Sunday, June 22, 2014

Game 26: Rings of Power (Genesis) - Rings of Nothing Is More Like It

It's been a long while since I've found myself so engrossed in a game that I suggest, "just one more quest." Rings of Power is such a game, and the progress I've made is palpable. I now have six of the eleven rings, and guess what... they do absolutely nothing. I'm not even mad about that though as I've enjoyed the process of discovering scattered hints and piecing them together. When last I left I was doing two things: exploring all locations in a meandering path, and completing quests if I happened upon them.
Neon? Wh... how?
On the way to Thieves Haven I came upon the casino I heard Motarin's men frequented (he has the Ring of Blood according to Thalmus). The proprietor complained about a group of knights that trashed the place, and gave me one of their card's in exchange for helping compensate for some of that burden. The card pointed me towards someone named Carl; he's in the service of the Power Lord. Carl suggested I ask Mean Dean, the fellow Power Lord employee at the Lobotomy Club, about the location of the Power Lord. I tried to do it civilly, but I didn't find any other way than killing him for the ID card--address was on the back.
I tried to visit Mesa, but it's inaccessible on foot
The Power Lord's citadel was the walled city I'd found last session. Seemed I'd need a dragon to access it and Mesa. I haven't found a place to purchase a dragon yet, but I haven't been very diligent when checking every town's travel store. I ended up passing through Thieves Haven on my way to Mesa, and found Keef the Thief. For those curious, it's not just a name sake; Keef goes into a lot of detail on his back story as master thief, mage, and warrior in a universe far away. He accidentally rowed his ship off the edge of the world and ended up here.
Achieve your... what? The dialogue actually ends at this point... I think someone made a mistake in the dialogue code
Keef said he found the Ring of Will in a bagel, but he wasn't about to just give it away. First I had to retrieve a leaf from the Fluffi Tree of Gomez. The location was a mystery to him, but he heard of someone locked in an asylum that quested for the tree at some point. The Sunnyville Loony Bin is on my list of locations to visit. Working my way back around I stopped by a large building: Magic B Us.
Magic B Us has nearly every spell in the game
I purchased the Mirage spell the sorcerer back at the beginning of the game requested to prove I was ready for one of the clues to the Ring of Intuition. I stopped by Magicnia, but the only thing of interest was the goods for sale: mana. I left for the loony bin, just south of the town. The crazies there each offered some advice for my quest. The location of the Fluffi was just one. All others gave some, at the time, incomprehensible messages:
  • RANDOMNESS is S to wall, W to wall, NNENNNWW
Noting the strange directions (and lack of staff), I left the large asylum and made my way around the opposite side of the eastern continent. I spied a building on the map, and decided to stop.
Ah, Thalmus did mention this tower in his hint on the Ring of Variation
Inside the tower was the great enchanter Tutu. Unfortunately, he wasn't very accommodating to travelers. I found some scrap papers that hinted at where the Ring of Variation was, and the spell Wyrm. At the top of the tower Tutu froze me where I stood, and locked me in a room at the top of the tower. I'm not sure how long I'd be stuck there if I hadn't dealt with Fiver previously. Turns out this is where he ran to hide out. He let me out of the cell, which rewarded me with a significant amount of experience. Unfortunately, that didn't remove the threat of Tutu.
Wyrm? Oh yeah, I just picked up that spell in your tower
Can't wait to use it myself
Well, I guess this is another instance where I'll have to skirt combat and use the camp command to suddenly appear outside. Once outside, I continued south to the broken town of Necropolis. The town didn't offer much other than the main crypt where the Ring of Bile resides. The zombie guardian wouldn't open the door until I located a spell that could release him from his bondage. Only the most powerful necromancers have such a spell.
I think someone forgot to put a general store here; I can't find one
Still further south was a bandits hideout described by a woman hiding behind a waterfall I'd visited earlier. She mentioned that her crystal ball was stolen by some pirates from the Ahab. A note inside the hideout described a map, torn in half, that charted the last known location of the Ahab, a reportedly sunken ship. One half went to Red Beard a man in Division, and the other to a merchant in Magicnia. I noticed I was near the Fluffi tree location, and it seemed like a good location to check out.
Should be easy to find a leaf with all these trees around
Did that stump just disappear?
Turned out the area that held the Fluffi tree, and its fabled leaves, was a hedge maze. I wondered through and discovered various points that would chime and toggle some stumps in my path--stumps that were rarely on screen to show me if they'd appeared or disappeared. The same sound plays no matter which state the stump goes into, and walking into a wall triggers the square multiple times. This made determining if I should trigger it again very difficult. It took me a solid 20 minutes before I managed to reach the center, and the leaf.
Okay, everyone stuff your pockets; we'll make a killing off those thieves
Up to this point I was just exploring the land, but it was time to pursue the hints for each ring more thoroughly. I reviewed them and chose the closest: the Ring of Variation. A golden temple was said to be north west of the City of Speed, but it took me a bit to think to look across the sea and even then there wasn't anything on the map. Once I'd found it I was certain there was a ring present.
Temple with deadly floor traps; must be the place!
My notes indicated I needed to start on the third square from the south, but it took a while to decipher the rest of the clues. Especially when I kept reading the four north steps as three. The order ended up as MUTATION, ALTERATION, and RANDOMNESS. There were also some chests, one of which provided an item simply called sand. Could this be the same magic sand found in Mesa?
Finally! 16 hours in and I have my first ring
Finding success spurred me on, and I retraced my steps up the coast. The merchant in Magicnia would only provide me his half of the map if I gave him 5 pirate flags. These were the same flags I'd been collecting from the random battles with 3 enchanters. I've rarely been able to take them out before succumbing to their Frenzy casting, but I had managed to collect 3 so far. I was finally getting a hang of the spells, knowing which to rely on and which were garbage.
It's been much easier with my own enchanter able to cast Frenzy
I worked my way towards Red Beard in Divsiion. I stopped by Oxbridge again to look for that necromancer's pass, and found it on a shelf near the man who spoke of it. I can't think why I didn't find it before. I also stopped by Richi to speak with the queen. She acknowledged who I was (and mentioned someone named Imino), but would only assist me if I could provide the observatory with a new lens. Wrapping up loose ends I took a trip to the City of Mind to speak with the groundskeeper, who only confirmed that I needed to speak with the sorcerer in Oxbridge to locate the Ring of Intuition.
I tried to reason with him, but ended up killing him for his half of the map
On my way south to Shard I took a side trip to Doggania to speak with the regent. Even though I'd taken care of Fiver the hall guards still required all my gold to enter. Turned out by, "all my gold" they really meant 1,000 of it. The regent thanked me for my help with Fiver, and told me my main quest was to acquire the Milk of Youth. The milk would cure the king. He directed me to the priests of Nexus who told me to quest for the king, not the regent, and to seek out the lore in Cathedral as this tied into the quest of division. The only advice I'd received on the Ring of Division was to seek the answer in Sunset/Sunrise where a division of age exists. Maybe I needed to correct the division and bring youth back to Sarah.
It didn't take long to find this odd Fen out, and with initiative in battle I killed the lurking enchanters before they could react
So, I further delayed my acquisition of the lens and sought out the witch Hideous. I learned before that she hid a piece of herself in the swamp in front of her lair. With the help of this guy I found the finger bone quickly. I stood outside her tower, and decided to break it before I faced off with her. I don't think this is what the game developers had in mind.
Why does my character look dead? I hope I didn't ruin the game some how
Well, I was able to snap the finger, and then gained a lock of hair. I checked inside the tower anyway, and only fought the guards. I hope I didn't miss any important dialogue. I took the lock of hair to Sarah, who thanked me as she turned young again. She gave me the iron key to the king's door, and then took off. I don't think I've done any irreparable harm to the quest, but I'm a bit stuck for what more to do here. I'll get to that in a bit though. On my way back I stopped by the City of Blood to seek out the secret meeting place of the necromancers. I had stumbled into it previously by accident when I first delivered the corpse to Tsalami's grave.
Without the pass they attack immediately
Running through my quest completions quickly I managed to get the embalming fluid, confirmed the sand I found worked for the lens (by getting the lens), and I even returned the leaf to Keef. Too bad he didn't think I'd ever succeed, and traded the ring to a priest for a lucky charm instead. With his apologies he told me the priest's name, and pointed me towards Cathedral as Yoppa's destination. Keef then took the leaf. Can you believe the nerve of this guy? With both halves of the map I tracked down the sunken Ahab, and found the crystal ball was guarded by a zombie. Single enemies are so easy to handle with Confuse.
If only I could open chests from across the screen as well
I tracked Yoppa down, and he just wouldn't listen. So, we had it out right in the middle of Cathedral, in the temple, in front of the head priest. He didn't bat an eye after the massacre, and happily revived my fallen companion before restoring our health and vigor. It's really lucky the AI is completely random. If they had any sense and always picked spells that devastated, then I'd have no chance.
"A" Will? How many Wills are there?
While I was there, I thought to check all the bookshelves in case I'd missed something more on the Ring of Division. Turned out I did miss a note, one that told me I'd need to ponder on a skull at Shady Funeral Home and a goblet that I'd already randomly collected. Since I was in the area, and I'd taken care of Hideous (so I don't feel bad anymore knowing what I know from speaking to Fen Ho through a locked door), I stopped by the town of protectors to procure a contract. Their demand? Some honey from a talking bear.
Why are you wearing your crazy face?
I picked up the honey, the skull, and dropped off the lens. The queen was grateful, but only pointed me back towards Cathedral for a way to open the enchanted door to her family crypt. Her ancestor was the last to have the ring, and it seemed logical it might be buried with them (or I'd find another clue as to its whereabouts). Now that I'd easily been taking out most battles I stopped by the arena in Sparta again. This time I took out those dragons (they're called wyverns in battle) easily.
It helped that they cast the bad level 9 spells this time... this did 14 damage
With that done I had completed the quests for the sun and moon temples. Time to collect my rewards. From both I received their respective gems. At the same time, I realized this might be the location for another clue, the one I received from Bob. "To find the ring of Holy Light seek a place between dark and bright, look closely neither left nor right, where sun meets moon and day meets night." As luck would have it, the first square I searched between the two temples popped me into a cave.
Riddles all the way down
The Ring of Thought was the prize at the bottom, and the skull and goblet were key items to reach it, as were the whip (I'd stopped by Kaos again, picked up another bingo ticket, and gave it to the secretary again, this caused the proper Void priest encounter that gave me a whip) and ruby (it pops out of the statue after finishing its dialogue). Answering incorrectly results in a meager 25 gold loss. None of the riddles were particularly difficult.
It's at this point I wish the rings had actual use, reading thoughts would be very handy
With the gems in hand, I slowly made my way back to the cave of perfection. I was feeling much more confident about my chances against Fezzik. On my way past Magic B Us I had a thought, the powerful necromancer may just be the one at Magic B Us. My hunch turned out to be correct as he described a new spell he was working on. The missing ingredient was a mustache of a thespian. Cross off one more random item used. I received the Raise spell for my trouble. While I couldn't purchase this from Magic B Us, I did strangely find I could purchase it from the necromancer at the secret lab. I wonder if that was intentional.
How did you get Lucius new spell without a mustache?
I also took a detour to drop off the honey for the protector's guild. The contract I received was given to Fen Ho. He told me about the Ring of Will in exchange. A ring I already recovered. There was an additional hint in the form of a piece of paper that told me about 8 stumps and 8 patches of grass to remove them from the maze. In any case, a wholly unnecessary side quest that still netted me some needed experience. I hope the other quests cover their bases as much. I still haven't been able to get anywhere with Doggania.
I even tried bribing the guards... they attacked immediately after this
The above message flashed for only a single frame. Dialogue triggered right before combat doesn't have the proper wait command. I ended up killing the guard and the regent (as well as another guard and a maid) as I moved about the castle after this incident. I gained access to the king, although he was as enraged as everyone else. Who knew one simple bribe would turn so quickly. I camped for many nights until the past transgressions eased away from everyone's minds. Speaking to the king face to face, he quested Milk of Youth. I can't believe the regent wasn't lying about that item. In any case, I reloaded so I removed all trace of this, but I thought I'd point out how odd the game reacts to killing NPCs. As far as I can tell, they remain dead permanently.
Well, at least I confirmed the regent was/is evil
Back to the quests I could do something about. I took the gems out to the cave of perfection, and with the help of Fezzik we unlocked the ring of perfection. Unsurprisingly, he then attacked me for the it. This was the easiest battle I've had all game thanks to the spell Mesmer, which is exactly like Confuse except it affects one or more enemies. In this case it stunned four out of six of the enemy party.
Perfctin is not this game, but it's still fun
After this ring I picked up Bile in the Necropolis. The Raise spell was what the guardian was looking for and he disappeared after its use, but not before he warned me the tomb was not fit for mortals. Seemed my party's health was continuously drained while inside.  While exploring I found I needed to camp out a few times to get my mana back. There were many zombies, but one particular battle caused the game to immediately end. I'm not sure if it really was this one battle, or some kind of hidden random event.
Most battles are over in that time
The Ring of Bile was found on a sarcophagus with no additional battles beyond solo zombies. It was a bit of a disappointment, but during my second exploration of the tomb I found that if I used Mana or Balm goods, my MP or HP were completely refilled. Balm was purchased at the Protectors Guild, and I'm glad to have purchased 99 of them.
I was expecting to face off with zombie Pain
The very last simple task to complete was the return of the crystal ball to the woman behind the waterfall. I didn't expect to get the Ring of Calling straight away, but that's what happened. She alluded to great forces aligned against each other and choices to make. At the end of this short speech she handed over the ring.
Finally! I have a calling, a purpose...
After I had this ring in my possession I realized I was a bit short on hints for the other rings. Scrambling for the next step I returned to Richi, and was once again directed to Cathedral. I realized I hadn't been able to get anywhere with the paladins there, and returned to question each one. Either I missed him on the first go around, or I triggered an event, but a paladin told me about a document on the rings inside the locked chest. The key was taken during a raid by Sparta. The Spartans kept it guarded. It might be tricky to retrieve it.
This was more of a suggestion as I just walked in and picked up the key
Looking over this post now, I've realized I should have made one for each night of play. There's just so much to report on because random battles take up so little of the actual game. I'm now down to the rings of Division (unsure on my next step, maybe visit Sarah, maybe she has the milk of youth), Advancing (I have a feeling the document I find in the paladins will lead somewhere with this), Intuition (I need to find that map a thief stole, an orb in snow, and a key from a friend who vanished--I received a random dove to assist me), Blood (with the Power Lord, I need to find a place to purchase a dragon), and Mutation (a ring which turned into a person and is now hiding... somewhere, no other clues). I'm most worried about the ring of Mutation.
I've tried to show them to priests, but they weren't interested in any of them
Elapsed Time: 7h06m (Total Time: 20h06m)

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