Salutations. RPGTrek continues with the well loved entry, Dragon Warrior III. Each week, I plan to detail my heroes journey through mysterious lands and deadly dungeons for your entertainment. If you play along, feel free to compare your experiences and leave comments about the similarities and contrasts. Please be aware that my journals contain some spoilry spoilers. If that works for you, click on the jump button and step into the shoes of this Utahan polygameist! (You can read all of the Dragon Warrior III journals here from the beginning. Start at the bottom.)
Journey of a Utahan Polygameist
Dragon Warrior III – Part 4
Shortly after saving the people from town, I wondered north and found a monastery. Large and well detailed, I spent some time just talking up with the various people hanging around. One of them mentioned a special book found in a tower to the north. My wary party followed the clue, hopeful that the sacred text would allow one of them to learn the secrets of becoming a sage.
For the record, I really enjoyed the tower. The tough enemies challenged my group at times, and I retreated once or twice to rest and recover. At first, I could not figure how to reach a few of the areas that I could clearly see, but eventually, and satisfactorily, figured that challenge out. Eventually, we recovered the tome, and headed back to town. Along the way, Win, my Jester/Goof-off, hit level 20.
Jesters can change to sage without using any ancient texts, so I did just that. As the game mentioned, my stats got cut in half and I started off at level 1. However, the instruction book failed to mention the way the stat increases work in the game. Without going into specifics, my sage ended up with horrible stat progressions, and at level 8 or so, had way too few magic points to cast more than a few spells. I did searched some FAQs to figure out this enigma and, as a result of my research, reloaded my saved game to pursue a different strategy for my wayward clown.
This is one of only two frustrations I have had with the game thus far. Ranking right up with the canniboxes that eat characters in one bite with no warning, the anemic description of the class change / attribute growth system leaves most players powerless over how effective their characters might become without the aid of an outside FAQ. To this day, this continues to raise my blood pressure in RPGs, especially ones where such choices have such impact over the effectiveness of the PCs. Nearly all pen and paper RPGs (from which console RPGs get their inspiration) make stat progression and the such very clear. Video game RPGs need to do the same.
With that said, after learning more about the system, I changed Win to a dealer, with a new plan to eventually change him to rogue and then warrior or barbarian. Given my newfound knowledge, it became clear that increasing the spells my characters know is really the *only* notable advantage to changing classes. Both dealer and rogue have some interesting, unique utility spells, so by rotating around his classes in that fashion, I could eventually obtain access to all of them.
With all locations in that area explored, we headed back to the ship and let the wind lead us. Heading east, we found a small town called Zipangu. With a strong Asian theme, I certainly felt like I had traveled to another land altogether. The people expressed anguish as someone or something powerful demanded that they sacrifice one of their children. By contrast, the leader, Himiko, seemed more concerned with kicking us out of town than solving this issue.
Nearby, we found a cave filled with lava and plenty of monsters. After some exploring, we found a five headed dragon named Orochi. We pulled out our weapons and ran forward, promptly getting killed in the process (reminder: put gold in bank!) After recovering, we returned, better prepared to take on this great danger. After a long battle, and using nearly every magic point in our group, we hurt the beast enough to cause it to retreat. We rushed forward into the portal it ran through and found ourselves back in the Asian themed government building. A stone throw away, we saw Himiko lying on the ground, bleeding.
She asks us… no, threatens us, to keep her secret quiet. Of course, we do not take kindly to threats, but we do need to rest. So, we retreated to an inn, rested and returned. Conveniently, Himiko stayed still, bleeding patiently on the ground while we recovered. We informed her of our decision to decline her not-so-gracious offer. She turned into a dragon and attacked us again! After quelling the beast again (this time for good), the people rejoiced and we claimed our first orb. While not sure how the orb functions or of its purpose, we move forward confident that we will need it in the not to distant future.