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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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    In retrospect, the Pyrean->statue thing seems kind of obvious, but when Constantine was talking about it I was thinking about intelligent talking weapons and chunks of crystal like in that one Skyrim quest with Meridia.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Update 47
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Sorry for the long break, y’all. Got a new job so my priorities have been elsewhere. Let’s continue with gathering supplies for our moon trip, shall we?

    - First stop on the old Starling mine tour is maybe a little too easy? Feels like filler.
    Work your way through a few spiders (for there are always spiders), a few Starling robots (how else could you know it’s a Starling mine?), grab up a few chunks of ominously glowing metal doo-dads, and Bob’s your uncle.
    - Nearby on the other hand, is the ominously named ‘Soulbed.’ This presumably optional dungeon is a party mix of undead types, and some cool set pieces.
    Every sort of undead I’ve run into so far, from basic archers to advanced magic-using ancestors, except – funnily enough, considering this is the desert – Sere Lost Ones.

    [​IMG]

    That's a chest set beneath a beam of light, charred corpses reaching towards the light like it's salvation or destruction or both.
    I'm a little disappointed when edging gingerly into the beam of light to click on the chest doesn't set me on fire.
    Maybe that's weird? It’s probably weird to be disappointed.
    The next zone inside the Soulbed is called the Open Graves, and I work my way through half a dozen middleweight undead before charging headfirst into a Lord of the Lost Ones, who chops me down with his two-hander.
    Not like, one of those stubborn hardwood trees like an oak or anything. More like a soft wood, like a soft pine or something?
    An inch of balsa wood, maybe.
    Welp.

    [​IMG]

    - So, off to Thalgard. Fairly dim and gloomy, which I suppose is only to be expected from an area supposedly steeped in toxic mist or whatever. Bright green crystal bits dot the landscape, suggesting there’s Pyrean ruins around. Towards the end of the path there’s some lighting in the form of giant… well, they kind of have the aesthetic of paper lanterns, if paper lanterns were round, larger than a man, and shod in iron instead of wood. That helps a bit with the general gloom.

    [​IMG]

    I was warned that stepping off the path is only for ‘ard bastards, but the instincts of an Elder Scrolls protagonist are strong. There could be treasure in there, you know? I don’t even know what I’d spend money on, considering I’ve already bought the two houses in the game and tear all my gear from the unfeeling hands of double-killed Starling liches and stuff. I just… I just want it, okay?
    Maybe I can make a Scrooge McDuckian vault and swim around in my gold pennies when I’m not out saving the world or flying to the moon.
    Well, while the Destroyed Abbey doesn’t have an overabundance of treasure, it does have an abundance of are Monks. Contrary to the peaceful, pleasant title, Monks are rough customers. The base form of a Monk is one of those ghostly lightning-and-ice magic user types, like the Alchemists from the plague mushroom sidequest way back in the day. But pile on more Elementalist stats and pour a boatload of HP on top and you have the idea.

    [​IMG]

    This is a pretty rad setpiece, though. The Monks walk the aisles and man the lectern of this open-air lecture hall that probably didn’t start out exposed to the elements whenever this Abbey was actually in business. The ground is coated in waist-high ferns, and the skeletons posed on their benches appear to be growing antlers or horns or something.
    The inside of the Abbey is more vanilla. The main hall and sleeping quarters are do-able with a little luck (and a timestop comboing into Rocksolid to soak up 90% of a magic-user’s ability to drop serious damage on a poor old Prophetess), where the rooms contain at most a Monk or two supported by archers or mighty wisps. I pick up a fair number of skillbooks and a few spellbooks, which is kind of nice.
    The library contains no less than four Monks, backed up by at least as many lesser undead archers.
    Welp.

    [​IMG]

    - Clustered around the Abbey – which I find the first time, regretfully, by running off a cliff while being chased by Monks – is the remnants of a small town. Well, actually a pretty big town, for Enderal. Bigger than Arp Central over on the western side of the continent or the weird town-zoo of elemental wolves around Calia’s dad’s old place.
    Smaller than Ark, thank God.
    Aside from the usual undead types, this place has a monster called an ‘elemental ghost.’ That’s a soil elemental that somehow became undead what.
    On the sliding scale of undead threats that tops out at Lords of the Lost Ones, those giant-sized Grotesque Ones and, just below them, Monks, these guys are the next rung down on that ladder. They have tons of HP like Monks and throw lightning (natch), but they don’t tend to run as much and their magic doesn’t seem to have the same punch. Do-able.
    I also run into a little door reading ‘Thalgard Crematory’, but I’m still stinging from the Abbey and would rather walk up the normal way thank you very much. With my luck the Crematory would be filled with flaming corpses that throw fireballs or something.
    As something of a connoisseur of getting blown up by magic by now, I would rate fireballs as the scariest type of magic in Enderal, since suddenly you just explode and your world is a fiery hell for multiple steps in any direction. Ice meanwhile is the most annoying magic for a swordsy sort of girl, since the mages seem to be programmed to fire and run away a lot, and you can’t exactly catch up when you’re slowed by cold. Lightning hits you in your mana bar, but since I do all my summoning before the fight I could give a shit.
    - So I work my way around and up a small hill, chasing the minimap point, and run into a shining white figure on the hill called the Steel Guardian. Turns out he’s one of Enderal’s five hidden monsters. There’s a book series that describes these ‘myths and legends’, that explains he once was Dal’Marak’s trusted arcanist Ibrael. Yadda yadda tried to kill his boss for straying from the path, yadda yadda too late, yadda yadda cursed to roam the land and so on and so forth.
    He hits like a truck with his giant axe and has a huge HP bar, which is to be expected of something the size and general disposition of a Starling Centurion like our old buddy Horst/Pahtira. Single enemies are the easiest to bring down with timestop though, since I don’t have to waste valuable time running around. Timestop Power Attacking his face like a lumberjack with a stubborn tree does the trick, and then it’s just cleaning up a couple of his Monk buddies.

    [​IMG]

    Although I have to say, for being a secret boss the loot is uninspiring. A couple of books I’ve already read and 1000 gold pennies. Why can’t I get that giant glowing white axe as large as my entire body?! Even if I can’t use it I could put it on my wall and tell stories about it to wide-eyed Ark kids.
    - Just outside the ‘Starling workshop’ I’m looking for are a handful of ‘Sunborn’ which, going by their armor, appear to be Skaraggs, the local barbarian archetype.
    Just squatting in a ruined house out in the ass-end of nowhere, with ruined Viking warships crashed against the shore outside. It kind of looks like they came to plunder Enderal, then spontaneously decided to give up the Viking raider life and become fishermen. Armed with axes and heavy furs.
    I wonder. We know there was some unspecified disaster out here in Thalgard. Could it be in response to a Skaragg invasion? Could it have originated out on the water, driving the Skaraggs to beach themselves to avoid worse disaster? Why ‘Sunborn’?
    I hope we find out.


    The Takeaway:
    The Thalgard region is just as tough as advertised, but fighting hard stuff for the sake of difficulty isn’t really my jam. I’m much more interested in the lore implications. I have faith that Dal’Marak didn’t just go mad and poison himself and everyone else in a vacuum, and I’m looking forward to learning just what happened here.
    Enderal is a hundred stories of good intentions gone awry and foul. Of love turned to hate, of lovers turned to necromancy, of murder born from fear, of religion turned to blind zealotry and freedom-loving rebels turning to Madame Guillotine to sort out their problems. Well, there’s a few stories of greed and malice and human stupidity in there too, but that’s humans for you I guess.
     
  3. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    No, that's normal. But I bet you're not as disappointed as I am that you didn't say what was in the chest. I'm hoping for potions of fire resistance, personally. It'd be funny.
    Decided to run away and come back later? Now imagine how batshit crazy adventurers who can't just save and reload must be and how they must die by the droves.

    You know when you called the Monks ghostly elemental users, I did not picture Lovecraftian tentacle skeletons. Those are rad. Never mind, apparently they're really awesome objects and not monsters, though I feel like having them get up and attack you would have been the next logical step.

    Hm... Maybe a storm at sea damaged the Sunborn's boats and forced them to land and they can't get supplies to fix their boats because everything inland is horrible undead?
     
  4. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I wish I could remember! There were potions in it, among other junk, but I don't remember the type.
    Right? I wish I could get a closer look at the Monks and see if they have those tentacle horns too, but generally when they're around there's too much frantic stabbing and dying to make it out, and then ghosts turn into a puddle of ectoplasm when they're dead.
    Could be! I feel like I'm judging them for squatting in a ruined house on the tip of a magic-blighted hellhole, without even the fig leaf of fishing nets or corpses or whatever to explain what the heck they've been doing with themselves all this time, but there probably wasn't a lot of choice involved.

    Actually the ships are quite large, with a cargo hold and everything, so only 3 survivors means it was either a brutal crash or they've been whittled down over time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  5. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    ...That class session. Where is it from?

    Also, you are right, SureAi really didn't think this whole "Yeah, let's generously allow the players to search the world for those ultra-rare side bosses for pittance!" thing.
     
  6. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    When you first go into the Thalgard zone, it's the first set of stairs to your right, that leads to the Destroyed Abbey. The classroom is in the kinda tunnel-y bit before the actual zone.
     
  7. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I guess you need to master stealth just to get a good look at the monsters. That seems frustrating. I love seeing new monster designs.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Update 48
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Where were we?

    Oh yes. Getting-my-ass-kicked Alley.
    Actually, the starling workshop is a wet fart compared to what I had to do to get here. Difficulty-wise, I mean; it actually looks really nice.

    [​IMG]

    It’s probably just the fact that Starlings in this game keep making giant robots for me to fight, but does this look a little like a giant robot to anyone else? The pipes coming off a barrel-like torso with three glowing eyes and grain silo-like legs holding the whole contraption up.

    [​IMG]

    The crystals overhead filter through the Starlingstuff to throw bluish light on the walls in thick wide stripes.
    A couple of starling guardians pop up as I work my way up the crazy tower, but they’re basically nothing. I do some platforming segments and snag the pyrean cube right off the top.
    I do appreciate how the hums and whooshes and hisses of the tower almost make their own music.

    - I believe Buccaneer suggested that up the stairs from the workshop is one of the hardest areas in the game, and I should go on up and take a peek?
    Well, turns out the Sunborn aren’t just stuck on the coast; they’ve taken over Thalgard, and there’s a lot of them. This isn't a lost or stranded crew, this is looking more like a village. Or a cult. Possibly an army.
    Hard to tell, exactly.
    3 of the Sunborn wasn’t too bad, down on the beach. They're hardy, but not one-hit deadly, the way a Lord of the Lost is. 7-10 is a little trickier, plus they brought a freaking Oorbaya. Well, turns out summoned monsters are starting to lose their efficacy, but Entropic Blood is paying real dividends! One Sunborn suborned (heh) to my side, which then explodes once they’ve taken enough damage? A+, gold star.
    I got a level up at some point, and rank III of that talent is definitely where that memory point is going.
    So, after some yo-yoing (run in, Entropic Blood, stab a bit, nearly get murdered, run away; repeat), I make it close enough to touch the actual door to Thalgard, which… you know, that’s probably good enough for now, right? Go me!

    - Well, I also poked around and found a pretty sweet tower called the Sun Fire, which I assume Dal’Marak dropped his nuke from when whatever happened, happened.

    [​IMG]

    It glows with its own inner light, and looks totally sweet after the endless dimness of the rest of Thalgard. And piles on the arcane fever, because of course.
    Still glowing strong after however many years it’s been. It doesn’t really look like the Beacon, thankfully; thinner, with the chalice shape up top to catch the light rather than three nodes for the Black Stones.

    - There’s also one of those unique beasties, the Crystal Widow, here. Vaguely woman-like, but covered in whorls and knots and crystal growths, like a soil elemental mixed with an Oorbaya plus lady bits.

    [​IMG]

    I actually just hit her with Entropic Blood and wandered around with her as a pet for a while, but unfortunately I had to put her down eventually. Rabid, you know how it is.
    A little pitiful, to be honest. Like putting down Old Yeller.

    - So, job done, anyhow. I head back to Ark for a minute to gather up anything new - check up on the new spells, sell off goods, buy skill books, all that. The city is still locked up tight, of course; nobody in the Order managed to figure anything out about the invading army while I was gone.
    The Soil Elemental has once more fallen out of style, and the Oorbaya is back in. Level 50, the new hotness, still viscerally terrifying. I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination that the aura of purple mist is thicker than the old lad back at level 30.

    [​IMG]

    Presumably the fog is created from the Oorbaya, but it kind of looks like whatever fell portal he climbed through clings to him, and all hell might follow after.
    Good shit.

    - I also finally got around to buying the house in the noble quarter. It’s nice enough; roomy, with a crackling fire and a trophy room. If I actually could invite friends over (if my friends didn’t have a bad habit of dying ugly deaths), that long table would be really useful.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It has a forge, alchemy and enchanting table on-site, but crafting is still kind of crap so the marketplace hovel is probably ultimately preferable just for saving a loading screen between me and the merchants.

    - Other things of note: the invasion is on everybody’s lips, as it probably should be. Not just marketplace peasants being all “holy shit you were with the Grandmaster killing Nehrimese bastards down at the harbor gate, did I dream that,” but I noted Nehrimese racism is on the rise. Enderaleans’ favorite pastime, hateful xenophobia, has been proven 100% accurate now that the evil foreigners have invaded, or so the locals seem to think.
    “I always told them those Nehrimese are dangerous, and now this happens!” and “You dare to show your face around here after what your countrymen did?” and the town crier assuring people that Ark is safe and will be that way forever, and so on.

    - Well… sucks, but morale is the Order’s job, not mine. I’m off to the Gertrude to drop off my stuff.
    On the way a novice Keeper makes a point of saying the ‘Blue Islands Coalition’ sent an emissary despite the wars. The man almost admires their balls. I’m pretty sure that the Blue Islands hasn’t come up yet, but I expect we’ll meet before all this is over.

    - Kurmai has a uniquely Starling-centric viewpoint about this whole ‘Ancient Fathers hanging out up on their moon while we all suffer down here’ bit. He figures, the Beacon? Maybe the Ancient Fathers made it, did you ever think of that, huh?
    And anyway, with the way humans have bollocksed up the world, is it any wonder the Ancient Fathers are non-interventionist? Like some kind of environmentalist bent to his rhetoric. Or maybe they’re the Federation from Star Trek. Prime Directive, sorry humans, our hands are tied.
    ‘Don’t judge them before you have met them’, Kurmai insists.
    That just makes me more and more certain they’re going to be dead, crazy or (/and?) murderous when I actually make it up there to meet them. But hey, maybe they’ll surprise me this once.


    The Takeaway:
    Bit of a short and unimportant one this time, in all honesty. Thalgrad was atmospheric, filled with danger and history, but a little too ‘ard for me to go exploring just yet. Comparatively, the Starling workshop - the actual reason I was here - was just an in-and-out fetch quest.
    Ark feels… weird, right now. The NPCs acknowledge their close call, but they don’t seem especially worried for the future. It doesn’t feel like a city under siege, you know? This attitude would feel more appropriate if the city had a close call and then emerged victorious, but as far as I can tell the Nehrimese invasion barely received a bop on the nose and there’s precisely one failure point keeping the Nehrimese from invading the city again: Yusif Sha’Rim’s entropic barriers.
    I can’t help but feel that guy’s days are numbered, and he’s going to find an assassin’s blade or a whipped-up mob or something waiting for him whenever it would be narratively convenient.


    Anyhow, hopefully the next update will come out pretty quickly, it seems to mostly be hanging out with the Order crew and investigating the starling city.
     
  9. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Hm... I forget... What did Sun Born look like again?

    I think the frowny face hurts that Crystal Widow's attractiveness, but your ability to use the awesome unique monster to beat up other monsters reminds me of some of the more fun bits of the ability curve when playing Diablo II as a Necromancer. Hint: Act 5 Snake monsters for everyone.

    Well, why should they be different from everyone else?
    Well, I'd certainly be trying to have him killed if _I_ were in charge of the invading army.

    I find it amusing but sadly realistic that they've doubled down on the xenophobia.
     
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  10. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Equipment wise, they take a lot from the Forsworn of Skyrim. Lots of leather, horns, some decorative skulls... horn bows and stone axes... also they're black, which typically means they're from Kyra (land of a thousand colleges and philosophies) but for all I know that comes of being ground zero of the Sun Fire when it went off.
    I don't know why we'd expect anything else, really.
     
  11. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Arantheal happens to be on board for a talk before we ship off. I find him gazing contemplatively into some sort of alien vista down below decks. A sort of purple haze, with maybe… lightning in there? It’s hard to understand what I’m looking at, here.

    [​IMG]

    Now, never let it be said that I claimed that view isn’t rad as hell. But… what is it, exactly? Tealor Arantheal is, in fact, standing in front of a steering wheel.
    A second steering wheel, facing the opposite direction to the one Kurmai is manning up on the deck. Is this for going backwards? Is it for, I don’t know, navigating the astral plane or something?
    - Just wondering, pay it no mind. Arantheal notes he’s having us aim for the Crystal Tower, the Ancient Fathers’ repository of knowledge. He also hands off an amulet from his son (the effect is a hefty 20% faster cooldown on talents, which considering talents are totally broken like stopping time and turning enemies into brainwashed zombies, I am all for).
    Tealor plays it off like it’s no big deal. D-Don’t make a big deal about it, b-baka. Wear it or don’t, I don’t care!
    Aw, that’s sweet. Tealor runs off, and it’s time to get this party started.
    - Oh yeah, Kurmai throws out one last worrisome detail before takeoff in a conversation with Arantheal; he plans to stay on the moon (natch), and Arantheal quite reasonably asked if we could pilot the ship back without him.
    Kurmai says yes, because it’s less ‘piloting the ship’ and more ‘inputting coordinates and the ship flies itself.’ This is sounding eerily like the ship is thinking for itself, Kurmai. We’ve had bad experiences with inanimate objects that can think for themselves, Kurmai.
    Whatever, who gets to air their entirely reasonable reservations about the ship we’re on possibly being one of those Pyrean people-stuffed-into-objects that keep driving people mad? Not me, that’s who.
    - We’ve got the A Team together for this one. Jespar and Calia are coming with, as well as Magistra Yaela and her apprentice, a guy named Lejam.

    [​IMG]

    Lejam seems like a nice lad, saying something nice about how swell world peace would be, and I immediately peg him as our redshirt. Shame we couldn’t get Archmage Lexil in on this, he seemed really excited about this Ancient Father stuff, but I guess someone has to look after Ark while we’re away and I’ve wanted Jespar and Calia to join me on the same mission for ages, so that’s exciting.
    - We take off, although how we manage to take off from inside a workshop-cave is a bit of a question.
    Maybe Kurmai built gigantic bay doors into the mountain or something.
    There’s a tiny timeskip involved, and then we’re 3 hours into our flight soaring over the clouds, aurora borealis all around.
    - Yaela gets a tiny bit of character building, building her up as a Starling-phile despite being human. As she puts it, ‘You don’t have to be a mummy to study archeology’, so, fair enough. Plus she points out thought, Starlings have the kind of tech that would let them conquer the world if they actually cares about that sort of thing instead of building moon-ships, you’d think people would care about them more.
    It’s like if Skyrim still had the Dwemer kicking around in their sunken cities, doing their thing. That’s the sort of thing you keep an eye on! If nothing else, so you know when to run when they unleash the apocalypse by digging too greedily and deep or whatever and then its Falmer all the way down.
    - The game lets you talk to Calia and Jespar or turn in early and skip it, and… I mean, obviously I’m going to do that.
    Calia is weirdly relaxed and even-keeled for the first time since… maybe ever? I mean, good on her, I’ve been trying to get her to relax since forever, but still. The warm tone of voice and the laughter is kind of weirding me out, coming from our resident monster-paladin.
    She takes me down and shows me this super weird freaking ball of energy Kurmai has powering his ship. It’s this whole little biome in the belly of the ship, with mushrooms and ‘crystal water’ which is actually getting sucked up into the tiny purple sun. It’s wild.
    I mean, we’re already riding a wooden ship with a hot air envelope to the moon, but somehow this is even more crazy.

    [​IMG]

    After we hide from Kurmai who would probably shout a lot about poking around his ship when we aren’t supposed to (and listen to him berate the ship for opening doors, which is not helping my paranoia that this is going to go all HAL9000 on us), Calia…

    - Honestly, I want to listen to her pour out her heart and stuff, but mostly I’m baffled that I slipped into respectable clothes off-screen. When did that happen?
    I’ve been wearing skulls and heavy metal for at least the last 25 levels.

    [​IMG]

    I can’t tell if those are silk jammies or what, but I like it a lot.
    Anyway. Calia, you were saying?

    - Calia explains that she’s climbed over an emotional hurdle off-screen. She’s trying to view her Beast as a part of herself, rather than an enemy to be defeated. The Prophetess is forced to ask a pretty dumb question (“Does that mean you’re going to let it roam free?”) but Calia says that of course she’s still wary of it, but it’s also not something she can cut out of herself.
    It’s an interesting decision to have Calia come to that decision off-screen. On the one hand, it makes me feel like all my pep talks didn’t really help; but on the other, it feels like her decision. It gives her a sense of agency you don’t often find in, for example, a Bioware game where the protagonist and his party members work through their issues together.

    - Calia is going to hang out and meditate for a while, she really likes this place. Makes me wonder if the Beast and the purple sun are connected somehow, and since the Beast came from resurrecting li’l Calia using a High One battery that’s fairly worrying… but that’s probably just my naturally suspicious mind at work.
    Probably.
    - Jespar is up on the bow of the ship. Leaning on the railing, wind in his hair, all that.
    He starts laying some philosophy out again. He still feels like people live life to be happy, but he wants to talk about the nature of responsibility, and how ultimately his attempts to run from responsibility are what make him responsible for what happened to his sister and that backstory lover who he left to die by bandit raid.
    Man, character growth all up in this bitch.
    Last time we talked, Jespar was trying to front like he’d sell me out to Coarek in a second, and now he’s acknowledging that his dim view of heroism and responsibility are wrong, an artifact of what happened to his father and his family.
    He had it backwards all along, he said. “In order to be happy, we need… connection. To a person, to a cause, to anything. If you never find that, you’ll never find yourself.”
    Which, okay, is a great turn of phrase, and I’m still hoping to connect with him myself if you know what I mean, but where did this come from. I was only gone for like a day, putting the finishing touches on the Gertrude! Jespar loves him some philosophy, but he seems to have flipped his positions like a Kilean whore. Which is a way healthier attitude to have than previously, where he was convinced humans were only in it for pleasures and he in particular was shit! But him and Calia must have been soul searching all day and all night to make all these breakthroughs.
    - Aaaanyhow, I’m exhausted from all these heart to hearts, so I crash (thankfully non-literally) and wake up to find we’ve reached our destination.
    Which is not the moon, unless the moon is just as sunny as the planet below. And has an atmosphere.

    [​IMG]

    Not to take anything away from the place, because the Star City has a solid, I dunno, Machu Picchu vibe maybe? A huge stone monolith the size of a mountain dominating a small city of stone and bronze. And dead silent. Possible emphasis on dead.
    Kurmai, who doesn’t like the look of this at all, takes off down the dock like a rabbit while the rest of us are just standing around talking.

    [​IMG]


    The Takeaway:
    On the whole, I like this segment quite a bit.
    I’m a sucker for dialogue, and Enderal’s dialogue is good when you can get it but a little thin on the ground, you know? I like quests that give you party members, so it feels like I’m not trying to carry the whole goddamn Order on my back. I appreciate the Order roster getting filled out a bit, even if it’s likely just the prelude to another cull. On the whole I like Calia and Jespar and even Arantheal having a bit of personal growth that feels like it was their own idea and ultimately little to do with me. It feels real; personal growth ultimately comes from within, after all.
    You can lead the horse to water but you can’t make her make peace with her inner demons, or… something like that.
    And of course something went wrong with the Star City before we got there, when does it ever not? I have my money on ‘got culled by the High Ones already’ or possibly ‘are actually the High Ones lol’, but it could also just as easily be ‘destroyed themselves in their hubris’ or ‘went mad, MAD’. Enderal has options.
     
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  12. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I didn't realize what was so strange about him standing in front of a steering wheel until this sentence, you buried the lede a little.
    Wait, this raises more questions about the multiple steering wheels.
    Oh, nice, both your love interests/friends at the same time. That will be great or really, really akward.

    Funny you talking about the Falmer just before learning the belly of the ship looks like some kind of hybrid between Blackreach and a tropical island.

    Don't worry, it's entirely possible your pep-talks helped her be in the starting position to reach that conclusion off-screen.
    It only took you a day to run around dealing with creepy monastaries and searching for the dungeon that had the thing you wanted?

    Both of which are entirely possible in a fantasy universe. On the other hand, it looks like it's floating in the sky rather than built on anything and that suggests to me it's some kind of sky palace on your world rather than floating over the moon, if only because usually they'd show you the moon's surface before moving to the floating sky palaces.

    And yeah, I'm laying 80% odds everyone is dead and 15% odds that they aren't all dead but that makes it worse somehow. The remaining five percent covers several contingencies, including that they are alive but had to evacuate because the whole place had become deadly somehow.
     
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  13. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Apparently!

    The main quest regularly tells you to take a break while the NPCs research/install ship parts/whatever in between story beats. I didn't mention it, but Arantheal told me to go back and stock up in Ark and take 5, before hitting this mission.
    I did get the impression this was supppsed to be a vast interconnected city of floating island palaces (or whatever). Yaela was really bummed out we couldn't take our time and had to hit the main tower and GTFO.

    Neat line to explain why the Star City we can see is like, 3 buildings. Albeit one being that huge tower.
    That does seem to cover all the eventualities.
     
  14. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Loved this. I forget if you were trying to romance Jespar. But if you were then you missed a prompt in his convo that leads to a lovely little scene where you solidify the relationship. Same thing with Calia. The ship is basically where you confirm who your character ultimately is romancing.

    Still I really enjoy reading your playthrough. It made me go back to Enderal. Now I'm just waiting for the DLC.
     
  15. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Thanks! Yeah, I'm gonna see if I have a save I can go back to and pick the romance option. You could give us a sign that THIS flirty option is the one true romance flag, SureAI!
    Aren't we all?
     
  16. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Glad I could help. I don't remember personally what you're supposed to say to him. But I believe the wiki details what prompts make the relationship happen.
     
  17. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I try. That 5% miscellaneous category is best summed up as "they're alive and that's not worse but it doesn't help you right now". I gave you one example, another is "they're alive but they're frozen in time for some reason and you have to find a way to free them, which involves going doing something dangerous."
     
  18. Threadmarks: Update 49
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Okay, went back a little ways in order to get my husbando on lock. Restarting from balloon lift-off, basically.
    A few things.
    First, Arantheal’s kid, whose necklace I’m now wearing? His name is Narathzul, a name I’ve somehow gone through the entire game up to this point without hearing. Honestly the name belongs on an orc necromancer, but what do I know about names, I named myself Guile.
    Second, the moon down in the hold? Still ominous as shit. I didn’t quite grasp the… halo, the corona of power around this thing until I got a closer look.

    [​IMG]

    That’s like, end-boss-of-a-JRPG levels of ominous right there. Third stage, at least, right after the ‘normal’ and ‘one-winged angel growing out of the prow of a biological airship’ levels.
    Third:

    [​IMG]

    I cannot escape the mushrooms even here! That can’t be good for the pipes.
    I think that’s dirt the ‘shrooms and the pipes are nestled in, actually. This ship is far more biomechanical than I expected, even considering the jungle nightscape down in the cargo hold that’s powering it.

    - Anyway, talked to Jespar again, and selected the ‘Only friends, tho?’ option.
    Surprising no one, our favorite free spirit doesn’t want to put a name to this thing we have.
    Actually, first he tries to friendzone me, and look. Nothing doing, okay, pal? I gave up monster-paladin snuggles for this, and I will have it.
    I mean you. I mean whatever.
    I don’t care.
    This girl? Cool as a cucumber, yeah.

    - Actually, he wants to make sure that if we’re going to do this, he doesn’t want to call it a relationship. He doesn’t want to get locked down, to deal with jealousy and possessiveness. He stresses that I’ll be free to play the field as long as he’s the one I always come back to, and vice versa.
    SureAI, it’s not nice to tease my Prophet-Jespar-Calia OT3 like this when you have no intention of following through, okay? Not nice at all.
    Anyway, so Jespar talks about freedom and stuff for a few minutes, which appears to get him hot enough to share a kiss out under the Aurora Borealis.

    [​IMG]

    … Jespar, hon, I think you have a… you have a little fire in your hair. Jespar, you okay? He’s okay.
    Look, it’s night time, all right? I carry a torch. I like being able to see.

    - Anyway, sexy times back in my room. Except...

    [​IMG]

    Jespar, look, I know you probably took philosophy as your major in college, but there’s a time and a place, okay?
    Nevermind, he’s off and speechifying, anyway. Jespar, don’t ever change, but sometimes it’s a good thing you’re sculpted like Adonis, man.
    He recognizes me as ‘a woman of dark gifts’. I assume that’s not a crack about my skin tone, but rather all the entropy magic I’ve been throwing around? Or he knows more about the ‘probably a lich’ situation than I’ve been led to believe. Interesting!
    More quality voice acting, of course. The amount of pathos the guy can put into a tortured whisper of ‘I’m a winner’ is astounding.
    For a while we talk back and forth about how his sister Adila – that’s the one who went nuts and became the Bone Judge – deserved happiness like this more than he does. Because he’s still traumatized, of course; it was really just a few days ago that he found out his sister was murderin’ dudes as Enderal’s answer to The Punisher. And she actually factually killed him. And then he got brought back to life by that annoyingly vague god-woman who appears now and then.

    - There’s this bit I like a lot in particular. The tone of his voice says he’d despair enough to throw himself off the goddamn skyship if he wasn’t so completely frustrated by the whole thing:
    “‘Bone Judge’... Such lunacy. Such idiotic, fucking lunacy. I mean, are we so easy to break? Is placing some magical stone in our hands all that the High Ones need to do for something like that to happen?”
    Signs point to yes, unfortunately.
    It’s probably just how people are, though. Given infinite power, some break harder than others (Adila), but anyone would go a little screwy.
    Probably healthier in the long run for him to be angry than depressed, although depressed Jespar just gets naked, hits the cat houses and gets high off glimmerdust. I’ve heard of worse coping mechanisms, like staging elaborate, ironic murders.

    - Finally managing to get vertical (and pants on), we pick back up where we were before, with the empty Star City spread before us.
    One new bit is Yaela noting it’s nice to see people ‘finding ... common ground, even in these times.’
    You sassy old person, maybe we’ll make a Constantine Firespark out of you yet.

    - This area is called the Valley of Clouds, because the Ancient Fathers were apparently very, very literal.

    - Kurmai pulls his runner act again, but we catch up to him in a minute to find him shouting at a door sized for giants: “Father Yurelai! Father Jotanax! Father Raijimon! He is here, he has found you, just as your prophecy foretold. Now open the gates!”
    It’s interesting that he has actual names, people from the passed down lore of the Starlings, that he was expecting to still be there waiting for him. Those old legends are surprisingly specific.
    Also, something about a prophecy? Those never go wrong, amirite guys.

    - Well, Kurmai’s pretty much broken. He’s convinced that he should never have taken us here, and yeah, I can kind of see his point. Yaela takes charge, sending people out in groups to find a way in, Jespar flirts a bit (“This place is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – no offense.“) and in no time at all we’ve found a side door.
    Of note: going the other way reveals a single, solitary skeleton on a lonely lookout, with a book on Rhetorics and light magic. Which is the opposite of promising.
    Lejam and Calia have to stay with the ship, and be prepared to cast off if we’re not back in 12 hours. Not a call I would have made, considering all the crazy things we could run into down there up to and including time travel, but I unfortunately wasn’t consulted.
    Not to mention leaving Calia behind with the redshirt! What if we need something demon’d? You know we’re going to need something demon’d before this is done.

    - The city itself is overgrown, and the only thing we find are empty workshop after empty workshop, occasionally filled with rats. Mad Rats are not particularly threatening to me anymore, but I also notice Jespar isn’t really pulling his weight anymore. I have to step up and kill most of them for him and Yaela.
    It’s okay hon, I’m sure this happens to a lot of rogue companions!

    - Not a whole lot to talk about in this section really. There’s some cool lighting effects...

    [​IMG]

    The Ancient Fathers seem to go in for a mix of cool blue laser-y light and more traditional candles that have a similar but different greenish glow to the old Pyrean Doom Train.
    Some nice statuary…

    [​IMG]

    There’s also some of those mother goddess type statues, which have a pretty hilarious exaggerated sneer on their faces, like they just smelled the worst thing they’ve ever smelled in their statue-y lives.

    - The workshop where the Ancient Fathers met was apparently called… the Sureai. Heh. I guess I’ve been pronouncing that wrong the whole time, huh? Sure-ay, not Sure-A.I. like Artificial Intelligence.
    - We eventually make our way to the ‘tower of memories’, and the elevator kinda… screws its way down deep into the earth. Each layer seems to tell its own six panel story about a civilization, of which the Ancient Fathers have seen… let’s call it ‘a lot.’
    We head down to the Pyrean level. We see them:
    1) grow (‘life emerges from nothing’, as Yaela puts it, I wonder if that’s significant?),
    2) thrive,
    3) develop a theocracy (sun-priests, in the Pyrean’s case),
    4) kill their gods (apparently Arantheal’s kid and something called the ‘shadowgod’ did for the Light-born, the pyreans had a general called Jakil go rogue and wipe them out),
    5) then the Cleansing, madness and death orchestrated by the High Ones who sit far above,
    6) and finally everyone starts floating upwards like the Rapture is happening.

    - Yaela has a ‘Eureka!’ moment that feels only slightly unearned. Here’s how this goes down:
    The Cleansing is the process of killing a civilization and harvesting their memories to form a new High One.
    (Does the resulting High One have traits of the civilization that composes it? I suspect it’s (child of the 90s that I am) like a vampire from Buffy the Vampire Slayer; the resulting creature has the human’s memories, but feels completely differently about them. Otherwise, at least a few of these High Ones would have presumably been very, very angry with the others for murdering their entire civilization to use their corpses to make a smoke-monster.)
    (... I wonder what civilizations made the three High One Furries? Like, when the dreams and secrets of your entire race congeal into a single form, and that form goes ‘Yanno what, Imma be a bear’... or even worse, the guy who decided to be a giant spider for all eternity and then expected us to be able to take him seriously.)
    The Numinos is less ‘a macguffin you find’ and more ‘a macguffin you make.’ Basically, we need to use the Word of the Dead scroll we got from the Aged Man to go inside a High One’s memories, find some kind of essence there, and stick it in the machine. The Word of the Dead can visit the memories of the dead, the High Ones are the dead given form into some higher being, this hangs together pretty well. Good Chekov’s Gun!
    The machine uses the essence you stick inside it as a kind of pattern or homing device so it can aim it’s bomb or disintegration ray or whatever in the right direction. Also pretty logical.

    - Damn it, does that mean Coarek is kinda right about the Cleansing being about advancing humanity to a higher plane of existence? I mean, he’s still wrong, but he’s closer to being right than I first thought.
    That’s just good storytelling, though; making your villain understandable to the audience is the first step to making him relatable, which is how you get people to care about him.
    It’s really human to want something to be true really, really bad and then twist everything until the thing you want seems (to you) to be the only possible choice. But there also needs to be some truth (or some lie) buried in there to get twisted, or Coarek’s just fucking crazy. And crazy people can make good villains, but usually not relatable ones.

    - Does that even make sense outside my head? I dunno, I’m going to split this one up here, this is getting long.


    The Takeaway:
    The romance isn’t exactly blowing me away yet, but I’m always down for Jespar’s voice actor to wind up and go. It’s not like we’re done yet, presumably, so there’s still plenty of time to wow me.
    I do appreciate the Word of the Dead coming back into the story again. It’s a great plot device. Not exactly something you get to use every day, but it’s a really cool power particularly for these ‘search for knowledge’ quests. It does get undercut by Prophet’s schtick, I guess. Like, you have this scroll that can visit the minds of the dead, but also your protagonist can just throw up visions of stuff that happened without it, so whatever.
    I do wonder if the Aged Man himself is going to be involved again at some point. ‘Mind meld with a High One’ is a tall order, if he turns out to be a High One that went back down to slum it with the mortals or whatever that would be super handy.
     
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  19. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I always assumed you were a huge Streetfighter fan and your theme goes with anything. Anyway, if it makes you feel btter, that says 'orc necromancer' to me, too.

    That moon is suspicious looking. If it turns out to be the final boss, I'll laugh. More likely it's just going to blow up and take your airship with it or corrupt one of your crew with insidious whispers.

    That's the spirit. I mean, I would have gone for the monster-paladin, but that's still the spirit.
    That... Huh. Almost works. If we saw Jespar and Calia interact more, anyway, they've definitely ship-teased you with both (a consequence of setting it up so you can choose to romance either late game).
    Poor Jespar will never get his OT3 either. It's for the best. That'd just be awkward. I am curious as to whether throwing around less dark magic would have changed the dialogue there, though.
    That's always the case really, it's just that sometimes language shifts disguise it. Like, if a town name has 'port' in it, you can bet there was an actual port there at some point. And all those places named 'ton'? That's just 'town' abbreviated. Oh and if it ends with 'field' there was a big flat area there. I bet you can think of several dozen places you're familiar with that follow these naming rules if you try.
    Are they? The Iliad is a couple thousand years old and contains the actual genealogies of most of the main cast, as well as their names.

    I like that you're the type who considers the need to have things demon'd. And uses 'demon'd' as a verb.

    Hm.. Those ruins remind me of parts of Blackreach. The Dweomer bits, not the cave bits. Which isn't a bad model at all for 'lost ancient civilization'.

    Nice in-joke with the workshop name.

    Oh, this is a a world is set in the universe of Mass Effect II, I see.
    Wait, are you saying you wouldn't choose to be a giant spider for all eternity? I mean, it's not as good as a dragon, but it's not bad at all. Besides, you're forgetting the possibility he was made from a civilization of giant spiders.

    I get what you're saying about villains, though I'd argue they don't have to be relatable or sympathetic at all-- understandable maybe but not relatable. I enjoy the hilarious pettiness of Maleficent completely unironically, for example. "Invite everyone else to your party and not me? This social snub will not stand! That's it, I'm killing your daughter." Or the Xenomorph has perfectly understandable motives: It's killing people to eat and reproduce, but it's not sympathetic, really. It's when your villain leaves you scratching your head and going "Wait, why is he doing that?" that you have an issue. Plus, execution makes a huge difference, a bigger one than actual motive.
     
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  20. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Fair point. I mean, this prophecy survived an actual meteor strike ('Starfall'), but it turns out Enderal's records survived Starfall, too, so whatever!

    Yaela mentions that Starfall happened during our own Cycle, way after the Pyreans all got themselves Cleansed. We know the name of the civilization that rose first in our Cycle (well, I don't remember the name at all, but Yaela does), then got hit with the meteor, then came all the Light-born gods. I'm kind of coming around on all the hateful xenophobia of the average Enderal native; bad shit is just constantly happening to these guys.

    ... Huh, I bet Starfall was just the Starlings coming down from their Star City on the moon.
    Oh god.
     
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  21. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I love the game and I adore the writing but if there is one place where Enderal lacks it's the romance. It is an Explorer as fully as I think it should be. I still like it but I feel like it needs more interaction which I'm hoping the DLC will have.
     
  22. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Wait... Did all these civilizations rise specifically in Enderall? I was assuming this was a global thing.
     
  23. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Pprrrobably global? I mean, each country had its own Light-born god-wizard. I wonder if they were naturally a perfectly pan-racial team of Wizards With Attitude, or if everyone just portioned up the world between them?

    I'm apparently supposed to be tracking down the old capital of the Pyreans before long, I wonder if it'll conveniently be in Enderal.
     
  24. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Yeah, it is a global thing. But bear in mind the fact that each country was different in its culture thanks to the Lightborn residing there, and Enderal's masters were particularly... "pious". (Use the Father's intonation.)



    Other "gods" were pretty severe themselves, but Malphas' has taken the delegation of holy crusading to the whole new level. Enderal was a police state even before the fall of the gods, no wonder it has separated itself from others even more when the news of change started to spread.

    I am pretty sure that the previous game, which takes place during this whole godslaying issue, has more info about the time of actual Lightborn rule - but revisiting another Oblivion overhaul was far from interesting for me at the time. And it's wiki is very very empty.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  25. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    It usually is a global issue. We don't know that much about what happened right now during the Pyrean cycle. Only that much like what happened during the rebellion in Nehrim they had their, I hate the Gods figure. In Nehrim it was Narathzul Arantheal, for the Pyreans we know it was Jakal. We'll never know why Jakal rebelled but he did. So it does look like we can confirm that it's usually a group of powerful magic users who style themselves as Gods. Things go pretty well until some dude shows up and rebels against them. It's the rebellion that spells the start of the end of the cycle.

    If we go back to the Word of the Dead quest, I think the guys who attacked during the vision made comments against the piety of the area. So the issue again is there always a Coric figure? A guy who shows up after the main rebellion to ensure the cycle happens. To herd the people of that time to the end stage?
     
  26. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Uh. Yeah. Self-styled barely-competent gods who rule over lands as they wish and destroy any opposition are sure great. Totally.

    And there's always a Warlord figure. As there are Rebels, Shepherds and Prophets. That's the tragedy of the cycles.
     
  27. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Of course they weren't perfect. Enderal has a lot of mud under the shiny exterior. There's cults, slavery, constant back fighting. Sure the Enderleans go on about how amazing the Paths are but its just another castle system. I'm not saying that Narathazul waa wrong. I agree with the rebellion. But like we see in the modern world when you topple a.government without a plan you leave gaps of power that will be filled.

    People lile Coric who keep their greed under the veener if freedom amd twist the original intentions of the rebellion. This chaos is what the high ones need to help kick start the cleansing. Narathazul is gone. I wonder what happened to Jakal. If after overthrowing the Sun priests if he to was removed and set the next step foe the Warlord figure to help keep the pressure up.
     
  28. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    The Qyra god-wizard would have been totally great if his land of perfect academic freedom didn't periodically break down into open rebellion and anarchy!
     
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  29. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    From what I understand they weren't really that bad of rebellions. Or at least point down clear. Teal or wasn't really clear on that.
     
  30. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Small-scale conflicts only. Wars were reserved for godless world. It's the Melee and Scarrag Islands where the conflicts were hot.
     
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