GUIDE TO PLAY
|To load the Lords of Midnight type MIDNIGHT and then press ENTER. The game will then LOAD and RUN automatically.|
| Starting off
The Lords of Midnight has a facility which enables you to SAVE the game you are playing at any stage. When loading is complete, you will be asked whether you want to start a NEW GAME or continue an OLD GAME: on the overlay you will find a key for each of these options. If you press NEW GAME a screen depicting the situation of Luxor the Moonprince will appear and your quest will begin on the day of the Solstice itself.
If you press OLD GAME a screen will appear instructing you to load the saved data of the game you wish to continue. Once the data has been loaded back into your computer, the last screen of the game you saved will appear and you can continue your quest
| Saving a game in progress
The data for the Lords of Midnight can be saved at any stage of the game. To save a game in progress, you must first press the key marked SAVE on the keyboard overlay. The SAVE key should only be pressed at a time when the computer is waiting for you to press an option key: if it is doing something else, it will simply ignore your key-stroke.
When you press SAVE a screen will appear instructing you what to do next. Just simply select a slot to save the game in [A-Z] If there are no previous save game files in the current directory, then slot A is automatically selected.
| Abandoning a game
We hope that you will never need to abandon a game of the Lords of Midnight, but if it should come to pass that your situation is beyond all hope, you can abandon the game by pressing OLD GAME
You cant simply start a fresh game at the press of a button. Instead, you must either load the program back in or load back in the data from a game you have already saved and pressing OLD GAME enables you to do this.
If you feel you are going to need a lot of fresh starts, we recommend that you make a copy of the early stages of the Lords of Midnight by pressing SAVE either at the very start of the game or during your first few moves.
| Keeping track of things
Because such a lot is always going on in the land of Midnight, we have provided a facility whereby you can keep a printed record of each game as it progresses. Of course, you will need a printer compatible with the computer and you may need a lot of paper! Pressing the COPY key at any stage of the game will print-out the screen in front of you. If you use this facility to its full, you should end up with an illustrated history of the War of the Solstice.
| The role you play
You, the player, take the role of Luxor the Moonprince, Lord of the Free. By virtue of the Moon Ring, which lends you the Power of Vision and the Power of Command, you can control other characters that are loyal to you, move them through the landscape of Midnight and look through their eyes. Some of these characters are simply individuals, others are commanders at the head of whole armies: when you move a commander, his army moves with him.
The computer plays the part of Doomdark, the Witchking of Midnight and controls the characters and armies loyal to him. In addition, the computer also governs the actions of the independent characters and forces in the land of Midnight
| A choice of games
There are two distinct ways of winning a victory over Doomdark. The first is by war, by sending armies north to the Plains of Despair and seizing the Citadel of Ushgarak from whence Doomdark commands his foul hordes. In such a strategy, Luxor himself will playa major part as a commander in the field.
The second way of winning is by quest, by guiding Morkin, Luxors son, to the Tower of Doom to destroy the Ice Crown, the source of Doomdarks power. Morkin can have no army to help him on his journey, for the Ice Crown sends forth the ice-fear which withers mens minds. By virtue of his birth, half-human, half-fey, only Morkin can resist the utter coldness of the Ice Crowns power.
If you prefer a pure adventure just concentrate on the quest of Morkin. The armies of Doomdark will still march south to conquer Midnight but the armies of the Free will defend themselves without your guidance, even though they will not make any counter-moves.
If you prefer a pure war game, ignore the quest of Morkin and concentrate on the assault of Ushgarak.
To play the complete epic, however, you should place equal importance on the war that Luxor directs and the quest that Morkin journeys on. Naturally enough, the complete epic takes the longest to play. Of the other options, you will find the quest the quicker game.
There are no keys to press to choose which sort of game you play - you simply choose, move-by-move, which characters you want to guide. At any stage, you can alter the balance at will, abandon the quest and take up war, or admit defeat on the battlefield and try to seek the Ice Crown.
If you want to play the Lords of Midnight with your family or friends, we suggest that each player is given control over a particular character or group of characters, and that you play as a team against the evil Doomdark.
| Victory for Doomdark
To win, Doomdark (or the computer, if you prefer) must achieve two objectives. First, he must eliminate Morkin: as long as Morkin is alive, the game will continue. Second, he must subdue the armies of the Free. This can be done in two ways, either by eliminating Luxor the Moonprince who is their commander or by taking the Citadel of Xajorkith in the land of Corelay, the home of all their hopes.
If Luxor is killed, you, the player, lose all control over the other characters in the game except for Morkin, his son. If, by any chance, Morkin manages to find the Moon Ring that Luxor wore and which was the source of Luxors Powers of Vision and Command, he can put it on and you will regain control over those characters still loyal to the Free. However, once he does this, Morkin will immediately become known to Doomdark and his quest to seize the Ice Crown will become almost impossible.
If Xajorkith is taken by Doomdark but Morkin is still alive. Luxor can continue the armed struggle against the Witchking. For Doomdark to win, Xajorkith must be Doomdarks and Morkin must be dead, OR both Luxor and Morkin must be dead.
| The Ice-Fear and the Moon Ring
The ice-fear is Doomdarks greatest weapon, sapping mens courage and reducing armies to rabble. If strong enough, it may even cause characters once loyal to Luxor and the Free to desert to Doomdarks control. He can use it either as a general effect, spread equally over the lands of Midnight or concentrate it in particular places.
The only shield against it is the Moon Ring that Luxor wears: this radiates the strength and warmth of his mind. The closer a character or Army is to Luxor, the less will be the demoralising effect of the ice-fear. The same applies if Morkin is the wearer of the Moon Ring. There is one drawback: the Witchking can sense the warmth of the Moon Ring and so, at any stage of the game, he knows the precise whereabouts of its wearer.
The strength of the ice-fear also depends on Doomdarks confidence. As the Witchking takes citadel after citadel of the Free so does the ice-fear grow. but where he suffers defeat or doubt the ice-fear dwindles. The Ice Crown has a cold intelligence of its own and as Morkin comes closer towards it. it will feel the approaching danger and bend a greater and greater part of its force towards its own protection. So, as Morkin approaches the Ice Crown, more and more of the ice-fear will be directed at him alone but it will not affect him. Instead, the burden of its terror will begin to lift from the armies and commanders of the Free.
| Controlling a character
As stated in the introduction, the Lords of Midnight is not a standard adventure game and controlling the characters does not require you to guess at the right phrase of command. Instead, you have four basic options, each available at the press of a single key:
On screen will appear a landscape corresponding to the view that the character sees in the direction he is looking at the time. There are also a few lines of text, giving details of where he stands as well as an heraldic shield which identifies him. During the LOOK option, you can turn the character to look in another direction by pressing one of the right compass keys: NORTH. NORTH-EAST, SOUTH-EAST, SOUTH, SOUTH -WEST, WEST and NORTH-WEST.
The character will move forward in the same direction he was last looking. When he reaches his next location, he will continue looking in that direction and the LOOK option will reappear with a new landscape.
When the character is told to Think, the screen becomes largely text and you are given more details regarding the character, any army he controls and the place he is in, than could be included in the short text of the LOOK screen.
The CHOOSE screen presents you with a list of special options not covered by the basic LOOK and MOVE options. It also lists the key you must press for each of these options.
What special options are open will depend upon the situation the character finds himself in but will include such choices as searching, hiding, attacking an enemy, repairing defences and so on.
The CHOOSE screen will also reflect the personality of the particular character. All the choices you are presented with are only those the character would be likely to choose by himself. So, the choices open to a cowardly character will seldom include brave deeds, the choices open to a greedy character will seldom include acts of generosity.
You can press the LOOK, MOVE, THINK and CHOOSE keys at any stage during any of the four basic options and the new screen will appear at once.
| Selecting a character
At the beginning of the game, you have four characters under your control. These are LUXOR the Moonprince, MORKIN his son, CORLETH the Fey and RORTHRON the Wise. You can select any of these by pressing the key marked with their name. When selected, the display will switch immediately to the LOOK option for that character. To select others characters (which you must recruit to your cause during the course of the game), you must press the SELECT key. When you do this, a list of the other characters you control will appear, together with a list of the keys that will select them. Press one of these selection keys and the display will switch immediately to the LOOK option for that character. Once you have selected a character, your control will remain with that character until you select another. Selection can be done at any stage of the LOOK, MOVE, THINK and CHOOSE options.
| How the game works
The game begins on the day of the Winter Solstice. Initially, you control Luxor the Moonprince, Morkin, Corleth the Fey and Rorthron the Wise. These characters all start the game at the Tower of the Moon in the Forest of Shadows. The game proceeds by day and by night.
During the day, you can move any or all of the characters you control and any armies that are with them. The distance a character can move in one day depends on the difficulty of the terrain and whether he is walking or riding as well as his state of health. You must learn by experience precisely how far you can travel under given circumstances. However, there is one important thing to remember: when you travel directly north, south, east or west you are moving just one league at a time: when you move north-east, north-west, south-east or south-west you are moving along the diagonal of a square one league by one league, a distance of approximately 1.4 leagues. Therefore, this will take you longer and leave less hours of daylight for the rest of your journey.
When a character has exhausted his hours of daylight, night will fall for him, and. unless there are exceptional circumstances (the THINK screen will tell you if there are), he will not be able to do any more until the following day. You can still, however, move other characters under your control.
Once you have moved all the characters you wish to, you must press the NIGHT key. This lets nightfall everywhere and signals the start of activities for the forces of Doomdark. During the night, Doomdark will move his characters and armies across Midnight and there will be a pause as he "thinks". Soon, however, a new day will dawn and you can command your characters afresh.
DO NOT FORGET TO PRESS THE NIGHT KEY WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED YOUR DAYS MOVEMENT AND ACTION. IF YOU DO NOT PRESS THE NIGHT KEY NOTHING FURTHER WILL HAPPEN AT ALL!
| Engaging in battle
Minor skirmishes involving individual characters and small war-bands are quick affairs and can take place at any stage throughout the day. Battles between armies, however, that will not be decided until the day is over.
Because a battle between armies is such a major event, you will not be able to move an army to the same location as an enemy army by using the simple MOVE option. Such a move ls always one of the special actions you can opt for during the CHOOSE option. Some of the commanders you control may be so afraid that the choice to move them into battle does not even appear as one of the possibilities.
During the course of the day, you can move as many armies into battle as you wish. If you move more than one army into the same battle, the program will keep track of their times of arrival (which may influence the outcome of the contest). However, once an army or a character has been moved into a battle, it will not be able to move again until the following day.
At dawn on the following day, the outcome will be known to your commanders. If the enemy has lost, his armies will have been destroyed in the night or have fled, leaving your armies and characters free to move. If the enemy has not lost, you have the choice of retreating with what is left of your armies or continuing the struggle for another day, possibly throwing in more forces. If, however, the enemy has won a decisive victory, when dawn breaks you will find your armies destroyed and your surviving commanders scattered: the enemy forces may have advanced far beyond the battlefield.
Many things will influence the outcome of a battle: the number of troops, the type of terrain. the quality of the commanders and, of course, the strength of the ice-fear. But, as any warrior must, you must learn by experience.
| The map of Midnight
The map of Midnight reproduced elsewhere depicts the major features of the geography of Midnight. but like any map it does not show every single detail. You will find surprises where ever you roam. It will serve well, however, as a guide to your journeys through Midnight and be a good helper when you become lost. But do not forget that the landscape has its own secrets!
| The free and the foul
On the day of the Solstice, at the start of the game, Doomdarks forces hold the north whilst the Free hold the South. Few of Doomdarks armies will be found south of the Mountains of Ithril and the Plains of Valethor. Of the major citadels, Doomdark holds Ushgarak, Grarg, Vorgath and Kor. The only armies of the Free to be found north of the Mountains of Ithril and the Plains of Valethor are in Ithrorn and the Plains of Ithril. Of the major citadels, the Free still hold Ithrorn, Kumar, Marakith, Shimeril, Grad and Xajorkith. In the east, the barbarian tribes of the Targ remain independent of both Doomdark and the Moonprince. In the west, save for the Citadel of Gard, the lands lie mostly empty and under no ones sway.
The Fey are in loose alliance with the Free. They do not seek war but neither do they relish the thought of Doomdark overrunning Midnight. Their part in the War of the Solstice will be mostly passive. Their homes are the forests of Midnight and Doomdarks armies will not willingly be allowed passage through these. Corleth the Fey, however. should be able to rally enough of his people to his banner to form one army.
The Wise have isolated themselves from the world and live like hermits in their tall towers. Doomdark will not bother them so long as they remain withdrawn from the affairs of Men and most certainly, they will not aid him. In the right circumstances, it may be possible to seek their help and be granted it. Rorthron the Wise could prove a useful ally in this.
The Utarg of Utarg may be persuaded to bring the Targ into the war against Doomdark, especially if the armies of the Witchking are tempted or forced to trespass on his lands. If the ice-fear grows too strong, however, he may lend his loyalty to Doomdark.
Of the Free themselves, there are many Lords. Luxor should first set himself the task of seeking their loyalty, thus gaining control of many armies. Most powerful are the Lord Marshals of the great Citadels but the Moonprince will find other Lords who will also bow to his command. He should not, however, waste too much time seeking out allies; there are others who will make fine ambassadors.
| Looking around
During your travels through Midnight, you will see many different scenes. This is a travellers guide to some of the things you will see. All of these features of Midnights geography may offer cover to an army.
|Moving across a mountain will take many hours of travel and leave you exhausted at the end of your journey.|
|A strongly fortified city which may harbour enemy forces or offer shelter to a friendly army. Storming a citadel will be a hard task.|
|Movement through a forest will not be swift. The minions of Doomdark, however. will find it doubly difficult for forests are the homes of the magical Fey who hold no love for the foul creatures of the Witchking.|
|The refuges of the Wise, the Towers of Midnight are almost impregnable from attack but help may be sought at one of these. It may not always be granted.|
|Built in the dawn of the world, these ancient temples have strange powers, not always benign.|
|A village can offer warmth and shelter to the lonely traveller if its people prove friendly.|
|Gently rolling hills, the downs slow a traveller only slightly but they may hide unseen dangers.|
|The fortress of a minor Lord, a keep will offer protection against occasional raids but will not withstand a determined assault for long.|
|Built by the wandering peoples of Midnight during the long winter, snowhalls are quite large structures which can offer shelter to many hundreds if need be.|
|The remaining lakes of Midnight are fed by warm springs. They have powers to revive and heal those who oppose Doomdark and the forces of cold.|
|Surrounding the land of Midnight are the Frozen Wastes. They cannot be entered by any. Free, Foul or Fey.|
|Abandoned fortresses of former wars, ruins may harbour dark and dangerous things but may, in times of need, offer some protection against attack.|
|These ancient standing stones often have magical powers.|
|A cavern can provide shelter and a hiding place but it may already have done so for fouler creatures!|
|As well as these features, you will also see the flat expanses of the Plains of Midnight. It is only on the plains that you will actually see the banners and ranks of the armies that march across the land.|
|A friendly army offers no hindrance to the traveller. but an attempt to go through the midst of an enemy army offers the gravest of peril, by day or by night. Armies in mountains, forests or any of the other places to be found will hide themselves well and not be seen.|
|As you look around during your travels, large figures may appear in the foreground of each panorama you see. These are the warriors, characters or creatures that lie immediately ahead of you on the borders of the next domain. You do not always, however, see all that lies ahead. The wise travellers must be both bold and wary.|