Author Topic: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]  (Read 2942 times)

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Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2017, 01:38:47 pm »
13. What is love?

Apologies again for the massive delay.  School's been a right cunt and I've just now recovered.

So, that aside, what's left to do?  Well, we've done the test of Truth and attained ultimate wisdom or some shit.  My intelligence and magic abilities are more or less maxed out, so the only thing keeping me from the upper echelons of magic are my own inexperience, a problem that is easier solved than one might think.  Next up is the test of Love; I'm saving Courage for last because its actually difficult and requires some preparation.  I don't want to spoil things too much, but let's just say that Dave has a few tricks up his sleeve that will make Courage, if nothing else, a bit easier than it really has any right to be.



: "Time for another inane virtue test with no real threats or challenges."
: "Does this happen a lot to you, Mr. Dave?"
: "Since I 86'd Exodus, its happened more often than it hasn't.  How many more times do I have to prove myself to people before they understand that I'm the god damned Avatar?"
: "Two or three more should do it."
: "Whatever, let's do this."



The moongate at the left end of Castle Exodus takes us to the test of Love.  As you can see, its little more than green fields, a bucket (which we need; more on that, later), and some mountainy crap.  Since this test poses no challenges, other than one's endurance for menial, repetitive tasks, and you get another free stat increase out of the deal, we're going to do this and maybe prep for Courage.

As you might've guessed, the three tests each have an associated stat boost: Truth boosts Intelligence (and, by extension, Magic/Mana).  Love boosts Dexterity and, I think, Combat.  Courage boosts Strength and, thus, both carry weight and HP.  Getting the other two first is less about getting the tedium over with at our earliest possible convenience and more to do with preparing for the real test.  You see, Courage tests how good you are at, basically, solving some simple puzzles and killing things.  Lots of things.  Having a high magical ability gives us some good options for healing and disabling certain critters.  High dex and combat means we will almost never miss in combat, meaning it takes less time to deal with our opponents.  Dave might still not hit terribly hard, but since he hits more often, our net output still increases.

This is why I'm bothering with Love.  That, and its required to actually finish the expansion properly.



This basically sums up our entire test: there's one broken golem and one non-broken golem.  We want two non-broken golems.  Simplicity itself.

: The stone statue stands with a lowered head. Despite its granite features, a downcast look is apparent on its face. Surprisingly, it turns to speak with you.
: "Why, by the stars, I believe it is a creature!"
: "Help him?" it asks carefully, pointing to the fallen statue lying beside it.
: "I get a feeling I know what you are, but for the sake of the audience, how's about you tell us what you are?"
: "We are called stone golems...  because we are made out of stone and rock."
: "As opposed to a tequila golem, which is made out of tequila and fun?"
: "What's your name, big guy?"
: "My master named me Bollux."
: "Your master had a perverse sense of humour.  Anyway, what's this about some help?"
: "My companion... Adjhar... He is dying. Thou must help repair him. Please, I beg... thee.  I have a book here that Adjhar said told about... our... creation. This might help bring him back."
: "Well, that drastically simplifies things."
: He hands to you a very old tome. It is evident the book has seen much use, for the leather covering is wearing away to reveal the wood beneath and the pages are quite dog-earred. "I have already set up five... rocks to mark a spot for the... blood."
: "Someone actually doing some of the legwork for us?  That's a first."
: "That's what I was about to say.  What's this about some blood?  Because I got out of the living blood bank business a while ago."
: "I did not... understand the book, but I remember... blood..."
: "Eeh, more'n enough for me to go on.  I'll see about fixing your buddy up, sit tight."
: "Good... bye."



For some reason, Bollux gives the book to Dupre; probably because most everyone else is at their weight limit.  Might need to do something about that, later.  For now, the long and short of it is this:

We got a rock somewhere that bleeds.  Put a bucket nearby, whack it a few times with a pickaxe, collect the blood, go back to the rocks and Bollux, use the blood bucket on the rocks, and do your magical thing.  SO, that means we're going to need to grab a pickaxe and a bucket for our little sojourn into Love.

OH!  Almost forgot to mention, but when you first read the book, someone will remark on a page being smudged, and another one will fall out.




Keep that scroll.  Its necessary to finish this quest.  You actually have to read the book at least once to properly light this candle, so get it out of the way ASAP so you can focus on the important stuff.

The bucket we need (any bucket will do) is back up top near the well.  As for the pickaxe...



There's a cave to the left of Bollux that contains not only the pick (and bucket) that we need, but two powder kegs!  These will come in handy in case we need to safely destroy a swath of enemies, or just for shits and giggles.



: "Yoink!"
: "Are you ever going to not, in some way, violate the sanctity of the dead, Dave?"
: "...Nooooooo?"



Up north of Bollux is an entrance to another cave, this one slightly more important than the one previous.



And not just because it gives us not two, but...



FOUR extra powder kegs, either.  See that out-of-place patch of dirt, there?  That's actually a teleporter, when we step on it...



We get ported to a strange hallway inside a mountain.  To the south, along the left branch in the hallway, we exit to find...



The bleeding rock Stone of Castambre! 

: "That's some kinda veiny rock."

Indeed, tis.  This is the second focal point of this quest.  Reviving the golems requires blood from this specific rock and NOWHERE ELSE.  I couldn't, for example, zap myself to a butcher, steal a bucket of blood, and use that.  This ain't any ordinary rock-blood, ya see.  Its magical rock-blood.  But, the Stone of Castambre is hiding more than just magic, golem-making blood.  Oh, yes, its got a whole other secret that's got absolutely shit to do with the creation of life.



On the top right edge of the rock, one can just make out a few off-colour pixels.  These pixels aren't a graphical error; they are, in fact, a lever.  A secret lever.  Where to?  Well, the answer lies back in that dark corridor where the teleporter took us.



See that wall that's suddenly ajar?  That leads to a secret passage through the mountain to a room with some...well, I'll just show, instead of tell.



As I said, this room has shit to do with creating life.  In fact, it has everything to do with ending it.  On the left table there is a death scythe.  It sounds cool and, by all that's holy, it is.  How cool is it?  How's 50 points of damage sound?  To put that into perspective, that's 3 and one eighth times more potent than a powder keg.  Yes, we will be taking it.  And, yes, there's a place (other than the Trinsic cheat room) where we can find another.  With this, we can turn any single person into a living engine of death.

But, the fun doesn't stop there!  Oh, no.  To our right is a firedoom staff, which deals a staggering 20 base damage.  Its downside, and this is a big one, is that it is capable of friendly fire and massive splash damage; meaning that one wrong move and someone (coughIolocough) could end up turning the entire party into fucking paste.  That's sad, because it is otherwise an unbelievably good weapon.  It can pinch hit, if you do things right, and do so more effectively than a powder keg, but its somewhat less reliable, even though it does more damage.  We'll still be taking it, because I'm an obsessive hoarder.

Last, but most certainly not least: the corpse at the bottom has a total of NINE glass swords.  The fuck's a glass sword, you ask?  Only the single most potent weapon in the entire fucking game.  It deals a whopping 127 damage.  With all this power, there has to be a drawback, right?  Correct.  Glass swords are one-time use.  Hit something with it and it'll break both that something and the sword.  Only use these on things you want dead fast, like certain boss monsters and liches.  Nine of them could deal with every major threat in the game with ease, and we'll likely be getting even more.



We give the scythe to Dupre, since he has the highest strength (for now) and a decent combat rating.  We ditch his shitty regular sword and put the shield he had in his backpack in case someone else can use it.  Dave gets the glass swords and firedoom staff, since he's the most trustworthy out of the lot and will likely not try to use a glass sword against a deer.

: "Is this...is this love?"
: "Nothin' says lovin' like a ... scythe to the ... oven?  Eeh, I got nothin'."



Anyway, we head back to the Stone and put a bucket underneath it; we also have Dave put the pick in his hands.  Double click the pick, then click on the tree.  Clicking on the stone makes someone in the party quip that the pick can't be used on it (smartasses).  Do that, and we get...



A bucket of magical rock-blood!  Take that, and pop back to Bollux to get the job done.



By double-clicking the blood bucket and then clicking on the rocks, we get the five spots we need for the ritual.  Thankfully, we only need one bucket per ritual, or this would get real tedious REAL fast.  Double-click on the scroll, and we get this little exchange...






I know, I'm being lazy.  You try transcribing all this shit because the one document you found with all the dialogue doesn't have this part, for some inane reason.

: "He gave up his heart... so that Adjhar may live! Well, not to be morbid, but I suppose the incantation should work now."
: "Okie dokie, let's do this, then!  In Ylem... In Grav... In Mani... Kal Por... Vas Flam Uus!"

A short intermezzo showing the Stone of Castambre and some fireworks later...



We get some bitchin' flames and lightning strikes!  The blood's gone, and the other golem is alive.  No, we're still not done, because we need both of them alive.  We're about halfway, though, and the other half is scarcely more challenging than the first.

: "Greetings to thee, honorable one. I can but assume that my presence here was thy doing." It becomes quickly apparent that this creature possesses a greater capability for speech than his fallen companion. The recently raised golem stares down at the prone, lifeless body of Bollux. Quickly he looks up at you. "Wh-what has happened?"
: "He, uhmmm...kinda tore his heart out."
: "Slick."
: He kneels over the body and inspects the other golem. As his fingers trace around the gaping hole in Bollux's chest, an expression of understanding fills his visage. "H-his heart is gone!" He stares down at his own chest. "He sacrificed himself by giving me his heart... the fool!" His words are insulting but his tone is affectionate. "I must help him, as he helped me! Wilt thou assist?"
: "Don't see why not."
: "Very good," he says, noticeably relieved. "I thank thee in advance."
: "So, who you is?"
: "I am the golem called Adjhar, at thy service."
: "I get the feeling your master might've been something of an ass, giving you guys names like that."
: "You called your brother a fool earlier, mind explaining exactly why?  I mean, he kinda gave his life to bring you back and all."
: "Poor Bollux did not know of the Stone of Castambre. His sacrifice was, perhaps, unnecessary. Hast thou, perchance, come across MacCuth's 'The Stone of Castambre?'"
: "Yup."
: "Dost thou have it with thee?"
: "Next to several volatile powder kegs, yes."
: His eyes reveal his hope. As he takes the book from you, it almost appears as if he is smiling. "'Tis as I suspected. Bollux thought he must sacrifice his own heart to return my life." If you were to believe it possible, you would feel positive you had just seen a drop of water fall from the golem's right eye. "The poor fool gave his life for mine. I can only hope I would have done the same. "Doing so now, however, would help nothing, for once I was gone Bollux would simply repeat his act." You hear a sigh come from the golem.
: "I don't mean to be irreverent, but did the matter not involve death, 'twould be a humorous sight: the two golems popping up and down as each one passed the `heart' to the other..."
: "Real sensitive there, Shamino."
: "However," smiles Adjhar, "'tis not necessary, for had Bollux known what is covered by this smudge, he could have told thee that a new heart may be cut from the Tree of Life. Look here," he says, pointing to a line in the tome smeared with dried mud. "I remember this from before. Thou canst take the very same pick with which thou didst collect the blood and procure a `heart' for Bollux. Of course, after thou dost place the heart upon Bollux's body, thou must again perform the same ritual of blood."
: "So, we've just got to hit the tree harder?"
: "Pretty much."
: "Killer, back in a minute."
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 02:19:45 pm by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2017, 01:38:59 pm »


Back at the Stone, we whack the tree twice with a pick and get both a new heart for Bollux and some fresh blood for the ritual.  Notice that the tree's lost its leaves; that's how you know it worked.



Back to the golems, we put the heart inside Bollux's body and put the blood on the stones, once again.  I drop the bucket and pick since we won't need them, after this, and they're taking up valuable keg space.  We hit the scroll once again and...



Both the tree...



And Bollux lives again!  All's well that ends well, only one last thing to do.  Let's talk to Adjhar about his job...

: Adjhar appears to have resumed the stance of a more traditional golem guardian -- staunch and unmoving. However, it is impossible to miss the glimmer of intelligence in his eyes. "I was created to be one of many protectors to the Shrines of the Three Principles. However," he pauses, "my duty also included being the keeper of the Talisman of Love. Dost thou want the Talisman of Love?"
: "You betcha, big guy."
: "I was put here to protect the Shrines and prevent any from acquiring the Talisman. Any except the Avatar who demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Love. The Talisman is thine, Avatar." He brings his stone hand to his heart and opens a panel on the front of his chest. Reaching inside with his other hand, he brings forth a beautiful yellow talisman. He places the Talisman in your palm. "Thou hast earned this and the honors and powers associated with it. Thou art truly an Avatar."
: "Ya don't say?"
: "Mark the wisdom of the Shrine of Love well, Avatar."
: "When have I not?"

With that, we get ported back to the Isle of Fire, to get talked to by yet another statue.





Again, being lazy, but fuck it.  Love statue says something similar to Truth, in that Britannia's got another evil coming to it.  Somehow, I doubt its the Guardian.



Oh!  We also get maxed out Dexterity and Combat!  Score!  Well, that's it for love.  Short, sweet, and easy as hell.  Next time, we'll tackle Courage, in which we stick our hands in a dragon's mouth, break a mirror, and get the most ungodly powerful weapon in existence.  Well, one that doesn't require secret rooms to acquire, at any rate.

: "The suspense is killing me."
: "Britannia could only be so lucky."
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 02:22:21 pm by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2017, 11:07:45 am »
[NON-LP UPDATE!]

Okay, so I'm gonna start off with an explanation: why I've not been updating as often as I had been.  Part the first, university is a cunt.  It is exhausting and excessively time-consuming, though you all know this, I bitch about it often enough.  This kind of makes being able to do more enjoyable things difficult, as one might imagine.  However, part the second is that whenever I do one of these updates...well, Exult saves screenshots in PCX format.  Fucked if I know why, but I can't seem to find a setting that changes that.  SO, I've been having to hand-convert the screenshots to a real format (PNG) when I make them using Paint.NET, which is time-consuming and tedious.

I have, as of this post, removed that tedium.  I created a little utility that watches for when PCX files are created in the directory in which they're saved and adds them to a queue wherein they'll be processed (converted to PNG) and saved in an appropriate subdirectory within my Exult folder.  All done automatically, the only thing I need to tell it is on which part I am and away it goes.  I am considering also using it to auto-upload to Imgur (surprise, surprise, its got an API like everything else, nowadays), but I think that might be a bit much, and I'd need to check the images manually, anyway, to make sure they're in the proper sequence.

With this irritating bit of tedium removed (I've tested it and everything appears to be working perfectly as intended), I should hopefully be able to update more often.  Honestly the conversion takes up at least a third (if not more) of the time I spend doing these things.  Thank the gods of software (and Microsoft, for inventing .Net and C#) for automation!
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2017, 06:20:08 pm »
14. Conquering courage, Part One



: "Ya know, we've got a lot of goods we really ought to offload before things start to get too crazy, around here."
: "I thought we were on a roll, Mr. Dave!"
: "We are, but Sentri's got, like, a dozen gold bars and a handful of nuggets, and I'm carting around nearly that much in powder kegs.  We need some storage, ASAP.  Gentlemen, we need to find us an island fortress!"
: "So long as I stop carrying all this crap, I'll be happy.  I think I'm starting to develop back problems."
: "Plus, I've got an idea on how to complete the test of Courage in the most ass way possible."
: "Another one of your 'brilliant schemes?'"
: "Something like that."
: "I think he was being sarcastic, Mr. Dave."
: "Oh, I know.  Except this is actually brilliant."

So, here's the skinny.  Dave's got a lot of shit.

: "I think you meant to say 'full of shit.'"

Also that, yeah.  Anyway, we're fairly well loaded-down.  Now, we could tackle Courage as we are, and it wouldn't be very difficult, if I'm careful.  But, I've got a far, far better plan that completely subverts the very idea of Courage yet will still, technically, allow us to complete the entire dungeon in record time.  But, first we need to unload a serious amount of shit.  For that, we're also gonna need some storage.  I have an idea.



First, we need storage.  I use some crates from the bridge we made back in Trinsic.

: "I thought I said I was never visiting this shithole again!"

Calm down, this should be the last time...maybe.

: "Whatever."

Anyway, we stuff a bunch of crates (via hackmover) into Dave's pouch.



Crates are heavy as hell, but I don't want to put them on the carpet, because the carpet can get really buggy (ie: crashing the fucking game) when it comes to objects with north-south and east-west frames anywhere actually on the thing.

With our storage both emptied and secured, let's find us a small island that's relatively convenient and free from other forms of life.  Here, we shall setup our treasure trove to hoard store our various and sundry...goods.



Conveniently, Trinsic has a medium-sized island completely bereft of any spawns of any kind (animal or monster), which you can check by turning Egg Visibility mode ON (hotkey: E) and searching.  The top crate is for straight-up cash.  The next row down are for, in order: melee weapons, ranged weapons, and special weapons (like powder kegs and glass swords).  The final row, at the bottom, are for (from left to right): potions, ammo, and armour.  With this little scheme in place, we should be able to make deposits and withdrawals relatively easily, manage our increasingly large stash of weapons and other goodies without hassles and, should our stash crates get too messy, we can just stack another crate on top and keep the same theme, overall, using the crates from around the world.

: "But, won't somebody notice a series of conspicuous-looking crates on a deserted island?"
: "Kid, we're the only real treasure-hunters on the planet."

Hell, once I get my ass around to caring about the Fellowship, we'll find that there's only really two people on the entire continent that go outside their home towns.  The rest just stay put.



We head off to the mint to see Cynthia and cash out our chips gold bars and nuggets for real coin that we can spend on various...things.




A fairly hefty sum of money.  That's nearly three ships (which, incidentally, I own that exact amount) worth of gold.  It won't buy us everything we want, but with it, we can get exactly what we need to cheese courage like a bitch.



Down in the centre of Britain, to the left of Iolo's Bows and safe from the rage of Sean the Jeweler, we find this lovely gentleman.  His name is Kessler, and he's the local alchemist.  He sells potions and also buys any samples of silver serpent venom (basically steroids mixed with Krokodil) we might happen to find, also for a good amount of money.  However, today, we're interested in the side of his trade that doesn't deal with viciously powerful narcotics and, instead, will focus on his more...legitimate trade.  Before that, a quick treatise on potions.

A Guide to Potions

Potions are little vials of liquid of various usefulness.  Some, like orange, have only situational use, while the yellow, black, and blue ones are almost universally handy in any situation having to deal with combat.  The colours are as follows:

Blue: Inflicts sleep on the target.
Green: Inflicts poison on the target.
Yellow: Heals the target for a fair amount.
Red: Cures poison.
Black: Makes the target invisible.
Orange: Wakes the target up from any form of sleep.
White: About the same as casting the Light spell.
Purple: Give Protection enchantment to the target, raising their AC.  (Exact values unknown.)

There are two others that are quest-related that show up later in Serpent Isle as proper potions, but if you see any potion other than the ones listed, is safe to assume that they're quest potions and you should not, under any circumstances, drink them.

Well, that's all fine and dandy, you might say.  However, what good are they, and how can they be used to cheese Courage?  Elementary, my dear Watson: you can give potions to any living creature, not just party members.  That means that you can cram a blue potion down a dragon's mouth and force it into temporary sleep.  You can use a combo of blue and green potions to stealthily assassinate certain NPCs without alerting the guards (blue potions optional, but helpful).  Black lasts a fair bit, so we can use it to stealthily slip past a gang of enemies and/or sneak up on them and slit their proverbial throats.  By combining black and blue, we can easily sneak past most of the critters in the test of Courage, put any seriously dangerous ones to sleep by force, and proceed to crack 'em open like peanut shells while they slumber.

Now, invisibility potions cost 100g a pop.  Not cheap.  This is why, for Courage, I'll be traveling with just Dave, a borrowed death scythe from Dupre, and a handful of black and blue potions.  This also means our party members won't be wandering into any potential traps and getting themselves minced.  Of course, this also means they aren't there to distract the bigger guys.

Anywho, I'm getting six black potions.

Sleep's a hell of a lot cheaper, totaling at 15g a pop.  Since there's possibly a lot of things I'll need to *ahem* put to sleep, I'll be getting a dozen of 'em.  That brings our total investment to 780 gold.  That's a lot for the party, currently.  But, trust me when I say the investment will more than pay for itself.



: "Okay!  You guys take a smoke break, I got this."
: "You sure you don't need any backup, Mr. Dave?"
: "Trust him, kid.  When Dave goes off to do something on his own, its usually either expensive or dangerous."
: "In this case, its both.  Black potions are expensive as hell, and this is a test of Courage."
: "There is absolutely nothing courageous about walking around invisible and killing monsters whilst they sleep."
: "I prefer to think of it as discretion being the better part of valour."
: "Dave's interpretation of the Virtues has always been a little...flexible."
: "Damn straight.  Back in five."



The Test of Courage is the moongate on the right of Castle Exodus, past the strange, dark pillar and hellishly-glowing mirror.



This part requires some timing, so be careful.  Dave downs a black potion shortly after this.  A note about black potions: they don't last very long, so use them sparingly.



Picking the lock on the gate, we get to this room.  I think my being invisible broke a script trigger, somewhere, because there's supposed to be a wizard here that summons a liche.  Liches can one-shot you with Death Bolt, which is why I was being so cautious.  Either way, its one less irritation to deal with, so let's press on.  The bones strewn about the area have, in total, a full set of magic armour (which I give to Dave to shore up his defense), a set of swamp boots (onto which I'm holding), and a gorget, which is decent neck protection.  The fresh-ish corpse at the bottom right of the room has a key.  Take that, and let's proceed.



The key opens a door to the right.  Taking the cue from Bollux and Adjhar, the statues in here are actually golems, hostile golems.  Being invisible seems to break even more things, as the monsters proceed to kill one another whilst Dave flips the two levers you see to proceed deeper into the dungeon.



The corpse on the left is a drake, a baby dragon.  They can see past our invisibility, but that's why we've got the death scythe; it easily tears through the little bastard.  We pick the lock on the chest to find a glass sword inside.  Nicking the glass sword, we proceed to the room on the left.



Place the glass sword on the mat in front of the crystal ball, and the ball will turn into a key!  Yoink!  We nick the key and proceed deeper into the dungeon.



Unlocking the next door, we come across a crate of drink (meh) and a barrel of food.  I doubt Dave will have time to get hungry during the time we're here, but I take it just in case.  It doesn't take up that much space.



Taking the right fork and heading up, we come across this room with a magic helm on the pedestal.  Take it, and move down to the south of this area.  Once you hit the sliding doors, down a potion of invisibility, go through, head through the south fork and go up.  You'll come across a room much like the last one...



Its got a regular great helm on it.  This is a simple lock puzzle: exchange the great helm here with the magic one we got earlier, and notice that one of the sliding doors has now opened.



As the monsters in the south of this area proceed to rip eachother apart (didn't know invisibility drove critters insane, but whatever, free distraction), we place the great helm on the previous pedestal; now both sets of doors are down and we can proceed.  There's two trolls and a cyclops in the room we need to pass, one troll patrolling.  Thankfully, they're piss easy to take down, and the sleeping troll and cyclops only wake up once you're right on top of them, usually after you've scored the initial blow.  Proceed past this area and we get to...



Here!  THIS is why we have glass swords.  This isn't any dragon, this is actually a special dragon.  Loot the corpses here, first, even the piles of ash that used to be bodies.  In them, we'll find a magic axe (8 damage, ranged, infinite ammo, one-handed) and a glass sword.  This is a hint.  Proceed forward, and we come to our new friend!



: The great dragon paws the earth in expectation of your imminent battle.

After this the fight starts immediately.  Quickly go to your inventory and equip a glass sword.  Shove a blue potion down Dracothraxus' throat and kill her while she sleeps.



: "I dunno about that..."
: "I have a truly magnificent gem that I would give to thee, if thy courage can but continue for a bit." Dracothraxus opens her mouth wide. Within, you can see a multitude of teeth, each one needle sharp. Also, near the back, you see a small but brilliant blue gem. Do you reach in and take it?
: "I've done stupider shit."
: As you place your hand in the furnace that is the dragon's maw, you can't help but wonder if a small gem is worth the risk.
Nevertheless, you persevere and retrieve the lovely little gem.
: "I go now to rest, but I shall return. The door will not open until thou hast found a way to best me for good and for all. Farewell, little mortal."

Now, all we have to do is run back to the moongate!  Huzzah.

Also of note, inside the corpses in the room is a triple crossbow, which is a mean bastard of a weapon.  Not sure if I've covered it before, but it deals 28 base damage, 30 if you use magic bolts.  The only downside is your dipshit companions (again, coughIolocough) can shoot you in the back with it and turn you into paste.  The best way to prevent this is to buff their combat score so they turn everything else into carpet stains, instead.



Thus, we return to the Isle of Fire with a lovely little gem.  Oh, but this gem isn't for selling.  Ohhhhhh no, we've got a whole other use for this beauty.  Dracothraxus mentioned that she's immortal and that a "truly powerful artifact" would be needed to really kill 'er.  Whelp, guess what we're gonna do, next time?

: "So...closeeeeeeeee!"
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #34 on: July 03, 2017, 11:08:19 am »
[ANOTHER NON-LP UPDATE]

Today, I have further decreased the tedium associated with compiling everything together into an actual post.  Constantly working with the image tags and working the dialogue has been quite a pain in the anus, I don't mind telling ya.  To eliminate this, I hacked together a little Python script that can translate a more general text file into one with all the tags inserted automatically, allowing me to focus more on the actual writing, instead of wrangling tags and shit.  As an example, I turned this:

Code: [Select]
[dave]: "This here, is only a test."
[iolo]: "What the hell are you talking about, Dave?"
[dave]: "He's testing a script."
[spark]: "Like a play?"
[dave]: "...Kind of?"
[shamino]: "I think he means a Python script."
[spark]: "Why did Mr. Iolo flinch when you said 'Python,' Mr. Shamino?"
[iolo]: "I did no-!"
[dupre]: "Because Iolo's a big pussy when it comes to snakes, kid."
[sentri]: "Seriously, Iolo, man up."
[iolo]: "Oh, screw all of you!"

Into the following:

: "This here, is only a test."
: "What the hell are you talking about, Dave?"
: "He's testing a script."
: "Like a play?"
: "...Kind of?"
: "I think he means a Python script."
: "Why did Mr. Iolo flinch when you said 'Python,' Mr. Shamino?"
: "I did no-!"
: "Because Iolo's a big pussy when it comes to snakes, kid."
: "Seriously, Iolo, man up."
: "Oh, screw all of you!"

The former is a lot lot easier to read and write; ends up looking more like dialogue for a play than a mess of almost indecipherable URLs and image tags.  Let's all give a cheer for Python!  Making life easier one little script at a time!
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #35 on: July 03, 2017, 02:35:52 pm »
15. Conquering courage, Part Two

Alrighty then, folks, here's the skinny.  We're on the last leg of the Isle of Fire quest chain and, with it, the expansion.  All we need to do is forge a "truly powerful artifact," kill a seemingly-immortal dragon, nick the Talisman of Courage, and banish the Dark Core of Exodus back to Hell the Void.

So, how do we go about making a "truly powerful artifact?"  What qualifies as powerful?  Well, we stuck our hand in a dragon's mouth and got a cool, little gem.  In the room just off the moongate leading to the test of Courage, we've got a mirror and the Dark Core.  Wonder what's in the mirror...




A fucking daemon, that's what.

: He then continues with a small bow, "Greetings Britannian. What dost thou wish of the great daemon, Arcadion?"
: "You're a daemon?  Like an actual daemon, and not just a gargoyle?"
: "That is how thy people address those of my race." You can't tell from Arcadion's tone of voice whether or not he minds that fact.
: "Holy crap, I haven't seen one of you guys in a while!  So what do you do here, other than sit in a mirror?"
: Arcadion attempts to smile, but failing miserably, he gives you a grimace that could turn a dragon to stone. "I am currently in the service of one mage, Erethian by name." He states, rather formally. You get the distinct impression that Arcadion would just as soon rip Erethian limb from limb as serve him.
: "Haven't bothered to talk to the old man, myself.  What's your take on Erethian?"
: "He is my master..." The daemon's smile contorts into a scarcely hidden scowl of hatred. "Until other... arrangements can be made." Arcadion's toothsome smile appears on his shadowy features.
: "So, I take it you don't like serving him."
: The large daemon's eyes close as he appears to be restraining the force of horrific emotions,
"I have served that blind,old fool for over two hundred years!" Arcadion pauses, regaining his composure. A thought visibly crosses his darkened face, "Perhaps thou mightest assist me to free myself of this unwanted bondage. I could prove an invaluable ally." The daemon pauses to let his offer sink in, then, "Well, mortal. Wilt thou help me?"
: "You want me to help you, a greater fucking daemon, break free and wreak untold havoc on the world?"
: "You say that like its a bad thing."
: "Point.  Okay, how we do?"
: A wicked look of triumph flickers across Arcadion's face to be quickly replaced by a ludicrous semblance of gratitude, "Thou art truly courageous to vow to release me. My gratitude hath no bounds." An oily grin coats the daemon's face, "Thou hast made quite a powerful ally this day, mortal." His eyes blink in what is possibly meant to be a charming manner.
: "Again, how we do?"
: "I'll need a special gem in which to house my essence when thou crackest this prison of a mirror." His eyes are alight with the possibility of his impending freedom.
: "What, like this gem I got by doing something incredibly stupid?"
: "Thou hast the gem! I feel it! Use it now to crack the mirror! I'll enter it as I'm freed!" The daemon hardly restrains his enthusiasm.
: "I cannot envision any way in which this could possibly backfire horribly, let's do this."

Thus, we pocket our Death Scythe and put the little gem in our hands.  After that, use the gem on the mirror and break that sumbitch!





Looks like Arcadion made a slight miscalculation.

: The daemon's primal scream sounds a bit crystalline through the medium of the gem. "This cannot be! That old fool was right. I'm still trapped!" The daemon's anguished voice falls silent.
: "Hey, at least you're more mobile."
: "..."
: "Also 'wrath?' Someone's a drama queen."
: Arcadion sounds a bit pensive as he replies, "Forgive my momentary indiscretion, master. My bitter emotions overcame my reasoning for a brief time. I shall not let it happen again."
: "Wait, I'm your master, now?  Holy shit!"
: The daemon pauses for a moment, "Thou hast imprisoned my physical form, I am therefore bound to thy will by powers far older than thou or I wield. What wouldst thou have of me?"
: "Beats me, what can you do?"
: You hear a faint sigh, then, "Wouldst thou care to partake of my power?"
: "Depends, what you got?"
: Arcadion sounds disappointed, "It is as I knew it would be. I am forever meant to be the slave of weak-willed mortals. Very well then, prepare thyself to receive a portion of my vast energy.
: "Thy power needs no replenishing, master." The daemon sounds a bit put out.
: "Don't feel bad, I'm sure you'll be replenishing a lot more than my power, soon."
: "..."

The gem is nice; as one could probably infer, daemon-in-a-box can refill our mana at any time, for free.  Unfortunately, not even Mass Death (which, I remind you, we can't even cast, yet) can smoke Dracothraxus.  Ya see, Arcadion is just one part of a much, much cooler piece of kit.  But, to figure that out, we'll have to find something to put him in.  Seeing as there's only one person left on this island to whom we've not talked, let's talk to a blind old man!



: "God damn it, no!"
: "It'll only be for, like, five minutes!"
: "FINE.  But, only if I get to kill something, afterwards."
: "Deal."




: "I have seen thee destroy Mondain's power and so defeat that misguided mage, I have seen thee vanquish the enchantress Minax, I have also seen, in a very unique way, how thou brought low the hellspawn Exodus."  He falls silent here and you notice that the old man's eyes are milky white.
: "Creepy.  What do you do around here?"
: "I am a follower of the principle of Truth. But unlike those of the Lyceaum, I would prefer to seek out the knowledge instead of waiting for it to come to me.  It is this curiosity which has brought me to this island from which Exodus, the spawn of Mondain and Minax, sought to rule the world.  The books and scrolls here have taught me much of Britannia's history and other... interesting subjects."  His clouded eyes sparkle with intelligence. But you can't help wondering how books and scrolls are of any use to a man afflicted with blindness.
: "Moving right along, I heard something about a great evil returning.  Care to comment?"
: The elderly mage frowns. "I sense no great evil, but then I never did quite get the knack of cosmic awareness. Nevertheless, don't worry thyself over much. These things tend to work themselves out." You feel as if you've just been patted on the head and asked to go play elsewhere.
: "The psyche of Exodus is returning, dude!  That's not exactly gonna 'sort itself out,' asshole!"
: "Could this possibly be true?" Erethian's blind eyes light up with unabashed glee. "What an opportunity I have here."
: "I am growing more concerned about your mental state by the minute."
: He once again notices your presence. "Now, do not let any strange ideas of destruction enter thy mind, Avatar. I shan't let thee deprive me of this chance to experience a true wonder of the world. Run along now... Is there not a right to be wronged, somewhere else?"
: "You are clearly out of your fucking gourd; this means you must be the perfect gentleman to speak to about making a powerful artifact!"
: "I once attempted to create a sword of great power." Erethian frowns in concentration then says, "if thou wishest to continue my work, thou shalt have need of some few pieces of forging equipment... And a place to put them... I know just the spot. Come with me and I'll see what I can do to help thee."



: "Careful, now." The old mage says solicitously, "The powers I am about to release are capricious and fickle. I wouldst not like to see something untoward happen to thee."  You feel a great surge in the ether, which seems to temporarily stabilize it in this area.




: "That was actually pretty cool."
: Little beads of sweat appear on the elderly mage's furrowed brow. "That was a bit harder than I'd expected." He pauses to mop his forehead with the tip of his sleeve, "I had to redirect a small underground river for the well to tap. Now, then. Thou shalt have need of some few tools to make use of this equipment, shan't thee?" His rhetorical question goes unanswered as he once again prepares to unleash his will upon the world.



: Amidst muttered curses detailing the uselessness of ether and bothersome inter-dimensional beings, Erethian intones the magical words, "An Vas Ailem!   Kal Bet Ailem!"





: Erethian's face begins to take on an ashen pallor, but he looks contented with a job well done. "As I have said, I myself once attempted to create an artifact of great power. I crafted the hilt from a dark substance that is immutable, save by magical means. The blade, however, is cast of an alloy of this substance and the purest metals known to Britannia. My artistic skills served me well enough to fashion the hilt but, alas, the strength was not in my arm to beat a good temper into the blade. Perhaps, thou canst finish this great artifact for me..." He pulls a poorly worked blade with a fine hilt out of thin air. "Fear not to touch the hilt when the blade is hot, for heat apparently does not travel well across the medium of the pure, black substance. I wish thee good luck."  He hands the sword to you and wearily turns away.

: "The hell was that all about?"
: "I met a dragon I can't kill."
: "Did you try the glass swords?"
: "That just made it disappear and tell me I needed something stronger."
: "That seems highly improbable."
: "I dunno, the Shadowlords were all but immortal, too."
: "Yeah, but those came from the Gem of Immortality!"
: "That's about enough of that.  Either way, I need to make something extra-kickass to take her down for good and finish up on this god forsaken island.  Now, if you'll excuse me..."

Thus, we begin the arduous (HA!) process of forging a blade.



Use the bucket on the well to get water, then use said full bucket to put the water into the trough; you need to do this three time to fill the trough totally, and you need the trough full.  After that, you take the hammer in one hand and place the sword blank on the forge (of Virtue!) and hit the bellows a few times til it gets nice and hot.



We take it to the anvil and give it a few whacks with the hammer until Dave starts thinking.



: "I think I've beaten my sword as much as I'm able without breaking it."
: "Ew."

: "So, I finished hitting this thing with a hammer, but it weighs about as much as a truck and can't swing for shit; got any ideas?"
: Erethian nods his head when you tell him of your dilemma with the black sword. "Yes, I can see how the blade would be too clumsy to swing in combat. However, if thou were to bind a magical source of power into the hilt of the blade, thou mightest be able to counteract the unwieldy nature of the sword."
: The little gem sparks up at this turn of the conversation. "I believe that in my current form, I could serve perfectly well as the blade's stabilizing force. In truth, this would allow me to give thee access to some of my more dramatic powers." The daemon sounds excited at this prospect, perhaps a little too excited.
: Erethian's voice is quiet as he says, "Consider well before thou bindest Arcadion into the sword. For it is true that he will be able to solve the sword's problem of balance, but will he be able to solve his own problems as well?"
: "In exchange for 'dramatic powers?'  I think I'll take my chances, bye!"
: "Goodbye and good luck..." Erethian sounds truly sympathetic.

: "Alright, Arcadion, how do we put you in this thing?"
: "If thou dost wish me to bond the gem to the sword, thou hast but to command me, master."
: "Let's get this show on the road, then!"
: "It will be done!"  As the gem touches the crosspiece of the sword, the sound of tearing metal screeches through the air. The blade shifts and shimmers almost as if alive.  Slowly, the sword settles into its original shape, except for the blue gem glowing in the hilt.



: "FUCK YESSSSSSSSS!"
: The sword glimmers darkly as you speak to it. "Greetings, my master. And how can thy humble servant aid thee?" The daemon's voice has regained much of its oddly disturbing humor.
: "Gimmie, like, five minutes.  Aah..."
: "...Ya done?"
: "Yeah, I'm good.  So, what can you do now?"



Oh fuck yes, that's much better.  Arcadion went from good to awesome.  We, my friends, are now in possession of The Black Sword, also known as the Shade Blade.  While its base damage might only be 25, half that of a Death Scythe, it has several critical advantages that make it unbelievably awesome.  First, it can refill your mana, though you need to kill things occasionally (this applies to all the powers).  Secondly, you can use it to return to the Isle of Fire at any time; if you end up in a sticky situation or forgot and parked your carpet there, you can easily get back and rest up.  Incidentally, the Isle of Fire is actually an okay place to setup your stash, since its easy to find; I might relocate ours after I finish killing things.  Thirdly, Arcadion can unleash fucking hellfire on your opponents, sending a fireball (and accompanying trail of god damned fire) towards your opponent, roasting the bastards.  But, his most useful power easily the simplest and least bombastic: Arcadion can, on command, kill any reasonably powerful foe in a single blow.  And I do mean any reasonably powerful foe, minus one or two people that have plot armour.  The Black Sword also has a special script in it that can insta-kill almost anything in one blow.  Dave is now the top member of the food chain!  Let's go back to Dracothraxus and shove Arcadion up her ass!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:46:55 pm by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2017, 02:35:58 pm »


: "We're out of smokes."
: "Hold tight, guys.  I'll be back in a few minutes."
: "Is that a new sword, Mr. Dave?"
: "You bet your ass it is, kid.  Everyone, meet Arcadion!"
: "Howdy."
: "Uhh, Dave, is that a trapped greater daemon in there?"
: "Possibly...?"
: "What.  THE.  FUCK ARE YOU THINKING?!"
: "That the ability to kill almost anything I want with a touch is fucking awesome?"
: "I swear to god, Dave, if that thing ends up beheading Lord British or some shit, I am taking it from you and throwing it into the ocean."
: "Don't worry, master.  I am physically incapable of leaving your side."
: "HA!  Suck it!"
: "Well, so long as you're careful with it..."



: "Hey, buddy!  Remembered how you said I needed something insanely powerul to kill you?"
: "Yeah, why?"
: "HAHA!  SUCK DAEMON SWORD!"



: The dragon responds with great resignation. "My will is not mine own in this matter, Arcadion. Mayhap thou art finding too, that thy will is not thine own."
: The daemon, possibly stung by the dragon's repartee, falls silent and goes to its bloody work.







Thus, we have finished courage!  As you can see, our Strength is now maxed out, which is awesome.  Dave is basically unstoppable, now and, once we truly finish this expansion (we've only got, like, three more steps), he will be come even more unstoppable.  Let's just say that someone will actually be grateful for saving the fucking world.  Again.  And in a big way, too!

: "Arcadion?"
: "Yes, master?"
: "I think you and I are gonna get along just fine."
: "Famously."
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.