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Author Topic: No bald kids or blue cat-people -- Let's Play Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar!  (Read 3309 times)

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Esperath

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Shepherd named Wrex.
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Beat Bandit

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Now I'll be saying her name in Legion's voice for the whole thing.
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R^2

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There's a five-letter limit, so the closest I can get is CMNDR Shepherd or somesuch nonsense.
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Esperath

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Wrex.  DO EET
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Bongo Bill

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Wrex would be a close second.
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...but is it art?

BŁge

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I changed my mind. The Shepherd will be named Book.
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Classic

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Come to think of it, early Ultima and Wizardry games had some bonkers sci-fi stuff going on in the late game and background didn't they? That might be too appropriate.
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R^2

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Mondain had an immortality relic, so the first Ultima game required you to find a time machine and go back to when he wasn't immortal and kill him. And Exodus, as aforementioned, was a rampant AI. So sci-fi fits.
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LaserBeing

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Ultima 1 has a bit where you literally go up in a space shuttle to shoot down TIE fighters
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R^2

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Right. Let's get started.


I know more Firefly jokes than Mass Effect jokes.


Offscreen Gypsy: I can see into the future. I shall foretell your destiny.

And here we are, the personality test. You're asked a series of questions to determine which of the eight virtues appeals to you the most, and you're given that class. When I do this legit I end up with Mage, because I am bad at Werewolf. Since you all overwhelmingly voted for Shepherd, we're going to answer in ways that show us as the humblest person ever.


...of gold, thou dost meet a poor beggar. Dost thou deliver the gold, knowing the trust in thee was well-placed, or show Compassion, giving the beggar a coin, knowing it shant be missed?

All of the questions are like this. Since we're determining virtues, you're asked to choose between two justifiably "right" answers. Since we're shooting for Humility, neither the Honesty or Compassion answers matter.


...dragon in defense of thy life. A poor warrior claims the offered reward. Does thou Justly step forward to claim the bounty, or Humbly go about thy life, secure in thy self-esteem?




Dost thou Valiantly refuse and attack the knight, or Sacrifice your food unto the hungry knight?

Our answer doesn't matter again, but man, fuck that knight guy.


Now thou art on a quest in distant lands, and thy lover has asked thee to keep thy vow. Dost thou Honor thy promise to wed, or follow thy Spiritual crusade?

Doesn't matter.




Be moderate always!


I keep my vow to fight against evil!





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R^2

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Dude, Richard Garriott! I helped edit some video footage of you doing an interview and showing off your crazy mansion a couple years ago! Not that you know me, but I'd recognize you anywhere!

Maybe.

Richard Garriott Lord British: I welcome thee, Book, unto my fair kingdom!

Yeah, fair to middlin'.

Lord British: The ages of Darkness are no more, yet still doth Evil swell in the hearts of the people. I have long sought an adventurer who would master the Eight Virtues of Avatarhood and guide our people into a new age of enlightenment. Book, I know in my heart that thou shalt become this Avatar! Go forth now, and conquer the frontiers of the self!


Visit the good King often!


Then shalt the western moon guide thy way.


...through deeds of merit.


...nor open another's chest! Keep thy hands from temptation!


...companions await thee!


So I'm off, to wherever the outside of this castle is!

Things we learned:
- There are eight virtues: Compassion, Valor, Honor, Honesty, Justice, Sacrifice, Spirituality, and Humility. I have to exemplify them all in order to become the Avatar.
- "Deeds of merit" are required to develop the eight virtues. Basically, I have to actually act like a good guy to be a good guy.
- This includes not taking treasures from chests people own. Chests I am explicitly allowed to open are okay, as are chests in dungeons.
- I can recruit allies in cities.
- Things called Moon Gates are found depending on the phases of the moon. The two moons constantly shift through their phases. One moon determines where the gate appears, and the other determines where the gate goes. (Okay, we didn't learn all of that, but I don't think anyone actually explains it further and that's how they work.)
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R^2

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And I'm taken to a tiny island, maybe a peninsula, near a small ridge of mountains and a town. Maybe one of my allies awaits in this city!


...or maybe the city's a total shithole.

Those gray patches are poison swamps. They hurt to step on and may cause poison status to slowly sap HP. I avoid them.


In true old-RPG fashion, my commands are all out of a menu, rather than context-sensitive. I have to open a menu and hit "Talk" to talk to people, otherwise the game might assume I'm trying to search them or something, I dunno.


Thanks, it's so nice to b-- heeeyyy!


There's a balrog at the entrance and a skellington over here in the field. Yep, this town's gone totally to hell. Somewhat literally.




Is this what thou seek... or do you desire the worship of thousands?


...bs! AHAHAHAHAHA!! Ah ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! Heh heh. Heh. Hmm.

*sigh*


I doubt we shall have need for it!


Some areas are darkened.


But they're lighted when you enter (which in turn dims the outside). The trick sometimes is figuring out that you can do this in the first place.


And Death exulted in our folly...

Oh. Well there you go.


the mold started growin' on the food...

You are a skellington. You cannot eat food. It'd fall out.


Island. We're stuck.

Things we learned:
- Magincia sucks.
- But has some treasure I'm free to take squirreled away somewhere.
- I need a boat or something.
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R^2

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Even if you stand in one place...


Random encounters! They count down on a timer rather than counting the number of steps you take, like Dragon Quest-derived systems.

See how far the enemies are from me to start? Any unit on the battlefield can either move one panel up/down/left/right or make an attack/cast a spell. If I had a sling or a bow, I could pelt the enemies with ammunition while they ran across that wide, wide expanse of grass to get to me.

Moving off the battlefield flees the fight, should that ever be an issue. (It's bad for Valor.)


Drive closer! I want to hit him with this stick!




yay.

After a couple rounds of same:



Experience is doled out to whoever gets the kill. This is at times frustrating.


Eventually -- 44 HP worth of "eventually" -- I win.


And am whisked back to the world map. (I got into the encounter here, contrary to the prior world map screenshot. It didn't move me.)


The enemy left a treasure chest behind! Since I killed the owners already, I'm free to loot it.


"Search" command justified.

So I get into a couple more scrapes and wander around for a bit, when...

Moon Gate! They appear near Magincia when the left moon is waning crescent.


It's my only way off this godforsaken island, so in we go!


And now we're somewhere else!

...on a different isolated island. ::(:

But with a new town to explore! Maybe this one's not so busted up! :glee:
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R^2

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Seems legit. That guy over there looks human!


Near our gates appears the door of the moons!

No kidding, that's how I got here.


Mondain... ohhh...

Wait, what? He's supposed to be dead!


LIAR.




Cure Poison removes poison status, Heal restores HP, and Resurrect brings an ally with 0 HP back to life.

Once you have a few more levels (and thus enough HP to survive the process aftermath), the healer will ask you to donate blood. This drains 100 HP but is good for Sacrifice.


For now I just restore my HP.


missing from Dungeon Hythloth! All the earth shall end!


missing, as is the Stone.


My good brother Ramsel set out towards that cursed eastern isle. Never to return, it seems...




Oh, I guess it's legal here for medicinal pu--


Oh.

These are spell reagents. Casting a spell takes some of them out of your inventory (Light spell takes an Ash, Wind spell takes a Garlic and a Moss, and so on). Since Shepherds aren't spellcasters, I don't care.




beyond the reach of men or horses!


Probably should have stayed here to heal up instead of going to the Healer, this is less expensive. They offer to save my game, too.

Finally, one last guy:









I found an ally! Shamino the Ranger joins the party!

Things we learned:
- There's a place called Abyss, and I'm supposed to go there. It's east of Skara Brae.
- There is a stone of Spirituality. It is white. It should be in a dungeon called Hythloth, but isn't. Instead it's off in some mountains, in a hard-to-reach spot.
- There's also a rune of Spirituality. Wherever it should be, it isn't there either.
- Something Mondain something something Pirate's Pub
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R^2

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So here's a status screen for where we are now. Name lists the character's name and class. Level is experience level -- it goes up to 8, but no character starts at 1 (most start at 2, some at 3). EXP, HP, and MP all do what you'd expect.

STR is Strength. It determines damage in combat. DEX is Dexterity, and determines how many MP your character has (max MP level is DEX times  a multiplier depending on class - 2 for Mages, 1.5 for Druids, 1 for Bards/Paladins/Rangers, .5 for Tinkers, and 0 for Fighters and Shepherds). INT determines attack accuracy. Yes, it appears DEX and INT are backwards, but that's what they do.

SWD, BOW, and ARM are melee weapon, ranged weapon, and armor respectively. My shepherd currently has a staff and cloth armor, the ranger a sword and leather armor. Neither has a ranged weapon.

GP is gold pieces. Money can be exchanged for goods and services.
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R^2

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Confident that the Moon Gates appear outside the city, Book and Shamino wait for the next one to open.

It's possible to sit on top of the town square and avoid random encounters, but we don't do that. We need the money.


There it is!


Another island, another town. There's a structure of some sort across the sea to the south, though.


Valor is always welcomed here!




He said his business is none of ours, and fell me with the flat of his sword!

Sephiroth?!


I fear I have failed in my quest.


You can mark down your prices a skosh so I can buy a bow. ::(:


Since the Shepherd can't wear armor anyway, this is less of a letdown.




You can pay whatever you like for your drink. Tipping is encouraged.


We're a little beat up from random encounters, so we rest at the hotel.


Full HP, we're right as rain.


'Sup Jeff.










Jeff joins the party!


He's so butch.


Also there is a door we cannot pass.


What we learned:
- Getting into the "island shrine" requires the Rune of Valor. There's apparently a rune for every virtue.
- The Stone of Valor is red. There's apparently a stone for every virtue, too, and they're all different colors.
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R^2

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Waiting for the next Moon Gate to open, we run into a new sort of enemy. These are magicians, and as such can cast spells at us from across the battlefield. We have to close the distance while being pelted with missile and fire spells.


Yes, like that.

But the random encounters give me a little more cash to spend, so...



I am then notified that, no, Shepherds cannot use bows. They are limited to the staff, the club, and the sling for weapons. And that's terrible.


Ah well. Onward.


...shit.

We wait for the next Moon Gate instead.


Now we're somewhere new!








Blast these doors, they confound my every step.


We don't.




Eight Cities of Virtue. Ours is beyond the river to the south!


oath, even at thy own peril?
We answer yes, because duh.
Then thou must never steal from the townsfolk, nor of their treasures.
Duh.


Soon we shall harvest what we have sown.

That's generally how agriculture works, yes.


In the time of harvest, he often tells wonderful stories!


Dark damn forest for the middle of a city.


But deep inside, there are secrets. With the magic of savestates I get the tip without the poison.












Spurned. I think you can only have as many allies as you have experience levels.


Anyway, having found a landmass large enough to explore, we go hiking instead of waiting for the next Moon Gate.

What we learned:
- Tipping well at Jhelom's pub leads to a Sextant.
- Honor is made of Courage and Truth.
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LaserBeing

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Oh, I guess it's legal here for medicinal pu--


Oh.



Psst. These Britannian scumbags wouldn't know quality if it cut off their ears. I can hook you up with the good shit.
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R^2

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It's a schlep.


But hey, a town.


This isn't a town of _____ or a town where ____ is held sacred or anything? I guess there are more than eight towns on the world map, so there are some that aren't represented by virtues.






in a hidden room in the great castle! Seek the Rune near the soldier's western chambers. Then enter the Gate of the Full Moons to find the shrine!


Hey, this wall looks funny. (Look closely, there's literally one pixel amiss.)


Secret passage!


To nothing of interest!


Canst thou see fit to help the other seven?

It's a beggar! If you talk to a beggar and give him some money -- just one gold will do -- it's good for Compassion. If you talk to a beggar and decline him alms, it's bad for Compassion. If you ignore them entirely, you'd think it'd be bad for Compassion but really nothing happens because there's no flag checked in that case.


Seven years ago he ventured into Hythloth at the hidden gate behind Castle Britannia! And he has yet to return to me...


but the sulfurous ash, ginseng, garlic, and fungus cost too much for a mage of my meager means.

The Reflect spell makes the caster immune to a couple of attacks. The fungus it calls for isn't sold in shops, so it's a pain to gather the reagents. Enemies love to cast it, though.




Speaking of magic, we actually know a bunch of spells already -- everyone starts with the same spell recipes, regardless of class or magic ability. Missile, Fire, Ice, and Energy are attack spells. Cure, Heal, and Awaken are restorative.  Protect and Reflect are protective, and Dispel gets rid of them. Light allows you to see in dark dungeons (and the ash it costs is cheaper than a torch), View lets you look at the world/dungeon map depending on where you cast it, and Exit removes you from a dungeon. Finally, Wind makes the wind blow in a certain direction.

With a party of Shepherd and Fighter, we're kind of dumb when it comes to magic. Shamino will have to cast any spells for us when we need them.


See also: confounded door.


I can't tell if he's making a horse noise or protesting being in the care of the killer ranchhand over there.


Well, we got some information. We're off again, to see what we can see.

What we've learned:
- The Castle of Truth and the Castle of Love (I have that DVD) hold the strongest weapons and armor.
- The Rune of Spirituality, missing from Skara Brae, is in the "great castle", in a hidden room.
- The Shrine of Spirituality can be reached by entering a Moon Gate when both moons are full.
- There's a hidden door to the dungeon Hythloth at the back of Castle Britannia.
- The recipe for Reflect: ash, ginseng, garlic, fungus.
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R^2

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Hey, a town and a castle!


Castle first!


Yessssss

See, Castle Britain is kind of your home base, for reasons I'll get into shortly. A modern game would probably start you here, but not this one! Back in my day you were expected to wander around aimlessly and write down clues until you figured out what you were supposed to do and where you were supposed to go! And that's just how we liked it! :crankykong:


He who laughs last, laughs the loudest! Ho! Ho! Ho! Can I look yet? Is it over?


...question mark? Or maybe this was a designers note -- "This is where the player learns about Cove" that was misapplied to dialog. We'll never know.


Slowly but surely, thou shalt rise to Avatarhood!


Someday we shall all fight together!


At first, thou hast better not stray far from civilization!




Evil trembles at thy coming.


Why so hostile? Oh.

Travelers from across the realm often gather here to await the arrival of their companions.


This guy acts as a healer, with the additional function of splitting members from your party if you want. We don't want to do that yet.


odd-order intermodulation distortion in linear power stages!

Waaaaait a minute. This is a pretty great castle. And we're on the western side.






We got a thing!


determined by the eastern moon. The western moon's phase marks its spot!

Oh. So somebody does break it down for us.




of men, a lasting peace can never come.

Puff.

Only the Avatar of Legend can save us!

So let's go talk to King Garriott.

Dude, harsh. I'm the avatar here.


Oh.

See, Shamino's been killing a lot of monsters, so he's the first one to earn a level-up. And yes -- once you get enough experience, you have to come talk to Lord British to get the level.






You accidentally a word.

Anyway, you can ask him about each of the eight virtues. Here's what he tells us:
Without Humility, the practice of all other virtues is in vain. Walk among the ruins of Magincia, and learn.
Others seek to strengthen their arms or their minds, but the rangers of Skara Brae strive to perfect their souls.
The knights of Trinsic revere honor. All are worthy of thy deepest trust!
Minoc, to the northeast, is a city whose folk are strong in the virtue of Sacrifice. They have much to teach!
Deep in the northern forest, the druids uphold Justice with diligence.
Many of our bravest soldiers hail from Jhelom, where valor is celebrated!
The bards in the towne of Britain sing of Compassion.
Moonglow, a town on Verity Isle, holds Honesty sacred!





The three Principles are Love, Truth, and Courage. Let's ask about them.

Love: Empath Abbey, far to the northwest, is a fortress open to all who seek understanding of Love's ways.
Courage: The flower of Britannia's knighthood live and train in the mighty Serpent's Hold, on an island to the south.
Truth: In the Lycaeum, north of Moonglow on Verity Isle, dwell scholars who seek lives in pursuit of truth.

And if you ask Lord B about health:



We say no!


HP/MP restored! (But we're still hungry.)

Anyway, we're almost done in Castle Britain.


We swing by the prison, dangerously close to the throne room.


One last stop.






Hawkwind will tell you if you're closing in on potential avatarhood in each of the eight virtues. Talking to him is itself good for Spirituality.

He tells me I'm progressing well in all of the virtues except... Humility. :whoops:


Loose brick?


Yep.


remotest entrance to the dungeon Hythloth!


Truth, Love, and Courage!

a) Don't you mean eight dungeons? b) There's one altar room each for Truth, Love, and Courage.


Blast!


We'll just go this way, then.


Wait, there's a secret passage in the back of a prison cell?


When the Skull of Mondain is used in towne, it feels GOOD. Dost thou also enjoy the destruction of pitiful innocents?

We say no. It's good for Justice.

Thou art a wimp!


Another other secret passage. It eventually leads, through needless stairways and more secrets, to:


Once thou dost enter, thou canst not return whence thou came!

Presumably this is the secret entrance to Hythloth. But ahead is just another blocking door, so we can't check.

Things we learned:
- There is a hidden village called Cove. Heard of it.
- Some basic geography, and the names of the eight cities of virtue.
- The names of the castles of Truth, Love, and Courage.
- The remotest entrance to Hythloth has a lighter-than-air device nearby.
- All the dungeons are connected by the altar rooms of Truth, Love, and Courage.
- Mondain exists, but only as a skull. And using it is linked to the destruction of pitiful innocents.
- Once you enter Hythloth through the secret behind Castle Britain, you can't exit the same way.
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