Ragnarok: Gods and Giants

From The CRPG Addict


About how it goes every time I face a new monster.
           
Playing Ragnarok is a process of repeatedly convincing yourself that your character is getting stronger and you’re getting better and then suddenly getting torn apart–quite literally–by the next level of foe. That’s not quite a complaint, but it’s inescapable that while the main game is about as difficult as NetHack, its worst foes would have the Wizard of Yendor for lunch.
I spent the bulk of this last session finishing up the dungeon beneath the opening forest. The dungeon consisted of 3 levels and 27 screens, and the key plot reason to be there was to obtain Odin’s spear, Gungnir, from Vidur. As I closed my last session, I was having no luck even scratching Vidur let alone killing him. I tried it hastened with Potions of Speed; I tried it invisible; I tried it under the influence of a Potion of Phasing, which doubles your armor class. He still kept killing me in one round.
         

Maybe don’t eat random mushrooms.

       

I took time to explore the rest of the dungeon to strengthen my character and hopefully find more valuable items. Some notes from that process:
  • The levels aren’t all randomly generated. Even when they are, there are rules set on some of them to avoid exits on certain sides of the map. The Temple of Vidur on Level 3 is only supposed to be accessible from a hole on Level 2, not any of the other Level 3 maps. However, a Wand of Tunneling or a pick-axe can undo such intentions–sometimes.
  • More intrinsics: fire dragons confer fire resistance; “blurs” make you faster (although I think just temporarily); wraiths give you level increases, although at a certain point they stopped working. Through other means that I didn’t fully note, I have also acquired resistances to petrification and death rays.

        

This sounds so unappealing.

       

  • There’s one mushroom that fills you up when you eat it. The others are not worth experimenting with.
  • Kalvins are horrid, hateful monsters who swipe one of your eyes out with every hit. It turns out that a blessed potion of curing will regrow an eye, but I was so traumatized by my temporary blindness that the next time I found a Scroll of Extinction, I used it on Kalvins.
  • Worse that Kalvins are Zardons. They can send out a piercing wail that hits you for about 50 hit points at a time from anywhere within the dungeon level. Guess what else soon went extinct? 

           

I’m not sure I should have this kind of power.

        

  • One damned hit from a werewolf is enough to give you lycanthropy, which requires a blessed Potion of Curing to cure. Scrolls of Blessing aren’t so common that I like wasting them on this.
  • On the matter of Scrolls of Extinction, I can’t be the only roguelike player who has secretly thought that if I just find enough of them, I can genocide every monster in the game. 
  • I keep finding Amulets of Quickening, which double my speed and are thus incredibly useful. But they have limited duration, and then they run out, they turn into something called “Eyes of Sertrud.” I have no idea if they do anything in their “Sertrud” form.
  • A couple of enemy types are capable of reproducing faster than you can kill them. One is these little tiny things called “secitts.” The second are tree creatures called “faleryns.” I had to abandon a dungeon level to the latter creature when they wouldn’t stop multiplying, but I gained about 15 levels trying to kill them all. If I need to grind, I’m going back there.

        

You guys can have this dungeon level. I’m just trying to get to the stairs.

        

  • The best spell scroll combination I’ve found is a Scroll of Blessing with a Scroll of Enhancement. Use the former on the latter and then the latter on a piece of armor or a weapon, and you soon have a +13 (or higher) item. I’m carrying a +14 mirror shield and a +13 silver sword because of that combination.
  • Some of the scrolls are “diaries,” which give you hints. 

         

Glad I got this hint because I would have thought this was bad.

         

  • Something weird happened with my strength. For a long time, it was stuck at 18.99, and I figured that was the highest, but at some point it rolled over to 19-something and has been continuing to grow towards 20 ever since.
  • At some point, I acquired the “Psi Blast” power. I have no idea when it happened or why. It doesn’t seem to do very much damage.
            
When I hit Level 20, I got the “Fletching” skill, which allows me to make arrows out of woods. Since “Terraforming” allows me to turn any square into woods, I basically have all the arrows I want. Anyway, I took the game’s offer to change classes and changed to a conjurer. I spent 20 levels as a conjurer, skipping the first offer to change, because I hardly gained any spells. Even after 20 levels, I can only cast “Set Recall” (which only helps if you have a Scroll of Recall), “Reflect,” “Draw Life,” and “Illusory Self.”
        

Casting spells. I thought I’d have cooler spells.

        

At Level 40, I changed to a blacksmith. Somewhere along the way, I read a couple of Scrolls of Knowledge and obtained the “Fennling” skill, an extremely useful skill that lets you combine the charges of two wands of the same type. I also got “Relocation,” which lets me teleport on demand, “Ironworking,” and “Taming.” I haven’t really experimented yet with the latter two. 
When I was done exploring, I went back to the Temple of Vidur. He still killed me instantly, but this time I had one new item: a Wand of Death. It only had two charges, but one of them took care of Vidur nicely (unfortunately, not before he killed my new companion, whose release so enraged Vidur in the first place). Gungnir was on his body, and apparently I’m too weak to wield it.
         

The first god falls.

       

I headed back to the surface and found the forest absolutely swarming with monsters. They’re low level, and no danger, but they’re so thick that I can barely move. Thankfully, my teleportation abilities get me through. They seem to respawn as fast as I kill them. I wondered if Ragnarok had started while I was in the dungeon or whether carrying Gungnir brings the to me.
            

My reputation must have taken a hit while I was underground.

          

While I was in the forest, I happened to note an icon I hadn’t seen before. I (L)ooked at it and the game told me it was Thokk, the giantess who refused to cry for Baldur, meaning I’d have to bring her soul to Hela to get Baldur out of hell. I slipped on my Ring of Soul Trapping and killed her with a single blow. I made the mistake of not taking off the ring afterwards, and her soul was immediately replaced by the new slain enemies’. That required me to reload a significantly older game and replay Vidur’s temple again. The second time, I found Thokk in the same area and took off the ring after capturing her soul.
        

Part of one quest down!

        

Lacking guidance on exactly where to go, I escaped the monster hoard by jumping through a portal. It took me to Slaeter’s Sea and some other outdoor maps that kind of wrap around the opening forest, including the River Vid and the River Gioll. I can just stroll across the water because I have Skidbladnir (the magic boat) in my pocket.
           

The River Vid is mostly water.

        
I soon found out that if you go the wrong way out of these areas, you wind up in the open ocean and you immediately get attacked by Jormungand. The first time I found him, he damaged me for -60302 hit points. (I had a maximum of 452 at the time.) I tried the Wand of Death on him but it didn’t work. He’s also inescapable. I suspect you’re just not meant to go into these areas.
          

I suppose if I could kill Jormungand, I wouldn’t need to do anything else.

        
But there’s an enemy that roams the rivers and lakes of this “outer rim” that’s almost as deadly as Jormungand: the lorkesth. He gets like 5 attacks per round and does massive damage. He’s the reason I can’t just blithely stroll through the areas (the other enemies are relatively easy at my level). I have to watch very carefully for their appearance and use my teleportation ability to get to a safe square of land. There’s no outrunning them, since they can move three times for every move I make. If I stand one square away from the water, I can defeat them with throwing weapons and wands, but like any monster they may auto-generate at any time. If I get another Scroll of Extinction, they’re going to be strong candidates.
         

I like to think I’m skipping these shurikens along the water.

          
To the west, the world ended at the Bifrost. (Which I have been unable to take seriously since I discovered it’s properly pronounced “beef roast,” although I think it’s cool that the Norse conceived it as a rainbow. So many things in mythology are dark and dreary.) I figured it was too soon to go to Asgard, so I went the other way. Mapping in this game is complicated; I’ll explain more thoroughly in my next entry. Suffice to say that the particular section of maps I was in ended to the west at the Bifrost and east at the River Gioll. The Gioll map had some patches covered in fog and a river swarming with lorkesths, but oddly no other enemies or items on the map. For some reason, my Ring of Locus Mastery doesn’t work, meaning when I teleport, I just teleport to a random place. Something is also causing me to teleport frequently even if I take off my Ring of Relocation.

In the middle of a patch of fog on the east side, I ran into a character named Harbard. He was rooted in place and didn’t pursue me, but if I walked up to him, he killed me in a couple of blows. So I stood a couple squares away from him and hit him with the second and last charge in my Wand of Death. His body disappeared in the fog, but when I walked and stood upon it, the game told me that there was a staircase. Taking it led me to Niflheim.
          

Hell looks a lot like Maine in April.

         
I immediately had one of those moments that I described in the opening. I had been killing fire dragons and frost dragons in single blows, so I wasn’t bothered by the “hel dragon” heading in my direction–not, at least, before he killed me in one attack that left me with -1,006 hit points.
             

My brief foray into hell.

         
Upon reloading, I tried again, taking pains to avoid the dragon, and I did come across some luck when I stumbled on a Wand of Wishing with three charges. I immediately wished for another Wand of Death, and while it worked fine against the next hel dragon, it did nothing against the unique enemies of the area, including Konr Rig and Plog. I reluctantly returned to the surface and decided to try again when I was stronger, although given the fact that I’ve already maxed in most of the game’s classes and I have incredibly powerful equipment and near-max strength (I assume, since it’s now going up by decimals instead of integers), I don’t know what “stronger” is going to look like.

Still, I moved north from the River Gioll to what turned out to be the mountainous realm of Jotenheim. I expected to meet a lot of giants but mostly found the same creatures from previous areas, including a lot of faleryns, who fortunately didn’t seem to be as interested as replicating as they were in the dungeon. Teleport control still doesn’t work, which makes it hard to explore systematically.
        

The transition to Jotenheim.

       
After I cleared most of the map, there remained an impenetrable rectangle of mountains and trees. Figuring it must hold something interesting, I used my “Terraforming” ability to change a tree into regular ground. Inside the rectangle was a small building populated by a large foe named Gymir. He had the decency not to kill me in a single blow, but his attacks were capable of doing more than 100 damage each. I quaffed a Potion of Speed and a Potion of Curing and proceeded to kill him in legitimate combat. He left behind Mimming, Freyr’s sword. I’m too weak to wield it.
          

My character doesn’t just chop down trees; he changes the very nature of the landscape.

          
Jotenheim continued for two maps to the north. To the north of that was “Mimer’s Realm,” a map of mountains, lava pools, and fog. A new monster called “iridorns” were introduced. They can kill in a single hit by ripping off your head, although they die pretty easily if you can strike them first.
          
With Mimer’s Realm, I found Mimer’s Well, mentioned in the backstory as the residence of the serpent Aspenth, the transformed version of Gjall, Heimdall’s horn. But I need the “Swimming” ability to navigate there and I don’t have it yet.
           

My character at the end of this session.

          
At some point, while exploring Jotenheim, Heimdall’s voice bellowed from the sky:
              

O great heroes of the world! I must have Gjall to rally the forces of good. Time begins to grow short. The sea rages with the anger of Jormungand. The earth quakes mightily. Loki seems ready to burst his bonds. The moon and sun shall soon be swallowed by the mighty wolves Fenrir and Garm. Surtr is honing his sword of destruction. The evil ones are gathering their forces.

To speed you in your quest, I will use my powers over nature. The lesser creatures of the realm shall grow weary and despair. They shall no longer wish to battle against your might.

              
This announcement suggests the game has a time limit (and also that Heimdall just removed my ability to easily grind). I’m going to explore to the north a little further, but if nothing pans out, I’ll use my Wand of Wishes for Scrolls of Knowledge and see if I can pick up the swimming ability. At this point, I have three of the six quest items. If I can get one more, it might be worth heading to Asgard.

Time so far: 15 hours

*****

B.A.T. II: The Koshan Conspiracy was going to be next, but I’m not sure how it got on my list in the first place. None of my sources call it an RPG, not even a hybrid. I can’t find evidence that any commenter defended it as an RPG. I’m dumping it unless someone can make a persuasive case. The Adventure Gamer already covered it if you really need to read about it.

That means we get to our first random roll for the next game on the list! Pulling up the list, adding a “Random” column, filtering out games I’ve already played or rejected, we get . . . Xenus II: White Gold (2008). But of course I’m not going to play a game before its predecessor, which in this case is Boiling Point: Road to Hell (2005). That’s also the first game on my list from Ukraine. I can’t find mention of any other necessary precursors. But I’m just kidding because I’m not going to let myself jump that far ahead in one go. The actual next game needs to be in the next year I have not yet played, and a random selection from that year brings us to Shadowkeep 1: The Search by the same author as the Bandor series. Meanwhile, Planet’s Edge gets moved up a notch to Game 358, but I’m having trouble with that one. DOSBox crashes every time I try to leave the intro screen. So the real next game might be Ishar while I try to solve that problem.



Original URL: http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2020/02/ragnarok-gods-and-giants.html