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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz1Mfyzoi1w

Wizardry 8! The last of the Wizardries made by Sir-Tech, though I believe there have been a few made by Japanese companies since then. It picks up where Wizardry 7 left off, especially if you import a final save from that game, as it greatly impacts the start location of your party. You can, of course, like me, also start an original party which gives you a fourth start location right in the middle of everything.

This LP is reasonably open world, so I will accept people's input on where and when to go. There's obviously an "optimal" path, but you're free to ignore it as long as you eventually hit all of the required places. Some of them are "gated" by being horribly tough, but Wiz 8 uses a mild sort of scaling which means every area has a max and minimum level it scales to. So some areas can NEVER be harder than a certain limit, others can NEVER be easier than a certain limit. Generally, though, even on Normal, this game will do its utmost to kick your rear end. I will also be accepting input for the party to make. I've obviously got my own opinions on what makes a good, strong party but... there are very few party compositions that are completely unplayable.

Getting thrown a curveball might definitely be interesting.

There are also a few options on how to complete some quests and who to align with. I will also leave that option to the audience.

Why Wizardry 8? There are... a whole seven other wizardries first!

Firstly, the older Wizardries suffer from oooooooooooooh so much jank and are very much hardcore groggy RPG's in comparison. Secondly, most of the series has already been competently LP'd by better and smarter people than me, so I don't feel like retreading their footsteps. Wizardry 8 truly reworks the formula in a lot of ways which I greatly enjoy.

What's the plot?

If you didn't watch the video above, it's relatively simple. The gods, known in this setting as the COSMIC LORDS, created four artifacts to help manage reality. The Astral Dominae: creates life. The Chaos Moliri: creates change. The Destinae Dominus: contains all knowledge. And the Cosmic Forge, a pen that turns anything written to reality, though often with a certain "monkey's paw"-esque twist to it, as discovered during Wizardry 6.

Rumour has it that whoever collects the first three, with the fourth already having been returned to its intended place, can become the new Cosmic Lords, rulers of all reality. Obviously this is a thing we want. Also angling for this glory are the Dark Savant(imagine Darth Vader but with an army of very competent cybernetic troopers at his disposal), the T'rang(weird spider-slugs) and the Umpani(military-capitalist rhinomen). A variety of locals native to Planet Dominus(and a few who aren't) also have their own agendas and may get in our way.

So you mentioned making characters. What are the options?

Characters are made of six fundamental building blocks: A name, a character image, a gender, a race, a class and a voice.

Names: Hopefully do not need explaining. They're split into a "full" name(almost never shown at any point) and a nickname/diminuitive(sometimes just the first name) that pops up whenever the game needs to tell you that they've gotten sick, killed something, levelled up, etc.

Character image: Obviously the game has a lot of pre-made character images, but I may be able to import 180x144 .tga files if someone has a funny image to use instead. The game has a minimum of one male and one female option for each race.

Gender: You've got male and female, which are mostly irrelevant to the game. They don't affect stats, but only females can be Valkyries, they limit the selection of voices(there are 18 for each gender) and there are a few female-only pieces of equipment. In addition, we will need a minimum of one(1) male character to finish the game, as one encounter requires it and I don't believe it's skippable. We may be able to get a male hireling instead, but I've honestly never tried and I'd rather not softlock myself at the 80% point through the game.

Race: Races never limit your class options. Instead, each has a starting array of stats, and if your starting class requires more than those stats, you go into stat-debt, and your first few level ups' stat boosts have to be invested in repaying that debt. This means some class/race combos are certainly more optional than others. There are also a few pieces of race-restricted gear.


Humans have no special benefits or deficits and are roughly equally good at everything.


Elves gain some bonus Mental and Air resistance as a species default and are otherwise generically elfy, being slightly more fragile and smarter than Humans. They're good as both mages and clerics.


Dwarves have natural armor and Fire resistance, and boosted strength and vitality, at the cost of every other stat. They're good at punching things.


Gnomes get bonus Mental resistances and are highly dexterous. Their bonus resistance is Earth.


Faeries are our first race that isn't just Slightly Different Human. They're great mages, because they recover mana faster than any other race, and they have built-in bonus AC which works well with their inability to wear most armor(being very small and all) and mages' inability to wear most armor. They're very fast(often acting first) and have a high Intelligence. The usual move with a Faerie is to make them a Mage or an unarmed combatant or... a Ninja. There's a very powerful weapon only available to Faerie Ninjas, and only one of them in the game. Faeries get a grab-bag of boosted resistances.


Lizardmen are the inverse of Faeries. They're huge lumbering piles of muscle and health, slow and dumb as rocks. Great for Fighters and little else. They also get a mix of boosted resistances.


Dracons are noble dragonfolk whose main special trick is having a low-powered acid breath attack that can help out in the early game.


Felpurr are catfolk whose main thing is that they're the only other race to be as fast as Faeries.


Rawful start with the highest Piety stat, making them good options for Priests and Bishops. Otherwise, they're normal.


Mook are the second stand-out weird race along Faeries. Unlike Faeries, they can wear most standard gear, but there are also a few pieces of extra big gear only they can wear or wield. They are essentially intellectual Wookies, combining good physical strength with high intelligence, though they suck at Piety and Speed.

Classes: Are even more involved than races. Most equipment has some form of class limitation on it, unless it's a quest-vital item.


Fighters are amazing users of melee and ranged weapons. In the early game they hold the line, in the mid-game they lag a bit behind mages, and then in the endgame as enemies get higher elemental resistances they come back as the main damage dealers for the party.


Lords are Fighter/Clerics capable of wielding Divine spells and being oddly specialized in dual-wielding, a mostly useless ability. Think of them as Paladins.


Valkyries are Fighter/Clerics like Lords, but polearm-specialized(and polearms can kick rear end) and occasionally when they die, they instantly revive at 1HP, which can allow for some sick speedrunning tricks or sometimes just save you when you gently caress up.


Rangers are specialized in ranged combat and can use Alchemy spells. Their special abilities include ranged Criticals(critical strikes are instant kills that a few classes and weapons have access to) and they also simplify the game by constantly Searching, something that usually slows you down in exchange for being able to find hidden objects. With a Ranger, you just constantly have a chance to find bonus stuff.


Samurai are Fighter/Mages that can critically hit in melee and are immune to the Fear status effect, something more useful than it sounds.


Ninjas are Fighter/Alchemists that can crit with melee and thrown weapons, and who have access to unarmed combat. Another skill that is occasionally insanely useful. Their thrown attacks also never bounce off armor, if they hit, they always do damage.


Monks are Fighter/Psionicists who cannot be blinded, can critically hit in melee and focus specifically on unarmed combat(with a sideline in thrown weapons and staves).


Rogues are wholly non-magical, but their ability to pick locks is vital if the party has no Alchemist or Mage(or hybrid of same) capable of casting Knock Knock to deal with obstinate locks. They have a limited weapon selection but can contribute effectively in combat nonetheless.


Gadgeteers are non-magical... kind of. If you find the right environmental junk, they can create items that simulate some spells at a cost of Stamina instead of Mana. They also start with an Omnigun, a ranged weapon that levels with them and eventually acquires the ability to cause most of the game's status effects and use most of the game's ammo types. At the start, though, it can just shoot rocks. They also have access to lockpicking and can create a few unique weapons for other classes, like the amazing Triple Crossbow.


Bards are like Gadgeteers except they find their instruments already made, rather than assembling them and end up with a different "spellbook" at the end. They're also more melee-focused.


Priests cast Divine spells and can banish undead. Very straightforward, also very likely to save your rear end. Having no divine or psionic spellcaster to put up Soul Shield sucks. They hit things with blunt objects in combat.


The Alchemy spellbook somewhat sucks compared to the rest, in my opinion, but Alchemists(and by extension Ninjas) can cast spells while Silenced, and so can ignore that status ailment. They also passively generate free potions, can mix certain potions and specialize in throwing weapons.


Bishops are Psionic/Mage/Priest/Alchemist crossclasses that have access to all four spellbooks. Having a Bishop ROCKS in the late game but SUCKS in the early game since their spread focus means they increase their abilities much more slowly.


Masters of mind bullets, immune to all mental status effects and great at inflicting them on the enemy.


Mages get a bonus to all elemental resistances and their main skill is in blowing things the hell up.

Voices

Each gender has nine voice "types" and two selections of each. Here are some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzlq9QTv0mA

I can upload the remainder if anyone wants to hear all of them.

I'll need six characters(technically I can play with a smaller party, but hell to the no on doing that), to fill out six of our eight slots(the last two are reserved for recruitable NPC's we can encounter along the way). As mentioned, I'm not sure the game is actually beatable(without a lot of reloading) without a Priest, Psionic or hybrid class involving one of the two, since the spell Soul Shield is the only thing standing between you and a lot of late-game save-or-die shenanigans(well that and your saving throws, I guess), so requiring access to that spell is the only limitation I'll put on the final party.

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Update Index:

Part 001: Crabs. It's Mostly Just Crabs.
Part 002: Virtuous Thieves
Part 003: The Umpani
Part 003.5: Fire and Water
Part 004: Arnika
Part 004.5: Earth and Air

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 06:15 on Jul 31, 2020

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Sure, I'll get in on this. Submitting:

Aurora, female human ranger. Scandinavian peasant voice, the one that talks about milking the cows and whatnot.

I found a ranger priceless in 8 due to the auto-searching.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It is time for your viscera to see the light of day!

Sessyth, male lizardman fighter. OP's choice for the voice.

NHO
Jun 25, 2013



You know, I'm feeling like troll/callback option.
Werdna, Male Human Mage, back from retirement to demonstrate that Cosmic Lords ain't all they seems to be. Still Werdna the Kabbalist.

OOrochi
Jan 19, 2017


Mark, the Male Mook Monk.

No idea on the voice.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE



Nap Ghost

Lady is a female Rawulf Valkyrie with a Burly voice

Slaan fucked around with this message at 22:43 on Jul 8, 2020

inflatablefish
Oct 24, 2010


Twinklesparkles, a male Faerie ninja with the Laidback voice.

Straight White Shark
May 16, 2009



Fun Shoe

Goddess Rainbowvixen, female Felpurr Mage

PurpleXVI posted:

I'll need six characters(technically I can play with a smaller party, but hell to the no on doing that), to fill out six of our eight slots(the last two are reserved for recruitable NPC's we can encounter along the way). As mentioned, I'm not sure the game is actually beatable(without a lot of reloading) without a Priest, Psionic or hybrid class involving one of the two, since the spell Soul Shield is the only thing standing between you and a lot of late-game save-or-die shenanigans(well that and your saving throws, I guess), so requiring access to that spell is the only limitation I'll put on the final party.

Just coast through the game with ~smooth jazz~ you coward

Arcvasti
Jun 12, 2019

Never trust a bird.

inflatablefish posted:

Twinklesparkles, a male Faerie ninja with the Laidback voice.

+1 to this, you can't dangle Faerie ninja in front of us and then snatch them away.

azren
Feb 13, 2011




inflatablefish posted:

Twinklesparkles, a male Faerie ninja with the Laidback voice.

Absolutely this. This is good, and right. That having been said, if I also get to make a suggestion:

Bob! Johnson! no, wait... Punch! Rockgroin! the male human fighter with a suitably macho voice. The closer it sounds to a high school jock, the better. I don't know if this image can be made to work or not, but it would be a perfectly suitable character portrait.

Only registered members can see post attachments!

Calamitous_Justice
Feb 21, 2011


Flame-Eyes, a Female Dracon Alchemist, Any Voice

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


I had a feeling the Faerie Ninja would pop up.

Which I'm honestly fine with, I've been wanting to try that combo for years but just keep skipping it over every playthrough because of more generic, balanced parties attracting my attention.

Also I'll obviously get more character suggestions than I have character slots... so I'll try to prioritize anything that gets multiple votes. Gotta give the audience what they want, after all.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Stony Tark, Male Human Engineer.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011
I got chased out of the Monster Hunter thread for garbage posting, now I shit up other Games threads with useless low-effort uninformed aggro noise. I somehow think "VN nerds" are beneath me and I belong on your ignore list.

inflatablefish posted:

Twinklesparkles, a male Faerie ninja with the Laidback voice.
Really, you can't play Wizardry 8 without having at least one of these.

Zurai
Feb 13, 2012


Cardiovorax posted:

Really, you can't play Wizardry 8 without having at least one of these.

Agreed.

Also, we need an Engineer of some variety. Their gun gets pretty OP by the end of the game and the gadgets are both useful and hilarious.

Also also, Wiz 8 is one of my favorite games of all time. It's quirky and weird and the graphics are really dated by now but it's so good.

ThePlanetBuster
Oct 29, 2012


Chewbecka, a lady Mook Samurai
Edit:
I am very excited about this LP. Wizardry 8 does a lot of things that I wish other blobbers would take into account (primarily, how it handles rows in a fully 3D space). It's kind of a bummer that this was the last game in the series in America and is an evolutionary dead end for the series in Japan (which mostly pulls from the original trilogy or sometimes from 6.)

Another innovation I wish happened more often was forcing an ad on you every time you quit the game that called your PC a piece of poo poo:

ThePlanetBuster fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Jul 9, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Alright, so, a quick poll before I get to work. Would people prefer...

#1: A pure screenshot LP, aside from the game's very rare cutscenes, with the occasional .gif?

Pros: Easy reading, I can easily cut out repetitive/inconsequential encounters
Cons: May be hard to keep track of what's happening, will miss out on satisfying splorches, sound effects and voice bites.

#2: A hybrid LP, where I record the occasional battle or conversation in full but most of the game is screenshots.

Pros: Mostly easy reading, I can show off the cooler battles in full.
Cons: Some people prefer to avoid video, definitely slower output if I have to subtitle multiple smaller videos.

#3: A pure video LP where I record everything but attempt to speed up less important things.

Pros: The LP will be more "complete," no wacky sound effects or voice lines missed.
Cons: There will almost certainly be a bunch of repetitive travelling/fighting that will be either hard to excise or speed up to the point you don't notice it, subtitling an entire multiple-hour play session will probably make for slow updates, I'll probably be less verbose in describing mechanics if that's your thing.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



#2, hybrid

Wizardry 8 is too slow for video style being worth it, imo, but it does have some great sound bits.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It is time for your viscera to see the light of day!

Hybrid

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011
I got chased out of the Monster Hunter thread for garbage posting, now I shit up other Games threads with useless low-effort uninformed aggro noise. I somehow think "VN nerds" are beneath me and I belong on your ignore list.

Agreed. This is a very long game and you spend of time walking through empty corridors or wilderness. There isn't a lot going on that would benefit from video format all that much, but it might be a good idea for the more important voiced conversations.

Straight White Shark
May 16, 2009



Fun Shoe

Cardiovorax posted:

Agreed. This is a very long game and you spend of time walking through empty corridors or wilderness. There isn't a lot going on that would benefit from video format all that much, but it might be a good idea for the more important voiced conversations.

Seconding this. This game's combat is excruciatingly slow. There are a few big fights that might be worth showing off but random encounters are frequent and looooong.

OOrochi
Jan 19, 2017


Definitely Hybrid

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

It's an old joke, but let's go with a Felpurr Monk called Meow Ze-Bonk. Eccentric voice.

e: Oh, seems I'm a poll late. Hybrid.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at 21:22 on Jul 9, 2020

Zurai
Feb 13, 2012


Agreed on Hybrid LP style. Combat is too frequent and takes too long (especially at early levels) to do a pure video format, but there are some portions that would benefit from video IMO.

azren
Feb 13, 2011




Hybrid sounds good.

Stago Lego
Sep 3, 2011


Cardinal Spot male Rawulf bishop. Just take a pious voice for him. And a picture of a cute dog in stead of the usual Rawulf faces wouldn't go amiss.
Hybrid LP, this would the best I think.

idhrendur
Aug 20, 2016


Pure screenshot, but hybrid would be acceptable.

Suzaku
Feb 15, 2012


Hybrid. Just use whatever format works best for whatever you want to do at the time.

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."



Man, I had a great time with Wizardry 8, despite the clunky-as-hell combat system. I dug up my old party, so pick whichever one of these bozos best fits in with whoever else you take:

-Hanzo Steele, Male Mook Samurai, Kindly Voice 2
-Scales (real name Lady Cordelia Fireheart), Female Dracon Valkyrie, Aggressive Voice 1
-Vindleberry "Vinny" Sparklewing, Male Faerie Ninja Hitman, Cunning Voice 1 (i.e. the Italian-American stereotype voice)
-Elroy "Roy" Manchester, Male Human Bard, Laid-back Voice 1
-Glindle Tinkergear, Male Gnome Gadgeteer, Eccentric Voice 1
-Eldrin Q. Thistlethorp III, Male Elf Bishop, Intellectual Voice 2

And I figure a Hybrid LP will get the best of both worlds, as everyone else has said.

Suzaku
Feb 15, 2012


Danger Stranger the Dracon Ranger. Voice and gender are OP's choice.

Raitzeno
Nov 24, 2007

What? It seemed like
a good idea at the time.



I'd prefer a screenshot LP, but if you can screenshot/transcribe the text in any videos that need to be taken, I'll happily settle for a Hybrid, especially if the voices are as integral to the experience as it sounds so far..

EclecticTastes
Sep 17, 2012

"Most plans are critically flawed by their own logic. A failure at any step will ruin everything after it. That's just basic cause and effect. It's easy for a good plan to fall apart. Therefore, a plan that has no attachment to logic cannot be stopped."



Raitzeno posted:

I'd prefer a screenshot LP, but if you can screenshot/transcribe the text in any videos that need to be taken, I'll happily settle for a Hybrid, especially if the voices are as integral to the experience as it sounds so far..

For context, the game is more or less fully-voiced, and uses a system of manually-typed keywords where a character may have something to say about literally dozens of topics. On top of that, the party themselves will chime in with dialog in response to story events, which will differ depending on which of the thirty-six voice options you're using. There's also a lot of neat (for the time) visuals. On the other hand, combat is so agonizingly slow (it uses the same "multiple groups of up to about a dozen enemies in every combat" system Wizardry has always used, except now they move and attack within a 3D space, one at a time) that a video of it would not be great.

Cardiovorax
Jun 5, 2011
I got chased out of the Monster Hunter thread for garbage posting, now I shit up other Games threads with useless low-effort uninformed aggro noise. I somehow think "VN nerds" are beneath me and I belong on your ignore list.

It's why the hybrid approach would really work here. The conversations and all those little interjections are a pain to bring across well in pure text form, while the rest of the game is pretty boring to watch as a video.

Inflammatory
Apr 22, 2014


yeah ime the combat speed mod is an absolute necessity for this game.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Part 001: Crabs. It's Mostly Just Crabs.

Let's get this party started with... the party.



Apologies to everyone whose suggestion didn't get picked, there were no bad ones. Twinklesparkles was a no-brainer because multiple people wanted him on board, and also because I've been wanting to see The Weapon in action ever since I first played this game but never remembered it at chargen. Werdna got in because I couldn't pass up a good reference, Chewbecka because puns are my lifeblood, Lady because I was starting to realize I was going to need some beefy characters on the team to keep it alive, Stony because I wanted to show off Gadgeteers(and in part because that human male character image kind of worked as a reasonable facsimile) and Aurora because the extra items from a perma-searching ranger are good and also rangers are in general just a kickass class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZejwzqPNmUk

There's a different intro video if you import from Wizardry 7, but mostly the difference is that you arrive on board the T'rang, Umpani or unaligned vessel with a lady called Vitalia Domina whom we shall later meet. As a short recap of W7: You arrive on Planet Guardia, either fresh imports or from Wizardry 6, where the T'rang, Umpani and Dark Savant are fighting to be the first to acquire the Astral Dominae. You can side with any of them in the fight, but siding with the Dark Savant, if I remember right, gets your party tossed into the Negative Zone at the end, permanently nulling them and making them unimportable. The T'rang and Umpani import starts also drop us near our chosen factions, rather than in the middle of nowhere.



It is, at least, a nice enough beach to be stranded on literal lightyears away from home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nTkeB1wssw

This track plays throughout this entire area and the next one as well.



Chewbecka pipes up with the first of many voice lines and I just want to reiterate they did a shitload of voicework for this game. There are 36 different voices, each of them have different lines for everything from landing a hit to being hit with a condition to a party member going down and in addition every single voice has a unique reaction to story events like this, crashing on Dominus(though only one character will get to chime in on most of them), and none of them are just the same lines with a different voice, every single voice is written with a different personality and it's a really, really great part of the game.

Now, if you notice the upper left of the screen, we have a choice of three different UI's. Our starting UI is the one where most of the character info is folded away, in favour of seeing more of the playfield, but vital stats still visible.



The very detailed option is definitely the one you want on for fights and, unfortunately, also the one I left on for most of this update, thus obscuring some of the environments. I apologize for that, I only realized it upon reviewing the screenshots and will likely go for the middle option in the next update and onwards.



The super-minimized UI is nice for screenshots but has some issues, for example the lack of your minimap in the lower left, which is just begging to get ambushed. Enemies move in real time outside of combat and having one of them sneak up on a poor angle of your formation can leave you with the choice of letting the enemy get in the first hit or leaving your wizards exposed to enemy frontliners on the first turn of combat.



With regards to formation, you'll usually find one you like and stick with it for most events. The way it works is that party members are always kind of stuck together in a blob, rather like a heavily armed hydra, separated into one of five quadrants: Front, Left, Right, Back and Middle. Enemies in direct contact with one quadrant can be hit by, and hit, that quadrant with short-ranged weapons, and be hit from, and hit, all adjacent quadrants with "extended" weapons. Ranged weapons and spells, of course, don't give a drat about this. If a quadrant is unoccupied, enemies adjacent to it are considered as adjacent to all of its adjacent quadrants.



For instance, now any enemies approaching the front quadrant is punchable by any of our guys and girls, while still mostly unable to reach the squishies in the back(Stony and Werdna). Another classic move would be to shove Chewbecka and Twinklesparkles up front, Stony and Werdna in the middle, and have Lady and Aurora on the flanks since Aurora ignores attack ranges with her bow and Lady can still poke melee enemies up front with her lances(all polearms and some staves have Extended ranges). If we had more than three short-ranged combatants, though, one of them would be perpetually in trouble at actually closing to punch the enemy.



Things on the minimap are either red: actively trying to find and kill you, yellow: will turn red if you get close enough but otherwise just patrolling, green: will at least talk to you before turning hostile and you can probably offload junk on them and white: items you can steal or creatures you spotted before moving out of sight range. As indicated by the text box, we got a bit too close to the crabs and they got extremely unhappy about it.




Getting into a fight also gives us a chance to talk about magic. All casters have six separate mana pools, the four classic elements, divine and mental. One of the great bits of this, as opposed to one huge mana pool, is that it helps force you to swap up your spells cast a bit since you'll quickly exhaust one pool if you over-rely on it. Spells that don't target friends either: target a single enemy, target all enemies, target all enemies in a group or target all enemies in view of the camera.

Like Sleep here, it's a great spell that puts a group of enemies into Nap Mode, thus allowing you to stave their faces in unopposed until the beating wakes them up.

Each spell also has multiple different levels of power you can cast it at, those would be the little coloured rings to the right of the spell list. The higher the level, the higher the power, and also the greater the risk. You'll notice that Werdna can cast Sleep at intensity 1 or 2, the level 2 version would cost more mana and, as indicated by a non-green ring, have a non-trivial chance of fizzling or backfiring. More levels and more magic skill will solve that, backfiring spells are the sort of thing that usually make you bite your nails because it also tends to mean you've cast them at a power level where they will gently caress you sideways.



Moving in combat postpones all character actions until you're done moving and usually lets the enemy get in their turn first. Against melee enemies the advantage is it lets them waste time walking up to you and then you can just choose to not move anywhere and let your fighters get on with the mauling. A pro strat is also to manually engage combat out of view of enemies(say, around a corner), so you can get in a free run/walk move up to them if they're ranged dudes and you don't want to give them free shots while you close on them. Otherwise combat automatically starts once you get in range of hostile enemies.



These being just crabs, Werdna puts one to sleep and the smashing ensues. And no, you're not missing something, enemies in Wizardry 8 do not leave corpses, they all explode, which is a great trick for saving frames and also a pro artistic choice on Sir Tech's part in my opinion.



Another advantage of putting enemies to sleep(or otherwise making them unable to fight back, with, say, paralysis or webbing), is that all melee attacks do double damage to them because they can't dodge. It's not a lot of extra damage now, but it will be later.

The crabs are, as appropriate for a very first combat encounter, easily put down, and then it's time to look around the area a little bit.






It's a small, enclosed area really just serving to give us a place to beat up some wildlife before we feel ready to open the door and enter the starter dungeon proper.



This ramp near the back leads up to an optional encounter which, depending on your party composition and the luck of the encounter generator, may in fact kick your rear end early. Normally I bounce off it once or twice with my own artisanally crafted super cool parties.




These guys, though, are champs, and just bust right through it with nary a scratch.



Anyone paying attention to the combat messages will also notice that skills in use automatically level up. Every level up you're given 6 stat points and 15 skill points, with a max of 3 assignable per skill/stat. Stats never level up on their own, and unlock special skills when they hit 100, while skills being used will slowly increase towards 80 and then require manual upgrading for the last few points. Usually, though, you won't need characters to be so broadly skilled that you shouldn't put both your passive and active skill gain towards making them better and stronger at their core competencies.



Stepping into the Lower Monastery we're immediately faced with a dreadful challenge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecLPzsW2E0Y

This one I turned into video form because I really loved Chewbecka's reaction at having battled and defeated one whole crab.



Further up the corridor we encounter our second type of enemy. Crabs are kind of non-entities in terms of enemy design, they have HP, a melee attack and fighting crabs is inherently funny, but they don't really do anything much beyond that. Slimes, on the other hand, start requiring a bit of preparedness as the game advances. Right now, they're not too dissimilar from crabs except that many of them also have a ranged spit attack that can endanger your back rows. But it soon becomes common for them to be able to cause Nausea, Disease and Poison. Poison, obviously, causes damage over time, and unlike some games it will kill you. Disease starts dropping all sorts of random stat effects on the victim, fear, nausea, poison, paralysis, unconsciousness, etc. and eventually starts lowering stats permanently. Disease also does not go away with time. Nausea, lastly, is a minor stat malus that sometimes causes lost actions if characters are interrupted by having to stop and vomit.



Coming up the ramp we enter this large room where we're reminded that Wizardry isn't a pure fantasy setting, because this ancient, foreboding monastery is lit with electric lights rather than flickering torches.



Immediately on entry, some bats show up, and much like slimes, bats can be real bad news later on as they're often carriers of Disease or the rarer Draining ailment that permanently lowers hitpoints(though there's a specific curing item for Drained hitpoints, while there's none for stats lost to Disease).



At least they're just Level 1 bats. Until our Mythology skill gets better on one or more characters, we won't be able to really know much about enemy elemental weaknesses, strengths, total HP, potential status ailments they can inflict, etc. it's somewhat irrelevant in this first dungeon, but later in the game, especially for a mage-heavy party, it's very important to know what will actually stick and what will just be wasted.



Three exits to the room, one of them is...



Barred, not bolted, until we get to the other side to open a shortcut. The other is the source of the bats, and thus the last one we'll go to, the third one...




Is another enemy that can cause some mild trouble as, per the name, it can inflict the Nauseous stat effect if you get unlucky.



This cool crew chews right through it, though, getting us our first level-ups of this playthrough, for Werdna and Stony. This isn't (mainly) because characters get different XP rewards(because sometimes they inexplicably do), but because "pure" classes(Fighter, Mage, Priest, Psionicist, Alchemist, Gadgeteer, Bard, Rogue) level up faster than Hybrids(Valkyrie, Lord, Ninja, Monk, Samurai, Ranger) who level up faster than horrible messy classes(Bishop).



Now, truth be told I don't entirely know what the stats do. I mean, okay, some of it's obvious. Speed makes you act faster and be harder to hit, Strength makes you hit harder and able to carry more, Piety gives you more mana, etc. but the game also insists that, say, Intelligence "influences" lockpicking ability. However, at no point does it give a direct, listed percentage or skill point bonus indicated anywhere, so maybe it means that you learn the skills more quickly passively? Neither the manual or in-game tooltips deign to specify it in any detail. Probably there's a FAQ out there that has a very precise definition but I'm not a nerd who needs FAQs.



Speaking of things that don't do anything. The Communication skill, I'm quite sure, has no actual effect even though it levels up every time you talk to NPC's. It might faintly influence shop prices? Engineering, for Stony, determines his ability to slap two objects together and get a third object that has a spell-like effect or the couple of special weapons he can craft that way. Artifacts is for ID'ing items, Mythology for ID'ing monsters. Outside of those, character skills are pretty self-explanatory in what they do.



Werdna, meanwhile, gets a free spell on levelling up, like all casters do. It should be obvious at this point that pure casters have a huge advantage in terms of learning spells, here, especially since a good few spells don't exist as spellbooks and can only be learned by levelling. I teach him Terror because locking down enemies is great. The Fear effect on enemies can make them run away, make them lose their actions, make them pass out from terror and just generally gives them a variety of combat stat penalties. Of course it does the same to our goons if they get hit by it, except that they can't run away.





Beyond the slime is this poorly-lit office containing a few random items, including a Spellbook of Light for Werdna. I don't think I've ever actually needed to cast Light, but learning another Fire spell adds more Fire mana to his pool which is needed for casting Energy Blast so he can make crabs explode with the power of his brain. There's also a window overlooking a later area.






A bit of lore and some less fascinating reading in the office, then we turn around and head down the corridors the bats came from.




It can be easy to get lost in some areas of the game, but thankfully Wizardry 8 has an automap.



Unfortunately it's top down and some areas have rooms and corridors stacked on top of each other, which it deals poorly with. It's not so bad here, but there's at least one location in the game where it always drives me completely insane finding my way around.



No real interesting fights along the way except for another Noxious Slime in a pit of goop, a fight which levels up the remainder of our party and gets Lady a shirt.





The stats on most items are quite straightforward, but mysterious and sinister items should be kept at a safe distance until you know if they're cursed or not, because curses in Wiz 8 are rough. Some of them are stuff like a permanent HP drain which, if you don't have a permanent regen to counter them, is incredibly crippling. Interestingly enough, though, some of the cursed weapons are also incredibly heavy hitters and thus may be worth equipping anyway if you have the other equippables to counter their curse.

Each item also has a list of classes and races that can equip them and... yeah, fairies are excluded from like 90% of all items which usually do not have any real racial limitations unless they're Mook-only, and there's an item or two that are elf-only and beast-race only.



A +lockpicking item not equippable by any class that can actually pick locks. I think the idea is that if you engage with the cryptic multiclassing of Wizardry 8, it can give a bonus if you swap a lockpicker out of a lockpicking class. The game, of course, does not tell you a drat thing about how multiclassing works except that you can do it, but my understanding is that you keep all abilities from the class you leave(aside from class-specific bonuses like ninja's thrown auto-pen), get the new class' gear limitations and can no longer advance in skills your new class doesn't also have. So say if you stated with a rogue and powerlevelled his Locks & Traps, you could swap him into a Fighter or something once you capped it out at 100. I've honestly never done anything with it, though in the older Wizardries you had to multi-class or you'd never have the power to finish the game.



Mulching some more vermin gets Stony a second level-up and his first Omnigun upgrade. Every two levels, he does something new and terrifying to it.



It now has less bad penalties and can fire darts in addiction to rocks, providing a decent damage upgrade and access to more ammo types. For now the ammo we've got is just "hit enemy, do damage," but later on just about every category of rocks, darts, quarrels, arrows and shurikens has upgraded versions that either do more damage, cause conditions or both. Some of these can be hoovered up in bulk amounts at shops and others are either sharply limited or primarily from random enemy drops.



The monastery basement also has some cells. The first one is unlocked and so we bust in and rob the corpse of his jewelry, his boots and his diary.



At this point we have no clue who Al-Sedexus or the Templars are, but if this monastery has cool dangerous weapons, we need to get our hands on those. Worth keeping in mind, but it'll be a few updates before we can acquire the necessary key since it isn't actually in the monastery and I don't believe anything in the monastery tells you where it is. You'll really only find it if you're a dickhead who busts into every closet you find and steal everything there.




The second cell door... is locked! The lockpicking minigame isn't actually a game. Any tumbler you click on will be raised, and the objective is to raise all tumblers. However, every time you raise one, your skill is the % chance of any given other raised tumbler not falling down. Thus even for a simple two-tumbler lock, it takes us in the vicinity of five tries to unlock the door. The Knock Knock spell can be used to force a number of Tumblers up and is more or less necessary for later locks, though sufficient patience will technically allow you to open all of them, good luck with 10% lockpicking skill and an 8-tumbler lock. I'm sure someone can do the maths on the average number of tries needed to to get through(Since you effectively would need to succeed 20+ 10% rolls in a row).

Once open, though, the only contains some roaches(very low-level enemies) and some unidentified potions.

So far we've found blue(generally healing, also holy water), yellow(usually cure conditions), purple(some buffing effect) and red(grenade-type weapons, occasionally they also have a spell-like effect), but the goon squad isn't smart enough to tell what any of them do yet.



Up ahead is another locked door. From this side, though, I can hear something making crab-y sounds inside, so as soon as I pop the door, I hit combat mode before I see any enemies, and rush inside the room, giving me a chance to close to melee range instantly.



The King Crab is another little intentional midboss sort of enemy, mostly there as a check on whether you've got enough damage output and know not to put your squishy idiots in the front row. The party blenders through him like nothing and I'm slightly concerned to notice that this party so far seems to be doing better than the parties I usually put together myself. The sharp-eyed may also notice that Twinklesparkles is now unarmed, which is entirely intentional. All fairy characters start with a Faerie Stick equipped, one of the few melee weapons they can wield, but fairy ninjas(and presumably fairy monks as well) are actually much better off just going bare-handed and punching their enemies to shreds, in Twinklesparkles' case it resulted in close to a doubling of damage output(and double the chances for critical strike instant kills as he now gets both a kick and a punch attack each turn rather than just a single poke attack).



I also unbar the path back. There's really only one reason to come back there, ever, but I'd like to make it slightly faster when I do.



Meanwhile, upwards and onwards! For a (potential) starter dungeon, the monastery is actually quite large.



On the way up, there's a side path to the cave we saw from the office with the Noxious Slime.



It's got some water(with no way out except looping back to the first area, so I won't go in there just yet) full of fish(which'll go hostile if we drop in) and a bridge with a red button that just begs to be pushed. Pushing the button raises and lowers the bridge, we'll need the bridge raised for later, so the pro move is to cross over the bridge, loot that area and then raise it. We can even ride the bridge up to where we need to go anyway.



A savage roach attacks on the way over the bridge, handing Werdna yet another level-up which I use to teach him Magic Missile. Unlike D&D's Magic Missile, Wizardry 8's Magic Missile is more like a blast of magic buckshot that nails everything in sight. Being a Divine spell, resistance to it is also less common and thus god's shotgun is very useful.



Over the bridge is the monastery's small wine cellar and...



Our first trapped chest! Trapped containers are a random roll, essentially, like lockpicking, but you have multiple chances to trigger the trap. First you try to find out what it is:



Stony is 100% sure of one of the components of the trap(green) and suspects two(yellow), then I can scroll down the list and try to find something with matching components, eventually landing on Dagger Scatter as the only one whose matching components are all in the possible ones. Then you attempt to disarm each component in part, again each of them being a random roll whether Tony gets everyone fileted by the trap or not. To my surprise, he actually pulls it off, I think it's the only time where I've ever not sprung the trap on this chest.

The contents are nothing exciting, just more arrows and un-ID'd usable items, but I still consider it a good omen.



I jump in the river, kill the fish and carefully ride the falls down. While Wizardry 8 has no jumping it absolutely does have falling damage and rushing down the falls can kill you easy. The falling damage is very merciless. The reason I hop down the falls is that after the first "section" of the falls there's a ledge with a mysterious Powder on it. The most common useable revive item is a Powder of Resurrection and thus I want to grab every Powder-type item I come across, because sooner or later someone will die.

This is really the sole reason to open that shortcut with the barred door, to make the way back up slightly faster.

Riding the elevator up...




At one end is this door with a weird lock and a lot of ominous monster sounds coming from the other side. This is the vault that the corpse's note was referring to, we will be back here as soon as we can crack it.



In the other direction, the path splits...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXY9oOaC8Ik

Burz is our first merchant, and first friendly NPC in general. NPC's have a pretty decent array of keywords we can ask them about, there's plenty more I could ask Burz about, but that would involve keywords I don't really know yet. He, of course, bilks us out of some money for a bit of lore(a lot of NPC's will do this, but later the cost isn't as notable as it is now). Mostly what he sells is ammo(rocks, quarrels, arrows, darts), a few healing items and resurrection dust. He's also guarding the toughest chest on this level of the Monastery, or, well, "guarding." He won't aggro if we crack it, possibly because he realizes it would be hypocritical(if it isn't obvious, he's a fence for stuff stolen from the local humans).

Burz' species is "Trynnie," a race of giant squirrelfolk who are somewhat dorky but generally inoffensive. They're like if someone tried to write Kender and wasn't an rear end in a top hat, since they're a species of polite thieves, more or less.

We can also attack Burz. No NPC's that I recall are immune to being attacked, except for a few that appear only to talk and then vanish immediately after. We can also ask all NPC's to join us...



...though for a while yet, most of them will turn us down. Sometimes with mildly amusing dialogue, though. The Magic option is that we can hit all NPC's with Charm and Mindread, if we had a caster who knew them. The former would make them more well-disposed towards us, while the latter would give us some info from their internal monologue. Sometimes funny, sometimes pointless, occasionally vital(like a password or the location of something important). Without a Monk, Bishop or Psionicist, though, we sadly won't have that access. Perhaps an argument for later multiclassing.



Back inside, the next level of the lower Monastery has a nicer interior and a corridor running two ways. At this point I have yet to realize I've cornered myself.



At one end is a small room with a locked safe.

At the other end...




Is Gregor!

Now, Gregor is the boss of the Lower Monastery and will absolutely kick your rear end. He can spit to hit your back lines, he can cause paralysis, he can cause nausea and he can poison. He also hits like a truck, and like for monsters, if he paralyses one of the goonsquad, his next bite is double damage.

Normally I might go down and grind out a quick extra level to speed up fighting him, but because I rode up on the bridge, the way down(as the bridge's button on the top level is busted...)... is past Gregor. There are a couple of places I can jump down, but sadly Wizardry 8 water doesn't buffer falls at all and when I tried it, most of the party just straight up died from the fall damage.

So how does fighting Gregor go?




Not very well. I realize the only place I can find a bit more XP is if I hit fight mode, run past the entrance to Gregor's lair, and into a room down the hall with some roaches that will hopefully nudge someone into another level.



It goes pretty well, they're just bugs after all, even if there are a lot of them and even if Werdna screws up casting Magic Missile on a yellow tier(usually safe but... not entirely).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0l_DBz23cw



Then halfway into the fight Gregor psychically senses the rumble and comes to play. poo poo.



You know what the really crazy thing is, though?



Despite a Magic Missile backfire, despite Gregor showing up with the roaches already having mostly killed the party, this is the time I actually take him down.

I credit Werdna managing to actually stick some Sleeps on him with this working out.



Gregor was guarding this hall with six entrances. One was the one where he first attacked us, another is an entrance to the roach room and a third is the way down to the lower levels of the lower monastery, leaving three passages behind.




One is the way upwards, from this side it requires a small amount of work to open since no one in the party happens to be the owner of something long, like, say, a polearm, that could be reached through the bars to push the button. Ahem. Lady.



The second leads to this hall of coffins that I was sure you could somehow desecrate to spawn a bunch of ghosts, but it turns out that you can semi-safely crack them open at your leisure. Four have minor random loot and gold(and the basin at the end would heal us if everyone wasn't fully topped off), the remaining two...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN3Y3Zm-vTM



One spawns an Apparition. Spectral undead are pretty scary customers in Wizardry 8 because almost all of them can inflict Fear, and at higher levels they start packing on stuff like Insanity, which causes your characters to lose turns or attack allies(or attack a random enemy, occasionally).



It manages to scare Lady, Werdna and Aurora so hard with a single cast of Terror that they all pass out in a dead faint. Thankfully the rest of the crew beat it back into the grave and nail the coffin shut.



And the last coffin is full of toxic fumes that nauseate half the party, knock out the other half and get within an inch (a literal single hit point) of making Werdna need the coffin the party just opened. With that, though, the crypt is cleared out and it's time to examine the last accessible hallway.

It splits in two, and down one side is this very non-suspicious statue.




HMMMMM.

Let's read the warning sign first.



So if you touch the skull the statue is holding, it opens a small compartment holding the key to the safe from before, which contains some Resurrection Powders. If you touch the statue itself, on the other hand...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id3nKdXE6TE

This'll drop you all the way down to the green goop room where we fought a Noxious Slime back at the start of the update, oh and it'll probably kill half if not all of the party, too.

Instead we'll go cash in our key for some resurrection powder and check out the last branch.



Approaching the button causes a bunch of spiders to literally drop from the ceiling.



Predictably, spiders often have access to web and paralyze effects. In effect they're the same, except paralyze has a cure item/spell for it and web does not, also high strength lessens the duration of being webbed if the manual is to be believed. The bugs get stomped without causing us too much trouble. This does get Stony his next level and thus also another Omnigun upgrade, however!



He slaps a laser sight on it and is now able to blind enemies with it. Blinding causes loss of actions when enemy stumbles around, makes it hard for them to hit things and gives you the classic 2x damage bonus in melee if you wail on them.



And with that, the bars are gone and we can progress to the Upper Monastery.

Choice of the Update:

Before we do so, however, we have an important decision... do we loop back and ice Burz for his stuff and crack open his chest? Burz is a real tough customer, but with a few tries, we should be able to beat him. It'll remove a very minor merchant from the map, get us some XP and gear, and in my experience the other Trynnie don't notice that Burz has gone absent. I also don't believe he pops up at any later point in the game, most NPC's stay where they are. We could also stick to just breaking open his chest and leaving him alive.

You can also consider this to be setting the tone for our visit on Dominus.

Are we going to be murderous assholes?

Thieving assholes?

Or virtuous assholes?

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Virtuous. You can always whack him on the return visit if you want.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE



Nap Ghost

Thieving of course. We're adventurers, that is in the contract

OOrochi
Jan 19, 2017


Absolutely Thieving, you're playing an RPG after all.

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Arcvasti
Jun 12, 2019

Never trust a bird.

Monastery note posted:

I have the strange feeling that I have forgotten something.

Werdna begins sweating nervously

Definitely thieving. Murder is gauche, and who needs virtue when you have cash money.

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