Below are the contents of the README.TXT file that accompanies a Battlespire install. The text is presented as it appears, including any spelling or grammatical errors.
This readme document contains additional information about Battlespire after the manual was printed. This file resides in your game installation directory for viewing at any time.
If the installer appears to freeze after choosing the "Install Battlespire" option from the main menu, then it is most likely that one of your disk drives is not responding. Often, this would be a network drive. If you cannot install the game using the installer, you can perform a forced install following the instructions in the "install.txt" file.
Running under Windows 95
If you are running under Windows 95 and you want to run the game by typing "spire" in a DOS box, make sure that the DOS box has 65535 bytes of DPMI memory set up for it. You can do this by looking under the "Memory" tag when viewing the properties of the DOS box.
Also, on many computers, Battlespire does not respond nicely when one of the windows keys or a windows ALT-key combination is pressed. It is best to also disable the windows key and any ALT-key combination to prevent accidentally activating them.
Surprise, surprise. There are a few new spells in Battlespire designed to help even out the game play in both single and multiplayer modes. They are:
When cast on a player or monster, his legs are put to sleep, slowing him down to a turtle's crawl. After a while, the spell effect wears off and the victim returns to his normal speed.
Essentially the opposite of Slow. The legs enter a hyperactive state which enables the player to move faster than normal. This spell can be cast multiple times. Of course, it can get rather painful if you slam into a wall at high speeds.
When cast, the muscles of the subject takes on the properties of tempered steel. The damage inflicted in melee combat multiplies giving swords and other wielded melee weapons a decided advantage over bows and arrows.
There are two ways to play a multiplayer game with Battlespire. The first method uses a local area network with the IPX protocol. The second method uses an internet gaming service provided by Mplayer.
If you are trying to get a DOS machine (NOT a Win95 DOS box) to connect to a Win95 machine and vice versa, make sure that they both are using the same IPX frame type. Windows 95 defaults to an "Auto" frame type which may or may not be the same type the DOS machine is using.
Monsters can be your friends too, especially on capture the flag levels. When in need of assistance defending your flag against intruders, fire up a couple of summon monster spells for instant relief.
Of course, you can always drop a few delayed damage mines around your flag. Remember that they do not last forever.
Before deciding that you have discovered a bug in the game, first make sure that you can reproduce it. If you can do that, then you may call Bethesda Softworks tech support at 301-926-8300. Prepare a list of important information such as the type of computer you have been running the game on, the amount of system memory, the type of video card, and so on.
A Note on View-Based and Cursor-Based Movement Modes
The View-Based Movement Mode is Totally Excellent and Super-Satisfactory in every way. We Internationally Celebrated Game Developers at Bethsoft universally adore and cherish the View-Based Movement Mode, and recommend it for all our Fine Customers.
However, in deference to fans of some Pretty Decent Games Published in the Good Old Days, we also provide the option to use the Venerable and Exceptionally Okay Cursor-Base Movement Mode.
We invite you to try both modes, but have no reservations about which is the best.
Hints for Aspiring Heroes
1. "Manual? We don't need no stinking manual! HAW-haw- haw-haw-haw!"
We're shocked... SHOCKED... to discover some gamers don't read the manuals. We sheepishly admit that we don't read manuals, either, and that we usually do just fine... for about five minutes. Then, after we have been somewhat hammered or killed or otherwise thoroughly frustrated in our Pursuit of Happiness, we break down and read the manual to find out how the interface works, for instance, or what spells do, or how to put armor on.
We're certain you're far too Wise and Sensible to ignore the nice manual.
2. "Wow. I am being killed somewhat now. This is... well... pretty hard."
Well, duh! Your character is a green, though promising, aspirant in a desperate situation, surrounded by immortal fiends, in unfamiliar territory, with no line of retreat, limited intelligence, no allies, and modest resources. But, as your mom will tell you, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Don't expect to sail through Battlespire. Efficient operations behind enemy lines involve three phases: scouting, sniping and bushwhacking, and frontal assault.
Scouting: Fill in the map. Look for scrolls. Chat and run. Find the locked doors and figure out what the keys are. Pick up loose treasure. While scouting, run like a bunny. Don't fight. Use stealth, or Invisibility, or Etherialness. Avoid engagement until you know the lay of the land, the nature of the enemy, and the shape of your mission. Scout out possible allies and resources, and plan your operations on their availability. Run around in circles until the bad guys are out of spell points.
Sniping and Bushwhacking: Pick off solitary individuals. Use missile weapons or spells at range where efficient. Lead slow-witted, gullible monsters on long treks into deep pits where you can slaughter them at leisure. Sucker over-eager monsters without spells or missiles into quiet, secluded places where you can shoot or bake them from a safe distance.
Frontal Assault: Take on the tough guys toe-to-toe. Wade into the mobs of fireball-blasting fiends.
3. "Gee. A doojigger. Don't see one of THOSE everyday. Wonder what a little doojigger does."
..Now and then in your explorations you'll come across something cool. It looks interesting. And dangerous. And you'll wish you knew what it does, and whether it is safe, or useful.
The technical term for this is "a big mystery." You'll encounter lots of big mysteries in Battlespire. This is because the otherworldly fiends who have ravaged the locations you're traveling through have thoughtlessly forgotten to leave instructions on how to use their plunder.
For instance, you find the Thongs of Baleful Woe. Maybe you are a little nervous about putting them on. You can search and search and search through the documentation, and never find out what the Thongs of Baleful Woe do. So you will just have to fool around with them to figure them out, or just leave them alone.
You may be scandalized to discover that there are cursed and dangerous things scattered throughout Battlespire. Whenever something bad and mysterious happens, you might want to take everything you are carrying, put it in a sack, then amble off a good distance from the sack and examine your character sheet. If the bad and mysterious thing stops happening, you will want to examine everything in your sack very carefully before putting it on again.
And you may get a funny message telling you "You are forbidden from equipping that item." Now, you have never had any trouble the item in question before. This is another good time to take off your stuff, put it in a sack, and amble off a good distance to examine your character sheet. You may find that something you are wearing or using is causing a bad and mysterious thing.
You may also come across an occasional mysterious creature who is AMAZINGLY durable. INCONCEIVABLY durable. It seems to live a charmed life. This will perhaps drive you mad, especially if you are one of those efficiency nuts who want to kill EVERY SINGLE CREATURE in the game. Well. Go ahead. But don't waste any scarce resources on these guys, and don't expect a fountain of treasure when you slaughter them. They DO have a mysterious purpose, but... it's... well... mysterious. Sorry.
4. "I'm glad we had this little chat."
You will find gobs and gobs of dialog in Battlespire. Sure, they're monsters, but they have a lot of really interesting things to say. So we recommend chatting with monsters before you murder them. Some monsters will give you nice presents. Some will give you keys. Some will give you helpful hints. Some will even join you in your quest. On the other hand, some will tell you big fat lies, and summon minions to rend you limb from limb.
Some epic heroes have a nasty habit of slaughtering their potential informants. They just can't help themselves. Fortunately, we usually provide an Alternative Exhaustive Search Solution to permit such well-intentioned homicidal maniacs to collect all the clues and keys they need, even if they have depopulated the environment. On the other hand, the Alternative Exhaustive Search Solution is generally far more tedious and horrible than the Enlightened Meaningful Dialog Solution. Nuff said.
5. "Riddles? I HATE riddles!"
Simmer down. Riddles make some people's heads explode. So Battlespire always thoughtfully provides an alternative method for discovering any passwords or riddles you need. Of course, we reward clever players who admire our clever riddles by making their path a little easier, while other players have to wander around for hours looking for scrolls and plaques where we coyly secreted the answers to the riddles. You're welcome.
6. "I don't think we're in Tamriel anymore, Toto."
Veterans of Arena and Daggerfall! Warning! Battlespire is Extra Not Like Arena and Daggerfall, for one thing, and Battlespire takes place in a place Not At All Like Tamriel.
Arena and Daggerfall are Huge, Sprawling Persistent Worlds. There are towns with guilds for training and quests, and places to sell loot and buy equipment. When you run low on health and spell points, you sleep, and voila! back to 100%.
In Battlespire, the only ways to increase skills are to use them, or spend build points between levels. There is only one quest -- find your companion, and get out alive. There's no place to sell any loot you can't use, and there's a limit to what you can carry from level to level. Use it, or lose it. And you can't sleep to heal. You CAN often find nice blue gems which restore health and spell points when you click on them or run into them. [These blue gems kinda disappear for a while as they recharge, but they return. Honest.] And you will be Very Glad to find Cure Health and Restoration potions, or magic items with Healing or Magica Resartus powers.
Furthermore, your poor character is stranded in the Daedric Realms. This is not very much like the comparatively benign and picturesque lands of Tamriel.
The Daedric Realms are populated by immortal Daedra, not mortal beings. When you destroy their forms, they are cast into Oblivion for a while. This is No Fun, but it isn't like dying, and it makes Daedra kinda casual about wading into a dustup. And the Daedric Realms are weird. There's plenty of magical energy around, and this makes for a rather strange geography. Also, Daedric architecture and workmanship are fairly eccentric, mostly because Daedra are, by and large, crazy as rats in a drainpipe.
So. This is the World of the Elder Scrolls, and much of what you see will be familiar, but much will be not at all familiar, and sometimes bewildering. We're sorry. But it's just those darned Daedra. Really.
7. "Good grief, man. It's only a game...."
We are Pleased and Gratified to see how seriously some gamers approach the challenge of preserving the skin of their lovingly crafted characters. We LOVE to see how terrified they are of losing them, and how desperately they experience the dramatic tension of our lovingly crafted narrative. But...
We also hope gamers will play around with Battlespire and have all sorts of fun that has nothing to do with the drama of the Imperiled Hero on a Desperate Quest.
For instance, your character is standing at the edge of a high cliff staring down at a pool of molten lava. Now, in real life, you hardly ever want to indulge an impulse to hurl yourself off a high cliff into a pool of molten lava. But in Battlespire, well... sometimes it is a lot of fun to do Totally Stupid and Pointless Things.
Just Save Your Game. Early and Often. With a saved game safe and secure on your hard disk, you can go ahead and do silly, senseless things. Like give a sassy answer to the Lord of Destruction. Or touch something thrumming with Unholy Power. Or dive off a cliff and swim around in the lava looking for cool loot. Or double-click on a magic item named "The Thongs of the Sunken God's Awakening."
8. "Wow. Wish I could buy a vowel."
Inevitably every gamer gets Stuck. You have done everything you can think of, and you have no idea how to get past a blocking challenge.
Here's a list of things to try before you break down and buy the Hint Book. [By the way, did we tell you we are selling a Really Cool Hint Book that will instantly solve every one of your problems? Of course, you should Blush with Shame for using a hint book, but we won't Blush with Shame for selling you one.]
A: Review the messages left for you by your companion and by other allies. These usually help define the problems that need to be solved on a level, and hint at the first steps in solving them.
B: Tour the terrain once more looking for things you missed, like secret doors, or little buttons, or doors you forgot to open, or locations you neglected because something distracted you. Review your automap and look for areas you haven't visited or explored thoroughly. Look under and on top of stuff. Click on stuff. Look in dark corners and the bottoms of pools.
C: Talk with everyone one more time. And if you accidentally murdered everything that talks, look around for a little scroll or plaque that gives you the password or hint you need.
D: Search for more resources. Try using those weird and wacky magical items you sensibly refused to fool with on the first pass. Drowning a little bit? Hunt Water Breathing potions or Water Breathing magic items. Getting killed a little bit? Get some armor, or try some Resistance or Shield potions. Not making an impression on daedra with your iron dagger? Find a short sword made of decent metal. Almost dead and out of spell points? Try some open field running to the nearest blue gem restoration station. No idea what that interesting and dangerous looking widget does? Look for scrolls that Reveal the Secrets of Arcane Devices.
E: Try a different approach. Never used the Etherialness spell before? Never used a missile weapon? Not having a lot of luck with that Three Stooges Concept character design (all your points in Endurance and Luck)? Disdaining to learn the Cure Health spell because it isn't Manly? Refusing to use spells at all because you hate that silly wizard stuff? Loosen up.
F: Check your assumptions. "Oh. They wouldn't put anything down THERE." "Naw. They would NEVER let me wander away and leave something important lying around." "Nah. Already talked to her before. Don't need to talk to her again." "Come on. They would never have a monster that I can't kill." "They wouldn't put a really deep hole here without a way for me to get out of it." "No way I could ever jump across THAT!"