Wizardry is a Registered Trademark of Sir-Tech, Ltd. and all material with the exception of the RMG guide and related work is copyright 1981-2004 Sir-Tech, Ltd. This guide and the related work is copyright 2004 Real Millennium Group & Backdoor Trot Productions, and not to be reproduced by any means without prior written permission.
Here we have some of the playing tips, hints, and info that the Wizardry Scenarios have in common to avoid repeating the info in each of the individual game sections. It is my understanding that the Wizardry Archives versions of each scenario are slightly different from the original releases in certain areas such as screen layout, and the random number results occurring when a character reaches a new level of experience. It might also be possible to move characters from later scenarios into the earlier ones with the original releases - i.e. from 3 into 1. I have tried to do this without success in the Archives version. Aside from that, I believe that most of these differences are minor and in no way affects game play from one version to the other, so if you are lucky enough to own or obtain the originals, this guide should still be a valid tool in your adventuring. I am currently in the process of getting the originals and a system to play them on, and will update the guide in the future with noticeable differences.
There are some key differences between the PC and NES versions of the scenarios, though, which will affect how you will need to play the game, not the least of which is not being able to transfer characters between scenarios, obviously. One difference is the name change for two professions. In the PC version, the eight available professions are Fighter, Thief, Mage, Priest, Bishop, Samurai, Lord, and Ninja. In the NES/SNES the Priest and Bishop names have been changed to Cleric and Wizard respectively. The change has no effect on game play or abilities, and I have made an effort to stick to the PC names throughout the guide for easier reference. The NES/SNES versions also tend to have a lot more encounters with monsters popping up as you wander the maze than the PC.
The first tip is to always keep backups of your games once you install them - I always play the PC versions off of a floppy disk, and copy the save.dsk file to my hard drive after each session so I always have a backup. This becomes helpful when you get in a tight spot, and need to go back to just before your entire party got wiped out by a Greater Demon. You'll also want to do this when you import/export characters to another scenario since they are deleted from whichever scenario they are being imported from. If you want to continue to use them in the current scenario, you will need to have a copy of the pre-import/export file. This is also nice if you want to import a freshly made character into other scenarios. Just make a copy of the save file immediately after you have created all of your characters.
In addition to using the backup, you can also exit the program while playing the game without having it write to the save file. On the PC, when anything bad happens, minimize the window and close the program before the game writes to the save file (it does this when you have an encounter, when a battle ends, when you return to the castle or enter the maze, when you enter a different floor of the maze, and when you exit the game normally). When you re-start the game, your party will be in the maze at the point where the last save occurred. This is helpful if you have been adventuring for a while and don't want to loose your accomplishments by going to your last backup. You may have to rely on this as well if your Bishop "touches" a cursed item while trying to Identify it, and is forced to equip the item. It also comes in handy if you don't like the results of a character's leveling up - however if you level up more than one character at a time, all the characters you did in that one session will be reverted back as well. In the NES version, you can't keep multiple back ups, but you can use the reset button to the same effect as closing the program in the PC games.
Note of Caution: If you cast a long lasting spell (such as Lomilwa, Maporfic, or Latumapic), it's effect will be canceled when you restart the game, and you don't get the original spell point back. Never exit/reset at a point in the maze where there is a "forced fight" unless you have reasonable hope of getting out of the jam. A forced fight is a spot in the maze where you will always run into monsters (the room on SCI-FL1 where Murphy's Ghost appears, and at the Monster Allocation Center on SCI-FL4 are examples of forced fights). When you go to "restart an out party" you will still have to fight the battle to get back to safety, and often must survive two separate battles to do so. If you have no choice but to exit at a forced fight, there is one other solution you can take if your characters are continually outmatched - if you have more than just your six adventuring characters, get another party together and go rescue the first party. Of course, the second party must be able to defeat the monsters in the first try, and have at least one open spot in the roster with which to find and add the character(s) from the first party, otherwise you will have to keep creating more and more characters until you can defeat the monsters and rescue all the adventurers.
In the early going of your exploration, always choose a party of six characters. There are points in the maze where you will come across monsters that will be too difficult to defeat without a full party, and you should never take on the toughest monsters with less than six, unless you like beating your head against a brick wall. As your characters advance levels and grow stronger, you can venture deeper into the maze with a smaller party. This will be extremely helpful in gaining EP for higher level characters, especially when you need hundreds of thousands of points in between the higher ELs. Once your characters reach double digit EL, you should be able to send them off in smaller and smaller groups until you actually have them going solo against monsters on the first floor of each of the mazes. Naturally, the non-spell casters will take longer to defeat groups of monsters than a spell caster who can toss a multi-damage spell at them, but you usually don't have to worry about the character getting defeated and the EP awarded will end up being worth the price. If you find that your character gets petrified, paralyzed, or otherwise defeated, but not killed - you need not use the "exit/reset" option. Simply wait for the game to return you to the castle, then send your Priest or Bishop who has the appropriate spell to the rescue and revive the defeated character's state.
For my initial party, I always have a Samurai, Fighter, Thief, Priest, Bishop, and Mage, arranged in that order. It's always good to have as many spellcasters as possible, and to have your fighter- types in the front ranks. Putting the Thief in third position is debatable because they have high AC and low HP, but it's a waste of a roster position to have him any further back where he cannot take place in the fight. This strategy changes in Heart of the Maelstrom, though, where the Thief is given the ability to hide and ambush monsters, even from the last party position. For this scenario, my line-up is usually Samurai, Fighter, Priest, Thief, Bishop, and Mage. Once my Bishop gains enough of the high level Cleric spells, I tend to leave the Priest out in favor of another fighter-type character - this goes for any of the four scenarios.
Unfortunately, it's impossible to get enough bonus points to create a Lord or Ninja in the first three NES scenarios, and I've only been able to get enough for a Lord once in the SNES Maelstrom, so I stick with this formation until coming across magical items that will allow me to change classes of characters without the drawbacks of going through the normal class change option. The same goes for the PC versions of Proving Grounds and Maelstrom, but isn't applicable to the second and third scenarios as you cannot create original characters, only import them from the previous scenario, so the only time I create a Lord in Proving Grounds is to export him to the other scenarios. I do replace my Thief with a Ninja once I get the Thief's Dagger in Proving Grounds and can make the class change. The same follows with my Priest in Knight of Diamonds, and again the Thief in Knight and Legacy as there are class change items in those scenarios. I have noticed that it's easier to "roll up" a Samurai in the NES/SNES games than it is in the PC games. I can usually get enough bonus points in the NES/SNES within a few tries to form a Samurai, where it normally takes a couple dozen tries before I can get one in my Archives version.
Race-wise, you can pick any race for any profession, but I always stick to the logical choices - Dwarf Fighter/Samurai, Gnome Priest, Elf Bishop/Mage, Hobbit Thief. It's also a good idea to take your time when creating characters and keep rolling until you get a bunch of bonus points to add to their base stats. It just makes life easier in the long run, plus with the Nintendo versions, your characters will get more or less starting HP depending on their Vitality stat and profession - the PC version gives each character 8 HP regardless. Alignment really doesn't play much of a part in the games until you get to the third scenario, though there are some items to be found that will only be equipable by characters of a certain alignment, so it's good to always have a mix available to you.
Hint: It's not always necessary to throw away low bonus point characters, they can come in handy for hoarding a bunch of gold for your starting party. Each character created comes with a small allotment of gold pieces. Keep your throwaways until you get a "keeper" then put everyone into a party and pool the gold into your "keeper's" pockets, then delete the throwaways. Once you have all six party members created, you should have plenty enough gold to get most of the better items for everyone at Boltac's.
Although the Wizardry manuals say that age plays a factor in the game (they start to get feeble around age 50) it's really an insignificant concern. To avoid excessive aging, never take your characters to the Adventurer's Inn until it's time for them to make a level change, as each stay will cause them to grow older (characters age one day for each stay at the stables, and a week or more for the regular rooms). Whenever a spell caster needs to refresh spell points in the PC versions, simply return to the castle then re-enter the maze. To avoid those lengthy and costly stays at the inn, always use the Priest and Bishop healing spells to recover any lost hit points. By doing this, in theory, a 14 year old Fighter will not turn 15 until he reaches Level 365. Unfortunately, a change in the NES/SNES requires spellcasters to rest at the Inn in order to recover used spell points, so they will end up aging faster than your other characters. However, by conserving spell points in the early going, and only resting at the inn when it's absolutely necessary, you can minimize the aging affect in the game.
When it comes time for arming your characters, start with the spellcasters, since they are limited in the armaments they can equip. Pool your entire party's gold into whichever character is going to Boltac's (this is where hoarding the gold during the character creation process mentioned above comes in handy) then purchase the best type of weapons and armor that the character is allowed to use. Repeat the process until the entire party is as well armed as possible. Generally, characters should be armed in the following order: Mage, Bishop, Priest, Thief/Ninja, Samurai/Lord, Fighter. For the most part, the names and prices of the items in Boltac's will tell you which is the better to purchase for the characters. Once you have your party formed, armed, and equipped, it's time to head off into the maze and begin your adventuring.
While exploring the maze, always keep your characters equipped with the best weapons, armor, and other items as you find them. Naturally, the better armed your characters are, the easier and faster it will be to dispatch your enemies, and the less damage your characters will suffer. Casting spells will also aid in that effort, but make sure to use the appropriate level of spell against the right kind of monster. Even though your Mage may have acquired the Tiltowait spell, it really doesn't make sense to use it against monsters on the upper floors of the maze - it's power is better left in reserve until you get to the lower floors and encounter tougher opponents. The timing of when to cast spells is equally important - you don't necessarily want to cast a spell towards the end of the battle when the remaining monsters might be killed by your Fighters before the spellcaster fires it off. Even if all the monsters have been killed in a battle, any spells that were chosen in your last turn will still be cast, wasting a valuable spell point. It's always better to save points by having your spellcasters parry near the end of a battle so you can use them for the next encounter to come.
The various potions and scrolls to be found in the game can help conserve spell points, and are a handy tool when you surprise monsters in the maze, and can't cast a spell directly in the first round of battle. However, these items are not really worth the gold to buy at Boltac's, and become less useful on the lower floors. You do want to make sure to use the "permanent" spells when your characters acquire them, however. Once a character has the Maporfic spell, you should always cast it as soon as you enter the maze to help protect your party. The Lomilwa spell should be cast if your party won't be entering any Dark Zones on the current excursion. The DZs will immediately nullify this spell and it needs to be recast every time you enter then leave a DZ. This spell is necessary if you plan on making maps yourself as it will reveal any secret doors in the maze. The monster identifying Latumapic is a toss up. Depending on where your party plans on exploring for the excursion, it might be better to conserve the spell point for the other spells of that level. For the most part, you can figure out the true nature of a monster right off the bat anyway, so Latumapic's use is limited.
Hint: Some spells tend to be cumulative such as the protect spells Kalki and Matu, and attack spells like Dilto which lower/raise AC. These can be recast at each turn to double the effects, so you can keep your Mage casting Dilto to continually raise the monsters' AC while your Priest and/or Bishop cast Bamatu each round to continually lower your party's AC.
Spells that should never be overlooked in combat are the mage Katino, and the cleric Manifo. Though these are low level spells, they come in very handy when battling groups of monsters. The ability to put your opponents to sleep or solidify them will make combat much easier. Montino is a must against any spell casting creature. Even though this spell has less chance of silencing all the monsters in a group lower in the maze, you will quickly regret not using it when the high level Mages and Priests bombard your party with mass damage spells. Montino should always be the first spell cast in battle, even before the protection spells, when facing spell casting monsters, and should often be repeated until the enemy's ability to cast is eliminated. Monsters hit with Katino will waken after a round or two, so that spell should be used in the early rounds to give your party a quick advantage. Manifo lasts longer so it usually needs only to be cast once with attack spells following. Montino tends to last the longest, so once you are sure all enemy spell casters are silenced, get on with the protection spells, then have your Priest/Bishop/Lord casting the healing spells as necessary. If your party is holding their own, start to parry to conserve spell points. Of course this is only a very broad guideline, and the tactics will alter with each encounter depending on the number and nature of the monsters you are facing.
Unfortunately, enemies who can cast mage and cleric spells aren't the only danger to your adventurers. You will encounter many creatures (such as dragons) which have the ability to breathe an attack on your party. There is no spell to defend against breath specifically, so you will have to use a sleep or solidify spell against these monsters. There are some items that can be found in the maze which will offer some protection against the damage inflicted by breath monsters if they are held or equipped by characters. Though they don't offer complete protection, any opportunity to minimize damage to your party should be taken.
That covers the basics to follow while playing the various Wizardry games. In the individual game guides, there is more specific information on how to tackle each scenario. But before taking a look at those, there is one last bit of information that will be nice to have while exploring the mazes - a list of the traps that guard most of the treasure chests in each of the scenarios. In the PC games, you will need to type in the name of the trap in order to disarm it, so make sure you type very carefully as a misspelled trap name will result in its going off. There are a very few chests with no traps at all, these can be opened with no problems. Just be sure that you are confident in your Thief's ability to determine if a chest is trapped or not. Usually, the higher the IQ, Agility, and Luck, the more successful at getting the treasure a Thief will be, but even the best still make errors on occasion.
The traps are same for the first four scenarios, and are listed from bad to worse. The traps for Heart of the Maelstrom will appear on the intro page for that scenario. Their appearance is random in the game, but as a general rule you will run into the least dangerous ones more often in the upper floors of the maze with the worse ones appearing more frequently the further down you go.
Crossbow Bolt - HP damage only to the character attempting to disarm the trap. Poison Needle - Poisons the character attempting to disarm the trap.
Stunner - Paralyzes the character attempting to disarm the trap.
Mage Blaster & Priest Blaster - Petrifies any Mage or Priest/Wizard/Lord in party.
In the NES/SNES versions, these two traps
are called Mage's Misery and Cleric's Crisis.
Alarm - Sounds an alarm which sets off another battle with monsters.
Teleporter - Transports the party to a random location on the same floor.
Exploding Box - HP damage to your entire party.
Gas Bomb - Poisons multiple members of your party.