Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

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Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 08 May 2013 01:15

So while playing obscure old games no one has probably heard of or remembers, I realized something. Gensokyo is a fantasy land of forgotten things; old games can be forgotten things; many forgotten games often tell a story of other fantasy worlds filled with forgotten things. In some lame attempt at meta humor, I propose that touhou's have far more in common with slime laboratories, kings named after ancient goddesses of sex, and holy Macintosh wielding heroes than you might think.

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"Blessed by the ghost of the late Steve Jobs himself, this baby will deal a crushing blow to Apple's enemies undead."

In other words, there's this nifty little game by the name of Dark Lord which was released only in Japan for the Famicom in 1991. It's a surprisingly deep and expansive RPG of sorts that incorporates all sort of neat touches, especially for its time. An English patch was released for this game some years back, and I was thinking, maybe some resident touhou's might be interested in helping seal away this evil Dark Lord and his minions of demihumans again? It'd be just like an incident! Well, minus the danmaku...and tea, but you get the idea. You know, like one of those Let's Play things that have gotten so popular as of late.

Seeing as I've never done anything like this before, I'll be winging the whole process. No, there will be no refunds of time if this ends up sucking and you decide you hate me forever. You have been warned.

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You know he's evil because he's dark.


So what's all this about some Dark Lord? Like most rpgs out of 1991, the plot follows an ancient battle between good and evil. Two gods duke it out while everything is all chaos, agony, and suffering. The 'good' god manages to seal away the 'bad' god and his minions of 'demihumans', but doing so takes the last of his energy. You can probably tell where this is going...

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"Where were you on the night of the Dark Lord's unsealing?"
"...not the Dark Lord's chamber?"


Anyways, no such lofty decree or goal of battling gods is given to our band of adventurers upon setting out, not yet anyways. I mean, they're a bunch of farmers. What's a band of farmers going to do that an entire god couldn't accomplish? Like every other rpg from the whimsical early 1990s, beat things to bloody pulps until they are no longer measly farmers, but mighty warriors, that's what. But this is a long ways off for now, for even in video games, you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Squashing slimes, cleaning up several decade old wine stains off of a cellar floor before getting eaten by giant moles... Yeah, life is a bitch like that.

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"Real men eat mold for breakfast!"
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"Sissy girly men like you will never get a girl!"
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"You in the dress! I want a sammich after you're done here, you hear me?"
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"What's taking so long back there? I'm hungry dammit!"


Speaking of gods, the kingdom our adventurers will be spending their hopefully not always peasant farmer lives in is ruled by a man named Ishtar. Yeah, I don't know either, but I already don't trust the guy. He also looks suspiciously like the 'good' god from the intro sequence. Getting tricky there, game.

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"Surely you jest, whoever heard of a Babylonian god by the name of 'Alphaz'...I mean, of course I've no relation to the Assyrians!"

So what's a touhou to do with all of this mess? Let's paint a hypothetical situation for a moment, shall we? Let's assume that this is just another world, much like Gensokyo. We know that things have a tendency to pass from outside the boundaries of Gensokyo's world. We also know that a particularly mischievous gapper of hax likes to cause problems for fun. So let's assume our band of adventurers, who will no doubt eventually be tasked with the work of petty gods (seriously, it's like everyone always has to suffer whenever the gods have an argument at the dinner table), are more familiar to Gensokyo than the one they've found themselves in.

In other words, who wants to subject themselves to this insanity and volunteer themselves as a character for this playthrough? There are 6 available character slots total, but only three can be in an active party at a time. You have a choice between being a fighter or wizard, though there are several occupations you can choose from and change between once in game. More on these later. Beyond that, you do have the option between being male or female. Beyond cosmetic appearances (the two classes even have unique sprites for both genders), gender determines base stats. Yeah, Dark Lord is sexist like that.

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The girls don't look half bad for 8-bit either

I will say right now, rerolling if you don't like your stats+bonus points is a big pain and time consuming to do more than a few times. First, you have to allocate all the bonus points and then say no to creating the character, then you have to start the entire process again (name->class and gender->confirm->reroll). I'm not going to spend time minmaxing here, but I will reroll if what you get is obviously terrible. Considering that the only variance in rolls is in the HP, MP and bonus points, any such rerolls will be cases of low hp and/or mp and/or low bonus points, which the game likes to throw at you.

The base stats for class and gender are as follows:

Male Fighter
Strength 9
Defense 8
Intelligence 4
Dexterity 6
Agility 7
Vitality 9
Divinity 5

Female Fighter
Strength 8
Defense 7
Intelligence 5
Dexterity 7
Agility 7
Vitality 8
Divinity 7

Male Wizard
Strength 6
Defense 5
Intelligence 8
Dexterity 7
Agility 9
Vitality 7
Divinity 6

Female Wizard
Strength 5
Defense 4
Intelligence 9
Dexterity 8
Agility 8
Vitality 6
Divinity 8

HP average is lower for wizards than for fighters and MP average is higher for wizards than for fighters, as you'd expect. Bonus points seem to range from 2 to 5

The only stat that isn't self explanatory is Divinity. It is described as '??? May have all sorts of effects'. My guess is that this is the game's closest equivalent to a luck stat.

Ok, so back to the occupation thing. See, the kingdom of Ishtar is home to only two kind of people, people who make things happen with their muscles, and people who make things happen with magic. Not everyone makes their living stomping rats or melting zombies though, there's a whole slew of occupations one can take on. Everyone starts as a farmer, maybe it's some archaic law? That or it's a conspiracy by Ishtar the totally not god masquerading as king to ensure that humans are ill equipped to do anything against the gods as a race of lowly farmers, enabling the gods and demihumans to continue their Friday night poker games unabated.

Anyways, you can change your job at anytime you're not out on a quest, this includes when you first jump into the game after forming your party. Jobs are based on certain stats having a minimum value. As far as I can tell, only one stat is required for any job. Due to how base stats are setup, there's certain jobs that any level one adventurer can take on. Some of the more minmaxed types might have the 10 points necessary for some of the more interesting jobs, but many more just won't be accessible until levels are gained and stats are raised. I have no idea what each job affects, nor even which stats are needed for what (they only give numbers, not the stat needed; stupid non-character efficient English language...). In other words, this is as much of a learning process for me as it is for you all. I do know that occupations will affect your stats overtime and allow you to learn new abilities in some cases. The game progresses one month at a time, either after taking on a quest (success or fail, doesn't matter) or by choosing to let a month pass in town.

This is getting pretty long winded, so what I need from test subjects, interested volunteers is the following:

  • Name - this doesn't have to be your forum character(s) or even a touhou at all, I just thought going with the touhou crossover would be fun and silly.
  • Gender - Indoor or outdoor plumbing?
  • Class - Burly fist bumper, or blasty mage blob?
  • Stat preferences - which stat(s) do you want to allocate your bonus points to? If it comes down to it, would you prefer more points in hp and/or mp, or in bonus points for the other stats?)
  • Personality/demeanor - I plan on interpreting what happens in game in terms of narration between party members. You know, something to actually make this interesting. Just give me an idea of how your character would act in a given situation. If you want, an example from an existing character would suffice. Obviously if we keep with the touhou theme, I have a good idea of how your characters might behave.
  • Occupation - After we get everyone made, I'll take you all three at a time down to the town hall to pick your new job. Unless, of course, working in the fields suits you just fine. Since I won't know what options you have until we get there, we'll have to figure this out down the road.

Beyond that, I haven't quite decided how I'm going to handle changing out the two teams of three, or who will be grouped with who. For now, let's just get the above started. Please reply here if you're interested so that everyone can see. Not everyone will necessarily be around on irc to see what is discussed, so let's keep LP relevant discussion on the boards here. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about the game, how things work, or how I will be handling this LP in the meantime.
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Ichirin Kumoi » 08 May 2013 01:41

I volunteer myself! :D

Name: Ichirin (or Ichi if the character's limit is lower)
Gender: Female :P
Class: Fighter
Stat preferences: Please put more into agility and strength. A bit of luck helps too.
Personality/Demeanor: You can use my PoIR canon persona, so happy punching! :D
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 08 May 2013 01:51

The character limit is actually one letter shy of accepting your full name, sadly (6 characters). Unless you prefer 'Ichiri' I'll be using Ichi.

That's one spot taken, 5 to go!
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Ichirin Kumoi » 08 May 2013 01:52

You can use Ichi, it's better. After all, it's how most of you call me on IRC.
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Aya Shameimaru » 08 May 2013 02:23

Aya, reporting for badassery! And i better be a fighter or something. Or whatever class you can become ingame that's more speedy.
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 08 May 2013 02:46

That's 2 then. I know thief is an occupation, with a minimum of 10 in a stat required to take (I think dexterity), but I don't know what occupations give speed yet. What I may do is experiment with passing time in town on jobs I can get with starting stats and see what changes what. I think I remember you gaining experience for your occupation that way at least.

I just want to avoid doing the quests/missions, as those are the unique segments of the game where all the action happens, and they don't change at all on repeat playthroughs. I did play this game a bit a year or so ago, but I have largely forgotten most of what I saw. I want to spoil as little as possible to myself before we get our adventure started, but where possible, I will experiment in town to see what useful information I can acquire.

4 open spots left, who's a bad enough touhou?
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 08 May 2013 16:39

So as it turns out, I had some translated web pages that explain basics and such of the game sitting in the folder with the translation patch. Seems not every one of the original web pages were translated. Luckily for us, google translate is a thing. Even luckier, the information we're after that isn't already translated is in the form of easy to figure out tables of information.

So first, some very important things I have learned:

  • The kingdom of 'Alphland' is silly and counts only 6 months in a year. This also means that everyone ages twice as fast compared to this world. Not that age seems to affect touhous much, we should still aim to get the Dark Lord sealed quickly for my own sanity.
  • By the way I am reading things, it seems that it's literally impossible for the denizens of Alphland to be knowledgeable of more than 4 things in their entire life and that what has been learned can never be unlearned. While our band of adventurers may not be native to this intellectually backwards place, it seems everyone is inflicted this curse upon setting foot into Ishtar's domain. (Memory limitations seriously suck) In other words, don't stick around farming if you want to be able to do more than plant corn, water crops, sheer nonexistent sheep, or make moonshine. While that last one might be nice for making some side income inbetween smashing giant mole head, I doubt planting corn at a group of zombies is going to deter them much from eating your ear.
  • Permadeath is actually a thing. This is actually what your Vitality stat is for in this game. Each attempt at reviving a character depletes their Vitality stat by 1. Yes, a failed attempt will deplete the stat too. When your Vitality reaches zero...you guessed it. Since it is a stat, and all stats are subject to raising as they are to lowering, I don't think we'll have any problems so long as no one starts getting recklessly suicidal. Sorry Ichi, but I'm going to have to ask you refrain from punching everything. I'm fairly sure your nunly powers will be required to take down this Ragmeila fool.
  • Divinity is the game's luck stat rolled in with charisma. At least, it affects the prices of things in shops and is cited as 'the more Divinity a character has, the luckier they are'.
  • Most importantly, I have uncovered the occupation tables, which can be found here. What those unforgettable abilities do is anyone's guess, all I know is that Ichi better be learning 'Fighting Jump' and it better kick as much ass as the name implies.
  • Finally, I completely forgot, but the Dark Lord does have a name: 'Ragmeila'. This isn't what's interesting though. This kingdom/world/universe whatever goes by the name of Alphland. That so-called god of light's name is 'Alphaz'...

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    "Oh for heaven's sake, it's customary to name people and places after the great Alphaz! Er yes, of course my name is Ishtar."


    I still don't trust this guy...
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Ichirin Kumoi » 08 May 2013 18:54

Sorry Ichi, but I'm going to have to ask you refrain from punching everything.


Aww... :(
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 08 May 2013 19:18

So I take back what I said about minmaxing the rolls. I forgot this is the 21st century and the most wonderful invention of savestates in emulators is a thing. Don't worry, I won't be using save states for anything else but this, namely since you're kinda screwed if you go with a bad roll (Those poor jazz musicians the mole ate are a testament to this), and the RNG loves screwing with you. I'm just speeding up the process of rerolling. Also, correction on MP, it's always 10 for fighters and 20 for wizards. Yes, it's kind of stupid, especially since BP (bonus points)and HP are the only stats that vary, and neither correlate in any way (ie, low hp means high bp and vice versa). Why wouldn't you reroll until you get the most HP/BP? (HP for sure, since you're not going to live long starting with 8 hp, fighter or wizard). The difference between the best and worse is a bit jarring, you can get a fighter with 8 HP and 2 BP, or one with 17 HP and 6 BP.

What's more? It seems like the game bases the RNG here somewhat on the actual characters you use for the character name. The joys of 8-bit era RNGs...

For fighters, the best I have achieved is 17HP/6BP. For wizards, it's 9HP/6BP or 10HP/5 BP, potentially 10HP/6BP, I have gotten rolls with 6BP, but not ones with both 10HP and 6BP yet. Again, choosing a different name seems to make different combination appear more often. Gender seems to have no affect on this, though I haven't tested that thoroughly.

So if you are a fighter, tell me where you want your 6BP. If you are a wizard, tell me where you want 5BP. If I can get a 10HP/6BP roll, I'll update this. If not, you seriously want that extra HP. Again, the base stats are listed in the first post.

Aya, I am presuming you are participating as your tenguly self? Or is there another name I should be entering for you?

On a side note, the waiting room in purgatory is one jazzy place. Too bad the jazzy tune loops about every 5 seconds, eventually goading you into the sinister whims of the RNG to escape the repetitiveness or driving you mad in the process of trying to ensure you have a chance of not dying as a lowly farmer in this strange new land. Seriously, I do not envy the three of you that have to wait there for their next turn.
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Aya Shameimaru » 08 May 2013 19:27

Name - I already said! Aya reporting for badassery!
Gender - Make it a female
Class - Bring on the fisticuffs!
Stat preferences - Hm...more points in punchpower and whatever gives best dodge power
Personality/demeanor - Snarky mcpunmeister
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kanako Yasaka » 09 May 2013 23:21

Name: HyperK for Hyper Guncannon Kanako!
Gender: Female.
Class: Who do I put the three feet of steel into?
Stat-preferences: Whatever makes me the most effective at promulgating war!
Personality: Kill for the living, kill for the dead!
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 10 May 2013 00:19

Aya, unfortunately 'I already said! Aya reporting for badassery!' contains far more characters than any 8-bit era game has screen space for, period. Even more unfortunately, exclamation points aren't an option. I know, right?! I can, however, pencil you down as 'Ayabad', but I dunno. I mean, this Ishtar guy's place looks pretty ye olde Arthurian. If a Crusade breaks out they might think you're an infidel terrorist with a name like that. These are sexist people, and I'm pretty sure racism doesn't fall far from the gender hate tree.

Kanako, I can only hope for my sanity you do not get paired with Ichirin.

3 spots left now, who else is game?
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Alice Margatroid » 10 May 2013 20:28

I'm in. Should be fun

Name: Alice
Gender: Female
Class: Wizard, obviously. We can't have our scrawny, workaholic magicians any other way.
Stat preference: Intelligence, obviously.
Class preference: Magician sounds appropriate, I think. Which would take essentially all the bonus points.
Personality: It's Alice, aloof and snarky sounds just about right.
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Komachi Onozuka » 11 May 2013 03:23

Right, I'm in.

Name - Komachi (Or as close as can be gotten.
Gender - Female
Class - Fighter
Stat preferences - Strength/Defense
Personality/demeanor - TrollMachi. I think you know the rest
Occupation - "Night" Love the misspelling here
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Re: Let's Play Vintage Games from Yore... with Touhous

Postby Marisa Kirisame » 11 May 2013 03:37

Okay. We need another wizard.

Name - Witch
Gender - Female
Class - Magician
Stat preferences - INT/DEX
Personality/demeanor - Blast everything and take the loot!
Occupation - Anything goes.
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