Friday, December 9, 2016

Moria: Monsters

This game.

This goddamn game.

Okay, so I'm irritated with Moria, but really what I really should be typing is "my goddamn self", because I need to quit.  I need to quit, put this game behind me, move on to other games and never think of Moria again.  I could be playing something good.  Better yet, I could be playing something short.  But no, I'm still trying to beat the goals I set for myself in Moria, and could be doing so for months to come.

As you might have guessed, my character Robilar died.  Worse, he died when I was super-close to my goal.  I wanted to reach Level 50 of the Forest so that I could search for the Reaper's Ring, but I was killed by a Fire Elemental on Level 52.  (I was on a lower level than my target because I found stairs on Level 47 that went down multiple levels, and I was trying to make my way back up.)  I don't feel as though I made a mistake.  I was following my usual routine, cycling through the various attack forms, and when my Vitality dropped below 40 I tried to run away as usual.  And I failed.  And I failed again.  I failed over and over, while this group of Fire Elementals burned me to death.  It had been literally weeks since it took more than two attempts to run from a battle, so I don't know what the hell happened here.  Perhaps the difficulty level of the monsters ramps up after Level 50.

To my credit, I didn't miss a beat in creating another character and starting over.  My new character inherited a load of great items from my previous guy's guild locker, which has made surviving the early stages of the game really easy.  For the last week I've been grinding to get my stats back to a respectable level, and soon I'll head back into the Forest and try to make it to Level 50.  The good news is that I have the maps, so getting there won't take nearly as long.  Unless I die again.  Without the enforced patience that map-making provides, it's going to be hard not to descend too quickly.

To end this update on a more positive note, I completed my second goal and became the guild master of the Circle of Wizards.

There was nothing to it: once my Wizardry was higher than that of the previous guild master, I went to the guild and got the above message.  The only benefit of being the guild master seems to be getting another attack with your primary stat.  When casting spells, I could kill up to five monsters per round.  Other than that, nothing, which is a shame.  Still, it was nice to check off goal #2.  Now all I need to do is find that Reaper's Ring, and I'm done.  I may just throw an actual real-life party when that happens.

Now let's turn our attention from the fact of my death to the monsters that have been inflicting said death.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, the monsters encountered are different depending on which dungeon you're in; because I've spent the vast majority of my time in the Forest there are a decent number of monsters that I've never encountered.  At first they're encountered solo, but gradually their numbers increase the deeper you explore the dungeons.  They also start appearing in multiple groups, up to a maximum of three types at once.  I don't know if there's a cap on the number of monsters that can appear in each group.  I got to level 52, and was encountering groups with up to 15 monsters in them.  The dungeons have 60 levels each, so I can't imagine that the group sizes would get much larger.  The monsters definitely get stronger as well, but it's difficult to say by how much, because all of the number are invisible.  All I had to gauge it on was the damage dealt by my magic missile spells; by level 52, I was casting spells that dealt over 100 points of damage that monsters were surviving.  At the beginning that number was much lower (around 15-20), and it gradually increased as I descended dungeon levels.

There are eight categories of monster in Moria.  I'm just going to show the lists for each type, and write a bit about my experiences with them.  You'll see below that each monster has a Level, ranging from 5 to 80.  I don't know exactly what this number represents, other than a rough guide to which monsters are the most powerful.

There's not much to the humanoids in this game; they're all bags of hit points with no particular strengths or weaknesses that I've been able to discern.  There are a bunch on this list that I've never encountered: Seekers, Fritzes (?), and Sun Warriors being the strongest.  Killer Elites are deadly to lower level characters, but even though all monsters get stronger on the deeper dungeon levels, they eventually become a negligible threat.

Of the list above, Reapers are the deadliest, and with a Level of 90 they are theoretically the deadliest monster in the game.  I can confirm that: they hit often, and do a lot of damage.  Undead, however, are all super-weak against the Holy Word prayer.  It almost always kills them instantly, which turns the most dangerous monster in the game into a pushover.  I'm not complaining.

None of the Mythical monsters are particularly dangerous.  I've had low-level characters killed by Manticores, but it's not long before they can be easily dispatched.

Again, the Animal group has some monsters that are dangerous early in the game (Slasher Worms, Nematoads) but easy to kill later on.  A lot of the monsters on this list are susceptible to the Sleep spell.  There are also a few that give you food when you kill them, Lizards and Bears in particular.

The Priest class isn't all that deadly, but it does have one monster that is the enemy of starting characters everywhere: the Iconoclast.  With a Level of 75, it's by far the strongest monster that can be encountered in the Wilderness, which is the area that beginning characters will be doing most of their grinding.  Most of my characters that didn't make it past that stage were killed by Iconoclasts, which are hard to kill and (because your Cunning score is still low at that stage) hard to run away from.  Priests are weak against Dispell Magic, but that's not helpful early on because spellcasting drains a lot of Vitality.

All of these monsters are tough, with no obvious weaknesses, and remain so for the entire game.  Nothingnesses in particular are difficult to kill, and can deal a lot of damage at once.  Battles against large groups of Elementals can last a long time, with multiple instances of running away to heal before returning.

Magic Users are almost completely immune to spells.  With one exception they're not all that hard to kill, though.  That one exception is the Wondark, which is one of the monsters I hate most in the game.  When fighting large groups of monsters, I rely on spells to clear them out quickly (using the multiple attacks gained through advancement in my guild), but that can't be done with Magic Users.  They have to be killed one by one using the other attack forms, and with Wondarks that can take a while. 

High Priests can be dangerous, but other than that the Lawful monsters aren't all that tough.  I'm not sure what makes them Lawful, in the D&D alignment sense of the word: they're just as hostile as every other monster in the game, and they pal around quite readily with them as well.  I sometimes wonder if there's a non-violent way around these fights, but then I remember how much fun it is to carve through a pack of 15 Hobbits.

Well, that's it for monsters.  I have one more post for Moria lined up, on equipment, and there's a lot to discuss on that topic.  After that, I think I'm tapped out on this game.  If I haven't found the Reaper's Ring by then, it's probably time to shift Moria into the background.  I'll keep playing it, but I won't be blogging about it.  Instead I'll move on to the next game on my list, which is Oubliette, another PLATO CRPG that may or may not eat up the better part of a year.  Huzzah?


  1. Just read through this entire blog today, and I love what you're doing here. I'm a long time fan of chronogaming, and your dedication to beating these epic games is incredible. If I at all thought that I'd have the time (or had a masochistic streak), I'd offer to help by creating a character in Moria and teaming up with you, but I don't think that would end well.

    As a fan of OD&D it's been fun to see these games that were directly (or indirectly in this case) inspired by that rule set. It's just a shame that some of the creators felt the need to make their dungeons so uselessly big.

    Back in June you mentioned that you were playing the Wander game, A3. I'm guessing you abandoned that temporarily to focus on these PLATO games instead?

    Good luck in your continued quest for the Reaper's Ring. Godspeed.

  2. Man, it's kind of depressing to me that you could read through the whole blog in a day. I need to pick up the pace.

    Awesome to have an OD&D fan around - not sure if you know about my D&D blog, but it's over at, and I've been going through every D&D book in chronological order. Plugs aside, the main reason I chose RPGs and adventure games as the focus of the blog is that they're the two video game genres most influenced by D&D.

    As for A3, I played it for a day or so, but put it on the back-burner so that I could finish Moria more quickly. So much for that plan... My next post (coming soon, I swear) has a list of the next ten or so games I've got lined up, so that will tell you where A3 is in the pipeline.

    1. If it makes you feel better, it did take me a number of hours to read the entire thing and I'm a pretty fast reader. I've read quite a bit of CRPGAddict and The Adventure Gamer, and I prefer your approach because of the way you really explore the hell out of each game. It helps scratch my completionist's itch, even if it understandably takes awhile for you to make progress on these long games.

      Doing both genres makes game selection a little easier, too, since you don't have to make decisions on games that straddle the line between them. Of course, it makes your list inhumanly enormous, but hey...

      I actually knew about your D&D project back when it was on the forums (I think), but didn't connect the two until I popped over to that blog on Monday. I plan to sit down and do some reading there at some point. I'm currently running my 5e party through a mildly updated version of The Dwarven Glory with a lot of its 70s silliness intact. It's been a blast.

      I've also enjoyed what I've read of your two comics blogs so far. I can understand why you gave up on the Comics Odyssey one -- Golden Age comics are fine in small doses, but are really a slog when you sit down and try to read a bunch in a row. Someday I hope to do some creator-based (the founders of Image and Karen Berger -- for two very different looks at the 80s and 90s) comics blogs/podcasts, but I'm still in the acquisition and research stages.

    2. I don't agree at all that CRPG Addict covers games in less detail than I do - that was probably true of his early stuff, but the further through he gets the more in-depth his coverage gets. It's probably my favourite blog.

      And yes, I have a long list. It's crazy. I just can't stop taking on massive, never-ending blog projects. Comics Odyssey was one, and the main reason I stopped was that it was just eating up too much of my time.

      Projects on Karen Berger and the Image founders would be fascinating - talk about your opposite ends of the spectrum!