Author Topic: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]  (Read 1699 times)

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Offline RavynousHunter

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Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« on: June 18, 2016, 11:07:37 am »
Table o' Contents
1. The Preface or Prelude or Whatever
2. In the beginning, there was Dave
3. At least I'm wearing pants
4. Dave finds his Robin
5. Dave teaches Spark the Avatar's "Path to Success"
6. The world's shortest murder investigation
7. The last bits of Trinsic and Dave's flight
8. Dave heads north
9. Making money, the Dave way
10. Dave acquires transport
11. Dave raids again
12. What to do, what to do...?

1. The Preface or Prelude or Whatever



A simple, black expanse of a game menu.  This is one of the first things that greets you in Ultima VII Part I: The Black Gate.  There's the intro, and its really cool...well, it was for the time, but we'll get to that in a sec.  First off, why start with #7?  Why not start with the first?  Or at least Quest of the Avatar?  I'm not saying I won't get around to those, I may well do that.  I'm starting with #7 because it has the biggest story (and biggest world) with the most interaction and the most dialogue.  This translates into a lot of potential to screw around and that translates into fun.  Few things in life are as enjoyable as this game.  Even though I just beat it a few days ago, I'm coming back to it specifically for the purposes of this LP.

"Okay, that's cool and all," you say.  "But, why do it in text?"  One, I have yet to find a mic that doesn't butcher my voice.  Two, there's a lot of futzing about that would get rather boring if I were to record it, and that's with editing.  Lastly, screenshots and dialogue transcripts more than suffice to convey the story of the game and I can still convey just how much you fun you can have if, at first, you completely ignore the main plot, fuck off, and do your own thing, which you can totally do.

Now, then, what am I using to run this game from the early-to-mid 90s?  Exult is the short answer.  Exult is basically a wrapper around the original game's data files, a recreation of the engine from the ground up to work on modern operating systems.  There's a few lingering, random crashes, but all in all, its a very stable and very accurate experience when compared to what you get with DOSBox and the original game itself.  It also adds such neat features as an expanded save list (no longer limited to a set number of slots), screenshot capabilities, and so on.

Just as a side note, I may end up double-posting due to how I want this to be structured.  Without further ado, let's get moving, shall we?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 06:40:45 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 #1 on: June 18, 2016, 11:48:58 am »
2. In the beginning, there was Dave

(Note: I am using the Avatar Pack from Seven Towers.  The portraits are more interesting, to me, than the vanilla ones.)


Because who else is going to bother with a single-player game in this series?


Annnnnnd, my computer screen immediately goes on the fritz.  God damned CRTs.


Huh.


A big, red face appearing on my monitor without my doing anything?  This is either going to be really threatening or really sad.


: "Avatar!"

Still not sure if threatening or sad, red dude.

: "Know that Britannia has entered into a new age of enlightenment.  Know that the time has finally come for the one true Lord of Britannia to take his place at the head of his people!  Under my guidance, Britannia will flourish, and all the people shall rejoice and pay homage to their new... Guardian.  Know that you too shall kneel before me, Avatar.  You too shall soon acknowledge my authority.  For I shall be your companion...your provider...and your master!  Hahahahahah!"

Oh, so its a challenge!  Bring it on, asshole!


He crashed my computer, too!  That is it, red motherfucker, you are dead!


Oh, crap.  I promised a kid I'd see her recital after solving that whole gargoyle thing.  ...She's probably dead, now, isn't she?


Either which way, my orb's glowing, so that means somebody over there wants words with me.


Not even gonna bother packing anything.  Not like a handgun would be useful, or anything.


Well, that's not normal.


LEEROY!



And, we are greeted with the menu!  Whelp, I just kinda charged into a sword-and-sorcery world fraught with dragons and giant spiders without any planning, forethought, or even basic supplies like trail mix, a flashlight, or a fucking gun.  I mean, the Avatar lives in Texas, so he's bound to have at least one firearm.  But, nope!  No telling where the hell this crazy, interdimensional portal is taking me, I just Leeroy right in like a jackass.  Well, let's get around to actually making our dude.  Let's introduce you to...Dave.



And this is why I like the Avatar Pack.  Dave now has a permanent look of "you've got to be shitting me," which is appropriate, given some of the crazy shit that goes down.  Well, now that we've got our man, join me in the next bit as we finally delve into the game itself!
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline Dakota Bob

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2016, 12:37:39 pm »
I have the entire Ultima library on my GOG account, tried playing VII a while ago. I guess I've been spoiled by modern RPGs too much to get into this game, gave up a few hours in, lost track of what I was supposed to do. I'll keep my eye on this thread, should be interesting to see what the game is like past the first few hours.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2016, 01:03:30 pm »
3. At least I'm wearing pants

We join our story already in progress.

: "I can't believe it..."
: "I know, 'tis shocking."
"Who could have done it?"
: "I know not..."
: "He had no enemies..."
: "Poor man."
: "What is to be done?"


Iolo's something of a broken record, here.



: "Hey heyyyyy, Iolo!  Barely looking a day older, guess I haven't been away that long, have I?"
: "Dave!  If I did not trust the infallibility of mine own eyes, I would not believe it!  I was just thinking to myself, 'If only the Avatar were here!'  Then..."
: "Lo and behold!  Who says that magic is dying!  Here is living proof that it is not!"
: "Let's just simmer down there, dude.  Seriously, I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable, here."
: "Dost thou realize, Dave, that it hath been 200 Britannian years since we last met?  Why, thou hast not aged at all!"
: "What."
: "What?"
: "Two hundred years?"
: Iolo winks conspiratorially.  He whispers, "Due no doubt to the difference in the structure of time in our original homeland and that of Britannia.  I have aged, as thou canst see. But of course, I have stayed here in Britannia all this time."
: "That makes no kind of sense at all, but whatever.  Still, it has to suck, outliving almost everyone else on the planet several times over."
: "You have no idea.  Oh but Avatar!  Wait until I tell the others!  They will be so happy to see thee!  And welcome to Trinsic!"
: "Thanks, I guess...  I suppose it beats being summoned by a bunch of pissed off gargoyles and nearly ending up being sacrificed."
: The distraught peasant interrupts Iolo. "Show him the stables, milord!  'Tis horrible!"
: Iolo nods, his joy fading quickly as he remembers the reason he was standing there in the first place.  "Ah yes.  Our friend Petre here discovered something truly ghastly this morning.  Take a look inside the stables.  I shall accompany thee."
: "Well, that's a hell of a greeting.  No fanfare, no feast, just 'Hey, Dave, let's go look at this grisly scene!'"
: "I welcomed you back, man, what more do you want?"
: "Time to get my bearings before-OH SHIT, RUN!"


: "Keep running, Iolo!"


: "Okay, I think we lost him!"
: "What the hell was that all about?  Run from who?!"
: "The dude in the blue get-up!  Didn't you see him, he was charging right at us!"
: "That was the mayor, you idiot!  He wasn't charging, he was walking to us at a leisurely pace."
: "How the hell was I supposed to know that?  Last time I came thru a red moongate, I nearly ended up getting shanked for some ritual!  For all I knew, that guy was trying to finish the job!"
: "He was a human!  And besides, you solved all that nonsense 200 years ago, the whole 'False Prophet' thing died down after you left."
: "I still stand by my decision."



: "See?"

And here, we have the save menu!  Simple as simple gets.  Unfortunately, right away, we hit a little bug.  You see, overwriting saves...doesn't quite work right so, if you want your recent actions properly saved, you need to make a whole new savegame.  Fortunately, the saves are tiny, so its not a huge issue.  The save menu in Exult is quite a bit more useful than vanilla.  The vanilla save menu just had save names and the buttons at the bottom, and that was it.  Exult gives you Dave's stats, a little preview pic, current game time, how much game time you've spent, and a visual listing of your party members.  Very handy for bookkeeping, and seeing just how little time it takes to cause massive damage to society.  While we're at it, let's go over a couple more interface elements, shall we?

Hit escape, and you get this menu:


Its got access to anything you'd need, options-wise.  The save/load menu, we've already covered, and you can easily reach that by pressing 'S' in-game.  The first section is video options:



Full Screen is obvious; it toggles between full screen and windowed mode.  Note that, without scaling, Exult (and Ultima VII) uses a default resolution of 320x240, so it'll be pretty tiny in windowed mode.  There are a few minor bugs when you run at full screen, since U7 really expects to be running at 320x240.  Mostly, the only problems are that you'll see certain characters pop in during scripted events when, normally, it'd look like they're coming in from off-screen.  Not a huge problem, but it can be a little jarring/amusing, at times.

Display Mode is the resolution the game runs at in both full screen and windowed mode.  I default to 1024x768 to give a decent resolution while minimizing the bugs I mentioned earlier.  The Scaler dictates what scaling algorithm Exult uses for running at non-native resolutions.  I leave it at the default 2xSaI and haven't had any real problems, thus far.  The others aren't anything I've fiddled with, so I dunno what they do, sans the bottom one, which should be fairly obvious.



Audio options are another thing I don't really fiddle with, personally.  Just make sure that the music and SFX and speech are enabled, and you should be good.



Gameplay options!  Again, the Exult team did a good job of making them mostly self-explanatory.  I don't know what autonotes does, but I'd venture a guess that it works much like a quest log in other games.  Exult does come with a notebook (which the original game lacked) which you can reach with the 'N' key.  Its really quite handy for keeping track of what the hell you're doing because there is a lot to do in this game.  Also, yes!  You can change the difficulty of the game, if you find it too easy.  I think I have it a the default, I dunno, but either way if you're focusing on combat, you're quite frankly doing it wrong.



And, lastly, misc. options!  Status bars are the little bits at the bottom of the screen with the faces and, well, bars.  Another handy Exult addition that makes tracking how well your party is faring a lot simpler than it is in the base game.  Cheats!  Yes, there are cheats.  Extensive cheats.  Hit 'F2' to get to them, if they're enabled.  Few cheat menus are as verbose as the one in U7.  Lastly, the paperdolls (keybind 'I' in-game) are a Serpent Isle feature that got back-ported to Black Gate because, quite frankly, they're a lot nicer to look at.  Don't take my word for it, look:


(Image c/o LPArchive.org and Nakar)
This is the default inventory screen for Black Gate.  Bare-bones, kinda ugly, and hard to follow.  Now, let's look at the back-ported SI paperdolls!


Much nicer!  You can see where everything goes visually and its a lot simpler to use.  It does use the inventory slots for Black Gate, so you can either wear two rings or gloves, not both, and ammo (arrows, bolts, and yes, bullets) takes up the slot that you also use to put a shield on your back.  Generally, I prefer gloves over rings, as they offer better protection overall and the only rings that might push them out are rings of regeneration, but even with two of them equipped, I honestly don't notice that much of an increase in healing factor, so gloves it is!  Yeah, Dave's dumb ass only came to Britannia with a knife and barely any supplies.

The icons at the bottom of your paperdoll are as follows (for Dave): Toggle Combat Mode (keybind 'C' in-game), Combat Strategy (never found it that helpful, so I leave it at default), Stats Panel (keybind 'Z' in-game), and the disk is the save/load menu.  The halo at the bottom-right of Iolo's paperdoll puts him in "protect mode," which basically means other party members go out of their way to protect him in combat.  Lastly, the stat panels!



The max for strength, dexterity, intelligence, combat, and magic is 30.  As you can see, Dave is slightly above average in everything but magic, where he kinda sucks.  Strength gives you more melee damage, HP, and carry weight.  Dexterity helps with ranged attacks (might add extra damage, I'm not sure), and intelligence determines your mana stores.  Combat is how good you are at hitting people; Iolo is actually better at it than Dave, but that gap will be bridged easy enough.  Magic is a Dave-only stat, since he's the only one that can use it (even the wizard companion, Mariah, can't use spells) and helps with spellcasting in...some way.  Training points are something you spend (along with money) at trainers throughout Britannia to boost your stats.  Some trainers are complete rip-offs, so be careful.  I think the max level in Black Gate is 8, and each level grants 3 training points, so spend wisely.  Except on Dave.  I will spend on nothing but combat and magic.  Why?  Because we've got Forge of Virtue, and that invalidates every other bit of stat training Dave could possibly need, outside combat and magic, and getting to it (and finishing it) is almost trivially easy, given enough firepower.

Well, that's about it for this update.  Next time, I'll wander around Trinsic, maybe get clues to a murder, and teach a child about the fine art of serial kleptomania!
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline Even Then

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2016, 02:50:34 pm »
Why am I reminded of Something Awful...
Quote from: The_Queen
However, intelligent people can see the same issues, evidence, and inferences, and reach different conclusions. That is the human experience.

If you see me posting something you perceive as a contradiction of things I said before, then you should probably only regard the thing I said most recently as relevant: past me is an idiot.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2016, 04:36:10 pm »
Why am I reminded of Something Awful...

I'm drawing inspiration from Nakar's LP of U4-7.
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline Even Then

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2016, 05:01:22 pm »
It's looking like an enjoyable read so far! However, could you maybe separate between game text and your own additions for comedy's sake somehow (say, by italicizing your stuff)? It's not exactly a dealbreaker, but having everything be the same font bugs me. I understand if you don't wanna go through the trouble, though.
Quote from: The_Queen
However, intelligent people can see the same issues, evidence, and inferences, and reach different conclusions. That is the human experience.

If you see me posting something you perceive as a contradiction of things I said before, then you should probably only regard the thing I said most recently as relevant: past me is an idiot.

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2016, 05:43:47 pm »
I tend to use italics for emphasis...maybe switching fonts to something similar, but not quite the same?  Though, anything not in pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue is always gonna be mine.  Literally every line of dialogue is like that.
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 #8 on: June 19, 2016, 12:06:18 pm »
4. Dave finds his Robin



: "Welp, I'm bored.  Let's go meander."



We wander a bit to the northwest and come across a small, two-story house with a blonde kid inside.  Wonder who that is?



: "Looking sharp there, kid.  What's up?"
: "Who art thou and what dost thou want?"  You realize the boy has a sling in hand.
: "Let's just simmer down there, kid.  I'm twice your size.  I'm also Dave."
: "So? What makes thee so special?"
: "Boy, this is the Avatar!  Upon my word he is!  He has come to help thee!"
: "Help who?  I'm still not sure who this kid even is."
: The boy narrows his eyes, studying you.  He slowly lowers his weapon, ready to act in case it's a trap.  You admire the boy's obvious experience in dealing with strangers.  "I have always been called Spark."
: "Now, we're getting somewhere.  So, kid, what do you do?"
: "I have no job.  I am only fourteen, so I am just learning how to best help Father in the smithy," he says, proudly.  But then he suddenly realizes something which terrifies him.  "And now that Father is dead, I am an orphan!"
: "Still kinda confused as to who your father is, other than the blacksmith, apparently."
: "Father was the blacksmith.  I cannot believe that he has been murdered!  He had no enemies that I know of. Unless it was The Fellowship."
: "The Fellowship?  Why does that sound ominous?"
: "Well, at first they harassed Father and me when they came around asking us to join.  I suppose they do good things.  Many people like them.  Father eventually joined the group after he went to Britain and took one of their tests."
: "Thinly-veiled Scientology reference, got it.  So, uh...your dad was a smith, then?"
: "Father was the best blacksmith in Britannia.  People were always coming from everywhere to get him to make this and that."
: "So, you're an orphan?  What about your mom, kid?"
: "My mother died a long time ago.  I can just barely remember her."
: "Your mom died and your dad got murdered.  If this were any other game, you'd probably be our plucky hero.  Or, if this were a comic book, you'd be Batman."
: "I cannot believe Father is dead.  And poor Inamo, too.  It is so strange.  I -dreamed- it was happening.  Well, in a way.  Last night I was having a nightmare about Father.  I dreamed that he screamed, and it woke me up.  I looked around the house, but he was not in his bed.  I was wide awake, so I went out to find him."
: "Did you find him?"
: "No, I did not find him.  At least, not right away.  But I did see something."
: "Well, that's a start.  What was this 'something?'"
: "I was in front of the stables.  I saw a man and a wingless gargoyle running from behind the building.  They ran toward the dock.  Then I went inside and found... Father."  Spark's voice falters, and he begins to sob a little.
: "Waitwaitwait...murder in the stables?  That's what you guys wanted me to check out?"
: "Before you ran screaming from the mayor, yes."
: "Why didn't you say so in the first place?  For all I knew, it could've been Dupre in a drunken stupor doing something unspeakable to a pig."
: "Again, I reiterate, you're an idiot."
: "Whatever.  So, Spark, you said you saw a man fleeing the scene?"
: "All I saw of him was that the man had a hook for a right hand."
: "So, either a pirate or a cosplay enthusiast, got it.  What about the non-murdered gargoyle?"
: "I cannot tell one gargoyle from another. I could not identify him, except that he had no wings."
: "Well, that's vaguely racist.  So, you said dude had a hook?"
: "Wilt thou go find the Man with the Hook?  Let me help thee!" the boy pleads.  His tears cease, and his face takes on a determined, forceful look.  "Take me with thee!  Please!  I must avenge Father's death!  If thou dost not take me with thee, I will follow thee anyway!"  The boy is all excited now.  "I am an expert with a slingshot!  I can strike sewer rats with almost every shot!  And I am small -- I do not eat much!  Please take me!  Please ask me to join thee!"
: Iolo whispers to you. "I do not know about taking a child on the road with us, Avatar."
: Suddenly, Spark lets his sling fly.  His target, a small fly hovering above Iolo's head, is smacked out of the air.  You laugh as Iolo yelps, jumps away, curses and runs his fingers through his hair.  "I told thee I am good!  May I join?"
: "Yes, oh hell yes!"
: "What are you planning, now?"
: "Spark, you are going to be the Robin to my Batman, let's do this!"
: "Hooray!"  the boy leaps with delight.
: "We're gonna get along just fine, you and me.  Say, you mentioned some sorta nightmare?  What's the deal with that?"
: "I know it sounds witless, but... I dreamed that a big red-faced man was watching down on everything and... He looked down... And he noticed Father... That is all I remember."
: "A red-faced dude?  I think I know who you're talking about.  That asshole took over my monitor and crashed my computer.  So, what sorta tests do these Scien-er, Fellowship guys require?"
: "I do not know anything about them.  I never took one.  Maybe thou shouldst ask the man at the Fellowship Branch.  Klog."
: "God, that's an unfortunate name.  Tell me about this Klog."
: "He is the head of the Fellowship Branch here in Trinsic.  He and Father got into an argument a week ago when Klog and two of his friends came over to talk with Father."
: "Gee, that's not suspicious in the slightest.  What would they possibly have to argue about?"
: "I don't know what it was about.  Perhaps thou shouldst ask Klog."
: "Maybe, assuming they don't try to purge my body thetans or whatever.  How does a guy with a name like 'Klog' have friends, anyway?"
: "I do not remember what they look like.  I did not recognize them.  They were most likely some other members of The Fellowship."
: "The Fellowship has a branch here?  Meaning they aren't based here?"
: "The Fellowship has branches all over Britannia."
: "And, knowing my luck, I'll have to visit all of them."
: "Why would you have to do that?"
: "Kid, when you've been in this business as long as I have, you realize the first rule of adventuring in this world is to investigate whatever the new thing is.  Never fails."
: "The sad part is, he isn't wrong."
: "Anywho, who was this Inamo dude?"
: "He was a very nice gargoyle.  He helped Father a lot and did tasks in the stables.  I cannot think why anyone would want to kill him!"
: "Only one way to find out!  Let's keep looking!  Oh, and Spark?"
: "Yes?"
: "Welcome to the crew."



And, just like that, we've got our third man!  Er, teenager.  One of the unfortunate sides of the paperdolls is that there's only two bodies: muscly adult man, and toned adult woman, both of varying skin tones.  The heads are just kinda tacked on to the top, so we get Spark's tiny kid head atop the body of a brick shithouse.  Stat-wise, he's got some problems hitting, and his strength is just a point below average, but otherwise, he's a solid character.  Since he starts at level 1, he gets a lot of training points that you can use to bring his strength and combat ratings to ridiculous levels for a teenager.  Also, notice that, for whatever reason, Spark is not wearing pants.

: "Spark?"
: "Yes?"
: "Why the hell aren't you wearing any pants?"
: "I just woke up from a nap."
: "I think I'll stop right there before Chris Hansen shows up."

Yeah, I don't get it, either.  Unfortunately, he's not the only one.  A lot of the companions we can get start out not wearing any bloody pants.  Don't ask, I don't know, and I'm not sure I wanna know.  Maybe going pantsless is the new trend in Britannia?  I have no idea and, again, I'm not sure I wanna know the answer.  But, that will have to wait for next update...or maybe not.  Either way, next time, we're going to continue avoiding the mayor and most of the investigation.  Why?  Because its crime time!
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline Rime

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2016, 09:06:54 am »
If you do continue, I'd certainly like one of those updates to be about the terrible hunger meter.  It didn't matter whether they were starving to death or just peckish, every ten minutes or less there's floaty text flashing above your party "I'm hungry" "I'm hungry" "When do we eat?"

Not that I'm against a hunger meter, it's just that it was the single biggest annoyance in the entire game because you were getting nagged so often about it.
And when we're done soul searching,
And we carry the weight and die for a cause.
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes.

Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2016, 10:17:44 am »
Oddly, I never had problems with food in either Black Gate or Serpent Isle.  A little well-applied thievery, and food was a complete non-issue.  Go to inns at around midnight, and loot the food barrels.  Easy food supply with minimal effort and no monetary investment.
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 #11 on: June 22, 2016, 11:45:07 am »
5. Dave teaches Spark the Avatar's "Path to Success"

Learning how to survive in Black Gate is paramount, and survival breaks down into three categories: food, money, and equipment.  Unfortunately, we are running...more than a little light on all three.



Out of all of us, Iolo is the best-equipped.  Crossbows deal decent damage and have good range.  Spark has a sling with no bullets, and all Dave has is a knife.  Since Iolo's the responsible old dude, we'll be handing him (most of) the money, which totals all of 26 gold or, in layman's terms, barely enough to buy a metaphorical pack of smokes.  Spark's a growing boy, so he needs all the food he can get.  In that vein, he's going to be carrying the bulk of the food til we get more people.  Alas, our food stores are pathetic: a bunch of grapes, an apple, a single length of sausage, a slab of beef, and two pieces of bread.  Barely enough to make a sandwich, let alone live off of for any real amount of time.  We need more.  A lot more.  In that vein, its time to figure out what the hell time it is, for reasons that will become apparent soon.  Since we haven't yet gotten out of Trinsic (aka: Copy Protection Town), we haven't met Shamino, and that asshole has Dave's watch.  So, next best thing!



Thankfully, the cheat menu (F2) tells us what time it is: 6:24 in the morning.  Also known as "way too damned early to be doing this shit" time.  What shit?  Well, Dave's means of success relies on darkness and people being asleep and/or away from their shops.  That's a long time from now, and we don't have much food, so...we're going to poke around a little.

: "Okay, guys.  We have barely enough food to stay fed for a day.  I forgot to bring my jerky when I came here, so we're going to have to forage."
: "But, the mayor has the whole town on lockdown."
: "You are not planning what I think you're planning."
: "Spark, its time you learn the Path of the Avatar."
: "Oh, god."



A short walk down the road from Spark's place is an empty house with a little food inside, or at least, that's just what is readily apparent.  The meat shank to the left is mutton, and its very good food, lots of fillingness.  Now, there's an art to what I'm about to do, a key to success: never put things you pilfer into the Avatar's pack.  Your companions will complain, rather loudly, if you do that; if you persist, many will leave and some (coughDuprecough) will outright try to kill you.  Instead, dip the goods into one of their packs, instead, like we do with Spark here and the shank of mutton.



: "Are you sure its okay to take that mutton, Mr. Dave?"
: "Its okay for you to take it, kid.  I mean, are you gonna try telling on the Avatar?"
: "No, sir!"
: "You're depraved."
: "No, I'm hungry.  Or, rather, I will be, eventually."

The bag and backpack in the room also have some useful goodies:



Namely, gold and lockpicks.  We dip the gold, knife, and lockpicks into Iolo's pack and give the old man the bag for a little extra storage.  Using what we find in the room, we finally give Spark a helmet, some shoes, and a weapon he can actually use.  Iolo gets the gloves so he doesn't feel left out of the loot.  Our current gold total is 33.  Barely more than when we started, but there's a few places around here with enough to get us started once we leave this god-forsaken city and hit the actual road.



Aah, I'm feeling better, already!  What else can we steal?  A little ways to the east is a grouping of three houses with some swamp boots in one of 'em.  Dave hands them to Iolo before our pursuer finally catches up to us.



: "Son of a bitch!"



: "Nice to meet you, too.  Iolo!  Who is this stranger?"
: "Why, this is the Avatar!" Iolo proudly proclaims.  "Canst thou believe it?  May I introduce thee? This is Finnigan, the Town Mayor.  And this is the Avatar!  I simply cannot believe he is here!"
: "Me, neither.  Do you mind?  We were kind of in the middle of something."
: The Mayor looks you up and down, not sure if he believes Iolo or not.  He looks at Iolo skeptically.
: "I swear to thee, it is the Avatar!"
: "I have heard that thou art the Avatar.  I am not certain that I believe it."
: "Are you shitting me, right now?  Hello?  I'm the god damned Avatar!  Paintings of me, probably statuary, at this point?  Found enlightenment and the Codex, solved the whole Blackthorn problem, kept you dipshits from committing genocide against the gargoyles?"
: The mayor looks at you again as if he were studying every pore on your face.  Finally, he smiles. "Welcome, Avatar."
: "You're damn right I'm welcome."
: But just as suddenly, Finnigan's face becomes stern.  "A horrible murder has occurred.  If thou art truly the Avatar, perhaps thou canst help us solve it.  I would feel better if thou takest this matter into thine hands.  Thou shalt be handsomely rewarded if thou dost discover the name of the killer.  Dost thou accept?"
: "Do I have a choice?"
: "Not really.  Petre, the stables caretaker, discovered poor Christopher and Inamo early this morning."  The Mayor continues. "Hast thou searched the stables?"
: "Considering I've been avoiding you and the main quest since I got here, gonna have to go with 'no.'"
: "Then I suggest thou lookest inside and talkest to me again."
: "You got it.  Jackass."

No choice but to head south, I guess, towards the stables.  God damned plot, always finding a way to literally and metaphorically catch up with me.  Oh, well.



: "Well, let's see what the damage is..."



: "Good god damn!  What the fuck happened here?  Looks like this dude got in a losing fight with a lawnmower!  Oh...sorry, Spark."

: "Don't worry, little dude.  We're finding the guy that did this; this is beyond fucked up.  You have any idea what this key is for?"
: "That looks like the key to Father's chest.  I wondered where it was!"
: "Looks like we have our first clue, Robin!  Quickly, to the Batcave!  Er, your house!"



I kinda feel bad, but I nicked the bag next to Inamo, the pitchforked gargoyle in the far end of the stables.  Dave needs the storage for quest items and keys, and I doubt Inamo is going to need that bit of bread or 3 gold, anymore.  Instead, we'll use it to track down the people that killed him.  Oh, we also put the swamp boots on Spark.  Since he has the least strength, he also has the fewest hit points.  Poison isn't a terrible ailment, but swamps apply it whenever you touch them, unless you have swamp boots on.  Since all boots (even magic boots) provide the same level of protection, just leave everyone with swamp boots.  That way, if you ever come across swamps, you don't have to worry about stepping in and getting poisoned!  Well, by the swamp itself, at any rate.



Upstairs in Spark's pad, we unlock the chest (hotkey: K) and take a peek.  Inside is a pile of 100 gold (!), a Fellowship medallion, and a scroll.



Well, that's vaguely threatening and not at all suspicious as all hell.  We give the 100 gold to Spark since its his inheritance and I'd feel like a dick taking it from the poor kid.  Besides, we'll be making plenty of money, soon, so he won't have to worry about us blowing it all on gambling or food or powder kegs to blow up Chuckles...not that we need to buy those.

: "Hey, kid, what do you make of this scroll?"
: "I am not sure if it's the same one, but I think I saw Father with a scroll just like that one or two days ago.  I know he was making something special for someone.  I am fairly certain it was at his shop."
: "Yet more clues.  What about that medallion I'm not going to touch for fear it burns my hand off?"
: "Father was a member of The Fellowship. I don't know why the medallion was in the chest -- he usually wore it."
: "Well, that's suspect.  Lastly, you know anything about this pile of money?"
: The boy's eyes widen.  "I had no idea that Father had that much money hidden away!  I suppose I could give it to thee if thou art going to look for those who killed my Father!"
: "Dude, not even.  Its yours, keep it."
: "I thought you said we were pressed for gold."
: "Not even I'm screwed up enough to jack an orphan's inheritance.  Besides, we'll have more money than the government, soon enough."
: "Are you going to steal it or actually work for it?"
: "...Yes."
: "Smartass."

Clues a-plenty!  We know we're looking for a dude with a hook, Christopher made something "special" for someone shortly before he got killed, and he had an argument with a dude named Klog.  I wonder if they're connected?  Oh, who the hell am I kidding?  Of course they're connected.  This isn't so much a trail of bread crumbs as it is a trail of bread loaves.  Either way, next time, we'll get to pumping the fine people of Trinsic for information and any goods they don't have nailed down, then we'll make our report to Finnigan the Jerk and leave Trinsic behind!
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 12:06:35 am by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.

Offline Rime

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2016, 12:04:34 pm »
Sorry I wasn't clear.  It wasn't finding food, I didn't have much of a problem with adequate food suppliues.  It was about how often they would nag you to be fed.  Seemed like every five minutes I was being asked to give them something to eat, and their floaty text would be persistent, and I would often wait until they started starving because it didn't matter much if you fed them right when they started complaining or dying of starvation.

And maybe about Iolo leaving the party because you're trying to put trash discarded all around Paws into barrels.  Or maybe it's because you're moving the barrels that he calls you a thief.
And when we're done soul searching,
And we carry the weight and die for a cause.
Is misery made beautiful
Right before our eyes.

Mercy be revealed, or blind us where we stand?

Offline RavynousHunter

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Re: Let's Play Ultima VII [WARNING: Pic-heavy]
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 03:45:03 pm »
Ohhhhhhh, yeah.  Honestly, I think Exult slows hunger a bit, because I seem to remember that from the DOS days, too.  Feeding them via the hotkey (F) seems to be a bit random as to what it chooses to actually feed your dudes, so it can go thru your weak shit before getting to the better food.  Either way, they do complain quite a bit.  As for thieving, yeah, just moving shit will get your companions mad at you.  They're really picky about proper Avatar decorum in Black Gate, for some odd reason.  Don't seem to care in Serpent Isle, hypocrites.
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 #14 on: June 22, 2016, 05:30:27 pm »
6. The world's shortest murder investigation



Just west of the stables is the Fellowship Hall.  Before you ask, yes, they all look the god damned same.  Inside is the next man to whom we want to speak.  (Note that I have it on mute because the Fellowship theme gives me a migraine of instinctual hate.)



An unfortunate name and an unfortunate face!  This gentleman is Klog, head of the Trinsic branch of the Fellowship.

: "Neat.  You're in the Fellowship hall and you're male, you look vaguely important, but I don't want to outright assume you're the man I'm looking for, so...what's your name?"
: "My name is Klog."
: "You poor man.  What do you do around here?  As if I didn't already know."
: "I am the Trinsic branch leader for The Fellowship.  I work here with my wife Ellen."
: "So, what exactly is The Fellowship?  I mean, I get that you're the hot new thing in Britannia, but I still don't quite know what you, ya know, do."
: "The Fellowship meets here at the branch office in Trinsic every night at nine.  Thou art welcome to attend."
: "Not interested.  What of you guys' philosophy?  I get the feeling you aren't following the Virtues.  My Virtues."
: "The Fellowship advances the philosophy of 'sanguine cognition', a way to apply a confident order of thought to one's life, through what is called the Triad of Inner Strength.  The Triad is simply three basic principles that, when applied in unison, enable one to be more creative, satisfied, and successful in life.  They are: Strive For Unity, Trust Thy Brother, and Worthiness Precedes Reward.  Strive For Unity basically means that people should cooperate and work together.  Trust Thy Brother implies that we are all the same and that we should not hate or fear each other.  Worthiness Precedes Reward suggests that we must each strive to be worthy of that which we want out of life.  Dost thou want to join?"
: "Even less so than I was five minutes ago when you started your obviously canned speech."
: "Oh. Well, perhaps thou canst become enlightened another time."
: "Like a fuckin' glowstick.  Heard you had an argument with the guy we found ritualistically butchered in the stables.  Care to comment?"
: "Last week Christopher stated that he wanted to leave The Fellowship!  Canst thou imagine?  Well, we simply attempted to speak with him and alter his decision.  The man verbally assaulted me and my companions with no provocation!"
: "Uh huh.  What about this scroll we found in Christopher's house?"
: "I do not know anything about that."
: "What about the gold?"
: "Second verse, same as the first."
: "And the medallion?"
: "Christopher had expressed interest in leaving The Fellowship.  Perhaps he had stored it for safekeeping."
: "Where were you on the night of the murder?  Hehe, I've always wanted to say that."
: "Well," the man says, reflecting, "I was home all night, and my wife Ellen will certainly verify that.  But, as we say in The Fellowship, 'Worthiness Precedes Reward'.  Christopher must have done something bad.  And the poor gargoyle Inamo!  'Tis a pity."
: "You're...kind of an asshole, aren't you?  I get the feeling we aren't going anywhere talking to you, so...later."
: "If there is anything else I may help thee with, Avatar, let me know."



: "Oh, I'm sure you'll be able to help me out plenty, tonight!"

If it wasn't obvious, Klog is bullshitting you.  Nobody gets dialogue options here just to tell you they don't know anything.  Unfortunately, we can't quite worm the information out of him at knife-point, but we can find a far more convincing weapon later in our adventure.  Either way, let's continue our robbery exploration of the town!



The chest on the left of this house has a pair of gems inside.  Nick 'em and hand them to Iolo.  Gems, if you haven't guessed as much, already, are worth a decent bit of money once we hit Britain.  I forget exactly how much, but I think its around 60 gold per gem; above gold nuggets, but just below gold bars.  They weigh less than gold bars, so they have a better money-to-weight ratio.  Bottom line: never forget the gems.



Just south of Spark's house is the local arms dealer.  There's a lever between the two tables on the bottom-left of his shop that open the secret entrance to the back room.  Unfortunately, Mr. Armourer is still there, and its just before 8am, so we'll have to wait a bit to rob this place.  But, keep it in mind, because there's some decent kit here that will be much better going to us than gathering mold in some shitty crates.



The empty houses get us a bit of equipment and bring us up to, minus Spark's inheritance, a total of 76 gold.  Not a lot, but its good for just starting out.  Everyone gets gloves and Dave gets something a little harder-hitting than a knife.  For now, this is the best we can do til nightfall.  Let's not waste time, though.  Onward with the investigation!

North of the stables, we find this charming fellow: the shipwright, Gargan.



: "Yes, matey?" Gargan asks, coughing.
: "Hey there, uh, guy.  What do you do around here?"
: "I am the Trinsic shipwright.  If thou wouldst like to know about a ship or a sextant, just say so."  Gargan coughs.
: "What do you know about the murder, Mr. Shipwright?"
: "I heard about that.  Terrible thing to happen.  Can't say I saw or heard anything, though." Gargan coughs, clears his throat loudly, then spits.
: "Ooooh, yuck!"
: "Lovely.  See a dude with a hook wandering around?"
: "Matey, I have always seen pirates and sailors with peglegs and hooks.  If thou hast seen one, thou hast seen another." But the man suddenly frowns. "Hmm.  Now that thou dost mention it, I -did- see a man with a hook late last night after sundown.  I was leaving the shop and saw him outside.  There was a wingless gargoyle with him.  They were walking east." Gargan sneezes, then coughs a couple of times.
: "I told thee! It was him!"
: "So, heading out of the eastern gate, then?  Thanks for the help, Gargan.  I'll, uh...see you.  Later."
: "May thy day have smooth sailing," the sailor starts to say, but a coughing spasm interrupts him.

So, we head to the east gate and talk to the guard there.  Nothing really spectacular, but gotta follow the trail, unfortunately.



: "Hey, I'm Dave and I'm with...whatever Britannia has resembling an FBI."
: "You, pretty much."
: "Considering you guys keep calling me to fix everything you screw up, you're...not exactly wrong.  Anyway, what do I call you?"
: "Johnson."
: "Cool.  I know this is an utterly inane question to ask you, Johnson, but gotta get formalities out of the way.  What's your job?"
: "I have the morning watch guarding the dock.  I authorize the comings and goings of every ship."
: "Standard stuff.  What do you know about the murder?  See anyone leaving this city that's barely bigger than my house?"
: "I did hear of this.  When I arrived at my post at sunrise, I found Gilberto lying felled on the ground.  If thou art asking if I saw anything -- I did not.  No one hath passed by me since I arrived at the dock."
: "So, this Gilberto's probably at the healer's place, then, good to know.  Oh, you see a guy with a hook anywhere around here?"
: "A man with a hook?  No, I saw no one all night or all morning."
: "Thought as much.  I'll let you get back to guarding, then.  Have fun!"
: "Good day."

To the south of the armourer is the healer's place, where our next guy, Gilberto, is waiting.  Apparently, standing around like a lemon is good when you've got a concussion.



: "Who you is?"
: "I am Gilberto."
: "And what, pray tell, do you do?"
: "I have the night watch at the dock gate."
: "Perfectly boring.  What do you know about the murder?"
: "It must have occurred shortly before I was knocked out."
: "You got knocked out?  Guess that explains the bandage on your head."
: "It was just about sunrise.  I was looking out to the sea.  All of a sudden, I felt a blow on the back of mine head." He winces in pain.
: "Did you see who hit you, maybe where they went?"
: "The next thing I knew, I was on the ground. Johnson, the guard for the next watch, was shaking me.  I had been out about ten minutes.  I knew that because the sun had just peeked over the horizon.  And 'The Crown Jewel' had gone and sailed!"
: "Yeesh, that's super bad for you."
: "That's what the healer said."
: "Also, Crown Jewel?"
: "Did I forget to say? That is a ship that was docked here all night.  I believe it was about to sail for Britain.  Thou couldst ask Gargan the Shipwright to make sure.  Anyway, I did not see mine attackers," the guard grumbles.
: "Last thing, then I'll leave you to convalesce.  Do you have any idea where your attackers went?"
: "Hmmm.  I wonder if they jumped onto the ship!  They could be all the way to Britain by now!"
: "And I could be in Buccaneer's Den banging pirate hookers, were it not for this damned quest.  Anywho, thanks for the help.  I'm gonna go talk to Big Loogie again about this 'Crown Jewel.'  Catch you later."
: "Goodbye.  Watch thy back."

So, we head back to Gargan and interrogate question the old salt about the Crown Jewel.



Well, that about finishes our investigation.  Here's what we know:

  • Christopher does some unspecified deed for some unspecified party, gets a scroll.
  • Christopher has a fight with Klog, likely about his desire to leave the Fellowship.  Why isn't quite readily apparent.
  • Two days after receiving the scroll, in the dead of night, Christopher is murdered.  Inamo dies as the villains escape, wanting to eliminate witnesses.
  • The murderers knock out Gilberto, board the Crown Jewel, and take off just after sunrise.
  • One murderer has a hook, the other is a wingless gargoyle.
  • The Crown Jewel might be heading towards Britain.  If nothing else, its a lead.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 12:10:23 am by RavynousHunter »
Quote from: Mikasa Ackerman
If I win, I live.  If I lose, I die.  Unless I fight, I cannot win.