Wizardry V is a first-person, grid-based, RPG that stands as a wholly separate adventure without an arc associated with it. After assembling their party of adventurers, the player will confront many challenges and puzzles as they attempt to penetrate the dangers surrounding the so-called Heart of the Maelstrom stirring beneath a fantastic castle. It should not be confused with the Japanese version of the series which had long since spun off from the main franchise. It was published in October, 1992.
As in all other Wizardry games, Wizardry V is played from a first person 3D perspective. It would be the last game in the series to feature wire-frame dungeon walls, text-only interface design, and static 2D monster portraits although the visuals would be significantly upgraded for its console release on the SNES. On PCs, however, the various game environments are primarily distinguished from each other by (often quite verbose) text descriptions. Similarly, text messages and non-interactive dialogue sequences are used to advance the plot.
The relatively simple and clear interface is organized around a series of commands and actions listed at the bottom of the screen as well as a combined inventory and statistics screen. The original release of the game lacked mouse support but this was later added to subsequent versions.
Wizardry V did not offer an import option for characters/parties created in the first four titles.
Among the other features of the game were:
- Over 70 spells were available for casting
- 4 basic classes to choose from and four elite classes to upgrade to
- 5 races to create classes with
The game did not have any copy protection and creating a Scenario Diskette was needed in order the game on. The CD-ROM version of the game automatically circumvented this by creating one on the drive when installed.
The manual was also noteworthy for being written in a way that made Wizardry V appear appealing to newcomers with little to no experience with an RPG. Illustrated with humorous drawings and a great deal of detail worked into its text, it also outlined several key monsters/encounters that the party may discover on their trips into the Maze.
Long ages have passed within the Kingdom of Llylgamyn. The evil of Werdna is but legend, the secrets of the Knight of Diamonds long forgotten, and the Mad Overlord has become but a story to scare little children into doing what their parents say. The descendants of the legendary heroes of old have long since disappeared, but the Orb that they had recovered in their last and greatest adventure continues to provide knowledge to those that seek its wisdom. With its revelations on the secrets of life and magic, it spurred much debate and would found a new school of magic organized around what it had shared with those that dared to look into its depths. The Orb was handed to the Brotherhood of Llylgamym for safekeeping and peace reigned throughout the land.
But things began to grow dark once more. Strange weather was the first sign, sickness the next. What was happening? People looked to the orb for help, fearing that it had lost its powers. The High Council was called together behind closed doors. Weeks passed, but with the use of powerful magic and the grace of both the ancient and new gods, they found what they were looking for.
They discovered that the very fabric of reality was coming apart and that the source of this chaos was an unnatural, magical vortex located beneath the Brotherhood's Temple within a maze of caverns and tunnels. It was a place known as the Maelstrom. It had long been a home to foul beasts and the outcasts of the land and there, a great evil now festered threatening not only the land but the entire world. All that we knew may cease to exist if its growth isn't stopped.
They sages of the High Council knew only one answer: to seek the help of a demi-god known as the Gatekeeper. Once a mortal, his power grew to a point where it soon became divine and had inherited the responsibility of watching over and maintaining the balance of magic and the natural world. He might be their only hope, assuming that he would listen to mortals.
But the sages were confident that their call would be answered, so grave was the danger. However, to their utter horror, they learned that the Gatekeeper himself was held prisoner in the heart of the very vortex they wished him to destroy! Terrified, the Sages turned ot the Brotherhood whose knowledge of the mystical and magical exceeded their own. Here, a tale of evil and treachery was scried by Brother Drew, High Prophet of the Brotherhood.
They learned of a renegade Brother, a woman named the Sorn, whose wish it is to end all order in the universe. She had discovered a means to create an ever-growing rift in reality...the very vortex that now threatens the land. From this destruction will come a new universe where chaos will reign and the world will no longer exist. It was she who trapped the Gatekeeper and made him prisoner. She must be stopped lest everyone perish in her madness.
It has been three years since these events were discovered and the vortex continues to grow. Time is growing short. Two of the most powerful sages in the kingdom, Fontizan and the High Sage Yeldarb have begun to seek warriors brave enough to enter the caverns beneath the Temple of the Brotherhood, find the Gatekeeper, and free him from the vortex. However, they must first defeat the evil Sorn.
In order to even have a chance, the adventurers must first seek out G'bli Gedook, the High Priest of the Brotherhood. He is the guardian of the Orb of Llylgamym and resides in the first layer of the caverns just under the temple. From there, they must descend into the depths of the Maze and battle whatever the Sorn can conjure up to stop them.
After many battles and adventures, a party did achieve the impossible and confronted the Sorn deep below the Temple. By closing the Triaxial Gate which was the source of the rift and calling forth the Gatekeeper, they destroyed the shield that had protected the Sorn and its minions. In the battle that followed, the Sorn was ultimately defeated and the Triaxial Balance restored.
Wizardry V is a tile or grid based movement, first-person RPG set in a mysterious Castle that serves as the base for party management and the Maze in which the adventure takes place. Party size is limited to six members, although smaller parties are even allowed but not suggested for survival. The player must find penetrate the dangers and mysteries of the Maze in order to stop the nefarious Sorn dwelling within the Heart of the Maelstrom. But, in order to do, the party must also negotiate the Maze and deal with its dangerous inhabitants as well as solve the puzzles that stand in their way.
The Maze comprises the central theater for the adventure and is comprised of several levels, each with its own distinct dangers and puzzles to solve. The lack of an automap (which had yet to become a standard feature of RPGs at the time of W6's release) means that the player is required to draw his or her own maps or otherwise rely on unofficial game guides and walkthroughs in order to navigate the mazelike multi-level dungeon.
Saves could only be made anywhere, but Wizardry V's setup on PCs had an additional side-benefit to doing so. It would allow players to quick-save their progress and quit out of the scenario and if they chose to start at the Castle with a fresh party, they could wander back into the Maze and even encounter their old party where they had left them.
Levels were earned after gaining the requisite experience as well as resting at the Inn back at the Castle. It was possible to continue adventuring well after the previous experience limit was met and earning several levels at once after a restful stay at the Inn.
This was the central location for the player's management options concerning their party. Here, several locations were available by hotkey:
- Gilgamesh's Tavern - A dim and smoke filled place with a perpetual haunch of boar roasting over the fire, small groups of adventurers congregate here discussing their latest exploits or hoping to join a party. This is where the player will build their party from characters they create.
- Adventurer's Inn - Rest is offered as long as the party can afford their stay. Several different rooms are provided ranging from the Stables to a Royal Suite, each with their own rate of healing. This is also where resting characters can level up once they have the requisite experience.
- Temple of Cant - More severe ailments are handled here, again for the right 'donation'. Paralysis, poison, and even the dead can be brought back to a sense of normalcy after enough coins are shared with the faithful.
- Boltac's Trading Post - A friendly dwarf named Boltac operates this in the Castle's market area, providing his services to anyone that can afford them. Arms, goods, and even his experience in identifying certain items can all be purchased with the right coin. The party can even sell their ill gotten gains here to free up their pockets for even more loot that they might come across. Boltac can even remove cursed items, although the party will also lose the item once it's "uncursed."
- Edge of Town - From here, the party can visit the Training Grounds, enter the Maze, or head back to the Castle.
- The Maze - Many adventurers seeking fame, glory, and experience eagerly dive into the dangers of the Maze. Other adventurers, monsters, and even a few riddles await them here as they head ever deeper into the depths in search of evil.
- Training Grounds - New characters are created here and players can also inspect older characters to see if they need a few changes of their own.
Not every monster wants to stick the party's heads on a pike and some might even be very helpful. When these NPCs (non-player characters) are encountered, the party have several options that they can explore. They can talk to them which brings up a text parser for inquiries to made with, similar to that found in interactive fiction.
The player can also barter with them if they have anything to sell, or if they want to buy something from the party. The party can also opt to give them something for free in order to get onto their good side. Stealing is also another option and a charm spell can also be cast to help them see the party in a better light. Or, if the player wants, they can just opt to fight and kill whoever they had been having a nice conversation with. The player just needs be sure they can live with the consequences, or have enough coin to resurrect them with once they've had their fun.
Wizardry V's puzzles were focused primarily around riddles and items that were needed to get by certain obstacles. Most notable was its maze-like dungeon with many random encounters thrown in for good measure.
Picking Locks and Disarming Traps
Picking locks was as simple as having a Thief (or a mage with the proper spell) in the party to do so depending on their expertise. Disarming traps, especially on treasure chests, was much more different. A character with the proper skill could inspect the chest and determine what kind of trap was on it. Once they made their assessment, it was up to the player to disarm the trap by opting to do so and then typing the trap's name in. If they are correct, the trap is disarmed.
This command allowed the party to camp out in the middle of the dungeon. This also enabled the player to inspect their party members and also re-order their party's marching order. This also allows the player to equip their entire party at once if they so choose.
There are magical pools that the party can dive into in order to discover anything of worth within their depths. Characters will learn the art of swimming over time and with enough experience in diving into pools.
Wizardy V also came with a pamphlet outlining several special encounters within the Maze complete with illustrations showing what they looked like. These NPCs could provide the player with clues, special items, or simply challenge the party with death.
He operates the local Maze Mart. He can be found bartering his goods, buying others gems, and battling an adventurer or two on the first level of the Maelstrom. He boasts "The Best Dungeon Prices" and comes in handy to adventurers in need.
He determined that there was a place for a "Shop" in the Maze and that's where it first began. Business was slow at first, he only sold a few potions to Ice Phantoms and weapons to fighters, but gradually through word of mouth and an intense grafitti effort, business picked up.
He's a well trained fighter, but friendly. After all, the customer is always right (well, most of the time!).
- The Laughing Kettle
Believe it or not, there's actually a land where Kettles roam freely (if that's what Kettles do), the motherland of Fymia. It is the origin of The Laughing Kettle.
Back in his homeland, he was well-educated, respected and loved. However, tension eventually grew as the Kettle began to spout information no one understood time after time. His one-time friends talked behind his back; "He thinks he knows it all!" Actually, the Kettle was only trying to help them. The taunting continued, and he decided he had heard enough. It was time to leave this blessed soil to head for the Maelstrom... with a bang. And a bang it was! Granted, it wasn't the right thing to do. No one remained. He laughs today at this event, and likely will laugh tomorrow.
The Kettle has been around the Maelstrom for years, and despite his laughter, his wisdom is great. He's still your everyday "know-it-all."
"Adventure getting you down? Combat's just not going as well as you had planned? Come to Manfretti's, the fun center of the Maelstrom." That's what the graffiti said. But there is more to Manfretti's, both in fun and in lore, than meets the eye.
There you'll find things to delight your senses, thrill your spirit, and warm your heart. It was all created for you by the magical Manfretti, a man who had a love for life and a first-rate sense of humor. He realized that once in awhile even the best needed a break, and so he and a group of his female associates carved from the rock within the Maze until he had created room for his fun center. It took the Manfretti and the five women years of work. When they finished, Manfretti smiled at their achievements and planned for more.
Saying good-bye to the ladies, off he went in search of more "fun things to do." Time went by, but he never returned, and to this day, Manfretti's whereabouts are unknown. Yet the ladies he left behind continue on his dream; they keep the fun center alive, all the while hoping for his return. When you visit, and I am sure you will, you may meet one of them, and you should meet all.
- Ye Dragon's Flagon
If only these walls could talk, what a story they would tell. From far and near, the weary, dwarf fighters who inhabit the Maze come to the Dragon's Flagon in search of the three R's: rest, relaxation and rye.
It's truly an interesting place. Somehow those little fingers have managed to disguise the bar. You won't find it... ever; it's their private reserve (with all profits channelled back to the five dwarfs in the Flagon's membership, of course). It was established in 674 b.m. (before Maelstrom) to honor the much beloved and huge Dragon of Bhjimo, who carried her likewise huge flagon everywhere. After her death at the hand of Yetteje, a robust samurai, the dwarf fighters dragged the flagon to its current, undisclosed location.
Should you happen upon this place, you can almost always find one of the dwarfs willing to talk if you've got the ear to listen. They have been around the maze, and might be able to offer something of value. But occasionally, adventure calls the dwarf fighters, so be prepared to make several return visits.
The Togo Llama
No one can pass up a gaze at this breathtaking creature. Imagine a llama in a toga. It's not an everyday sight, nor is this an everyday animal.
Many, many years ago a clan of llamas roamed the plains of Lytricidickydo. The plains were sizzling hot, but the llamas had adapted to this environment fairly well. Then one day an adventurer by the name of Nalla Orman came along, bartering his goods.
"I have here the most wondeful item. It's something you need to stop that blasted heat. I'll sell you this exclusive designer toga for only 5000 gold pieces. You won't find another one like it anywhere!"
And so he went on... and on... and on. Eventually the llamas bought his story and his togas. Whether they did it just to shut him up, no one knows. Nonetheless, they followed him back to the Castle and into the dungeons where the air was cool and the living was easy. Hence is the story of the Toga Llama.
The Ruby Warlock However, the spirits got him. Bottled spirits, that is. He can be seen asking passers-by for a sip. Of course, the creatures of the Maze look upon The Ruby Warlock with pity, and help him when they can. He's not really a bad fellow, just a Warlock who fell by the wayside.
The lore of the Ruby Warlock goes back quite a ways. It seems he's been around forever. In his younger years, he was quite a gem. He practiced spells every day, and looked forward to the time when he, like those before him, could walk the lower levels proud and unafraid.
He still remains a fairly laid-back individual, unless provoked. As "Warlock" would imply, he is chock-full of magical power! So take care in your words and your actions.
- The Ghosts' Nest
So you've never seen a ghost. You will likely see one of yourself if you're not careful. Yes, this is the legendary Ghosts' Nest, home to those who have refused to accept the fact that... well... they are dead.
The whereabouts of this dwelling are unknown, even to me. But I have been told on more than one occasion that it is not a place for the meek. Even the strongest, they say, will perish underneath the vapory fingers of its inhabitants. Unfortunately, it's likely that there is a ghost on duty at all times, so a "pleasure stroll" is out of the question.
I found once an old scroll in the dust of the Maze; I know not why I tell you. It may be of no matter. The parchment was badly soiled, and the words were nearly gone. I could decipher part of its tale: "Death awaits, gold comes, terror abounds... from the three, straight to thee..."
- The Den of Thieves
Banned from virtually every corner of the Maelstrom is the troop of bandits who shelter at the Den of Thieves. The poor souls are misunderstood outcasts in their own Maze. They're really a nice crew (as long as you keep your stuff secure). However, they are a bit hard to find.
Throughout the years they've managed to assemble a lot of items stolen from various, fool-hearty adventurers. Swords, shields, bows, potions... you name it. Naturally, in order to protect themselves, they needed a good hiding spot. Three of the thieves were certain that a room deep within the caverns would be the perfect spot. However, another member of their guild reminded the ambitious members that monsters (and he meant monsters) lived in those depths. Finally, the wisest of them all announced his plan to the agreement of the rest. The Den was to be established in an area where no light shown. It was hoped you would never find the door.
Try, hard, adventurer! For as they pick your pockets, you can pick their minds. As sneaky as they are, a word or two not meant for their ears may have been heard. Check in on them often for the latest gossip.
- The Hurkle Beast
Lurking and stalking, working and talking are the traits of the infamous Hurkle Beast. He is the last of the Hurkeniskon species, all of whom "hurkle" often. If you should hear the chant while traversing the caverns, it's likely this chap is nearby.
A few brave adventures of times past captured the Hurkle Beast and encaged him in a box. None thought his escape was possible. However, the box proved too weak for the creature, and his breakout was natural. In tatters, the cage still remains, but the Hurkle Beast roams free.
Unfortunately, the Hurkle Beast can't figure out how to leave the area to return to his homeland, Hurkazownia. So, here he remains.
The Snatch is a crafty little thief who hangs out at Manfretti's. As with most thieves, The Snatch has overheard many conversations. And, like those in his profession, he can't keep a secret very well.
The Snatch began his career rather slowly, but then inspiration struck. He applied for membership at the Den of Thieves. Virtually a novice in his profession, he hoped that the members would teach him a thing or two. If not, he'd simply take it. Within two weeks, his application had been unanimously DENIED. He passed none of the stealing tests and got caught three times attempting to steal information. Yet, he passed the important tests; that is, those tests important to The Snatch! He stole "The Thieves Handbook" from the Den, the member's ideas and their trade secrets to boot. He never wanted membership; he only wanted all they had to give.
They never intended to be the way they are. Not so long ago, they were friendly, light-hearted individuals. Now, they roam the Maze, bent on the revenge of an unknown cause. Everyone who greets them is subjected to attack and only rarely will they offer the party a truce.
The story of their transformation is unknown, but the Gwylion's change occurred shortly after it was declared that Manfretti was missing. Some speculate that the girls loved Manfretti; others, such as I, believe it was jealousy of those who enjoyed his company. When Manfretti was around, they would listen to his jokes and stories for hours on end. After his disappearance, their visits lessened, and gradually ended. They may still search for him today.
Feel sorrow for these poor beasts, but not enough to render yourself open to their attacks. Surely, they will show you no mercy.
The player can opt to start with the batch of pre-made character provided for them by the game or create their own.
Characters can actually age in Wizardry V if they rest too much. Resting at the Inn can last anywhere from a single day to a year depending on how much gold the player has in reserve. Resting replenishes a party's health and stamina, readying them for the road ahead, but rest enough times and a character will start to age. But when they first start out in the game, they are at an extremely young age. Death by old age is hardly expected, but it is a possibility.
The character classes belong to one of two categories; Base or Elite. Base classes (Fighter, Mage, Priest, Thief) are often considered the 'starting' class for a character whereas Elite classes (Lord, Bishop, Samurai, Lord, Ninja) typically benefit from having better fighting skills and eventual proficiency in magic. The initial statistics requirements for Elite classes are noticably higher than for the Base classes, making the former much more difficult to create at the start of the game.
As with quite a few RPGs, Wizardry V includes the option to change character class during the course of the game at the Training Grounds when inspecting a character. The incentives to do so in Wizardry V are comparatively strong as many abilities are retained from the original classes, and since characters who recently changed classes during mid-game can often gain levels rapidly (thus enabling the player to raise skill points and fill out spell books much faster than would otherwise have been possibly).
Alignment largely determines what kind of class a particular character can be.
The four basic classes are:
- Fighter - High hit points and experts at using any weapon and piece of armor, they are a grounded class that can dish out the damage as well as take it.
- Thief - No party is complete without a thief who can pick locks and disarm traps. While they aren't the greatest of fighters, they rely on their sneakiness to backstab their enemies.
- Priest - Long known as skilled healers, their talents are important for any party heading out into danger. They can also dispel the undead. They cannot be of neutral alignment.
- Mage - The classic wizard. As they become more powerful, their spellbooks will continue to add many new pages filled with deadly spells.
The four elite classes are:
- Bishop - Like a Priest, they are able to heal their friends and dispel the undead. They are also able to uncurse items that become permanently stuck to a character, freeing them. They can also learn any spell from any of the other schools. The downside is that their learning rate is also a bit slower, so the selection of spells that they may have will take more time to develop. But with their uncurse ability, they're nigh indispensible. They must not be neutral.
- Samurai - A true swordsman. At the fourth level of experience, they begin to learn Mage spells. They cannot be of evil alignment because of their adherence to the code of Bushido.
- Lord - Skilled as a fighter as well as being pious enough to cast a few spells, they are likened to paladins and crusader knights. They start learning priestly spells around the fourth level of experience. They can also only be of good alignment.
- Ninja - An assassin and a rogue, they can kill with weapons or their bare hands, sometimes being able to kill the strongest enemy with a single blow. They disdain armor and become far harder to hit and tougher to kill as they gain levels. They also have all of the skills of thief and are able to disarm traps. They can also hide in shadows and ambush enemies. They must also be of evil alignment.
The races include familiar fantasy characters such as the Elf, the Dwarf, the Gnome and the Hobbit.
- Humans - Balanced without any serious flaws, a good, even keeled race that can belong and excel at any profession.
- Elf - They excel at the intellectual classes, such as Mages, or Bishops. Keenly interested in study.
- Dwarf - Gruff, short in stature, but tough and reliable, dwarves make excellent Fighters while their piety can also find them a career as a Priest.
- Gnomes - Found underground and often overlooked by the larger races, their quiet and studious nature make them ideal as Mages or Priests.
- Hobbit - Friendly, nimble, and otherwise unassuming, they make surprisingly decent Ninja, Samurai, or Thieves.
Attribute scores had a maximum value of 18 and determined a variety of effects and class eligibility requirements. Many of these attributes were particularly important across many classes across a variety of skills. Characters can improve their attributes thanks to the investment of points earned with every level.
- Strength - Determines how much damage a character can lay into a monster as well as how much weight they can carry around with them. It also affects certain weapon skills and plays into stamina
- I.Q. - Important for spellcasters.
- Piety - This is important for a character's ability to concentrate on the task at hand. It also affects how many spells a character may be able to learn and their effectiveness with them.
- Vitality - Very important for hit points, the chance for resurrection, the ability to resist damage and disease, and general health.
- Luck - Ambiguous but it also has mysterious effects on many other factors
As with many RPGs, character development was driven by experience points which translated into levels. When a character gains a level after resting an an inn:
- Spellcasters may be able to learn a new spell
- Depending on their statistics, a character may even change their class
- Hit points will also improve
Combat in Wizardry V was a turn based affair with random encounters providing the cannon fodder that would feed the party's thirst for experience points. When enemies encountered the party, a list of enemies along with a picture showing what they were onscreen.
Similar to other RPGs of the era, its strict turn-based system halts the passage of time until the player performs an action (such as moving around or casting spells). In combat, the order in which characters act is determined primarily by their speed statistics, although the player issues orders to every character in the party before commencing a turn. Besides using melee and/or ranged weapons and casting spells, characters with the appropriate skills can hide (which means enemies cannot hurt them), use items in their inventory, equip new weapons or items or try to run away from battle which, if successful, results in the entire party fleeing from the enemies. It is not possible to save the game or restore a saved game while in combat mode, but there are no other restrictions on when and where the player can save the game.
In each round of combat, everyone makes their selection of actions as the game calculates who will have initiative and then executing their orders. When several groups of monsters are encountered, the player is able to pick out who the targets are from the generated list shown onscreen.
- The FM Towns version featured enhanced CD quality music.
- By this point, the Wizardry series was so popular in Japan, an anime spin-off was created.