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All In, Enderal [Travelogue of Skyrim Total Conversion Mod, Enderal]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Guile, May 21, 2017.

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  1. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I've been writing a kind of stream of consciousness travelogue on my thread as I play a mod for Skyrim called Enderal, but due to some comments I'm moving it to its own thread.

    Enderal is a total conversion mod, which basically means its a whole new game with reused art assets from Skyrim (and new ones too).


    The world is different. Enderal is a xenophobic, stratified caste society feeling the first worried pangs of a mysterious (and probably magical) disease called the Red Madness.
    The races are different. You play as one of four 'races', three human and one high elf (called Starlings in this game).
    The lore is different. There are no Elder Scrolls in evidence, nor Daedric princes. The gods are dead, or so goes the prevailing thought in places not Enderal.
    The story is different. I'm still probably going to end up the One Last Hope Of The World, but for now it's a more personal story involving just trying to stay alive in the grip of an arcane fever.

    So, off we go! I'll be posting the seven updates from my thread in quick succession, and then an eighth shortly.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Update 1
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    This mod got me to come back to Skyrim for the first time in years. This post is of my first couple hours into the game. Mostly without pictures, because I'm terrible at taking screenshots when cool things are happening to me.

    Here's one, though: this is the title screen. The game is not quite this pretty 'in person' so to speak, but close.

    [​IMG]

    - Enderal is absolutely beautiful. I'm sure everyone says this, but it's true, and the SureAI guys should be proud. I think it being a tighter narrative arc than Skyrim helps with this; at least in the dream and the opening bit with the tower, it's mostly obvious where to go and that probably helps set up beautiful vistas. This is a picture of the actual game on my mediocre computer:

    [​IMG]

    - The flora is more attractive than in Skyrim, although not good for my obsessive compulsive need to click on all the plants and then eat them, on the grounds that that is what I did in Skyrim. I don't even intend to go into alchemy. I don't get exp from this. I just do this. It's... a thing I do.

    - Strong opening. The dream is well done; juxtaposing beautiful visuals with a slow sense of creeping dread. That old childhood terror of coming home one day and everybody being gone. Then, uh... then I wished Dad was gone, because he's scaring me.
    Good background hook that's obviously going to be explored later; I apparently murdered my family while in the grip of madness and maybe burned down my house.

    - Turns out I'm on a boat. With a buddy, a starry eyed fellow slave or peasant or something. We're going to a new life in Enderal! This will definitely not end poorly.
    The boat thing harkens back to Morrowind's opening, which is cool. I'm a little sad I can't mouth off to this pirate captain when she discovers us, or beg for my life like poor what's-his-face. Instead I get bundled up with my dead companion and tossed into the ocean. Screw you too, lady.
    Maybe less immediately exciting than Skyrim's 'execution interrupted by dragons' prologue, but it feels more personally engaging, and that's good. Give me a street-level narrative any day.

    - The beach and the tower are mostly good.
    It introduced all the necessary game mechanics, though it helped that I already half knew what to do from Skyrim in years past. Stab, bow, sneak, magic, watch out for traps.
    I couldn't manage to get the troll to trigger the trap like SureAI obviously wanted (I ended up getting stabbed by it same as him).
    The room with the gyroscope-looking ruin thing confused me on where to go next, it took me three trips around the room to find the lower exit. I felt like I was playing Myst again.
    I get a quest to find 5 pumpkins and 3 mana mushrooms to gain extra health or something. Are the pumpkins around here special? Is my character some kind of pumpkin fiend looking for her next fix like a khajit with moon sugar?

    - I meet some alchemists, one who's nice and one who's an asshole that clearly wishes he were a bard. After eyeing me suspiciously, bard-chemist goes to play on a lute while I rap with Finn for a while. I immediately bought the light magic book from him for some 70 gold - then found an identical book sitting on his bedroll I could take for free. That was kind of annoying.
    I am sick with fever, and also I have a bad case of Future Vision. It comes with awesome fireworks in strange colors.
    Finn's a nice guy, though. Shame the highwaymen around here seem to come packing bombs attached to their arrows, and that they don't like squatters.

    - This will now begin the trend of everything in this entire country trying (and often succeeding) to murder me.

    - I like... well, let's just call him Dal for now since I can't remember his name. The voice acting in this game is rock solid. He's a cynical fellow, and kind of an anarchist for someone employed by the Big Religion. He makes a nice contrast to the content, life-satisfied alchemist guy immediately before. He saves me from probable-death and has a line on a guy who can heal my fever, but only if I do something for him.
    But not, like, a sex thing.
    He wants to investigate this Yero fellow. A Big Religion-certified mage-type called a Keeper, who exploded, killing 30 school magelings.

    - I have now died to a wild dog (coastal deerstalker), a large-ish spider, a highwayman and a waterfall, before I've even finished getting down from this switchback mountain with Dal. Endaral is much harder than Skyrim, and that's with wearing all the heavy armor I can find.

    - Despite me starting down the Keeper path, I can't figure out shield bashing. I'm much more survivable keeping a sword in one hand and the basic fire spell in the other. So I attack a given monster with my bow from stealth. Then I switch back to sword and fire immediately, and burn the monster when it runs up to attack me. I hit it with a power attack (which burns up over half my stamina), then frantically run backwards shooting more fire until it is dead or I am.
    I want to use the light magic spell that hurts it to heal myself because Endaral seems to have no health regen, but the damage is too low and enemy damage too high. Better to burn everything despite my desire to be a light mage.

    - Finding a merchant first thing after leaving Dal is nice. She has a nice selection of skill books, so I buy up all I can find (2 heavy armor, 2 one handed weapon, 1 light magic). It's kind of weird I find her sleeping on the ground instead of in a sleeping bag or something, but whatever, it's a game. I help her out by murdering something like a satyr crossed with a cave troll, and she gives me some weeds. Thanks.

    - I notice either fast travel isn't a thing in this game, or I can't figure out how to do it. This is inconvenient, because I'm running out of bread to heal between fights and I can't warp back to the merchant (really wish I checked her consumables at the time). Dal's campsite and its bedroll is even further away.
    Am at the point where I'm more excited to find bread and cheese than potions, since potions contribute to the sword of damocles hanging over my head: 100% arcane fever equals death. Healing magic also worsens the fever, which is the final nail in the coffin of my light mage career.

    - I have now found:
    1) a cart with highwaymen (my first experience with mobs using shields. Inconvenient, but fire works as it always does).
    2) a mine filled with undead, rats and workbenches (I don't know how schematics work, but I upgrade my iron armor to (superior)).
    3) a house with an angry mage in it (I actually wandered around and picked up a bunch of things, then got an icicle in the back. Then we ran out into the yard and frantically threw fire and ice at each other until one of us died. For once, it wasn't me!).
    4) a circle of stones and four undead with bows (I also died here, then came back and frantically zigzagged around dodging arrows and very occasionally shooting fire or hitting somebody with my new mace I took off a highwayman. It was fun).
    5) a mine filled with cave trolls (I also died twice here; that bottom-most troll seems much harder than the other ones, and the reward of three stamina potions for its death was... a little low).

    I am not even halfway to my first quest objective, Some Guy Named Alfred. I tried running there without engaging anything, aggroed a cave troll (not sitting in a cave, but rather out in the open; I feel like the victim of false advertising), then 5 highwaymen, then the game crashed. I took that as the game's way of saying 'go to bed idiot, it's 2 am.'


    The Takeaway:
    Overall, it's a fun experience, even given my constant deaths. A prettier experience than Skyrim, though that game also had some fantastic vistas, and certainly more challenging. What Skyrim did better than Enderal basically boils down to... Riverwood. Somewhere to resupply and take a breath, to engage in a bit of a chat and maybe do some sidequests, to use a workbench that isn't covered in rat corpses and bone dust, to hawk the crap I find off highwaymen. I haven't seen a friendly face in hours, and it's starting to grind on me. Skyrim's main experience was in wandering around and finding trouble to get into, but we always had Riverwood (and shortly after, Whiterun) to come back to, and I find myself missing that starter town way more than I ever expected.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  3. Threadmarks: Update 2
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Finally made it to Alfred's place, and have found Enderal's first town. Praise be!

    [​IMG]

    It's nice. Riverville feels like Skyrim's provincial backwater and starter town, Riverwood, but with Whiterun's marketplace. I listen with half an ear to Alfred's story of Yero's tragedy and loss, but what I really want to find is the good old RPG mainstays: shops and sidequests.

    - The first building in town appears to contain a bigot who compliments the size of my weapon (I'm currently packing a big spiky mace) and then tells me that I should get the hell out and stop being a filthy foreigner and also a perverse 'coalwoman.'
    I consider testing how good the local village guards' ears are with a little light murder, but decide to rob her blind and leave, instead. Nothing like living down to stereotypes, I find.

    - I briefly wonder why SureAI would give a family in town the name Gatzidormatalata and then not allow me to ask what the hell their ancestors were smoking.
    It is kind of neat that several familes have 2-4 NPCs in town who all have their own jobs. One of the Gatzidormatalatas is a city guard, for example.

    - There's a sort of main square near Alfred's house with a handful of shops selling produce, leather goods, the alchemist and the General Store, plus a board with quests. Go here, kill thing, mostly. Good city planning, anyway. The General Store has all the skillbooks I could ever need.
    Until I leave and return, in which case his Rhetoric and Handicrafts books disappear forever. Shame, that. Haven't seen another trader selling them. I can still learn how to murder real good and protect my vital bits with sheets of metal, so I guess it's fine? Pretty much everyone and everything outside this one town seems to hate me in this game, and trying to talk down a bear when it's trying to eat my face sounds ill-advised anyway.

    - There's a leatherworker type and a tanning ... skin? Booth? Probably not a tanning booth. Whatever, it turns animal skins into leather. Not sure what I'd use that for, in all honesty, unless it turns out heavy armor needs leather straps or something.
    I'm not sure, since the town doesn't appear to have a blacksmith. Schematics continue to be mysterious items which I have no practical use for.

    - The local herb woman is apparently a powerful wizard, and stocks a variety of potent spells. She also appears to be crazy as a shithouse rat, claiming I have 'bad vibes.' Sometimes, she dances for no discernable reason. She has a quest for me though, so even though 'an invisible trickster spirit stole my beauty potion and the potion told me it's being held in Clearwater Cave' sounds stupid, mama needs money for skillbooks.

    - The mayor's wife is having seizures, and that's a bummer. Probably being haunted, possibly by an innocent man she may have framed for treason and/or had sex with. There was a vision and stuff.

    - I put that on the backburner though and decide to go find this local highwayman the quest board says is a totally bad dude and I should kill 'im for reasons. He is living in a cellar harmoniously with giant rats the size of the wild dogs. Perhaps he has domesticated them and feasts on ROUS milk and cheese every night. The first rat just about bites my face off, but enough fire sorts things out. Likewise, the bandits.

    - I found a spellbook that teaches me to summon a magic ghostwolf somewhere or other, and try it out for the first time. It immediately runs off and solos two highwaymen and two of the giant rats.
    Forget light magic and that armor-boosting mentalism spell I found in a bear den on the way here, this is my go-to spell from now on. I get in there and start throwing fire in the hopes of not being upstaged by my own magic wolf, but frankly this thing is a murder machine and I am outclassed. I can only thank the dead gods that he's on my side.
    I hear a 'bing!' and discover that my magic wolf has killed the highwayman boss I was here to find. I decide that this was a team effort and will claim all the credit later as the magic wolf disappears into a tidy pile of ectoplasm.

    - I swing by this Clearwater Cave the herb woman was talking about, thinking maybe I'll have to clear out a few bandits picking on the poor old herb woman and stealing her stuff. I forgot that this woman is a mighty wizard and she still outsourced this quest to me.
    I and my wolf (mostly my wolf) fight our way through dozens of undead and the occasional giant rat, occasionally stepping in bear traps and getting boulders dropped on us along the way. A couple fights into the cave I run into a fellow who still has his skin (more or less; it's red and black and kinda scary) named Belosh the Searcher. Presumably he searches for my death. I almost die for the first time in at least ten minutes when he ignores my wolf gnawing on his ass in order to stab me repeatedly while I do the usual thing (power attack, retreat, fire) until he is dead. Dead-er. Dead again.

    - He had a magical fire sword on his bedside table that would have completely turned the tables in our little fight a minute ago. I toss my trusty mace away like the garbage it is and equip the new hotness right away. Watching it light up fleshless skeletons like the fourth of July warms my heart, and I finally feel like I'm contributing to this partnership (me and the ghostwolf, natch).
    When I find her innocuous bottle of beauty potion sitting in a dead end, I immediately grab it. I'm given the option to drink the potion and smash the bottle like a savage, but I'm a good little foreign do-gooder and put it in my bag. This causes the invisible trickster spirit (called an 'Aura-thief') to manifest itself. Somehow I didn't expect this even after the last twenty minutes of fighting my way through this undead murder-cave, and stand there staring like an idiot while he lightning bolts my wolf and starts in on me. Then it turns out ghosts catch on fire like everything else when you stick 'em with a magic sword, and after a few seconds of frantic stabbing, all is copacetic.

    - On the way back to town I find an abandoned apiary; a bee farm. I go inside because why not?
    Why not is because this is Skyrim (sort of), and there's never just a nice, abandoned building with nothing important in it. I am immediately bumrushed by a Vatyr, one of those satyr/cave troll crossbreed fellows. Conveniently this is a narrow hallway, and he can't easily get past my wolf defender. I light up the hallway until he dies. There was far too much frantic clicking to get a screenshot, so have a (overly large) picture scavenged from the web:

    [​IMG]

    On the stairs I find another one of those largeish spiders, clearly upset at the Vatyr's death and looking to take it out on my hide.
    That's it; the entire living contents of the honey farm. I can only imagine that these two were like some odd couple, living a peaceful life together where society couldn't judge them, until some jackass bumbles in looking for loot.
    Strangely for a honey farm, the place is absolutely plastered with schematics on every bare surface and upstairs is a magical shock axe. Perhaps the beekeeper was planning an insurrection against the local mayor, or always secretly wanted to be a blacksmith or something.


    The Takeaway:
    Now things are finally rolling. I have a magic sword in one hand and a portal to infinite murderous wolves in the other, and really, what else do you need to succeed in life? I've worked out all my revenge fantasies on the local wildlife, and am ready to pick back up with something a little more main quest-y. I figure I'll head back to town and check up on the mayor's probably-haunted, possibly-evil wife, and then get back to the main quest, which would seem to involve dredging the entire coastline looking for something Yero dropped off a cliff into the water. That sounds... exciting.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Update 3
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Turns out there's a blacksmith after all! Riverville is really quite large.
    Still not sure how crafting schematics work. It seems like maybe I just leave them in my inventory and they let me make that stuff at the forge? Of course, I only have schematics to the basic iron stuff I've already covered my body with. People have said that the crafting system in Enderal is kind of crappy, and I sort of see where they're going with that.
    I make myself a new bow, because that's the only advanced schematic I have. I haven't used a bow since I got my magic wolf; even with the x1.5 bonus from shooting a guy from stealth/cover, it's not even worth the time it takes to switch weapons. But I want to get SOME use out of this Handicraft skill, so I make a bow.

    -Apparently Riverville has a rather curious policy in regards to closing time. If you're still in the shop come nightfall, rather than eject you they lock the doors with you inside. I'm not some kind of fancy rogue that can pick locks, so I'm trapped inside until morning. I worried that the two ladies inside were going to start braiding my hair and talking about cute boys, but their reactions were mostly relegated to complaining about my 'Sublime-like' airs (Sublimes are the top caste in the local hierarchy of Enderal, the nobility) for walking in and sleeping in their bed to pass the time.
    Their one bed, for two business ladies. Hey, I don't judge. I'm from Qyran, which includes 9-person harems (4 men, 5 women) - or so I claim to this wide-eyed country yokel manning the counter. Am I lying? I have no idea. I don't think this character has ever been to Qyran.

    - No matter. I've had enough of killing things (standing back while my wolf kills things, whatever), time to play detective. I pick back up on the mayor's quest and visit the murdered fisherman's house and meet a ghost. Seriously, ghosts everywhere in this bitch. She lets me inside, I have some spirit visions about a mercenary and the mayor's brother coming by and murdering the shit out of that poor fisherman. Incidentally the vision namedrops a guy named Jaer, a city guard who watched the whole thing go down. I assumed that the mayor's brother and his bloodthirsty hireling would have silenced him; I'd heard that the fisherman had killed a man, so obviously they killed the poor bastard and pinned the blame on the fisherman, right?
    No. Because I'm pretty sure I ran into that guy on the way out of town, still wearing his guard uniform. Is he ALSO a ghost? Or did he just never talk about that miscarriage of justice he watched? I'm starting to feel like maybe the brother is less master criminal and more inept stooge.

    - The ghost woman points me in the direction of what turns out to be that same mercenary, who was chilling on his own private island off the coast. Why am I doing this quest instead of the ghost woman? I would literally have no idea where to go and what to do without her. I wouldn't have even been able to get inside the house.
    Also, while there are at least six boats nearby I have to swim because what am I, a sailor?
    The mercenary brought an axe to this wolf fight, and reaped the consequences. Conveniently - since I assume mystic visions don't hold up in court - he was holding onto a journal of his past jobs that included the mayor's wife putting out the hit.

    - While I'm on the island, I walk about 6 steps and wander into a cave. I accidentally interrupt three 'glimmerdust smugglers' in the midst of one telling the other that his girlfriend would sooner fuck- what? Fuck what? I'll never know, because they spotted me and stopped their scintillating conversation.
    Nevermind. We fight, I steal their stuff, which seems to be mostly made of mushroom; this is not surprising, the Sun Coast seems to have at least 10 varieties of the things and they pop up everywhere. I may have just solved a drug problem I wasn't aware the Sun Coast had.
    I tried to alchemize myself some of this product on the grounds that smuggling sounds kind of cool, but have no idea what I'm doing. I fail at making a bunch of compounds and wind up with nothing. I eat a mushroom to console myself and watch the weird colors for a minute.

    - On the way back I see another cairn of stones on the beach. I figure, well, I can (have my wolf) kill some undead that usually infest these places. Instead, it turns out to contain two skeletons posed beautifully on the rocks looking like I interrupted them in the midst of a spirited debate. I very carefully put away my wolf and go on my way without disturbing them.
    It reminds me of finding two skeletons laying in a bed together in the midst of a ruined room in a bombed out town in Fallout 3. Very atmospheric.

    - Conveniently, the guilty brother is walking around the fisherman's house like he's worried I'm going to find evidence of his misdeeds in the beach sand and he's hoping to wipe it clean before I get there. If he was this worried, possibly he should have cleaned up the knocked over furniture and blood splatter in the house sometime in the last few months, but what do I know?
    J'accuse! He claims that he's young and in love (also stupid), and things were never supposed to be this way. I kind of feel bad because he is clearly so very stupid, so I allow him to pack his shit and GTFO.
    Regrettably for him, I forgot that I'm basically being haunted, and the ghost shows up. He violently explodes into a shower of.. purple.. chunks? Weird.
    Then she gives me a 'Tonight, you' look and leaves. This actually worked out very well for me, since I recall the brother is an arcanist and could therefore probably set me on fire if I tried to fight him. I return to the mayor and spin some story about his brother being eaten by wolves. Hopefully he doesn't send anyone to check and finds the very un-wolf-like splatter pattern, plus whatever material his giblets are made of; it looks not of this earth. Also, his wife died while I was gone.
    He rewards me for some reason, but who am I to argue with a grieving man? I take my payment and make tracks. I have a main quest to get back to.

    - But not before checking in with my favorite crazy person, the alchemist lady. I still have her reward from the last quest, the 'Master Skull.' Apparently if I put it on my head while standing on top of a particular cairn of stones probably containing multiple dead guys I will gain enlightenment or something like that.
    Now, this might sound crazy, but she WAS right about her potion being stolen by invisible fairies so whatever. I hike out to the cairn to try out that dashing skull hat, and score a couple of learning points. You need learning points to read those skillbooks you buy from merchants to up your game. I'm a little disappointed the skull didn't actually talk to me like herb lady said it would, but skills are skills. I'll take 'em.

    - More importantly, she has a spell for sale that summons a bear. Also an 'ancestor' but why would I want to summon a human when I can summon a goddamn bear? Goodbye wolfie, you've been replaced.
    To give you some idea of the relative power levels involved, if I take my magic fire-sword and stab one of the wild dogs that are everywhere around here, it'll take off about 1/10th of its health. Then my bear companion will tear its face off with one casual swipe, killing it the rest of the way.


    The Takeaway:
    God bless this completely overpowered monster that any hillbilly can buy from an herb woman in the town square. I still get in there and stab things when it's fightin' time, but mostly for something to do and so my self-esteem doesn't completely hit rock bottom.
    Between the ghost telling me what to do and the bear doing all my fighting for me, I'm starting to wonder if I'm not the third wheel here.
    Next time, I'll get around to actually doing the main quest. Hopefully that's not time sensitive or something. Sure, Jespar (that's Dal's real name, Jespar Dal Something or other) says I might be dying, but it's probably no biggie.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  5. Threadmarks: Update 4
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - This is Jespar Dal'Whateverthefuck, by the way.

    [​IMG]

    He's dreamy. But kind of a smug asshole.

    - The next main quest is to pick up the lockbox Yero threw off a cliff. I actually already grabbed it on the way while doing the fisherman quest. Luckily for me this is a game and not real life so I don't have to dredge the entire coast or have the plot item dragged out to sea by the tide. Just follow the minimap markers. It's about 5 feet off a pier in water about ten feet deep.
    Inside the lockbox is Yero's diary. Pristine condition still, natch. Probably magic.
    This Yero guy sounds pretty cool. Ambitious, but noble. The only question is whether he had all his dreams crash down around his ears before he exploded and killed thirty people, or if somebody did it to him because he was onto something. Now I'm heading on to Yero's house to meet Jerspar. Jespar.
    Dal, I'm going to keep calling him Dal.

    - Oh, so it's that first one. There's a book in his house that basically goes, 'You know, entropy magic isn't so bad. Necromancy's super illegal, but there's these bone shamans that do it all the time. They wear bone charms and think they can talk to the dead, what silly savages. A Keeper (like myself) has no need of such trinkets.' Combine that with him being sickeningly in love with his sweetheart from the village, and you can see where the narrative is going with this. Mr. Freezeville.

    - Okay, now let's be real, here. It's really impressive that Dal managed to enter Yero's cellar and NOT set off every single trap in the place like I just did. But I have been stabbed by spears and shot by arrows and had a spiky ball on a rope hit me in the face, so I'm not feeling real charitable towards the guy. He made me do two errands to his one, and he couldn't even be bothered to disarm the place by the time I showed up!
    Why would you even trap your cellar like this, what if you needed to come down and grab some potatoes for dinner and got stabbed to death by a wall-spear? There's a highwayman corpse hiding the pressure plate for the wall-spear trap, so obviously Yero's death-cellar is working.

    - There's also a book with a Memory Point in it on the table where Dal is hanging out. Obviously a bit of carrot for people to do the main story quests, but it's a little... out of place? Like, it's just a book that... unlocks your old memories? Gives you somebody else's old memories? It's doing something, anyway.
    Dal never mentions it. Maybe he didn't leave it there, maybe he didn't even know it was there.

    - Dal leads me on a fun little jaunt through Yero's madness. By which I mean, this cellar is big. Dug out into natural caverns or something. There are empty wine bottles on every available surface, but Yero was clearly still smart enough to come up with a fiendish locked door, or steal one from an ancient ruin or something. For a minute I worry that we're going to have to trek across the lands finding the five-to-seven pieces of the key only to learn that the real key was inside you all along or something like that. But no, Dal's got the trick for this lock.
    The trick is wooden sticks. He has wooden sticks. Does he just have wooden sticks in case he runs into this one esoteric locked door, or is this the in thing for fancy arcanists to put in their secret dungeon-cellars and I'm going to have to do this multiple times?
    I have to run around the room like a madwoman shoving sticks into the locking mechanisms. Something like clicking five locks in ten seconds. Dal, meanwhile, stands on the pressure plate and shouts encouraging things at me like an asshole. The game also recommends I strip out of my armor because it makes me run slower.
    So now I'm running back and forth hitting buttons in my undies while this jerk watches. This is my life now.

    - After the lock puzzle there's basically a mini-boss: a fire elemental. It's okay, though, I have a bear.
    The fire elemental was guarding a little shrine thing with Yero's lover's mummified remains. The head is unwrapped, and watching the rest of the room; extremely creepy.
    Dal tells me that cremation is the done thing around here except for the rich and elite who have mausoleums, so maybe Yero wasn't quite clear on how this 'burial' thing is supposed to work. Generally, you box up your loved one and put them in the ground. NOT set the coffin upright and settle your lover's corpse in it to stare at you while you do... whatever you do down here. Wizard things, I guess.

    - I was SO sure Yero was going the 'revive girlfriend as undying lich' route, but apparently he just wanted to have her with him. Watching him. Forever.
    He planned to kill himself and see where he ends up after, and in a fine show of apathy and selfishness decided to take as many people with him as feasible.

    - Dal also has this thing about idealists that goes like this: Don't. He wasn't surprised at all to see Yero's scary bat cave/corpse shrine, figures idealists all tend to fall hard and swan dive into necromancy or whatever.
    He didn't like me pointing out that the world needs idealists. Like, not me personally, but it's good to have some rubes out there working to make the world better while I'm over here stealing gold pennies from old grave-crypts, you know?

    - Now Dal hands me a teleport scroll. Apparently this is the answer to the game's lack of a fast travel system. After spending a few minutes trying to figure out how to use it like an idiot (and hitting the Z key into the Hero Place where you spend Memory Points a few times), away we go back to Riverville. From here, it's a hop skip and a jump (over a small mountain) to Ark, the capital of Enderal.
    My hypothetical healer is there. I was kind of forgetting I was sick with all this distraction about Yero, honestly.


    The Takeaway
    Yero's arc was handled pretty well. The narrative wasn't unique or anything, but the writing in the diary entries was good. There's more investigation and cutscenes sprinkled in than I remember from Skyrim, and that's probably not to everybody's tastes but I like it.
    I do still feel like the starter town was farther away than it needed to be, but it was a solid prologue-type place with all the necessities.
    It does make me wonder where the main villain in all this is, though.
    Like, was Yero just a red herring? I thought it would turn out that El Protagonist was some kind of test case for the Crazy Shithouse Rat Plague, but now I'm not sure if Red Madness is even a thing or if it's all suicidal idealists like Yero. Usually there's a clue or a hint or something at the end of the first big section to give a taste of what's coming in Act 3, but right now it's just 'head to Ark, Dal knows a guy. Get that magic fever looked at or whatever.'
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Update 5
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    "Hey Manyson. Still racist?"
    "Why don't you ask your thousand husbands, coalwoman whore?"
    "Shine on, you crazy diamond."

    Yeah, I'm done with Riverville.

    - I kind of love that Enderal has its own bards and songs in the taverns. Lovely.
    The songs and the books go a long way towards selling the world, to making an already expansive world even larger.
    No novels about lusty Argonian Maids in Enderal as yet, but Jespar did say he was picking up racy reading material for the long nights on the road ahead when he bought me a few skill books.
    I have resolved to ignore any suspicious noises emanating from the man's bedroll henceforth.

    - Jespar seems to have better pathing than my bear, but I also can't cast a spell to drop him directly on my enemies either, so I guess they're about even.
    Of note is that he refuses to leave the path towards the mission objective, waiting for you to finish your business if you leave the path to tinkle or slay bandits or whatever. I kind of like this, it makes sense even if it does make him seem like a bit of a bastard. You feel like you're holding up your grand quest while you fart around with whatever.

    - Speaking of bandits, there's a homey looking inn on the road ahead, I wonder what kind of nice p-
    It's bandits, of course. It's always bandits. Presumably the guards don't have far-ranging patrols, so you might as well set up a toll directly on the road to the capital to shake down travelers? Except they don't ask for gold and proceed directly with the murder. S'okay, though. We're better at it.

    - Between my bear and Jespar, I feel as safe as if I'd taken a merchant convoy to the capital. It would be nice to actually be able to hop in a wagon and rest the old dogs a bit, but speaking as someone who died at least a dozen times just getting to Riverville, this is definitely a step up.

    - We reach what would presumably a scenic vista if it wasn't midnight and snowing. Jespar takes me over and shows me the wondrous (?) sight and drops some background on me, about trade and laws and stuff. We're at a trading post that was abandoned when the nation became much more xenophobic in the wake of some war or other.
    I'd make a joke about how Jespar's lucky he's pretty...
    But honestly it's really neat and tells me a lot about the kind of place I washed up in.
    (Also the trading post is overrun with spiders, why did I go in here, it's always spiders when its not wolves or highwaymen).

    - This snowy motif we're suddenly in the midst of as we trek up the mountain IS really nice, although I'm a little uncertain about just how structurally sound these bridges are when they're at least 50% ice instead of wood.

    [​IMG]

    - There's a dead caravaneer and a trio of hungry wolves ahead. The dead man has a journal handily laying next to him. Let's see what...
    "I used to be an adventurer, then I took an arrow to the knee."
    ... You cheeky fuckers.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Update 6
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - On the way down from the mountain I run into a fellow watching the road. Given how the last hour has gone, I pull out my sword and my bear, but this one actually wants to talk. He has a particular... vocal performance. I call him Lenny. He tells me he's cold, and that I should get his brother to come relieve him on watch. Well, I guess I have a spare minute.
    His brother, who I will call George, tells me in his incongruous but very nice accent to call Lenny a drunk for him and tell him that George is not moving from the fire for love or money.
    I go back three or four times, faithfully repeating the invective these two are spewing at each other, until Lenny can't stands it no more. He draws his sword and runs over to George's campfire where he proceeds to very ineptly try to murder his brother. George bashes him in the head with a mace a few times until he settles down into his bedroll for the night.

    [​IMG]

    Jespar briefly indulges in Enderal's most popular pastime, hateful xenophobia, by snorting something derogatory about 'Endraleans' under his breath.
    That's it. That's the quest.

    - The Ark is that fancy place you see on the title screen, it appears. With the big statue holding up the cliff face. It's nice. SureAI has added a lot of stables, farms, goat herds, stray hay and carts containing vegetables to the outskirts of Ark that makes it feel like a real bustling town.
    I already like the place more than Whiterun.
    If I was that one youtube critic who always wonders 'But what do they eat?' in games when talking about immersion, I would be well satisfied by this.

    - On the road I meet an elvish sort of fellow (the game calls them Starlings) who likes to refer to himself as 'he' and wants me to find bird eggs for purposes unknown. Something about finding a flying city, I don't know.
    It seems like a neat little quest where you follow the birds riding the thermals near the town until they land back at their nests, then steal their eggs. Unfortunately it also seems like an enormous waste of my time, so I confidently claim that I'll help him out and then never give him another thought.
    Later. I notice the merchants are selling hammerbird eggs, so I'm confident if I ever care enough to come back to this guy the power of money will solve my problem.

    - Shortly thereafter, I run into a quest I decide to do immediately. Rather than collecting eggs for a nebulous reward, I’m to go down to the beach and kill a troll, and in return I get a free mount. Well, a donkey. Are donkeys the ‘in’ animal to ride around here? I choose to believe that they are.
    So I wander on down to the beach at midnight looking for some strange grunting troll and find… a normal-ish man grunting down on the seashore. When I ask him what is up with his troll impersonation, he huffily informs me that he is praying, not that he expects me to understand.
    If this is all a ploy to get me punked by this guy or to get me to commit to secondhand racism, then bravo, lady.

    - But no, then a troll does show up, and I do that thing I do. Then I score my noble steed. Behold my majesty:

    [​IMG]
    Whirlwind, King Among Beasts. That's not a name I picked for him, by the way.

    - Five minutes after entering the town's Foreign Quarter, my journal is filling up with quests of varying severity and curiosity.
    A snooty accountant wants me to brave ancient ruins for a gewgaw. Some guy is pouting because some other guy stole something or his.
    The guy with all the skillbooks wants me to track down his druggie sister and get a key to their shared family vault from her before she drinks away the money stored there. She's apparently located in something called the Undercity, which sounds positively squalid.
    This is going to take a while.

    - There's also a genuinely massive yard for handicrafts projects. Multiple forges, smelters, tanning racks. The dulcet sounds scraping leather and hissing molten metal and of a blacksmith berating some apprentice for taking a foreigner's filthy money. A dozen NPCs. But... all of them are marked 'Laborer.' There isn't a single merchant in the entire zone after the skillbook guy, as far as I can tell.
    Well played, game.

    - I head into the Merchant Quarter, thinking I just need silver and steel ingots and I can make a fine new steel breastplate for myself.
    Then the second merchant I check is selling steel breastplates for 200 gold pennies. I think it might be superior to the thing I can make myself, since it says 'Fine' in front of it. Mine doesn't say 'Fine.'
    ... Well played, game.

    - Most importantly, I find the best store pertaining to my interests:

    [​IMG]

    That, my friends, is a bakery. It has sweetrolls. It has cakes. It has honey buns. It has pretzels. It has my old standby, Endralean Crusty Bread. Let me tell you, Endralean Crusty Bread saw me through some hard times.
    It has Sublime Breead! Which is presumably so delectable it demands an extra 'E.'

    Finally. Finally, I have reached civilization. And it smells like sweetrolls.


    The Takeaway:
    Another long hike between towns, but I'm much better equipped to handle it now Jespar and my bear are much better equipped to handle it now, so it's more of a leisurely stroll through various biomes while trampling the occasional wolf or troll.
    And now I'm in the Big City. Lots to do and to see. I do kind of worry that having four zones in the same city will be problematic, even Whiterun with its two zones was kind of annoying in Skyrim. On the upside, the street signs being teleport items should help a lot. Guess we'll see.
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Update 7
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Jespar is waiting for me in the marketplace, but while I'm in the area, there's a quest for buying back and/or stealing an item from a merchant that he got off a debtor who wants it back. Conveniently, this is labeled 'Ironford's Lute' in his inventory, or I'd have no idea what the heck I was looking for. I suspect I'm missing some backstory to this quest.
    I buy the thing mostly because I'm coasting along on the impetus of this being a quest with map markers and stuff, and find out the lute was Ironford's daughter's. And on the back is 1/3rd of a code to her 'treasure casket' that is almost certainly going to contain friendship or lightness of heart of peace of mind or something like that.
    Maybe later.

    - I happen to run into a nameless guard sighing wistfully and reflecting that they really do take it too easy on 'the scum.'
    Enderal, ladies and gentlemen. I only hope I'm not the scum in question.

    - Jespar has dressed me up like he's taking me to my quinceanera. Green gowns (with unfortunate stitiching), 'gallant shoes' and fine hats that are the height of Endaralean fashion. I already like this plan.

    [​IMG]

    - What's less fun is the endless jaunt he takes me on through like 4 loading screens, up to the tippy top of the Sun Temple. I make a note to come back here since this seems like a likely place to find spell-sellers to see if there's a more advanced bear summoning. There's arcane enchanter tables, which is the first I've seen in Enderal. Apparently provincial backwaters like Riverville don't get mages.
    Jespar spins a line of bullshit with the guard about me being the owner of the greatest perfume chain in foreign lands, and says the archmage is eager to meet me, and boy wouldn't he be upset if some well-meaning guard delayed us, etcetera. The guard acknowledges that does sound like the archmage, and lets us in.
    I kind of want to meet the archmage, now.
    Also I'm more than half convinced that this was all entirely unnecessary and Jespar just wanted to have some fun, but he apparently is supposed to be a clandestine spy type, so who knows?

    - When I meet Constantine Firespark, it is in the midst of his alchemy lab exploding. This seems like it will set the tone for our relationship.
    Constantine mistakes me for Jespar's doxy, and berates him for being the worst spy ever and to not bring his whores in here. Jespar always takes me to the nicest places.
    I do wonder if that means Jespar sometimes does show women around the Sun Temple to try and impress them.

    [​IMG]

    Constantine Firespark is a treasure. He talks like that all the time. This isn't even his best line this conversation, just the only one I screencapped.

    - Apparently having arcane fever is basically becoming a mage, and after putting me in a chair and doing some green magic hoodoo, he drops some world lore on me. Or rather, when he tells me to pick up a book like a nerd, Jespar succinctly summarizes the whole mage thing while browsing through the shit on Constantine's desk in the background. Mages can see other realities, and can bring phenomena from those realities into Enderal. Not just bears, but like, there's some world out there where Constantine's beard is on fire (Jespar's example, not mine), and I can take from that world and make it manifest in this one.
    The locals spend a year fasting and praying to get it under control. Both Constantine and I think that's stupid, and he advises for me to go meet one of his fellow... Nehrimese mages? I think Nehrimese. Apparently she can pop my chakras open like it ain't no thing, or something like that.
    I am all about quick shortcuts, so I'm down.

    - He also thinks that Future Vision is me being under a lot of stress, or possibly drunk.

    - Jespar leaves the party. I actually meet up with him later at the tavern for one last quest, which involves having a seat with him at the tavern and rapping with him for a while. It gets pretty philosophical, and is honestly more engaging than anything I got out of my poor packmule of a bodyguard Lydia in Skyrim.
    Jespar's thinking is that everyone's on this world for the purpose of pursuing happiness. People dress it up in a lot of fancy words, about religion and purpose and honor and all that, but that mostly just ends up letting them get used by some tyrant or god. At the end of it he pretty much says his work is done and he wishes me the best. There's a boat headed for Kile in the morning, and he's going to be on it.
    I can respect the game for definitively ending an engaging companion's involvement in the story in a way that makes sense to the character's core values, but my experience with games and the amount of detail SureAI put into this guy makes me think he'll still have a part to play later. Possibly he'll decide I'm too cute to bail out on, which is only the truth. We'll see.

    - I do decide to swing by the cave the Ironford girl left 1/3rd of her code in before I head on to ancient ruins and the main quest. There are holes in the roof to let light in, streams are flowing everywhere, and there's a light mist. It's pretty, of course.
    It's also filled with spiders, of course. And an Adept-level chest, the first I've ever found. Since I'm not a rogue-type and lockpicking Adept chests are like 4 memory points up the 'bow + lockpicking' tree, I have to leave it be.
    I try swinging a fire-sword into it just in case it lets me bash the lock or something. It does not.
    Just to be petty about the damn spiders and their tenaciously locked loot, I devour the spider mom's soul. It heals me back up good, no Crusty Endralean Bread necessary. This is what I bought last level instead of lock picking.

    - I also head a few steps up the beach and run into some bad customers.
    Apparently 'Soil elementals' in Enderal can cast lightning spells. I am swiftly turned into a rather pretty corpse. It's been a while since that's happened! For having no legs, those fellows can really roll out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The Takeaway:
    I'm really starting to like Jespar and I can't decide if I hope he sticks around or if they have the stones to actually retire him from the story in a way which feels appropriate for his character. Constantine is also a wonderfully acerbic eccentric. I still don't really have any idea where the plot is going but the character writing in this section is really strong so I don't mind the journey getting there.
    Now, stocked up on bread and souls and properly chastised for trying to wander off the beaten path, I'm back to working on the main quest.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Update 8
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - So I'm going off to get my magic unlocked or whatever. The quest suggests I take a 'Myrad.' I wonder what that is?

    [​IMG]

    I kind of feel like I should be going after this creature with fire and sword, not getting on his back and letting him fly me where I need to go. Who first looked at one of these things and thought, 'Hey, that sure looks comfy. Imma ride it'? The first Myrad tamers must have had balls that clanged when they walked like they were made of the Metal of Ancient Nations.

    - Pro tip: I bought the Mark and Recall spells in the Sun Temple. Very handy. Cast the Mark spell in Ark in front of one of the signposts, then Recall there whenever you want.

    - I get a little turned around (and then off a cliff) and wind up in a mine instead of the ruin I'm supposed to be going to. I suspect that 'Guarding Cave Trolls' are the next step up the evolutionary chain from regular Cave Trolls, because these guys are hard as iron, particularly the two-troll groups you have to fight once or twice. Generally I can trade a ghost-bear for a troll at a 1-to-1 ratio, but I usually don't have the mana to cast the summon spell twice in one fight. In the two-troll groups I actually have to get up there and fight one mano-a-mano, and that doesn't end well for me a couple times.
    The old iron fire-sword is feeling its age; I've switched out for a 'Dagger of Despair', which has a similar level of damage but instead of setting things on fire it swings faster and has a 5% critical bonus. It fits well with my combat style which I call 'frantic wild stabbing in the dark until I hit something'.
    Deep in this troll-infested mine, I find a single glimmerdust smuggler. Why? No idea. Is he using the trolls as puppets? Did he feed them some weird potion? Is he their prisoner, forced to make them mushroom-drugs? Have I stumbled onto a troll opium den?
    I never find the answer to these questions, sadly.

    - The only reason why this little side trip is important is that I find a spellbook to summon a level 16 fire elemental. I am level 10. This seems promising.
    The fire elemental doesn't do as much damage in one hit as my old bear, but she shoots little fireballs at enemies from range like cannon shells, and up close she unleashes sprays of flame.
    'Guile,' you might say. 'If you love your fire elemental so much, why don't you marry it?'
    To which I would tell you, give me time. I'm looking into the local laws on the subject.

    - Anyway, after this brief detour (and a few cases of arson-murder among the local bandit population to test out my new pal) (and the reminder that I still suck when I almost die to a pack of wolves again), I do find the ruin I'm looking for.
    I meet 'Lashiri' moments after I almost get exploded by a stray 'Qyran dust crystal'. She's a smartly dressed woman in leather rather than... whatever I was expecting. Also, turns out Constantine doesn't have a memory for names.
    Lishari explains that she's got some shit going on, which means work for me. Mercenaries popped up, killed Lishari's companions and decided to start burning the magical macguffins they were studying. Turns out her assistant Sveg let them in (I feel like I should thank the mercenary guild for making it a law to always keep all plot-relevant notes on your person), but she doesn't want me to kill him. Presumably she wants the pleasure of squeezing until his head pops off like a grape herself.

    - The next segment involves me running around in the dark with a dagger in one hand and a fire extinguishing spell in the other, fighting mediocre mercenaries and putting out fires. I'm not sure if it's a timed puzzle; I suspect it is, since one of the macguffins broke in the middle of the fracas. After that, I left the mercs to my fire elemental and devoted myself to putting out fires just to be on the safe side.
    Sveg is actually slowly burning to death when you find him. I'm tempted to let him burn to death if he can't figure out that maybe he should move out of the fire, but remembering Lishari's request I do put him out and then get back to work on the macguffins.
    By the time everything is put out and all the mercenaries are dead though, Sveg ran away or teleported or something. Oops.
    It's probably fine, what are the odds that decision will come back to haunt me?

    - Once all that's taken care of, Lishari does open my mind or settle my magecraft or however that works.

    [​IMG]

    Is... is it working yet?

    She claims 'This might tingle a little' as I slowly rise into the air, explode, and slam down onto the ground face first with a sliver of health remaining.
    Lishari swears that wasn't supposed to happen.


    The Takeaway:
    Lishari's okay. Pretty standard badass mage (who dresses in leather because... I don't know, because she looks great in it?) character. She's not the shining brilliance that is the ancient curmudgeon that sent me on this quest, but she's about at Jespar's level. The Taming the Waves quest is a lot of frantic button mashing on a timer while everything is on fire, and was pretty fun. Not something I'd want to do every main quest, but good for a change.
    I'm a little disappointed that it's looking like I'm probably going to be the One Last Hope For The World or The Legendary Stabbin'-Summoner or something like that. I was just assuming that turning into a pretty okay warrior a couple of weeks after landing in Enderal was just a game conceit, but apparently it's baked into the storyline.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Update 9
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Archmage Arantheal wants to rap with me when I get back.

    [​IMG]

    I haven't even started talking to him, and he's already speaking cryptically in Capital Letters. It's going to be one of those conversations, I can just tell.
    We have a bit of a walk and talk.
    It looks like everything's getting a little Mass Effect in here. Not only is The End Coming, but the world of Enderal seems to be moving in cycles. Civilizations rise, then there's a big calamity, wizards rise up as gods, get thrown down by plucky heroes, and then shortly thereafter everything just fucking dies? And this has happened hundreds of times? That's rough.
    Turns out I was right about having some Grand Destiny (I'm 'Prophet'), but it looks like I'm only one of many. He's one too ('Ruler'). That's cool. Long story short, I'm now in tight with the Big Religion of the land. But he wants to make this all official-like with the other Keepers, and makes me take an initiation test.

    - Is it just me or is the Archmage's son probably the protagonist of the last game, the total conversion mod for Oblivion?
    He just feels like a protagonist, and it's only partly that he killed the gods.

    - While I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what this initiation is all about, I am left wishing the Archmage had a leetle more ultimate power. What's even the point of being in the Special Secret Capital Letter Club with him if he can't just appoint me to some high post? What a gyp.
    So he sends me out to the Heartlands border to get this shit done with, but I decide to do a little sidequesting first.

    - I've had a quest sitting in my journal for ages to go steal a bank key from a guy's druggie sister that takes me to Undercity. Normally I'm not one for the thief and Dark Brotherhood-like quests I expect to find down there, but I kind of want to check it out anyway.
    Why are the thief guilds literally underground in games like this? Little on the nose about the class structure to actually find the deepest darkest hole you possibly could to toss the Pathless down into, don't you think?

    [​IMG]

    - I know I say this a lot, but Enderal is really pretty. Admittedly, it swiftly gets less pretty later on when I get into the slums and the 'fleshmaggot sufferers', which are like beggars but more tragic. This feels like Enderal in a nutshell.
    An interesting bit of cultural difference I notice right away; up there with the 'sunchildren', the lady in the Dancing Nymph is called a prostitute. The lads down in Undercity just call them whores.
    I think this is indicative of a serious class divide, and- what do you mean 'why is this the first thing I notice?' It just... I...

    - Moving on, on the way to the other quest I run into a lady trying to score Red Vynroot to help ease the suffering of the guys with fleshmaggots and y'know what, that sounds like something I could get behind. I shell out 300 gold pennies, turn them in to her with a turnaround time of about 1 minute, and get a whole bunch of exp.
    It would be pretty cool if there were fewer of these 'fleshmaggot sufferer' NPCs down here after this little quest, it would make me feel like I made a bit of a difference with my altruism. Well, not really altruism, I was mostly just in it for the exp, but y'know... it'd be nice.

    - Anyway, I go work some Rhetoric on the lady, Sila, who instantly folds and tells me the location of the hidden key. In and out, I can dig it.
    Unfortunately, the skillbook merchant is gone when I come back topside and a person's worth of blood is splashed everywhere. Only now, without easy access to skillbooks all in one merchant, do I realize my folly. What I had, now that it's gone.
    Also when I return to check in with Sila I find a horrifying thing called an Aborted Pus Creature in her house. It's like an armored centipede as wide around as a small man. Is the hideous thing a guard creature? A pet? Do the people of Enderal make a habit of subjugating the most monstrous creatures on the continent? The last time I saw a creature this scary I was paying a man 25 pennies to ride it.
    I admit, when I first walk in and get a faceful of green goo I assume someone heard about the bank key and put out a hit on Sila. And is using nightmarish monsters to assassinate people.

    - Clues in the house lead me to a small, burned down fishing village. With a pile of burned-black corpses piled up on the pier like macabre driftwood.

    [​IMG]

    Milbert and Sila fled to the city years ago. Why has no one done anything about that. Who even bothers to stack up the corpses of their victims into a funny pile like that?

    - Also it appears that while I was traipsing around Ark and fighting her hideous pet pus beetle, Sila managed to abscond with her brother in broad daylight and drag him all the way out here. I took a Myrad, did they take a Myrad? Does the unconscious guy you have slung across your shoulders with a bloody knot on his head count as a passenger or baggage?
    I will mention that up until this point Sila seemed bitter but not really dangerous, until she dragged her brother out here and locked him in a man-sized cage. Now, I know that feeling, I have a sibling myself, but I control my urges and so should she.
    Does glimmerdust cause violent paranoia? That shit sounds dangerous.
    Things... don't end well for Sila, and Milbert sounds a little broken up about it. I actually get to keep the key they were feuding over. Go figure.

    - Well, that's enough lazing around I guess. Time to go ... beat up some fellow initiates? I'm not sure how initiation into a religious order works.


    The Takeaway:
    As far as RPG scenarios go, 'save the world' is an old, old staple, but I admit I'm kind of interested to see where this is going. There being multiple Dragonborn equivalents is a great twist and makes me feel much better about my new pals than, say, the Blades from Skyrim.
    The Divide and Conquer quest was a bit of a sour note. The characters feel kind of schizophrenic, and I still don't know what's up with that horror in Sila's room. Does she feed it the souls of door-to-door salesmen? Oh well, they can't all be gems.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Update 10
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - I grab a Myrad and hook up with the leader of the initiation and the two initiates further northwest.
    The level of snide I'm receiving is impressive even for Enderal, where hateful xenophobia is usually the default expression. Signet Leader Jorek's voice actor in particular does a great job of conveying his opinion of my general worthlessness as a human being.

    [​IMG]

    One of the initiates is nice, seems to be impressed at the way I took on an entire mercenary company and saved the day like a big damn hero the other day.
    My knowledge of story structure suggests someone is going to die off before this quest is over. They're wearing bright red; they are literal red shirts. I just can't decide if it'll be the mean one (less visually interesting than the girl with the face tattoo) or the nice one (pathos), or even the boss and we have to fight our way out without him. And then the mean one would probably blame everything on me; he's kind of like that.

    - It seems that the forest we're going into is home to a particular breed of giant mushroom that makes arcane fever worse.
    Why is it always mushrooms around here?

    - Now, you might look at the following screenshot and think 'how much wine did you have before setting out, Guile?' but this is what visions look like.

    [​IMG]

    Right, so Arentheal explained what this is. Apparently as the Prophet I'm getting visions from previous cycles, which are basically Future Vision because the cycles are just that similar. Everything is the same. Predestination. Creepy.
    Hypothetically the lines said by the mysterious voices will make sense only later in retrospect, but I'm sure I'll forget about them by then.

    - Later, we meet a friend! He appears to be suffering from a bad case of pink-eye. He does a lot of chanting about 'She wanted to leave, she wanted to leave, now she'll never leave', and there's a corpse in a pine box he's building for her.

    [​IMG]

    - This is what Red Madness looks like: I'm not sure if it's named for the color of the eyes, the caked blood around the mouth, or the general transformation into murderous psychopath.
    Dunwar (mean initiate) blows him away with a lightning bolt, and it's kind of hard to fault him for it.
    The bossman faults the hell out of him for it, though, saying some apothecarius would give their left arms for a chance to study a live victim of the disease. You'd think they'd be warier given the way Yero (possibly not a victim of Red Madness, but they don't know that) exploded and killed 30 people.
    I almost feel bad for the novice, but I'm sure he'll say something that annoys me the next time he opens his mouth.

    - So we get to the sacred spot, and the bossman drops the fact that the gods are all dead. I knew this already, and most of the non-Enderal world believes it too, but this is news to the initiates. Dunwar flips his shit so hard I'm half surprised the ruin doesn't land upside down.
    He blames the nice initiate for being a witch, the bossman for being drunk, the order for taking in Pathless like us two assholes (me and the nice one), and the world for being pointless and meaningless now that the gods are dead. Bossman shouts him down in proper drill sergeant style, but I almost have to be impressed by the size and shine of this stupid kid's brass balls.

    - There's a kind of suspicious stammer in the bossman's voice when he tells us to drink down our [Strange Potions] that sets off warning bells in my head.
    My vague worries are immediately proven prescient when I hit the deck and my vision fuzzes out.

    - I wake up in a prison cell. I'm actually kind of surprised this hasn't happened to me before, you know? It's just been that kind of week.
    At this point I'm about evenly split between 'Is this a vision quest?' and 'Is the Signet Leader trading in nubile young Keeper initiate flesh?'

    - I'm locked in with a new guy named Aixon. At first his ramblings sound like it's the latter and I'm going to have to go it slave gladiator style for a while, but then I add another possibility to the pile: 'Is Aixon one of my past selves, or a past Prophet, or something like that?' because he is talking kind of mystical and like this always happens, in between whimpering about somebody called the Suppressor.
    He posits a kind of interesting idea: he says that I died a week ago, sunk to the bottom of the ocean tied to my old peasant buddy. This whole thing has been a fever dream. Magic shit, you know?
    I don't think that's actually true, but

    - I'm not entirely sure how I get out of the cell. Like, the wall actually changed into a door for me.
    Aixon is just as confused as I am, and I'm really impressed with his voice actor right around this part. He absolutely nails a voice half 'stunned like a poleaxed cow' and half 'dare I hope?' with a touch of 'why couldn't I do that?' thrown in for good measure.
    Right around when instead of fighting prison guards I'm stabbing ghosts, I'm going with 'Vision quest thanks to a dodgy potion' but I'm not entirely dismissing 'Temporarily dead (will probably get better).'

    - I'm reduced to a knife and a hunk of Endralean Crusty Bread (just like old times!) but the prison didn't remove my ability to summon a fire elemental that one-shots the ghosts.
    There's corpses and ghosts and hanged people and traps. No Suppressor, though. I die once to a spiked ball trap, but otherwise this segment is a little spooky but not very hard. I find a skull labeled 'Regret' which I have no idea what to do with. I end up dropping it in a minute, when the exit door sends us right back into our prison cell. My knife disappears.

    - Aixon starts pouting just because we're probably going to be tortured or whatever for trying to escape, like a baby.
    I decide to catch some shut eye while we waited for the Suppressor, but three days later still nothing happened. After rubbing my face against every wall, clicking on everything in the room and sleeping in Aixon's bed, I decide to punch Aixon in the face.

    - Apparently, that advances the quest.
    Aixon isn't sure if I figured it out or just got pissy, but he drops the act. He's me - somehow. All the little whimpering, scared, stupid feelings I'm keeping deep down inside while I play the big hero outside.
    Okay.

    - I wake up, and Jespar is waiting for me. That's nice.
    Except I swiftly deduce we're entering Inception territory, right around when Jespar's voice changes, other characters start teleporting into the room, everyone turns into beings of pure red air, and the room gets all... like this:

    [​IMG]

    - I'm still dreaming, but it's pretty obvious something's hijacked the dream. And it is not impressed with me.
    Which, duh. I walked face first into a spiky ball trap like a minute ago and died. I die to wild animal attacks all the time.

    - They namedrop The Cleansing, which is probably just The End of The World in smoke person speak.

    - Then I actually wake up! Calia (the nice initiate) greets me.
    This has been one hell of a ride, Calia. One hell of a ride.

    - You can get into her backstory (she killed the family that took her in too, maybe! We're like murder sisters!), but I'm still processing main quest stuff right now and have no time for Calia.
    Also, Dunwar's probably not going to wake up. Ever. Probably bossman's fault for laying that 'the gods are dead' bit on him before making him fight his inner demons.
    Bummer, I guess, but mostly at this point I'm just glad it's him and not me.


    The Takeaway:
    Enderal's weird dream game is strong. No idea where this is going now; there's been a few leads dropped here and there. Peghast, Signet Stone, these new smoke people. Who knows? First things first, probably go meet up with Arantheal again. Maybe yell at him some, for not filling me in on having to fight evil smoke monsters from beyond our reality.
    At the moment though, I'm just going to have Calia take me on a tour of the sun temple and try not to think about how my insecurities are apparently a cringing white guy with an emotive voice.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  12. KinKrow

    KinKrow Smug Squid. Squd? Smuid?

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    *70's gagshow theme plays*
    "That's so Guile!~"
    *cue laughtrack*
     
  13. Threadmarks: Update 11
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Arantheal also had the weird smoke monster dream, and agrees that they're connected to the Cycle. And also are assholes.
    I also get into some of his backstory, what being locked up for years then getting out just in time to dive into this End Of The World nonsense is like. He's of the opinion that 'What would I go do instead? A life as a fisherman?'
    He's a rock, this guy.

    - Constantine is also still awesome. His mouth speaks the words that are in my heart.

    [​IMG]

    - The Order needs some time to get a fancy ceremony together. Fingers crossed for getting to put on a pretty dress and dance with all the boys, but given what I know of this religious order it's probably going to be a bunch of solemn chanting about how superior they are to the shitty Pathless, and the less said about those foreign dogs the better.
    If this ends with me becoming a werewolf, I'm gonna be pissed.

    - Jespar also sends a note saying he'd like to see me again, and to meet him at night in a deserted watchtower on the outskirts of Ark for what, I am sure, are perfectly innocent reasons.
    It is not night time, and Enderal doesn't let you just fast forward time with 'T', so I wander about on my own for a while. There are a lot of farms and windmills and things around Ark, so I decide to check those out.

    - I wander around for a few minutes. A flyer told me I could find fantastical adventure! if I went out to a little island in Ark's bay, but that turned out to be a bust. Highwaymen, you know how it is. Usually a mugging isn't the peak of excitement, but, well. Enderal.
    I'm a little sad I didn't get to go on the adventure, though. Whoever wrote that flyer seemed like the type to Talk In All Caps and be Constantly Excited About Everything.

    - I wandered into a cute little farming village. Hay everywhere, goats and cows and... farm things.
    A particular door declared itself to be 'Lower Haystacks.' I open it up without giving it another thought, thinking it might be a granary or a saloon or something.
    It is nothing like that thing I just thought.

    - I am immediately beset by a Vatyr and his two 'Mad Rat' companions. I've run into Mad Rats once before, when I wandered into a vault in the sun temple that I'm probably supposed to visit for a quest thing at some point, and they are surprisingly dangerous. With preparation, I can fight two at once; blindsided, and with a Vatyr too? I know what move to make here.
    I run, screaming, for the door only to emerge into bright sunlight with the Vatyr on my tail and at a fraction of health. I die.
    Then the game reloads, and I die again.
    Exiting a building auto-saves the game, natch.
    Third time's the charm, though, and I manage to pop a potion and start life-draining the Vatyr until it's him, not me on the ground.

    - Well, I figure once my heartrate slows down, might as well investigate since I'm here. The place is absolutely covered in mushrooms. I find 20 of one kind, and a handful of other types. If I was an alchemist type, I would probably be excited right now.
    A hidden trapdoor drops me into a fight with two more Vatyr, and some kind of boss Vatyr with heavy armor on. His armor is one of those magical set pieces, boosting two-handed weapons for Vandal types. More potions and life-draining, plus fire elemental backup, pulls me through on this one but it's a close thing. Then a couple more Vatyr, a little wandering around and Vatyr again, before I pop up out of an inauspicious manhole into the Farmer's Coast. More idyllic countryside and scenic farms.
    ... Did I stumble into a quest halfway through? What the heck is going on here? Why are there a dozen goatman monsters camped out in some random farm? One that's obviously still in use? Are they, like, Vatyr sympathizers? Are the Vatyr noble rebels, unfairly discriminated against by the surface worlders?!
    I'd totally join their secret club if they didn't keep trying to violently murder me every time I show up.

    - I still have more time to kill until evening when Jespar's quest becomes available, and I see there's a lighthouse and a mine nearby, so I make for them.
    The lighthouse is abandoned. And is set on a river, not any kind of ocean, which kind of defeats the purpose? I don't know, who am I to tell people they can't build lighthouses wherever they want to.
    There's a trapdoor with a slightly soggy vault beneath it.
    Inside is what is apparently the new evolution of the Lost Ones; this zombie guy is a mage. He's throwing fire around everywhere and he's got some serious HP, but he gets into a slugging match with my elemental so I'm free to jab him in the buttocks repeatedly until he dies.

    - The mine is covered in highwaymen. There must be at least six to eight of them just hanging around the entrance, shooting the shit.
    This is the second or third time this has happened. Are there even any mines still controlled by the government, or non-evil mining consortiums, or anything? Considering this mine is a silver and gold mine, why are these blokes still highwaymen and not wealthy landowners by now?
    Maybe they don't want to sell out and are staying real, I don't know. OG highwaymen.

    - Putting down an elemental and watching from cover like a pussy, I'm reminded that this game has a neat little mechanic where if a bandit goes down, sometimes their buddies will have a line like, 'That was my friend, you bitch! I'll kill you!' or something like that.
    That's cool. I always felt like in Skyrim the bandits weren't properly recognizing me for the blood-stained god of war that I am, even after I turn 15 of their 18 man bandit camp into gently steaming corpses with lightning or whatever.
    Aside from my elemental reminding me that her fireball ability has knockback by interacting weirdly with the game physics and launching a highwayman twenty feet across the room and onto a balcony, the other notable thing here is the guy sitting on the gold vein:
    A Marauder.
    This guy is clearly a next gen bandit. Decked out in steel armor, shield and rune mace, and with his inferior buddy distracting my elemental, he reminds me of the first hour of the game when Enderalean banditos were the stuff of nightmares.
    I have to break out my old standby of 'backpedal while power attacking and life-tapping' and he still comes within a hair of taking me out with just a couple swings of that mace.

    ... I think I'm going to go sell off all this stuff, visit Jespar, and then never go wandering again. If the picturesque farms are this dangerous, what am I going to do when I have to actually fight the End Of The World? The smoke monster guys are probably going to show up on fire-breathing dragons.


    The Takeaway:
    I must have hit a new plateau in levels or something, because the game is clearly stepping up its, well, game. Sometimes it'll throw weakling highwaymen at me, but sometimes now it's magical skeletons or bandits armed to the teeth and trying to beat me like a pinata.
    Possibly the game thinks I was able to buy skill books for the 30+ unused skill points I've accumulated and is strengthening its enemies accordingly, but I don't know how that would be possible. Adept skillbooks (the ones that get you up to 50 in a skill) are expensive as hell. I pick up and sell everything and make gear to sell for extra cash when I find the ingots and spare parts, and I'm still broke as a joke.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  14. Threadmarks: Update 12
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Jespar's midnight tower tryst is nice, but marred somewhat by bugginess. There are points where Jespar just stands there staring, and if you autosave and reload in the middle it can bork the chain and he wanders off back towards Ark without another word.
    He's a pretty good host if you ignore that. He offers you wine or a smoke, and asks about the trial and something about your past. In exchange he opens up some about a past... conquest? It sounded more like the lady conquered him for a few years until she started getting a little too intense for him and he bailed.
    Turns out he's sticking around, and it sounds like Constantine likes the fact that he's not entirely a blithering idiot, so he's probably still got a job.

    - Unfortunately, the time still isn't right, so I have to go wandering again. I have a quest taking me out past Farmer's Coast on the trail of someone named Max Niceblood, so I figure, what the hell. I already tracked him to a barn outside Ark but he slipped the net, so now I have to go hiking up into the mountains after him.
    About 15 steps past the Myrad post, though, I get shaken down for coin. Bandits, man, they're everywhere in this country. Now, if he'd come up with some sob story about fleshmaggots, sure, but this guy is being way too smug for me to give him 200 pennies.
    I reflect that this may have been a mistake when the vagrant sneaking up behind me buries a steel battleaxe in my spine.

    - I die an additional two times in various permutations as I work out how the fight goes. The two bandits in front use sword and shield, and naturally draw the eye, while there's an archer off to the side. But honestly, I wish every bandit in the world was an archer, because as long as you keep moving they don't really hurt. It's the battleaxe guy doing all the damage. As long as he dies, the fight is doable.

    - Flush with victory and not having any intrusive bits of metal in me, I wander into this cave. It's got more bandits in it of course, but at this point I expect bandit attacks like spring rains. More importantly, there's this glowing crystal sprinkled everywhere, including this pillar of the stuff here. There's also some old ruin-y bits around, carved faces and the like, like this was some old Pyrean worship site or something.

    [​IMG]

    But sadly, nothing hinting at the history of the place as I'm going through the bandits' personal things after the murder. I know they're bandits, not archeologists, but still. Really inconvenient, guys.

    - After that is a distillery with actual non-murdery human people (but no extensive dialogues or quests or anything), and there's also like a barn or something. I wonder what it's-

    [​IMG]

    Oh, nohohohoooope. If it's anything like Lower Haystacks, I want no part of it.

    - I go up into the mountains a bit and - after fighting more bandits - find another note from Max. He congratulates me on getting him to run away, and notes the jewelry chest near the note is from him, in honor of my achievement. Also, the one who sent me after him is mad because he refused her bed, he wanted me to be clear on that.
    He might as well have signed the note, 'See you in the next game, sucker!' but if he wants to give me a few shiny baubles when he was clearly ahead of me every step of the way, sure, I can play along.
    I go home, deposit my money in the bank (did I mention? There's a bank in Ark, and it accrues something like 2% interest daily) and sleep it off until Arantheal is ready to see me, which is pretty quickly.

    - I am welcomed with the bon homie I've come to expect of the Order.

    [​IMG]

    - Arantheal has a speech about tradition and togetherness and living on after the death of the gods and stuff like that. Calia and I do some light chanting. I don't think the dried up old bag of dicks that is the Order's Fourth Sigils are buying what he's selling, but it's a good speech.
    And just like that, I'm raised to the First Sigil, something like the sixth highest rank in the land. I make the rounds of the little church, but nobody wants to hear my acceptance speech.

    - My old buddy Sigil Leader Jorek from the trial is here, front row center. He's in fine, sarcastic form, too; he has a way of dragging out his vowels (and the 's' on Prophetess') that really makes me feel his disdain, it's kind of great. He wanted to let me know that he likes Calia better. I figured, but thanks for coming out, Jorek.
    I also get some backstory on him; he's old initiate-buddies with Tealor Arentheal and the 'Tuchessa', which I guess is a rank like Grandmaster? But he didn't fight in the war like they did and changed the subject really quick on me. So he's stuck at 'Sigil Leader' rank, whatever that may be.
    I wonder if this is setting him up for a jealousy character arc, and if imma have to kill him later.

    - Some other named Sigil lady in the second row also chews my ass like Kilean tobacco. Do I know the history of the order (no), do I know the hundredth verse of the Chant the initiates need to do every morning (hell no), do I know why only x-y-zed people can enter the chapel (gimme a break, lady), do I know what some moldy war hero said to another after suppressing a riot (lady, I can't even remember the names you just finished telling me. Hell, I can't remember your name!). And so on, and so forth. My boots defile the chapel by standing here, etcetera.
    Well... I have Future Vision powers? So... so there. Yeah.
    Between Jorek and this lady it's like my disapproving parents are here in person even after I murdered them, it's sweet.

    - The armory informs me that even if I'm Arantheal's special boy, I'm still paying normal prices. Swell.
    I also get a free set of Keeper armor. It's bog-standard steel stuff but (as far as I can tell) can't be improved at the workbench, and therefore I will never use it.
    I wonder if the temple armory would be weird about it if I tried to sell it.


    The Takeaway:
    Boy I sure am glad I get to be in your secret club, Arantheal. I kind of want to go find those occasional unusually racist Endraleans who give me that line about 'my thousand husbands' and call me 'coalwoman', put on my Keeper gear, and see if anything changes.
    Regardless, the wait is over and I can get back on the main quest stuff, now. I can either go see a man about a corpse that will somehow or other lead me to a rite that would protect the Order and the Guard from the Red Madness. That 'Sigil Stone' stuff that got namedropped a few quests back. Or I could go do.. something, about a discovery in the Heartland woods? That Sigil Stone stuff seems more immediately pressing, so I decide to go for that first.
     
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  15. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    You know what the best games are? The ones where you have a chance to betray the Insufferable Order of Smugness.

    There's a reason I always end up going Dark Side in KOTOR 1 and 2.
     
  16. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    It's really impressive, how determinedly assholish they are. Like, you know the writers of the mod had to spend a lot of time coming up with inventive ways to insult me.

    It's kind of so overwhelmingly dickish it comes out the other side and I have to smile.
     
  17. Threadmarks: Update 13
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - So, next step on the road to saving the world: diving into the mind of Enderal's version of a Dwemer to steal his secrets. Sounds legit. How we gonna do it, Archmage?

    [​IMG]

    This is the Archmage, by the way. Very snazzy dresser. Not Jespar, we've met Jespar before. The other guy.
    Apparently I was confused all this time, thinking Tealor Arantheal was also a peerless mage.

    - Archmage Lexil explains that the 'Word of the Dead' is a macguffin in the possession of a recluse called the Aged Man. Me and my old pal Jespar here are going to become guests under his roof, sneak out to borrow his ancient artifact in the dead of night, use it on the caveman- I mean, Pyrean in order to pilfer his thoughts and find the magic words, and then pretend none of that ever happened.
    I immediately assume I'm going to end up having to murder the guy, but Arantheal insists that if we're made we should flee immediately. At no point should this come to blows.
    The Aged Man is apparently someone even the Lightborn - the old, dead mage-gods of the setting - didn't want to cross. I'm sure this will just go... swimmingly.

    - The protagonist wonders what's up with this 'magic words' business, since all the other magic in the setting is chantless. Lexil explains this isn't your garden variety spell, natch, and it has more in common with illegal Entropy.
    Like, say, the magic I've been using for ten levels to summon ghost wolves and elementals and stuff? The Entropy magic that has always been chantless, like everything else.
    Whatever, I'm not an Archmage, I'm sure he knows what he's talking about.

    - Lexil also mentions that the Word of the Dead – or possibly the 'magic words' for the spell, I'm not entirely clear – would take the form of a fancy scroll.
    ... Is this the local version of an Elder Scroll? If this quest drives me mad, I'm gonna be annoyed with you, Lexil.

    - So anyway, I swing by the magic shop and buy a Soil Elemental (my old nemesis) summoning spell from the apothecarius for 200 gold pennies. Score. I do kind of wonder why Frost Elementals and Soil Elementals are basically rocks stacked atop one another, while the Flame Elemental is in the shape of a hot chick. Just Magic Things, I guess.
    Then it's off to the Western Cliffs by Myrad.
    The whole penninsula is pretty barren, not much of interest except for something marked with a dragon's head atop the nearest sheer mountain cliff face. I assume this means 'dragon', and resolve to not come back for like 20 levels. If I can't manage large-ish spiders, I'm not ready for dragons.

    - And speaking of things that are terrible, rain starts up as I get closer to the Aged Man's mansion.
    Oh, I think, the game just switched over to the Horror genre with an audible clunk, didn't it?
    But it may turn out it was just these little bastards, called Wisps.

    [​IMG]

    Now unfortunately I didn't get a very good screenshot of them, because as you may notice I'm at least 9/10ths dead and the screen gets all fuzzy when that happens.
    Wisps are little glowy things about the size of a cannonball, which is apropros since they like to fly into you faster than the speed of a running man and smash you to death. I pull out a win after only one death and respawn, by going into the fight with my life absorption spell ready.
    They do huge damage but aren't especially hearty, although they're also really hard to hit with a sword.

    - In any case, on the way Jespar also reminds me that the Aged Man really likes his puppets, when we meet a pair.

    [​IMG]

    Look at these sad sacks. They're basically like wooden mannequins, only kinda creepy given the expressiveness of their poses.
    I'm wondering if there's such a thing as a wood-medusa. I suspect I shall find out shortly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  18. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Careful. They're not really puppets unless they can be moved to the will of an outside force.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: Update 14
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Upon reaching the mansion, Jespar suggests we wait until nightfall to angle for spending the night. Unfortunately he can't hear my quiet moan of "Nooooo", and the Prophet agrees.
    - After handing over a fancy necklace we 'got off a Keeper' (that being Arantheal himself) to the manservant who was suspiciously quick to arrive (Jespar's words), we're shown inside.
    The Aged Man can't come talk because he's doing his music thing right now.

    [​IMG]

    The giant leering gargoyles in particular are a nice touch; so are the long rows of quietly bowed servant-like puppets. They probably aren't going to leap down and murder me at all.

    The servant (and the Aged Man's) love of music and talk of how it transcends barriers and brings out the demons inside us reminds me of the connotations some of Lovecraft's stories had with music. Soon after, the music changes to a piano piece which is the Aged Man's playing. I like it a lot.
    Jespar suggests we don't eat the 'slightly charred, but still pretty good' meat, showing himself to be pretty damn genre savvy, because I also immediately said to myself, 'Don't eat that suspicious meat.'

    - The Aged Man's mansion is absolutely stunning. Great use of directed lighting in this segment, whether it's outside in the spotty illumination of rusalla mushrooms, inside the guest bedroom, or down in the hidden crypt.

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention the hidden crypt? There's a hidden crypt. Actually, there's two. For all we know, it's hidden crypts all the way down.

    - After a little puzzle involving tugging on books that I'm embarrassed to admit I had to look up on the wiki, I get to visit the first crypt.
    A woman is hanging on the wall, trapped in water that constantly cries droplets down the wall like a bug in amber. She's actually pretty okay with it though, and is obviously an old friend or lover of the Aged Man's, kept alive within the watery magic. She can't see me, but she knows I'm there, and we have a nice little chat where she apologizes for being such a bother. Granted, lady.
    I feel a lot of similarity in this to Yero's old subplot, where he dug up his old girlfriend and put her on display, and was researching entropy magic. But where Yero was just a Keeper, the Aged Man obviously has orders of magnitude more resources to pursue his goals. Whatever they may be.

    [​IMG]

    - After that we go even deeper, to some sort of old fertility goddess type statue. Where the woman in the water had a lot of pale blue illumination, this thing is more menacing; its dark stone is highlighted red.
    Not sure what's up with the statue, but the ritual with the Pyrean goes off without a hitch; cast spell, BAMF, Pyrean appears complete with ice block.

    - I read some words and get all up inside him.
    I flashback to ancient... Pyrea? Pyre? Whatever it is, it's a nice enough rural area. Farms and such. Turns out everybody is flipping the fuck out in the last days of the Cleansing, and ice-man over there plans to take his sister and/or wife (plus their kid) and leg it to the North. His brother thinks he should stay and fight (and die) like a man, but ice-man is having none of that.
    This sequence is a little buggy, particularly if you try to interact with the sleeping girl. There's a line that plays if you try to caress her forehead, but it zips by too quickly for me to read it.
    Well anyway, everything changes when Jakal – some human general turncoat – forces attacks. Multiple waves of human warriors, a few archers, and one asshole mage that sneaks around and gets up on a rock where he can zap you with lightning with impunity. The warriors die pretty easily, but the fact that in the later waves you have to kill like 10 of them at once gets dicey.

    - Poor lad gets himself killed. No hiding out in a cabin in the great snowy north while the world ends for him and his fam.
    Then I wake up and have a chat with the Aged Man. Who was the servant all along, because for an immortal he's fond of the personal touch. He's a bit of an asshole in a Star Trek kind of way (prime directive, y'know), but he does have the best mutton chops I've ever seen on a man so I guess I forgive him.

    [​IMG]

    He does leave the Word of the Dead behind when he waves his hand and disappears his mansion with me inside it.

    [​IMG]

    - Jespar just want to get paid and go get a drink, and I can't blame him for that.
    Tealor Arantheal reckons that having a name – the High Ones – to put to our enemy is a good job done, plus I did get the words for the Sigil Stone thing. He tells me to trot over and see how the archmages are doing with that.
    Lexil and Constantine (mostly Constantine) are a treat, as always. To hear Constantine, you'd think Lexil was reciting from his book of high school poetry instead of words of ancient power.

    [​IMG]

    Constantine literally takes the scroll away from him and reads it himself. Speaking the words causes the macguffin they're hovering over to explode, which appears to be the intention all along! Everybody gets a chunk of glowing purple stone that protects them from Red Madness. Aces.


    The Takeaway:
    Word of the Dead is a solid little quest. Excellent art direction, and an interesting character whose deal I would like to know. I do wish Pyrea was a little more.. unique, asset-wise? Like, I wish the flashback had been in the city, rather than out in the countryside. Also, did the Aged Man run off with our Pyrean? Can we summon him back? Can we get him out of the eternal ice? Or did he just disappear from the story, never to be heard from again?

    I started a new job, so it's anyone's guess how much this project will slow down, beyond the tentative guess of 'some'? Anyway, next time, I wander around the Noble District for the first time, looking for somebody to buy this fancy jewelry that's been sitting in the bottom of my bag for ages, and probably get sent out on that other errand Tealor Arantheal has planned.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Update 15
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    All right, let's try picking this thing back up. Even an update a week is better than nothing, right?


    - So I'm digging around the Noble quarter, looking for someone to buy the random magical jewelry that has been accumulating in the bottom of my backpack for the last ten hours of game. Spoiler: turns out to sell jewelry, you have to find a tailor type merchant. Go figure.
    More importantly, the Noble quarter is pretty great! Noble merchants are by and large more interesting than their Marketplace counterparts, and that place has a blacksmith with the unlikely name of 'Pud Duncan' who has open copies of Enderal's version of 'Baby's First Magic Book' of the forbidden Psionics and Entropy disciplines at the foot of his bed.

    - Posters for the 'Perpetuum Theater' are plastered everywhere. Even the Undercity, although I don't think the beggars, ne'er-do-wells and fleshmaggot sufferers take in a lot of theatre. Unfortunately the place is closed. The actress sweeping up out front (starving artists have it rough no matter the world) is just one of those gormless types who ask you about your birthplace. 'Oh, Qyra, I hear they have big ol' baby communes over there.' No information on the theater itself. Maybe it's a night only thing.

    - So, first off, I happen to run into a guy out taking the air who is notable only because his name is the greatest name ever: Jerrel Edgepunch. Does Enderal have marriage? He's bald and sporting an unfortunate handlebar moustache, but I'm big-hearted, I can forgive a lot. Can I take his name when we marry? We shall have a small service by the sea, and I will wear a pretty dress, and it will be lovely.

    - After that, the theater may be closed down but there's a poet (to use the term loosely) reciting vaguely pornographic poetry out in the open air. His name is Prince Adreyu of Mith. Is Mith a real place, or is this a stage name? You know, Mith. Myth. A poet. I can't gauge his level of serious. Can I call him Prince? These are the important questions.

    [​IMG]

    There's a cute little bit where you can spout some nonsense, and he reacts with 100% seriousness as he tries to analyze it like this is English 101. Also he's of the opinion that some local bard sold out to The Man by writing things that all the peasants love. Enderal's first and greatest hipster, Adreyu, first of his name. And you can play along with his nonsense, it's great.

    - Right next door to his little podium is the local tavern. Another one. It's called... the Fat Loran? There should be a story behind that, but the bartender isn't talking.
    Really, the best part about this place is the bard, a kid named Gerril. It's been a while since I actually stopped in a game, parked myself in front of a minstrel and just listened, but whatever song he was singing when I strolled in was really good. I'm not sure if it's the voice actor or the material, but I'm a little bit transported.

    - The local version of The Crazy Herb Woman from Riverville (I guess every city is mandated to have one) speaks in rhyme. Unfortunately she doesn't dispense quests to put funny things on my head in exchange for Learning Points.

    - There's also another merchant who is verbally abusing some poor guard when I walk in. Quest started, to go check up on her boy who joined a crazy cult and moved out to some rock in the middle of the ocean. Sounds like a pretty inoffensive hippy commune, but what are the odds I get there to find everyone dead and demons summoned or something like that?

    - A bulletin stuck to a pillar directs me to a guy near the bathhouse who has some work he needs done. Well, first, turns out there's a bathhouse. It's pretty cool, although there's nothing actually going on inside.

    [​IMG]

    It looks like you should be able to deliver a pretty righteous cannonball into the pool, but alas not. Pathing issues.

    - Next door, the guy I'm here to meet is working on a giant fucking robot. Two stories tall, at least. I stand in awe for approximately 1.5 seconds before the thing shoots lightning bolts from its eyes as the tinkerer takes cover. I'm not sure if I should be less impressed or more, honestly.
    He wants me to go find his apprentice, explaining that this sort of thing suits 'my rough hands' better than his. You know, man, I... okay, it's been a hard couple of weeks, I'm not exactly moisturizing. But still. That is pretty mild as far as Endralean racism goes, though; maybe that was the local version of a pick up line?
    Also, he's just missing some kind of steering gewgaw before he plans to abandon his frail flesh and transfer his soul into the giant robot. I should probably stay on the good side of the guy planning something like that, just in case.

    [​IMG]

    I will say that his workshop is really cool, even aside from mecha-Starling. One corner is covered with busted up mecha-spiders, and the other has one of those dwarven spheres from Skyrim, you know, where the ancient dwarf-elfs thought it was a good idea to give their robot guardians a giant ball to roll around on instead of legs.
    Also, this guy is clearly a slumming nobleman or something. His personal room is huge, and covered in art, and then he has something called his Workshop which is a separate zone/room cut deep into some kind of cavern beneath the city. It hisses and gyrates with strange machines and something sized for a man that could be a portal or some Starling torture device.

    [​IMG]

    This is going to be a good quest, I can feel it.

    - Back on track, Tealor Arantheal sends me out after a machine the Pyreans made (reconstructed) to try and save themselves from the Cleansing. I'm still getting Mass Effect flashbacks, but no matter. I'm going dungeon diving with my buddy from the trial, Callia. The quest is named Deus Ex Machina; the scenario writer seems to be poking fun. Maybe it'll be double fun and there's actually a not-Daedra or something trapped inside it.
    Calia tells me to meet her at the North Heartlands Myrad. Well, I hop on a giant crime against nature, and one quick flight later...
    Um.

    [​IMG]

    This doesn't seem like the right place.


    The Takeaway: The main cities in these games are usually bursting with things to see and to do, and I'm happy to say that Ark is no different. I'd definitely place it over Skyrim's Whiterun in the sheer number of things you accidentally stumble into the middle of just walking around. As for being deposited on a tiny piece of island instead of where I'm supposed to be going...clearly either the Myrad Keeper is confused about my order, or I am. I hope I didn't pay for this flight, because your service sucks, man.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  21. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Honestly, an update a week is a pretty good rate for something you're doing for free and beats most fanfics.
     
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  22. KinKrow

    KinKrow Smug Squid. Squd? Smuid?

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    *googles Jespar*

    [​IMG]

    Oh hey, he looks a little familia-

    [​IMG]
     
  23. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Kin, it's okay!

    This guy uses magic and sword, not gun and sword.
     
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  24. KinKrow

    KinKrow Smug Squid. Squd? Smuid?

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    But they're both pretty bois with super iffy luck in women.

    And the hair, Guile, the haaaaaaaaaair.
     
  25. Threadmarks: Update 16
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - As he left, the Myrad Keeper said, ‘Watch out for bonerippers!’ What even is–

    [​IMG]

    Oh. Well, that answers that. … Sort of? I mean, are they an animal, or a person, or…? Given they aren’t howling about how that other guy was their friend and they’ll kill me, you bastard, the way the bandits tend to do, I’m going to go ahead and assume animal.
    What they are is about seven feet of meanness, scales and claws that walks like a man.
    Strangely, while the 2-3 that greet me on the pier are doable, there’s one bone-ripper out on the beach around the side that rips through my armor – and my squishy bits – like knife meeting butter. The second go round works better, when I make sure to drop a soil elemental between us. But it's still a much harder fight for no discernible reason.

    - So obviously things went topsy turvy on the poor cultists. It’s just a question of if the bone-rippers got them or if something else did first.

    - I like the design of the island, by the way. It feels tropical. There are fish drying (rotting) in lattice traps, there are banana trees. The cultists kept chickens until they all got slaughtered in the main square: the coop stands empty, and buzzes with flies.
    Of note, my character can apparently differentiate chickens murdered by human hands from anything else: these were killed by the cultists themselves, she says. I didn’t realize she was such a connoisseur of chicken-murder.

    - So I go around looting huts, you know, like you do. Ostensibly to find the ‘letters of Kor’ that (optionally) advance the quest, but I think we all know why I’m doing this.
    Most of them are empty except for the occasional goodie; most contain a strongbox, most strongboxes contain a piece of magical jewelry. I find one that boosts one handed weapons by 7%, which I replace my lockpicking one with. As all know, RPG characters are only allowed to wear one or, at most, two magical rings; anything else would be gaudy.
    And- wait. Wait a fucking minute.

    [​IMG]

    You mean to tell me that Prince Atreyu of Mith is published. And one of these cultists was a big, big fan. I don't even.
    I know there was that whole thing with the Cleansing and the High Ones and whatever, but this? This throws my whole world into question.

    - Most of the huts also contain a couple of ‘desert rats’ which are poor, pitiful cousins of the Mad Rats that gave me trouble earlier. Or possibly I transitioned into a rat-slaying badass when I wasn’t looking.
    I do wonder why ‘desert rats’, a bit. Did ‘island rats’ sound too festive?

    - Another thing to mention is that this place is kinda buggy.
    For one, after half an hour of wandering around killing rats, I ding three times all at once. I suspect one of the rats dispenses a truly ridiculous amount of exp on death.
    For another, upon entering one of the huts I tripped and fell through the world. Enderal righted itself five seconds later, but from thereafter whenever I jumped I began floating instead. It fixed itself upon restarting the game, but I want you to imagine the rest of this entry with me gently floating hither and yon.

    [​IMG]

    - This is a bug of the more traditional kind. One of the huts contains a ‘Desert Queen Spider’, and I, her loyal subject, can only bow in supplication.

    [​IMG]

    And then reload trapped in a very small hut with a very large arachnid, whereupon I turn around and leg it for the sandy shores. She deigns not to follow. She is quite frankly a stupidly large fish in the shallow pond that is this quest and there is no way I’m bringing her down, particularly since my soil elemental doesn’t like to follow me into huts in this area.
    Perhaps my loyal rock monster is a staunch atheist, and the religious paraphernalia in the huts offends it.

    - In order to get into the main lodge thingy, I have to go find two AWOL cultists. Women who tried to run when things started getting weird with the rest of the cult. The notes I’ve been finding are mostly theirs.
    For some reason, they’re basically Skyrim draugr; glowing eyes, armored, and wielding rune axes. How tough must their abusive husbands be, I asked myself as I furiously stabbed away at their leathery flesh.
    I fully expect to find a coven of cave trolls or vatyr or something inside that lodge.

    - There’s a fancy feast inside, primarily roast horse. Why did they even have those things? The island takes about a minute to cross on foot.
    This quest isn’t over yet, though! You have to go down into the cellar of the lodge, and then dive into the murky water found there. Then – if you’re like me, anyway – you have to spend roughly ten minutes (the water breathing potion nearby only lasts for 5, so this involved a reload) floating around among the fish and corpses until you find the tunnel leading ever deeper down, and then up, into a Lovecraftian sunken temple.
    Where is your god now, cultists!

    [​IMG]

    I’m just kidding, he’s right there. I’m getting a few flashbacks to the thing stashed in the depths of the Aged Man’s mansion, but that’s probably just the similar lighting. This fellow looks like some pagan sea god, leg jauntily crossed in repose, with the corpses of its tricked faithful strewn about.

    - I score a ‘sword of Kor’ that is fancy-looking but honestly not any better than my fiery rune sword, and a teleport scroll to get me back to Ark.
    I am totally going to lie to that poor kid’s mom when I get back, too. It’s nice the game gives me the option when I discover something this deeply fucked up, to just make up some nonsense about how he ‘got on a ship and traveled across the ocean.’ And she's all, 'Oh no, such a poor fool, I'll pray for him.' Lady, you don't know the half of it.


    The Takeaway:
    Not too bad, not too great. The plot is fairly interesting and the location a little different from the usual (tropical), but it was dragged down by bugs, my occasional inability to figure out where the heck I was going, and the complete absence of another living soul. Like, how cool would it have been if you got down there and ‘Kor’ spoke down to the little ant that you are like Sovereign from Mass Effect? He was around before the pitiful ‘gods’ of mankind, and he would be there after its end. Etcetera. What if you could try to enlist his aid or blessing to deal with the Cleansing, like the local version of one of Skyrim’s Daedric Princes?
    Anyway, it was fine but I’m eager to get back to the main quest again.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  26. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I suppose "butchered with a knife or axe" just looks different than "attacked by what appears to be an angry were-triceratops".

    I like it when monsters live up to their names. This one seems to deserve the royal appelation.

    That's not a good sign for how the rest of the cultists have turned out. These are the ones that got away early and probably the least changed. EDIT: Or they all could be dead instead of undead. That's a surprise.
    Maybe they rode to the island? Presumably, the fact they don't need them anymore is why they're eating them instead of keeping them.

    The way that statue was posed, I was really expecting him to speak to you, like Mehrunes Dagon or another Prince, yes.

    It's nice the game gave you the option to lie to the poor kid's mother. It's a mercy, really and moreover more dialogue options are (usually) better.
     
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  27. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I actually went on the Enderal reddit just to see what the heck was up with the Desert Spider Queen. As near as anyone can figure, the SureAI guys just put her there to be assholes? Just to fuck with completionists that want that seventh and last 'letter of Kor.'

    Apparently you can cheese the fight with her if you wedge yourself into a corner by a dresser or something (big spider, leetle room), but I figure if I have to cheat I don't deserve the win and leave her alone.
    The other cultists are all dead, and human. There is literally no way their husbands could be smacking these draugr-ladies around, so that seventh letter of Kor guarded by Queen Spider probably had something on it like, 'We caught up with the sisters as they tried to get away, and then when we punished them to deth they turned into fucking monsters and we ran away and locked ourselves in the lodge. All hail Kor.'
    I feel like my character is getting better at this lying thing. Last time I had the opportunity to lie to spare somebody some pain, the best she could do was replace 'got exploded by a vengeful ghost' with 'eaten by wolves.'
     
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  28. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Eh, if they were real assholes, she wouldn't be stuck in the tiny house. And/or the quest item in there wouldn't be an optional one.
     
  29. Threadmarks: Update 17
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - So funny story. Before I got on with the main quest I dropped by the Ark bank. Some of these sidequests (including the last one) give you keys to bank vaults and I've been slacking on picking up my rewards, so I decide to pick them up all in one swoop.
    Two of them are just a bunch of random books and potions and a few spare coins, but one of them has over 6000 gold! Holy shit! I snag that and go on a shopping spree. I buy, like, enough Adept skill books for skill points I've accumulated over the last 6 levels, and a new Bound Sword (III) spell.
    Then I decide to put the remainder into the bank to gather interest, only to find... my bank account was empty. I'd taken all that money from myself.

    - Antics aside, it's time to go spelunking some old ruins. The walk to Old Dothulgrad is very mild. A few wolves, an overgrown church ruin full of Lost Ones, a mine I already wandered into earlier and cleared out. No big deal.
    Know what is a big deal, though? Bound Sword (III). Entropy continues to blow raspberries in the face of every other magic in this game. See, I have that talent that makes Bound weapons do 40% more damage. This makes the one hander summoned by Bound Sword III clock in at a whopping 68 damage.
    68 damage looks... something like this.

    [​IMG]

    By contrast, the 'sword of Kor' I found on my last sidequest? 29 damage. I haven't found anything worthy of my blade, but at least the wolves and spiders I've been working my way through are dying in one swing. I'm considering phasing out life-tapping and even my soil elemental just so I can swing two of these babies at once. I'm almost sad there isn't Bound Shields and Bound Armor, but there probably is such a thing as too much winning.
    I'll have to try out this 'winning' thing and get back to you.

    - Anyway, so me and Calia head down into Dothulgrad and run into Indiana Jones Mage from a few main quests back, Lishari. Apparently this is the 'Peghast' they were referring to. Look, SureAI guys, I like the cadence of a guy like Tealor Arentheal calling one of his subordinates by her last name, but you’re asking a lot of us to remember two names for everyone. I think I can currently only name like 4 guys on the main council of the Sun Temple, and I’m one of them now.
    We meet up just in time to listen to Lishari prove that having a long acquaintance with Constantine Firespark means that when it's time to tear strips off somebody, her tongue is deadly for more than just spitting fireballs. She is not pleased with her hirelings' progress; I think I'd almost rather get sloppily murdered by bandits rather than face a tongue lashing like that, and apparently some of her hirelings agreed already. Which is what she's taking issue with, so maybe that's not much of a fix to the problem...
    Apparently some bandits ran into the deeper bits of the ruins and turned on a deactivated fire trap, making the hallway impassable.
    Lashari, I don't want to trouble you, but... didn't something like this happen last time we were in a ruin here? There's only two common denominators for those events, and I don't think I'm the bad luck charm...? I mean, I only got here afterwards, so I don’t think I should be blamed for this…

    - Calia throws a few barbs out herself when Lishari points out the 'bad drug trip' ritual is kind of dodgy. Which, you know, gotta go with Lishari on this one, that was a right dick move on the Order's part.

    [​IMG]

    These ladies do not like each other. And I'm stuck in the middle. It's just like high school, if high school was held in a decaying crypt filled with traps and bandits.
    So, probably better than high school, altogether.

    - There's a bell puzzle that, in the stories I'll tell Jespar later, will not involve me whanging randomly on the four bells in every conceivable order before lucking into the right combination.
    I do wonder how good Calia is at bell puzzles that she can correct me for hitting them out of tune, and why she can't take a turn with the giant hammer instead of me.
    I also wish I’d picked up all the hammers before the floor dropped out from under us, because these things must be solid Metal of an Ancient Nation to be worth this much money.

    [​IMG]

    I do have to wonder what the point of setting up a bell puzzle that drops people into a giant underground lake is. Is this how Pyreans greet visitors? Which ancient Pyrean architect designed that little feature? I think I'm going to punch the next Pyrean I meet in the face, just in case he's the one who set that up.

    - Anyway, I work my way through some bandits and a couple of traps. Thanks to my new sword, the bandits present no problem. Unfortunately, flame traps do not succumb to sword stabs very easily, and there’s a few reloads over the course of the dungeon dive.
    After going through a particular archway, I take a header into the ground, limbs flashing with electricity. I kind of assume I set off one of the traps, until some guy named Karek shows up and starts gloating. Cutscene defeats, how I did not miss you.
    He doesn't get very far before Calia arrives on scene, and... well.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Have you ever played Left For Dead? This is basically a textbook example of ‘startling the Witch.’ Calia turns into a being of shadows trapped in the vague impression of a female form and horrible red glowing eyes before bodychecking the bandit to the ground and redecorating the dungeon with his insides.

    - The rest of the adventure is pretty much a cakewalk. I imagine all the bandits and traps picked up and ran rather than face my traveling companion, La Nosferatu.
    We do run into four heaping bags of gold coins (of which I promptly lighten by 20 pennies each).
    Also, a poor sod who was apparently the mastermind of the bandits. The mastermind is a gormless farmer in over his head who just wanted money so his farm wouldn’t be repossessed.
    Buut he also robbed the Undercity Food Bank and killed three guards, so I decide clemency isn’t a good idea. ‘Send him away to the tribune!’ I declare, pockets bulging with misappropriated Food Bank pennies.

    - After discovering a gigantic Pyrean magical construct that had better not be called the Conduit, Lishari decides Calia’s pretty okay after all.
    Aww, group hug! Group hug? No? Maybe a firm handshake? Okay then.
    Also, Lishari can take one look at the plans we found and deduce that this thing is more of a prototype than the finished device, but a win’s a win.

    - Once we make it back to the Sun Temple to bask in our accolades (Lishari is presumably dealing with breaking down and moving the two-story tall Pyrean gewgaw back to Ark, and she’s welcome to it), we see that Tealor Arantheal has circled the wagons and called in all the chiefs of the Sun Temple.

    [​IMG]

    I can name, at best, 2.5 of the 5 (not counting Arantheal himself, at the head of the table): There’s Constantine Firespark of course, and one of his subordinates in the green robes. The Qyranian one that’ll run you through the magic schools for Knowledge checks if you ask. There’s Signet Leader Jorek leaning against a cabinet way in the back, looking vaguely pissy like always. There’s this lady I don’t recognize but who might be the woman who was talking shit about me in the second row during my initiation; I’m going to go ahead and assume this is the Tuchessa.
    There’s also the Archmage, whose name I am currently blanking on (Laxus? Lexis?) but who in my heart I call ‘Luscious’, for his fabulous dress sense and devotion to fine foreign perfumes.

    - Some of the Keepers present aren’t really down with sticking a giant Pyrean gyroscope on top of their Sun Temple, thinks it would look bad to the plebs and lay-folk.
    Tealor Arantheal is of the opinion that if it saves us all from the High Ones then the townsfolk can keep quibbling all they want but he’s still going to stick the silly thing up there.
    I’m with the Grandmaster on this one, of course, but this is the second or third time that ‘the lay-folk won’t like it’ has come up, and I’m seeing a potentially dangerous trend with Tealor Arantheal’s choices.
    Also, in my head, Jorek looks and sounds a little like Alan Rickman, so hopefully Arantheal isn’t going to get Dumbledored later. I hope not; I like the old guy, and not just because he’s always happy to sing my praises when I bring back another Pyrean whatsit.

    - There's another break while they get that Pyrean dealie hooked up to the Sun Temple, giving me more time to wander around and get into trouble. Before I get on my donkey Whirlwind and pick a direction, though, there's a quest that has just popped up closer to home:
    Ask Calia what the fuck. Oh yeah. That happened, right.

    - Calia doesn't want to talk about it out in public, which I get, honest. But the place she takes me to is a little...

    [​IMG]

    Dear, you know I support your life choices, right? There's no need to kill me and pretend I exploded by accident, honest!
    What even is this place, seriously. It looks like an alchemy lab exploded and killed half a dozen people, and the Keepers didn't even clean up afterwards. Maybe this is the place Yero exploded, but... seriously, guys. I know I've seen brooms around. Mops have been invented in Enderal, right?

    - Oh, but Calia's talking again, so I turn back around.
    Turns out she prooobably did maybe murder that town by accident. Her witch form sounds a lot like being a Skyrim werewolf, or being possessed. If she gets upset enough, or put in danger, poof! Demon Calia up ins.
    Her reasoning for 'why be a militant Keeper when this keeps happening' is pretty much, 'What, would I rather be a clerk copying books all day?'
    She's like if Tealor Arantheal was a small, cute 20-something.
    Well, I'm down to be besties with the part-time demon paladin if she is, but then I'm probably protected by the narrative and vague prophecy powers. I'm a little more worried for any other NPCs that might join our plucky band.


    The Takeaway:
    It's an okay quest, I feel like maybe I just got spoiled by some of this mod's previous main scenario content? Like, I feel like it didn't make the most of the NPCs it gave me.
    Calia and Lishari vanished on me from the drop into the lake until the end bit with the moral choice.
    The moral choice itself was a little weak, too; I don't know this guy or the corrupt landlord, I couldn't point out his farm if you gave me a map and three tries. The closest thing to a stake I have here is that I recognize that robbing the Food Bank is probably a huge dick move, since Undercity is such a shithole to begin with, and I only know that because a sidequest took me down there.
    Well, no matter. Time to give this new summoned sword a test run by wandering up the Farmer's Coast.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
    zebrin, Xpsi, Mizu and 7 others like this.
  30. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Well, sometimes the little details like that are enough. I remember, recently in Dragon Age Inquisition, I had to deal with this noble that set a trap for Sera, my 'eccentric' elf companion. And I had the option to spare him after murderizing all his men, make him a partner, press gang him, or let Sera kill him. And here's the thing: I like Sera okay but she's kind of a crazy asshole with a huge grudge against nobles, so this guy might have had a legitimate grievance. Sure, he talked like a smarmy git, which didn't do him any favors, but the deciding factor was this: He lured us to a meeting by having one of his servants pass Sera a message. When the servant yelled "She's here" to signal the right person had been drawn into the trap, the first thing the noble's men did was shoot the servant. Not their target, not her heavily armed and armored support, his own servant who had just faithfully helped him in his plan. And the guy was not put out about this at all. Not even a "Now I have to hire someone new". He might even have ordered it that way.

    So, I let Sera brutally beat him to death. Fair's fair and after a certain point any backstory doesn't matter enough to save you.
     
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