Wizardry III: Where are we?

One thing about Wizardry III I haven’t mentioned yet: the orientalism. It’s not a very big part of the game, really — it’s skin-deep in a game that barely even has a skin. But the first level — remember that castle? The inhabitants of the castle have the unidentified name “Corsair”, and their portrait shows a man in a keffiyeh holding a scimitar. When identified, they turn out to be “Garians” of various sorts — Garian Raiders, Garian Guards, Garian Mages, and so forth — but their boss in the back of the castle is identified as “High Corsair”. I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. Were they intended to be Arabs? The art is really the only thing to suggest it, and since I’m playing the PC version, it’s not even the original art. (Wizardry‘s native platform is the Apple II.) The word “Corsair” was certainly used historically for the Muslim pirates of the Barbary coast, but also for pirates in general. And “Garian” sounds like they’re named after someone named Gary.

(Incidentally, the same scimitar-guy image is used for vultures, which seems like it must be a mistake. I was willing to contemplate the possibility that the word “vulture” was a nickname or metaphor, but apparently their unidentified name is “Large Bird”.)

Anyway, you pretty much leave these questionably-Eastern individuals behind when you leave level 1 behind and the niche of basic-humanoids-that-are-occasionally-spellcasters gets taken over by goblins. But I was reminded of it when I started encountering particularly pernicious dragons called “T’ien Lung” and started wonder just how far east of Llylgamyn this mountain is. (I assume just on the basis of orthography that Llylgamyn is in Wales.) But then, as I’ve noted before, the fauna is all over the place, what with the anacondas and Bengal tigers and whatnot. Before the T’ien Lung started showing up, the dragons I kept having trouble with were Komodo dragons. Like real Komodos, their bite is infectious; unlike real Komodos, they also breathe fire.

The Garians seem a little different, though, because they’re not just random encounters. They have a headquarters, and guard posts at fixed locations. Anything else could be just visiting, but the Garians live here.

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