Wizardry I Liveblog Bonus Edition: Chapter 1

Can it be? An actual update featuring actual gameplay?! It can!!!

Part 1: The First Excursion

Before the group set out on their first journey into the depths of the dungeon, they stopped one more time at Gilgamesh’s Tavern.

Gilgamesh: “Your little group looks promising. Here, take this.” as he handed Emptyeye what seemed to be a small book. As Emptyeye looked through the book…

Emptyeye: “Wow, this…this looks to be…well, it’s at least a partial map of the dungeon!”

Gilgamesh: “Indeed. This tome is said to come from an alternate dimension. Legend says that within that dimension, a group of adventurers actually succeeded in defeating Werdna and recovering the amulet. But that group had divine intervention on their side…and no small amount of luck to boot.”

Emptyeye: “Thanks Gilgamesh! Okay guys, let’s go kick some Wizard butt!”

And so the party set out into the dungeon. It wasn’t long at all before they were attacked by a group of 5 small humanoids. As the leader of the group, Emptyeye quickly devised a strategy.

(LIVEBLOG NOTE: Without a spell, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to definitively identify what enemies are in combat beyond a group level. In other words, “Small Humanoids” can be any one of several monsters. Sometimes you’ll be able to determine what they are mid-battle.)

Emptyeye: “Okay, here’s the plan. Zudak, you’re a Mage, wave your hands and make these dudes’ heads explode. Xanatos, throw up a forcefield that will make us impervious to everything. Rocky, you, umm, hang out in the shadows, you’re good at that kind of thing. And Nyperold, mahel and myself will…Zudak, why are you looking at me like I’m crazy instead of making with the head-kerblooey?”

Zudak: “Well, I’d love to do what you commanded, but…”

Emptyeye: “But what?”

Zudak: “You see, I have as much combat experience as you do—which is to say, zero. Making heads explode is quite a ways off for me.”

Emptyeye: *Sigh* “Okay, what can you do at this point?”

Zudak: “I can launch a small fireball at one of these guys, or I can try and put them all to sleep.”

Emptyeye: “Well, it’s not making their heads blow up, but try that sleep thing. While I’m on the subject of ‘Magic Users Whose Current Abilities Fall Woefully Short of My Hopes’, Xanatos, anything you’d like to say?”

Xanatos: “I’m certainly not capable of making us ‘impervious to everything’…but I do think I can throw up something that will make us a bit harder to hit.”

Emptyeye: “Excellent. Do that then.”

mahel042: “Okay, so what about the rest of us?”


And the group did just that. The plan was executed to perfection; Emptyeye quickly cut down one of the humanoids, while Zudak put the remaining four to sleep. Xanatos invoked a small forcefield that ultimately turned out to be unnecessary, as the humanoids would never wake up again. Each of the warriors killed one humanoid before inspecting the monsters closely and realizing that they were facing a group of Orcs. Emptyeye stabbed the last Orc to death, and the group high-fived over their first victory. Experience, and a small amount of gold, were their rewards for this triumph.

(LIVEBLOG NOTE: Because the spell system works like that of Dungeons & Dragons or the original Final Fantasy, you may be tempted to only use spells in emergency situations. Especially early on, this is a bad idea—like in Nethack, spells and items are there to be used; if you find yourself in an “Emergency Situation” in combat, it’s likely already too late to save your party.)

After the brief celebration, the group decided to form their plan.

Zudak: “I think we should probably stick close to the stairs for now. Your plan for that battle was impeccable…but let’s face it, we were also lucky that none of the Orcs woke up. Staying in this hallway will allow us to get back to safety quickly should the need arise.”

Emptyeye: “Well, there are really only a few points of interest on this floor if this book is anything to go by. It wouldn’t hurt to corroborate that though.”

Nyperold: “Aww, but I want to kill stuff!”

Zudak: “Don’t worry…it’s not like there’s a shortage of monsters down here.”

So the group stuck to the plan, getting to know the three chambers closest to the stairs extremely well, making frequent trips back to town where Xanatos and Zudak could recover their magic by staying in the Stables of the Adventurer’s Inn overnight.

(LIVEBLOG NOTE: Yes, seriously. Apparently in the original computer versions, you recovered magic by simply making it back up to the surface. This is not the case in the NES version, where you have to stay in the Adventurer’s Inn to recover your magic. The best place to do this is actually the free Stables, which only age you one day. The other options age you a week at a time and recover varying amounts of HP per week in addition to your magic for varying amounts of gold. Because aging in this game isn’t a good thing (After Age 50, you begin to lose Vitality; going to 0 Vitality makes your character useless for everything but sitting on a porch and cursing out whippersnappers), the best option is to enter town, have a Cleric or Wizard stay in the Stables, go back into the dungeon, have the Cleric/Wizard heal the other characters until they run out of magic, and repeat the process. Also, holy cow this was a long note.).

Eventually, the group began to feel more capable. Emptyeye felt stronger, more agile, more pious, heartier, and smarter. Nyperold, strangely, felt weaker than when he had started, although otherwise he felt the same benefits as Emptyeye. mahel042 felt smarter, heartier, more pious, and even luckier than he had before. Xanatos learned a selection of new spells (Most notably the ability to make the party even harder to hit in combat than they had been previously), and felt heartier, more agile, more pious and luckier, although he also felt dumber, perhaps from having a leader with such unrealistic expectations of his abilities. Rocky and Zudak felt all-around improvement, with Zudak also learning a selection of new spells—most notably, a spell that would reveal the group’s exact location within the maze.

(LIVEBLOG NOTE: It’s actually possible to gain levels and lose stats in the process, although it apparently doesn’t happen as often as in the original versions. Note that I won’t be going this in-depth on subsequent level ups except to note some of the better/more useful spells you gain.)

Next time: More exploration…maybe even some key items!

Amazing Bonus Commentary!

  • With the group’s first combat experience comes a bit more fleshing out of the characters’ personalities–particularly Nyperold, who is beginning to develop into the “Kill first, don’t ask questions” member of the party. Of course, given my party is of Evil alignment, that could really apply to most of the group. Almost as importantly, we see here that Emptyeye is eager to be the tactical leader of the group. Unfortunately, whether due to excess optimism or just outright ignorance, he’s rather misinformed about his group’s actual abilities at this point. He does, however, recover well enough to lead the party to victory in their first battle.
  • I definitely remember reading somewhere that just making it back to the Castle recovered your magic in the computer versions. MatrixTN, who has actually played said original versions, has since informed me that this is incorrect. In hindsight, that doesn’t make much sense anyway–what would the point of the Stables be in that case?
  • The original post was refreshingly free of typos, although there is one bit of bad writing upon a second look. “After the brief celebration, the group decided to form their plan.” Their plan for what? Their plan to explore and stay alive in the dungeon (What I actually meant)? Their plan to head to Gilgamesh’s Tavern for refreshing drinks?

  • 1 comment

      • MatrixTN on September 12, 2010 at 1:36 am

      I don’t remember saying that. And I only played the first on Apple II (and a bit of the NES version at one point before you showed me the trilogy on SNES).

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