hand.

    :obviously:
     
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  21. procrastinator Arcane

    procrastinator
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    Oh boy.
     
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  22. Whisper Arcane Vatnik

    Whisper
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    This game is hardest CRPG of all time?

    I play Dark Heart of Uukrul, dont think it is possible to make even harder game (i didnt play this one).
     
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  23. Occasionally Fatal Prophet

    Occasionally Fatal
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    Cool, seems this LP will be very in depth. The earlier LP was indeed a bit sparse on info (I suspect English wasn't his native language), but was still an interesting read for someone who was never going to play Wiz4.

    Also your avatar is very appropriate.
     
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  24. Clockwork Knight Arcane

    Clockwork Knight
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    On the other hand, a player who isn't experienced with Wizardry will have to consult a walkthrough on the intern-

    oh wait

    also, how do you get random encounters inside a locked cell? Did Werty sneak inside by the secret door while the entire party was looking the other way?
     
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  25. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Couldn't do it back in the day, of course.

    It's significantly harder than Uukrul, yes. And yes, it's quite a feat.

    Why, working on The Ultimate RPG, of course.

    :lol:

    Fake edit:

    Basically... yes. :P Werty saw the door, while our party was (literally) in the dark.
     
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