FM: Properly Paranoid (entry in Komag's Contest V)
Play mode: Ghost (success)
Perfect Thief (success!)
Loot: 1387 of 1387 (1300 required)
Pockets picked: 1 of 1
Damage dealt: 0
Damage received: 0
Secrets: 4 of 4
This is the first C5 mission I could Perfect and only the second I ghosted. (I came close on Into the Maelstrom, but I was spotted by a ghost when I leapt into the flooded hold on the metal ship; I didn't discover the moss arrow until much later in the game, and I didn't feel like replaying it).
This is an excellent mission for ghosting -- curiously, you don't have a blackjack, but you do have a sword, and there is no objective preventing you from killing everyone! -- but there are several difficult-to-ghost spots that require more raw nerve than anything else.
1. The watcher in the upstairs corridor;
2. The combat bot and the door you need to pick;
3. The lit room behind that door.
The watcher in the upstairs corridor
I realized I needed to get into the locked rooms in this corridor, since I had to find the DeathWard -- which allows you to loot the mummy's room -- and it was nowhere else, so it had to be here. Alas, there is a watcher at one end of the corridor whose "patrol" is not long enough to allow me to run up the corridor, pick open a door, and get inside before being spotted.
But the watcher is attached to a lock, and I guessed (correctly) that picking that lock would turn it off. But even that lock is within the view of the watcher when it turns left... and in any event, there are two AIs who patrol the brightly lit corridor at regular but complex intervals.
My basic technique was to hide in the doorway of the elevator (not far enough in to trigger the light gem in the elevator itself) until the coast was clear; then to dart out, stand under the watcher until it was turning right, then run to the lock and get in a bit of picking before having to dash back under the watcher, thence back to the elevator. I found that one turn right was good for a single "stage" of lockpicking (three-stage lock).
The mace-wielding male who patrols that corridor started from my entry room (the Harp room), took a look around, as if searching, when standing next to the safe, headed towards the elevator, turned right into the corridor, then turned right again under the watcher to head right back to the Harp room; he would again pause and "search" near the safe, then again head towards the door near the elevator -- but he would then do a loop-back to the safe and then back and out the elevator-side door. This loop-back was my cue: after this, his patrol would be a much longer one, passing under the watcher, through the library, and all the way around the scenic route back to the Harp room... that whole thing was one patrol.
The other guard was a crossbow woman; she would make several false starts from the far end of the corridor towards the watcher, then finally walk under it and into the library. So the longest time interval I had was when the male did his loop-around maneuver and when the female went all the way. Er... well, you know what I mean: all the way into the library. Then I would get a good, long stretch, likely more than a minute.
Picking the lock a stage at a time -- I had time for two stages on one of those "long tour" phases of the patrol, though I didn't realize it -- and scuttling back to the safety of the elevator if necessary, I finally picked the lock. As expected, the watcher turned off. Thereafter, the corridor was just a matter of avoiding AI while I picked my way into the two rooms.
Incidentally, one of them has the DeathWard, but the other has an invisibility potion (it's hot; turn off the gas under the Bunsen Burner!) I didn't find the invisibility potion until late in the game, but I didn't need it anyway. Chemical-free ghosting!
The combat bot and the door you need to pick
Down the elevator and into the room beyond -- solve the crossword puzzle; it gives you the combination you'll need later to avoid being turned into a thief pancake! -- and through the door leads to the T-corridor patrolled by the combot. I found out (online) that I had to get into the locked room at the neck of the T... but this was really, really tricky: the combot patrols from the foot of the T up and to the left, pauses, then back to the foot of the T, pauses, then back up and to the right, pauses, then back to the foot of the T and pauses again. It pauses for very little time at the left and right prongs of the T, only a few seconds.
I did a man's job picking the lock, but I was completely unable to get it (another three-stager) before being spotted and killed. Once again, I had to use a staged approach.
I discovered that even though I was partially lit at the lock, the combot really couldn't see me when it was at the base of the T. Starting from the Altar room (where I found the statue key), I ran down the corridor right behind the combot and started picking while it was still walking to the base of the T. I continued picking as it turned around; when I finished one lockpick stage, I spun and crouch-ran up the T and to the right, back towards the Altar room; this kept me away from the brightest spot. I drew a first-alert grumble from the combot ("I have seen... I do not know; this incident will be reported; I have found -- no danger.")
Then, the next time the combot was headed back towards the base of the T, I ran to the other side, hiding in the Crossword Puzzle room. When the combot came to my side and then departed, I edged into the corridor again, pressed up against the wall and looking towards the Altar room, getting my next lockpick ready. The combot marched back up the T and turned towards that room, never spotting me behind it in the corridor. I darted immediately to the locked door and actually had enough time for both lockpick stages and to move into the doorway, the only dark spot between the well-lit T corridor and the well-lit room, where a guard waited.
I waited, holding my breath, for the combot to pass again; even though it was so close I could smell the sewing-machine oil, it didn't see me in the sliver of total darkness. When it left again (for the elevator side), I flew down to the base of the T, grabbed the ornate poker, and raced back to my doorway.
The lit room behind that door
Next time the combot came and went, I mossed the area just inside the door, then edged into the room, hugging the right wall and pointed towards the guard. I got a single grumble ("come into the light, that I might see thee better!"), but nothing more. I crept slowly through the well-lit room, but amazingly, the guard didn't see me. I looked for a white cane and guide dog -- or at least an umpire's manual. I was able to get all the way around and behind him... at which point he finally spoke again, but only to say "'twas just the moss in mine ears," and then he began intoning those endless Mechanist dirges.
I knew I would eventually have to loot that room (the paintings -- replace each one with a conductive plate or else you'll be a pincushion), so I started nudging the guard forward. I got him a third of the way across and got bored
I went off and did thiefly things in the two rooms behind the guard, then returned. He was far enough forward that I could grab the two pictures farthest from the front door... and an odd thing happened: once I got picture number two, the light in the room turned off.
I tried going around in front of the guard and grabbing the third painting... but when I did, that turned the light back on, and I was turned into smashed potatoes. So I reloaded, left the third picture for later, and was able to move in and out of that room at will for a while. I did eventually come back and nudge the guard all the way up into the far right corner; when I maneuvered him there, I was able to get the last picture and escape from the room without him seeing me.
The rest of the mission was just ordinary sneakiness; there are a lot of puzzles to solve, but they're the same for ghosters and non-ghosters.
I will note that two extra objectives appeared: one ("Scout") when I turned off the arrow-trap near the chest in the Number room, and the other ("Treasure Hunter") when I got all the loot; both appeared already checked off. If there are other invisible objectives, I didn't trigger them.