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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. Threadmarks: Update 50
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I’ll get the complaint out of the way first:
    This whole Star City quest is brought down somewhat by bugginess. Enderal is built on Skyrim, and that basically guarantees some bugginess, but usually I don’t have to restart the game at least three times during the same quest.
    At times Yaela will bug out when trying to get on a lift or move through a secret passage or whatever, and I’ll have to restart the game to get her un-stuck.
    I need to get used to moving at old person speed more, I suppose.

    - Oh, did I mention Kurmai wandered off again? Yeah, he wandered off again, back in the workshops. Yaela had us split up to search for him (which horror movies conditioned me to think was going to be a lot more fatal than it actually was), it was this whole thing. Luckily, my Prophetess can tell when a lift lever has been used recently, so she knew that somehow he got out ahead of us.
    This is going to be important in a minute.

    - So anyway, Yaela has dropped the exposition bomb on us. Find High One, go into High One’s brain, stick High One essence in The Machine, win forever.
    The elevator begins corkscrewing its way back up the Tower of Memories. Yaela and Jespar trade a little witty banter as they do that juddering bounce Bethesda characters do on lifts all the way back up to the main floor.
    They do bring up the Coarek thing (that he’s kinda right about the ascension, if you turn your head sideways and squint), which I appreciate. Always nice to see us on the same page. Jespar, in keeping with his more optimistic turn lately, Jespar suggests that if all goes bad at least humans will have some kind of continuation of consciousness as the resulting High One.
    Yaela is the one to crush his hopes, pointing out that just because the resulting High One would come from us, didn’t mean it would be us. Maybe High Ones just eat memories or something.
    It’s a fair point, if a depressing one. If you build a ship using people as lumber and nails, that doesn’t mean the guy at the helm is those people.

    - And then… damn it Kurmai, come down from there! You look really silly up there.

    [​IMG]

    - So yeah, he thinks it’s our fault the Ancient Fathers won’t come out, surprising no one. Well, maybe Yaela; she seems more of the ivory tower academic type, she probably hasn’t experienced the myriad betrayals that come with trying to get shit down here in Enderal.
    Hm… when was my last betrayal? Disappointed Order Dad Jorek’s betrayal wasn’t really focused on me, I just happened to be in the city he was betraying. Jespar’s sister Adila being the Bonejudge and Ryneus being the local God weren’t personal either. They were just, you know, gifted with ultimate power, wound up and sent on their way. Calia’s demon form never carved me up like hamhocks… heck, is it going all the way back to Pahtira getting me to stick a hand in a black hole? And before her, Constantine getting Cthulhu’d by the Living Temple?
    Heck, that was ages ago! I guess I was due. I’m kind of feeling nostalgic for it, even. There’s been far too much camaraderie around here lately, even accounting for somebody in the Order murdering Lishari and pinning it on Jorek.

    - Anyway, I can’t really say Kurmai’s wrong. I mean, the Ancient Fathers are the kind of assholes who have watched civilizations rise and fall from their floating sky-fortress, and did nothing. They would totally be the sort of people to refuse to come out until we go away.
    I’d still rather not be murdered to get them to show, though! We were leaving anyway, jackass. Give us five minutes and we’d be back on the ship!
    No reasoning with a crazy person, I guess.

    - Random thought:
    I kinda wonder about the sequence of events vis a vis the Starling crash landing. I mean, did something happen to the Ancient Fathers and that’s why the Starlings came down, and the prophecy was just some way to hold onto hope?
    Or was some of them coming down the way the High Ones clued in about the race living up in the clouds, and that’s why Star City is empty?

    - Anyway, he claims he regrets what is about to happen. Then he immediately and gleefully turns on the defense systems. Pahtira is still one up on this joker, since she kicked off her betrayal by getting me to stick my hand in the fusion reactor and turned it on, which is pretty quality as betrayals go.
    Plus he’s started calling us ‘Soil-born’, which might actually hurt my feelings if I hadn’t spent the last 30 hours fielding a wide range of insults against my race, gender, foreignness, personal character and sexual preferences. So he’s way behind there too compared to the average Enderalean peasant.
    On the upside, he does have a giant mechanical bird or dragon or something that shoots lightning, so that’s something at least.

    - Yaela throws up a magic barrier and tells Jespar and I to go go go, which I’d feel worse about if we’d shared more than half an hour of screentime. Gonna have to do better than that by now, Sureai! Considering how many of my friends have died by now, she might not even crack the top ten! Hell, I cared more about Sigil Leader Jorek’s death than hers, and he was the kind of Order Dad who told me to my face that he liked Calia better.
    Goodbye, Magistra Yaela. For a while there you looked like an adequate replacement for Constantine Firespark, and no one can take that away from you.

    - So we leg it down the tower, killing a few centurions and Starling spiders and stuff. No big deal.
    And, well, Jespar said it best, so:

    [​IMG]

    The ship is gone when we get out, because why should anything ever be easy?
    My first thought is ‘damn, how long were we down there?’ but Jespar’s brain leaps to ‘mecha-dragon got here ahead of us.’
    Lijam is definitely dead. More dead than anyone. Deader than disco.
    Calia… I wonder? I mean, on the one hand, nobody gives a shit if Lijam eats a lightning bolt off-screen, but if one of the romanceables bites it you expect her to only go down in like, a cutscene thing with the dragon attacking the ship and Calia and you sharing a Significant Look across the distance as the ship goes down, all afire – perfectly placed, of course, too far for you to help in time but not too far to watch.
    On the other hand… I wonder if Calia stays back with the ship if you pick Jespar, and vice versa? So whoever you don’t pick gets a Kaiden-and-Ashley moment-on-Virmire moment.
    We’ll find out before too long, I guess.

    - So we trudge back into the tower, fight some mechanicals, you know how RPGs do. We can’t just go from one place to another without dudes to murder, t’wouldn’t be natural.

    [​IMG]

    If anything has shown me how far I’ve come, it’s being able to Entropic Blood a Starling Centurion into fighting for me as the three of us (me, Jespar and mind-slave) duke it out with 6 other mooks and another Centurion in a mildly frantic melee. But at no point am I particularly worried for my health, just chaining end-game talents into one another like Entropic Blood – Timestop – Rock Solid – Devour Soul.

    - There’s some nice biomes throughout the tower, surprising no one by now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That last one is especially nice. The smoke from one end mixing with the red crystals. Great set design too, since it draws your eye to the left, where you have to go and run the gauntlet of security features.

    I’d say my last Starling doom fortress has the edge though, old Agnod from the Apotheosis questline. More harsh colors, more crazy designs.
    The orange trees and moss growing through the Starling tech is a nice touch; there are pools and topiaries and stuff that suggests it’s the Ancient Fathers grew their food in neatly-maintained gardens that have since all gone to pot.

    - Wait a tic. Why is there Riverville Mead in this chest?
    I’m stuck with the mental image of one of the Ancient Fathers loving a particular bit of Sun Coast moonshine, and buzzing on down in his UFO to pick up a batch of the stuff twice a month.
    Everyone ignores the crazy herb lady from Riverville when she claims to see lights in the sky while that nice Starling man pays for his bi-weekly order with ‘your human moneys’ and praises ‘soil-born ingenuity’ in getting the hops just right and so on.

    - Anyway. Jespar has deduced that the big pulsating crystal giving off alarm-like red light is setting off the alarm – despite this not being the same room as where Kurmai turned them on. And I mean, yeah, red light and klaxons sounds like the right alarm-stuff to us modern people, but how often does this come up in the fantasy world of Enderal?
    So I shouldn’t be very upset when it turns out he’s wrong, and trying to disarm the alarm – or whatever I just did – set off some serious lightning-based defenses.
    Jespar notices and shouts 'RUN!' before the lightning turret even warms up.
    That Pyrean expertise comes and goes at the whims of the plot, huh? Enough to drive an ancient Pyrean Doomtrain or to notice the purple lightning shooters, but not enough to figure out how to shut off the alarm system.


    The Takeaway:
    Yaela and Lijam might well be the least impactful deaths of the story. This is less of a complaint than it seems; Enderal’s death game has been really strong up to this point (Constantiiiine), they didn’t get a lot of screen-time, and they just didn’t have very impactful personalities.
    Lijam in particular was just a nice-ish young man. How much more impactful would it have been if, say... he was your dogged nice guy defender against the unending tide of Endralean racism? Out in the courtyard, when half the Keepers are sneering as you walk by, he could be like ‘Wow, heard about that thing with the Aged Man. Good job!’ or ‘SOME PEOPLE appreciate not succumbing to Red Madness, okay?’ and then the nay-sayers could sniff and that would be the end of it. Until now, when he got to go on a mission with The Prophetess, and BAM! Dead.
    I would be hungering for that mecha-dragon’s death.
    Just a thought.
     
  2. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    I think you meant Bioware. ;)

    It goes further than this, believe me. It influences several sequences of events until grand finale. But basically... yes. The one you have more affection points with follows you during this quest.

    I have explored the Star City with Calia, for example.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2018
  3. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Is it weird that Skyrim was never that buggy for me? I never got the weird stuff like flying mammoths or whatever. At most, I had to reload a save because a quest had bugged something once or twice, occasionally had to use Fast Travel to reunite with my minion who had wandered off, and just avoided the Fus Roh Dah shout tree because it sometimes sent valuable objects through walls or floors.
    Spoiler for game that's been out for years now: Mass Effect 2 levels increasing.
    If he wasn't crazy he'd realize they're probably avoiding him, too. If they are just hiding, which, like you said, I'd buy. They seem to be extreme isolationists. More likely, the high ones murdered them all or something, though.
    For some reason all the talk of constant fighting and betrayal reminds me of playing Tyranny. Which is a fun game by the way if a little mechanically odd and not as emotionally deep as Enderal. I couldn't go anywhere without some kind of fight breaking out and I was playing as super-lawful bureaucrat for an evil empire who was just Done With This Shit. Fortunately, killing everyone with flaming ice magic is stress relief (that's not a typo-- I froze people and set them on fire at the same time, thanks to the Frostfire rune). People would take sound policy decisions as personal attacks and the next thing you know, I have to murder half my side's own guys. Frustratingly inefficient, but no one can deny they weren't asking for it. The Empire will function better after all the housecleaning I did, anyway. Glory to Kyros.

    I like the mushroom/jellyfish thing and the apparent design thoughts that went into the portrayal of overgrown gardens.
     
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  4. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I feel like this game cribs a lot from the various Mass Effects in setting up the main storyline. And a little bit later, climbing into the escape pods looks a LOT like descending in the bathysphere in Bioshock 1. Not sure if it's direct inspiration or just drawing water from the same well, though.
    "Look, we can't take him back, he probably has all sorts of diseases from living down there!"
    On the to-do list, for sure.
    Enderal is REALLY good at answering the player's natural questions like 'but why X?', particularly things like 'What do people eat?'
     
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  5. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Q: But how do people survive when there are trolls, skeletons and wild mages respawning everywhere?

    A: They don't. These are the end times!
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Update 51
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Conveniently, Calia pops out of a tunnel nearby. Conveniently, this tunnel leads out of here and to where we need to be. Conveniently, Calia thinks she knows where we can find a map to lead us to the capital of the Pyreans (we needed one of those?).
    At least Calia recognizes that this is all very convenient. If you can’t hide the hand of the GM, at least hang the lampshade on it.
    Basically, she was investigating another way into the tower that we hadn’t noticed (these access tunnels we’re walking through now) when the mecha-dragon lightning-breathed the ship. Lijam is totally fucking dead, though. Good thing we don’t have to break the news to Mistress Yaela, huh? Small blessings.
    I mean, it’s nice that Calia’s still alive! But I was pretty sure she was gonna be (and also I’m not 100% sure any of we Three Amigos can die, considering the various powers involved in our various resurrections), so.

    - Got some nice landscapes along the way, other towers in that signature overgrown-with-greenery Aztec chic style the Star City likes.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    We run into a circular arena-y area on the way, and I’m not especially shocked when Calia is like ‘Holyshitdragon!’ It’s like if we were in a cover shooter and we started running into evenly-spaced chest high walls.
    I pop Timestop and give him a few power attacks, and chip about a twentieth off his health bar. I appreciate that they didn’t make him immortal, just really really tough. Like, I could hypothetically kill this guy if he held still long enough! Which is nice, since I’ve already killed real actual dragons and I feel like I’m kind of a badass by now.
    (Admittedly, the dragons killed me back like 3 times, first, but their deaths stuck and mine didn’t, so.)
    He takes off long before we can make a proper fight of it though, doing that circling thing dragons like to do in Skyrim. I turn around and notice Jespar and Calia have long since shouted ‘Run! Into the tower!’ and ran into the tower. Whoops.

    - So into the tower we go. It’s covered in papers and escape pods.
    Which is good, because the dragon starts headbutting the tower – WHAM. WHAM. WHAM. – and a little timer pops up with three minutes or so on the clock. The plan: Find the map, jump in one of these suspiciously bathysphere-from-Bioshock-shaped escape pods, and GTFO.
    Pretty effective timed puzzle, really. I got down to around 100 seconds running along the outside of the circular tower checking tables and dressers and escape pods and such, which still left me enough time to run around the inside pillar and find the map without having to restart the game or anything. Calia and Jespar pretty much just checked some suspicious rubble the entire time, but I’m not sure I would have felt better if Calia was like ‘okay here, have a map’ after leading us right to the escape pod tower. Gotta pretend like I’m the protagonist on which the world turns, now and then.
    Then it’s into the escape pod we go.

    [​IMG]

    I’d rate the escape sequence better than Agnod’s, which had the tense music and blaring red lights but was basically just a leisurely float to the top of the crashed ship.

    - So I screw the hatch closed and we jettison off. I wonder how this works? The bathyspheres probably aren’t ships themselves, considering the way it crash landed.
    Although it’s possible I just have no idea how to pilot it. I mean, Starling tech sometimes seems to run on ‘asking nicely,’ if Kurmai’s Gertrude is any indication. For all I know, the Ancient Fathers could be controlling this stuff with their minds. I don’t know.
    But let’s assume these things aren’t full-fledged ships. That one Ancient Father with a fondness for Rivervale Mead wouldn’t be using these things to pop round and get his fix, these things seem to be one-way rides.
    Does that mean Star City is an actual spaceship? I mean, no reason why it can’t be, I guess. The line between ‘get your city to float’ and ‘piloting your city like a spaceship’ is probably pretty slim.
    And the name of Enderal’s capital is ‘Ark.’ You know, the boat Noah used to save the survivors of the flood. And it is getting all kinds of Old Testament up in here.
    I guess what I’m saying is, if we don’t pilot Ark into the stratosphere at some point to escape the Cleansing or to take the fight to the High Ones, what are you even doing with your narrative, SureAI?
    Fingers crossed.

    - So, we crash land back down to earth. The fact that we land back in Enderal instead of some random continent or the ocean argues that the Valley of Clouds is just hovering up in the stratosphere somewhere instead of on the moon. On the other hand, we’ve managed to cross the entire continent in the time we were up there, so maybe Star City is orbiting around the planet and we just got lucky?
    Hard to say.

    - Jespar is fine, bitching about how hard the seats were, you know, like he do. I appreciate somebody in-universe finally noticing that the Dwemer/Starlings made their chairs out of metal and their beds out of stone. What technologically advanced race hasn’t invented the fluffed pillow? Barbarians!
    Jespar posits that the Ancient Fathers had asses made of metal, which. If they all stuffed their consciousnesses into giant Centurion bodies the way Pahtira did, might not be far off?

    - Also, I accidentally managed to lock Jespar back in his pod, which I have now nicknamed ‘the doghouse’ for that hangdog look of his.

    [​IMG]

    He just… he just looks so sad.

    - Calia is… less well.

    https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd....982/DC9A7B5ED3C5E858C5FAD28929B55EBECB92A2D7/

    Jespar diagnoses her as having minor lacerations (seems like a lot of blood for a ‘minor laceration’, to be honest), and maybe a broken rib, probably from her pod hitting a rock on the way down and getting thrown against the side of the pod.
    And yeah, there’s a rocky outcropping her pod is resting against, but… Jespar, we came down from the upper atmosphere in metal balls! We should all be dead as doornails.
    I guess we should just all be grateful we didn’t pop the hatch and find the Demon waiting for us, pissed off at its host body getting mangled again.
    Well, teleport scrolls work again, so we’re not going to have to schlep Calia back to Ark the hard way, but we also dropped down on the doorstep of another Pyrean ruin, so let’s check that out first.
    She’ll be okay.

    - Turns out this particular ruin (Old Hatolis) is crawling with Nehrimese soldiers. Because when I’m out at the ass end of nowhere, in Enderal’s snowy white North, I think ‘This is definitely a key strategic stronghold, we must take and hold it For Rationality!’
    Inside, there’s a few dead Order and Nehrimese, including one of the Order’s Keepers in full plate and red cape. Turns out the Order had a hold of this ruin first, then got their asses kicked by the Nehrimese. Not totally surprising, since these two or three Order corpses are the only ones we see in the entire dungeon.
    And then in the next room… spiders everywhere! Frost Spider Queens and such. Ahh, Enderal, I missed you and your irrational love of evil spiders.
    The plan, according to a handy note I find later, was for the Nehrimese to kill the Order and blame it on the giant spiders. Which, yeah. How’s that been working out for you guys?

    [​IMG]

    Mm hmm.

    - Honestly, I’m surprised these Nehrimese are even in what passes for their right minds. Turns out Old Hatolis is basically the back end of that Living Temple where Constantine got mind-whammied by a crazy old Pyrean soul they stuck in there.
    With a thing like that nearby, ‘the poor dumb humans called up something they couldn’t control’ is a natural narrative, but… giant spiders? When you have a perfectly good, murderous Elder Being up in the temple proper?

    - The last interesting bit of Old Hatolis is in the last room, after killing a soldier and a Nehrimese Scientist (I just put together that the Nehrimese call their mages Scientists. How perfect is that?) you find the Ice King’s Hall.
    Complete with (I’m assuming, going by the naming schema of Old Miskamuhr) Old Hatolis himself, a corpse clad in ice armor sitting atop a throne. The light from a door-sized cut-out falls perfectly upon him, and I’m a little surprised when he doesn’t get up and pick up his hammer to greet me.
    It’s a little hard to tell with the throne on a raised dias, but the Ice King’s corpse looks fairly gigantic. Not as giant as the Grotesque Lost Ones, which are actual Giants. Just very large.

    [​IMG]

    Non-human, perhaps? I don’t think it’s just that Pyreans are naturally larger than modern-day Endraleans, since I don’t remember Old Miskamuhr being particularly big.
    But this fellow was clearly in a position of power at some point. They don’t hand out titles like ‘Ice King’ for collecting bottlecaps.
    I mean… probably. Who knows, maybe the Pyreans had a rich culture in which bottlecaps feature prominently.
    The Living Temple probably took care of itself, so I’m not sure what they would need the big guy for. He doesn’t look much like an administrator. Security detail, maybe? Some kind of living companion to keep the Living Temple grounded?
    On the other hand, between the Living Temple complex having three or four zones (included the flooded housing down below) and Old Hatolis itself having five (two of which were outside), this place was pretty huge and it probably wasn’t all empty space and frost spiders back in the day. You’d need more than just a heavy mallet and a strong arm to keep all that running.

    - Anyhow, ruin survey complete and everything alive now quite thoroughly murdered, I head back and Jespar and teleport Calia home.
    Looks like the game is giving us a cooldown period with plenty of sweet, sweet talking.


    The Takeaway:
    Star City was pretty solid, barring some bugs. I feel like it could have been a bit tenser; there was a fair amount of wandering back and forth both before Kurmai’s heel-face turn and afterwards, but not as much lore as I’d like to fill the empty spaces. We never meet an Ancient Father, or even know what one looks like, or find out what happened to them. We know that, like the Pyreans, the Starlings can put their consciousness into items. Wouldn’t it have been neat if we’d met talking Centurions or workshops or something?
    And the trees and shallow pools of the botanicum interspersed occasionally by clockwork horrors kind of ratcheted down the tension. I think you could have had more of a running battle with the mechanical dragon instead of having it kill Yaela -> kill the boat offscreen -> fight for twenty seconds before running away -> headbutt the tower as you fly away. That would be significantly harder to code and balance, I imagine.
    Old Hatolis is what I’m coming to recognize as standard for Enderal’s non-quest content: generally atmospheric, usually interesting, but a bit of a missed opportunity (heading back into the Living Temple to beard the statue that killed Constantine could have been amazing!). Ah, well.
     
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  7. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    You know, I like a good jumping puzzle. Give me Mario, or Limbo, or Inside, or Portal and I'll have a blast. On the other hand, then you get things like Halflife 2 where half the jumping puzzles are crimes against humanity. I hope you got the good kind.

    That capsule screenshot makes me feel like I just wandered into a Skyrim/Bioshock crossover. Like, if you take two more steps, you'll see a Druagr Shouting at a guy hopped up on seaslug juice.
    That would be pretty great.

    I read that as "Old Halitosis" originally and thought "Well, that's an unfortunate name."

    I also have an irrational love of monstrous spiders. I see some of the big ones are developing mantis-like arms. That's unusual.

    Still, my favorite monster spiders are probably the adorable Grey Shivers which look something like a tarantula that decided to use a skull the way a hermit crab uses a shell. They're actually normal spiders that took up residence inside a destroyed lich's skull and then became tainted by it's evil, growing larger (they started out as common tiny spiders), more intelligent, more evil, and even gaining a fraction of the lich's spell-casting ability. Unfortunately, they also all absorb the lich's ego so they tend to think they're a lot scarier than they actually are. It's so cute.
     
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  8. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    The jumping puzzles in this game are... not great. I can't really blame a Skyrim mod for not being Portal, though.
    "I am the end of all life!"

    "Uh huh."

    "I will destroy you brief mortal!"
     
  9. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    I can blame them for putting jumping puzzles in their Skyrim mod, though. That's 100% on them.
    Basically. To clarify, Grey Shivers are still dangerous, since they can cast spells as a mid-level caster, they're just not as dangerous as they think they are, since the Liches whose personalities they've absorbed were more than mid-level casters.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Update 52
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - We’re back to sitting around that long-ass wooden table strewn with Interesting Stuff.
    Archmage Lexil is distracted almost to the point of catatonia. He mumbles an agreement to Tealor about something-or-other and shambles off. I assumed it was because of Ancient Father stuff (he seemed really excited about this Star City stuff before we left), but apparently Yaela was his mentor in magic stuff? So, you know, mourning and all.
    Sorry SureAI, still don’t really care about Yaela. I mean, it’s great to connect your NPCs to the world around them, but I feel like this needed to happen before she died.
    Poor Lejam, though; he didn’t even get that much. At least Yaela went out like a hero, saving my life (maybe).

    - Tealor considers this a success; the tidbit of info we got will lead us to the City of a Thousand Floods, the old Pyrean capital. Where… something something use Word of the Dead on a High One?
    Presumably it will all make sense once I get there. Hopefully.
    Natara (i.e. Disappointed Order Mom) is counting the cost. She also seems to suddenly regret Jorek’s death, which is… not really how I remember that going down. It’s been a while I guess, but I definitely remember thinking at the time that Natara could turn out to be throwing Jorek under the bus to disguise some wrong-doing of her own and I wouldn’t have blinked.
    Tealor tells her to sit down and shut up, and I’m paraphrasing only slightly there. She does, but she is Not Happy About Things. I’m not sure if Natara is ever really happy, but… more not happy than usual.
    On the one hand, I kind of get why these wild tales of the world being locked into cycles and fighting pre-Pyrean smoke monsters made of civilizations is hard to swallow for Natara. Tealor is kind of ignoring the army blockading his capital city in favor of focusing on this ‘go to the moon to find the map to go to the Pyrean capital to find the gew-gaw to finish the machine to blow up the evil gods’ plan.
    (To be fair to Tealor’s lack of worry on that front, I actually walked outside the capital and visited my old buddy the Hunter vendor with no legions of non-believers in sight. I’m not sure where they’re camped, but it’s definitely not on our front doorstep. The local farmers don’t appear to have been put to the sword. There’s one crucified corpse that I saw, that’s it.)
    On the other hand, if a guy as cold as Coarek travels halfway across the world to land an invasion force on your shores, blockades your capital and starts crucifying your men until you give him this machine your boss made to save the world… odds are good there’s something to the machine thing, right? Like, just giving him the savior machine starts to sound like a bad idea.
    Out of spite, if nothing else. Coarek is one half Spanish conquistador, one half militant atheist and one half smarmy jerk.

    - After the meeting, Tealor explains that she’s just afraid. Natara is another Pathless like me and Calia, and she’s afraid of all that hard work fitting in and toeing the company line to be for naught if the Order falls. You just know it was a lot of hard, thankless work getting up to the second-in-command position of an Order that hates you. A lot of rough edges probably had to get sanded off to fit herself into that hole.
    Of course she dislikes me, because I’m some asshole Pathless who got into the Order without having to study their history and ape their mannerisms and practice their xenophobia until they have it down pat and so on and so forth.
    Tealor also plays coy when I ask him if they were sweethearts back in the day (or perhaps a bit more crudely put). He says something like ‘What do you think?’
    Oh yeah, they were fuckin’. No doubt.

    - So I’m on the back-burner again for a day or two while they decode the map. The game gives you a few bits of optional content here, visiting people and such, so I’ll go do that.
    But first, look, did Jespar move into my house in the Noble Quarter when I wasn’t looking? Did I always have all this… this in the cubby hole next to my bedroom, closed off by partition screens?

    [​IMG]

    Some kind of red velvet chais lounge/fainting couch thing, a violin, and piles and piles of scrolls?
    I don’t know, just seems like a weird thing to have when the rest of the house is like, Viking mead hall sized for 10.

    - The first tidbit (by dint of being closest) is visiting Calia in the infirmary (or ‘Curarium,’ because Endraleans like to fancy stuff up). She’s up at the top of a winding path that takes me up past the chapel where she and I got ordained, because up three flights of stairs is where you want to put your injured, amirite?
    It’s the same room they put us in after our initiation thing, currently only occupied by Calia, a nameless Apothecarius, and bloody bandages on the table. I wonder where the moved old what’s-his-face from back then? Coma guy.

    [​IMG]
    There’s something about being curled up, sitting up, in the middle of a bed that looks very vulnerable. The knees up to the chest and the bare feet, maybe. Calia’s model really nails that.
    She looks like she’s thinking deep thoughts. Or is trying to avoid the monster under the bed. It could go either way, really.
    She sounds surprised to see me visit, and our conversation is brief. She says she’ll be up and around in a few hours, ready to defend the temple. The damage – that’s ‘coming down from the moon in a metal rocket ball, hitting the ground like the fist of an angry god, and landing on her head, on a rock,’ for those of you keeping track at home – apparently ‘wasn’t as bad as it seemed.’
    Lich buddiiiiiies.
    - There’s actually a nice bit of prayer I get to hear in the chapel on the way out. Very spiritual sounding, but nothing I recognize, which is probably as it should be.

    [​IMG]

    This little one-line monologue is very well voice-acted, actually. It sounds rote, but the actor imbued it with deep meaning. Like the 20th or 30th Hail Mary working your way through a rosary. Very nice.
    - On the way out, there’s a random line from one of the Keepers that suggests ‘that Peghast woman’ (that’s Lishari, pretty sure) looks like a Skaragg. It’s not pronounced how it looks.
    More importantly, I kind of love Skaraggs. They’re maybe-evil barbarians that wear skull masks and the heavy armor I’m wearing right now and keep bad spirits trapped in cave-paintings. You cannot just give me a tidbit like that in a throwaway line on a random NPC, SureAI! I’m serious. I want to know everything about Lishari’s background now, and I can’t, because she’s dead and none of the Nehrimese mages talk about themselves.
    Shit, did we ever find Lishari’s killer? I feel like Sigil Leader Jorek got fingered for that, but that seemed like such an obvious frame-job. I mean, who leaves an obvious clue like a capdust bottle at the scene of the crime, when you’re a capdust-addict? It should be instinct for Jorek to grab any and all capdust to go home and snort it or whatever you do with that.
    Not to mention that now that I know Lishari is a Skaragg I kind of feel like no aging Keeper like Jorek should have been able to get one over on her. I guess that could be the bias talking. I don’t know, maybe she and Jorek got naked and did drugs together on Thursdays, and he stabbed her while she was high and in her 0-armor rating wooly underpants.
    Maybe it’s for the best that we never got a questline to follow on that one.
    - I can go to Yaela and Lejam’s funeral.
    Their funeral is attended by a dozen nameless NPCs. Yaela gets a few titles, but Lejam is just called ‘Lejam, a novice.’ There’s also a third name being read off (Stalwyn Willowsong), and I have no idea who that guy is. Was there a third Keeper on the Gertrude when it went down, or did they just shove him in with Yaela and Lijam to save space?
    Nobody gets up and tells stories of the deceased, and it’s not like they have bodies to do the ‘pose the body for one last sunset at a place significant to the deceased, then ash it’ thing. Just another unmarked grave (mass grave?).
    One Keeper in the back is getting a little shout-y in her crisis of faith (she thinks the High Ones are a punishment for letting Malphas the Lightborn down). She is removed, and the service continues. Business as usual, nothing to see here, pay no mind to the specter at the feast.
    - Jespar does take me to the Dancing Nomad. He notes that the Nighthawks are playing, a band all the way from Duneville.

    [​IMG]

    Woah, woah, woah. Hold on. Duneville has a band? A five-man band with a bagpipe-player and a guy on lute called Nikolaos the Archaic One? Where were these guys when I was, you know, in Duneville?
    Mind you, ‘the Nighthawks’ is a cool-ass name that sounds like the sort of faux-gang punk rock aesthetic I’d expect from a Duneville band. They’ve probably got hits on the Endralean Top 40 like ‘Grave Digger’ and ‘I’d Fight the Law (If We Had Any)’.
    Still, you can’t just drop this stuff on me out of nowhere, SureAI!
    - Oh yeah, Jespar told me to come to his room after I’d listened to enough of the Nighthawks.
    … Is this the room Lishari got murdered in? I think it is. Jespar, dude. Spring for the master room next time, okay?
    Anyway. So it seems a new continent was discovered, a full year and a half’s voyage east of Nehrim. And Jespar is thinking about being on that boat. With me, preferably. After all this stuff with the apocalypse, anyway. He likes the idea of something to look forward to.
    Sounds like a sequel hook to me, I can dig it. But I mean, but how could I possibly leave Enderal, Jespar? There are so many nice people! Hahahahahaha
    I guess we could pack Calia onto the ship too, if she survives.
    - And then we fuck. To a soundtrack with bagpipes from the band downstairs. It’s weird.
    It’s also kind of weird that unlike our last encounter on the Gertrude, when I wake up this time Jespar is in his full outfit, asleep on the bed. I’m in my undies, so I’m still pretty sure I got laid, but…

    [​IMG]

    Is this some high level play I’m not familiar with? I’ve heard Mandaloreans do it with their boots on, but this seems excessive. Where are those weirdly slick abs from that night on the Gertrude?
    - Anyway, I’m still on downtime before the next story mission, so next time maybe I’ll check out Dark Valley and look for that painter’s missing mother.


    The Takeaway:
    Natara’s backstory is solid. Especially compared to Jorek, who was a jerk just because he’s a bitter old capdust-addict. I like it a lot when NPCs in some way hold up a mirror to the protagonist, and Natara nails that.
    I kind of liked the funeral, simple an event as it was. Bit of a missed opportunity to flesh out the dead pair, though. Have some named people in the audience, let you talk to them about the dead, stuff like that. Even I feel a little bad that Lejam’s last moment wasn’t even about him and instead used to world-build the Cleansing, but I guess he died as he lived.
     
  11. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    That wouldn't necessarily prevent her from feeling bad about it afterwards. Not enough to confess her own wrongdoings, of course.

    Well, if you're not giving him the machine out of spite, you can always destroy it as a last resort.
    Well you could always load a previous save and see if it's there before you romanced him? What, you don't keep a dozen save files at various points of interest of your game?

    Curarium sounds made up to me. Also, I hate to tell you, but if there's a guy in a coma in the hospital and one day you visit and he's not there anymore, he's probably dead, not moved somewhere else.

    It's nice Calia has a backstory that explains her ability to survive ludicrous things. If only all followers were so well-equipped, immersion would be much easier. Also, yes, it's great that you have someone you can be Lich Buddies with.

    Yeah, drug addicts aren't known for leaving drugs behind. Hm... Maybe Natara killed her?

    Touring, probably. Gotta get their name out there, keep the fans happy, sell their merch, you know.
     
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  12. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    I think that was my working theory when it happened. Guess we'll see- or we won't, in which case we have to believe Jorek killed her I guess.
    I was already impressed when I got to meet Prince Myth the overwrought poet, and now there's a band! I bet there's a book about them somewhere.

    Skyrim's book catalogue is great, but I never realized how much I wanted to meet the people in the game's books until Prince Myth. Its like, nested layers of lore, and Enderal just goes one deeper.

    Game -> book about game world -> NPC from the book IN the game world
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Update 53
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    It’s been a while, huh? But I have a new Black Friday computer, so it feels like it’s time to get back into the Enderal mines and finish this Let’s Play.
    Of course, saying that, I begin by immediately digressing, because I’m in the middle of one of those main story blocks where the game tells you to go do something else for a while and come back later. I think I’m waiting for them to decode the map I got from the moon on where to find the old Pyrean capital?
    Like I said, it’s been a while. … Onward!


    - One of the few quests I have left in my quest log is to visit the Dark Valley to track down Erica Braveblood’s mother (also a painter, named Andrasta Braveblood) who for some godawful reason decided to go live in the middle of an old, haunted battlefield or something.
    Basically, whenever someone mentions the Dark Valley, it’s in the context of ‘that place with all the skeletons,’ more or less.

    - The Myrad keepers have an option to take you to the Dark Valley, which is great!
    Unfortunately, they drop you off at the other end of the valley, which apparently stretches over half the main non-Powder Desert part of the continent. Typical.

    - Along the way, I run into a burned out house with a readable note left on the fireplace mantle reading ‘How to get out of debt!’
    He burned it down to collect the insurance money. Heh.
    Then I notice the burned corpses next to the bed.

    [​IMG]

    … Damn it, Enderal. Why you gotta be like this.

    - I picked up a little spell called Death Storm last time I was in Ark. Off the Order mage supplier. Sometimes I wonder about this place, but there’s that saying about gift horses…

    [​IMG]

    Verdict: not really any better than summoning up a sharp bit of ectoplasm to stick in some bandit’s guts, but it does pretty good damage if the enemies bunch up. Three seconds in the storm is enough to murder the average marauder or wild mage, but it does eat your own health and mana, which is unfortunate.
    Mostly, it’s nice to have variety sometimes, and I can appreciate throwing green lightning storms at people just as much as the next lich.

    - I also wander by the Westpoint Monastery.
    Naturally, I head right inside like I own the place.
    Marauders and wild mages put up moderately stiff resistance, but I feel like I’m around 5 to 10 levels above what’s needed to crack this place open. Nice looking place, I’ll give it that.

    [​IMG]

    Although the scholars seem weirdly obsessed with books about a type of crystal jellyfish whose venom causes loss of appetite, melancholy and ‘notorious’ rage attacks, and then six hours after the sting the patient begins to rapidly age. Healing magic and tinctures prove ineffective.
    That’s metal as hell, holy shit.

    - There’s a spot where ballistas have fallen inward off the walls and cracked the floor, letting me squirm inside and drop down. Well, who am I to avoid an invitation like that?
    Down below is a partially submerged room with an attractive layout. Very clean, very symmetrical. I like it. Pretty standard skeleton residents, nothing fancy like ghost monks or alchemists. A rather badass note reads:

    “Here we sing to honor the dead. May they live on in our voices for all eternity. We are the liable carriers of an inhuman burden. What once was, shall sink in the sound of chaos, the old order lie before our feet in shambles. We will stride across mountains of humans and know no mercy.”

    What inhuman burden? Why do you talk about ‘striding across mountain of humans (presumably corpses) like you don’t belong to the species? Did a skellington with a poetic soul write this? Are we gonna find vampires in this joint, waxing lyrical about their dark burden?

    I wish there was some follow-up backstory explaining this, I’m feeling slow today.
    Following a light swim and a grate-and-lever puzzle (the puzzle is ‘find the underwater lever to open the portcullis’), there’s a proper castle area only lightly choked with what look like grape vines just turning colors for the autumn. I wonder if the old monks-or-whoever grew grapes and it got a bit out of control, or what. I mean, for all I know the grapevines murdered all the old inhabitants and used their blood to water its fields. Who can be sure, with Enderal?

    [​IMG]

    It’s pretty, however it got here. I’m starting to feel crypt envy, and when that happens I know what comes next.

    [​IMG]

    Yep, another one of the Darkhand clan. Sabat Darkhand, this time.
    I kinda feel like among lich-kind, these are the Joneses. You know? Like, sure, my place in the noble quarter is nice enough, but this place has character.

    - … Does that mean the poetry in the note earlier is Sabat’s? He’s not bad, if so. I mean, Prince Adreyu of Mith (of the poetry anthology Lyrical Gushes and Other Fluids, natch) is nice but it’s good to have variety.

    - Getting into Dark Valley proper, it has something of the character of say, New Hampshire. Mountainous and studded with evergreens like pines or fir trees, wooden buildings (abandoned, natch) that look like they were built by lumberjacks, like that. It loses out a bit to more extreme biomes like Goldenforst, The North or the Powder Desert, but nice enough I suppose.

    [​IMG]

    Lots of Wood Elementals.
    I’m still not entirely sure how the Enderal Spriggan-equivalents work, but they seem to get a one-off Charm spell, which would explain that one time my Elemental Wolf went Brutus on me in the middle of a fight with a Goldenforst Matriarch.
    After killing one, I’m often assailed by a green-veined undead, bandit or, in one notable case, bunny rabbit.

    [​IMG]

    If I move, it follows. Is it… is it trying to nibble me? I don’t think SureAI gave it a bite attack. It’s adorable, whatever it’s doing.

    - Following a sidepath lit up by Wisps, I find an Abandoned Alchemist Camp with an interesting note:

    “My investigations bore interesting fruits. The cave near my camp … houses a much older, apparently undiscovered complex of ruins. Maybe there the last ritual ground can be found. How exciting! … I could trace the magic spell to the deserted cloister very close by. If I get to visit all ritual sites the gates could open up by chance. What will await me beyond? What’s the purpose of this ancient building? Soon I will know.”

    It feels like a quest hook of some kind, but nothing got added to my quest journal. I wonder if this is sidequest material, or could this be something to do with the main quest’s endgame? Travel around the various Pyrean ruins activating ritual sites to open the ‘gates’ to the mysterious beyond?
    I could dig it.

    - The address of the painter I’m given is a moderately ruined-looking home butted up against a cliff, with tattered banners but a neatly-kept frog pond complete with lily pads and croaking SFX. Nice.
    Inside is a fire elemental and the painter I’m looking for hiding behind a portcullis. She doesn’t care for visitors, but I’m a little impressed because at least she’s still alive. A cut above the average kooky hermit; that poor guy out in the Powder Desert who accidentally wound up sharing his library with a Desert Spider Queen could learn a thing or two, if he hadn’t been horribly murdered even before I got there.
    The elemental is her idea of a trap. I’d dock points for putting a monster made of fire in a room with rather a lot of presumably-flammable paintings, but since the paintings are part of the background they don’t even get jostled by the fiery explosion of the elemental’s end. Convenient!

    - She sounds surprisingly sane, for a middle-aged lady touting the merits of a haunted battlefield as an artist’s inspiration and an infusion of dawnflower and children’s blood applied to the skin as a moisturizing tonic.
    (A joke, probably, unless she tries to exsanguinate me later. These are the risks you take, visiting Enderal’s scenic vistas).
    She doesn’t sound very complimentary about her daughter and son-in-law, although she seems to think selling all of her paintings is somehow a mark of poor business…? Maybe she’s in the painting business for the love of the game, and trying to get rich off it offends her artist’s sensibilities.
    Anyway, she wants me to get back a painting some jerks stole (and coshed her on the head during a sitting, in the bargain). This sounds innocent enough, except that the quest marker says ‘Locate the effigy.’
    If this turns out to be some Dorian Grey thing and I have to retrieve a painting of an old lady who is slowly getting older… well, I guess it’s fine? As long as it doesn’t try to eat my face or something.
    It’s pretty hard to throw shade, these days. Rocks, glass houses, etcetera.


    The Takeaway:
    Nothing much going on here, just wandering around taking in the sights and getting my bearings again. I wish these random open-world worldbuilding tidbits had some more meat on the bone, but there any worldbuilding at all in my random side content is welcome.
     
  14. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Ah, if only.
    If. Only.
    *Incoherent screams of rage*
    Waiting warmly for DLC still.
     
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  15. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Huh. I don't think I've seen a lich poet before, but it makes sense- they must get even more bored than vampires, since at least many of those still sleep during the day.

    And I knew that artist lady would be out there because she found the undead inspiring for painting the minute you said where she went. It's very "Pickman's Model". Except more in your face because this is Enderal.
    Even if it isn't, you're safe, not being a child.

    I like the leaf effect on the charmed rabbit.
     
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  16. silvananoir

    silvananoir Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Unfortunately some of the side quests and interesting locations are incomplete. Some of them might be added with the new DLC though.
     
  17. Threadmarks: Update 54
    Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    - Anyhoo, after wandering around some more fighting, in no particular order:
    • Skaragg soldiers in a literal hole in the ground
    • Skaragg soldiers in a rather nice hole in the ground, complete with a well-stocked modern alchemy room and of course, the room where they placate their probably-evil gods with human hearts. This room is, for some reason, underwater. Seems inconvenient as hell to take a long underwater swim every time they want to do their ritual sacrifices, but who am I to tell you guys how to live? Maybe the upper altar is for everyday sacrifices, and then the arts and crafts project one in the secret room is for special occasions.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    • An ancestral mage-ghost in the cellar of an abandoned general store
    [​IMG]
    • A cellar with a note explaining that some asshole played a cute practical joke and hid the key to the Massive Chest up high, and you have to shoot the bucket it’s in with an arrow to get it down
    • A vatyr camp containing two tents but only a single, solitary (purple-furred) vatyr
    • Vatyr running some kind of, and I shit you not, logging operation. Who is buying the wheels you're building??
    • Soil elementals in an area with trees that look suspiciously like crystal jellyfish. Just in case, I try not to touch anything likely to magically envenom/grandma me, which is probably everything
    [​IMG]
    • A jaunty skeleton taking a nap using his overstuffed backpack as a pillow
    [​IMG]

    • The Bone Farm, which I’m a little sad to say is a graveyard and not some kind of necromancy-powered organic produce situation
    • At least two separate bandit camps. A wild mage says ‘Crocco ain’t gonna like this’, who I assume is some sort of local bandit boss or something? Nobody I’ve met yet, as far as I know
    At this point, I’m practically to Fogville already. I’ve run across most of the middle part of the continent, east to west.

    - Regardless, I do find my way to the particular bandits that took Braveblood’s thing. God bless the minimap marker.
    One thing I notice is that there are some surprisingly nice chandeliers in this mine, situated just above a perhaps unnecessarily large stockpile of black powder. Enderal presumably doesn’t have OSHA.
    There’s also some running streams feeding into a bog at the bottom of the mine, with what looks like more Pyrean statuary, or a carved wall or something, complete with the crystal that keeps sprouting up around all the old Pyrean stuff. The Pyrean Stuff is blocking any path forward though, probably why we have the standing pool of water down here in the first place.
    There’s a notebook explaining that these guys are either in league with the Arps over in Fogville, or haven’t noticed Fogville is Arpsville now; they plan to transport ‘the next shipment’ to the Fogville port and then away from Enderal. I wonder where it’s going? Nehrim, or any other part of the world that isn’t invading us right now? More importantly, they call the Order ‘the Steel Crabs’, which is adorable.

    - Also, at one point a painting starts talking to me. Of course Andrasta is sealing people into paintings to secretly murder them. I’m not even surprised at this point, I do have basic pattern recognition.
    Apparently the two thieves were a pair of ‘witch-hunters from Arazael’. You’d think I’d have heard of every major country in this world by now, but no.
    The witch-hunters were, naturally, there to kill her for sealing the nobility of Ark into her paintings.
    Also naturally, they decided to get her to drop her guard by… agreeing to a sitting, to be painted.
    … Rys, I have no sympathy for you, man. How did you think this would go, exactly.
    Well, a little sympathy. They did some autotuning or something to make his voice all echo-y, but he is pretty broken up about his partner/lover Lyf getting killed by bandits. Good emoting. A little overblown, but you kind of want that in your ‘I got turned into a painting and my lover got murdered by bandits’ scene.

    - One interesting tidbit Rys drops is that the people she paints behave like normal, but they’re naught but puppets. Like Lost Ones, is how Rys describes it.
    Now honestly, I kind of assumed the Lost Ones came back hating humans for still having everything they aren’t, or something. Rys seems to think they’re just going through the motions. Their motions just happen to involve murder, but then, this is Enderal.
    Murdering everything that crosses your path out there is basically just a defense mechanism.

    - Welp, not sure how this is gonna go down, but I head on back to Braveblood.
    Rys recommends I ignore her honeyed words and stab ‘er, but I like to give my psionic murderesses a little time to chew the scenery before I whip it out.
    Now on the one hand, she’s murdering Ark citizens. On the other hand, they’re nobles and in Enderal. So odds are good they’re god-fearing, slave-keeping, xenophobic assholes doing something to deserve it.
    She also goes on the attack against the witch-hunter, talking about the Purge of 8182 or so, where thousands apparently died for following a woman who disavowed the Lightborn Order. Of Free Folk boys and girls hunted down for ancestor-worship instead of following the Lightborn.
    Now, it’d be super nice to be able to ask about ALL of this, but she’s not really giving me much to go on and forced Rys back into his painting so he can’t talk either. I have to make the decision blind.
    You’d think there’d be some kind of middle ground, you know, vet her choices. ‘Only go after nobles like that one who’s got a stranglehold on the farms’, like that.
    But I am busy I guess, can’t just be taking time out of the busy schedule to fact-check some potential murders. I mean, I’ve got a couple friends in the Order now, and Tealor Arantheal has a goddamn statue. He’s totally the type to sit for a painting.
    So in the end I have to go with the ‘less murder’ crowd, and stab her good.
    (This one doesn’t count.)

    - Rys wakes up back in his body, which is one of the better ways this could end, really. Because I certainly don’t have any spells to drag a soul back out of a painting. I guess I do have Soul Trap, so I could maybe stick his soul in a rock instead…?
    He does sound regretful about the child-murdering, but we can’t really hash it out much there, either. He just wants to take his lover’s corpse and GTFO.
    Mannn, and I’m gonna have to come up with something to tell Erica later, too.


    The Takeaway:
    Not a bad sidequest, certainly. Better than, say, the one with the brother and his druggie sister, or the one with the plague mushrooms. But there’s not quite as much meat on the bone as I’d like, you know? You get some moral choice I guess, hints of some good old fashioned Spanish Inquisition stuff, but we don’t really dig down into it. I got more depth out of Arantheal regretting the riot than this bunch.
    You could get a real spirited (geddit? Because one’s in a painting) debate between these two; was Braveblood there for the Purge? How long ago was 8182, anyway? Rys could give some reasons for why murderin’ Free Folk mages was a good thing, or at least morally gray. I mean, considering the number of small gods like Kor in this setting, there’s probably a good argument that could be made for not leaving mages free to contract and do who knows what for/with them.
    But we don’t. So it all feels a little… fizzle-y.
     
  18. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Yes, that one was weird. I wonder if they made any profit of playing lumberjacks so far away from any sources of water to transport the logs. And lack of accounting skills to keep track of income. And lack of speech to actually communicate with customers.

    ...Ah, come on, it was obvious that they just came one day and slaughtered the denizens of the settlement. That's just how Enderal rolls. There is even a murderous bear warbeast nearby, iirc, that one-shot me back in the first levels, - when my desire for exploration was fresh, heavily limiting skill system didn't drive me insane and the path to Ark was still ahead...
     
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  19. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Sure, the answer is PROBABLY murder. But I kind of like the idea that maybe there's a thriving nonhuman market for artisan woods.

    Remember, like two farms in four around Ark have cellars full of vatyr, and no one appears to have noticed.
    I DID run into a bear nearby that took about ten seconds of the master-rank spell Death Storm to kill. I didn't think much of it at the time but 'warbeast' is pretty accurate.
     
  20. Malorius

    Malorius Not too sore, are you?

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    Btw, I don't remember you mentioning the Workmanship skills you chose to focus on. (Is it the inherently superior Rhetorics skill?) Generally, what's your approach to the spread of Skills on leveling? We know that you focus heavily on Entropy, but what else? Judging by the heavy usage of that one spell, I'd say One-handed. Aaaand that doesn't leave much points to play with anything besides already.

    Damn it, SureAI.
     
  21. Guile

    Guile Clothes That Kill Virgins

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    Took Rhetoric up to 100, then started leveling Handicrafts even though it's mostly pointless compared to the set bonuses from stuff I found.

    I'm pretty high up there in Heavy Armor, One Handed, Entropy, and Bow Stuff trees.
    Just took Psionic Veil for invisibility, though I haven't messed around with it yet.

    Unfortunately, I never really looked at the third rogue tree, but Ghost Walk, Seducer and Warrior of the Shadows look totally awesome. I'm aiming for there if I can manage it before beating the game, but I suspect I can't make it.
     
  22. SolipsistSerpent

    SolipsistSerpent Endlessly Devouring

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    Well, my first thought was Tlaloc, the Aztec rain god who occasionally demanded you drown children in his honor, but it could be anything, really. Real world human sacrifices got pretty crazy, fantasy ones could get even crazier.

    I suppose that ghost explains why the store was abandoned.

    I like the details with the Vatyr, They have lives and everything. I'm going to assume they're selling their lumber to other Vatyr, but maybe they have a go-between who sells to humans for them. And the 'two-tents, one Vatyr' situation probably just means one is out foraging for food. He's going to be coming home to a surprise (I'm assuming you killed the one you found).

    Those crystal-jellyfish-plants are beautiful. They remind me of that huge dungeon full of Falmer in Skyrim, where you find the Crimson Nirnroot... I want to say Blackreach, but I'm not sure.

    Fictional Slang is great when it's well, done, immensely frustrating when it isn't, so using it is like playing with fire. Luckily, this fire seems contained.

    The real question is who named the Bone Farm that. I can only assume there's a necromancer nearby who harvests it occasionally.

    What... You... Why.... Do these Witch Hunters catch archers by painting targets on themselves and conveniently standing at the other end of an archery range?

    Okay, I literally laughed out loud here.

    Hm... Well, when presented with a hard moral decision like this one, between a murderous witch and possibly fanatical inquisitors, there's one good compromise situation you don't seem to have hit on: Kill them both.
     
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