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Friday, September 23, 2005

The Realm is a Cruel Mistress

Played a game last night online with a friend of mine, and it went something like this:

The White Knight and Sorceror meet at the Inn, and decide to pair up to do some adventuring. After being blocked by the Rogues, the Sorceror buys them drinks to make the night's stay an uneventful one. The next morning the Sorceror and White Knight hurry out into the Realm, moving into the adjacent Borderlands.

Stumbling immediately onto the Altar, the Sorceror and White Knight locate the entrance, and start looting. The first day yields the Crypt of the Knight, and not much else. After dealing with the Demon, and a couple of heavy serpents, the White Knight excitedly explores the Crypt. Hurrah! It's the Sacred Grail (a source of WHITE magic for the Knight), and the Tremendous armor! The Realm is being suspiciously nice today.

After gathering a few more trinkets (and an ASHES curse for the Knight), the pair decide to move on towards the Chapel to get some healing (Make Whole doesn't remove curses). The Sorceror moves quickly through the woods to a safe location in a neighboring valley, but the Knight hangs back a bit to explore a sound in the woods. Before he realizes what is happening, he finds himself surrounded by wolves. Though he fights heroicly, and kills two wolves, they ultimately knock him down and finish him off. Damn!

Meanwhile, something was stirring at the Chapel, as a new character entered the Realm. With the Order as his ally, the Pilgrim decides it would be worth hiring one of them as an escort before heading out into the Realm. Though the Order offers O3 as a BOON, the Pilgrim chooses not to hurt his alliance, and pays the wage. But something is amiss! In the dark of the evening, the Pilgrim realizes the Patrol has arrived, and with no money to buy drinks, is quickly drawn into a battle against his will. The hired Knight is clumsy, and is worthless in combat. The rest of the Order watches in amusement as the Pilgrim is quickly cut down by the Patrol, and left for dead on the steps of the Chapel!

Back in the Valley, the Sorceror realizes his gallant friend would not be emerging from the darkened woods. He decides to wander a bit, and get a peek at the Cliff and High Pass along the way. Neither place offers any adventure, and so he turns back and heads to the dreaded woods. Knowing something ugly awaits him, the Sorceror spends part of the day preparing his magic, and moves into the woods under the cover of stealth. Quietly entering the clearing with the wolves, the Sorceror sees the Black Knight and a rogue hireling coming in from the opposite side. Though he wonders briefly if this is the source of his friends demise, a quick glance at the wolves tearing apart the remains of a human is all he needs to know. The Black Knight, still unaware of the hidden eyes, lures the wolves into battle. Fwwooossh!!! The Sorceror lets loose a Fiery Blast, and leaves four hapless piles of Wolven ash.

Still a bit wary of each other, the Sorceror and Black Knight join forces, and do a bit of searching for the White Knight's belongings. Only able to locate the Blasted Jewel (where is that grail!!), the two leave to travel towards the beckoning Crags. Enchanting a woods tile along the way, to ensure safe passage to the Mountain after exploring the Crags, the only pause the two make before entering the first clearing of the Crags. The Pool, Cairns, and Altar Shrine are there, along with the Tremendous Octopus. The Sorceror quietly enchants the Crags, to generate a source of permanent PURPLE magic, but the two are quickly besieged by two Heavy Flying Dragons, and a Heavy Land Dragon. Fortunately, both characters were hidden, so there is still a chance to spend a day preparing for the battle.

The Black Knight succeeds in hiding the next day, and alerts the mace with no effort. The Sorceror is not so lucky, and is quickly spotted by the dragons, and now the Octopus joins the fray! With no alerted spells, the Sorceror is going to have to work hard to get his dinner tonight!

With the hireling luring the Octopus, the first round works out quite nicely, as the Heavy Land Dragon (Sorceror), and one Heavy Flying Dragon (Black Knight), go down. The ensuing rounds do not go so well, as each attack misses, and the remaining Heavy Flying Dragon whittles the Black Knight down with fatigue and wounds. The Octopus ultimately gets ahold of the hireling, and crushes him like a bug. As the Sorceror is out of spells, he decides to lure the Octopus in the hopes that he can distract it long enough for the Knight to kill the dragon, and come to help. The Knight does manage to kill the remaining dragon, but it is too late for the Sorceror, who is being tossed aside like so much meat. The Octopus turns on the Black Knight, who is determined to make this end well. Already slowed by fatigue and wounds from the previous melee with the dragons, the Knight is no match for the speed of the Octopus, and he is quickly snatched up, and slammed to the ground like a tin can.

As it was 11:00pm (in the real world), and day 22 (in the Realm), we decided to hang it up for the night. Though we were severely crushed, we still had a great time, and got a good 3 hours of game time without any game-ending bugs.

A couple things we DID notice:
  • At one point, after the Black Knight lured opponents, the Sorceror never got the opportunity to lure off the Black Knight's sheet. I need to fix that.
  • Native combat is tricky! The interface worked for the most part, but there is definitely room for improvement.

One thing that I tested, worked out great: Before the game went too far, I saved it. After the game was over, we tested restarting from the save file, and it worked like a champ! Too bad I didn't save it AFTER the White Knight got the grail and BEFORE he got chewed up by the Wolves!! Ah well!

The combat detail page worked out very nice - it helped point out exactly what happened during each round of combat, which was definitely a plus when doing the native interactions. If you haven't seen this feature yet, download version 0.13, and check it out!

Okay, that's all for now!


Seymour said...

After playing that, you should rename the title of the post to "The Realm is a Cruel Whore!"

Just trying to help.

DewKid said...

Oops, it was the Shrine, not the Altar that we found in the Crags.

Cruel Whore, yeah, I guess that would work too! :-)