Wizardry III: Alignment Shenanigans

Despite taking a generally cautious approach, I managed to blunder into a completely avoidable TPK on level 2 — it was one of those things where you’re pretty close to visiting all of a certain set of rooms in a single go, and so you try for inconsequential completion when you should be heading home to rest. It took me a while to drag the entire party out, and two of them didn’t survive resurrection. I’ve created replacements for them, and have been trying to train them up. Better to do it now than when there’s an even larger experience gap.

While doing this, I mapped out the entirety of level 2, or at least those parts accessible from the stairs without teleportation. (I’m still several experience levels away from learning MALOR.) Mapping out levels, even the tricky ones full of teleporters and spinners, doesn’t really take long — not nearly as long as it takes to level up your characters enough to survive easily on the next dungeon level, particularly if you’re trying to do this for a full roster of 20 rather than a single party. And when it came to exploring level 3, I had another problem: my entire roster, apart from a couple of thieves, was good.

Recall that one of the chief gimmicks of Wizardry III is that some dungeon levels are alignment-locked. Level 2 is accessible only to good parties, level 3 only to evil parties. Level 1 has stairs leading to both 2 and 3, and 2 has stairs leading to level 4, skipping 3. But I didn’t want to skip 3. I wanted to do all the levels, in order. That means I had a choice: either delete some of my characters and create evil ones, or turn existing characters evil. I opted for the latter. In fact, I opted to turn my entire roster evil.

I’ve described it before, but: The key to changing alignment in this game is in your treatment of friendly encounters. Whenever you leave friendlies unmolested, every evil character in your party has a chance of turning good, and whenever you attack them, every good character has a chance of turning evil. But it can take a while to find a friendly encounter, and when you do, you have no control over which characters turn. What’s more, when only some of your party has turned, you have a mixed good/evil party. Such a party will stay together as long as you don’t take it apart, but it can’t access alignment-locked levels at all, and neither good nor evil characters can join it. The obvious solution to both these things is to simply swap out characters when they turn and replace them with ones that need to. But that winds up in uncomfortable random constraints: all my mages turned early, so I had to make do with just bishops for a while. And of course eventually you wind up with a party consisting of whoever’s left.

Still, what all this means is that I had something else to focus on while grinding. And that’s something this game sorely needs. By the time I everyone was evil, most of them had substantially more XP than before.

And by now, I’ve thoroughly mapped out level 3 and, I am convinced, obtained everything there is to obtain from it. Time to convert everyone back to good so I can access level 4!

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