Let's Play Tales of Maj Eyal 1: The Trollmire, part 1

Welcome back to Let's Play Tales of Maj'Eyal. When last we left off, I had made a Shalore Alchemist, explained a bunch of talent stuff and game basics, noped out of the Shalore starting zone, picked up a quest to bring an Apprentice Mage an arcane artifact, and finally arrived...

In the Trollmire, the first zone we will be doing. But first..
This is Frost Infusion (the talent is sorta glowy because I had the mouse over it. It's the top, second from the left Talent in our box). Flame Infusion (which we unlearned at the start) and Acid Infusion (which we elected not to take) are much the same. They have a 'use mode' of Sustained- players usually call such Talents sustains. If we activate it...
It turns yellow, signifying that we are sustaining it. We also had our max mana reduced by 30, which you can see by comparing the screenshots (The blue bar is our mana)- this is because of how sustains work. They essentially reserve part of the relevant resource- in this case our mana- by reducing it's max (or somewhat more exotic ways for some of the more complicated resources. More on that when we get there.) by the stated value- 30, again. So we now have 90/90 instead of 120/120 mana.

We will probably never drop to 0 current mana, or at least not for a long time, anyways. Since Alchemists don't actually spend much mana on most of their talents. In any event, now that we have Frost Infusion sustained our Alchemist Gem Bombs will do cold damage instead of physical damage, all cold damage we do will be increased slightly (by 7%), which includes the now cold damage bombs, and our alchemist bombs will have a chance to freeze struck creatures. Freeze is a slightly complicated topic- the short version is it renders targets mostly helpless but also somewhat harder to kill.

You may have noticed that the description of Frost Infusion says we can't 'have more than one alchemist infusion sustain active at a time'. This is a large part of why you don't really want multiple of those trees- instead of stacking them, you get only one at a time. It offers a certain flexibility, but the Alchemist has a lot of things hungry for class points early on, and the big reason to want them is for elementally immune targets.

Very little is immune to physical, which your Alchemist Bombs do when none of the sustains are up. So you can just... stop sustaining one, rather than needing another to switch to.

From a long term perspective, one of the biggest reasons why I'm picking Frost Infusion is there are certain nasty, common, fire immune enemies that make me prefer to not be fire based, and a particularly nasty albeit somewhat rare regular enemy type that is immune to acid. There are things immune to cold, as well, but most of them are less troublesome, and several of the worst are pretty early game- where it's likely to cost us least to fall back on physical bombs.
Then we check out this talent- it's not an Alchemist talent or a Shalore talent, it's something that you have for wielding a staff.
We use it, and it asks which 'aspect' of the staff we want to call on. Picking one will direct us to another menu- in this case we pick Mage.
Mage staffs are one of fire, cold, lightning, or arcane. All staves give a damage boost to their type- so we pick cold, to make our frost infused alchemist bombs hit that bit harder. (certain 'egos', extra bonuses on the staff, also depend on what it's set to for typing)

For reference, Star aspect is pick one of Darkness, Physical, Temporal, and Light, while Vile aspect is Fire, Darkness, Blight, and Acid. The overlap is, as far as I know, pointless- except that there is a specific ego called 'greater' that makes the staff have all the boosts from that aspect. So you are, at that point, picking between Star's set, Mage's set, and Vile's set. Now then, that bit of simple optimization out of the way...
We can interact with our golem. It's the shield looking talent icon in the upper right of the talent box.
This brings us to this list of options. Let's give it a name.
Because why not name the sidekick after myself instead of the main hero?
We pop in again...
Change tactics gives us this list. I've never really bothered with anything but define tactical talents usage.
Here we see it's talents. We can ignore self destruction- it's a suicide maneuver, but the golem can't use it while we are alive. And if we die, we will take control of it directly. So, it's kinda irrelevant. Attack is the game's basic melee action.

Rune: Shielding is... Well, you have runes and infusions, which are collectively known as inscriptions, and fill the basic role of potions and scrolls and the like in most roguelikes... except instead of being limited quantity, you have a few inscription slots to fill which can then be used as regular talents in effect, and at any time you can use a rune or infusion to replace an existing one (which will start on cooldown and will not refund the replaced rune or infusion). Our golem can only accept runes, but has a few slots and starts with a shielding rune. Note the 'usage speed'- instant. It takes no time to use the talent.
So we set it's 'weight' to 100 so our golem will be really really likely to use it. It throws up a shield that blocks up to 100 damage, timing out after five turns, with the current rune (rune and infusion effects are variable in numbers), from any source. We also set 'Knockback' to a weight of 5, so the golem is five times as likely to choose to use it as it's regular attack- assuming it's off cooldown, anyways. Since it does better than base attack damage and attempts to knock the enemy away, it's generally going to be better.
Here's a look at our throw bomb talent, now that frost infusion is active. The listed damage type is ice, but the damage type is 'cold', in terms of resists- Ice is cold damage that freezes things, as I understand. There's a fair few variant damage types like that in the game. For all boosts, resists, and so on, it's Cold Damage.
In this screenshot, you can see my message log at the bottom- this screenshot was taken in response to Terrabrand (The Golem) rushing out of my sight with Knockback, which as you can see hurt 'something' (because we can't see what it hurt and thus don't know what it is) in the process.
Here I move up to see it fighting... (and some of what it is fighting; at least one unknown remains, as evidenced by 'something' hitting Terrabrand). That fancy bubble around it is it's shield rune, and the '(5 absorbed)' and '(8 absorbed)' refer to damage dealt to it's shield and not it's HP.
Here we see the copperhead snake our golem is fighting. It's down to 14 health, which apparently is 42% of it's HP, and it's after us; as you can see from its target. Enemies of rank 'normal' I mostly don't intend to show unless they are new or otherwise interesting- I took over 200 screenshots for Trollmire, and a lot of that was to show the blow by blow, more or less, so you can see how it works.
Here we... sorta don't see... the fox. It's behind the tree visually.
And there's the wolf, the canine guy in the back.
Let's remove those. I select Throw Bomb (and the game announces that I 'cast throw bomb' as soon as I do so), and here's the game's targeting interface, including the tile I selected to target ultimately. The blue tiles are the ones it will pass through- Throw Bomb will bypass creatures in it's path but not terrain obstacles- while the green tiles denote which ones it will actually affect. (the sort of teal ones are both categories, and that little cursor in the middle is of course our aim point if I recall correctly.)
And boom, fired. A second wolf has moved to the front, but we killed everything we could see plus probably killed a thing we could not. For level 1, Gem Bombs hit hard and especially in a large area- most classes are stuck with single target effects for this point in the game.
Now that we've used the gem bomb, it's on cooldown- the '3' means we need to wait three turns to do it again.
So we go to channel staff instead. Channel staff is a Generic Talent- Alchemists start with it, but most classes can get it by going to a certain place. It requires we are using a staff, and then basically allows us to use it to spend a little bit of mana to do a ranged attack with our staff.
Said attack does whatever damage type the staff is currently set to, ignores armor, and can't miss. (making it very much a spell, albeit a weak one). At this point in the fight, my Throw Bomb is ready again- announced in the log- but rather than using it, using up a more permanently used resource, I decided to just keep channel staff-ing to kill things, as the remaining enemies were basically a non threat.
And so the fight ends, courtesy of our Golem's melee.
To the victor go the spoils- this lantern to the southeast- lit up, sort of, because I'm mousing over it- was dropped by one of the enemies. It's got at least a couple of bonuses- 'infused by nature' and 'crafted by a master' refer to classes of buffs. For most classes, we largely don't care about these 'power source' things, but a given 'enchantment' is one of those categories. The ones you do broadly care about, relatively, are 'arcane disrupting forces', which cause a failure rate for all Spell talents.... which is the overwhelming majority of our abilities as an Alchemist, so we'll avoid equipment like that, and 'arcane forces'. Which... as a spellcaster type class, ironically or perhaps not, we don't care about.

But there is a reason why most non-spellcaster classes potentially care. We'll see that eventually, but probably much later(since we are playing a spellcaster). Incidentally, I know one of the enchantments has to be one of the ones that boosts light radius- the description tells me it's +5, even though a brass lantern's base is +2.

Light radius doesn't matter to us at the moment, because Trollmire is well lit as an outdoor area, so we see to our sight range (ten, at base, and currently), but if we were in a dark dungeon, which is to say most underground type areas and a high portion of the game generally, we'd be limited by our light radius. We start with a completely generic brass lantern which, again, gives a light radius of 2. This is awful, given we are ranged, and the enemies will see us fine. (they're actually not cheating, somewhat surprisingly. Many humanoid type enemies carry their own light sources, which light up their vicinity, which let's us see them from normal sight ranges)
And some gold to the north. Gold, unsurprisingly, is how we buy gear from shops.
So, here's that lantern in our inventory- it's a huge improvement over our existing one. Not only a light radius of 5 instead of 2, but it increases our maximum life- our HP, in other words- by forty four points. We only have 102. That's close to a fifty-percent increase for now, making us drastically less likely to die to a dumb mistake or unlucky encounter.
So we equip it, which raises our max without raising our current, hence us now being 'injured'. We can see our health numerically and as a red bar over in the upper left, and can see the percentage sort of health as a bar by each creature (on the left of it's graphic), colored green while at or near full health, changing to yellow as it gets lower, and finally going red in critical condition. You can see that in the earlier fight if you like, I just didn't want to focus on it at the time. (below our red health meter is our blue mana meter, which, in spite of absolutely spamming channel staff, is still at 60/90- well, 61/90, actually. This is what I was speaking of mana wise. Below that is a little gem thing that tracks how many 'alchemist gems' we have currently equipped, which is what we use to gem bomb people. It doesn't regenerate, we need to make more, hence my unwillingness to use one in mop up)
Then a forest troll rudely intrudes into us trying to rest. Our 'killed by you' is at 1- this is per character, not my account as a whole- but this is the first I saw. Probably, our golem killed a Forest Troll back when it was out of sight- or maybe one of our gem bombs did, incidentally while we were hitting offscreen things. Either way, we apparently killed one of these already, and it's notably tougher than other enemies we've seen. (it is, however, negatively resistant to Fire Damage- in other words, it actually takes increased damage. This would be a good short term argument for Flame Infusion but Trollmire is fairly trivial if you play with reasonable caution anyways.)
So I chuck a gem bomb at it, even though I honestly probably don't absolutely need to, to make this go quicker.
It dies in short order after that, we rest up, and then...
Well, we run north and find a giant crystal rat- currently offscreen, as the log helpfully tells me.
Here it is. (for reference, I am attempting to screenshot each enemy as we see it so you can see the games lore descriptions, or lack thereof.) I don't bother to gem bomb it, because it's weak enough we can just channel staff it to death easily. So, to be frank, screenshots might get a bit disjointed feeling from this point. This is because the game has a function called Autoexplore, (default hotkey: z, one of a few I use) that causes you to, well, automatically explore (after resting up to full resources) the level, stopping as soon as you see an enemy, get hurt, get debuffed, whatever. Which, rather than manually clicking around the levels, I usually mostly auto explore.

So I'll be doing that, and stopping for screenshots whenever I see something to talk about.
Giant grey mouse. It has literally one hitpoint. I assure you, if it did not die to the first channel staff, it's because it avoided the projectile.
And given my mana levels, it did die to the first projectile. Anyways. South of us is a gem, a citrine in specific. We care about gems more than most classes, though arguably not all, but the big thing to note is gems come in a variety of types, they have different effects on equipment, and when used to make alchemist gems to use as bombs. In this case, it would let us throw it farther than other gem types, increasing our max range for Gem Bomb. (this is honestly not very useful, in my opinion, but I readily admit I may be underestimating it.) I'll try to remember to explain the 'wielded/worn' vs 'imbue' thing later.
Anyways. We pick it up.
Quickly run into another forest troll, this one at a lower level with less hp and stuff. See some gloves off to the right among the trees.
We kill it, and you can see it dropped a sword...
And then heading east for the gloves we spot another forest troll, already fighting our golem.
At some point in the fight I use a gem bomb on something I can't see... (as well as this forest troll)
And then again to kill the fox, catching something I can't see. Incidentally, my Golem has gone offscreen, probably by using Knockback which involves charging in, If I haven't already said that.

'Probably' because, frankly, I took a whole bunch of screenshots and have been slowly writing this out, so I don't remember for absolutely sure.
Here we see this Forest Troll, which as the log says, 'misses Something'- almost certainly my Golem, which is off-screen at the moment.
Our first midge swarm. Midge swarms are mostly forgettable, albeit they are very fast.
First giant grey rat. Also mostly forgettable, though possessing a ranged poison attack as I recall.
And here we find a lore item- I think I failed to screenshot it on the ground, due to auto-exploring into it, but in any event with a few exceptions such items just... Give us setting/area lore.

... This is actually one of those exceptions- more on that before we finish with the Trollmire.
A staff and another item of some kind.
Our first Stone Troll. Not significantly different from the other trolls we have seen. But he interrupted checking the new items out.
This staff is a nice step up over our current. (we need to command staff it over to cold, of course, but a straight improvement once that's done.)

Also in this look into the inventory screen, we can see assorted gems, the Scrying Orb (it identifies items for us- I'm assuming it basically exists for legacy or modding type purposes, since we always start with it, and it works on anything we pick up. By 'legacy purposes', I mean that Tales of Maj'Eyal doesn't have an item identification 'minigame'- the orb tells you everything about anything you pick up. However, it ultimately descends from Angband, which does have you needing to use magic or various other methods to identify items- in other words, I suspect that Tales of Maj'Eyal would not include the orb and simply have you auto identify acquired items if it wasn't for that history to it.) and the Transmogrification Chest.

The Chest is one of the bigger departures from the new player experience, here- you don't start with it in a fresh account/file thing, and I know of no way to turn it off. It's basically a convenience feature first and foremost; you automatically pick up any items you walk over so long as you have it, and put them in the chest, (our items highlighted yellow are in the chest) and items in the chest are weightless. Upon leaving the current area- either going deeper into the zone or leaving the zone, either way- we'll be prompted for one last chance to remove items in the chest before they are automatically turned into gold (which is basically on the spot selling, in terms of giving us gold for the items).

We can also remove items from the chest at anytime, putting them in our normal inventory, or manually 'use' the chest to transmute everything in it.

Once you do a specific thing early-midway through the game, you unlock automatically starting with the chest. Until then, you wind up having to do without, which leads to a bit of tedium as you ideally several times per zone run back to a town and sell all the junk items you have been picking up to open up weight for more items.
Anyways, I command staff over to cold damage and move on. (around this time, I bothered to equip the gloves I found earlier. Thanks to not being enchanted, they're just a point of armor for us. But it's better than an empty slot, so may as well)
Oh, here we have a funny looking pot called a Font of Life.
There are several items like this... Dungeon features, really. In this case, everything within a couple of tiles gets some free health regeneration plus a few kinds of resource regeneration- if it's alive, anyways. I believe our golem doesn't benefit and we don't use any of those three resources, so mostly we don't care, but for eg various warrior classes it might make sense to draw particularly dangerous enemies over, and fight them from a position that has us benefiting and the enemy not.
Here's our first Black Jelly. There's a few moderately interesting things about them- they have a negative resistance to Light damage, which as I explained earlier means actively increased damage, they are 'immovable' class enemies, which means they are physically incapable of a basic move action, and they have a projectile launching talent that causes Global Speed loss. This is a very bad thing, as it means you do everything slower, so be careful fighting dangerous enemies while near them.

We can effortlessly kill it with Channel Staff, though, since it has a tiny 7 hp.
I no longer recall precisely when, but we also find this hat, which while the Nature Damage boost is irrelevant to us, I won't say no to the defense and minor resists since we don't have a hat yet.

That's about it for Trollmire 1. Join me next time in Trollmire 2.


Popular Posts