All right, so don’t tell anyone, but I’m playing Quest For Glory III this week.
Well, actually – you can tell them that – in fact, tell them about this blog!
Just don’t tell them where I was playing….
Wages of War is the sub-title of Sierra’s 199something PC adventure, Quest for Glory III.
I fucking love this series. It is epic each time I play it, and this time might have been the best. It will be known as the summer of Pokemon Go and the best game of Quest for Glory III that I ever fucking played. Mostly because I played the game and the role (the R in RPG, by the way) of my character to the hilt, so many beautiful and interesting interactions, new discoveries, and subplots emerged simply because of the way I played it, which was epically.
I began the game as a Fighter. This was a first, since I had previously played Wages of War as a Paladin, then a Thief, and then finally a Magic User. You choose your class at the beginning of the game. And if you import your character from the previous games (I:So, You Want to be a Hero? and II:Trial by Fire), well, that’s the only way you can start as a Paladin in QFG3. I didn’t start this game as a Paladin, but damned if I didn’t end as one.
Here’s a story my dude will be telling in a pub someday. If paladins can hang out in pubs.
“Okay, so I got held up by this hippie back in Tarna. He’s not a bad guy, but goddamn if he didn’t sonofabitching hold up my peace efforts. I had just come back from the savanna, actually all the way from the Simbani village in the east. I had run all the way back because I forgot to pick up this Dispel Potion I had him cooking up the last time I left town. I haven’t even washed up. I smell of lizard blood and giant ant shit. I basically smell like him. I run into his apothecary shop, all customer-cozy like, ‘Hey man, how’s vibes, how are you?’ you know?
‘Everything’s Zen, man,’ he says, and then gestures for me to take a seat on his floor mat. Oh boy, here we go, I think. I’m not really in the mood for this shit – I have to get my ass back to the Simbani quick as a fucker to dispel this leopard lady they got in a cage over there. If I don’t change her back into a human, these tribal motherfuckers are going to straight up.. well, I don’t want to speculate, but I know that the longer you keep a chick in a cage… well, actually I don’t know or want to speculate about that either. (We paladins ain’t supposed to think of those kind of things.)
So I sit down, lean back, take a hit of his water pipe and we bullshit. The coming war, rumors around town, dreams, waves, vibes, buzzes and bummers. Finally we get to the topic of the Dispel Potion. ‘Oh yeah man, I finished it,’ he finally announces.
About fucking time! So he shows it to me – it’s a pink, sparkly bubbly thing, and I just know it’s going to work. I’ve had to use dispel potions in every fucking game up until this point, but check this shit out. The dude wants to charge me 30 Royals for the Dispel Potion that I had to goddamn collect for his ass… It was preposterous – ‘Yo man,’ I say, ‘shouldn’t you just like, GIVE me the potion after I’ve risked life, limb and member out there in the bush to get the parts for it? There were three components necessary to make it, and I got every one of them for your bespectacled ass. You said ‘Gimme a few days to make the potion, man, not a few days and 30 goddamn Royals and shit! And here I am.’
So there I am haggling on the price of a single goddamn bottle, and he absolutely will not give it to me until we agree on that price and I pay that price.
Boy, do I pay that price.
I bargain him down to 28 Royals, but I don’t have 28 Royals – because I’ve spent nearly everything I’ve got on zebra skins, a spear and other wedding shit (don’t ask). And lots and lots of pills. Nah, it’s not a habit – my class just kinda needs a lot of different kinds of pills, for healing, mana, poison cure you know? Magic-using fighter, what’cha gonna do? So cash is running low, and the hippie’s getting all of it because he’s the only merchant in town with healing items. Shit, I barely have enough these days to tip the hostess at the Inn. But I ain’t gonna stop tipping her (if you know what I mean).
So to get the gold, I gots to go out into the savanna and hunt fucking lizard men, since they’re like the only enemies that carry any gold in the game in this part of the world – which incidentally is the only part of the world where you can spend it. This hippie is getting iced the fuck out. The coming war between the Liontaurs and the Simbani is going to make him rich as his mother in a sperm bank. How’s those vibes?
But it’s my fault that I don’t have the scratch because I’ve been living big. Three waterskins. Oil. Rope. Beads. 100 pounds of rotten meat from the vendor at the bazaar. I buy fruit at the full price because the fruit man makes me feel like a douche. Plus I stay at the Inn in Tarna whenever I get the chance and always ask what meal they’re serving that night just before devouring it. The girl there always lays it on thick and sweet, and makes desertified goat balls sound like a dragon steak dinner with Antwerp Ale on the side. One time a distinguished man in the city died and I only got vegetables and rice because they don’t serve meat on dead guy day. I had some jerky stashed in my inn room’s box… but I didn’t eat it until the next day. I promise. I’m a man of honor.
I am the goddamn Prince of Shapier, after all. They say so in the intro. I’ve saved Spielburg, Shapier, and Rasier by this point, and now you I’m trying to help the Tarnans but it’s not easy with this cheapfuck skatenik trying to con me out of 30 Royals for a goddamn dispel potion that’s only going to save the world. And it’s not easy becoming rich when you started like I started, which was a magic-using fighter. Battle Mage. David Copperfield the Barbarian. Anyway, I hit the sticks, run from anything not a lizard man, fight and fight and kill and kill and level up and level up and finally get all the cash I need to buy one measly goddamn fucking Dispel Potion. I walk in – bargain him down to 27 this time, and just as I make to hand over the gold, he says,
‘Hey man – it’s cool – they’re on the house.’
Yeah. Jaw meet floor. ‘What the fuck? I’ve been busting my ass to collect your muthafuckin cheddar in addition to all that SHIT for the potion, and now you’re just giving me it?’
‘Yes, the cosmos spoke to me in your absence. They said, “Apothecary: gold you take in exchange for you wares, and gold you shall take. And when the times comes, you will not take it. And stuff.”
I say, ‘Okay…’
Then he goes on this rambling, stoned AF rant or rave about the war and his wages, thanks me for telling about the tree woman in his dream, and saying there’s a conspiracy by Anubis to have me go fight monsters and collect gold to raise my stats or whatever ‘meta’ shit he was on. I didn’t touch the water pipe again after that.
When he was finished he was practically weeping into his beard and beads saying, ‘Thank you. Thank you, man.’
‘No, thank you, man,’ I say, ‘I sure hope you get to fuck that tree.’ And the potion was moine.”
It always makes the simple folk laugh when he tells it. At least it did when the Paladin still went to pubs. Remember – he began as a “magic-using fighter.” It’s a kind of “hidden class” which has been its own unique experience learning. It relies on a lot of slow turn-based fighting and tedious training to succeed. But QFG always encouraged a bit of tedious training; it’s part of its charm.
Battle is such a bitch on this computer, though (My setup is Dosbox through the school laptop that I use at my desk. There. You happy?). I don’t really want to describe it, but if you’re interested, here goes:
In battle, you click on a panel that has four actions – slash, thrust, dodge, and parry. Each time you click it, you lose a little bit of stamina, and have a chance of hitting the enemy. This chance is really really small at the beginning, and you’ll wonder if the game is even fucking working. You try everything, frantically clicking, hoping you don’t get mauled to death, and then – it hits! Blood squirts out and the creature screams. You hit! It took me a long time to realize, but this basically means every frantic click is a roll of the dice (D20, then damage dice if you hit).
In other words, it’s not really real time. On a fast computer with better controls (like the numeric keypad which I don’t have)? Maybe it resembles more of a slash-dodge/Punch-Out!!!/Infinity Blade vibe, but with mouse clicks, it’s more of a menu selection. Especially on shitty computers like my school’s. But each time you click one of the four actions, you gain a few points in that skill, and the higher they get, the better your chances of hitting, plus better damage. It’s a weird but working model of RPG as a point and click – action adventure.
Anyway, that’s how I turned this:
To make the magic-using fighter (no acronyms, now), I dropped most of his starting points into magic – which costs a lot if it’s a skill you don’t begin with. Dropped some points in Intelligence, too – those I already had a little. Of. Anyway, I had to get smart. As I said, I’ve beaten this game with a Paladin, a Thief, a Magic User, and finally – a magic using fighter. A fighter with four spells which he must practice often.
And I do – right before battle I charge my weapon, then lob as many fireballs and force bolts at the enemy as I can before the battle begins, as rapidly as the game’s menu bar will allow. When I do this, my mana goes up, as does the skill of each individual spell. It really works!
And now, it is time to continue, and finish the Quest. Going into the jungle now in search of my runaway bride and a brief intermission from this tedious telling:
…and that’s how I accidentally ended up getting crowned a Paladin. Well, way to go dude. It wasn’t my intention (and the above is in no way the actual scripted sequence), but hey – flaming sword is flaming now. Makes killing demons a breeze.
But now I got this last fucker I gotta kill and I don’t remember how.
Oh, yes. I figured it out. God I love this game.
Woo Hoo. Next stop: MORDAVIA!!!