Wizardry III: Crisis Averted

So here I am on dungeon level 4. Twelve years ago, in my first attempt at Wizardry III, I almost lost my best characters when a teleporter sent them deep into unmapped territory, leaving them with no idea how to get back to the exit, and no way to replenish spells until they did. I somehow managed to get them out, only to see them suffer a stupider and less dramatically-justified TPK shortly afterward.

This whole experience is largely why I’m taking the “abundance of caution” approach this time through. Nonetheless, I blundered into the exact same teleporter again. The level is just set up to make this happen; it’s right on the other side of a door, where you have no way to know it’s there until you’ve sent one party through it. It is, in effect, part of the plot, a “party gets lost” event. As before, I made it through the unconnected part of level 2 and back to the uncharted part of level 4, but was battered greatly by monsters along the way; my mage was dead, and the rest of my characters were hardly in fighting shape. Understand that, unlike most of my TPKs, this was not a matter of folly or hubris on my part. I hadn’t deliberately taken on more than I could handle or stayed in the dungeon when I should have headed for home. I had just been sent on a very long path, with no possibility of going back, and over the course of many encounters, I inevitably ran out of spell slots, then hit points. And I still didn’t know how to get back out. A TPK seemed inevitable.

Here’s what I did about it.

First, I terminated the program. This is something that the version of Wizardry III I’m playing tolerates. It saves your status and position after each encounter, and lets you resume outings in progress. Then I sent in another party, not to drag the dead back to town for resurrection, but simply to thoroughly map out the area around my first party. I didn’t know their exact coordinates — with the mage dead and the bishop out of spells, I had no one to cast DUMAPIC — but I knew their approximate location. It turned out to be accessible from outside. I probably walked over the very map tile where they were invisibly and intangibly waiting to be reactivated.

And, having done that, I knew the quickest and safest way out of the dungeon. It turned out to not be very far, once you knew which way to go. One more character died along the way, but both survived resurrection, and the lot of them racked up quite a few experience points in their perilous adventure.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jason Dyer on 5 Oct 2022

    There’s a bit early in Phantasy Star (the console game for Sega Master System) that does the “teleport into danger and away from your carefully-made map” trick. I thought it ended up being the only interesting part of the “dungeon” section of the game, it was highly tense trying to get out.

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