A Video Based Guide to Wizardry 6: Bane of the Cosmic Forge
This is the start of a series of video-based guides of Wizardry 6, 7 & 8, collectively known as the Dark Savant trilogy. Each game can be played individually without prior exposure to the others, but playing the complete trilogy from start to finish can be a rewarding experience.
Note also that complete maps for Wizardry 6 can be found through this link. These maps can be downloaded, and I will use them as my frame of reference for where I am and where I am going throughout the walkthrough.
The fundamental first step in any such role-playing game of course is to roll an effective party. If you plan on playing the complete trilogy, extra planning is involved if you want to create characters that will be effective in all three games.
In fact, something you should plan out for is not just to get the most effective items for your character in Wizardry 6, but also plan out that character's inventory for when he or she will be imported into the next game. Wizardry 7, for reasons of game balance, will not let you import ALL of your wonderful weapons and armor.
An explanation of what will be imported is warranted. Some unique items will always import (e.g. Diamond Ring, Cameo Locket, Rod of Sprites, Ring of Stars). Beyond that, each character can only import ONE item that is worth a 1000gp or more, and that one item may be checked off by one of the unique items I previously mentioned. You can, pretty much without limit, import items that are worth less than 1000gp. For reference as to what various items are worth, check out this link. So, if you think things through, it will not be in your interest to import a party from a file where they are still wearing all of its super-powered items. After you finished Wizardry 6, take a moment to set up your party so that each one brings through an item that you really want, while the rest of the items are worth less than 1000gp. This way, you're not arriving into Wizardry 7 practically naked, and instead have some interim weapons and armor to work with.
For more details on this, see the profiles for each character I've created. Links to them are near the bottom of this page.
Pure Spell Casters - Pure spellcasters are characters who devote themselves exclusively to one spellbook as their specialization. The four choices are Priest, Mage, Alchemist, and Psionicist. Pure spellcasters tend to get more mana, and recover their mana much more quickly through resting, in comparison to hybrid characters (e.g. Lord, Bard, etc.), making your choice of pure spellcasters an important one.
Psionicists sound really cool, but their utility is limited. They can heal some things, but don't match up to Priests in that regard. Their key appeal is spells like Psionic Blast and Mind Flay that can both damage monsters and render them insane, a condition that can either prevent monsters from attacking or even cause them to attack each other. When these spells wreak havoc on their targets, it is indeed quite fun. The problem is, the kind of monsters this will work on is quite limited. Monsters that lack minds (e.g. slimes, undead) or monsters with strong mental resistance (e.g. demons) don't respond to such spells in the way you'd hope. A Psionicist can of course use spells that use other elemental sources of damage (e.g. Blades), but these are inferior in comparison to the raw damage that a Mage can inflict.
Alchemists are a similar deal. They have some healing ability, and some sources of offensive damage, but both are inferior in comparison to the Priest and the Mage respectively.
This is not to say that there is no merit to their spellbooks. The Alchemist for example has some nice cloud-type spells that can cause lingering damage over the long haul.
But this leads to ...
Hybrid Characters - Hybrid characters are basically characters who can combine casting spells with either fighting (e.g. Samurai, Lord, Valkyrie, Monk) or thieving (e.g. Bard, Ninja). I like these kinds of characters for a number of reasons.
You get more options than you would with a vanilla Fighter or Thief. Sometimes your Priest or Mage may want to cast a spell in a certain situation, but finds the situation so pressing that another spell is needed even more. Unfortunately, a character can only cast one spell each round. This is where having a hybrid is helpful. Now you can cast both spells now that your hybrid is there to provide the second spell, which would not be the case with a vanilla Fighter or Thief.
Also, sometimes it is helpful to be able to have more than character who can cast the same spell. For example, you may be faced with multiple groups of enemies that can cast spells, so you may want to have more than one character that can cast Silence. You may want more healing power to increase your party's durability. You may want to cast multiple offensive spells during the same round.
On the other hand, sometimes hybrid characters can learn spells that the pure spellcasters can't get around to adding to their spell books, and this leads to more versatility.
The hybrid spellcaster can also provide spellbooks that your pure spellcasters may not provide. For example, the Psionics spellbook is useful in some situations, but those situations are limited. Psionic Blast is helpful against some monsters, but not others. This makes the Monk an ideal addition to a party. The Monk can sometimes draw upon Psionic spells in those limited situations that call for it. But when Psionic spells may not be the best thing for other situations, the Monk can simply revert to fighting with his bare hands and feet.
Why I don't like the Lord - The Valkyrie does everything that a Lord does, and needs less experience to do it. The Valkyrie can use the Diamond Ring during Wizardry 7, but the Lord can't. During Wizardry 8, each has different unique powers. The Lord regenerates health. The Valkyrie can cheat death, avoid dying after attacks that bring her health to zero, AND can attain health regeneration through items found in the game. Go with a Valkyrie throughout the trilogy.
Why I don't like the Samurai - Sure, a katana-wielding Samurai that can cast offensive spells just has to sound cool, doesn't it? The problem is, while the Samurai can wear decent body and leg armor, he can only wear pitiful Cuir Gauntlets over the hands, Buskins over the feet, and a Kabuto helm over the head. Attacks are admittedly more frequently aimed at the body and legs of the Samurai. But when attacks do go for the head, hands, or feet, it can really hurt. This is especially the case for the higher-level monsters. This holds true through to Wizardry 7 and 8. At least somebody like a Valkyrie can wear top-notch armor over all body parts.
Why I don't like the Ranger - The Ranger just does not have the armor and weapon choices to justify him being a front rank character. The ranger can of course use arrows and Alchemy spells from the back rank, but arrows are often pretty scarce during both Wizardry 6 and 7. By the time I reach Wizardry 8, the Bard can start to imitate the Ranger, but perhaps not quite to the same degree.
Alchemy, Thaumaturgy, Theosophy and Theology - These skills are needed for spellcasters to be able to access higher level spells. These skills cannot be trained or practiced. You can only add to them during level-ups. The skill requirements for each spell level are as follows: 1st level spells - no minimum skill requirement, 2nd level spells - 18, 3rd level spells - 36, 4th level spells - 54, 5th level spells - 72, 6th level spells - 90, 7th level spells - 98.
Kirijitsu - This is the skill that Eastern classes (e.g. Samurai, Monk, Ninja) use for killing monsters instantly with a single blow. Like other academic skills, this one cannot be practiced or trained. It can only be increased during level ups. Spare some points for this one if you're serious about honing the character's fighting ability.
Oratory - This is the skill that is needed for your spellcasters to get their spells off without the spell fizzling, or even backfiring. The higher the spell level, and the more you increase that's spells power level, the greater your oratory needs to be. Oratory can be raised with practice however. A good training technique is for your spellcasters to always zip off a few lower-level spells that will not demand much mana, even during casual fights where it is not needed. The point is simply to seize every opportunity to raise your Oratory skill without having to add to it during level-ups. This will serve you well during the later stages of the game.
Artifacts and Scrolls - Invoking items with magical charges and incanting scrolls can provide back rank characters with other options, especially when they want to conserve mana or draw on other options. These skills can also be trained. The thing is, they always go up by one whenever you try to invoke an item or incant a scroll, even if it fizzles. Use your items, scrolls, and powders without reservation. Don't worry, they come in a steady stream. Your pure spellcasters can practice these skills at the beginning, and once their spellbook skill (e.g. Theology or Thaumaturgy) is maxed out, they can begin to add to these skills during level-ups.
Skullduggery - You need at least 10 in this skill to begin opening locked doors or disarming traps. After that, you can raise this skill with practice on each door or trap that you find afterwards.
Weapon skills - Don't bother with adding any to your weapon skills. They'll skyrocket on their own since your warriors will be practicing them a LOT on your enemies.
There are also a number of considerations involved with choosing your spells on each level up.
Multiple uses of the same spell - Sometimes a spell is so useful, or you may want to cast it more than once in the same combat round, so that it is helpful to have more than one character who can cast it. For example, suppose you run into several groups of Demons. If you have two or more characters who can cast Astral Gate, you can blow them away in very short order. On the other hand ...
Versatility - Suppose that more than one character in the party can draw on the same spellbook. One character can learn a spell that the other character may not have time for, and this can lead to greater versatility. For example, my Faerie Mage will want to concentrate on offensive spells. My Bard therefore learns Fire Shield and Ice Shield, so that the party is ready for monsters that use fire or cold based attacks. This takes some of the slack off my Mage.
Start accumulating early - Try to get your early spells from as many of six realms, Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Divine, and Mental, as you can. Sure, it may be tempting to have your Mage learn the Fire spells in a straight succession. Or same thing with your Priest when it comes to Divine spells. But if you put things off, by the time your spell caster gets around to learning spells from other realms, your spell caster won't have a lot of mana for that realm. By having your spellcaster learn his or her early spells from each of the realms will begin an early accumulation of mana in each realm that persists with each level up.
Choose the most powerful spell for each realm when you can - Here's an example. Cure Stone has an Earth mana cost of 18 per power level. Armor Plate has an Earth mana cost of 8 per power level. If a Priest learns Cure Stone, then the Priest will accumulate more Earth mana with each level up then he or she would if the Priest had only learned Armor Plate. Learning the most powerful and available spells from each realm, Nuclear Blast for Fire, Resurrection for Divine, etc. will result in more accumulation of mana in that realm during each subsequent level up.
The Creation Process
The first video of the walkthrough is an edited version of my character creation process, and entering the dreaded castle for the first time.
This video would actually be a lot longer if I showed everything. I was patient, and insisted on getting at least 16 to 18 bonus attribute points for each character before accepting it, even if it wasn't an elite character like a Ninja.
Also, when you do get that lucky role, put ALL of your bonus attribute points into Strength. There's a specific reason for this. Only your initial Strength score at character creation will raise your character's carrying capacity. It will not go up even if you get more Strength at level-ups. This is your one and only chance to increase carrying capacity.
If you're interested in the details and whys behind the party members I created, follow the links below for each party member as follows:
And now that my party has been created, it is time to start the game itself in the Castle.
About the Author
I’ve submitted past guides to Sorcerer’s Place as Dave Milward. My alias here, however, is Beren. If there’s anything you’d like to share with me, by all means you’re welcome to send me an e-mail to beren or contact me via PM on the SP message boards. If I find anything particularly helpful and worth mentioning specifically, I’ll give credit where credit is due in updates.
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