Thursday, November 14, 2013

Case Study No. 1119: "The librarian at the famous Library of Barstow"

Let's Play - Excelsior II - Part4 3/4
We finally learn Level 2 spells and meet the interesting proffesion guy "Queza" for information on the amulet we found in the destroyed shack. Some mysterious peoples called the "Drunes" are somehow involved in the disapearance of the former Fixer send to Errondor. Also we meet a Librarian - and she isn't a monkey!
Tags: Excelsior Phase 2 Errondor Let's Play english englisch RPG fantasy walkthrough playthrough Game Role-playing Game
Added: 1 year ago
From: GBFakaDerAltmeister
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[the player checks his quest log, which reads "Queza, a petty thief, once happened upon an amulet similar to the one from the magician's cottage. Shortly afterward, a group calling themselves the Drunes confronted Queza and took the amulet. Perhaps I should research the Drunes at the Library of Barstow."]
[the player approaches "The Famed Library of Barstow", and tries to speak with a scholar waiting outside the building]
NARRATOR: The scholar has his face in a book. He apologizes for bumping into you and wanders off.
[the player enters the library and speaks with a scribe]
SCRIBE: Have you heard about the peace treaty with our former arch-enemies? This is a great day!
[the player walks up to the young female librarian]
LIBRARIAN: Well, hello. I can assist you in finding any information you are looking for.
[the player selects "information"]
LIBRARIAN: Yes, but you'll need to be specific. Please tell me what you want to know about.
[the player selects "Drunes"]
LIBRARIAN: Shhhhh! Don't say that so loud! Look ... We used to have a one-volume encyclopedia about, um, about what you just said. But it's gone.
[the player selects "encyclopedia"]
LIBRARIAN: Didn't I just say that it was, um, gone? A fellow in a cloak and hood checked it out and never brought it back. Selfish, selfish, selfish! Well, when he pays his overdue tithe he'll get a pretty surprise.
[the player selects "tithe"]
LIBRARIAN: Well, we're billing him, of course. Straight to his home address. Everyone has to follow the, um, policy. There.
[the player selects "policy"]
LIBRARIAN: All materials returned on or before the owing date, or else tithe comes due and grows by the day.
[the player selects "address"]
LIBRARIAN: I don't give out information like that. But did I mention to you that we're having our bi-annual pledge drive? One gold coin gets your name woven into a banner of Library benefactors.
[the player selects "pledge"]
LIBRARIAN: Why thank you! A gentle person and a scholar, to be sure. Well, now that I'm putting you down in the patron archives, I'm reminded that the selfish fellow in the, um, hood and cloak was a patron too and he lived in, let's see here ... Shadowridge.
[the player selects "fellow"]
LIBRARIAN: I didn't ask his name. He seemed in a very poor mood.
[the player selects "cloak"]
LIBRARIAN: Wrapped around him as if he'd just come in from a storm. Or a bonfire, by the burnt smell of his cape.
[the player selects "Selfish"]
LIBRARIAN: And what else do you call withholding public property past the owing date?
[the player selects "gone"]
LIBRARIAN: What, don't you have faith in me? I'd know if it were here!
[the player checks his quest log, which reads "Funny, but a hooded fellow recently checked out the only book about the elusive Drunes from the famed Library of Barstow. He listed his place of residence as Shadowridge. Strangely, he smelt of burnt embers."]
[the player eventually makes his way to "The Watering Hole (Fine Company and Ale)" in the land of Shadowridge, and enters to speak with the bartender]
BARTENDER: Pull up a stool, friend. You look troubled. What's on your mind? You don't have to tell me, but then again I'm not goin' anywhere. Oh, and house rules ask that you put your hood and cloak aside while you drink. We had one in here who'd never abide by it, and it was most unnerving.
[the player selects "troubled"]
BARTENDER: Well, maybe it's not mine to say, but you'll need a second stool for that sack of storm clouds you got with you.
[the player selects "cloak"]
BARTENDER: It smelled kind of funny too, like he burned something. You're not waiting for him, are you? Oh, good. Not that he's been round this way for some time. Then again he's been known to disappear for days and come back real suddenlike, showin' up past closin' time, bangin' on the bar for drinks and all.
[the player selects "disappear"]
BARTENDER: He'd always settle his bill though. Like he always knew when he was headin' elsewhere.
[the player selects "drinks"]
BARTENDER: Here you go. A double troll knoll, on the house. You look like a nice one. And I'm not often wrong about folks. If I guess right you can keep your liquor, too. Not like that guy I call Hoodsy. Two drinks at the most, even if they was fairywings, and he'd be tellin' stories to make the gargoyles yawn.
[the player selects "double troll knoll"]
BARTENDER: If I told you any more about what's in it, I'd have to cut your tongue out and chop your hands off at the wrists to keep the recipe in the family, and then how would you be enjoying your drink?
[the player selects "Hoodsy"]
BARTENDER: Don't tell him I called him that, and I'd be debted to you.
[the player selects "stories"]
BARTENDER: Mostly his was stories from traveling, 'bout all the people he'd tricked and all the costumes he'd worn. Bring your glass by, it needs baptizing ... There. Hoodsy's was usually quiet, but sometimes he was a regular self-gossip. There was the one time he got on about Virachrome Keep. Course I had tried out my new dragontwister recipe on him that night.
[the player leaves and eventually makes his way into Virachrome Keep, where he finds the rare encyclopedia in a treasure chest]
[the player selects "Use rare encyclopedia"]
NARRATOR: "Regarding Drunes. The Drunes are a mysterious and secretive band of people whose origins and exact purpose are to this day shrouded in controversy. Few people have every knowingly come in contact with a Drune, and those who have have produced differing, and somewhat suspect, accounts of their encounters with the reclusive group. According to the most reliable accounts, which happen to be from This Author, the Drunes would occasionally speak of their past; of a time when they were instilled with magical powers. Few people today believe the Drunes ever had any supermortal abilities, and instead regard them as nothing more than a band of recluses with overactive imaginations and delusions of past grandeur. This Author, through years of research and deductions, has learned that Drunes identify one another with a special emblem. All Drunes display tapestries embroidered with the symbol. In addition to the tapestry, members frequently wear amulets engraved with a similar symbol. The symbol is this ... "
[a red and green cross on a blue background is displayed on screen]
NARRATOR: "When one person wearing the amulet encounters another displaying the tapestry, the two recognize each other as Drunes. Beyond that, little is known. Local legend has it that the first band of Drunes gathered to live in Teppum, but little evidence of that remains. As the Drunes have been rumored to occasionally resort to violence to protect their secrecy, no one knows where they currently reside, if anywhere at all."
[the player checks his quest log, which reads "I have found the encyclopedia of which the Librarian of Barstow spoke. It seems the Drunes are a rather mysterious group who speak of a glorious past when they were instilled with supermortal powers. The Drunes identify themselves by displaying a tapestry containing their symbol. The symbol is the same as the one displayed in the magician's cottage, and I think I've seen it elsewhere as well. Drunes, it seems, also wear amulets engraved with the symbol. It is the same amulet as the one I found in the magician's cottage. Perhaps it would be wise to find others who display this symbol."]
[the player leaves and eventually returns to Shadowridge, where he finds a thief wandering around outside "The Watering Hole"]
NARRATOR: "How do you do?" says the shady looking figure. "Would you like to hear a story?"
[the player selects "story"]
THIEF: This is a tale of selfishness and greed. It happened many years ago. Have you ever heard of the Ragtag Trio?
[the player selects "Ragtag Trio"]
THIEF: Three of them, there were, all pirates. Twas said that these three seafarers discoverd a long lost treasure map on a deserted island far off the coast. Now these three, being the unsavory characters they were, did not trust each other one bit. They tore the map up into three sections and each took one piece.
[the player selects "treasure map"]
THIEF: That way, no one of the three pirates could find the treasure themselves. They had to cooperate.
[the player selects "cooperate"]
THIEF: Of course, that was a totally foreign concept to these three scalawags, and in the end they died penniless and broke. Don't believe me? I think the librarian at the famous Library of Barstow knows more. Ask her about the Ragtag Trio.
[the player selects "Library"]
THIEF: It's a famous landmark.
[the player leaves and eventually returns to the library in Barstow]
LIBRARIAN: Shhhhh. Oh, it's you! Do you know, we're just debating how to spell your name on the, um, pledge banner. It won't fit across and so rather than pull out all the stitching we thought we'd shorten it. Um, say, did you ever find that book?
[the player selects "Ragtag Trio"]
LIBRARIAN: Ah yes, the Ragtag Trio. I remember reading a story about those three pirates some time ago. I don't remember the precise book, but I remember the gist of their story.
[the player selects "story"]
LIBRARIAN: Those three pirates each owned a piece of a treasure map. But each, being a greedy mercenary, decided to search for the treasure on his own. The map led them, or so they thought, to the arctic north.
[the player selects "arctic north"]
LIBRARIAN: Unfortunately, none of these three were prepared for the test of the harsh weather conditions. All three died from the elements before finding the treasure.
[the player selects "weather"]
LIBRARIAN: It's very cold up there.
[the player selects "treasure"]
LIBRARIAN: There is a small trio of frozen islands, identifiable by two large trees that grow at the southern tip of the largest. To that island's east are two smaller ones. Presumably the maps they carried can still be found on those three islands. The first piece would be near one of the trees, I imagine.
[the player selects "maps"]
LIBRARIAN: Those three were all so greedy that I wouldn't be surprised if they each buried their piece of the map just so the other two couldn't find it. That is the story, as best I can recall.
[the player checks his quest log, which reads "The Ragtag Trio were greedy pirates, each of who died of the elements in the frozen north, in the vicinity of a small island with two large trees at its southern tip. Their pieces of the treasure map were presumably lost with them. To assemble the map, I should try to join the pieces together."]
[the player leaves and is eventually able to find all three pieces of the treasure map, as "You combine the pieces into one complete map!" appears on screen]
[the player selects "Use pirate map"]
NARRATOR: Reading the badly decomposed map, you see the faint traces of a drawing. At the bottom you can make out some handwriting. It reads, "In the village of T.N. what you seek is very near. The center gravestones point the direction south. The center of the pond leads the way east."
[the player heads for the town of Thiek Nemh, where he digs around in the graveyard until he finds a buried treasure chest]
["You find the buried treasure of the Ragtag Three!" appears on screen, as the player uses a lockpick to open it and receives weaponry (eramel breastplate, eramel longsword, eramel flail, eramel battle axe), 5000 gold, and a wooden spoon]



In "Excelsior Phase Two: Errondor", you reprise your role of a Fixer, a demi-deity under the employ of the Grand Council of World Watchers. It is the Fixer's job to correct deviations in the pre-ordained history of the multiverse. Following your success in Excelsior Phase One, you have been promoted to the rank of Fixer First Class, whereby you will be assigned more important and complex missions.

Errondor is a land which has endured war for many years. But now is the dawn of a new age - at long last a peace treaty has been negotiated between warring nations. The treaty is set to be signed at a grand banquet - but a critical problem has arisen. There has been a mix-up in the type of wine being served at the banquet, which is a grave insult to the visiting dignitaries, and threatens to derail the peace. A junior-level Fixer had been sent to resolve this incident, but she has mysteriously vanished. You task is twofold - first, resolve the wine mix-up so that peace may prevail, and second, locate and bring back the missing Fixer. What sounds like a simple mission soon unearths a much larger and far more sinister problem ...



Genre: RPG
Sub Genre: Isometric
Themes : Fantasy, Shareware
Designer(s): Matthew Engle & Daniel Burke
Developer: 11th Dimension Entertainment
Publisher: 11th Dimension Entertainment
Copyright: 11th Dimension Entertainment
Year released: 1997
Year released: 1997
Platform: DOS

Two of the best shareware RPGs being sold today, Excelsior Phase One and Excelsior Phase Two are flashbacks to the RPGs in mid-1980s - the good old days when creativity and gameplay were much more important than the bells and whistles.Anyone who has played Ultima IV or similar games will be familiar with Excelsior Phase One's game screen: with the world in one window, a status screen in another, and a command screen in the last. Excelsior Phase Two improves upon the original with better VGA graphics (isometric view reminiscent of Ultima VI, hundreds more NPCs to talk to, and a more intricate plot.

Your goal is in Excelsior Phase One is to discover the source of evil in the land of Lysandia and extinguish it. Excelsior Phase Two takes place in Errondor, where you continue in the role of a Fixer, a minor demi-deity under the employ of the Grand Council of World Watchers. Your task here is to investigate the mysterious disappearane of a Fixer who was sent to resolve a minor mix-up in the type of wine to be served at a banquet - a banquet where a peace treaty between two warring nations is to be signed.

Exploring the world, chatting with various characters, and using your head are all mandatory for successful completion of both games. The storylines are high-quality, well-written, and interesting with many twists and turns along the way. The range of commands is quite extensive, but nothing that will take Ultima fans by surprise. Talking to people tends to either elicit a response or not; there are rarely instances where saying the right thing is necessary. Fighting depends more on luck and statistics rather than strategy. This is perhaps the weakest aspect of the games: it is difficult to survive early in the game unless you happen to choose your initial attributes to favor strength and dexterity. This prevents flexibility in choosing initial attributes. Clerics will find it difficult to survive the early fights, so if you want a challenge, you know what class to choose.

Both Excelsior games are extremely refreshing RPGs especially in the days of high-budget-but-hollow-gameplay action games thinly disguised as RPGs. The interface and graphics are simple, yet the games themselves fascinating. Nostalgic gamers are encouraged to download the shareware version of games and evaluate them (you have 10 days to play the full games). The games, in my humble opinion, are well worth the price. You may very well be surprised at how the designers manage to capture not only the look, but more importantly the heart of what makes early Ultima games so addictive. Two thumbs up, way up.

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