Monday, 5 March 2012

Game 12: Mortville Manor - Unco-operative Suspects

Jérôme Lange Journal Entry 2: “I have spent quite some time questioning everyone in the manor, assuming that literally anyone could be the murderer. It became clear pretty quickly that this questioning alone was not going to lead to a resolution, so I have also started sneaking into each of their rooms and going through their stuff, looking for anything that might assist in my investigation. It has been very eye opening, and I’ve found quite a few documents that suggest not all is well between some of the family members. Pat seems to owe a lot of money to Guy and has been forging his accounts, whereas Guy is apparently having an affair with Eva. I’m not yet sure if any of this has anything to do with what has happened, but knowledge is power. Most interestingly, I have found a second cryptic parchment in one of the rooms, and I’m not convinced that figuring out their meaning will be the key to my success. Reading over the first parchment again, I now realise that it must be speaking of the well outside the manor, but I have not yet figured out how to get down there. I plan to ask everyone about the well and see if one of them will let slip something of value.”

Well I’ve certainly done some hard yards on Mortville Manor over the weekend. I’m up to six hours in total on the game, but over three quarters of that has been taken up by going through every item in every room and recording it in my spreadsheet, and asking every possible question to every suspect and recording that also. It’s taken a long time to collect all of this, mostly due to the way each suspect drip feeds information before telling me I’m “too curious”, but also due to my game ending prematurely due to death or dismissal. I still don’t completely understand why Max is sending me packing occasionally. It doesn’t seem to be at any set point in time, so I don’t think it’s because I’m failing to achieve something within a timeframe. It seems more likely to do with me snooping around in places I’m not supposed to, but it happens at such random times that it’s very difficult to associate with any of my actions. Perhaps it’s because I’m leaving cupboards and suitcases open when investigating which gives away the fact that I’ve been snooping, or maybe it occurs after a manor inhabitant catches me in their room (occasionally when I walk into a bedroom, the owner is already in there). Whatever is causing it, it’s pretty damn annoying, and causes me to start over (I can’t use a recent save game as I don’t know whether I’ve already done whatever it is that causes the dismissal). If it is indeed random, then The Adventure Gamer will not be happy!


Is that a joke? As in "Red...what's on the walls"?! Or is it a Read Herring?

Regardless, I’m now at a point where I can really start to look over all these notes and try to figure out what it is I’m supposed to do. The key to the game seems to be figuring out the cryptic parchments, of which I’ve currently got two. The first one, which seemed stupidly cryptic at first, is starting to unravel for me. “Like a deep stony stare, a solitary eye that points towards the stars; the artery that links heaven and hell. You must fathom these depths keeping hold of that which is, and will become.” I’m certain this is talking about the well outside the manor, but I don’t know what the thing “which is, and will become” is. When I stand in front of the well, I have the option to Move “into the well”, but the game simply responds with ??? when I try to do that. I remembered that I’d seen a rope in one of the rooms and referring to my spreadsheet, figured out where it was. Once I had the rope, I was able to Attach it to the well, certain that this would allow me to climb down. Strangely, when I try to Move into the well now, the game responds with “Too deep”. I stopped playing at this point, but will have another shot at it tonight. It may be that I need to use the rope somehow (it’s ridiculous given how many actions there are to choose from, that Use isn’t one of them). I feel like I’m getting very close to opening the game up a bit, which is exciting.


That's what she said! (sorry, it's an Australian thing)

The other parchment makes no sense to me at all just yet, but I do recognise some of the stuff it’s talking about. This section means nothing to me: “You will drop your chord of stone at your feet. The laugh of silence at the highest pitch, and in your right hand, the measure of genius”, but it later speaks about passing “between the two crescents beyond the abyss of the wall of silence”, which must be talking about the two moons on the pillars in the cellar.  I’m hoping that by getting into the well, I’ll find something down there that will make the second parchment make more sense. I’m pretty determined to finish Mortville Manor and will do my best to do so without asking for hints. However, for speed reasons alone, I’ll give 10 points to the first person that can explain exactly why I’m being thrown out of the manor with such regularity. This would stop me having to start over and significantly increase the amount of time I can spend on trying to actually solve the game. I reckon I could figure this out through trial and error, but I’m conscious that I’ve already spent over six hours on the game and have very little to show for it. This is a perfect example of where I’m just going to ask for assistance, as the answer most likely won’t spoil anything else (if it does, please don’t tell me) and it will help me to push through the game to more interesting stuff (and I mean interesting stuff in this game, not that I just want to move onto another one).


Pat's worksheet. So...what did you do on your weekend?

8 comments:

  1. Me and my memory again...I think Max kicking you out is because you are searching rooms while there are people in them. If there's people in a room, don't do anything except talk to them. Picking stuff up and rifling through things in the precense of others makes you look suspicious.

    Not a 100% on this though. Oh, and in case you are still planning on playing through this in french afterwards? Please don't. Can't imagine the frustration caused by having umpteen actions and pages and pages of text you don't understand. :)

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    1. Thanks Lars-Erik. I figured it would be something like that, but if that really is the case, then it's not just suspect's bedrooms that it applies to. This was happening to me before I even realised you could enter their rooms, so I assume you're not allowed to look through cupboards and draws on any screen while someone else is there. That would be difficult to get around, particularly in the dining room where there always seems to be stacks of people hanging around. That being said, I don't think I've found anything in the Dining Room that seems of use yet.

      Can anyone else confirm the above? I'd hate to try to avoid everyone the whole time only to find out it's not the cause.

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  2. According to Lankhor.net, someone tried to figure this out for Maupiti Island, Mortville Manor's sequel. It might be a similar system at work.
    There seems to be some kind of "sympathy" counter that decreases when you do certain actions: talking to people, being in their rooms as they come in or searching everywhere when someone is present (the list for Maupiti Island is longer as more actions are available, like beating people up).
    So when the counter reaches 0, you get kicked out.
    This might be why Max talks about the dinner time at the beginning, so you can snoop around as everyone is eating.

    (all this is higly speculative, but still consistent with Lars-Erik's input).

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  3. At http://www.adventurearchiv.com/m/mortvillereviewd.htm a German guy also postulates a "sympathy counter", and he guesses it is incremented when an NPC finds the player "too curious". So you shouldn't be thrown out of the mansion as long as you avoid triggering this answer.

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    1. That would really explain why I've run into it so often, since I've focussed on getting all the information out of every suspect before proceeding.

      I guess it will be interesting now that I don't need to ask any further questions whether or not I get dismissed again.

      At this stage, I'm not sure how many points to hand out and to whom. I'll see whether I can rule out any of these theories in the coming days.

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    2. You could do memory dumps of the game and look for an integer that keeps decreasing. Or is that cheating?

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  4. I've decided to give Lars-Erik 10 points here as since I stopped searching anything while anyone was in the room, I've not been dismissed. I'm given 5 to daubeur for extrapolating and 5 to koreagolfer as the "too curious" thing may very well be involved (I'll not know unless I start again and go through a trial and error process).

    Thanks to you all!

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    1. Muahaha, fresh, juicy points for me! I wonder what I'm going to spend them on... A plush cushion for my tentacle to sleep on? Additional inventory slots maybe? Some gnarlybark? A train ticket for the Number Nine? A bust of The Adventure Gamer for the hallway? A Rodent Tracker 8000? A set of new mugs to hold my grog? So many choices and so few points.

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