Part 2: Escape from the Depths


With crude knife in hand, you can now explore these prisons in earnest. Experiment with the various commands available to you; press <space> at any time to view more commands and their operative letters. From time to time you will receive new whispers from the Satori; heed them well and refer to your Philosopher’s Journal if you need to review them.

In time you will learn that you are not alone in these prisons. When an enemy approaches, use the (l)ook command to discern its nature. If the enemy is adjacent to you, (l)ooking will provide a full description, much as (i)nspecting will do for an item. Some foes are less aggressive than others, and can be avoided. Others, however, are hostile, and must be dealt with.

 

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To attack an enemy in close combat, attempt to move into the square it occupies. Carefully monitor your hit points and stamina during combat; they are labeled H: and S:, respectively, on the bottom left-hand corner of your screen. Stamina is a measure of energy you have available to perform actions. If it ever reaches zero, exhaustion will set in and your capacity to act will diminish. Your hit points are a measure of the physical punishment you can withstand. If they ever should reach zero, you will perish.

Your initial battles may prove taxing, for a crude knife is but a small weapon against hostile legions. For this and other reasons, you would do well to consider (M)editating, which allows you to harness the powers of the manipulatory arts. As with other self-absorbing actions, proper meditation requires a relatively unmuddled state of mind, as well as a source of light. Assuming you have met these requirements, a menu will prompt you for the philosophy upon which to meditate. For now, only your chosen philosophy will be available, and there are two reasons for this. The first: you have so far found only a single brush in your travels, and that brush corresponds to your chosen philosophy. The second: you possess skill only in your chosen philosophy, and have no knowledge of the others. This will change as you explore Phenomedom, growing in prowess as a manipulator.

 

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Once you have selected a philosophy, you must select the circle on which to meditate. Only Primus, the first circle of power, is available to you at this time, and well it should be this way, for the higher circles are far too dangerous for a mere novice. Again, things will change as you rise in stature.

At this time you will be presented with a choice of three rituals to study. Select a ritual, and specify, up to your memory’s current capacity, how many copies you wish to memorize. Verify your selection, and the meditation session will begin. Its length will be in proportion to your intellect, the number and difficulty of the rituals you have selected, and your skill in the philosophy of interest. Be sure you choose your surroundings wisely prior to meditation, for any interruptions will cause you to lose whatever progress you may have made on memorizing your current copy. Be sure your light source, equipped or otherwise, is dependable too, for an extinguished torch can bring a session of meditation to a halt.

 

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You may perform a ritual, or (m)anipulate, precisely once for each copy you have memorized. If you wish to perform a ritual more than that, you will need to meditate again and memorize some fresh copies. The number of copies you currently have in memory is displayed in the screen’s bottom right, adjacent to the word RITUALS. Copies are organized according to philosophy as well as circle. Use care when (m)anipulating, for all rituals, particularly those which test your power, are prone to backfire.

Manipulation is a source of great power, but it can also be a source of great exhaustion, particularly for rituals belonging to philosophies in which you are less skilled. In fact, you may find throughout your battles and rituals that your stamina reaches dangerously low levels. To remedy this, be sure to (R)est in a safe place. Do so sparingly, however, for time passes quickly when you rest, and your belly shan’t remain full forever.

You are sure to come across numerous items throughout your meanderings, though ’tis unlikely any famous treasures would lie in a boogadah prison. Nonetheless, these times are rather desperate, and any bauble should be considered carefully. Articles of clothing or armour can be (w)orn to provide protection, while cudgels and other weapons may prove superior to your crudest of knives. Some items can be (T)hrown to great effect, while others, assuming you carry suitable ammunition, can be (f)ired from a distance.

At any time you may use the hst@ts command to review your current statistics in detail. These numbers serve to complement the statistics that are always displayed at the bottom of the screen, and can be used as a tool to aid in evaluating the right equipment for your current endeavors. Heavier melee weapons may manifest greater damage capabilities, while lighter ones may offer, in the hands of a skilled warrior, additional attacks per turn. Likewise, certain missile weapons may offer longer ranges, while a change in raiment may affect your armor rating (AR), which quantifies how difficult you are to hit in combat.

 

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Each item in your possession will also influence your burden (BU), which describes the total weight in stones of your belongings. This factor may in turn influence your movement rating (MV), which quantifies the number of turns you may execute in a five-minute period, known throughout Phenomedom as a tick. Your movement rating is especially crucial in combat, for a high movement rating will allow you to act more frequently than your enemies.

Be sure as well to monitor your experience (EX), provided in the screen’s bottom right hand corner. Experience is a measure of your accomplishments in Phenomedom, and is awarded for slaying enemies, acquiring treasure, and performing deeds. If you manage to accumulate enough experience, the Satori will announce your advancement to the next class. Class advancement can result in increased hit points, stamina, luck, and an opportunity to increase your skills. To increase a skill during the class advancement process, press <space> until the desired skill is highlighted, and then ‘+’ to allocate a point to that skill. If you make a mistake and wish to reverse an allocation, press ‘-’ to deallocate a point. Each skill can be increased by a maximum of one point during each class advancement.

 

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Use care when choosing which skills to advance, for your choices, once committed, cannot be reversed. Your skill in each of the five philosophies indicates your proficiency in learning and performing rituals in that philosophy. There are seven additional skills, however, whose implications are non-magical in nature:

  • Melee: a measure of your competency in close combat
  • Missile: a measure of your competency in missile combat
  • Defense: a measure of your capability to defend yourself
  • Skullduggery: a measure of your familiarity with traps, locks, and acts of burglary
  • Perception: your ability to detect subtle things
  • Lore: your knowledge of the world
  • Outdoors: your ability to subsist, hunt, and perhaps even thrive in Phenomedom’s wilderness

Your “scores”, on the other hand, are not subject to investment in the manner that your skills are. Strength, intellect, dexterity, endurance, luck; these are measures of your innate physiology and psychology, and can be typically altered only by magical means.

Armed with a burgeoning inventory and a collection of rituals, it is nigh time to escape these vile prisons. The corridors are long and gloomy; they curl and wind through two levels of earth before erupting through the surface. Heed well any warnings, and resist any excursions that may divert you from your escape. These prisons will stand for many months to come! You can always revisit them once you have explored the topside a bit, and gathered your bearings.

 

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