Crusaders of the Dark Savant: Rattrap

From The CRPG Addict


Esteban prepares to cast a spell that rarely fails to perform.

        

When I last wrote, I thought I was stuck underground in Nyctalinth. As some of you guessed, I simply overlooked a ladder. This brought me to an area I had marked as dead space. In the middle of that area was a statue of Phoonzang, labeled “THE CREATOR.” I couldn’t find anything productive to do with it. From here, a secret door put me back in the main area of Nyctalinth. Someone said I need something from another location before I could finish this map, so I took the Anthracax back to New City.
In New City, I found a random building in which to drop my excess stuff, as several of you recommended. This included quest items I’m pretty sure I’ve already used and special items that require different classes. I find it amusing that other NPCs repeatedly beat me to key treasure chests, despite all the obstacles in between, but apparently the stuff I drop in a random unlocked corner is safe.
            

I get a lot of use out of the fountain in the starter dungeon near New City.

           

Commenters had suggested that I might be able to do something with the computer in New City, perhaps with something I’d found in Nyctalinth, but I fiddled with it for a while and nothing seemed to work. I might need a more explicit hint there.
At this point, I had three major unexplored areas: south of Munkharama, northeast of Orkogre, and the sea. I chose the northeast path, but for some reason I decided to walk there from west of New City–probably because I stopped at the fountain in the starting dungeon first. North of the orchid fields, with half of my characters asleep, I ran into Shritis T’Rang, who’d I’d last seen when I gave him orders to STRIKE.
         

Then why are you wasting my time stopping me?

          

Shritis insulted me, and I decided I could do with one fewer NPC to encounter randomly in the world. I attacked him, which caused him to somehow immediately summon a veritable army of T’Rang to his side. Fortunately, I was at the peak of my powers, having just maxed out at a fountain, and a full-powered “Nuclear Blast” took care of everyone except Shritis himself. He was no pushover; he was capable of multiple high-damage melee attacks per round, with poison and paralysis effects. It took about six rounds to kill him in melee combat, and I lost Bix in the process (I resurrected him afterwards). I was hoping I’d get some kind of sick weapon or something, but the battle just won me a lot of experience. 
East of Nyctalinth and northeast of Orkogre, I entered a grove. Multiple ominous warning messages preceded combats with tree-creatures called “Man o’ Groves” and “Halloweeches.” I swear I’ve seen something that looks like these creatures before, in another game or movie, but I can’t quite place them. There were about six fixed battles in the area, culminating in a combat with their leader, Tobagan.
When the dust settled, I found a slab in the middle of the area, with a carving depicting a giant tree with a gnarled face. Running through my items, the only thing I could think might help was the bonsai tree I’d picked up in Orkogre. When I planted it, it grew into some kind of creature named Maa-Googg, who promised me one of his servants would grant me a boon. The tree shrank and disappeared.
              

If I tell you my name, will it mean anything to you?

           

Moving on, we started to encounter a lot more Rattkin parties, and walls started appearing in the environment. Messages indicated that we were circling some kind of ruin, but the entrances were choked with trees and other foliage. Eventually, we reached a square where a tree came alive and lifted the party over the wall and dropped us in the ruins. I assume this was Maa-Googg’s servant.
             

A tree lifts us over the wall.

          

The ruins, which I haven’t yet finished, comprise two levels with a maze of ladders connecting them. Large parties of Rattkin have attacked me throughout, although they respond nicely to most spells, including “Asphyxiate.” One battle, however, with a Rattkin named Grimal and several parties of Rattkin Ronin, was almost comically hard. The Ronin version are capable of numerous mage spells, including “Sleep,” “Weaken,” and “Fireball,” and they get multiple attacks per round. When I first encountered them, I was at half-health and got slaughtered. I had to reload several times to defeat them, exhausting my spell points in doing so.
            

This was one of the hardest battles in the game so far.

           

There haven’t been any puzzles in the area, but there are a few NPCs. One, occupying an alcove off a large courtyard, is an old blind Rattkin named–groan–“Blienmeis.” He hasn’t had much to say in conversation, and I’m not sure what to do with him. On an upper floor is an impatient, jumpy Rattkin named “Bertie” selling ammunition for bows and slings (I was just complaining about how rare ammo is).
             

Either NPCs don’t have a lot of answers, or I just keep using the wrong dialogue prompts.

             

There are two major areas I haven’t been able to figure out how to access. One is a locked door at the entrance to “Rubi’s Funhouse.” The face of a clown on the door is lacking a nose, and none of my existing objects seem to suffice.
The second area is behind a door titled “Ratskell’s Thieves Guild.” There’s a window next to the door, and there a Rattkin demands that I put my hand through the window. He feels my hand and tells me that I’m not a good enough thief, to come back when I’ve had more practice. I suspect this is because I’ve barely put any points into the “Legerdemain” skill, not intending to steal from NPCs. I’m not sure how to fix that at this point, when leveling has slowed to a crawl. I may have to change my ninja back to a thief so I can jack up that skill.
            

There are so many ways this could go bad.

               

Lots of miscellaneous notes:
  • The economy is a bit weird in this game. You rarely encounter anyone with much to sell, but when you do, what you want is inevitably very expensive. Most combats don’t provide gold–through most of the game, I’ve earned more from selling unwanted equipment–but occasionally you meet an enemy that inexplicably delivers a lot of gold. I made about 1,200 gold pieces per battle against the “Mans o’ Groves,” for instance.
  • My characters’ melee prowess continues to grow as I (slowly) level, with my lord now capable of about eight attacks per round, four at the beginning and four at the end. It’s nice when a game doesn’t under-value melee characters at higher levels. In some earlier Wizardry titles, spellcasters carry almost all the load once you hit the midgame.
  • This game could really benefit from a Bard’s Tale-like “batch spell” that casts “Armorplate,” “Direction,” “Enchanted Blade,” “Reveal Secret,” and “Magic Screen” simultaneously. I try to keep these spells on as often as possible, but they only last about 15 minutes even at the highest power.
  • It’s surprising how rarely the party is at 100%. It only happens when you spend some time at a fountain. Resting really doesn’t restore much at all.
  • The game has an encumbrance system, but since it began I’ve been nowhere near in danger of exceeding any character’s load, and I’m usually packed to the gills with inventory.
  • When I’m fighting Rattkin leaders, the game always says that they attack with vorpal blades. Where do those blades go when the combat is over? I never get them.
  • We have a new NPC who frequently drops in for a visit, forcing me to acknowledge her introductory text repeatedly before I can “Leave” and move on.

              

Why art thou trying to sound like Lord British?

             

  • It’s extremely satisfying when I hit an enemy with a sling bullet or dart, do only 1 damage, and then roll a critical hit and kill him. 
           
I haven’t talked much about the disarm and unlock minigames, which I enjoy. The disarm screen requires you to “inspect” the trap and try to figure out the trap’s assembly pattern and match it to several potential traps accessible from the scroll bar. Attempting to disarm a trap or calibrate a lock tumbler requires you to click a button above a window that continually flashes green, red, and yellow.
             

Picking a lock. Getting all five tumblers was a stroke of luck.

         
If you click when it’s red, you fail and the trap blows up or the lock jams. If you click when green, you succeed. If you click when yellow, you get another chance. The proportions of the colors are dependent on your “Skullduggery” skill, but otherwise it’s just luck; the colors flash to quickly to actually time them.

Here’s quick review of all of my unsolved puzzles and unexplored areas. I’ll take light hints if I’m already supposed to have the item or knowledge to get past the area.
  • Nyctalinth: Energy field blocking passage between two pillars.
  • Nyctalinth: The jeweled staff that the ghost keeps stealing.
  • Nyctalinth: Gooey balls on the cave floor.
  • New City: Computer in Controller room.
  • New City: Whatever I have to say to Professor Wunderland to get key to Old City.
  • New City: Access to Umpani embassy.
  • New City: “Twisted Heads” puzzle.
  • Seas and river south of New City
  • River north of Munkharama
  • Northeast ruins: How to get into Rubi’s Funhouse
  • Northeast ruins: Getting into thieves’ guild.
  • Continuing wilderness east of northeast ruins.
  • Munkharama: Getting the 5 flowers for Master Xheng.
  • Continuing wilderness south of Munkharaam.
I like having my characters settled in a single class. My lord is particularly kicking ass every round with his Sword of 4 Winds. His statistics are almost maxed too–everything’s 17 or 18 except one 16. Ninja (who despite my complaint above did end up with a Vorpal Sword) and Valkyrie continue to pull their weight, landing critical hits with satisfying regularity. My bishop doesn’t have every spell in the game, but it feels like he’s getting close, and when he’s at full power, “Nuclear Blast” and “Death Wish” make ruin out of most enemy parties. When he’s not at full power, the alchemist is there with her terrifyingly effective “Asphyxiation.”
            

The mage, on the other hand, isn’t doing as well.

          
Only my mage–who if you’ll recall originally started as a bard–is a little weak. My bishop has more than 200 spell points in several schools and at least 100 in all of them, and my alchemist is well above 100 in all of hers. But my mage, who it feels ought to be racking up the points more quickly as a “pure” spellcaster, is struggling to top 80 in all of his schools. I think his intelligence may be partly to blame. I’ve been unlucky with the dice. The minimum for his class is 12, but after 14 level-ups, he’s only at 14. (When leveling up, the game selects random attributes to increase by one point. Usually, it’s just one attribute, but sometimes you get lucky and get a bump in two, three, or even four.) Perhaps because of this, he doesn’t get many skill points. Where every other spellcaster in my party is already at 100 in his or her primary magic skill, Bix is only just about to break 75. Maybe I should give up and make a samurai out of him or something.

More on Legends of the Lost Realm coming up if I can get anywhere; otherwise, we may take a premature detour to Cobra Mission.

Time so far: 60 hours


Original URL: http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2018/11/crusaders-of-dark-savant-rattrap.html