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The Magic Candle thread

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by newtmonkey, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    There is plenty of discussion on the Codex on classic CRPG series such as Ultima, AD&D Gold Box, Might & Magic, Wizardry, and The Bard's Tale... but besides an excellent LP of the first game (https://rpgcodex.net/forums/threads/lets-light-the-magic-candle-blind.80574/), there are only mentions here and there of a comparatively obscure series of RPGs that are nonetheless loved by nearly everyone who has played them. I am talking here about The Magic Candle series. Designed by Ali Atabek, the series consists of...

    - Three mainline RPGs:
    • The Magic Candle (1989)
    • The Magic Candle II: The Four and Forty (1991)
    • The Magic Candle III (1992)
    - A prequel RPG:
    • Bloodstone: An Epic Dwarven Tale (1993)
    - An action spinoff:
    • The Keys to Maramon (1990)
    - And two tactical spinoffs:
    • Siege (1992)
    • Ambush at Sorinor (1993)

    There is also a version of The Magic Candle on the Famicom, but it appears to be a clone of the first Dragon Quest game rather than a port of any kind.

    The mainline RPGs are known for their massive worlds, turn-based tactical combat (that perhaps gets dull partway through), and focus on gathering information.

    ---

    I've not played any game in this series, but have decided to start The Magic Candle this weekend (literally tonight). I enjoy playing through series of CRPGs in order so I'm looking forward to seeing how this series develops with each game... and I thought creating this thread would be a good way of getting the whole series organized in one place.

    With that said, I'm going to go in to this game mostly blind (having read the manual of course), but would appreciate any tips on gotchas I should look out for. If you've played these games, which did you enjoy the most? How do you think the series compares with other classics?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  2. Ysaye Savant

    Ysaye
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    I played Magic Candle 2 back in the day, and whilst I accept that others think that Magic Candle 1 is better, there are a heap of things that were very memorable and it is sad that this series has become somewhat forgotten.

    I really liked the magic system which involved finding different spellbooks that had sets of spells that could be memorized; it is very different from the systems that most fantasy RPGs revolve around these days. The exploration of the game was also good with hidden elven and dwarven towns, dungeons in the middle of really nowhere, and even you can invade enemy towns by casting magic to disguise yourself. I didn't mind the resource management components either, although I can imagine that would annoy people these days.

    Anyway - looking forward to Skald, which seems like it will be something like a throwback.

    As for tips...AFAIR certain mushrooms can be very useful to solve resourcing issues quickly, (endurance and hunger?) at least in Magic Candle 2 - I imagine this is true in Magic Candle 1 as well.
     
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  3. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I loved the first Magic Candle game.

    It has perhaps the best logistics of any CRPG I've played; the planning and equipping before setting out, splitting of party and have members do various things, and it's the only game where your party can actually do something useful when on a sea voyage.

    The combat system is quite simplistic, but it's quick and fun and original, with a mix of standard and original enemies.

    It's quite open ended with fun exploration.

    On the downside character development and loot is not very good, and before you reach the end combat will become a chore because there's no more character development and there is no random loot to find.

    The second game suffered from starting in a too big city with just too many NPC and their schedules to keep track of. Also, no more party splitting.
    But I should probably have given it a second try.
     
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  4. Fowyr Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Fowyr
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    Played first two games, finished only the second. That's a fine series. A ton of unique mechanics that were never used again. Do you know that Mindcraft before its death wanted to release a celtic RPG?
     
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  5. Taka-Haradin puolipeikko Prestigious Gentleman Filthy Kalinite Patron

    Taka-Haradin puolipeikko
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Bubbles In Memoria
    I didn't know about this one.
    Thanks.
     
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  6. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    I wasn't prepared for how dense the manual is lol. I intended to start the game tonight after getting home, but sat down to read the manual and ended up getting somewhat drunk and agonizing over which characters to choose whilst listening to ZZ Top.

    I don't intend this to become a LP or anything, but here's my tentative party. Any thoughts?

    Lukas
    1. Tamas - Wizard with access to fire/heal spellbook
    2. Eflun - Wizard with access to resurrection spellbook
    3. Rexor - Charismatic knight
    4. Nehor - Ranger with excellent hunting skills
    5. Rogga - Dwarf metalsmith that (according to manual) starts with possible 2 attacks per round

    ---

    I love how much information is included in the manual. It really gets the noggin joggin just from reading it.
     
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  7. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    One thing to consider is that only some of the characters can be transferred to MC 2.

    I agree on having two wizards.
    I also liked having a halfling for generating money in town and making adventuring more comfy when camping.
     
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  8. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    octavius
    I considered choosing a halfling as the "face" of my party, but even the manual kept telling me they are useless haha. Would it be worth replacing Rexor with a halfling?
     
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  9. Fowyr Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Fowyr
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    You always can leave this halfling in city to work as tailor, and just take his money now and then, it definitely worked in MC2. Can't remember much about first game, just that time limit was pretty dire, so your first big goal should be finding a lot of teleport cubes, spheres and whatnot.
    Also you need a notebook. There is a lot of info to write down.
     
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  10. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    Well, it makes the logistics part a bit easier, but combat harder. I eventually decided on a halfling for the the added fun and role playing.

    Also, one character with high Charism is important, for speaking with NPCs. IIRC the Knight has a very high Charisma.
     
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  11. newtmonkey Arcane

    newtmonkey
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    Well, I realized after starting that I had misread the manual, and that the "Crystal Palace" characters aren't available from the start.

    I ended up going with:

    1. Rexor - Charismatic knight
    2. Dalin - Dwarf metalsmith
    3. Nehor - Archer & hunter
    4. Eflun - Wizard (starts with protection spells)
    5. Ziyx - Wizard (starts with "conflict" spells)

    I spent some time getting used to the interface and playing around with party splitting, explored and gathered information from the starting area, fought a single combat (Dalin even gained a + to his sword/axe skill), and entered Port Avur. My plan is to stick around this area for a bit, exhaust the enemy patrols (assuming this is possible and not just flavor text in the manual), and get some training done. I'll pick up a sword for Nehor and bow for Lukas I think.

    There's a lot I like about this game already. I enjoy how exploration really does feel like an expedition and I especially like how you have to assign roles to the characters when camping (or even staying at the inn!). I thought the ability to split your party up would be a gimmick, but it's awesome to have your high charisma guy gathering information while the rest of your people rest, fix their weapons, train, memorize spells, etc.

    Combat so far seems okay. I like that it starts with a positioning phase, and it's got a neat thing where combatants will automatically step back from melee attacks or step to the side of ranged attacks, but will be unable to do so if someone else is standing in the applicable square. It seems like quite a step up from Ultima combat or even something like Demon's Winter, but I doubt it will end up being as satisfying as Gold Box combat.

    It seems so far that multiple characters offer the same hints, which would be great—there's nothing more infuriating than missing a vital clue from some guy hanging out in a forest at the corner of a town in the Ultima games.

    Anyway, it seems fantastic so far. However, probably due to the focus on gathering information and logistics, I typically play for 15-30 minutes and then need to a take a break. It might get easier to play longer as I get more into the game, though.
     
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  12. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    Same party as I had, I think, except I had a halfling instead of the Knight. Later you may want to reorganize the party if you want to play MC2 with the same characters.

    IIRC enemy patrols respawn every six months.

    Don't forget to gather shrooms. When things get hairy you'll really need them.
     
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  13. newtmonkey Arcane

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    I considered looking up which characters can transfer to the sequel, but I guess for this series I'm not too concerned since I didn't make the characters myself. It's of course a different matter in a game that gives me full party generation and full party transfer to the sequel!

    I'll keep on the lookout for shrooms. I like the idea of my sleep-deprived party on an insane quest hopped up on magic mushrooms.
     
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  14. Ysaye Savant

    Ysaye
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    Of the characters in your current party, Nehor, Eflun and Rexor are in the sequel.
     
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  15. Fowyr Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Fowyr
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    After transferring they should lose some skills and stats, I think. At least it was in MC2>MC3 transfer. Also I remember maxing all my skills in first half of the game, so don't worry too much. Stats are different thing. I think they are raised similar to the MC2, through the shrines and magic words, right?
     
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  16. TigerKnee Arcane

    TigerKnee
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    Magic Candle is like an Ultima IV that focused on gameplay instead of storytelling. I love it. Shame that the sequels don't live up to the original IMO.
     
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  17. FrancoTAU Cipher

    FrancoTAU
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    I played them out of order since that's how i found them in the bargain bin. MC2 was my favorite, probably because i played if first. The survival while exploring outdoors might drive a lot of modern gamers nuts, but otherwise great games. A lot of features you don't see anywhere else despite the obvious Ultima looks of the games.
     
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  18. TigerKnee Arcane

    TigerKnee
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    One thing that's really cool is that because so much of the game is information gathering and writing down notes, even if you fuck up the time limit on your first playthrough, the subsequent playthroughs go along much faster because you now know much more than you did the first time (e.g where all the patches of free mushrooms are, "passwords" to get into places early, places of the spell book characters etc

    I really wish there was a modern RPG with as much information focus as this.
     
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  19. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    Depending on how you define "modern", there's Lurking duology. But generally this kind of gameplay is largely gone simply because it's incompatible with dialog trees.
     
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  20. TigerKnee Arcane

    TigerKnee
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    Never thought about it that way. I think someone should try to bring back Text Parsers with the option to "remember" some very common phrases (Name / Job / Buy / Sell) like Wizardry 8 does to be a bit more user friendly but still allow the option of going "off the rails", so to speak.
     
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