From The CRPG Addict
|I’m going to be rambling for a while, so here’s a shot of my character being chased by a dwarf on Wyvern Mountain.
|I think if I found myself in a medieval world, I’d be grateful enough for inns with beds.
I can’t say that I find the need for food and sleep particularly desirable aspects of an RPG, but if it’s going to be done, I guess I’d prefer the way it’s done here. First, it’s somewhat “realistic” in both the availability of these resources and the time intervals that you need them. Second, they provide a logistical challenge, but it’s one that’s more of timing than one of supply. By this, I mean that beds are plentiful if you know where to look (inns, private homes, occasional “resting stations”), and food is cheap at stores and free if you can find an apple tree. This isn’t like Ultima II where (until you learn how to shoplift) you’re constantly killing creatures just to be able to afford food, and it’s not like Rogue, where the hunger system punishes you for taking your time. It’s more–and this similarity would have occurred to me no matter how I began this entry–like Pirates!, where you leave one port with not just a destination in mind, but a route that will ensure you maintain your supplies. In a modern game, I think Fallout 4 in survival mode also does this very well: food and sleep aren’t so rare and precious that they dominate gameplay, but neither are they so inconsequential that you wonder why the developers introduced the dynamic in the first place.
That’s a positive aspect of Lords of Time. Let’s talk about a negative: open exploration is basically ruined by the relentless spawning of monsters. It’s brutal. If you leave the game unattended for 15 seconds without pausing, you’ll be dead when you next look at the screen. When I decide I need to go to a particular place, I’m not so much walking in that direction as constantly fleeing monsters in that direction. “Fleeing” because even at this point in the game, with over 100 maximum hit points, training in both basic intermediate swordplay, enhanced statistics, plate mail armor, a broadsword, and a healing spell, I still can’t win more than five or six consecutive battles before my hit points get so low I have to recharge. The game will gladly hand you five or six consecutive battles in about 30 seconds if you’re not always on the move.
|Walking along water makes it easier to see enemies approach–and avoid them.
Meanwhile, the interiors of the game make it very difficult to run away from monsters. Negotiating thick clusters of trees and bushes is nearly impossible, although the monsters get through them with unerring pathfinding. Thus, I’ve learned to follow coastal and river routes to most destinations. When I have to fight, doing so while wading in water makes it easier to control my position relative to the enemies. It’s harder when foliage is constantly blocking your view.
You may recall that shortly after my character’s arrival in The Realm, he was summoned to meet with the king, who I later learned is named Tanor. The king said to get home, I’d need help from one of two archwizards, Bessak or Kruel, and that of the two, Bessak was most likely to help. I found Bessak’s keep in the middle of the Dark Forest, but I couldn’t open the door. I suspected that a woman in Murkvale had the key to the keep around her neck.
Commenters helped me with the solution: to buy an orange sleeping potion in Murkvale, dump it in a mug of ale, and offer it to the woman. I wasn’t prepared for this level of complexity in inventory interactions or this type of adventure-style puzzle, so I appreciate the hints. I was more alert for such possibilities in later gameplay.
|Hey, it’s a medieval society.
When she was asleep, I was able to take the key, and it did turn out to offer me an entrance to Bessak’s keep. Like most locations in the game, it was large but mostly empty. Bessak himself was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found a journal in which he noted that “Kruel has pushed me too far,” and that he intended to destroy Kruel “with the help of the Druids and their Spell of Annulment.”
|I think the second “throne” belonged to the woman in the bar. I wonder why she thinks Bessak is dead.
The Druid Temple is a short walk from Bessak’s keep. I had previously visited but couldn’t figure out how to get in. This time, I tried harder and found a maze around back. It took a while to navigate it, but when I emerged, I was in the interior of the temple.
|I should draw this so I don’t have to figure it out by trial-and-error every time.
The multi-columned temple was quite large but mostly empty. The only thing I found was a set of stairs leading up to a kind of altar with four braziers in the corners. The altar seemed to block a staircase going downwards.
I had an idea of what to do from a book in the Castleguard library, which said that four plants are sacred to the Druids: mountain shrub, willow, maple, and spruce. Assuming I’d have to do something with them at some point, I had spent some time walking up to each of these trees and choosing “pick a small branch from the tree” from the contextual menu. (I ended up with a lot of spruce because it has several appearances; the other three trees only have one each. Mountain shrub is particularly rare.) Thus, when I arrived at the Temple, I already had one sprig of each. I put one in each brazier, and the game told me that the braziers began burning the twigs.
Unfortunately, nothing happened. I tried different configurations of plant to brazier but still nothing happened. Thinking that timing might be important, I tried it at different times of day (including midnight, which becomes important below), still to no avail.
|None of this worked.
Stuck again, I began exploring and re-exploring the map, looking for more adventures and hints. Among my discoveries and accomplishments:
- At an armor shop, I decided “what the hell” and gave it a try and managed to shoplift a full set of plate mail on my first attempt and a two-handed sword on my second attempt. Unfortunately, I failed the next three attempts for much less valuable stuff, and I got sick of reloading, so my shoplifting career came to an end.
- There are several caverns on Wyvern Mountain. None of them were occupied by wyverns, but some of them had wyvern nests and, within them, wyvern eggs. Shortly after grabbing a couple of those eggs, I started getting dive-bombed by flying creatures that toss rocks at me from above. I assume these are wyverns, and that their appearance was triggered by my pilfering.
|This was perhaps a bad idea.
- One of the caves on “Wyvern” Mountain led to a dragon. He awoke and killed me with one breath. I assume I’ll have to deal with him later, and I wonder if it will involve the “Dragonsbane” plant I’ve been finding on some mountains.
|This is a reasonably well-drawn dragon.
- I made it to the hall of the “Dwarven High King” on the northwest part of the map, but a guard wouldn’t let me in.
|I assume I’ll be back later.
- I also found “Lord Dervak’s Holde” but couldn’t get through the front door.
- In the Dwarven Mines, as a commenter pointed out, pick-axes will remove embedded jewels. These sell for about 25 gold pieces.
|The dwarves still won’t talk with me, even though I learned their language.
Throughout these adventures, my character development has been steady, in several ways. First, you “level” behind the scenes at experience point thresholds, increasing your maximum health and spell points, and occasionally increasing an attribute or two.
Second, I was able to take most of the courses offered at the guilds in Murkvale and Castleguard. Some of them have experience point requirements that are still beyond me, but over these six hours, and between the two locations, I got “Intermediate Lockpicking” (I had taken basic last time), “Intermediate Spellcasting,” “Potion Identification,” “Shoplifting,” “Personal Money Management,” “Weather Control,” “Traps,” “Dwarven Language,” “Dealing with Stress,” and “Fighting Dragons.” I think some of the courses were valuable for hidden attributes that they improve, but others were valuable mostly for the information conveyed right on the screen.
|Others . . . I’m not sure what use they were.
I had been picking up spells called “Ability Enhancement,” but I wasn’t capable of casting them until I got “Intermediate Spellcasting” and at least 100 spell points. I chose to enhance strength with all three iterations of the spell, because I had been sick of messages that said I wasn’t strong enough to wield various weapons. Thanks to the spells, I was able to finally wield the broadsword that I stole. I’m still too weak for the two-handed sword. It must be said, though, that I haven’t noticed either sword or armor upgrades making combat particularly easier.
|“Enhancing your attributes” sounds less creepy in an RPG than in real life.
- The Riverside Inn lies south of Castleguard and is “fortified for your protection” with a wall around it. That’s a bit of a hoot since enemies spawn without any problem inside walls.
- There are wells in a lot of places, but most of them just seem to make you sick. If you find one with good water, you can fill canteens, but since water isn’t a requirement (unlike food), I’m not sure what use this is.
- Spiders poisoning me are still an automatic reload. This far into the game, I don’t have a “cure poison” spell.
- “Fistak’s Magical Mapping Spell,” which I picked up somewhere, makes a little mini-map of the environment. This makes it much easier to find buildings and other important areas.
|A map shows the location of nearby rivers and mountains.
- Some kind of sea dragon started appearing as an enemy, but they’re limited to bodies of water and wander off if the character is on land.
- From entering Bessak’s, my “score” went up to 10/190.
- Given the number of times I’ve needed to enter the castle, I’m getting sick of guards challenging me every single time.
|Oh, come on! I just want to sleep.
|Information from the second library. I wonder if everyone in The Realm crashed test planes.
|Reminder: poetry is about meter as much as rhyme.