Heroes Chronicles: Futility

hc2-eventI’m back to level 3 of Conquest of the Underworld which is where I was when I decided to start over. So far, it’s proved pointless. My main heroes (Tarnum is allowed to take two other heroes with him between levels) all have Earth Magic and the ability to learn the Town Portal spell, but the spell hasn’t been offered yet.

Heroes mainly learn spells from the mage guilds that you build in your cities. Each mage guild, when built, gets a random assortment of spells. I wonder how random it is? It might be possible to repeatedly load a saved game and rebuild the mage guild until it gives you the spells you want. Which would be cheap. But putting a die roll in the way of crucial permanent effects encourages cheap behavior. That’s why most CRPGs these days don’t randomize hit point gains from levelling: to eliminate the temptation to quit without saving when you don’t get enough.

Somehow, even though I knew the second level better this time, it took me longer to finish. Consequently, I got to see some plot events that I had missed the first time around — events in the form of narration in a dialog box. Some events are just color text (as when Tarnum gets a letter from Queen Allison, his boss for this adventure, asking about his progress), some have effects on gameplay (as when Allison’s letter is accompanied by funds for recruiting more troops). But past a certain point, you know they can’t be essential to the story: any sufficiently skilled player will miss them.

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