- 2021-02-06 - the Introduction
- 2021-02-08 - The Monastery
- 2021-02-08 - Arnika Road/Arnika
- 2021-02-12 - Back to the Monastery, back to Arnika
- 2021-02-17 - Killin' Rattkin in Trynton
- 2021-05-09 - Getting through the swamp
- 2021-05-09 - Marten’s Bluff: unexpected allies
I love Wizardry 8 - I really do. I’ve been bragging about the game for years now to anyone willing to listen, and lately, I’ve been keen on replaying the whole game for old times sake - on a “real” retro Win98 PC. After finally convincing my friend to install the game (he was looking for a big timesink. You’ve been warned), we were ready to go through it together/alone, since it’s a single-player adventure. In the same fashion as the BG2 Solo Blade Report, I thought it would be nice to do a short write-up after making a bit of progress.
So, after spending the necessary hours being stuck in the character creation sheets - I really couldn’t choose - this is the party I’ve decided to go for:
- Ninja: Muesli, Felpurr
- Lord: Mielie, Rawulf
- Bishop: Christina, Faerie
- Samurai: Sharptooth, Dracon
- Mage: Santa, Gnome
- Gadgeteer: Wooly, Mook
I originally wanted only four characters as experience points are precious and I like specialized classes in this game. But, since I’m playing for the first time with Christan Coder’s Mod v2, I thought a full party would be a good idea. I’ve played the vanilla version and with Flamestryke’s New Mod v1.1. For this playthrough, a more balanced mod (Flamestryke’s new items are crazy!) sounded good. I couldn’t party with my favorite samurai/dracon, ninja/felpurr combo so what the heck. On to the adventure! If this is your first playthrough, read the classes guide or my wiz8 general tips (old but still relevant).
Right, our ship crashed. Correction: it was shot out of the sky! We’re stranded on a foreign beach, at the entrance of a building that we later identify as a monastery. Let’s get to it! Conveniently, a chest lies there waiting for us, stocked with random weapons and armor. Lovely. After trashing twenty or so crabs and fetching the Cherry Bomb and Axe on top of the archipel, we carefully venture inside. Three green slimes greet us, but are no match to the blades of our Samurai and the shurikens of our Ninja. The starting weapons of some classes are quite powerful. A couple of dead rats and bats later, we encounter another version of the slime: a Noxious Slime. This time, the thing spits at us, and we can’t reach it as fast as we’d like. The result? A dead Gadgeteer. Of course, I forgot to save my progress. A few curses later, I pressed Start New Game again. Sigh.
Next time, I’ll keep my fingers positioned on top of
Q (quicksave) and occasionally
CTRL+Q (quickload) - and hopefully will not mix up both hotkeys. A second try did help with the slime, but my mage got overconfident, trying to cast a higher level Frost than he’d probably be able to handle. BOOM - backfire. Shit. This time though, I knew what to do:
After a business meeting with Gregor in the main hall (the deal fell through), we were well on our way to grab the Safe Key by plucking at the skeleton head of the statue - that is, after getting rid of Gregor’s little helpers, and they know how to bite (and gang up on us). I hope your party formation is in order! Okay, so we now have
6 portions of resurrection powder: three from the safe and three from the hidden waterfall place, after “sleeping with the fishes” near the iron bridge. I couldn’t remember where to get the key for the “dangerous weapons”, according to a cryptic Rapax note, but after a few minutes, I thought it must have been near Arnika itself.
So, nothing much left to do than to clear out the Upper Monastery Floor - and meet another enemy type: bandits. We spot a shiny piece of samurai armor equipment, but it’s sealed shut behind glass. Hmm… Should we “microwave” it, like how we got the chip for Wooly our Gadgie? It turns out that there’s a key that unlocks a door in the Silent Room, where we can ring the monastery bells. Crank it all the way up and all the glass in the entire building breaks! Oh-oh… Luckily, the Higardi Monks have long been gone, and all that is left for us to do is to read their boring administration, grab all the spellbooks we can get our hands on (including a soon-to-be important note), and get the hell out of here.
Christina our Bishop is as crappy as can be expected from an untrained low-level Bishop. I already shiver when I think of the many hours of “exercise” (casting Knock Knock in the Arnika vaults) I used to put into such builds. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that this time. Anyway, when entering a side chapel, suddenly, in a flash, a robot appears! Oh no, wait, it was waiting for us but it disappears in a flash. We were impressed. But what to make of it? It seems that there’s a race going on, a quest to “ascend”, and for that, we need to be as “smart as the cosmic lords”. How do we do that? By getting three important artifacts! The flags on the walls hint towards these, but other than that, there’s not much here. We grab a few more unnecessary potions, Wooly’s first gadget, spot more hidden piles of stones for Wooly’s Omnigun, and get going by opening the front door.
After a long, long road - basically a big slog - the most gruesome part of Wizardry 8 is finally over: the road from the Monastery to Arnika. A lot of people gave up on this road, and a lot of reloads were needed. Enemy mobs scale to your level, and if you camp too many times, multiple mobs will spawn and make your journey even more difficult. I managed to trash the rogues guarding the treasure fairly quickly, but after closing in on the abandoned house (housing a hidden portal), I got stumped myself.
Arnika itself isn’t what it used to be: many people flet since the arrival of the Dark Savant. The bastard build a huge tower here, from where he shot down our ship. We can’t seem to access it yet, but a shady looking character named Myles reports on a kidnapping. Naturally, we comply, and temporarily accompany Myles to the location of the crime: another crashed ship, with a destroyed house. There, we rescue Vi from a bunch of angry droids, and we find another interesting part that might come in handy for Wooly our gadgeteer.
In this game, you are nowhere safe, not even in He’Li’s bar, not even in the rooms she rents, as another group of mercenaries were keen on stealing our money and shiny looking equipment. After stealing Antone’s keycard, plundering the bank and getting every piece of useful information out of all NPCs, we prepare to leave for Trynton. Muesli, our Feline Ninja, “guarded” Myles' gear, as we politely asked both Myles and Vi to leave. All your XP are belong to us! No, really, wee need it, desperately - especially after getting our butts kicked by a guardian golem in the vaults. The treasure was worthless. It was a sad day. Sharptooth got killed, and said “next time, help me BEFORE I die!" after sprinkling him with our priceless resurrection powder.
I can’t stand the fact that we have to go back to the Lower Monastery in order to fetch those damn “special weapons” after getting hold of the Wheel Key - thanks, Lord Braffit! (We handed over an official signed declaration, it’s okay!)
Right, the Wheel Key. We need to go back to the Monastery - to the lower levels - to grab the super-secret and super-powerful Demonsbane and Demonstring sword and bow. It’s not essential, but it does double damage to demons and is has nice stats overall for this section of the game. Futhermore, our sammy was really keen on getting his hands on another shiny sword. Not that he can equip another one: Bloodlust is cursed… And he doesn’t care: it swings and hits time and time again.
After another excruciating long walk to the Monastery, and being ambushed by poisoning and sleep-inducing plants that nearly kicked our butt, we finally make it back. The crypt is guarded by two floating heads, but this time, Muesli our Ninja does his first insta-kill and Christine our Bishop manages to turn undead for 92 damage. Boom - the treasure is ours!
Back - again - to Arnika, before heading to Trynton. Why? Because Christine could do with some training, and Muesli could do with better equipment. We’ve heard that Antone has his special daggers back in stock - the Thieves dagger - and we were hoping he could make us a nice deal. It turned out to be freakishly expensive: over 10k! So now we’re broke, and it is up to Christine her Alchemy skills to fix that. Before being rich again and being able to afford all spellbooks, she’ll need to do some Identify Item training (Divinity, Mental Magic) and Knock Knock (Alchemy/Wizardry, Earth Magic). It is not especially pleasant to do, but it turned out to be very much needed. In the end, she trained well, and the party is satisfied.
We hope those misfires - and especially backfiring Mental Stabs - will happen less often now. We’re finally ready to pack up and travel to Trynton!
On our way towards Trynton, we come across a shady looking character that introduces himself as Rattus Rattus, and wants us to deliver a “note” to the Arnika Bank. Sure thing, bro! - we say. But after reading the note (THIS IS A STICK UP!), we discard the idea and continue southwards, until we see a desolate graveyard. A mummy and a few ghosts roam the area, we quickly pick up crafting ingredients and get the hell out of there. Bad vibes!
Muesli our Ninja and Sharptooth our Samurai are becoming real pro’s at hitting the right notes in combat. Muesli’s _INSTANT KILL_s are very gratifying, especially if it’s with a simple fairy dart, as ninja’s can also do critical kills using thrown weapons. Trynton’s tree is a big maze mess, and we do our best to scour every secret (Wooly’s exclamations “What is that??" help) to fill our bags with loot.
On the third Bough, the Trynton Zoo is open, and a sign reads DO NOT FEED THE HOGAR. Of course, we feed the hogar (with drugged meat). The beast falls asleep, we steel the gadget its guarding, and let the beast live. On the other hand, we do slaughter the pixies: those little pests scare us, and their Eye for an Eye magic caused all sorts of mayhem. Santa wasn’t paying attention, hurled a Fireball in their direction, but it came right back and killed a few crew members… Great…
Get the Zuzu petals - check. Buy the Mystery potion - check. Find the seventh Bough - check. Get high - check. The no-magic zone gave us a bit of trouble too: Christine wanted to eagerly heal everyone but we forgot that it wasn’t allowed, so a Spider bit and killed her when retreating. Whoops. Oh well, Resurrection Powder is still in stock, right guys? After meeting Madras, he instructs us to kill “Breeders”, “big as a house, wide as a …” - yeah we get it, it’s a deal.
The Rattkin tree proved to be a walk in the park after a good night of sleep and proper preparations. No ugly mages here, just a bunch of loser archers that can’t get past our Missile Shield. Battles do tend to drag on for a while if Sharptooth kept on missing, as these Rattkin seem to have +200HP and travel in quite large packs. The Don and I came to an “understanding” - he was to steal the shiny ball we’re looking for, and we are to pay him for it. We’ll see about that… Madras mentioned Marten’s Bluff, and we’ve heard that and the Z’Ant name before, so let’s slug through the swamp, meet Crock, and do some work for the T’Rang next!
Right, the swamp. An ugly place, full of mud, with muddy colors, and our shoes get all mucky. Mud. Oh, and insects - that too, a lot of ‘em. Some highly poisonous swarms manage to surround and basically kill us, so watch your step! A few occasional reloads later, we arrive at Corck’s shack which allows us to stock up on Level 4 spellbooks, practice some more magic, and buy… Rapax Perfume. The smell isn’t exactly tantalizing, but it is said to capture the Rapax’ attention, and we have the feeling we’ll bee needing something like that.
Close to Corck’s place, there’s a big hollow tree, housing a big ol' Alligator that’s as tough as nails. Our ninja shines again here with an INSTAKILL after a few rounds: awesome! The crocodile hide might be useful for Antone when we eventually make it back to Arnika. For now, we did not come across the Dark Savant yet, and I thought he was supposed to drop a fake Dominae? Strange. Not all paths have been treaded, though. First, we explore a path leading to the “South-East Wilderness”. Only to return to the Swamps fifteen minutes later since a couple of sensual Aeromancers with their lesser Air Elemental pet (“Level 4: Puny”! And it eats us for breakfast!) massacres our party… This does not end well! CTRL-Z!
We decide to come back later when we think we’re ready to handle a bunch of Toxic Fumes - not just yet. A second footpath in the Swamps in the south leads us to our next destination: Marten’s Bluff. (I’m sure I skipped a couple of important things here, but the Swamp is like a hub, so I’ll have to revisit it a couple of times anyway)
We’re not exactly welcomed with open arms here: eight or so T’Rang patrols stop us in our tracks and try to stun us with their stupid looking rods. Luckily, a few magic missiles and fireballs later, they all die, and we can continue to explore the area.
After avoiding a apparently non-working crushing trap, a lift suddenly takes us down to the inner workings of the Bluff, and we meet Z’Ant, the leader of the T’Rang. He proposes us to work for him in exchange for… well… money and fame? Sure thing, bro. What do you want us to do? Aha, a flag, you say. Where? Mt. Gigas? Dude, that’s way up North! Oh well. Okay then.
Since we’re here already, let’s snoop around a bit more. A broken catapult allows us to climb the fortress and we discover a dead T’Rang with his arm chopped off. Aha, that might solve the closed door problem with the strange imprint on it in the lower levels! We’re not sure yet what to make of that note.
A few strange contraptions and pulling a lever later, a dummy Rapax figure dangles down a ceiling. Muesli things we should take out the perfume and spread it all on the figure. Just a few seconds later, we hear a strange Rapax-like noise: it’s working! Quick, man the levers! The Raven Rapax guy enters the building, we seal it off and press the button. The press does the rest. Yay, Rapax minced meat! The head might net us some coin provided we present it to Z’Ant.
Now how about fetching that stupid Umpani flag for them…
To be continued!