User:Kahran042/What's wrong with the Ranger quest

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> As I mentioned on my main user page, I am not a fan of the Ranger quest, to say the least. This is my effort to explain just why that's the case, MST3K style. So, here we go.

Levels

Random monsters on this Quest are generated with the following frequencies:

  • 96/175 (55%) forest centaur
  • 24/175 (14%) random C
  • 24/175 (14%) scorpion
  • 6/175 (3%) random s
  • 1/7 (14%) normal random monster

> All right, this is pretty bland, but inoffensive. However, I'll have more to say about this when the time comes.

Orion's Camp

> Again, this seems pretty nice now, but I'll have more to say about it when the time comes. Trust me.

This mapped area forms the left half of the level; the right half is empty ground, containing the two-way magic portal back to the Dungeons of Doom. Orion is at the point marked @, where there is also a chest, surrounded by eight hunters; there are six forest centaurs flanking each set of iron bars, a minotaur outside the entrance to the centre of the grove, and six plains centaurs and two scorpions placed randomly within the grove. In addition to the marked pit trap at the entrance to the grove and the two marked arrow traps at the entrance to the centre, there are two bear traps and one spiked pit placed randomly.

Warning: It is highly likely that one of the centaurs you have to deal with while travelling through the maze (on your way in or out) will have a wand of death or other attack wand. Have reflection to deal with this problem.

The entire level is no-teleport, and has undiggable walls (at the back of the grove centre) and floor, and petrified trees that are unable to be chopped down, but you can phase through them as a xorn.

> So, if this is some sort of sacred magical grove, why would the trees be petrified? Maybe if they were choppable, but there was some sort of punishment for chopping them, that would make sense, but...nope. They have to go with something more associated with desert than forest.

Upper filler level

This is a woodland level (essentially, a cave with trees instead of rock), with two mountain centaurs, three forest centaurs, one scorpion, and one random C; seven random objects; and four random traps.

The Cave of the Wumpus

              .......  .........  .......              
     ...................       ...................     
  ....        .......             .......        ....  
...    .....     .       .....       .     .....    ...
.   .......... .....  ...........  ..... ..........   .
.  ..  ..... ..........  <....  .......... .....  ..  .
.  .     .     .....       .       .....     .     .  .
.  .   .....         .............         .....   .  .
.  .  ................  .......  ................  .  .
.  .   .....            .......            .....   .  .
.  .     .    ......               ......    .     .  .
.  .     ...........   .........   ...........     .  .
.  .          ..........       ..........          .  .
.  ..  .....     .       .....       .     .....  ..  .
.   .......... .....  ...........  ..... ..........   .
.      ..... ..........  .....  .......... .....      .
.        .     .....       .       .....     .        .
...   .......           .......           .......   ...
  ..............     ......>......     ..............  
      .......  .......  .......  .......  .......      

There is a wumpus sleeping at the downstair; four giant bats, four forest centaurs, eight mountain centaurs, four scorpions and two random s are located randomly, as are eight random objects, and two spiked pits, two teleport traps, and two arrow traps.

The entire level has undiggable walls and floor. Teleportation is permitted. Note that due to the lack of actual walls, magic mapping the level will only show you the location of the down stairs.

The design of this level is an homage to the early text adventure game Hunt the Wumpus. That game featured a cave with 20 dark rooms, 3 connecting passages per room, bats, 2 bottomless pit traps, and a sleeping wumpus. If you fall in a pit trap here, you will be told, "Fortunately it has a bottom after all..." The object was to avoid the hazards, deduce the location of the wumpus, and shoot an arrow at the wumpus to win.

> Now, this...is AWESOME. It's pretty much an exact replica of Hunt The Wumpus, and obviously had some effort put into matching up the rooms and connections. Personally, I think it's the one part of the quest with the potential for redemption, maybe as a special level in the dungeon proper.

Lower filler level(s)

These are cavern levels, with four mountain centaurs, two scorpions, and one random C; eleven random objects; and four random traps.

The Cavern of Scorpius

 -----                                                                ----- 
--...------------------------------------------------------------------...--
|..........................................................................|
--...--------------------------------+---------------------------------...--
 --.-----............-----.......---|.|     ---------- --.......----- --.-- 
  |.||.............................||.|     |........| |.........S..-- |.|  
  |.|--............----.--......----|.|     |.------.| --.......---..--|.|  
  |.| ---.........--  |.|--....------+----- |.|...||.|--------------..||.|  
  |.|-------S---------|.| ------|.........| |.S.---|.S...............--|.|  
  |.|-...---.|  --...-|.|-------|.........|--------|.|---------------- |.|  
  |.|........|  |..<..S.+.......+....\....+........+.---    -------    |.|  
  |.|-...-----  --...----S------|.........|----------..--   |.....---  |.|  
  |.|-------------------..|     |.........| ------  |-..--  |-......---|.|  
  |.|-----.......-----...--     -----+-------....----....----..........|.|  
  |.|..............--..---          |.|   --......--..--.............--|.|  
 --.-----.............--            |.|   |..........----------......|--.-- 
--...--------------------------------+---------------------------------...--
|..........................................................................|
--...------------------------------------------------------------------...--
 -----                                                                ----- 

Scorpius, with the Bell of Opening and the Longbow of Diana, occupies the throne,

> Which it makes no sense for it to have, not being humanoid.

where there is also a chest; surrounding him are six forest centaurs and two mountain centaurs. In each of the corner chambers is a mountain centaur and a scorpion; there are an additional two forest centaurs, two mountain centaurs, two scorpions, two random C and one random s placed around the level. Each of the centaurs in Scorpius' room is standing on a random object; there are five further random objects located randomly around the level, as well as six traps.

The entire level has undiggable walls. Teleportation is permitted.

Messages

Entry

First time:

You arrive in familiar surroundings.  In the distance, you <see|sense> the
ancient forest grove, the place of worship to <Venus|Mars>.

> And why, exactly, would either of those gods be worshipped in a grove, rather than some sort of temple? For that matter, why would a nature-oriented class worship those gods? It just makes no freakin' sense. :P

Something is wrong, though.  Surrounding the grove are centaurs!
And they've noticed you!

Next time:

Once again, you stand before Orion's camp.

If already rejected twice due to bad alignment:

You have the oddest feeling that this may be the last time you
are to enter Orion's camp.

Quest guardians

If #chatting before the quest is complete:

"<playername>!  I have not seen you in many moons.  How do you fare?"
"Scorpius continues to threaten the grove.  But we hold fast."
"Orion is growing weak.  The magic required to defend the grove drains us."
"Remember the cave of (sic) wumpus is hard to enter.  Beware the distraction of leatherwings."

> Aaaand we've got our first real mistake in this travesty of a quest!

"We must regain the Longbow of Diana.  Without it we will be overrun."

> OK, see, now THERE's a deity I could see a ranger worshipping. Still doesn't make up for the removal of demihumans worshipping demihuman gods, but at least I could see Diana/Artemis as part of a proper ranger pantheon.

If #chatting after the quest is complete:

"<playername>!  I have not seen you in many moons.  How do you fare?"
"Birdsong has returned to the grove, surely this means you have defeated Scorpius."
"Orion seems to have regained some of his strength."
"So, tell us how you entered the cave of wumpus, in case some new evil arises there."
"Is that truely the Longbow of Diana that I see you carrying?"

Quest leader

When you first meet your quest leader:

"<playername>!  You have returned!  Thank <Venus|Mars>.
"We have great need of you.  But first, I must see if you have the
required abilities to take on this responsibility."

When you return, having been rejected due to lack of experience:

"Once again, <playername>, you stand in our midst.  Are you ready now?"

This message is not currently used:

"Ah, you are here again, <playername>.  Allow me to determine your readiness..."

When you are expelled from the quest for having failed the alignment test seven times:

"<playername>!  You have doomed us all.  You fairly radiate lawful influences
and weaken the power we have raised in this grove as a result!
"Begone!  We renounce your <brother|sister>hood with us!  You are an outcast now!"

When being rejected due to lack of experience:

"<playername>, you are yet too inexperienced to withstand the demands of that
which we need you to do.  A Scout might just be able to do this thing.
"Return to us when you have learned more, my <son|daughter>."

When being rejected due to having worse than pious alignment:

"You have strayed, <playername>!  You know that <Venus|Mars> requires that
we maintain a pure devotion to things <neutral | chaotic>!
"You must go from us.  Return when you have purified yourself."

When finally assigned the quest:

"You are indeed ready, <playername>.  I shall tell you what has transpired,
and why we so desperately need your help:
"A short time ago, the mountain centaurs to the east invaded
and enslaved the plains centaurs in this area.  The local
leader is now only a figurehead, and serves Scorpius. 

> Remember when I mentioned a problem with the monster selection for this quest? Here it is. The far superior quest which it replaced had consistency - the goblins were enslaved by the Uruk-hai and their ogre allies, and the puppet king of the goblins was the quest nemesis. As such, the monsters on the quest were goblins, Uruk-hai, and ogres. But now, we have a clash between centaur tribes, which is actually pretty decent. So, where the vilg does Scorpius come from in all this? And don't say "the myth of Orion," because that doesn't explain why a giant scorpion is leading a tribe of centaurs.

"During our last gathering of worship here, we were beset by hordes of
hostile centaurs, as you witnessed.  In the first onslaught a group,
headed by Scorpius himself, managed to breach the grove and
steal the Longbow of Diana.
"Since then, we have been besieged.  We do not know how much longer
we will be able to maintain our magical barriers.
"If we are to survive, you, <playername>, must infiltrate
the cave of the wumpus.

> And now, they actually get it right.

 There, you will find a pathway down, to the
underground cavern of Scorpius.  He has always coveted
the Longbow of Diana, and will surely keep it.

> Yes, a longbow is coveted by a creature without the opposable thumbs necessary to use it. That totally makes as much sense as a goblin coveting a magical palantir, which, if nothing else, would probably be coveted by a lot of creatures.

"Recover the Longbow of Diana for us, <playername>!  Only then will <Venus | Mars> be safe."

> Because, you know, your deity is the one that needs protection rather than, you know, their worship place. You know, like the line from the Elf quest that this replaced.

Encouragement

If you subsequently chat to your quest leader, you are encouraged:

"It is rumored that the Forest and Mountain Centaurs have resolved their ancient feud and now band together against us."

> Yeah, but again, why is a scorpion leading a tribe of centaurs, and where do the other scorpions come from? This line made more sense in the Elf quest, where it mentioned the alliance between the Uruk-hai and the ogres, explaining why there were ogres in addition to Uruk-hai and their goblin vassals.

"Scorpius is strong, and very smart."
"Use the Longbow of Diana, when you find it.  It will help you survive to reach us."
"Remember, let <Venus | Mars> be your guide."
"Call upon <Venus | Mars> when you face Scorpius. The very act of doing so will infuriate him, and give you advantage."
"Scorpius and his kind have always hated us."

> Again, this may just be my personal bias, but this line is just really bland compared to the one it replaced - "Though the Goblin King is as chaotic as we, he and kis kind have always hated us." Yeah, go ahead and replace that with arguably one of the most generic lines ever.

"We cannot hold the grove much longer, <playername>.  Hurry!"
"To infiltrate the cave of the wumpus, you must be very stealthy."
"Remember that Scorpius is a braggart.  Trust not what he says."
"You can triumph, <playername>, if you trust in <Venus | Mars>."

Locate and goal levels

When first entering the locate level:

This must be the cave of the wumpus.
You are in a cave built of many different rooms, all interconnected
by tunnels.  Your quest is to find and shoot the evil wumpus that
resides elsewhere in the cave without running into any bottomless
pits or using up your limited supply of arrows.  Good luck.
You are in room 9 of the cave.  There are tunnels to rooms
5, 8, and 10.
*rustle* *rustle* (must be bats nearby)
*sniff* (I can smell the evil wumpus nearby!)

When returning:

Once again, you descend into the cave of the wumpus.
*whoosh* (I feel a draft from some pits).
*rustle* *rustle* (must be bats nearby)

> Again, nothing bad to say about the locate level, other than to lament the fact that it was wasted on such a terrible quest.

When first entering the goal level:

You descend into a weird place, in which roughly cut cave-like walls
join with smooth, finished ones, as if someone was in the midst of
finishing off the construction of a subterranean complex.
Off in the distance, you hear a sound like the clattering of many
hooves on rock.

When returning:

Once again, you enter the distorted castle of Scorpius.

Quest nemesis

When first encountering the quest nemesis:

"So, Ranger.  Orion has sent you to recover the Longbow of Diana.
"Well, I shall keep that bauble.

> I wouldn't really call a bow a "bauble". A crystal ball, though...

 It pleases me.  You, Ranger, shall die."

Upon further meetings:

"Back again, eh?  Well, a mere <rank> is no threat to me!  Die, Ranger!"

And on the 4th and subsequent meetings:

"You haven't learned your lesson, Ranger.  You can't kill me!  You shall die now."

When you have the Longbow of Diana, but Scorpius is still alive:

"I shall have the Longbow of Diana from you, <rank>.  Then I shall
kill you."

Discouragement

Scorpius will occasionally utter maledictions:

"Your <Venus | Mars> is nothing, Ranger.  You are mine now!"
"Run away little Ranger!  You can never hope to defeat Scorpius!"
"My servants will rip you to shreds!"
"I shall display your head as a trophy.  What do you think about that wall?"
"I shall break your Orion's grove, and destroy all the Hunters!"

> How, exactly, do you break a grove? A circle, I can understand, and even "breaching" the grove makes sense. But breaking?

"<Venus | Mars> has abandoned you, Ranger.  You are doomed."
"A <rank>?  OrionC sends a mere <rank> against me?  Hah!"
"OrionC has failed, Ranger.  The Longbow of Diana will never leave here."
"You really think you can defeat me, eh Ranger?  You are wrong!"
"You weaken, Ranger.  I shall kill you now."

Victory

When picking up your quest artifact:

As you pick up the Longbow of Diana, it seems to glow, and a warmth
fills you completely.  You realize that its power is what has protected
your <brothers|sisters> against their enemies for so long.
You must now return it to Orion without delay -- their lives depend
on your speed.

When killing the nemesis:

Scorpius collapses to the ground, cursing you and Orion, then says:
   You have defeated me, <rank>!  But I curse you one final time, with my
   dying breath!  You shall die before you leave my castle!

When returning to your quest leader:

"<playername>!  You have succeeded!  I feared it was not possible!
"You have returned with the Longbow of Diana!
"I fear, now, that the Centaurs will regroup and plot yet another raid.
This will take some time, but if you can recover the Amulet of Yendor
for <Venus | Mars> before that happens, we will be eternally safe.
"Take the Longbow of Diana with you.  It will aid in your quest for
the Amulet."

> In the Elf quest, the Goblin King may have been the quest nemesis, but he was ultimately just a figurehead, with the Bigger Bad being the Uruk-hai Overlord, who never appeared, meaning that there was still a risk of further goblin raids once the Uruk-hai selected a new goblin to be their puppet, to say nothing of the looming shadow of the Uruk-hai themselves. Whereas here, Scorpius took the place of the UhO as the mastermind of the invasion, meaning that the threat of the centaurs should have been eliminated with his defeat, rendering the last bit moot. About the only good thing I have to say about this is that unlike in 3.3.0, it doesn't mention the Centaurs selecting a "new Scorpius".

When subsequently throwing the Longbow of Diana to Orion:

Orion flexs the Longbow of Diana reverently.
"With this wondrous bow, one need never run out of arrows.
You are its keeper now, and the time has come to resume your
search for the Amulet.  The Dungeons of Doom await your return
through the magic portal that brought you here."

Post-quest

When talking to Orion after the quest:

"Welcome, <playername>.  How have you fared on your quest for the Amulet
of Yendor?"

When talking to Orion after getting the Amulet:

"You have it!  You have recovered the Amulet of Yendor!
Now attend to me, <playername>, and I will tell you what must be done:
"The Amulet has within it magic, the capability to transport you to
the Astral Plane, where the primary circle of <Venus | Mars> resides.

> And now, all of a sudden, they're calling it a "circle". Makes more sense than saying the "primary grove," but still. Why not just say "temple" here, since Roman deites weren't really worshipped in circles AFAIK?

"To activate this magic, you must travel upwards as far as you can.
When you reach the temple, sacrifice the Amulet to <Venus | Mars>.
"Thus will you fulfill your destiny."

> Nothing overtly offensive here, but still, I hope that at least one person can see my points in the previous rants about the most poorly-designed "vanilla" quest in existence.