Wizardry I: The Reluctant Victor

I’ve got a story for you. It starts with our hero in a state of inaction: the next step forward is to take on Werdna, the wizard at the end of dungeon level 10, but I don’t have the courage. “Am I ready? Am I sure I’m ready? I remember seeing my parties get torn apart by this guy and his vampire minions in my first pass at the game. Maybe I should do another few grinding passes, just until I have a ninja in the party, or at least more than one character who can cast TILTOWAIT (the most powerful direct-damage spell). Just to be sure.” And so I dilly-dallied for days.

So I’m at the point where I can do a complete circuit of level 9, hitting all the rooms, and still have enough health and magic left to go several rooms into level 10. Level 10 is a series of seven twisty but branchless corridors leading to seven guarded rooms, the seventh being Werdna’s lair, which is clearly marked with a message outside so you don’t stumble into it by accident. Each room comes with an opportunity to teleport back home, even if you’re out of teleport spells, so it’s not a bad place to hunt for rare items.

Now, the rare items I’m hunting for always come in chests, and nearly all chests have traps; this is why it’s important to have a thief in the party. But even high-level thieves have a chance to fumble and trigger the trap they’re trying to disarm. One of the most concerning traps is the Teleporter, which sends the party to a random location on the same level — mercifully, it never teleports you into solid rock, but if you’re on a level you haven’t fully mapped out, you can easily wind up teleporting to a place you have no idea how to get back from. Reader, I hit a telporter on level 10.

A smarter, or more paranoid, player than me would have cast a teleport spell straight back to the surface at this point. But I figured it wasn’t so bad, right? You can’t really get lost on level 10. I was in a room, and I didn’t know which room of the chain it was, but it was bound to have the exit route that all the rooms have. I took a step forward. Suddenly I was in an encounter with Werdna. The trap had sent me straight into the last room, skipping over the warning message. I hadn’t even healed up from the encounter that gave me the chest with the teleporter.

Fortunately, all my worries meant that I had put off the encounter long enough to make it downright trivial. My priest and bishop successfully silenced Werdna before he got a single spell off, then dispelled vampires while my mage spammed TILTOWAIT. I barely suffered a scratch. And now I guess I’m moving on to Knight of Diamonds.

1 Comment so far

  1. Arthegall on 15 Sep 2022

    Game had had enough of your dilly dallying.

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