Chicken Mother of the Year

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

No real spoilers about Peeper in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Feminina:

OK, I’m sure you’re up to your ears in wrangling your family in advance of the long weekend, but…

How do you keep Peeper alive?

He was roasted in a fight with Ryker’s servants last night.

We reloaded, but…this is going to keep happening. And we’re going to get tired of reloading after long fights just to save a weird chicken. Mr. O’, especially, is going to get tired of this. HE’S not the one it’s calling “mama.”

Can you make it stay out of combat range?

Butch:

I dunno man. I did it last night. I adopted it and went straight to the quest marker cuz I thought “I will never be able to keep this chicken alive.”

So I just did that. Never got into a fight with him.

Until I got to the quest marker.

I also met Jahan. That was interesting. We’ll talk. Later.

And I met the witch that turned those folks into cows. Met her? Best I can say is that at least you won’t have to reload after a long fight. It’s a very short fight. She went first, summoned things, then killed all four of us outright with one spell.

Why even summon dudes?

Then I stopped.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, we’ve met her. That was exactly what happened for us. Twice. The second time, our Lohse even succeeded at the persuade check!

First contact: “You must die.” INSTANT DEATH.

Second contact: “Ah, you understand me…that’s nice…you must die.” INSTANT DEATH.

Don’t know why we even bothered persuading.

It’s going to be a while before we can survive long enough to learn any source-channeling secrets from her.

Butch:

It is hard to persuade a flaming pumpkin.

Feminina:

True words. True words.

Market Day! Buy My Loot.

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

Confusing potential spoilers for Divinity: Original Sin 2, if you can figure out what we’re talking about

Feminina:

Oh, and speaking of the sick chicken, which we were a while ago…we solved it, but we’re not better than you, we just have different characters with different skills, maybe? Because when I was Sebille and talked to the chicken, I seem to recall she basically just said “hey, this sounds like [solution to the problem]” so we did that. There was really no skill involved.

I can tell you if you like, or if you want to go back and try talking to it as different characters…but maybe the character who has Pet Pal and speaks to it needs to also have ranks in SCHOLAR, which I think was what the dialogue tag was, so that might not work.

We’re also I think only halfway (if that) to whatever the actual end of that story is, so…yeah.

And speaking of chickens, I also picked up Peeper, so now I have a perhaps unwittingly murderous chick that thinks I’m its mama. Obviously, I’m delighted, and will cherish little Peeper to the best of my ability.

Butch:

Halfway? Are you still on the same map or are you off to Arx?

Scholar? Shit. Sebille has no pet pal. Ifan does. Maybe he’s a scholar.

I was trying to scout the way north to the special rooster so I could take peeper there! No way I’m leaving that undone.

Witch….Not sure about the flag, but is this witch named Alice, by chance? I stumbled into a witch’s house just the other day. This was the one with the cows and the potion and the ornery frog and exploding rats. Saved a cow, and the other one and the frogs all said that the witch had taken off and was hiding from the magistrars in Cloisterwood.

And I thought “Hey! I’m going there anyway!”

And I forgot to ask:

So after the cave, that little area, all I could find was the shipwreck, which was full to the brim with deathfog, and I couldn’t figure a damn thing out about it. You glean anything from any of that? Cuz I sure didn’t.

Feminina:

Yeah, that’s the witch. Go poke around, see if you can find her, the root’s in there somewhere. Maybe you’ll get farther with the witch than we did.

And no, we didn’t get anywhere with the deathfog shipwreck. I did accidentally walk into some deathfog before we even got to the cave, and can report that it does indeed produce a swift death.

We met a creepy ferryman who said he could take us through the deathfog to “the island,” and we thought “wait, what island, did we miss something? Let’s not go there right now” so we retreated.

But there’s a creepy ferryman around there somewhere! And an island! (Maybe the island where Arx is located? We do have to go there eventually, obviously, but I think there’s still plenty of map to uncover here first.)

Butch:

Whoa I missed the ferryman. Was he over there by the cave exit? I couldn’t find shit except the boat. And yes, Beast did that fog death experiment. Turns out it is well named.

Though did you notice it said “Deathfog: instant death FOR THE LIVING?” emphasis mine? I wonder if Fane could have just strolled on through happy as you please. We’ll never know. But there had to be something there we could’ve done had we been in a position to do it. No way this game plops that there just to make the point that “Yup, deathfog’s gonna kill you.” I think we all kinda knew that.

I haven’t even heard of the island.

The shipwreck is even more confusing because when I solved the weird captain hearing the bell thing in the tavern, the captain mentioned her shipwreck and said “Whatever you do, don’t loot it!” so of course I’m gonna loot it. A flag popped up that said “shipwreck,” and it’s really close to deathfog wreck, but it isn’t deathfog wreck, I think. I can’t tell!

Flags are often not helpful.

Feminina:

I saw the ‘shipwreck’ flag too! And I’m not sure if it’s the same shipwreck or not, although obviously I’ll loot it as soon as I can get to it.

Good point about ‘for the living’! Maybe we can only loot it if we have Fane.

I’m actually not sure where the ferryman was in relation to the shipwreck. We saw him before the cave, not after…come to think of it, he was a lot closer to the witch than to the cave, unless that coastline is a lot shorter than it looks. Hm. You may meet him soon.

But does that mean there are two deathfog ship wrecks? Or maybe he’s just on the other side of it from the cave. That may be more plausible…maybe it’s counterclockwise down the coast in order sort of like witch, ferryman, wreck, cave entrance. That’s not a spoiler, because it’s terrible directions.

For ‘counterclockwise’ I could probably more productively say ‘south.’ But for some reason I’m picturing the map on a clock face right now, and that’s what I’m going with.

Anyway, the point is, if you wander around enough in the Cloisterwood you’re likely to find Blackroot, Alice the witch, AND the creepy ferryman. Yay!

I think we found some Blackroot quite near that ruin where we met the undead librarian who hated the Black Ring.

Butch:

Dude, I learned long ago never to trust your directions. You’re like Mrs. McP in that regard. Mrs. McP once said, while we were hiking in the Vermont woods and trying to get out of the Vermont woods, that west was always left. “Just turn left!” she said. I had to point out that if that was the case, then “walking west” would result in walking in a counterclockwise circle. Then I had to watch her take five minutes to prove this to herself.

I sorta figured that ruin was where I was going. I found that, too. Very mellow bears nearby? Whole lotta steam and electricity inside? Noticed that. Noped it out of there at the time. Figured I’d have a reason to go there at some point. Figure that “some point” is now.

Well, “now” meaning after I get distracted by eleventy things between this farm and there.

Where are you guys?

Feminina:

Yeah! Those bears were so chill! I left them alone, obviously, because they seemed nice. A strong counterpoint to those bears that were eating the void-tainted honey and turned into demonic necrofire creatures. They were neither chill nor nice.

We are currently trying to defeat Ryker. Dude in the mansion in the graveyard, creepy masked servants? We’ve been through much of his house already and he didn’t seem too perturbed about us fighting giant spiders in his attic, but Mr. O’ for some reason refused his quest the first time we met him (which is baffling to me, because you always take a quest! Even if you don’t wind up doing it, you take it for conversation’s sake!) and now he won’t say a word to us other than ‘pity you refused my hospitality.’ AND he’s one of the Sourcerers we’re supposed to learn something from!

Since he won’t talk to us anymore, we decided the only way to maybe get anywhere is to fight him, and maybe once we have him nearly defeated he’ll offer to bargain, like Mordus did. If not, at the very least he’ll be dead and we’ll be able to loot his house.

Plus the gravekeeper told us we should kill him to free his creepy masked servants, so there’s that.

Butch:

Uh………….which other bears now? I…..only met the chill ones…..

Hmm, OK, maybe I’ll go down to Ryker’s house then, for bloggage sake. When I did the graveyard, I got as far as that gravekeeper telling us to kill him, so that’s been on my list (and a red flag) for a good long while now. I said “Yeah, OK, killing him seems wise, he seems a bit of an asshat,” so I drifted up that way to try to kill him and immediately met some evil dog and he had an evil bone troll or some shit and I got that “You are overmatched, dude, get the fuck out of here” message the game sometimes gives and I haven’t been back. But that was pretty much right after I got to Reaper’s Coast. I went there before I even did driftwood cuz I went over the river right away to help that kid and his mom.

Mr. O….dude. Dude.

So he’s a sourcerer who can help us, too, huh? Interesting. I got that quest before I even knew about the whole sourcerers who can help you thing.

How many of these sourcerers are there, anyway? I never did get the list.

So you’re way ahead of me again. What level are you?

Feminina:

We’re level 12. Ryker’s masked servants are 11, and he’s 14. Which is a bit over our heads, but we figure if we can pick off some the servants before we face him, it could be doable.

We had two successful fights with servants last night, but forgot to save before he showed up. Doh! We’re going to try again.

Oh, the dog and the bone troll! They were nasty. We defeated them a while ago, but they were nasty. Kept summoning undead, which makes me both dead AND jealous because I want to be able to do that myself. Ryker was using one of Sebille’s favorite tricks, the mosquitoes that heal him and damage us! No fair!

Ryker could have been my mentor, but no…my path leads another direction.

So you never got the list of Sourcerers out of the magisters’ basement in Driftwood? It’s handy, has a bunch of names and gives you flags for them and what-not.

Not that hard to get, either, if you’re persuasive, as I know you are. You might want to check it out next time you’re there.

Butch:

No! I’m still waffling on what to tell the magistars or any of that. My cannibal elf cook is still there, making stew. Lohar remains unconfronted. I’m using magic cows to avoid making moral choices.

T SHIRT!!!!!

Dude, my Sebille can summon….wait for it….an undead bone SPIDER. It’s the best.

Refusing quests, forgetting to save, what’s with you guys?

Feminina:

Oh man I want a bone spider!!!

Jealous.

Being denied a bone spider is probably my punishment for forgetting to save. Although the fire slug is pretty great.

Ah man, I just love ALL my summoned monsters!

I think you probably don’t have to make moral choices to get the list, unless you had to do it in order to go down the hatch in what’s-his-name’s office (the guy who wants you to look for the magister-killer). There’s a hatch there, leads down into the dungeon/basement, and in our case at least, it wasn’t forbidden. The Prince and I went down, talked to the guy down there, Prince was persuasive, we got the list.

Have a look, anyway. You can always continue to put off the decision if it turns out they don’t want you going down there.

Butch:

I shall. I do love exploring hatches.

Though my persuasion sucks again. For a while there I was great! But now, I dunno, people are on to me or something. We know your tricks, Lohse!

Speaking of tricks and Lohse, bumped into a trader who had lutes, and she recognized me and all that, and I mentioned I bumped into her brother in Fort Joy (we sang together), and I bought a lute. But when I “use” it, nothing happens. Seems important, though. You meet that trader?

Feminina:

Trader with a lute…hm…I don’t think so.

But when we tried to ‘use’ the piano in Ryker’s house, nothing happened either. Maybe we just don’t know how to play? I mean, I’d think you would at least, but…maybe you could only play because of different spirits in your head that could play, and the current resident isn’t into it?

My Loremastry was good for a while, but now everything requires 3 ranks, and I only have two. And it’s been AGES since we got a point to add to that! We’re carrying around about 50 assorted unidentified magic items that might be better than the things we’re currently using, but we don’t know.

And yes, we could pay people to identify them, but that adds up! We need that money for resurrection scrolls.

Butch:

Yeah, I hear ya on money. We have not gotten to that “and now you’re rich” stage that games with money often have, whether they mean to or not. I was doing OK! Then I had to restock.

I did invest in skill books, though. They ain’t cheap.

This was a trader, near, like, a windmill. North of the chickens.

I was stuck at loremaster 2 for a while, then found a ring with a boost! Score! It’s the ring that keeps on giving!

And I paid to identify it! Had, like, 12 things to identify, and that was the first one. Could see it:

Lohse: Hey, got these dozen things to identify. Can you help out?
Trader: Sure. 20 gold each.
Lohse: Hit me.
Trader: Well, that first one gives you a boost to loremaster-
Lohse: Awesome! Changed my mind on the rest! Here’s your 20!
Trader’s wife: How many times do I have to tell you….do the loremaster ones LAST.
Trader: Sorry, dear….
Trader’s wife: I SO should’ve married Kevin.

Feminina:

20?! We’re being charged 100+ per item to identify things. That’s why I refuse to do it. Three or four of those is a resurrection! That ring is probably still in my loot somewhere. Bah.

We’ve bought a few skill books as well. Phoenix Dive for the Prince–he uses that all the time. Shackles of Pain and the mosquito spell for Sebille. I’ll get Summon Undead Decapitator whenever I find it.

Butch:

Dude, you gotta get someone who can barter. Ifan’s my guy for that.

I got the fire slug, that’s nice. And I got Sebille (who is both a necromancer and hydrosopist cuz I like irony) this one where she can spray a plume of water that heals everyone in it. That’s handy as hell. If expensive. And atrophy. Someone has atrophy. That’s SO key.

But I think the game is pushing you to spend on skills. So many people sell them, and it occurred to me that all the baddies that kill me do it with skills so much more than weapons.

Shit’s expensive.

But I applaud that, really. So many games, by now, money doesn’t matter at all cuz you have so much of it and all the gear you could ever want. By tying money to skills, and making resurrection scrolls so important, it keeps money relevant in ways most games don’t by the time you’re level 11.

Feminina:

Speaking of someone who can barter, I really like that adjustment to the way it worked in the last game. If you remember, you’d try to have your backup character go talk to a merchant and they’d just sneer “I don’t deal with underlings” or something, meaning that if you, say, had your companion carry all the loot you picked up because your strength was low, that companion would have to give it all back to you and you’d have to go sell it. Lots of moving things back and forth.

Now, I can just make the Red Prince carry all the loot, AND he can sell it all for me! Much more convenient. I love that.

Butch:

That is nice. Magic pockets!

Feminina:

Ah, see, in the two-player version we don’t just have access to the entire party’s pockets the way you do. A couple of times when one of the controllers dies, we’ve seen how that looks, but for us normally, inventory is very different.

We can normally only see inventory for the two characters we control.

Now that I think about it, this was probably never a serious concern for you. But from a two-player game standpoint, letting the ‘underlings’ do some selling is a big improvement.

Butch:

I thought controller death was more serious than a bartering inconvenience.

Feminina:

It depends on which controller it is.

See, with a two-player game, one person signs in and loads up the game, and that person’s account–and hence controller–is kind of the ‘master’ account.

Then the second person signs in and ‘connects’ to join the game, and is there as kind of a secondary account.

If the secondary account controller dies, that account is logged out, but the game is still active: the master account just controls all four characters (as, I imagine, is your normal state).

If the master account controller dies, the ‘main’ account is logged out and the whole game apparently shuts down, although as I said, there might have been some way I could have transferred control to the secondary account if I hadn’t absently just hit X when it prompted me to “return to main menu.”

Then again, maybe there isn’t: since one account is signed in and connected to a game loaded by another account, there may be no way to keep playing if the main account logs off. We’re not that anxious to experiment, to be honest.

That’s almost certainly more than you wanted to know. Hopefully it took your mind off your troubles and put it on the other troubles of “annoying details of someone else’s system that you don’t care about.”

Also, and completely off-topic–what are your thoughts on Netflix’s Witcher series that they keep advertising?

Butch:

My mother is obsessed with it. Absolutely obsessed. Tells me it’s awesome. So I guess I’ll check it out.

It’s set far earlier than the games. Get to meet Yennefer. Get to find out why he’s the butcher of wherever. Lots of nudity. Sorceresses. I’m in.

Feminina:

I’m still not sure I’m wild about Henry Cavill as Geralt. But…who knows, could be good.

I mean, your mom wouldn’t lie.

Butch:

She said “well I give him an 11/10.”

Some things should remain unsaid. When your mother says them.

Must Have Missed the Giant Death Monster

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for Mordus fight in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

Hahahaha I thought I might be rushed into endgame.

I’m a doofus. There is no endgame.

You play?

Feminina:

Yeah. That fight was OK for us. One try, no one died. Then we poked around a bit in the rest of the cave system and ended up fast-traveling back to Driftwood so we could sell some loot. We still have to go back and check out outside the cave.

Oh, and Sebille leveled despite having been dead most of that interlude, so you definitely get XP even if you’re not alive for it.

Oh, and I ate Mordus’ rotten void-organ and now we can store two Source points. Then I let him go, even though he’s clearly monstrously evil. I told him I would!

Butch:

One try…..one…..try……

Even after he turned into the spider demon thingy?

One….

HOW? I was dying even before he changed! You turn down the difficulty or something?

Maybe the game was pitying you for the whole controller debacle.

Did you explore the big room near the exit? With the hatch going down?

One fucking try.

And HA! We did the same deal with the organ and the source. Did you both have to choose to do it? Or could you make different choices? What was particularly interesting is that it appeared that Lohse’s head thing wanted her to eat it. Very much. This makes me ponder.

And themes: I still hold, this is a game about addiction. Our characters are in a sanity/addicted delusion. Source is a metaphor for drugs/booze. It eases Sebille’s pain, makes Beast strong, makes Lohse sing.

Deathfog is, for all intents and purposes, sobriety. The “cure” that these characters don’t want in the real world. It brings the void, a scary emptiness that the PCs don’t want to face. The ghosts in the cave? They were eaten alive by the void, went through great pain, but now they are free. Some even kicked their “bodies” with derision as if they didn’t like what they were when they were “alive.”

Mordus, in real life, IS a bad guy, someone who is supposed to be helping cure real life people, but, behind his “leaders” backs, gives them drugs, gives them what they need to become even more dependent on source. He’s nurse that sneaks extra pills, the doctor who writes too many scrips.

And I have a pretty fucking good idea as to what the Big Climax is gonna be, and it fits right into the metaphor.

Anyhoo, poke around outside the cave, see if you can find out more than I did.

Then I went and did a thing that’s gonna lead to other things, scouted ahead to find a big chicken, and found all sorts of other dudes that made me say “Endgame? HA!”

You’re gonna love it. It’s gonna be great.

Feminina:

I AM gonna love it!

Spider demon? He never turned into anything that we saw. Maybe we beat him up too quickly?

I’d wonder if it was the same fight, but… Mordus, deal to learn about Source, eating a rotten organ… Sounds like the same battle, all right.

Maybe the game did take pity on us because of the controller thing.

Yes, we found the hatch, some extra loot, fought a probably very unhappy shark. Oh man, I just remembered I forgot to talk to those crabs! Siiiiiiigh.

Butch:

Dude. Just….

Halfway through, he was all “thank you sourcerers for giving me the source I need to become mord zakim!” and turned into this huge spider death thingy.

You would’ve seen. It. Sucked.

But yes. Mordus? Some possessed dudes? Rotten organ? Check.

Maybe cuz no one died? Maybe he took the source from a dead character.

You and the game are now even.

Feminina:

Ah!–that would kind of make sense, if he took Source from a dead character. Hm. Lucky for us Lohse held up despite the fire.

Yeah, we’re even now.

Butch:

Dude it was awful. But hey! At least I know what he was talking about when he was all “master will grant me the ritual of big assed death spider demon!”

Or whatever it was called.

Feminina:

Yeah, that part was a little confusing. We thought it was just blustering. Like when something is stuck on a tower or something but still keeps saying “I’m coming for you!” even though it can’t get near you.

Butch:

Sadly no. Very sadly no.

I’m in a farm. Diseased chicken. Evil scarecrow. Witch. Cows.

Game is big.

Feminina:

Yeah, we ran into the evil scarecrows a while ago. Ran off after they killed us instantly. What level are they? Maybe we could go back. We attempted the Black Pit last night, but they’re still too tough for us there.

Butch:

The wha….

I just explored a witch’s cellar and turned a cow back into a woman. That was easy. And can’t figure out how to warm up a sick chicken. Maybe I should introduce her to a flaming pug.

Black pit?

Did yo go back to the meistr? Cuz I’m drifting to where I have to go for that.

Feminina:

Ah… The sick chicken. Yes. That was interesting.

We went back to the Meistr, mostly to take advantage of the Source cooler in the basement. She said we need to talk to more Sourcerers so we can channel more Source. So it’s out into the world again.

The Black Pit is the place those paladins we met when we first got here (or at least, we did in my game, maybe they weren’t actually one of the first places one goes by default) told us to check out. Weird stuff going on there, evil shenanigans, the usual.

Butch:

Were these the ones all “yeah….don’t take that bridge going east…..”. Cuz I met those guys.

Then went west.

I can’t make heads or tails of the chicken. If you solved it, you’re better than I am.

Ah, so you’re off to cloister wood. To find more root?

I am drifting that way. I have a waypoint there, but there’s so many chickens and shit to find….

Feminina:

We’ve been in Cloisterwood! We found black root! Then we got ourselves thoroughly killed by everyone we met and headed back over to where we fought the possessed dwarves and found the cave we just got out of.

That was a bit ago. It may be different now.

Butch:

I have no root!

So did you do more ritual? Cuz I sure didn’t cuz no root.

Feminina:

We haven’t done the ritual again, because…I don’t know, it hasn’t really come up. I mean, is there a particular reason we need to do it again that we know about right now? The Meistr hasn’t said anything about it when we’ve visited her since, and so we’ve kind of just been holding onto it in case we need it later. I know there was a quest about it, but I kind of thought that was just if you accidentally ate or sold the root the Meistr had in the basement and needed more to do the ritual in the first place.

I may have misunderstood.

Butch:

Oh I don’t know. After I finished up in the cave, the quest and Lohse both were like “I should go do the ritual again,” in that way that games do that basically says “DUDE DO THE RITUAL AGAIN.” I needed to go back to restock anyway, so I went back, restocked, dealt with the guy in the tavern and his lost supplies quest, and was right there, so I went to the Meistr and she was all “You must to the ritual again! Except I’m fresh out of black root….well this is awkward…” (I added that last bit) and off I went to find black root by way of chickens and cows and all sorts of other distracting shit. I have since found out that the black root I need to get is in cloisterwood, which means it’s likely the blackroot you already have. Or not. Who knows?

So I don’t know. The only reason the ritual seemed important was that the game was making it seem important. I’m really only drifting towards Cloisterwood because it seems to be the only way to drift without dying in nasty ways.

Though maybe I’m tough enough for the graveyard now? I dunno. I guess I’ll just keep drifting towards Cloisterwood.

Where are you guys on the map?

Feminina:

Oh, huh…I guess we missed that in the midst of looting. Although it does sound vaguely familiar now you mention it. In the cave? Hm…yeah. Maybe we do need to do it again. The Meistr totally didn’t mention it when we went back to fill up at her Source water cooler, but maybe she thought it should have been obvious.

I suppose it might make sense that every time we get another Source point, we go back and talk to the gods or whomever again.

Just wander around in the woods, we stumbled on the Blackroot without even really looking. It’s there somewhere. I think we were looking for the witch–do you have a red flag that says ‘witch’? Wander around that area and you may find the root.

And the witch, much good may she do you. She hasn’t done us any so far.

Take Care of Your Equipment

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

More spoilers for that Wrecker’s Cave in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Feminina:

Dude. I don’t want to talk about it.

Heh. Let’s talk.

But I can’t say much it because we didn’t finish the cave. We–Gannibog, Lohse and the Prince–made our way up and around and found that sort of chasm where three passageways all lead into a pit: you may recall what I mean. And we can’t jump over, but the Prince does have Phoenix Dive so he can basically teleport himself for short distances, so he hopped across the pit from the end of the path where we were, to the end of the one near where Sebille’s body was. Then the other two pyramid-jumped after him.

No problem! Then we faced the alien breeding ground full of hatching voidling eggs, vampires and that big storm voidling, and after putting up a good fight, we lost. It was close, though! Fine, we’ll try again.

This time we tried hopping to the MIDDLE pathway and provoking the fight from there so that the storm and vampire voidlings would have to come to us and the bug ones hatching from the eggs wouldn’t be able to reach us because they can’t fly. Good plan! Sound plan.

It was going rather nicely until Mr. O’s controller died and we got the announcement “Mr. O’ has logged out. Returning to main menu. You will lose all unsaved progress.”

Uh…

So basically, after an hour and a half of playing, we actually permanently accomplished, in-game, the following things: 1) picked a mushroom 2) talked to a couple of ghosts.

Not our finest work.

Butch:

Oh dude. Dude. That is the WORST. Just poof? Damn.

But I bet that’s one hell of a mushroom.

But dude, tip: Just don’t fight everything. Get in, get out. Fuck those things. Get close, resurrect her, and teleport out. I got through all of this trying to teleport around as much as I could and fighting as little as I could. Did I leave XP behind? Yes. Do I care? No.

I also managed to find a hole that I could “use” to get very close to the ladder that leads up to the god awful fight I did last night. THAT fight is unavoidable. Sorry.

Or just turn down the difficulty. I won’t judge.

But you might want to save some of your resources until the boss fight. Yes, yes you might want to do that. Yessiree.

And BIG tip: So, after the boss fight, you’ll just want to be fucking done with this cave (if you aren’t already. I sure am. Glad to see the sun and the seashore). You will see the exit and you will want to charge out. Don’t. There’s a room off to the side. It has loot and plot and a hatch, which ALSO has loot and plot and a quest item.

Just remember: You can throw the pyramid. A strong character can throw the pyramid VERY far.

Which ghosts did you talk to?

Feminina:

Remember the couple of possessed dwarves you can fight near that campfire? We killed them earlier, and then we talked to their ghosts. One of them talked about the horror of hiding and hearing screams, and the other one revealed that Mordus (we vaguely remember Mordus) had been after a Deathfog machine.

So Mordus–whom we’re trying to find in part so we can learn Sourcery from him–has some deadly machine AND is presumably responsible for the possession of all these dwarves we’ve been killing.

Check.

Butch:

Check.

He also has themes out the wazoo.

(Spoiler: You’re gonna meet him.)

(You’re gonna love it. It’s gonna be great.)

Feminina:

Oh, undoubtedly. We can’t wait.

Just making sure the controllers are fully charged, that’s the thing.

I feel like there had to be some way it didn’t automatically kill the game–I think my active controller could have taken over, except I didn’t realize my controller had become live (in combat, normally only one of them is doing anything at a time) and I might have hit a button that meant “yeah, sure, shut it down!” when I could have said “no, continue game” or something…surely the controller battery dying isn’t meant to always kill your game, that’s just ridiculous.

But it certainly was maddening in that moment. Who would have thought the controller would become our nemesis?

Butch:

That is pretty maddening. But isn’t there a warning before that says “Controller battery low?” There is. It usually appears where you get trophies, so you HAVE to notice.

You’re gonna want full controllers for this particular boss fight. You’re gonna be there a while.

I’m sorta annoyed at this cave. Sure, there were shortcuts to where you had to be, but even with them, the game is pulling an ACO with this “Hey! We just gave you some plot! Some nice side quests! Narrative momentum! Now spend the better part of forever fighting shit.

Even though I let a lot of voidwoken live, and you didn’t have to do shit like kill that possessed rogue, there was a LOT of fighting. I can’t imagine how you guys have anything left in your inventory all the fighting you’re doing.

We’ve compared these games (rightly) to the old school bioware games, Baldur’s Gate, DAO. They took a lot of good from those games! But dudes? Should’ve left the deep roads right there in DAO. Didn’t need to do that again.

Feminina:

Ha! We just mentioned the Deep Roads last night too!

“How many times did we have to go through Spidertown?” Mr. O’ asked rhetorically, trying to put our repeated failure in perspective.

We called the Deep Roads ‘Spidertown’ for obvious reasons. As we ventured further in and waited for the next group of spiders our recurring joke was, “Welcome to Spidertown. Population: Spiders.”

Ah, good times. Good times. I definitely ran all the way out of the Deep Roads to resupply at one point. Which, I will point out, IS an option here since we’ve discovered a waypoint underground. We haven’t done it, but it’s bound to be a lot easier to zoop to Driftwood, buy some scrolls and potions, and zoop back to the cave, than it was to trudge 50 miles to the underground dwarven city in DAO and then back to the scary combat we needed healing for.

Man, I loved DAO. It would be super interesting to play it again just to see how it holds up, but I’ll probably never get around to it.

And yes, there is a warning that says “controller battery low,” but it comes…you know, 15 or 20 minutes before the battery actually dies! It’s not an URGENT warning. And therefore we say “oh, we’ll just get through this combat…”

It all works out, until it doesn’t. We really need a third controller for backup.

Butch:

I won’t play DAO again, because a) other games to play and b) I fear it wouldn’t hold up. It’s OLD man. We’ve been playing games a long time. I played it at my old house, and that was at least seven and a half years ago. That’s ages in game years. I want my memories to be untainted.

Man! There was a waypoint down there? Missed it. I’ll forgive it, then, as I was thinking how unfair it was that there was no real practical way to restock. My bad.

That might’ve made last night easier. I was pretty much out of everything. I had one damn resurrection left, and had used pretty much everything else, so my options were limited. I had to get DAMN creative. I so would’ve restocked given half the chance, especially as there’s plenty we found down here to sell.

I did a lot of zooping through holes and fissures. Maybe too much. Though I was being clever.

There is a waypoint as soon as you get out, though, so I have some small comfort.

Feminina:

Yeah, there was one on a statue in…one of those cavernous passageways full of voidlings that all look the same. We were pleased to see it. The fact that you didn’t see it really underscores how much of a weird maze that whole level is, though. I mean, we feel like we’re really poking around and trying to be thorough (good loot! so many paintings!), but I’m sure we’ve missed stuff.

Ah well. It’s a big game, can’t loot, see or talk to everything.

Butch:

Ah, see, I got about 27% into it and said “No fucking WAY I’m gonna be thorough. Keep your fucking paintings.” I found that shortcut hole and was like “so long, suckers.”

I got enough loot out of it. And a quest item that promises yet more.

I’m glad to be out, man. Glad to be out. No regrets.

Feminina:

We’ll probably be here for weeks. We’ll be discovering entire towns down here. Probably full of giant spiders and darkspawn that found their way over from another game.

We’ll emerge after Valentine’s Day and you’ll be all “I’ve explored another whole continent and met five new Sourcerers and learned so much about being Divine!” and I’ll just point at my pile of darkspawn body parts that I plan to eat later and say “worth it.”

Butch:

Have heart! There is a way out! And you CAN avoid a lot of this. You know. If you guys weren’t…you guys.

Yeah, you’re gonna be down there forever.

Voidwoken, dude. Darkspawn was that other game.

Feminina:

I know, man. That was the joke. We’re going to be down there so long we’ll be finding things that are leftover from other games. Older games, that we played long ago.

And I’m not really worried about getting out. After all, we can ‘flee’ back to any waypoint anytime we’re not in combat. (Which is occasionally.) Thanks to previous experience, we know we could even bring Sebille’s body with us (magic pockets, I guess…? It’s convenient, so we don’t ask too many questions. I’ll just assume everything is magic pockets, because magic pockets are awesome).

We’re not concerned about getting stuck. As you said, we’re more concerned about getting every single loot item and experience point that can be found. Someday when we’re level 33 1/2 and you’re only level 33, you’ll regret your decision. Ha.

Butch:

Well, if you meet Morrigan, send her my way.

Dude, I’m kinda worried about the levels. You hit 11, and I’m still 10. I’m leaving XP on the table, here. There were a couple of things in fort joy I didn’t do, either. Add to that the fact that there seems to be quite a gulf between levels. Level 10 baddies? No sweat. Level 11 baddies? I’m dead.

And I have a feeling that, on the other side of this cave, the game expects you to be at least level 11, and maybe close to 12.

Which I ain’t.

Feminina:

And all up in the north of the map stuff is level 14, which was destroying us a few days ago.

There are a couple of Sourcerers around there that we need to talk to at some point but who, at this time, are just blasting the hell out of us. I think the game really wants us to do stuff to pick up those levels…or else we need to do other things that will give us an in with the people who currently aren’t interested in doing anything but insta-killing us.

Which is entirely possible.

The game does not encourage linear progression.

Butch:

It does not.

14? Shit. It takes a while to level, so 14 is a ways away. And we’re not even in Arx!

(That’s not a spoiler, as I’m not entirely sure we’re going to ever get to Arx, or not sure that Arx isn’t a part of this particular map, but given all the hinting, I’ll be rather stunned if there isn’t a bigassed thing to do in Arx.)

Or this is it, one or the other. But I kinda doubt it. Frankly, I’m a bit confused as to what it is I’m supposed to be doing at this time. My map has more flags than a college marching band.

We’ve talked on the flags, and how this game handles quests in general. I’ll add another small gripe: It’s not always clear what’s main quest (or, at least, something that’ll move the main story forward) and what isn’t. Unless it’s fucking obvious (go kill shriekers and get on the boat!), who the fuck knows? I’m fairly certain the game wouldn’t let you trip the endgame five levels before you’re ready, but I’m not altogether sure. I wouldn’t put anything past this game.

Try to play a lot this week. I have a slight feeling that I’m about to do something you aren’t gonna do. Yet, anyway. I’m curious to see if you get to do it anyway.

Feminina:

That is so true. All the journal entries look the same in terms of importance, all the flags are either red or yellow and sometimes it’s not entirely clear why something is one color as opposed to the other…there’s really no way to tell what’s a ‘main quest’ and what’s a ‘side quest.’ I mean, we can kind of guess that helping a guy in a barrel escape Driftwood isn’t plot-critical, but who knows? Maybe it is! There’s no way to know for sure.

Also, of course, they’re very intentionally making a lot of different ways to get to some unstated critical point in each stage of the story (as how there were several ways to get out of Fort Joy into the wilderness, and several ways to get our collars off), so maybe helping the barrel guy–or not–IS critical in some variations of the story but not in others…man, their David Cage-style flowchart has got to be complicated.

I’m quite certain we’re going to end up in Arx at some point. Whether or not Arx is somewhere on this map, or a completely different one, I don’t know, but we’re going to get there eventually.

Butch:

Well, it’s not quite the flow chart. David Cage has twelve billion different endings. This game, I think, don’t know, might have many roads but they all lead to the same place. Well, maybe you ally with the magistars or the dwarves or the elves, but I have a feeling that the Big Climax is gonna be the same no matter what road you take.

Though it was a bit of a twist to have two main characters (three in your case) get shown the door in act one.

If they’ve really been shown the door.

On that……

As you know, I’m running with Beast and Sebille. I have no lizard, and I’m getting exactly zero plot or even mentions of lizardkind. Are you cuz you have the Prince?

Feminina:

Yeah, we had a conversation in the cemetery when we found the part where they burn lizard bodies, and then more recently in the arena we met a lizard who gave the Prince a tip on where to look for this super-dreamer lizard he’s been looking for. So his quest is advancing, though slowly–as they all seem to be.

Did you go back and talk to the ghost in the merchant’s room, in the tavern? The one who said “hey, I’M the real merchant!”

Well, we killed the fake merchant, and before the fight he sneered at me about how I was looking for…whoever…and would never find him, blah blah. I think he’s in Arx. Maybe the lizard too. So we’re going to go there.

But anyway, yeah, stories are slowly unfolding. Except for Gannibog, who has no backstory. Poor, rootless Gannibog.

Butch:

Sure did talk to that merchant. It was pretty obvious that I should, as he was marked as Ifan’s main quest. Had to talk to him, and his fake beard fell off when Ifan talked to him. It was a little awkward, cuz they seemed like they were friends….then I killed him.

I think Ifan and Sebille are headed to quite the collision. Or not.

Guess who’s side I’m gonna be on?

Feminina:

Oh man, that would have been quite the drama of our Ifan was still alive and I’d kept flirting with him!

Ah well. We shall never know.

Never Split Up the Party!

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LadyBrain_64Puncherson_64

Spoilers for the Wrecker’s Cave in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Feminina:

Dude.

Did you go into the cave? Man…that cave is weird. We’re still in there, so no spoilers if you’re done, but…weird.

Butch:

HA! I just rushed back in from the bus stop because I wanted to talk about the cave! And because it’s very cold.

Yes….yes, I went into the cave. I am not done. I…did the first bit and then spent some time with Beast and now I’m with Ifan.

You?

Both of these games…they lull you into thinking they’re just nice little D&D fantasy adventures and then WHAMMO they hit you with the weird.

I also figured out the statue with the torches. Learned things. Got, ironically, given yesterday’s discussion, a skill that lets Sebille raise a skeletal ally. Not a decapitator, but ya gotta start somewhere. There’s….themes on that statue.

Feminina:

Skeletal ally! The first step toward the decapitator! We’ll head back to the shrine after we finish in the cave.

Which is very odd.

So we went in, talked to a rat that warned us to run for our lives, ignored the rat (of course), and were attacked by things that ‘enwebbed’ us and dragged us off to…a bunch of different places.

When we woke up, Gannibog and I were in places where there were voidwoken and we were pretty much immediately killed (being already somewhat injured from the previous fight), but the Prince and Lohse were in more survivable places. The Prince was in a storeroom with a dwarf who was muttering about calculations and scientific something or other…she wouldn’t talk to me, since I failed a Persuasion check, but apparently is working on something important for someone. She basically ignored me, though, so was at least not an enemy.

Lohse wandered around for a bit and then got in a fight with some voidwoken, but by then we remembered we had teleporter pyramids, so the Prince took it off Sebille’s dead body (magic pockets, I guess) and joined Lohse, and together they fought voidwoken in what seemed to be a wrecked ship? But full of interesting stuff, like entire living room sets? Paintings? I stashed some stuff on the Lady Vengeance to sell later, so that was handy.

Anyway, we fought, wandered around, fought some more, and eventually found Gannibog’s body, resurrected him, killed the thing that killed him, and now we’re going to go look for Sebille.

Unexpected, though. You mentioned D&D, and “never split up the party” is one of those things we say in D&D because no good can come of it, and here they are splitting up the party! And no good came of it! Well…loot and XP, I guess.

And it was interesting that it was our two ‘backup’ characters who survived, so we’re wandering around playing them for a while. It was actually kind of fun–a different twist on the “take away some of your power” thing that games often throw in.

How about you?

Butch:

Ain’t it odd? And long. Just played a whole lot and made little progress. It’s tricky.

And it took me forever to realize that maybe I was supposed to lose that first fight. Reloaded three or four times and then it occurred to me to just plain lose.

Scientist…Ah. OK. Beast ended up there. There was some Beast story. The thing she was working on? Bad thing. Beast smashed it. On his own. I had no input. Found the key, got out.

But….did you remember to talk to ghosts everywhere? There’s. Ghosts. Everywhere.

Ifan ended up on the ship. I just did that rather long fight, forgetting about pyramids. Talked to more ghosts. Creepy, creepy, themey ghosts.

So my Lohse is in a place with REALLY creepy ghosts and a possessed dude behind a locked door, and my Sebille is in, like, the breeding ground from Aliens. Just took me forever to figure out how to get her out. FINALLY through blind trial and error found a “fissure” out of the place. Invisibility potion later, and she’s at the boat thing with Ifan. Good enough for now.

Feminina:

Damn, the one time I used ghost sight there were no ghosts! So I thought “enh, no ghosts here” and forgot about it. I’ll try it again, but of course by now we’ve passed a ton of ghost-filled locations.

Oh well.

Pyramids are so great. And being able to get things off dead companions is so great. SO GREAT.

I think my Sebille is also in the breeding ground from Aliens! Looks completely cut off from the rest of the map? We’re planning to pyramid in to retrieve her, and will look forward to a long annoying search for a ‘fissure’ to escape later. After we kill all the eggs and volatile voidlings. It’s going to be great. We’re gonna love it.

But yeah, there’s decent loot. And XP: we just leveled up last night. Everyone except Sebille, who was dead–once we resurrect her, we’ll see whether or not everyone does get the XP even if they’re dead. It will be a useful test case!

Butch:

Yes! That!

It. Sucks.

Why’d she get dead right away, though? My Sebille spawned kinda in the middle, but safe. Thus, I had lots of time to think and figure and assess and you just charged, didn’t you? Without saving.

Tip: If you happen to kill possessed dudes, you might want to talk to their ghosts.

And don’t do that fight. Try to pyramid in, resurrect, pyramid out. Those things are nightmares.

Unless you want to talk to the very themey ghost in there.

But by the way……

What exactly are you doing in terms of playing if Sebille is dead?

You know, just occurred to me: we could talk on the interesting choice of making ghost sight the way it is, that is, something you can always do, but HAVE to do or you miss shit. They could have said “OK, you can see ghosts now!” or made it something like source driven so you could only do it sometimes or whatever, but this, making players remember to look, is an interesting design choice.

Because, by extension, that means the characters have to “remember” to look.

Hmm.

Feminina:

I’m running the Red Prince, of course! He’s perfectly alive.

And I don’t know, man, I popped out in the middle of this egg field, already injured from the enwebbing earlier, and got up and took a step, and I was in combat being overwhelmed by about three nasty voidlings. It was basically an instant death.

And no, we hadn’t saved, because we weren’t sure we weren’t all going to die and have to start over.

It IS interesting that you have to remember to use ghost sight. Similar mechanic, really, to the way that you have to choose to get Pet Pal and talk to animals. Without that, you could walk through the whole game never knowing all the stuff animals can tell you.

And I’m sure it’s totally possible to do that. It would just be a different experience. Just like remembering (or not) to talk to ghosts is almost certainly not going to have any major impact on whether or not you can get through the game, but it will have a big impact on the experience nevertheless.

They really leave a LOT of information in the ‘optional’ category.

Butch:

Damn man. That’s cold on the game’s part.

At least all my guys were safe enough for me to survey the area. Granted my survey led me to say “wow this SUCKS” but still.

Plus I wasn’t that messed up from the webbing fight. Probably cuz it ended very quickly.

Where my Sebille is has huge vampiric voidwoken. They’re kinda nasty. I’m just gonna leave them be.

And it’s even different from pet pal though in that once you have pet pal that’s it. You have it. Chat away. You’re gonna see animals as yellow dots on the mini map and voila. Ghost sight? If you don’t hit it every ten turns (which is a short amount of time) you don’t even know there’s anything there.

If, say, you had pet pal, but rats didn’t pop on the mini map unless you actively used the skill, that would be like ghost vision.

It certainly affects one’s view of themes, what you get to see.

See also body parts. Do you have an elf? Do you remember to eat?

Feminina:

Yes! The vampiric voidwoken! With that tiny little red set of teeth that hovers above them to let you know they’re vampires.

Those things suck too because they’ll heal themselves attacking you, and you think you have one JUST about down and no problem you’ll finish it next round, and then it’ll have a turn and be halfway healed again.

Not that Lohse and the Prince had this experience last night or anything.

And yes, I’ve been eating body parts right and left, except when I’m dead. They’re so deliciously informative!

Butch:

Oh, I did not have that experience. “Just about down?” No. Certainly not that experience. More like it was saying “Man, I have this great healing ability and I would love to show it off, but everyone just keeps dying.”

So did you get the memory where it was all “You stand before the worshipers….YOUR worshipers…there is a great pool of source etc. etc. etc.?”

Feminina:

Nooooo… Can’t say I have. But Sebille has been dead for a while.

Butch:

This one was on the way in, before all the webby webby.

But I can see the problem with the cave. It’s big. I just played a bunch. There were fights involved. And ghosts. And more fights. And then some fights.

At least right now I have everyone back together and I think I’m close to where we have to go. I think. Not sure. But I think.

[Later]

OK: Out of the cave. Look everywhere. Loot everything. And holy fucking shit put aside some time. It’s quite the boss fight.

Like…..damn.

Meanwhile, in Exactly the Same Place…

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor, confused spoilers for Reaper’s Coast areas in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

Somehow managed to play, but it was one of THOSE days. Play an hour and a half, move the “played” clock sixteen minutes.

Five times. A bitch of a fight, five times. One of those fights you’re close enough, you think you see a path to victory so you keep at it….and lose.

But I eventually won! Which is good! But I might have borked a quest. Which is bad.

See one tactic I tend to use when outnumbered is the “draw them towards and through a small opening” and use that to my advantage. This particular fight took place in this ruin with a doorway into it (well, an archway, anyway), so the last time, the victorious time, I sent in Lohse and immediately withdrew through the doorway and much of the fight happened outside the ruin. Fine. But I kept backing up and must’ve gotten too close to a couple of friendly NPCs, because, in the middle of things, two allies join the fight! They have names! They’re up at the top of this hill in a tent or some shit, but it’s cool cuz here they come and they have healing and they’re badass!

At first I think “HOORAY! HELP! MIGHT WIN!” Then I think “Wait, shit, they have names. They’re likely important. If they die, this’ll bork the quest.” Then they don’t die and I think “Hooray! I’ll just talk to them and-” and then they say “I need a drink. We’ll be in the tavern in Driftwood if you need us” and they run away and I’m all “Wait! Wait! Who are you? GIVE ME YOUR QUEST FIRST and they’re gone.”

And no journal entry, nothing.

This can’t be good.

But no fucking way I’m doing that fight again. Already took me over an hour of real time.

So if you bump into a couple of friendly dwarves who are chilling in a fucked up camp on a hill across from a weirdass ruin filled with baddies, fill me in.

Then I found a cave and this weird shrine that has a new red flag and I found exactly zero waypoints that was that.

Still. No. Waypoint.

Anyway, that was my night. Hope I didn’t bork a quest. You meet those dwarves?

Feminina:

We love the “pull back and make them come to us through a narrow entrance” tactic! We just did that last night with the possessed dwarves in that big ruined fort. Worked a lot better than the “run in and bash stuff” approach we took a couple of times in the past.

So we killed them all (felt kind of bad about it, but there you are) and destroyed the statue and got to the entrance to the cave on the other side, which we will proceed to explore next time we play.

We have not met those friendly dwarves–and at this rate any dwarves we meet are going to run away from us, given how many we’ve killed lately–but maybe you just have to go to the tavern in Driftwood to talk to them, to get their quest? Sometimes NPCs do that.

“Thanks for the help, come talk to me at [place] later if you’re looking for quests/romance/things to buy/money in exchange for things you sell.”

And you’ll certainly be back in Driftwood at some point, if only to sell things. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Butch:

Get. The. Fuck. Out.

Get the actual fuck out.

THAT’S THE FIGHT I DID LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!

That’s the cave I found!

I guess I pulled back just a tad farther than you did and got close to the helpful dwarves.

Anyway, if you don’t want to do the cave, just go out that very door and go up a hill. There’s a shrine up there, too.

So OK, gotta ask: The hell was with that statue? What was it doing? I couldn’t figure out what it was accomplishing with its weird in combat mumbling.

Or anything it was doing. I noticed that someone in my party said, when the fight started, each time, “We have to shut that statue up,” so one try (try three, perhaps?) I just said fuck it and focused all my fire on it, thinking “if I destroy it, the dwarves will no longer be possessed and I can just stop fighting.” Nope. Destroyed it mid fight, dwarves still possessed, still killed me. So it wasn’t possessing them. The fuck was it doing?

I even tried “using” it, both in combat and after. Nada.

The fuck was it doing?

But also, a bit of a rant on that fight and the game in general, and it’s related to “the fuck is it doing?”

This game is, no doubt, based heavily on the D&D experience. The problem is, it’s not D&D. When you play D&D, and someone does something, or is about to do something, or can do something, there is usually a portly bearded fellow in the room who will enthusiastically tell you what that thing is and EXACTLY what it does. I never thought I’d miss that portly bearded fellow, but I kinda do in fights like this. Why? Because, all during that fight, the baddies were using skills and I had no idea what the fuck they did. Not the “light shit on fire” skills or the “poison wave” skills. Even without having them, I kinda figured those out. But those two dudes who kept doing “reflective shot” and all that? The big shiny ring around them thing? What WAS that? See, they do that, and I’m there, mid combat, wondering what I can do, what I can’t, if I do X will it come back at me or not, and there’s no bearded fellow filling in the blanks. It’s hard to plan your tactics when you don’t really know what the baddie is doing unless they’re setting shit on fire.

Big strong enemies and good level design making a fight hard is fine. That’s a good game thing. Sheer confusion making it harder? Unfair.

I can’t believe we’re in the same place. Again. STILL!

Feminina:

What? WHAT?!

We did the same fight? On the same day??! Unbelievable.

But yeah, that fight was nasty. Remember a week or so ago I said we’d spent an entire playing session on one fight and never did win it? That was these guys. We crept away in defeat that time, and only just got around to returning last night. Last night was a lot easier, because we’re now level 11 and they were only 10, but also, we came in around the back and fought them on top of that one tower off to the left (if you’re looking through the archway. We also tried luring them out through that archway at one point! It didn’t go well. But we never did run into any friendly dwarves, maybe we should have pulled back even farther).

It took the ones up on the battlements above the statue several rounds to reach us on top of the tower, giving us some time to beat up on the ones who got there first, and the statue was too far away to do…whatever it was doing…so it went a lot more smoothly.

As for what the statue was doing, we thought it seemed to be buffing up the possessed dwarves…healing them a bit? Kind of like ‘encouragement’ maybe? (We also did one attempt where we just poured all our energy into attacking the statue, and finally destroyed it, but the dwarves were still possessed and kept attacking us and, well, you know how it went because you also did this.)

And the big reflective shot ring that one guy did…as best I could determine, he’d set it up around an area, and then if someone in that area moved, he’d get a free shot on them. I think. Maybe. Not a bad trick, and one Lohse should probably pick up, but confusing since we hadn’t encountered it before.

Butch:

SAME FIGHT DUDE! SAME FIGHT!

And yeah, those two winged dudes were BASTARDS.

Ah, see, I backed out the arch. That’s where the friends were.

But yeah, see, you’re all “Maybe? I think?” And in such a tactical game, maybe and I think make things VERY difficult.

I think this is where they’re too loyal and too much in love with the old Baldur’s Gate games. I’ve said before these are right out of that mold, but Baldur’s gate WAS D&D, right down to magic missiles and THAC0. In Baldur’s Gate, if you were a D&D player, you knew pretty much everything that was happening and, if things got hard, you could just dig into the books and voila, so this confusion wasn’t a problem (for the majority of people playing it cuz, let’s face it, in the 90s, if you were playing that you most likely had played some D&D). Here, that isn’t the case.

Anyhoo…..

So you broke the statue anyway? I don’t know what I ended up doing in the save I have. I think I just left it be. It didn’t seem to be doing much of anything after the fight.

Oh, and another game question that I could figure out myself but where’s the fun in that?

Do dead characters get XP? This fight was pretty good in the XP department, but Sebille was dead for a whole lot of it (she got turned into a chicken, ran off, died, and was out of range of resurrection scrolls forever) and was certainly dead for the end when everyone got killed and we got XP. This is gonna put her a ways behind her party mates, and that would be irksome. She helped some! She should get XP!

Feminina:

I think they all get XP, even if they’re dead when the fight ends. We seem to all be on the same track in terms of getting to the next level.

As for the unfairness of introducing tricks we’re not familiar with…hm. It’s definitely a challenge, but on the other hand, dealing with unfamiliar and unexpected challenges could be considered part of the activity. “What is this?! We don’t know! Are we going to die?! Probably!”

If we can’t tell, we usually just plunge ahead until we see a direct negative result of something that tells us it’s not a good idea to do that. Like, don’t drink a healing potion while you’re decaying! Or, “hey, that guy just shot me even though it’s not his turn!” You do stuff and sometimes it works and sometimes it backfires catastrophically and it’s all part of the process.

But it’s definitely annoying when failure is part of the process 10 fights in a row. I admire your determination in actually sticking it out–we gave up after about the 5th defeat and went away to get more levels.

Which is also what we’re doing with regard to the whole north area of the map, where we keep getting wiped out by everything.

Butch:

Jeez, so much of the map kills us and yet there’s still so much of it AND I think that Arx is gonna be yet another map.

Game is large.

I dunno, though, about the unexpected challenge thing being consistent with the other aspects of gameplay. You can examine any baddie and get its stats, resistances, its chance to dodge, what its immune to, etc. If you can get that, it only makes sense that your character should know what other stuff means/does.

Just last night: I examined the dwarves and it says “Possessed.” OK, I know what possessed means. It also says “Umbral link.” As does the statue. The fuck is that? Now, in the game, Lohse or whoever has loremaster can look at the statue and say “Ah ha! Umbral link! Totally has umbral link!” Right? That’s why it’s on that screen. But if I, the player, has no idea what that is, then that’s a disconnect between the smarts of the characters with loremaster and me. If THEY can recognize it, then I should be able to recognize it.

If something is unexpected for the characters then fine; it should be unexpected for the player. Happens in games all the time. It’s exciting! But if something is known by the character, then the player has to know it, too.

Feminina:

Well…yeah. I mean, maybe the character with loremaster could be thinking “I can tell there’s some sort of link with that statue, let’s call it ‘umbral’ because why not, but I’m not sure what it does.” Naming a thing doesn’t necessarily mean fully understanding it.

But I get what you’re saying.

Along those same lines, have you fought anyone with totems? They summon totems that sit there and apparently have a turn and we don’t know what the hell they actually do but they creep us out on principle, so we destroy them.

The totems must do something, or why bother, but I don’t know what! Absorb damage? Buff attributes? I could look it up, but screw that.

Butch:

I have not, but I have noticed in skill books that there are skills that say “Your summons and totems get this bonus/do this thing,” so I know they’re things that do things. It’s all under summoning, though, and I don’t have anyone who has any ranks in summoning (I think, maybe Ifan does) so I haven’t tried it out.

But I am aware that they are a thing that does things.

This game can get confusing.

Anyway, if you really want to be in the same place, find friendly dwarves and a weirdass shrine. They’re very close to where you are, just a tad south.

Feminina:

Is that the shrine with the torches that won’t stay lit? We found that! But no friendly dwarves.

I wonder if our friendly dwarves were possessed and we killed them, but yours were freed by Lohse’s Mystic power or whatever.

And we don’t have a lot of summoning power either, although I do have a staff that lets me summon a fire slug, which is pretty great.

I need to increase my summoning, actually. I loved it last game. My Undead Decapitator was renowned throughout the land. That dude was so awesome.

Maybe I’ll add a point, and learn more about summoning totems and what they do. Besides draw enemy fire, which honestly is useful in itself sometimes.

Butch:

Yes! I’m standing by that shrine now! This is so weird.

The dwarves were right there, dude. And I don’t think Lohse or anyone else had anything to do with it. They just showed up when I got close to their camp.

I still think there was some trick we missed. There was a source pool right there, after all. That usually means there’s a source trick.

We shall never know.

Right! I miss that undead guy. He was cool.

Ifan’s wolf does in a pinch. But he needs a source point. Ol’ decapitator was a skill. A wonderful skill.

Maybe he’s necromancy. That would rock. My Sebille is ALLLLL about necromancy.

Feminina:

I think he’s likely necromancy, given the ‘undead’ aspect. We must have faith! Our undead decapitator is out there, waiting for us to summon him into battle once more!

I got ‘raise bloated corpse’ on a couple of scrolls, which is DEFINITELY necromancy, but raising corpses just isn’t the same. Even when the corpse is one of your fallen comrades.

Hey, I needed another body in the fight! Literally.

I don’t know why we haven’t met those friendly dwarves. We wandered all the way down that path and along that edge of the map. Oh well. Mysteries.

Butch:

You had to make a circle from arch to shrine back to arch. There’s also a thing, cuz you wander in and you say “What happened here? Looks like a slaughter.”

But the two dudes there were very nice.

Sebille, right now, is level seven necromancy. Way to go gear bonuses!

Of course, I can’t afford any good skill books, but bonuses are good.

Feminina:

Yeah, bonuses are good, but only go so far without the spells. Necromancy has some good spells, though. I love the healing mosquitoes. And Shackles of Pain.

“Looks like a slaughter”…hm…that wasn’t the campsite where you could find a couple of dwarves hidden from the slaughter in a hole? We tried to convince them to come out, but I seem to recall they just told us to go away.

Maybe if we’d left them alone and then gotten into a fight, they would have come out to help us.

Butch:

Well, I found no hole. Sounds about right, though. Two of them? Couple of tents? Poisoned pumpkin parts?

If that is it, weird.

“We are terrified! We shall not come out! OOOO! Fight with evil dudes! Run right towards it.”

Feminina:

It IS weird. But yeah, tents, pools of blood. I think I ate a body part that gave me a memory of the camp being attacked by something horrible (probably voidwoken), although that could have been another time since voidwoken are kind of causing trouble all over.

They really didn’t seem in the mood to run towards a fight, though.

Butch:

Glad they did. Saved my bacon.

Poisoned pumpkin part. That was memorable.

Feminina:

Hm. That does sound familiar. I’m don’t vividly remember it myself, but vaguely recall Mr. O’ finding something odd that might have been that.

It sounds like the same location…but the difference in attitude of the two dwarves there is most peculiar. Most peculiar indeed.

Ah well. Maybe there’s a Random NPC Attitude Generator aspect to the game.

Perhaps we shall never know.

Butch:

Or it was a glitch. I don’t think the game expected that fight to get so far afield. That sort of thing will happen.

Feminina:

That is true. Players mess up the best of plans!

Maybe, too, they came out to help you because of Beast. Fellow dwarf and all.

Although that should have held true for Gannibog as well. But maybe the glitch was that they didn’t recognize a from-scratch character as a fellow dwarf?

We could muse all day.

But instead, I’ll stop now.

Planning Ahead

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

Well, I got nothing. I have a cold, does that count?

Oh, and I’m about to have a heart attack as today is the day I pay the Amex bill with the lion’s share of Xmas on it. I’ll try to be out of the hospital in time to play. And I hope to not have to hock the PS4.

Wish me luck.

Dear God the Thanksgiving groceries are on it, too……

Feminina:

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Is any of the booze on that bill still stashed around the house? Break that out now.

Oh, who am I kidding, there’s no booze left from Thanksgiving.

Butch:

Dear heavens no. And if I break out the booze I do have, I’ll just be reminded it’s on NEXT month’s bill!

I’m doomed.

Feminina:

It’s an endless game of catch-up, all right.

Unless…you make your own booze. This is where the pear brandy comes in! Curse that bad pear harvest last year.

Butch:

I’m desperate enough that I’m sure I could turn up something to ferment and distill. Clementine peels. I have a lot of those. That half a bag of spring mix that’s gone slimy that I always seem to have. Acorns. There were a lot of acorns this year.

Feminina:

Here are a couple of acorn wine recipes:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/acorn.asp
https://nancykoziol.com/2017/10/26/acorn-wine-recipe/

And a long thread from a home-distillers group: https://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32652&start=12

Both of these assume some level of experience/equipment that we’ll probably have to work up to.

Here’s an easier one for acorn liqueur, but of course that requires already having some booze around: http://www.buildthebottle.com/2019/12/17/acorn-liqueur-recipe/

Butch:

If anyone can work it out, we can.

Oh, and planning:

Got a five buck coupon at best buy. Are we agreed that we’re going ahead and preordering Cyberpunk? Cuz if we are I’ll go ahead and do that cuz you know how I am about coupons.

Feminina:

Cyberpunk, eh? All right, I’m in. Order submitted! I don’t have a coupon, but I’ll rake in those Amazon points.

You Can’t Get There from Here Without Crossing a Troll Bridge

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for Reaper’s Coast stuff in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Nothing. I gotta play tonight.

But dude, on playing, is there ANY fast travel point out in possessed dwarf land? The only way point I’ve found is in this weird castle with talking bears and, I think if I use it, I’ll be INSIDE the castle and I don’t think I want to be there at this juncture.

I can turn back and do an easy thing, or I can plunge ahead.

Feminina:

We have not found anything helpful in possessed dwarf land. We were poking around there last night–well, more north of Driftwood a bit–and all we met was things that killed the hell out of us.

Oh, and an undead lady who doesn’t like the Black Ring (whatever that is) and we killed her. You know, to defend the honor of the Black Ring!

But more because she attacked us.

Butch:

Hey, we’re, once again, kinda sorta in the same place! What’s WITH us?

So did you bump into the troll and all that? Find the supplies that guy wanted?

HA! That was the undead librarian I mentioned just the other day! I said “I’m for myself….” and she was all “At least you’re not with the black ring….” and trades with me and said she was a librarian and got killed and now wants me to find a book that will let her makes corpses explode. What could possibly go wrong?

The weirdassed bear electric castle with the useless way point is just north of there.

I’m ashamed of you, killing a librarian like that.

OH and on that, I didn’t say “Yay black ring” cuz I kinda forgot what the black ring was. What’s the black ring?

Feminina:

I don’t know! I didn’t know then either! She asked “are you with Dallis, or the Black Ring?” and I was trying to say something she would find unobjectionable, and I thought “she can’t like Dallis and the magisters, I’ll just say the Black Ring.”

But she didn’t like that at all. She said something dramatic like “I should have known–perfidy clings to you like a shroud. I cannot suffer you to live!” and attacked.

I felt bad…I didn’t WANT to kill her, I wanted to trade with her, but what can you do. That’ll teach me to try to guess what someone wants to hear. I should have just said I was for myself, like you. (Which would also have been the truth, obviously. Lies avail me nothing!)

We’ve bumped into a couple of trolls. Haven’t found anyone’s supplies, I don’t think.

Butch:

A couple? I bumped into one of a bridge (as trolls do) who wanted five grand and, well, no. So, to prove he had a shitty business model, I just went around him, which seemed to work out fine. But he now has a quest red flag. I wonder what it is.

The supplies are right by that troll. They were the ones the dude in the tavern asked you to get. There’s a fight involved. But not with the troll.

I almost picked the black ring, thinking “How can she like the magisters, what being dead and all,” but I decided honesty. Turned out she was a magister librarian who was killed when the black ring, whatever the fuck that is, burned her library. She was your kin, man!

She has books and scrolls but nothing you can’t find anywhere else. But she really wanted the corpse exploding scroll. And won’t tell me why. Cuz my persuasion sucks. And she’s likely kinda evil.

It’s hard to tell if librarians are evil or not.

T SHIRT you need to wear to work!

Feminina:

I DO need that T shirt! Very badly!

Did the troll who wanted 5 grand ask you to do him a favor and go kill another troll who was undercutting his prices and thereby hurting his business? We said something vague like “we’ll see what we can do.”

Then we met the other troll. Nice guy. Charges a lot less. We paid him to cross his bridge, because hey, trolls gotta make a living.

That’s pretty much all there is to that story, although I suppose technically we still have an open quest to kill the nicer troll. But come on. We’re not MONSTERS. Also, he’s really tough.

But mostly, we’re not monsters.

Well, actually Sebille may be.

But anyway, good tip about the supplies, we must have missed those. I’m sure we’ll wander that way again, in our aimless search for something to fight that’s not level 14. We’ll grab them then.

Butch:

Dude, he didn’t mention the other troll at all! Maybe I didn’t pick the right choices. Anyway, you can just walk around his bridge if you don’t mind scooting quickly though a poison cloud. Ain’t no thing. Your magic armor will absorb it all then come back.

The supplies quest had level 10 baddies. I heartily recommend teleporting two of them up a big ol’ tower.

Feminina:

Nice! We might have to make a trip that way very soon. We could stand to wrap up a quest or two for a change. All we seem to be doing is picking up more.

Butch:

Oh I didn’t wrap it up. That’s my dilemma, to zoop back and wrap it up and be far away from where I am or not.

Problems.

I Can Make Dinner Out of ANYTHING

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for fights in Driftwood in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

So I’m just cooking some food and looking for an eye to unlock a skull lock. As one does.

Don’t think it’s here, though.

Anyway, you meet Lohar yet? Do the basement? Cuz I’m on that path right about now.

Feminina:

We did! We talked to Lohar over the weekend!

We also got into the other basement to find that list of Sourcerers the Meistr mentioned. We have so many leads now, and of course were not able to get anywhere with any of them in the time we had.

Siiiigh.

Butch:

Oh it’s cool. I just spent half an hour getting killed by little evil toads that stole a dude’s engagement ring.

Sadly, you missed a great game moment in meeting Lohar. The guard was there, right? Outside Lohar’s room? Beast goes “Wait, I have a magic dwarven talisman that will get us by!” ***narrator*** “Beast rummages around in his beard with both hands. He takes his hands out, both middle fingers extended. He shows them both the guard and marches past, fingers in the air. The guard shrugs and you, and waves you past.”

Ah, Beast. I love Beast.

Anyway, I have to go do some shopping, but, I’ll throw this out there, first.

You know what I think about reality in this game, and sanity, and, specifically to this, sobriety.

And now here we are, in a place named for stuff that’s adrift, under a bar, with a BIG assed hooka, and people who ALL SEEM TO THINK THEY KNOW US but can’t really remember. Add to that the fact that the magistrars here (those I had pegged as doctors in the locked down hospital) seem less evil, more ambiguous, here, outside the hospital oh I didn’t mention that?

Yeah, I think we did “escape fort joy.” I think we’re out. We’re still in our delusion, but whether we left the hospital or escaped, I think that Lohse is back in the “real world,” just her delusion of it (or metaphor for it).

Even creepy sadist doctor is….interesting here. Sure, the bad doctor trying to take away the things that people might not want to give up (their addictions, their delusions) is a sadist, but, if you look at his “face ripper” as a metaphorical tool to change people (maybe people that need changing), then the fact that it was there, in his childhood room ABOVE A TAVERN has some resonance.

Here’s a kid who was raised surrounded by drunks and hookers. Here he was, across the hall, with his blocks and his rhymes and his stuffed bears, listening to gods know what, dreaming of becoming a doctor and taking away the awful things that HE SAW AROUND HIM every day: not source, vice. Drugs. Alcohol.

And he grew up to do just that.

If you take away the literal portrayal of the game, and think of all of it as a metaphor/delusion, it makes sense, and makes you rethink a number of characters.

Feminina:

Ah man! That’s awesome! We had to talk our way in, all “we have information the boss wants to see!” or whatever.

Well, Mr. O’/Gannibog talked his way in while I poked around in the dungeon, and then I pyramid-teleported in to join him. “Don’t mind this strange elf and lizard who just appeared out of nowhere in your secret lair, we’re with these two, it’s cool.”

The pyramids are the best thing ever, especially for two-player games. “Where are you? How did you get THERE? Is it around this cliff? Up those vines? How are you in a building? Never mind, I’ll just use the pyramid.”

Hm…so you think they’re out of the asylum, but still insane? Interesting.

Oh, we did go back to the tavern and got into that room. Found the guy’s diary. “My mistake was in leaving the Blanchard boy alive.” Creepy.

Butch:

I’m not sure that WAS his diary. I think he was the Blanchard boy. I think creepy doctor is being set up as a troubled kid who really did want to help people. Which, in and of itself, is creepy.

Pyramids do rock. I wonder where the other two are. Have you found the green and yellow one?

Beast is so handy. I do love Beast. And that image of him striding in flipping the bird and everyone else just shrugging is priceless.

Yeah, I think they’re out, but still not OK. Or the PC(s) are not OK and the NPCs are memories of people from the last game. Haven’t gotten there yet.

But yes, I think that (I’ll just say Lohse but you can adjust as necessary for your game) Lohse is back in real world, but still haunted by her issues/addictions (and I do think we’re talking about addiction here). I think the ghosts she’s talking to are people who are real, but have recovered or have moved on in some way, or people who she has forgiven or who have forgiven her. Have you been back to the caravan? There’s stuff I have to say about that.

Feminina:

Wait…you think Kniles is ‘the Blanchard boy,’ and he took the diary from the actual creepy kid who didn’t kill him and kept it in his room until adulthood with no explanation? Labeled in the inventory as “Kniles’ diary”?

Or do you mean the Blanchard boy wrote the diary posing as Kniles, saying how he shouldn’t have left himself alive, because he wanted Kniles to seem creepy to passing adventurers who broke into his (Kniles’) locked room?

Or do you mean Kniles is the Blanchard boy, and he was musing that he should have killed himself (removed himself from the delusion), but he didn’t because he wanted to help people (by removing them from the delusion), which only seems creepy in the context of the delusion because killing people to save them comes across as a bit dubious?

I dunno, man, I like me some complicated plot, and this is certainly a big, complex and thoughtful game, but these options seem a bit roundabout even by our standards.

I have not been to the caravan, but we did go find the last remaining egg for those chickens. So we’ll go back and talk to them again presently.

Butch:

Oh. Heh. It said “kniles’ diary?” Heh. Missed that. Just thought it said “diary,” which would be more vague.

Never mind.

Go talk to ghosts.

So I played some more. Killed the wedding ring monsters and got the wedding ring. Felt kinda bad because remember that magistar we had to sneak by when we were getting that dude of out driftwood? Well, I kept falling back until I got close to that guy, and he whips out his bow and starts helping us! And then a voidwoken killed him. Poor guy.

So did that, and then trucked west. Got jumped by some possessed dwarves. Used “mystic” dialog choice to get them to stop being possessed. Interesting that a) lohse has mystic and b) it described the “thing in their heads” as if it was….well….like Lohse’s thing. Found the missing caravan, figured out who did it (which is easy when you can talk to ghosts), met a troll, avoided the troll, met a dead librarian (that must have been upsetting for you), and found someplace called Cloisterwood with talking bears and a castle and fuck that it’ll kill me.

Not bad.

But now I’m at one of those crossroads: I could zoop back and keep up with this abandoned supplies quest and mop it up, but there’s no fast travel point anywhere near here. I’ve looked. Or I could truck on to the coast, but that seems like I’ll get killed.

Hmm.

This game is overly stingy with fast travel.

Feminina:

Ah, the wedding ring monsters. Yeah, they were bastards. That was a nasty fight.

As it happened, we’d already killed the magisters we unsuccessfully tried to sneak past with barrel guy, so there was no help forthcoming from that corner. We won in the end, but only by using pretty much every potion and morsel of food we owned.

Did you give the guy his ring back? I did…trying to be nice. Well, first I tried to encourage a reward, like “many people would make their gratitude clear with gold” or whatever, and he got all huffy and said something along the lines of “if you only did it for money, then keep the ring, I’m a poor man and can’t afford to pay mercenaries,” and I felt kind of guilty and just gave it to him.

More NPCs should try to shame us into acting nobly. It might work sometimes! Plus, I mean, it wasn’t ONLY about the monetary reward. We also wanted the XP!

We had Lohse with us, but she wasn’t the active character, so she didn’t do anything related to the possessed dwarves! We just killed them. Well, first we tried to bless them or use ‘clear mind’ or whatever that spell is called, but that didn’t work, so then we killed them. Felt a bit bad about it, but they WERE trying to kill us.

I suppose we could have run off and avoided the fight entirely. But then they would have killed other innocent passers-by!

Oh, speaking of running off, we discovered something very handy the other night: if one character remains alive and is able to flee from a fight, the bodies of the dead party members will eventually follow: you DON’T have to walk back into that fight to retrieve them. So if you can’t win a fight, you can flee without being left to wander around alone until you’ve gained enough levels to go back and resurrect everyone.

Also, you CAN recover items from dead characters’ bodies, so if the one person who died is the one with all the resurrection scrolls, no worries.

We didn’t accomplish all that much, but we learned some stuff! Stuff we could have known weeks ago if we’d bothered to look it up, but that’s not important.

Butch:

Dude, that fight sucked. It reminded me of something from the last game: The annoyingness of the overpowered “stunned” condition. Stunned sucks. Being surrounded by things that are immune to stunned sucks.

Man, that magistar can’t win.

“Phew! They just ran by. I have this feeling that similar people killed similar me in another universe, so I guess I dodged a bullet there. Hey, they’re running back….what’s that behind them?”

I did give the ring back. I’m nice. Though, watch, he really is just using it to get girls. And I found it a little suspicious that it didn’t fit him….maybe we’ll meet him again.

This wasn’t a [LOHSE] choice is was a [MYSTIC] choice, like [JESTER] or [OUTLAW] or some shit. So another character could’ve done it. But it did start to answer a question I’ve had all along: Why does Lohse even HAVE the mystic tag? There’s nothing in her past that seems mystical. Jester? Sure. Mystic? Not so much.

Ooo! Getting things from dead companions is KEY! Nice learn!

I just learned the amazing trick of teleporting monsters that can’t climb ladders WAAAAY up top of towers that have ladders. “You stay up there, beastie! Yeah, rage all you want. We have bows!”

Looked it up? Whatchu mean? We could look up anything, really.

Feminina:

I assume our Lohse is also a mystic, but she didn’t make any suggestions about the dwarves, so…lost opportunity.

And it’s true, we COULD look up anything, but that wouldn’t be in keeping with the explorer’s spirit we try to keep always alive! Where’s the thrill of discovery if you just look it up!?

I like the ‘put monsters on tall towers’ trick–that’s gold. We haven’t done that, but I’ll keep it in mind for sure.

Oh, and being stunned SUCKS. The Red Prince spent about 10 consecutive rounds unable to move because of shock in that very fight. His absence definitely didn’t make it any easier for the rest of us.

Speaking of mechanics, do you find that Haste seems to be a lot more effective for our enemies than it is for us? They’re always zooming all over the place and making multiple attacks and we’re getting, I don’t know, one extra action point? It hardly seems fair.

We’re probably not using it right. I could look that up, but enh…the spirit of exploration will lead us to the truth eventually.

Or not.

LEGOs are a Kind of Poetry

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for things in Driftwood in Divinity: Original Sin 2

Butch:

OK, back to games!

So went to the tavern. The bard writing poetry immediately recognized Lohse, and was a superfan, and wrote a LONG poem in her honor, and I told him I liked it and it made his life.

Picked up umpteen quests, as one does in a tavern.

Drank a weird elf under the table. Don’t know what to make of that. What did you make of that?

Then went upstairs and met a ship captain who was being haunted by bells. Figured there’d be a ghost involved. There was. Lohse couldn’t persuade the ghost for shit (persuasion is hard! And do they still have rock paper scissors?), but then I figured out Beast is a captain, so I talked to the ghost with Beast and got all captainy and that worked and now I have another red flag on the map. How’d that go for your Beastless party?

Then I found a weird room with a lot of toys and fishing poles and books and clutter and dead rats and a mention of Arhu, another blast from the past.

What did you make of that?

And then Junior needed help with his homework cuz they’re doing poetry and MAN does Junior not get that shit.

You do any of that? The game, not the poetry. You’re good at poetry.

Feminina:

I am good at poetry! You need something glossed? Want to know if it scans? Have a desire to talk about metric feet? Iambic pentameter? I’m your weirdo!

As for the rest of it…we talked to the ship captain, but had no captains of our own, so it was basically just “the captain is haunted by ghost bells” in our journal. I didn’t see a ghost up there!

Well, I did, I saw the ghost of that merchant in the room next door. But I didn’t see a ghost in the captain’s room. Maybe my ghost sight had worn off and I didn’t realize it…I did go into the merchant’s room first.

Oh, have you noticed that now we’re keeping our Source points? Must have been something about talking to the Meistr. I used it to see ghosts, and I still have it! We died and resurrected, and we still have them! So that’s pretty sweet. We might even get around to using our personal Source abilities, if we can hang onto a Source point for a while!

Persuasion IS hard. And it’s especially hard because usually once you get to that point, there’s not an option to NOT try to persuade, so even if you know you’re going to fail (my Sebille is TERRIBLE at persuasion–the Prince is OK), you can’t just back out gracefully, meaning sometimes they get mad at you. But at least thanks to your warning, I’ll know to have the Prince talk to the ghost. Or Lohse. Weirdly, both our backup characters have persuasion ranks, while we as PCs have poured all our points into other things, even though we’re usually the ones who talk to people. Oh well.

Anyway…I guess we should go back and check for ghosts in the tavern again. I saw two–the magister missing her fingers (ew) and the merchant upstairs, so I figured I’d seen all there were, but again, it could have worn off without my noticing.

The poet in the tavern…he asked us some questions and wrote a poem for me and for Gannibog, since we both talked to him. We didn’t talk to him as our supporting characters (I still always forget to do that!), though, so I don’t know if he recognized Lohse or the prince.

I also drank the elf under the table. I feel like there was some way to get information out of her, but maybe we had to NOT let her get drunk? Now she just lies there muttering, so I think that chance is gone.

Toys and rats and a mention of Arhu? I think I missed that. No, maybe I saw that. It was a while ago. Refresh my memory.

Did you talk to the sleeping guy?

Butch:

Junior is not the correct kind of weirdo for this. LEGO robotics state finalist? That kind of weirdo. Poetry? Not so much. Of course, they aren’t teaching it very well, so I can give him that. But still.

Well, ya got me beat cuz I didn’t see a merchant yet. He wasn’t in the odd room with the books and toys, was he? I tried spirit vision in there cuz there were dead rats and thought there might be rat ghosts but no dice.

The ship captain ghost is right in the same room as the ship captain. Right over her shoulder. Go in there and do the sight thing. There’s loot to be had!

The dying and keeping source thing is pretty great. I don’t think that sight takes a point, cuz I’m casting it about every three seconds, or would be if the magistars weren’t so picky about it. I’m getting kinda compulsive about always having it on, for reasons I shall blog on when you meet more ghosts, especially the caravan ghosts.

I did notice bless still eats up a point. The first thing I tried to do to the captain was bless her, and that took a point, and brought magistars up all “I smell source……” For some reason, ghost vision didn’t do that. Weird.

Somehow Beast has four ranks in persuasion. I think it just came with Beast. He is rather talkative. I just gave Lohse another rank. I also don’t get the whole finesse/wits/memory/whatever persuasion deal. I always seem to fail identically with each one, despite having wildly different base stats for each. I don’t get it.

Dude, missing fingers ghost? Where? The main hall? I missed that, too.

Oh the bard recognized the hell out of Lohse. Told her she was the reason he became a poet and everything.

Has anyone recognized the Prince or Sebille just out of nowhere? I’ve had two people come up to Ifan, and Lohse is famous.

Yeah, I think the chance is gone with the drunken elf. There was something there. She looked around once and mentioned some dude, but I couldn’t find the dude. Ah, well. Can’t do it all.

So I went upstairs in the tavern. Top of the stairs is captain lady’s room. Then took a right, passed two people talking about how they hate sourcerers and can see them a mile away (ha), and then a locked door with a cluttered room behind it. Picked the lock, looked around. Good recipes. A face ripper just sitting there (so I guess if you somehow didn’t get it in Fort Joy the game took pity on you and dear, departed Fane), some good loot, and, in one of the BOOKS THAT YOU READ there was a guide to Arx (I have a feeling we’re going to wind up in Arx one of these days). It mentioned all the fun stuff you can do, and make sure you’re there for Lucian’s festival, and make sure you visit the cat named Arhu who is the caretaker of Lucian’s tomb.

Which was not the role I would’ve guessed for Arhu. Makes one say Hmm.

Hmm.

But it was in a book so you likely missed it.

But room, there, cluttered as hell, face ripper, toys, couple of dead rats. That you saw if you looted.

“Did you talk to the sleeping guy?”

Oh, it’s gonna be one of THOSE days.

Which sleeping guy? Only sleeping guy I’ve found was in the next building over, sleeping on some hatch. I left him alone.

I better play later so we can actually talk about stuff.

Have you played or am I still a little ahead of you sorta kinda?

Feminina:

Ah…we didn’t pick any locks in the tavern. Our bad. I thought the magisters would get mad. I do remember the ones talking about how they hate Sourcerers. I chatted with them…said yes, those wicked Sourcerers, it’s such a shame about Alexandar. Ha.

Did you talk to the other table of magisters? The ones talking about about how one of their number was being disciplined for sleeping with a lizard? I had the Red Prince talk to them, and he said something like “if you haven’t slept with a lizard you haven’t lived,” which one of them liked and one of them was disgusted by.

That whole second floor was kind of seething with magisters, which is why we hesitated to pick any locks. I salute your boldness in this area.

The sleeping guy was in that big room full of beds right past the lizard-scandal magisters, the room that was NOT locked. Left side of the upstairs. Full of peoples’ stuff that was all stealing to touch. (So I didn’t touch it. More because I don’t have ranks in thievery and was therefore afraid of getting caught, than because I was honest.) He was on a bed over in the corner.

We have played. We talked to a few more people around town (I let the pathetic elf guy claim credit for finding the person who’d been murdering magisters, because I feel kind of sorry for him), and then set off into the wilderness to get killed again.

Good times!

Butch:

OK! The weekend was rough so I had to play more. So I did!

MAN one gets a lot done in this game when one doesn’t suck at it.

So let’s see…..found your sleeping guy. Talked to him. Repeatedly. More “seeing your mother when asleep/dreaming” stuff. Couldn’t figure out more.

Found the ghost of the merchant and….that went different for me. How’d it go for you? It’s an Ifan thing.

A fight happened. Long fight.

Then downstairs.

Found the ghost of the magistar.

Talked to the bartender. That was a weird twist. You do that? Cuz I think that explains the room I found. And makes it creepy.

Then into the kitchen. Found the magistars ring. Confronted the cook. Didn’t know what to do. Told her I’d keep her secret. Persuaded her not to fight me. Now I’m just playing all sides. She’s alive, though a cannibal and eww, she isn’t nice, but I haven’t told anyone anything.

Once again, I play a game where the world is going to be saved by a very indecisive lesbian.

Then downstairs. Have you been downstairs? I have thoughts on downstairs.

I’ll confront Lohar next.

PHEW! Not too shabby.

Feminina:

Ooh, that IS not too shabby!

I tried to be peaceable with the cook, but she spurned my kinship-based offers of friendship, so we had to fight her. So she’s dead. I told the sad magister-loving elf (the guy writing and fretting up on that balcony) that we’d found out who was killing magisters and she was dead and oh, I hadn’t actually talked to any magisters about it yet, and he bolted off.

Then when I talked to magister Carver he said “yes, elf what’s-his-name told us how he’d solved the crime and dealt with the miscreant,” and I could either say “hey, that was us!” or let it slide. I let it slide, because I felt sorry for that elf. This will probably come back to bite us: we didn’t get any recognition from the magisters for helping them (Carver even said “it’s solved, no thanks to you!”), which will probably impact our ability to convince them we like them later, or something. After all, we do need to get into their basement to find their list of uncaptured Sourcerers! We got XP, though, so whatever.

I tell you all this potentially-spoilery stuff because your cook is still alive and therefore it certainly won’t unfold the same way for you–but know that you might have some conversation options if you go talk to either that elf, or to magister Carver.

We did not talk to the bartender, or go into the basement. Hm.

Oh, and the merchant…see, when I first went up there I talked to someone who said he was this merchant. I bought some stuff from him, sold him some of the junk I’d picked up, as one does. He said he was on his way to trade in Arx. (Arx. Also mentioned by the sleeping guy. Hm. Maybe we’re going to go there at some point.) Then when I wandered up later seeing ghosts, I saw a ghost who said “no, I’M that merchant! I was murdered by a member of the Lone Wolves!” (which would probably be the Ifan connection, only Ifan is not here). So we have a quest to figure out what’s going on with that, but we didn’t get in a fight, just politely left when we started poking around and the guards yelled at us. We may go back and fight them later.

Butch:

Ah. Well, until you deal with the ghost and all that shit, I shall say no more. It’s pretty straightforward. There’s a fight.

Dude, the basement. THE. BASEMENT. It’s where Lohar is, and you have to talk to Lohar cuz main quest or something. And. There. Is. Bloggage.

And a waypoint.

I’ll just tell you about the bartender, cuz it’s not that major and it’s creepy as hell and a little themey.

So you chat, as one does, and she refuses to sell you a drink until you say grace or something, thank Lucien. I didn’t feel like fighting, so I nodded. She’s all “Ah! You’re mother [there we go again] taught you well. Just like my boy [name of evil sadist at fort joy with the face ripper].” You can be all coy and she’ll say “Best Physician in Rivellon, he was! Top of his class! And now, look at him, a doctor with the Order!” And you can just change the subject or brag you killed him or whatever. I just changed the subject. Trying to be low key, here. As much as I can in a bar where the bard recognized me immediately.

The bartender also said “See, we taught him Chastity and Abstinence and it got him so far!” And those were the names of his knives. Whoa. Mommy issues.

But then it dawned on me: That room, with the toys and the books and the face ripper….was his. The doctor’s. He was playing with the face ripper when he was just a little kid. It was mixed in with his toys and his nursery rhymes.

Mommy issues.

And themes.

Go to the basement. I will have LOTS to say once you get to the basement. XP, bloggage, and nothing that’ll kill you.

Did I miss something with sleeping guy?

And Arx was where the tomb of Lucien and the festival and Arhu all are. So yeah, I figure we’ll see it eventually.

Oh and I almost forgot!

Talked to another cat. A white one.

You….talk to that cat?

Feminina:

White cat…uh…maybe not? Doesn’t ring a bell. I’ll look for it when we go back, as we obviously will because main plot.

That’s super creepy about the bartender. Shudder.

Butch:

Dude, it was such a nice tie in. And really, pretty unnecessary. I suppose it might have been a clue thing if you had Fane and didn’t grab the very important item in Fort Joy, but, the way it played out it was just a really creepy throwback.

These games do creepy well.

Cuz when I first found it I was all “Who would put a face ripper in with the toys? What sicko does that?” It never occurred to me the KID HIMSELF did.

The white cat….reminded me of the black cat. A lot. A WHOLE lot.

I’d head back to town if I were you. I don’t think you’re quite done…..

Wait hang on hang on hang on…..

So given what you’ve done….where’s Sebille in terms of finding who she wants to find? In your game?

Feminina:

Uh…nowhere? Still looking around? I’ve honestly kind of forgotten that’s a personal priority. Ha.

I’m just talking to everyone, puttering around, enjoying all the weird plot hooks…oh wait, right, I’m supposed to be pursuing the Master! But on the other hand there’s a dog over there I could chat with about a bad smell…

Butch:

Master! Yes! And…that guy!

I made some progress in that regard.

Sebille’s hot but MAN she’s got some issues.

And bloggage.

And rocks armor very well.

I finally took off the armor of infinite tits. Now Lohse is wearing something VERY unflattering. Looks like a big chain mail parka. Sebille’s over there all “I would wear that so much better…..”

Feminina:

“Darling, chain mail parkas look AMAZING on me, you have no idea.”

I’m wearing some sort of long robe, I don’t know. Full coverage, no drama. My Sebille is basically a wizard, so I rock the mage robes look.

Butch:

Dude, whatever I put on her becomes a weird, golden bra. Everything. Something that makes everyone else look like a trash can makes her look like a showgirl. The feathery headdress I have on her makes it complete.

Her name was SEBille, she was a SHOW girl,
But that was many years ago…when they used to have a show….

And there you have it. Took us years, but I finally made a Barry Manilow reference in the blog.

God our blog gets weird sometimes.

I blame myself.

Feminina:

I also blame you.

All the mage robes look like mage robes in MY game. Although you’re right, the feathered headdress is simply fabulous.

Butch:

I accept the blame. I do. But know that, as punishment, Copa will be in my head for two to six weeks.

Beast danced meringue….Fane did the cha cha…..

We were doing so well.

Feminina:

Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh it can travel over the internet!

I’m going to back away quickly and shut down my computer before the infection reaches me.

Butch:

I blame myself.