The Second Issue of Crimson's Column
a description of Phantasie
Logical Design Works
Tales of Wonder - witness accounts of The Rescue of Gelnor
Tale of the Trader
As I left the inn to give in to one of Mother Nature's most
frequent urges (I could have used the men's room but there are
certain limits to what my nose will cope with) a strange
spectacle caught my attention.
Out in the street, just leaving the Guild next door, a
colorful gathering of humanoids, men and women, made their way to
the bank on the other side of City Square. Anyone could see at
once that they did not belong in the town of Pelnor; their
actions much too loud and uncontrolled. No born Pelnorian (or
Gelnorian for that matter) would talk with so little humility or
walk the streets with such defiant absence of fear.
They just had to be strangers; and if my eyes did not betray
me I was witnessing the formation of yet another band of
adventurers, all too eager to accept the threat posed by
Nikademus' Black Knights and all the other usurpers of Gelnor.
Experience told me it was useless to interfere with their
business, or to warn them of their dangers. I knew right away
that if they ever left town the chances of their return were slim
at best. So if I had any sense, I told myself, I would do what I
set out to do, ignore the strangers completely and get back into
my bargaining session with Jerry "Hard-nickel" Josephson. Times
are rough for all of us; no sense getting mixed up in rebellions;
however just they may be.
Now I have this problem. My father, a no-good lazy sod who
never earned an honest copper in his whole life, spent much of
his time (of the little time he spent home with his family, that
is) with me, and he always talked of his adventures. Between you
and me, and not meaning any disrespect to his dear memory, I
doubt if he ever had the nerve to even lift a dagger, let alone
partake in mighty fights and battles. But I was a kid, and his
stories impressed me. And there was one thing that sustained
their credibility. My father, only the Gods know how, had a magic
potion that he showed me every couple of months, to bring back my
belief and awe when these had diminished beyond the point of
reverence he expected of me. He would then disappear for a while,
and come back with a small vial that held a greenish liquid of
great viscosity. It's the only thing of any value I inherited
from my old man.
When I returned to the inn, I saw the party of adventurers
standing out in the street, and it looked like they were
pondering what equipment to buy with the little gold they had to
start their travels with. I made a decision then, walked past the
inn, went to get that magic potion my old man was so proud of,
and secretly brought it to the armory where I put it on one of
the shelves. I know Furry; he never asks where anything comes
from. None of us Pelnorians have a great love for the forces of
Nikademus. I figured it was the least I could do to help. After
all, they were here to help us.
So that's how I lost the one heirloom my father left to the
family. When I visited the armory later that afternoon, the vial
I sure do hope that's a real magic potion.
Hello and welcome again to Crimson's Column. I don't know if
you've read last issue's article, and as I've been raised with
what people of a lesser education might well consider to be "good
manners", I won't tell you what I think of you if you haven't.
Let it suffice to say that the aforementioned article served as
an introduction or, if you like, playing aid to FTL's SUNDOG -
The Frozen Legacy. In this article I also explained what kind of
approach I favor in adventure tips & tricks, and as plagiarism is
always something to be loathed, I will not repeat. Anyone
interested in the ethics involved is hereby referred to the
section of ST NEWS where the making of back orders is explained.
For this time, SSI's PHANTASIE is reviewed (actually, the game
is Phantasie I and forms the first part of a trilogy). Using a
somewhat different approach within the same set up, I will try to
give a general idea of the game in short descriptive accounts
larded with hints and tips on how to use magic, weapons, menu
options and so forth. For those new to the game, Phantasie is a
Dungeons and Dragons™ type game where magic spells, enchanted
swords, healing potions and many other Tolkienish accesories
serve you to survive the many battles that stand between you and
the completion of your quest - the destruction of the Black Lord.
At the end of this article, I will give a short explanation of
the mechanics of the game, and I'll give you the information you
need to start a group of six adventurers on their quest.
But Lo! here's another excerpt.
Diary of the Miller's Daughter
Today when I went to the forest to gather mushrooms I saw the
strangest thing. Just before I entered the edge of the pinewoods,
I heard loud voices approaching. Knowing that many evil and
dangerous things roam our country, I quickly hid behind the first
trees. There I waited, and after a few moments, coming from the
east, I saw an unusual company make its way toward me. At first I
was too scared to keep looking, but when I was sure no-one had
seen me, I peeked from under a large branch and tried to see who
it was, speaking with such bravour and eloquence.
"I don't know about the rest of you", said a short, fat,
sturdy dwarf with a long black beard tucked into his belt - next
to a large hammer - "but I could sure use a bath. We've been
travelling for a long time and my beard has gathered more dust
than all the floors in the Endless Caves of Jaro. I hope we find
a town before long."
"Well Ranp, I don't think you'll need to worry," came the
light voice of an Elf, "if my nose doesn't play tricks on me
there's a pond of some sort nearby. I smell fresh water."
"All hail the elfin nose. Lead the way, Sly, we're right
When I saw who they were, my eyes opened in wonder. Not only
was it strange to see such a mingled company of races, but their
outfits! One of them, a halfling, was wearing a large pointed hat
and a woollen cloak adorned with many mystic symbols. Another
one, a strange creature with two horns growing from over his
ears, wore grey armor and a large shield. There were four others,
among them the elf and the dwarf who had spoken of water, and all
were riding on horseback.
Alone in my hiding place, I felt safe, but worried. The elf
had smelled water, and there was only one place where it could
come from. A few miles ahead, there was a forbidden pond. Its
water crystal clear, it seemed an innocent place to rest - but
those who drank would all be changed. Although the change that
comes upon humanoids (my father says only thinking races profit
from its exotic effects, because animals do not know how to
understand the magic gift) is benificiary, none of us Gelnorians
ever drink - the Black Knights mercilessly execute those who
ignore their commands.
For a moment, I wanted to shout, but then they had
disappeared. I wondered if they would bathe? If they did, some of
them would be stronger, others smarter, still others would have
more vigor in their veins. Somehow I was glad I hadn't warned
them. They looked like one of the rare bands of adventurous
travellers that sometimes ride in our country, until they are
defeated by Black Knights or slain by some strange monster from
far east. It is rumored that many powerful beings live there, and
that there are two more magical ponds where none dare drink these
days. I hope some day a hero will be strong enough to enter the
Black Lord's Palace and remove his dark reign from Gelnor - but
it is said that it takes great courage to enter his domain, and
that it can only be done with the help of the Gods.
May Zeus be with that hero, whenever he comes.
--taken from Josella Kreylers diary--
The Vicar's Sermon
...and saw how this servant of Satan stalked the party of
warriors, and how the minotaur knight who was standing guard was
surprised by the presence of the devil and failed to wake his
companions in time. The devil, merely playing with his victims,
clawed at one of the sleeping forms while the minotaur drew a
long, shining sword.
As the enchanted metal of the fighter cut the substance of the
devil great flames burst forth. I could just see how on the other
side of the fire the figure of a man, a priest of an order
unknown to me, started a prayer; and how this prayer was answered
by a great sound as of a gong reverberating, waking all those
whose lives were now threatened by the presence of Satans vile
Now the devil was no longer playing, and while a number of
warriors took their weapons and shields and attacked him, and
while another started mystic signs to tap his magic resources,
the devil started his most powerful incantation. As metal cut
flesh, the evil creature brought down a powerful blast of
negative force on his attacker, slaying the brave warrior with
one mighty stroke of the evil power bestowed upon him.
And yet, victory was not his, for only seconds later the
magician finished his great spell and an enormous flamebolt
struck the devil and scattered him about in a thousand pieces of
horrid black flesh...
...almost decided to stop following them when my patience was
finally rewarded. The party had come upon another band of
servants of Nikademus, but this time they were not surprised by
the foul beings. While both sides started their preparations for
battle, I tried to discern the identity of the party's
Again they were forces of evil, two mighty high demons
assisted by a large number of skeletons. I saw how the magic man
of the party, a hobbit wearing a strange blue outfit, broke off
an incantation as if he suddenly realised that the monsters were
too near to be affected by his spell. The priest, however, took
out his holy symbol and softly vocalised his God's help to turn
away the undead creatures that threatened them. I also saw how a
sparsely clothed sinewy individual brought an incantation down on
himself, and started to glow brightly. The new fighter in the
party, realising it was no use trying to hit a demon with steel,
tried to hit the skeletons; just as another woman, a slender
pixie who, according to her stealth, had been trained in the
abilities of thieves, who tried to walk around the demons to
attack one of the lesser undead in the back. The other fighter, a
ranger by the looks of him, seemed to trust in the magical force
of his sword and attacked one of the demons.
Of all these strategies the last one was the least successful;
for no enchantment of steel can ever be sufficient to hurt a
being of such devastating power as a high demon. And more went
awry, for the presence of these dark beings was so overwhelming
that the priest's attempts to turn their minor disciples was to
no avail. The magician, incapable of anything but defensive
manoeuvres, was hit time and again, and only one of his parries
was successful. When the second high demon used his dark force,
the magician was struck dead.
Now it seemed that none of the party members would escape with
their lives, for the ranks of their opponents had paid only the
toll of two demolished skeletons - a mere token. While the priest
beseeched his God to restore life to the dead wizard, both the
fighter and the thief took defensive positions. Now, the demons
were further away, too far to claw, but close enough to emit
their dark forces. The skeletons, coming closer, were hewn down
by the monk, whose powerful lithe body fought like a dervish,
killing four skeletons in a matter of seconds.
This brought new energy and faith to the party, and while the
fighters finished off the remaining skeletons, and the
resurrectured wizard and the monk started casting their most
effective spells, the priest called upon his deity to confuse
Satan's vicious helpers, so that they would no longer be able to
tap their black magic resources.
This turned the battle in the party's favor, for both High
Demons were felled by the fierce raw force of the flames drawn
hither by the magicians."
Part of Vicar McMurray's Sermon #381
The Druid's Tale
In the Course of Time a Keeper of Nature will see many things
strange and wondrous. Some of these things will be good and
beautiful and enhance Nature's quality, other things vile and
dark will cause pain and chaos. In these last years, a true storm
of darkness has wounded our Gelnor, and it is no secret that he
who causes these wounds is none other than Nikademus, the Dark
For many years now the inhabitants of our Islands await
the coming of a party of adventurers, heroes strong enough to
waylay the evil that Nikademus plans for the Universe. Many
parties have already attempted the near-impossible task, but none
have succeeded. Today I have been witness to the coming of a
party, and from their conversations I have learned that here, at
last, our country has a chance for its liberation.
This is what I've heard them speak; read, and hope, and maybe
soon we'll all rejoice.
"I think this last fight was it," spoke the fighter of the
party, "we should go to town and see if we've gained enough
experience to be trained."
"Experience we have enough, Rob, but what with the looks of
you I doubt if we've got enough money to afford training."
"Will you listen to him? If you're such a handsome, Mr. Elf,
why don't you charm our ememies instead of us having to fight
them all the time? Who knows, you might even make a useful
"Come on, boys, enough of that," warned a pixie, "we've got to
make up our minds."
"About what?" asked the wizard, who had been reading.
"About whether or not we're ready to confront the Black Lord.
If so, we should go to town, train, see about more spells; then
rest and distribute our belongings."
"And look at that last scroll we found," added the priest.
"And buy all the damn potions we can, magic and healing,"
completed the ranger.
"True," said the monk, "and the way I see it, we might as well
try now. Cause I'm not getting any younger, that's for sure."
There was a short silence; then the wizard spoke.
"Okay then, let's see. We needed nine rings. These we have."
"Aye, we sure do. Nine rings," confirmed the dwarf.
"Further, we had to gather the four runes. We did so, and
together with our experience in combat and the rings, this
finally enabled us to get that most precious of runes, the fifth
or God Rune, bestowed upon us by Zeus, on Olympus."
"Now, the way I see it, the God Rune is supposed to ward off
the evil that surrounds the fortress of the black knights. Once
within, we need nothing but our health, strength and magic."
"Not to mention luck, that is," added the thief.
"And maybe the aid of a summoned elemental," said the monk.
"Of course. The question is: do we have enough experience to
confront the Black Lord on his own territory?"
Thus spoke a party strange and wondrous in appearance, and
before long, I saw them make their way to town, no doubt on their
way for the last training, needed to confront the Black Lord
himself. May the arcane help of the elementals go with them for
strength and protection.
An account of Tanger Idon, druid of Gelnor Island.
So far for the playing hints, tips and guidelines. I will now
explain, concisely, the mechanics of starting a new game; which
is what you do if you've just bought Phantasie, or when you've
used the UTILIES program on your disk for STARTING A NEW GAME
From now on, words or sentences in CAPITALS are taken
literally from the dialog or menu options in the game.
First of all, if you have an adequate copying program, make
backups of both your disks. Disk 1 is protected, disk 2 isn't
(and if you make a protected backup of disk two you may find
yourself in trouble). Now write protect your disk 1 (do not write
protect disk 2 as the program keeps score of which parts of the
island have been discovered - also you will probably want to save
your game at several occasions).
To start play, insert disk 1 and double click either START.PRG
(with music etc.) or PHANT.PRG (without intro). After loading,
exchange disk 1 for disk 2. Press a key. Put disk 1 away, you
won't need it again for as long as you continue play.
Now, you are ready to form a party. You're in Pelnor, one of
the towns/cities on the Island Gelnor, and before you can go on
your way you need to find, select and equip a party of
adventurers. To do this, you enter the GUILD. Entering buildings
is done by clicking on their respective doors (but remember, you
need to assemble a party before you can do anything else).
Inside the GUILD, the city menu changes. As you see, only ADD
MEMBER, NEW MEMBER and INSPECT MEMBER can be chosen. Choose NEW
MEMBER. Now, pick a race. Then pick a character class. Keep the
rulebook in mind: it's no use making illogic combinations (like
an Ogre Thief (bad dexterity) or a Halfling Fighter (insufficient
strength). For a good party, all scores should be 10+ and prime
requisites (strength for a fighter, intelligence for a wizard,
dexterity for a thief etc) 15+, preferably 18+. For a Great Party
you must have patience and get low scores around 15, highest
scores over twenty. This may take several hours of constantly
picking a race (remember RANDOM races often occur only once; i.e.
if you have stored a pixie you will not get another one until you
PURGE it), then a class, and then PURGING if the statistics
aren't up to your standard. If the scores are alright, KEEP your
adventurer, NAME it and thus store it. You can store something
over thirty characters in your GUILD.
Once you have an adequate set of characters, you put them in a
party by choosing ADD MEMBER from the GUILD OPTIONS. A complete
party for a fresh game will consist of six adventurers. It is up
to you to select their respective professions (or CLASSES).
Remember you will need at least one PRIEST (for HEALING and
PROTECTION purposes), one WIZARD (for aggressive magic such as
FIREBALLS and MINDBLASTS) and one THIEF (for DISARMING TRAPS and
Now that you have your party (you can always INSPECT MEMBER
in the guild to see how their abilities, skills, equipment etc.
are developing) you should get them the best equipment you can.
Go to the BANK, WITHDRAW a couple hundred GOLD, and subsequently
enter the armory. Here you can buy lots of things (you should try
to get all the POTIONS and different SCROLLS available) to equip
your characters with. HEALING POTIONS restore hit points, the
higher the number, the more effective they are. The same goes for
MAGIC POTIONS, but these restore magic points. MAGIC 1 restores 3
mp, MAGIC 2 restores 6 mp and so on. As the maximum number of
magic points you'll ever achieve is 20, anything over MAGIC 7
potions is wasted (minor game bug, I presume).
W(eapons), A(rmor) & S(hields): When you generate new
characters, they are usually outfitted with a Club, Clothes and a
Small Shield. The notation for a club is, for instance, CLUB W 4.
This means that a CLUB is a W(eapon) and has a point value of 4.
The higher the point values for W, A & S, the more effective they
are. When an item is followed by the word "UNUSABLE" this
normally means that the character who is purchasing cannot use it
due to lack of strength. If you wish to protect your weaker party
members (wizards, thieves) you should make sure that they have
sufficient strength to wear heavy armor and use good shields.
Okay, you bought your equipment. Maybe each bought the right
items at once, but let's distribute anyway. Enter the INN. Click
on DISTRIBUTE. You see your party, followed by 0 values for
W(eapon), A(rmor) and S(hield). Underneath is a list of items
(starting off with weapons), followed by numbers 1 to 6, of which
some may be invisible. The clue is, these numbers refer to your
party members, and UNUSABLE items will cause the relevant party
member number to disappear behind the items' values. (i.e. if a
SWORD+1 W 7 is followed by 12 4 6, this means that party members
3 and 5 are unable to use the weapon due to strength
If you click on one of the party members, the top
(highlighted) item in the stack will be given to the character in
question, and the item's name will disappear from the stack;
moving all other items one place up. In this way, you can
distribute all your equipment. Anytime you encounter an item you
don't need, click on SELL ITEM. Part of the item's gold value
will be added to your account, furthermore it will be available
in the town's armory for some time.
Equipment ready - now you can pay a visit to see how the
local Old Mystic estimates your progress; otherwise all there's
left to do is read the scrolls you bought. Do this with the USE
ITEM menu option.
Okay, you're ready to leave town - click on the exit road and
move around with either mouse (a drag) or arrow keys (much
easier). Using the menu options available, I'm sure you'll find
your way around the game. Just one fighting tip: to start, first
click on a character, then select an action. When all characters
perform their required actions, click on fight - and earn those
sorely needed experience points.
Have a good time in PHANTASIE, and when you're near the Black
Lord, remember (this is the voice of your conscience speaking)
this: Honesty is a Virtue; Wealth & Riches are unacceptable
Perversions of the Mind.
As usual, your Spontaneous Reactions (bribes, questions,
review requests, donations, bomb letters, sarcasms, telephone
calls, hints, and all those other things I always fill my waste
paper basket with) are appreciated by:
Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
-- The Netherlands --
One more thing. For those of you missed last issue's Great
Admonition concerning convenient times for calling and
disastrous results for those who fail to respect my period of
rest, Heed My Warning: Thou shallst not awaken thy
Claus Kuch from Stuttgart, Germany failed to comply to this
humble request. After he had assembled all the parts that had
come in through the mail (in the FREE HARDWARE package from
Crimsondeal Inc.) he put the plug in the socket and switched on
his beautiful new debugger - only to find out later that the
delivered package in fact constituted a heavy-duty 20-pound
electro magnet. (But I swear, Your Honor, none of his disks
contain a bug anymore!)
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.