So Very Tired

Tags

, , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

Well, woke up early again, and didn’t play, so we’re going to derail early, nudity or not. Shit, I just said “nudity” in the first sentence of the day. And I said nudity in the second sentence! And….AIEE!

That was quick.

I’m so very, very tired.

Which is a bummer because we really were having a good week in terms of being all smart and stuff. Shit, we even had a couple Fridays there where we held it together pretty well, said some smart things. Ah well. All streaks must end.

Feminina:

NUDITY!!!!!

OK, sorry, just got back from a meeting in Waltham or somewhere. I don’t know, I wasn’t driving.

Ugh, man, I’m sorry about the waking up thing. That SUCKS. Grigio keeps waking up around then too, but at least I can get him to go back to sleep, eventually.

If it helps, we didn’t play either, so we’re still in the same place! We must stay here forever!

Butch:

So….very….tired…..

Waltham. What fun.

Just too tired to play last night. Plus, I have to work on how I sit when I play. The controller kinda forces you to keep your elbows out a little bit, and when I play too long and use the armrest on the couch, I wind up with pain from elbow to fingers. Seriously. I get fucking game injuries. Gotta take a day off, you know?

But I wanna play tonight! If I can stay awake.

Feminina:

Game injuries are real! I’ve never had the arm thing, but I’ve gotten a stiff neck, and sore legs from sitting on the floor. Also, occasionally, a concentration headache back in the day when I could play for 6 hours straight without looking away from the TV. I can’t do that anymore. Not because of age and infirmity, just because of children.

Butch:

Ah, for me, it’s age and infirmity. And being tired. All of which, likely, ties back to children.

Apropos of nothing: you might actually like fixing the little things around the house! It does lead to some sense of satisfaction. And Mr. O is good at painting and stuff. Watch: he’ll get all into all that Better Homes and Gardens shit like putting stenciling around the walls of the kitchen. Of course, this being Mr. O, said stencils will likely be of scantily clad amazonian redhead warriors fighting even more scantily clad she demons, but hey, stenciling.

Take that, Better Homes and Gardens.

Feminina:

There’s probably a nice market out there for game-themed home decor. He should design and sell the stencils! Yet another brilliant business idea.

If only we weren’t too old and tired to follow up on any of them.

Butch:

That said, I am a big fan of the healing power of paint. Very cheap way to make everything look like you care about it! I mean…make everything look good!

Feminina:

We should start a new Friday blog tradition: Home Improvement Tips.

It’s unclear how well that will mesh with the existing tradition of working nudity into every post. Naked home improvement seems like a risky business.

 

 

Advertisements

XP Reform Now!

Tags

, , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for some quest points in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Another day of up at three. This is starting to get to me.

What did I do? Yes. Played.

Went and talked to the lieutenant in hopes for more quests, but just got XP for the archaeologist and notes on quests I had. Then trucked back out West. Explored a basement, got some loot. Found a place that was all red and foreboding and said “nope” cuz I was tired. Then I found some burial mound that had a twin somewhere and a puzzle and said “nope” cuz I was tired. So I tried to find the lighthouse, which is right by the water down there, and fought to the base of it and now I’m about to go in it.

One of those sessions.

Did you get to the lighthouse? Cuz the monster that was at the base of it amused me.

Anyway, this session made me notice something that’s always bugged me about role playing games in general, from D&D to Horizon, and I figure it’s worth discussing after lo our many years of playing these games: Role playing games always seem to give a disproportionate amount of XP for killing stuff. Whole time I was in Cyseal, barely any XP. Took me forever just to get to level three. Now? Level five. Boom. And I DID stuff in Cyseal, man! Lots of stuff! Completed a whole ton of quests! And yet what I’m getting XP for is killing undead clubbers.

Now….I don’t have a problem with that in a game that is focused primarily on combat. Some fighty game like those ones we don’t play like Destiny or Overwatch or something, where what you DO is fight, then ok, fine, give all the XP for fighting. But games like this, or Horizon, or the Witcher, or Mass Effect, or or or going all the way back to the D&D campaigns Mr. O used to run in college AREN’T primarily about fighting. The POINT of all those games is to tell a story, to do things as a character. It’s jarring to spend all of this time moving story along, completing story/theme quests for nothing, then to get rewarded for doing something that is PART of the game but, I think, the part of the game that isn’t as important.

I think it’s just something that was baked into the whole idea of RPGs way back when you got D&D in red boxes with plastic dice. You get XP for killing. That’s just so what RPGs DO that there isn’t enough thought given to “well, SHOULD that be what every RPG does?” And I would argue “why no, no it should not be.”

And yet it is. Over and over and over again.

What say you? Will you rise for XP reform? BE FOR XP REFORM!

Man, I’m tired.

Feminina:

Oh man. That’s rough. 3am is not when humans were intended to get up.

We also played! Got distracted by a marker on the map for ‘Evelyn’s Cave’, which is way up away from the beach behind some impenetrable rocks. We wandered around for a while anyway, getting in fights with things we could actually defeat. Since you have also been to the lighthouse, I assume you wandered that way as well: the lighthouse is where we ended up last night.

Those ticking bomb zombies are nasty if they get close, but kind of awesome if you can explode them while they’re over near a bunch of their friends. We also reached level 5! We’re IN THE SAME PLACE, man.

As for XP and awarding it disproportionately for killing over other activities, I think we’ve talked about that some in the past, or at least talked around the edges of it…I remember we commented somewhat approvingly when some games (TW3 and Horizon come to mind) give you rather meager XP for killing random things you happen across, to the point that we pretty quickly decide it really isn’t worth our time (and healing resources) to get in fights with everything we see just for the sake of fighting. We appreciated that these games took some of the focus off combat purely for the sake of combat: sure, you get XP for killing that passing monster, but if it’s only 10 points, why bother?

Even there, though, the focus does largely remain on combat for the sake of a story…you get XP for finishing stories/quests, but also and significantly, specifically for defeating the major fighty thing that the story involves.

I do feel like you got healthy amounts of XP for completing non-combat quests in those games, too, but there weren’t nearly as many of them. And we did definitely get XP for sneaking and breaking into houses and stuff in Cyseal, but yeah, not as much or as often.

It’s kind of about time usage, really: you can easily complete two or three combats in a single game session and really pile up that XP, but to accumulate a similar amount from non-combat activities you have to spend a lot more time on the job. Talking to people, looking around, opening doors, talking to more people…they do reward that stuff in the end (as they should), but it’s so much more time-intensive than just fighting skeletons for 10 minutes that it can feel unproductive by comparison.

Which maybe relates back to a larger point, which is not really about XP, but about combat as the main mechanism for accomplishing things in role playing games, and what games with other major mechanisms might look like. As you said, D&D in the original box was based on combat, and to a large extent all the games descended (however distantly) from D&D follow that approach. They put in more and more other stuff around the edges, and we enjoy the other stuff more and more (romance! fancy dress balls! heists!), but a significant percentage of playing time still remains focused on combat.

This game, at least as far as we’ve played so far, seems to be doing a lot to try out getting away from combat and making non-combat mechanisms apply. And we seem to mostly be liking that, but maybe they haven’t quite worked out the balance in terms of how to reward those other activities. Triple XP for non-combat quests? XP awarded per person you talk to? Per dialogue option chosen? Per fact discovered?

And certainly combat focus is not bad. I mean, I like game combat. If I spend too many game sessions without any combat, I start to want to get in some fights, because…it’s obvious, it’s satisfying, it lets you use all the cool skills and equipment you’ve picked up…it’s so clearly THE GAME.

Of course, if I spend too many game sessions doing nothing but combat, I get really tired of it, which is why I play RPGs instead of straight fighting games.

Butch:

Ah, see, the cave is only accessible if you go through the gate out of the harbor, the one where they’re all “Uh….maybe you want to level up?” You know, the one I went through the other day because there was a quest marker up there, wanted to find other stuff, etc, found traps, got dead a lot? Well, the traps and the getting dead was the approach to that cave!

Later. We should go LATER.

Get. The. Fuck. Out. We’re both in the lighthouse courtyard at level 5?

What are the ODDS?

That is the best. And I do love the little spazzy guys who always go “I’m wet! Can’t explode! I’m wet!” Poor guys. One trick, and it doesn’t work when it rains.

Did you fight the ghoul that guards the lighthouse? Because naming the ghoul that guards the lighthouse “The Ghoul that Guards the Lighthouse” was RPG gold.

I guess when that’s your name, you pretty much know your career path early in life. Though I guess some members of his family might have bucked the trend.

“Get your cheese here! Good cheese here!”
“Hey man, I’m new in town. What’s your name?”
“The Ghoul that Guards the Cemetery.”
[Long Pause] “Then shouldn’t you be guarding-“
“Hey man! I gotta be me!”

I dunno man, do you get significant XP for stories? Sure, I occasionally got 90 or 180 when I talked to someone or found a thing, but man, I was getting, like 475 every time I killed even the wimpiest of things. I was talking before I went all fighting that it was taking me forever to level up, and said “man this game is stingy with XP,” and now I’ve picked up two damn levels in the last three playing sessions. Why? Cuz I went fighting.

And while, true, you did get rather meager XP for random shit in those games, they STILL pushed you towards non story combat if you really wanted to level. See monster contracts (which were fun, yes, but still) and hunting grounds (which weren’t).

Barely any. Especially when you need about 18000 XP (seriously) to level. What’s 90? Drop in the bucket.

I guess it could be about time spent. But I gotta say, I was greatly underwhelmed with the XP haul for getting into Evelyn’s house. I was expecting that to be a “+5000! Level!” deal (I even compared it to a “get out of the hinterlands” or “and now to the Sundom!” moment), but no. And that WAS a big milestone! It took forever to get to that point! And…meh. The only time I noticed a big XP boost from a non combat thing was picking up the head, and when that happened, I was surprised. Like, 2150 for THAT?

The game…Oh, indeed. Combat’s fine, and there’s not even anything wrong with focusing on combat, and rewarding combat, in an RPG. Even tabletop D&D, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Ok, look, this is really just gonna be a series of thinly veiled excuses for me to DM a whole lot of really awesome, intricate, fun fights, so roll up a bunch of badasses and let’s get our fight on.” That’s fun from time to time! And, if that’s how you’re gonna play it, then fine! Reward combat!

But don’t do that if your game ISN’T that kind of campaign. And this isn’t. Which is why we’re playing it.

Indeed, role playing. So hopefully there’s something in this lighthouse.

Feminina:

Hm…yeah, it’s true. I don’t really pay attention to XP numbers, but based on your reports, there’s definitely a pattern of “kill one thing, and BONANZA! Break into one house and…90.”

Well, we’ve also discussed overpowered danger as a means of keeping players on track, and Cyseal is an introductory area, so maybe this is how they planned to keep you more or less on track for the overall story.

If you could get to level 10 just wandering around town asking questions, you could charge on out whatever gate you wanted and destroy everything you saw even if it was ‘too early’ for you to be in that area yet. If they keep the city XP down, they keep the levels down until you get out on the trail.

Now, could they just have let you build up levels in town and then put dangers appropriate for those levels out there, in order to achieve the same effect without the obvious devaluing of non-combat activity? Yes. Yes they could have.

Butch:

Yes, yes they could have.

But I’m gonna cut them some slack. This was their first game, and, by all accounts, they did better in the sequel. When you’re doing something for the first time, you generally cling to what you know. They were unlikely to break the mold of RPG tradition in their first game. At least not well.

As an asterisk: I could be missing something, because I have noticed that sometimes XP pops, or at least the XP noise pops, when you’re in dialog and it’s hard to read the numbers (indeed, one thing I hope they’ve fixed in the sequel is too much shit happening during dialog. Whither, your poor archeologist). So maybe I missed, like 8000 for Esmerelda, but I doubt it. I was at level three forever.

Feminina:

It’s true, you gotta cut some slack. They’re trying something complicated and not every piece of it will work. We’re mainly enjoying it, quibbles aside (and yeah, seriously, we must drink to the improbable happening that is both of us being in the same place at the same time at the same level: unheard of!).

Next game: massive XP awards for conversations! Or 90 XP for killing something. Either way.

Because it is true: if the game is going to lean so heavily on mandatory, non-combat things–so much talking and poking around!–it should value that activity as highly as it values optional combat things (like digging up a bunch of graves that you totally don’t have to dig up, but which may result in battle with enraged zombies).

Butch:

Exactly! Reward what you deem is important as a game maker.

Though regarding combat, I noticed something else last night: I’m not having that much trouble with it. You guys were burning through resurrect spells, so I bought a ton, and I used two. I BARELY lost Madora by the dungeon with the puzzle, and I lost Scarlett once just because I forgot she was poisoned. True, there were a couple fights that I got wiped out, but that was because I, perhaps, went to a beach they warned me not to go to and I got destroyed. That’s not because I did the fight wrong, it’s cuz I went to the wrong damn beach.

Now, I’m not any better at games than you or Mr. O, so I wonder what’s up. Is it just the distraction of two screens? Is it harder to cooperate? Odd.

Feminina:

We didn’t have that much trouble with it last night. And earlier, while some of it was tackling things that were kind of too tough for us, a LOT of it was stupid errors like walking into ooze or burning corpses, misjudging the coverage of an area attack, etc.

I think that is partly a confusion of the split screen, since I (I can’t speak for Mr. O’) am sometimes distracted by watching the movement on the wrong screen, and will unconsciously assume that I’m controlling the character on that side because it’s the one I’m looking at, and thus wind up NOT looking where the character I’m actually controlling is walking, and running into things. I need to get used to the game enough to be able to reliably keep track of which screen I’m in. I’m getting better, but it’s a different view, and different things to keep track of, and it has led to some fatal errors. Kind of like hitting circle to back out of a conversation and instead taking a punch at someone, or whatever, but on a somewhat larger scale.

Last night we didn’t die at all except for the time we’d just finished a fight and were looking around and Delios (our Roderick) walked into a trap that killed me and Wolgraff. You know, accidents. Combat was fine, though! Even with The Ghoul that Guards the Lighthouse, which I agree is a great name.

Butch:

But it’s still turn based, right?

Once, I finished the fight and Scarlett was down to MAYBE 2 hit points. Like, her whole bar was black. And I was just “No one move! No…one…breathe…until…regeneration….”

Because you never know if there’s ooze right there. And it doesn’t save….

Feminina:

Oh yeah, it’s still the same turn-based combat. If everyone is close together, it’s not even in splitscreen. I don’t even want to think about how confusing it would be in real time. Most of the terrible accidents happen afterwards, in real time, when we’re just wandering around and stumbling into things.

I mean, I may have set the party on fire during combat that one time, but that was an unusual event!

Butch:

Wandering into things when you haven’t saved.

We’re too used to saves happening when we win a fight.

Did you fight the ghoul?

It’s play practice day. Here I sit.

Feminina:

Yes! We are too used to that! We really need to get back into the ‘save early and often’ mentality.

It’s a little annoying though, I don’t know if this is universal or a quirk of our system, but ‘quick save’ is not quick–it takes about 30 seconds which is roughly eternity for impatient people, and so I think we kind of put it off just because it feels like hassle.

Of course we regret that later, and we have gotten more into the ‘save after every significant event’ habit, but it’s not completely EASY.

Oh, and yes, we fought the ghoul. It was a pretty good battle for us: we successfully exploded the ticking bomb guys far away from us, and resisted being set on fire by the archers. Yay us!

Butch:

I did notice that I was rushing once, hit quick save, did something stupid and died before it said save successful. Thought I was screwed but it worked, so I don’t think you have to sit still for those thirty seconds. Cuz it does that for me too. Just hit save and go.

So the ghoul.

This game, for a game with good themes, has a rather playful, yet intentionally odd, aesthetic. Zixzax or whatever, the ghoul, talking to animals…. sometimes it feels like one of those tripped out Jim Henson movies from the 80s like labyrinth or the dark crystal. Which I kinda like cuz it’s able to be slightly creepy but not in the usual dark game way.

But then, I liked those weird assed movies. That aesthetic isn’t for everyone.

Feminina:

There is a goofiness to it that one feels still allows for the humor to become dark. Like, “this is weird and silly, haha, but hang on…is that some sort of genuinely disturbing nightmare issue I see arising?”

Not that I’ve actually observed this, but I could imagine it occurring at some point as we proceed.

Butch:

Oh certainly. Indeed, the “goofy turned dark” thing can turn very dark and unsettling. Look at the trope of the scary clown, which is a trope because, well, clowns can be really fucking scary.

Those Jim Henson movies sure were disturbing.

Has the potential for cool stuff. Especially as we don’t often see this sort of dark in video games.

I’ll Just Be Practicing My Knot-Tying

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for early quests in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

MAN. Been up since three. Family is nuts. Help.

So played, but mostly just magpied. Found a ghost of a strongman who I decided seemed rather reasonable and I didn’t want to fight him so I didn’t. Decided to check out some beaches to find bodies and collars and staffs and shit, but kept getting killed. Found a guy who was dead in his bed with his two zombie dogs (more on that in a second), and, lastly, found an archeologist who I agreed to escort home, so I escorted him home. He was all “Come to the Inn! Next round’s on me!” so I did expecting something and just got him talking about stuff I knew. So I called it a day.

So that guy with the dogs….you find him? Cuz I have thoughts on him…..and the dialog I had with myself after him…..

Feminina:

Weird…my youngest child woke up (and woke me up) at 3:30. Something in the air? He eventually went back to sleep around, oh, 4:30 or 5:00, so in time for me to catch an unrestful nap before the alarm went off, so at least I haven’t been awake straight since before dawn. You’re worse off than I am there.

Also, we played. Sneaked and snooped around Esmeralda’s house, found some possibly incriminating items, confronted her about them, she revealed her suspicions about Evelyn (why didn’t she mention this before? we shall never know), we went over to the clinic and she was gone, went to her house and she was gone, found her diary pointing to the beach, and that’s where we stopped.

I liked the confrontation: “perhaps you have an explanation for this bloody knife?”
“What also needs an explanation is why you were rummaging around in my cellar!”

Good point, Esmeralda. But you know, we wouldn’t have had to do it if you’d just told us this about Evelyn earlier. Not everyone thinks of Source Hunters as heroes, I guess.

And you know, if she were just refusing to say anything until she had a lawyer present, I’d say that made perfect sense and she was being smart. Never talk to the authorities without your attorney! (Uh…is what I’ve heard.) But there’s no indication that there was ever going to be a lawyer, although Septimus was certainly smitten and perhaps would eventually have helped her escape or something. So she was just refusing to share information that might have helped exonerate her, for no apparent reason. Sheer bloody-mindedness, I suppose. I can respect that.

Anyway, we got stuff done! Also, while poking around in various places, we uncovered some smelly items that we would have given to the dog, if only he weren’t dead and we could talk to him. A path that our story shall never take!

We did meet the guy with the zombie dogs!

Also, funny story about that archeologist…we met him, agreed to escort him back to the city, he ran out of the house, and–Delios was seized by a fit of contemplation, and had to pause to reflect, and I had to join in the dialogue, and we shared some thoughts, and in the background there was a shriek of “help” and when the dialogue was over, the archeologist had been killed by a skeleton.

Nice timing there, game. Because it’s not that we CHOSE to do that dialogue at that moment! It was forced on us. Precisely while that dude was running off like a fool without waiting for the people who were supposed to protect him, and getting killed while we were stuck in conversation options.

It was kind of annoying, but we hadn’t done a save in quite a while (we too often forget to save) so we didn’t dare restart and do it over. So he’s dead.

Murphy, that guy, the mayor’s guards…we’re just leaving this trail of corpses in our wake. People we didn’t specifically kill ourselves, but who we certainly were very close to a suspiciously short time before their deaths. We’re a bad omen. No wonder Esmeralda didn’t want to talk to us.

Butch:

Yes! See? Gotta go through doors you’re not supposed to go through. That’s the stuff. And it was, once we cottoned to the fact that we could and should break into places, right there. Just sitting there.

The house part was the anticlimax I mentioned the other day. I saved right before I went into the house, thinking “Ok, shit’s going DOWN. I’ll do this right when I start next time” and….well, you just saw. Great. A thing.

Though now we know (though really, we suspected) that that conduit shit is more ominous and important than has been mentioned thus far. Cuz the conduit that Evelyn mentioned is the same shit as that weirdo in the inn, right? The cult guy? In that room there by the crime scene? Plot expansion!

HA! Right. “Hey….I know where you got that….”

At least we didn’t have to mention the panties. THAT would’ve been awkward….

I also got the impression Esmeralda was slightly afraid of Evelyn. Just like I got the sense that the doctor was, if anything, charmed. I have a feeling people were saying what they were saying about her, or not saying stuff about her at all, because reasons. I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect.

So now we how how to solve the mystery without the dog. And we both got there, and now we’re at the same point. Or you’re slightly ahead of me and all’s right with the universe again.

Ok….here’s my thoughts on guy with zombie dogs.

So guy with zombie dogs died because he couldn’t bring himself to kill his “friends,” despite evidence that they had started to turn into zombies. He could have killed them and escaped, or so the dialog after this suggested, but he didn’t. He chose to die rather than hurt something he loved.

And your characters had their chance to say whether that was the right thing to do or not. More on THAT in a minute.

So the guy died for what, in most stories, are heroic, “right” reasons. We see dudes refusing to raise a hand to those they care about all the time, even when it costs them. We’re supposed to admire that in characters.

But here, we have someone who HAD to do the “wrong” thing to live. To succeed. To keep playing the game of life. (See where I’m going here?) He had to click on the red door, as it were. He had to “sin,” at least according to narratives as old as Sophocles. He didn’t, and game over.

Now….speculation…..

The times I remember this theme of “needing to sin” came up, your characters talked about it to someone and had to take a stand. Wolgraff being all “You steal?” Talking to each other after this. You have to make your willingness to “sin” part of your character’s personality. I have a feeling this will matter.

Your characters also have been having to forge a friendship/romantic bond or not.

And you see what the “sin” was that could have saved the dude? Hurting/killing someone he loved.

I have a feeling this will come up later.

Let’s file this to themes, shall we?

HA! Poor archeologist. Well, as far as I know, he doesn’t have much to say. I did get a quest called “expedition: burial mound” after talking to him, but I think that triggered before you said you escort him, so you probably still have that. All he really told me was stuff I already knew about zombies and skeletons.

Don’t use swords on skeletons.

And if you and your fatal presence ever meet an NPC named Kevin, he won’t last three seconds.

Feminina:

Dude, NPC Kevin was dead when we got there. Just us signing into the game was enough to wipe him out.

Good notes on themes. I like it. Sin. Must be a sinner to survive. Hm. Because it’s true, the dude sacrificed himself rather than kill creatures he loved, which is usually presented as heroic. Maybe it’s still heroic! He refused to break the moral rules which, as we learned, most of us must break in order to…well, at least in order to discover the solution to mysteries. (Mr. O’ was kind of annoyed about that, too. He said a role playing game shouldn’t make you violate your alignment.)

In the dialogue about the guy and the dogs, Mr. O’ picked the sympathetic line, and I chose the sarcastic, “well, that was pretty stupid” one. No sympathy for heroic love here!

Although personally, my practical side is arguing “OK, fine, you can’t stand to kill them when they aren’t yet zombies (which kind of goes to our recurring discussion of the morality of stealth-murdering Kevin, when you KNOW he’s going to try to kill you if he sees you but he hasn’t actually done it yet), but if you know or suspect that they’re going to become zombies, couldn’t you TIE THEM UP until you’re sure? And once they’re definitely slavering undead beasts that are trying to eat you, maybe you can bear to kill them then?”

There’s a middle ground here, surely. I mean, yeah: if it were, say, my children who had been infected and were going to become zombies, but were still gazing at me with their big eyes saying “mama, why do you have that giant knife?”, could I kill them? No. I could not. I will say that right now. But I COULD try very hard to find some way of securing them, so that if/when they did become zombies, they wouldn’t be able to get to me.

TIE UP your damn dogs. That’s all I’m saying. Although maybe he didn’t have any rope, I don’t know. Maybe the true tragedy is not having 50 feet of silk rope on hand.

Butch:

I see the annoyance, but the thing is, no video game is ever going to be a true RPG in the sense that real tabletop D&D is. A) There’s no DM to constantly adjust to the players, and B) in tabletop games, no matter how draconian the DM, the players are an integral part of shaping the story. That simply can’t happen in a video game, because there’s no way to program the game that way.

That said, I’m not sure video game developers want to make games like that even if they could. Even in a non-linear video game with a lot of choice, there’s still a story being told, metaphor all over the place, and themes being themed. Sure, this game might look like D&D more than, say, Horizon, and it may PLAY like D&D more than other games we’ve played, but, in terms of how it tells a story and makes you think on themes, it has far more in common with The Witcher and even Horizon than it ever will with tabletop games. Video RPGs are, and always will be, the same narrative based things we love, just with a tabletop coat of paint. So of course they’re gonna make you break alignment when they feel the need to make a point, even if you don’t want to.

Hmm. I wonder what’ll happen if your characters don’t like each other….

I have thoughts on that, too. But it can wait. And not the thoughts you think.

But dude, the dogs are metaphor. 

And I’m kinda scared you’ve thought about practical solutions to zombie flu to this extent.

Feminina:

And I’m kind of scared you HAVEN’T considered the practical implications of zombie flu! The outbreak is going to catch you completely off guard.

Although I admit that I’m not sure where my 50 feet of silk rope got to during the move, so probably having thought about it won’t help me in the crunch.

Butch:

Look behind the rags. And spiders.

Feminina:

Damn spiders always getting into my rags on top of my rope mumble mumble…

Drama! To Be Continued.

Tags

, , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for the Cyseal murder plot in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Well. That was a tad anticlimactic.

Went to CONFRONT THE MURDERER! And….wound up searching an empty house and finding a diary and stuff as one does. And learned that the next part of the quest is in a place where the guards basically say “I could unlock the gate but HAHAHAHAHAHA YOU GONNA DIE!”

So…yeah.

So I decided to find the gate you talked about. And, as it turns out, all I had to do was follow a road that was on my map the whole time that I kinda never followed for some reason.

So out I went! And did a couple of actual fights! Cleared some dudes out of a farm and found “orders” that mentioned a lighthouse. That was it. Got to the waypoint in the desolate farms or something and I’m looking at another bunch of baddies.

I found it interesting a human was with these things, too. Hmm.

I certainly see what you mean in terms of accidentally getting burned/poisoned/whatever. There was quite a bit of “Ok, weak to fire…I’ll just shoot a fire arrow at it and HOLY SHIT THE WHOLE SCREEN BLEW UP!” Wooden crate my ass. Apparently the wood they use in Cyseal is actually dynamite.

I do kinda like the mechanic of smoke and not being able to target things you can’t see. While that’s frustrating when you don’t mean to do it, using it to your advantage is pretty cool.

Good stuff! And XP! Hooray!

Feminina:

Hey, all right! Can’t wait to finish up and confront a murderer’s empty room!

We didn’t play last night…Mr. O’ had work to do on exams or something.

But yeah, those area effects are not messing around. “Here, I’ll just set that guy on fire…and everyone around him, including myself and my allies…oops…”

No kindly little ‘friendly fire doesn’t do damage’ loophole here!

And then the corpses keep burning, so if you happen to walk too close to one, that also hurts! Not that I would know from having killed Wolgraff that way or anything. Ahem.

Butch:

Oh that’s plain mean! The corpses burn?

The room wasn’t empty! It had a diary….and a letter! And loot! Lots of loot. Loot’s good! And a major plot expansion!

It’s always so nice of baddies in these “follow the baddie” quests. They always seem to know that the quest is about to get hard, and they help you!

“MWHAHAHAHA! I shall go to my bunker that is guarded by level seven monsters and fire launchers! I probably shouldn’t leave this level 8 axe and fireproof armor right here next to the map to my lair, but I only have room for that or this ham in my backpack, and I might get hungry later….”

There’s gonna be more quests to pick up out here by the farms, right? Right.

Feminina:

Of course right!

“That armor never fit quite right anyway, whereas this ham, well, ham fits every situation!”

Ham: don’t leave home without it. It’s the ’50 feet of silk rope’ of this game.

Butch:

It is. Just like the “Detect Evil?” reminder sign would be “Regenerate?” Seriously. I just regenerate, regenerate, regenerate.

Unless I forget. Then it’s all “Hey Roderick…you helped Scarlett….what gives?” And really, “you’re mute and didn’t say anything” isn’t a defense when he’s bleeding everywhere.

Maybe “But Scarlett’s cute?” My PCs are starting to like each other…they had that little “Hey, level 4, huh?” flirt.

Feminina:

I have a Regenerate scroll but I always forget to use it. Or I remember but only when it’s too late and Wolgraff is dead.

Butch:

The best is using it out of combat. It’s great. Survive, and then methodically heal everyone up.

“Ok, who’s hurt? You? You?…..Wolgraff didn’t say anything…he must be good…”

You have that and some water balloons and you’re all good. Unless you hit ooze. Or something else.

Ooze kinda sucks.

Feminina:

Ooze is horrible. Not that I’ve accidentally walked Wolgraff into it or anything. Ha.

Actually, I think in this case I walked my PC into it. It’s not ALWAYS Wolgraff who gets horribly injured by my awkwardness!

I look forward to using Regeneration one day when I remember. Although out of combat, we’ve got Mr. O’s healing ability, so it always seems like a waste to use something we can’t replace by waiting 2 minutes.

No: someday I’ll remember to save our butts with it in some deadly combat. It could happen!

Butch:

The one who keeps blowing up is Madora. I’ve kinda needed Madora, so I left Wolgraf at home. Neither of my PCs is a real fighter, and Madora is the only tank available to me. Though Bairdotr is pretty good with that bow. The problem is Madora goes all CHARGE and then Bairdotr is all FIRE ARROW OH SORRY!

Madora using whirlwind is KEY.

I gotta get Roderick something better to whack stuff. Scarlett is cool as long as she can backstab. I need a tank.

Feminina:

I guess there’s one in every party. But yeah, charge + fire arrow is an unfortunate combination.

Our ‘Roderick’ (his name is Delios) is basically a tank with healing ability, so with him, Bairdotr and me for range, and Wolgraff to sneak, we’re reasonably balanced. Of course no fight is ever at the right distance for the whole party to be most effective at the same time, but such is life.

Butch:

See I THOUGHT my Roderick was gonna be a tank, but the stats are not backing it up. Maybe he needs a better weapon. I keep forgetting clerics can use swords, so he keeps bonking things with wimpy things.

Feminina:

The right weapon can make a significant difference. I was still using the Source Hunter staff I brought with me, and then happened to be glancing through the staffs I’d picked up and saw one that did twice as much damage.

Hmm…perhaps worth a change. Perhaps worth actually paying attention to the random loot I pick up.

Perhaps.

Butch:

Gotta pay attention to a lot of stats, though. Last night, when I was up against all sorts of dudes that hated fire, I looked through and found a wand that had fire shit and allowed you to cast fireball! “Fireball!” I thought, “Fireball is ALWAYS something you want to be able to cast!” So I equipped it! And went to cast fireball, and….nothing. Couldn’t do it. I was all “do I need a skill?” Nope. No, it took 13 AP to cast fireball. 13! I do not HAVE 13 AP!

So that was disappointing.

I gotta get more AP. Badly.

In other news, did we talk about the next God of War game? Is that the one that Mr O is all up in? Kratos and big strong bearded gods and stuff? I seem to remember he really liked that series. You ever try it?

Feminina:

I have some things like that! Can’t use yet, but I’m carrying them around because SOMEDAY they will be awesome. Don’t know when I’ll have all those action points, though.

He did play the God of War series. My impression was more that he liked them OK, than that he absolutely loved them (we had more time back then to play things we just thought were OK), but he did play them all so clearly thought they were all right. I was never tempted…too much a straight fighting game, not enough role playing. Plenty of moodiness and terrible pasts, if I recall, so if only there’d been more plot and moldy flags!–but one cannot have everything.

I haven’t heard him say anything about the new one. He’s in the middle of AC: Origins AND playing Divinity with me AND has the sequel to Shadow of Mordor (which he did love) waiting for whenever he gets to it, so he may just not feel he has the time for it.

Butch:

It was kinda funny. I had this image of Scarlett whipping it out all “A HA! Now I have you! Just….give me a minute….hold on….just a little longer now….”

It does look like you’d have many, many love interests in God of War.

I hear the sequel to SoM wasn’t any good. Very disappointing. Don’t tell him.

Time. We need more.

Feminina:

I will say nothing about Shadow of Mordor. And yes, we need more time. So much more time.

Introducing: Themes

Tags

, , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for the murder quest in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Ok! I think it was either just a bad cold or I have a great immune system! I feel fine! And I got some playing in! Made good progress on the murder, but we’ll talk on that later. Here’s what I did:

Read a play (another thing games need more of, really. Didn’t Geralt do that, too?), did all that stuff and now I’m carrying headless Nick around, who is kinda funny (Best line, when Roderick stole something: “Ooo look at you getting all edgy. Wish the girls from the Source academy could see you now, eh?”).

And then before I made progress with the murder, I got confused.

Now, games have a certain language, and a certain way of guiding you. When you’re looking at your quest list, and the number of quests that you can move along where you happen to be is getting short, you usually have a number of quests that you can move along in the same place somewhere else. This is, at present, my situation. My Cyseal list is getting rather short, and I have three quests that explicitly mention beaches. Now, one would think that when the mayor’s staff quest (he’s leaving from the beach), the cat’s quest (I lost it in the sea, must’ve washed up on the beach) and headless Nick (my body’s probably ON THE BEACH) all mention the fucking BEACH the game really wants you to, when you’re ready to leave Cyseal, proceed to the beach.

So, after checking the “tranquil” beach and making sure I didn’t miss any of this stuff there, I said to myself “Well, the O’Ladybrains have said that they have been out fighting…maybe they’ve done all that beach stuff. I shall go out the gate and onto the beach!” And the guard was all “Uh…you sure?” and I said “Yes!” and then the TUTORIAL comes up all “This area is meant for people with a higher level than you….”

And I said “Game? Getting mixed messages here. You give me all these beach quests, and now you’re explicitly saying DON’T go this way.”

So I ignored the game and went anyway.

And didn’t find much of anything. I found an undead merchant and bought a couple things. I found a crying orc who I decided to leave to his grief. I found some traps. I found some big footprints where the game AGAIN was all “I don’t think we can beat that yet!” I did not find a) anything to do with any quest I had or b) any monsters I had any prayer of beating. So I went back to Cyseal to work on the murder.

So where the fuck IS all that stuff? Did I miss it on the tranquil beach? Where does the game want me to go? What am I supposed to do? And, more to the point, where the hell have YOU gone where you’re finding all these fights you can actually win?

But work on the murder I did, and found a stinky thing that has solved it for me and now I’m going to confront the baddie. I have not yet confronted the baddie, but that’s where I am. And, again, we differ because the dog was absolutely vital to me solving this and I have no idea how you did it.

Feminina:

Yay no flu!

And hey, good for you actually making some progress. We have not made any progress, and are getting kind of frustrated. So the answer to “how do you solve it without the dog?” is “hell if I know.”

I think maybe part of the issue is that we were trying to do it while being law-abiding and not stealing anything (other than some plates and hams as practice for Wolgraff) or breaking into any locked rooms, and it seems like maybe we actually HAVE to sneak and steal and break into places we’re not supposed to go, if we want to find information.

So we decided to try being sneaky and stealy, with mixed results. We read the mortician’s book, and learned exactly what he already told us when we talked to him (yay?), and then we got busted trying to check out the Mayor’s living quarters. A bunch of guards came charging in, we decided to ‘flee’ and avoid the combat, then went tentatively back later all “hey guys, no hard feelings right?” and the guards were…all dead. Despite the fact that we ran off before a single blow was exchanged.

So either someone else is roaming through town killing the same guards we pick fights with, or else we broke the game somehow by fleeing that combat. It’s highly implausible that ‘flee’ is SUPPOSED to kill all your enemies (although hey, how handy would that be?), so we thought maybe in town in general, or that fight in particular, they didn’t program anything other than “if PCs are alive after combat, guards must be dead”? Maybe there’s no mechanism for “we made the guards mad but ran off before fighting them, but they’ll probably remember us next time and still be mad” because that would mean we couldn’t do business in town anymore?

Anyway, we were a little perturbed by that, but I think now we can loot the mayor’s office with impunity since everyone seems to be dead (possibly including the mayor, I don’t know, we couldn’t find him), so we’ll try that next, and then go poke around in the inn and stuff, I guess. Work on going through more locked doors and taking more things that don’t belong to us.

We did meet the old elf in the inn. That was…interesting. We couldn’t get behind his desire to murder Victoria, who was just a baby when his own tribe was horribly murdered. I mean, I get why he’s upset, but this one now-peaceable orc wasn’t personally involved and her death will solve nothing. We tried to convince her to give us her amulet so he’d THINK she was dead, but failed to persuade her, so we just left. I guess he’s still going to try to kill her, but at least we warned her, right?

And while we were there we still didn’t recruit the irritable wizard, so our party composition remains the same.

I enjoyed the play and the jokes (did you tell the jokes?), and Nick’s head is pretty funny. He gave me that same line about the girls at the Source Hunter academy.

As for the beach…we haven’t been to the beach. We turn back when the guards say “you have the right number of people in your party, but you’re lacking experience!”

There are…I think three gates out of the city, and at two of them the guards do that “ooh, I wouldn’t if I were you, you really need to pick up a few more levels first” and at one of them they just say “be careful out there,” so that’s the one we’ve used. I believe it’s the one over on the upper left of the map, that leads to lots of undead. Try that one. There are some winnable fights out there (although also some not-that-winnable ones).

So yeah…we accomplished little, possibly because we’ve been too respectful of locks and other peoples’ property. Just like in real life!

Butch:

Yeah, I had to get over that. Finding the things to smell (or have the dog smell) involved a lot of breaking and entering and opening chest and cupboards that were red.

Man, that’s weird with the guards. I haven’t had to flee yet, so I dunno. Weird.

I did hear that a knock on this game was that it was a tad buggy.

Though a tip:

Pretty much everywhere has keys. Not everywhere, everywhere, but most places. For example, the mayor’s key was by the door, and the key to his chest was in the bathroom.

Stealing is really just a matter of timing. People will wander back and forth, like good Kevins, so you just time it for when they’re not there.

OR, and I learned this with the mayor, separate the party. I broke Wolgraff off, then started a conversation with someone I wanted to distract. When the dialog ended, the person was still facing my PC, with her back to Wolgraff, and boom. Grabbed the key no problem. Rinse, repeat. Get them to look at/talk to one character, use the one that’s split off to grab a little here, go through this door here…..

All set.

Ok, I checked for you. All I can tell you is that you’re fine, the quest isn’t broken, you’re still on the right track. Mostly. Keep poking around places. I could tell you more if you ask.

Yeah, that elf was a jerk, and, again, I do not condone violence against librarians.

Couldn’t you ask that the elf be arrested? I dunno, cuz I did persuade her to give me the amulet, which turned out to be rather handy.

I found the joke book, but couldn’t figure out where to tell the jokes! Dammit!

Upper left, huh? By the graveyard? I’ll check it out.

Don’t just try to get through doors you don’t think you should go through. Go up and down stairs to places you don’t think are any of your business.

Just sayin’.

Feminina:

All right, we’ll continue to work on overcoming our natural reluctance to breach the scary red “forbidden” outlines.

That is a bit of an interesting morality theme there, isn’t it? If you literally cannot complete quests in the game while obeying the social rules of the game world? Some sort of “you’ll never get anywhere playing by the rules” message. Or, rather, we are in fact playing by the rules of the larger game (which allow–and even require–us to steal), but not by the rules of that town, so the message is that there’s some HIGHER law which we obey (because we have to, since it is literally encoded into the universe), while the puny laws of man do not apply.

Hm. Anyway, yeah, we’ll follow up on that. And you follow up on the gate by the graveyard and see about killing some undead outside the city!

Speaking of the laws of the universe, this could get very interesting…you’re getting ahead of me/us! Maybe the rules are different when I’m playing with Mr. O’. We both play faster than you individually, but together we cancel out? Anything could happen here.

We told the jokes on the same stage where we did the play: just tell the guy that you want to do a one-person act. We probably didn’t have to do them both–well, obviously we didn’t have to since you didn’t and you still got the head–but we didn’t want to miss anything. I think the stagemaster or whatever he was called gave us some coins for it. And we’re still definitely in the “we don’t have enough money to buy anything cool” stage, plus we’re always running out of resurrection scrolls, so every coin helps.

Butch:

That is good themeage!

The puny laws of man are rather puny. But our characters also obey a “middle ground” law, and that’s of Source Hunters. We’ve shown up to investigate this shit right here, and we’re gonna do it. We don’t particularly care what the legion thinks or does. We answer to..well, whoever source hunters answer to (whoever that is). Shit, the captain of the legion is a suspect!

But I do like that. It starts to answer something I’ve been pondering all this time: why is the game called what it’s called? Divinity and Original Sin both have rather weighty meanings behind them. While it’s true that we’ve gotten some heavy stuff with the whole time thing, the idea of sin, and original, unavoidable sin at that, is something that hasn’t been explicitly touched upon yet.

Unless we start looking at things like here, where you HAVE to be a “sinner” in order to play the game in the first place.

Hmm.

I knew we’d get to some theme sooner or later.

I don’t really think I’m “ahead” of you, per se. I’m only one click ahead of you on the murder (if you find, like, one thing you’re with me, and it’s there for the finding), my “source hunter’s journey” hasn’t updated in forever, and I’m still on level 3 (though Bairdotr leveled up to four yesterday and no one else did. Weird). Yeah, ok, I have a quest cuz I talked to a cat, but you probably have a couple that I don’t have because you’ve been out of the city.

I think that “source hunter’s journey” is the key thing, here. I think this murder thing is a “you’ve gotten out of the hinterlands!” moment. Much like the hinterlands, this quest, though long, does seem to be a “get your bearings for everything else” deal. Get used to some fighting, some talking, some sneaking. Learn the rules of the game world. Start thinking like you have to think out there. Cuz in the hinterlands in DAI, there was a lot of that. There were a BUNCH of quests there, all designed to let you practice stuff you’d need when the game really got going. This murder sure feels like a quest where, when finished, it’ll be all “Yay! You go, you! Now here’s a sword and some XP and now go play the game for realsies.”

Ah, man! I just did the two person routine on the stage. And I didn’t get the head that way! Just a bunch of coins. I got the head by paying the dude in the crowd to go cheer for the other guy. Then everyone left the guy with the head and voila.

I haven’t bought anything cool, though I do find that a magnifying glass and a point in loremaster makes a HUGE difference. Being able to identify all the shit you just come across is really key.

Of course, I haven’t been outside the city and I may find in my first fight that all my identified gear is really shitty, but hey. I identified it!

Feminina:

We’ve been paying people to identify things for us, but we just got a magnifying glass, so I can do that myself in future.

Ah, see, we got the head by paying the guy to go cheer for one of us who was telling jokes, while the other one was lurking around to grab the head. We did initially hope that just the jokes or the play would draw the crowd away based on our awesomeness, but no, we had to hire a cheering section. Ah well.

Yeah! Good point about the heavily themey title! I was idly thinking about that the other day, but didn’t connect it to my thoughts on “hey, maybe we can’t actually do this unless we do some things we’re not supposed to.”

And, as you say, there’s game law, and town law, and in between there’s Source Hunter law, whatever that may be. We haven’t explicitly been told that it approves breaking and entering, but neither of the characters has expressed any objections to the other about any of the things we’ve done so far in that area (despite the fact that both of us are very strongly on the ‘righteous’ side of that meter), so it seems we must find it perfectly acceptable. Source Hunters care not for the laws of the town! We have our orders!

Butch:

By absolute dumb luck, the very first thing I paid to identify was a ring that gave me a rank in loremaster. Then I was all “And I’ll buy that magnifying glass and bye now!”

Wonderful investment.

Ah, man! But we were so good in the play!

A nice touch when I did it was that, somehow, I flipped the genders in the play, and the dialog said “The crowd wasn’t quite used to your spin on the play, but they ended up loving it!

I didn’t think about the theme/title either until you said it! We make a good team.

But yeah. Usually games have titles that are just vague and sound good (Uncharted, Fallout), describe the main character (The Witcher, Tomb Raider), or mention something in the game (Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect, Dragon Age). When games don’t do that, they often put some meaning in the title (Gone Home, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture). So you see something like “Divinity: Original Sin,” someone’s trying to say something. Whether it works? Well, that for us to decide. But someone’s trying to say something.

We do have our orders. And we aren’t the types that go in to where there is no law in order to impose some. The legion is fucking everywhere in Cyseal. We’re here being all “Uh, yeah, nice legion you got here….now fuck off.”

It sort of reads like the templars in DA. They’d stroll into places that had guards and stuff, and then be all “Yeah, nice, where the apostates at?” Which is really what we’re doing. We care about Source, and had this murder not involved source, we wouldn’t care a bit.

And it’s true: No one seems to care about the stealing. I’ve spent time with Bairdotr, Wolgraff and Madora, and none care. Even Madora. Though it was interesting when, the first time I stole something, Wolgraff passed me a note expressing some surprise, like “So, you steal?” But he approved, obviously. As did Nick the Head.

Feminina:

Yeah, true. We answer to a sort of scary higher law, and others respect that and kind of applaud us for it (“thank the seven you’re here, Source Hunters!”), although, interestingly, they don’t respect it to the extent that we can just say “hey, I’m going to take this key and open this locked door and root through your stuff” and everyone will just say “oh, OK, whatever you want!”

So I guess we answer to a scary higher law but are expected to pay lip service to the puny laws of man? And the puny lawkeepers of man aren’t aware that it’s just lip service? People believe we’re required to respect their rights to private property, but in fact (according to our own rules) we aren’t. Unless they catch us, that is.

Again, very interesting implications in terms of who answers to whom/what. I wonder if we’ll eventually meet our ‘boss’ and what that will be like?

Butch:

Well, if anything, people seem honored we’re around. “I never thought I’d see source hunters here!” Everyone, that is, except the legion. Aureus doesn’t like us. Or anyone, really.

Feminina:

Yeah, people think we’re cool and helpful. Fending off evil. Yay us!

As you say, our role could be much as same as that of the Templars in DA, who aren’t necessarily beloved by mages, but are probably seen as valuable forces for the protection of order by the average person who doesn’t want to be accidentally (or on purpose) set on fire by some demon-possessed magic-user.

Sure, in theory we should be obeying the law, but hey, if a few houses get broken into and someone’s smelly panties go missing or something, it’s all in the name of a greater good, right?

Butch:

Or smelly boots. Or a smelly coat.

C’mon people! I’ve seen washtubs and washboards! Work on that!

Of course, that would make the mystery harder….

Thought really, I kicked myself because it’s not really that hard. Everything is pretty much there for the finding. You just have to be naughty.

Feminina:

All right, naughty it is.

Source Hunters answer to the quest alone! We have no other master!

Butch:

We have no master! We do not!

Or pride!

I mean, why did we sign up for this? Being sent to fishing towns to root around in cellars, carry around heads and collect things that smell.

Actually, why DID we sign up for this? Has that been mentioned?

Feminina:

I don’t think we know why we signed up to be Source Hunters, no. The glamor?

I guess it’s probably more exciting than whatever other career was available to us. I mean, it’s this or fish, paint pictures of roosters, sell something in the marketplace…rooting around in peoples’ smelly garments may not be a high point, but at least we can travel. See the world, collect some loot.

We don’t know, though, we might be more like Gray Wardens than Templars: not so much recruited as drafted. I could totally see Duncan coming through, “hey you, get over here, the Source Hunters need you!” (Also, we never discussed the term ‘sourcery.’ Clever or too cute? I found it amusing enough that I was willing to allow it.)

Butch:

Oh come on! Everyone loves the cheese vendor!

Hmm. Good point about the Grey Wardens. I hope that gets resolved. Everyone loves a good backstory!

As for sourcery, clever, but been done:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sourcery

Feminina:

Ah, Terry Pratchett! Of course. Well, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best, as they say.

Everyone loves the cheese vendor, but do they understand the cheese vendor’s yearning for adventure? For new horizons, and undead people to meet and battle? Yes, I could have had a rich, satisfying life as a cheese vendor, beloved by all, but there would always have been something missing.

Something dead, and even smellier than my weirdest cheeses.

Butch:

I dunno, man. He’s gotta be the most popular guy in the market.

As for battling, I’m curious as to how I’ll feel differently about combat here. I haven’t actually fought orcs yet, and the only undead I’ve fought were down in the well there. Now, I know people don’t really like either, but I’ve met three orcs who were pretty ok (Victoria, the one I killed cuz love potion, sorry about that, and the dude on the beach last night who really just wanted to bury his dead and be left alone). Even the merchant I met last night was undead, and was pretty zen about it (“Oh I’ve been like this…what…years?”) and really just wanted to make a coin. I really haven’t had an OMGFIGHTBADGUYS! experience with these dudes as of yet.

And I do find it very suspect that the one time I did fight orcs was early on there, before even getting to Cyseal, and I was a) late to the party and didn’t start it and b) they had some human mage there who might have been pulling the strings.

I’m not eager to pick a fight with these guys.

Feminina:

We have also not yet fought orcs aside from that introductory battle. We’ve gone outside and just fought a bunch of undead. They were definitely bad guys in that you’re walking along and suddenly you see the word “FIGHT!” pop up, so I think in this case we don’t really have to ponder whether we’re jumping the gun or assuming hostility without evidence or whatever. The universe made us fight, so we’re fighting!

We’ve also talked to some undead who seemed OK, so, as you say, there’s not a uniform rule there. Wandering near some undead will prompt immediate combat, and some others are just hanging out. I’m not sure what the reasoning is there. Did you dig up all the dirt piles in the graveyard? Because yeah: some just chat, some immediately try to kill you, and there’s no predicting it.

Perhaps some logic will be revealed as we proceed, or perhaps (likely) it’s just a matter of sometimes a game needs a chat and sometimes a game needs a fight.

Butch:

Sometimes games do need a fight.

I did not dig up piles. Murphy has been so helpful!

Murphy’s the dog.

I’m not gonna kill Murphy.

Feminina:

Can’t you shoo him away somewhere so the undead don’t get him when they rise?

Or, you know, you could dig up the piles the are outside the wall…if he stays inside the wall, he should be OK.

There’s some combat XP in those piles! Plus a bit of loot. I mean, nothing you can’t live without, but loot is loot.

Butch:

No. He won’t leave the grave. Because even though it’s not his master, he seems to like the smell of rotten lamb chops, which he says over and over.

He’s done right by me, has ol’ Murphy.

On that, this game is rather vegetarian, gotta say. There’s meat, right? Lots of meat. And yet, you can talk to every animal. It’s like we’ve mentioned on things like Curious George going to a sausage cart. A little off.

Though there was that one time I was able to ask the cow nicely for milk. So it’s all relative.

Feminina:

I did notice that–if all these animals could be talking to me, how am I supposed to feel OK about eating them! Maybe that’s why I choose not to get Pet Pal. Because I do eat meat, if I have some and it’s the middle of a fight and I really need some hit points. I’m not that dedicated to my principles.

Maybe you can go back and dig up the graves later, when you’re many level higher and can easily defeat whatever emerges before it slaughters poor Murphy with a single blow.

Butch:

That’s why I remain deeply concerned about that chicken I ate when it was obviously trying to tell me something…before I had Pet Pal….

It’ll all be worth it when I meet the were-sheep.

Seriously.

Feminina:

And see, I let that chicken go, even though I didn’t know what it was saying, because I knew chickens COULD talk and I just thought “I’m not getting involved in this.” Then the cook was peeved, but perhaps someday I’ll run into that chicken once I can talk to it and it will share some valuable information.

Or maybe I’ll never see it again, but the entire legion will become disgruntled because they didn’t have chicken for dinner. It’s hard to say.

Butch:

Yeah, I knew something was up. But see, I was staying in character. Character. Role playing. Playing a role.

Hopefully, you’ll meet it and it’ll turn out it was a serial killer that was turned into a chicken or something and I was totally right.

Feminina:

I was playing a role! The role of someone who knows animals can talk and doesn’t want to get involved in their demise.

I mean, unless their demise is a result of my digging up some random grave. I own my part in that.

Butch:

So very ironic that the one animal you kill is the one who could’ve helped you.

Feminina:

I feel an Alanis Morissette song coming on.

Also, there are undead animals out there. They’re pretty nasty. I’ve killed a few of them.

Butch:

You just had to get that song in my head.

Maybe Murphy will come back and mess you up.

Feminina:

You started it!

And the undead boars will handle messing us up, no worries.

Butch:

You know, maybe that’s the way to deal with the guilt of eating sentient animals. They’ll be back! And all they’ll need is bones.

Feminina:

They’ll be back, but they’ll be in a very, very bad mood.

Butch:

Well, this got weird, didn’t it?

We started so well.

You know, if we ever do make T SHIRTs, the first one we make, and the most appropriate, should be “We started so well.”

 

Playing in the Face of Doom

Tags

, , , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for the existence of some Cyseal plot points in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Well, this’ll derail fast. I’m calling an early Friday. Mrs. McP has had early meetings all week, so we’re up at 4:45, and the news, and the kids, and the play….

Just….

Anyway, games.

So have you traveled around with the dude in the library yet? The grumpy assed wizard? I have not, but, given my extreme lack of magical ability, I’m tempted. He seems like such an asshole, though.

Speaking on the library, have you dealt with Victoria? I dealt with Victoria, but we might have been different. Cuz sometimes we’re different.

For example, I might figure out what happens when I equip an item called “Smelly panties” (which, when you find them, unlocks a trophy called “silky souvenir” that I will, unfortunately, have forever). They might look good on Wolgraff.

See? Told you we’d derail.

Feminina:

Ohmygod what.

No. No, we have not done that. Any of that. We wandered by the library because I needed to get a particular book for a thing, so I chatted with Victoria in passing, but we were on a mission trying to actually accomplish something, so we mostly just grabbed the book and left. Since I’m a wizard, rogue skills and extra fighting are more valuable to us, although it’s good to know where an extra spellcaster can be found.

Sooner or later we’re going to have to pick up all these people, just to make sure we get their quests, but…there’s time. We have plenty to do right now.

Also, speaking of Victoria and orcs, I think it came up in a previous message that you killed the orc that had been affected by the love potion? See, we didn’t, we just left her there…so we’ll see what comes of that. Maybe she’ll go on a murderous rampage and kill a crucial witness, and we’ll never solve the mystery!

Butch:

Wizard.

Victoria. You’ll get there. It’s a quest with a rather nasty old elf.

And I think you know what you were doing there. I read some jokes and plays and all of a sudden got a quest that had something about a head in the title, so….you mentioned a head…..

This guy in the library wasn’t very nice. Bit of an asshole, really. And he was all “But I suppose I can grace you with my company” or something and we were all “no, we’re good.”

Though I really could use a wizard.

But eventually. Cuz you just know there’s gonna be side quests with the NPCs. And those tend to be good in games.

Man, don’t we just have plenty to do? This game is just…well, not massive, but certainly chock full of stuff and people and all. I haven’t even left town, and I’ve done, like ten quests and have 15 more.

Oh, by the way, once I learned to filter out the completed quests, that list became SO much more helpful. Thanks for telling me how, game.

Ah! So the lovelorn guy liked you. Nice. Mine was sobbing when I left, which made me feel bad, but hey, blame rock paper scissors. We’ll see what happens. She likely will TRY to kill a witness and she’ll be all “Oh…they already killed the dog…well, my work here is done.”

Feminina:

Yeah, the lovelorn guy was psyched, although the other people in the area were less thrilled. His fellow soldier, and the barmaid or whatever were quite skeptical.

Yeah–jokes for the head, that’s the one. We ran through the library, “do you have any joke books wow nice outfit there Ms. Librarian great thanks bye!” Apparently orcs just naturally dress like that, because of their DNA or something.

Didn’t talk to the nasty elf, I don’t think. I’m sure we’ll be back.

Butch:

Hmm. His buddy was all “IF you ever need my help, I’ll do whatever I can,” which made him sound really useful until I forgot his name and couldn’t find him again. The price we pay for big games.

It’s a hell of an outfit, that standard orc thing.

There were lots of helpful books in the library! Moreso when I found all the cool forging shit behind that abandoned house!

The mean elf is all outside, just chillin’, then asks you to meet him at his room in the inn, which seemed a tad inappropriate, so I didn’t do it for a while, but then I did and there’s a cool quest and weighty choice and stuff.

Feminina:

Oh, THAT guy…I think we might have gotten as far as “meet me in my room” and then thought “well, we’ll certainly do that whenever we get around to it” and thereafter have thought no more upon it. Until now.

We’ve got people to talk to all over. Maybe since we heroically made it back alive from our last adventure outside the city (by defeating one angry burning skeleton, and then fleeing heroically when three more showed up), we’ll spend some time in town chatting next session.

Butch:

Yeah that guy. He has…..thoughts on Victoria.

Wait until you get Pet Pal. There’s SO many people…uh…you know..whatevers to talk to. Cats. Cats are fucking verbose, man.

This game just has so much. I haven’t even left Cyseal! And there’s a world out there, isn’t there? Like, this game doesn’t just take place in Cyseal, does it? There’s probably some other place with cats to talk to, isn’t there? Have you found one?

Feminina:

So far when we’ve gone outside the city we’ve battled zombies and skeletons and explored some abandoned houses. Talked to…not that many people, actually, because mostly it’s just zombies and skeletons. But there are things to explore and LOTS of map still blacked out, so yeah, I expect there are other places with people and cats to talk to. We have quests that lead out there, somewhere. It’s just extremely dangerous at the moment. The game definitely wants you to spend a lot of time in Cyseal first.

Butch:

LOTS of map, huh? Well, that’s good. Cuz I’ve decided I like this game. I do find myself looking forward to playing it, which is always a good sign.

Thing with being in Cyseal and not going out a killin’ is that XP seems kinda scarce. I got a big slug of it when I did the crime scene, but even when I think I’ve completed quests there doesn’t seem to be much. Except randomly I get, like, 180. Do you get XP just for surviving the day? Then it’s sorta like life. Going out, buying cheese, surviving the day.

So I’m still only on level 3. I keep thinking “Ok, I’ll just mop up these quests and then I’ll be stronger and THEN I’ll go out,” but that plan only works if you actually level up.

Maybe we’ll get a ton for solving the murder or something. Hopefully.

Cuz in addition to scarce XP, it also seems like a long while between levels. Usually, in games, levels come quickly. No way you play anything this long and be stuck on level three. Usually you’re way past that by the end of the tutorial.

So I dunno. Either there’ll be a big payout for solving the murder, which’ll be the game saying “Ok, NOW go out cuz you won’t die; thanks for doing what I wanted you to do first,” or we’re just supposed to have it be hard for a while.

Feminina:

Yeah, I think we’re also only 3 or 4. The things we ran into last night we thought “oh no, they’re LEVEL EIGHT! RUN!”

So yeah, maybe there’ll be a whole pile of XP when we finish the mystery. We got some for a couple of things we managed to finish, in addition to a bit for combat when we wandered out, so it may just be about actually focusing long enough to wrap up some stories.

Butch:

That must be it. Unless the end game boss is level 9. Ha.

Must be one of those game things where it wants you to do something right now, despite being open world.

“Well you COULD go that way….oh you’re going that way? DIE DIE DIE!!! Still wanna go that way? No? That’s better.”

Feminina:

“I mean, you’re free to go wherever you want–totally your choice whether to DIE DIE DIE!!!! or to come back and talk to all the interesting people we wrote so much witty dialogue for. Whatever you want! It’s a free gameworld!”

Butch:

Fallout 3 was the best at that. It was totally open world, as Bethesda games are, but there was one bit that really didn’t make sense until near the end, and it was ringed, I mean RINGED with deathclaws.

“Oh hey! Yeah, sure, you could go there now…but you really can’t go there now.”

Which I’m ok with. It makes narrative easier without so artificially restricting player freedom. I mean, within a game world, it’s totally believable that Deathclaws or zombies or whatever just DO live there. Give me that over MEA’s random force fields any day. Narrative requires some degree of restriction. When you don’t have that, you get Skyrim, which was so disappointing on the narrative front.

In other great news, I think I’m getting the flu. Headache in the AM, followed by bone tired fatigue a couple hours ago. That’s bad, right?

Feminina:

It’s true! Some places just ARE seething with deathclaws!

And yeah, that’s a good, workable solution to ‘open world but we don’t really want you to go over THERE right away.’

Oh man, not the flu. But no, those symptoms don’t sound good.

Uh…fluids?

Butch:

Great. Just great. I SO need the flu right now. Get behind on everything cuz weather, now this. I fell asleep for two damn hours this afternoon. Thank God for Busytown mysteries.

What other joys are in store? Can I still drink? It IS Early Friday, after all.

Feminina:

You’d probably better drink. Maybe you can kill it off!

When O’Jr. was first getting sick with the flu recently, I thought “I’d better eat ALL THIS CANDY now because maybe tomorrow I’ll be too nauseated to do it.” Priorities.

Butch:

I don’t want to be nauseated! I have a great dinner planned tonight! With wine!

Feminina:

DO IT.

Do it now BEFORE you’re nauseated!

O’Jr. was tired and listless for about a day before he was throwing up. You probably have time. Besides, you need to build up your strength, just in case you get sick.

Which you might not even. I mean, on the bright side, it could be a random cold.

Butch:

Before throwing up…..great.

I have SO MUCH TO DO THIS WEEKEND!

Let’s go with cold. And the antiseptic power of alcohol.

I got a shot, too!

Feminina:

You’re golden. KILL IT WITH BOOZE.

Butch:

Probably not. Cuz this year pretty much sucks so far.

Sore throat? That part of it?

Feminina:

He didn’t say much about his throat, except that sometimes he’d cough so hard it hurt his throat.

This could be an unrelated virus!

This is where we are with 2018: desperately rooting for an unrelated virus.

And maybe an average of, say, one school shooting per week instead of three? Too optimistic?

Butch:

I can’t decide if that means that 2018 is actually going better or worse than 2017. Which was also terrible in so many ways.

Nudity, dammit! Back to nudity on derailment days!

Phew. There.

Feminina:

Nudity! “Smelly underpants”! Bring it back to the beginning! Laughter in the face of doom!

Ugh. On that note…I’d say this year is not looking promising so far, but we can always hope. It’s early still.

Butch:

There ya go.

We just gotta play a game with more nudity. That simple.

I’m still hoping that picking underwear matters here. Cuz I gotta say, Scarlett’s pretty hot.

Even if Roderick is ridiculously jacked.

You know, I got an dialog option where they were a little flirty. It’s weird: I’ve mentioned in games that there have been times I’d romance myself (MEA, DAI). Here’s a game where I might be able to romance myself.

Weird.

Feminina:

You should totally romance yourself!

I haven’t noticed that yet, but there is that background shot where they’re holding hands? I think? Or else just standing so their hands overlap in a very hand-holding-suggestive manner. So I think it’s destiny.

Having gotten into a lot of combat, we’ve also run into some dialogue opportunities where we can either be nice or not (“wow, you need a LOT of healing! – you must suck at combat!” vs. “I’m happy to help you out whenever you get hurt fighting our battles!”) and we keep picking the nice options.

So we could wind up romancing. Art imitating life or whatever.

Wandering Aimlessly: The Game

Tags

, ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for early in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Ok, I don’t know how you’re doing all these side quests and getting into fights and stuff. Not that I don’t HAVE side quests; I do. Lots. Lots and lots. I even picked up a couple more yesterday! (getting Victoria’s amulet, which I’m not going to do because I do not advocate violence against librarians out of solidarity with my blogmate, and getting the mayor’s cat to fall in love with the tavern cat. You gotta get Pet Pal.)

But I’m not doing them because every time I take three steps I’m on top of something else in the “solve the murder” quest so I just do it. I’m making good progress on that. I stole the mortician’s ledger (Wolgraff is useful, he is), I visited the crime scene (which was either disappointing or BOY am I missing something….) that sort of thing.

Like you have to make a concerted effort to say “No, fuck this, I am walking right by all this murder stuff and going way the fuck over there to do that side quest.” At least it seems like you do. Is that what you’re doing or am I missing something?

Feminina:

I think our murder investigation is going a lot differently than yours. We’re not running into a ton of information on it, actually. (Should have talked to the dog, I guess.) We talked to the mortician, who gave us a list of people who could have swapped the sheep for the body–then we talked to all of them, but they all obviously denied it. Talked to Bertia about the sheep and she may have given us the key, or we may be reading too much into her words. We need to go talk to…somebody again.

But yeah, we also did not find the crime scene very informative. There didn’t seem to be any option to ‘investigate with special powers!’ or anything (I kept wanting to scan it with my focus), so…there wasn’t a lot there. Except a couple of paintings which we took and sold for a good price, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Anyway, our route to the truth seems to be a lot less direct than yours. We do NOT keep stumbling over things related to the murder, we keep stumbling over things related to other stuff, so that’s what we do. (Like the disembodied talking head!) I’d kind of like to find something related to the murder so we’d have some clue what we’re doing.

And we just walked out of the city at one point because Mr. O’ wanted to get in a fight. Just as the guards at the gate say, the land outside the city is crawling with combat opportunities! We went out at the gate where the guards were the least disapproving (“be careful!” instead of “I don’t know, are you SURE you want to do this? Maybe you’d rather…you know…get some more experience…here in the city…?”), and even there it’s no picnic.

Different approaches. Likely we will both, in the end, uncover the truth.

Butch:

Yeah, I’m not figuring that I’m gonna get much out of talking to people. It more the feeling that I SHOULD be doing stuff, really. I’m not that much farther along than you are, I guess, and I haven’t found a damn thing for the dog to smell. It’s just like “Oh I’ll walk over here, might as well go to the crime scene. Maybe I’ll check oh look the mortician’s office. So maybe I’ll just check on that other oh it’s the mayor.” It’s just all THERE, you know?

I spent so much time at the crime scene. Looking in the mirror (Maybe it’s magical! Nope), trying to figure out what the lady and rooster might mean (probably nothing), all that. I thought for sure the fact that the note “smelled of cologne” meant the dog would do something but no. Couldn’t get him to say a thing about it. Maybe I’ll try again. On my way to something else. Heh.

Talking head? I haven’t met the talking head! Just a bunch of cats. And a chicken that missed the dead sheep. Now I have to talk to all the damn animals!

Ah, the whole “I wanna fight shit” approach to RPGs. I’m not there yet cuz a) I dropped Madora and she was the tank and b) my gear sucks. Though I found a ring that FINALLY gives me a point in loremaster, so if I buy a looking glass that will let me learn that all this other stuff sucks slightly less.

We shall both find out the truth. And being different is kinda fun! This is so new!

Feminina:

Yeah, that’s pretty much what we’re doing…wandering around talking to the people we happen to run into.

“Oh, looks like Esmarelda’s here, we’re supposed to talk to her right?”
“Hey, we haven’t talked to Bertia here…”

Then when it seemed like we’d talked to everyone, we left the city to get in some fights. But last night we came back to talk to some more people (we didn’t even die! success!), so we’ll see if we make any progress.

Butch:

Ok, I just played. Two useful things:

1) a magnifying glass. Just identified eight things. My gear sucks somewhat less.

2) The dog. OH the dog. Ruled out one suspect completely. In a sort of disgusting way, but progress.

I also dealt with the librarian problem and told Bertia who stole her sheep.

Those portraits DID get a good price. That guy sells treasure maps, did you notice?

Feminina:

I did notice! And we can’t afford any of them right now. We have no money because we keep buying Resurrection scrolls. But that guy is on my list for when we get rich. Or maybe Wolgraff could just sneakily steal them? Hm. I’ll have to try.

I do appreciate that when people catch you stealing (which I have done mostly by accident so far), they just make you put it back, instead of the entire town suddenly coming after you with pitchforks and torches. I had enough of that in Fallout. “I only hit X because I was trying to talk to you but wasn’t looking in the right direction, not because I wanted to steal your mug! Stop trying to kill me!”

Also, as best I can tell, stolen items aren’t marked in red like in Fallout, so we can safely sell them, although I’m not positive about this because most of what I’ve stolen so far was food and we ate that in battle. (Ah, the hallowed tradition of downing a loaf of bread and a mug of orange juice in between spells!)

So attempting to steal things seems fairly risk-free. Theft: why not try it?

Anti-social T shirt!

Butch:

I didn’t buy them either cuz poor. I have to buy scrolls for every damn thing.

Items seem to be ok. I even went upstairs in Esmeralda’s place and stole three star pebbles cuz they looked important and her panties which is totally necessary cuz dog and came downstairs all “nothing to see here” and no one cared.

Now pickpocketing….

I tried to pickpocket the maid for the mayor’s key, cuz I wanted to get into his stuff to find something that smelled. Cuz dog. But I got caught and boy did that ever lead to guards and death.

Feminina:

Ooh, picking pockets is dangerous? Good to know. I will learn from your experience with guards and death. Maybe we’ll stick to seizing small items when no one is looking and selling them later.

I would also be interested to try stealing some armor and then wearing it around the person later to see if they noticed. “Hey, that’s the armor that mysteriously disappeared from my shop yesterday, right after you were here!”

One wonders. A game COULD be that smart! But is this one? Did they bother with that level of detail?

Butch:

Well, pickpocketing the Mayor’s maid in front of the mayor might not have been the best choice. I figured he’d never notice. He’s not that with it.

That would have to be a pretty smart game, that would. Maybe just for things with names, like “Madora’s armor.”

“That sure looks like my-“
“It isn’t.”
“It has my named engraved on it right-“
“No, it doesn’t.”

Feminina:

Wolgraff could pull that off. “Why are you even talking to me? I’m a bucket.”

Butch:

Well, he’d have to hand someone a note that said “Why are you even talking to me? I’m a bucket.”

I might start carrying around a stack of notes that say that.

Feminina:

Ha! True. And good idea. If nothing else, being handed that note would confuse someone enough that you might be able to dash off and disappear into the crowd before they could respond.

Butch:

Though the temptation to stay there and look at them silently and calmly just to see what THEY did would be strong.

Probably, they’d just back away. So problem solved.

Feminina:

Win-win!

I think we’ve discovered a new strategy for life.

Certainly for unwanted conversations on the T. And people who come to the door trying to sell items or ideas.

Butch:

We usually do discover something. We just usually wait until Friday.

This is my sit in car cuz play practice day. Joy.

That Zombie Could Have Been A Plot Point

Tags

, , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for plot points early in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

OK, today we’ll dish, cuz I did go to the graveyard, and found the mute, and if you can talk to animals we’ll have a lot to dish about.

Feminina:

So you got Wolgraff! Wolgraff is a walking death magnet, but handy to have around, with the lock-picking and noticing things. I can’t talk to animals! I need to pick up that skill.

Butch:

Shit, he is? Damn. I sent Madora back to the bar, not so much as a tactical decision but because I knew where’d she be if I wanted her back. Nothing worse than an NPC saying “Ok, come by if you need me” and not being able to find them again. As I have no idea where Bairdotr will go, and no idea where even the fuck I was when I found Wolgraff, out she went. And she’s a tank! She saved our bacon in that fight before Wolgraff! Though, fun fact, that whirlwind attack thingy is not the best idea against those scorchers.

YOU NEED THAT SKILL! DUDE! In the grave yard? Where the dog is trying to tell you something? He has stuff to tell, man! STUFF! I’m not entirely sure how you are continuing on the murder mystery quest without talking to the dog. But I haven’t talked to Esmerelda yet.

So get the skill.

Though now….there was a part where I walked into a kitchen and a chicken was all “bok bok bok” and I helped the chef kill the chicken. This was before I had the skill. Now, I have this sinking feeling that a) that skill would have changed my decision and b) that skill would have made me not want to eat the chicken……

Feminina:

Dude, I KNEW that dog had something to say! He had a name, and was making meaningful motions at the grave, and I was like, “that dog wants to talk”. But then he got killed by a zombie, and I couldn’t make a very detailed case for why we needed to resurrect a strange dog we couldn’t actually communicate with, so he’s still there, dead in the graveyard (appropriately enough, I suppose).

We dug up the grave anyway, because hey, we respect no rules regarding proper treatment of the dead. The universe is at stake or something! Then we talked to…people. And found out a little bit about…the thing. With the body.

We’re pursuing it, is the point. Slowly. Did the dog tell you about the thing with the body? Like, who was responsible for the thing with the body? Because that’s what we’re on at the moment.

No spoilers in case we decide to resurrect the dog!

Man, this is interesting, we’re doing things differently. Did one of your characters just start with the Pet Pal skill, or did you have to pick it intentionally? (‘Pet pal’…the cutesy names are a little much sometimes. Speaking of which, you liked ‘Call me Ismaeshell,’ but you HATED ‘call me Imshael’ in DAI. It’s the exact same joke! Why did you hate it there but like it here? Discuss!)

Don’t worry about Wolgraff, he’s going to do great. Having been warned by my terrible example, you’ll just be way more careful with him, and not walk him into flaming poisonous corpses all the time, and I’m sure he’ll be fine. You’re gonna love it.

Butch:

He got killed? Really? I haven’t seen any actual monsters in the city itself yet. Only outside, and then down the hole there. Maybe I should cover up that hole…..hmmm…..

I take it your body was still the missing sheep, right? That’s pretty much where I am. I talked to Bretia, told her the sheep was dead, and now I have a point of “Well, who stole the sheep?” which I imagine is linked, you know, who used said sheep to cover a murder.

I don’t know enough to spoil, as the dog hasn’t told me who did what, but he did offer his…special services regarding a dog’s sense of smell to the cause. So more of an investigatory avenue than actual information.

No, I picked the skill. As soon as I found the dog, I said “Shit…wanna talk to the dog….” and so, after the fight down the hole there, I leveled up and poof! Roderick suddenly learned how to talk to animals. Metagaming, me.

Ok, first, here the nautical theme fits. Second, Imashell… “I’m a shell?” that’s clever! It’s a literary pun!

And really the best jokes were really the lament of a shell. The snot nosed brats holding it to their ears, etc. We can relate.

I’ve been doing ok with the poisonous corpse thing. I was a tad surprised when that skeleton blew up (cost me a resurrection scroll, that), and I learned to stand farther back when tossing a box on a mine, but mostly my problems seem to be walking through markets. Four or five merchants selling stew? I’m gonna walk through all their stoves. Every. Time.

Feminina:

Yeah, the dog is dead. I…uh…dug up a random other grave (because you never know, maybe Jake’s body was accidentally in another grave instead…also maybe there’s loot!), and some irritable skeletons emerged. I dug up pretty much everything in that graveyard, and it turns out the sheep was about the only thing resting peacefully. And now I know. One can’t be too careful.

All right, I’m getting Pet Pal next level up. It’s too late for the discussion with the dog, but perhaps other information will be revealed.

Butch:

Well, a rat in a well asked me if I liked wells, and it told me it loved wells.

Yeah, this game certainly has a lot of “Yeah…you know how in some games it makes no sense that you can do, like, everything without any consequences? We fixed that.” It’s only a matter of time before I die cuz I stole a plate instead of talking to someone.

I’ve been really careful.

It’s why I have regrets about the chicken. I have very, very serious regrets about the chicken.

What happened to that poor, mourning woman when you let loose the zombies? I still couldn’t tell if she did anything except tell a sad story.

But you know, it’s pretty amazing that a game will close off a HUGE line of gameplay (like, my WHOLE QUEST right now is getting stuff for this dog, or at least the avenue open to me) if you do one random thing. Usually, a game won’t let that happen. The dog will strangely live or something.

Nice touch.

Feminina:

It is. Makes you wonder at the variety of branching paths there may be here. Hopefully it doesn’t get TOO clever, like our complaint with FONV that there were entire companions and companion quests you only found if you happened to be wearing the right trousers on the 5th day of the month or whatever. But certainly one respects the level of attention that goes into crafting stories that will make sense from several different angles.

Butch:

I think what bugged us about that in FONV was that we knew that these companions HAD quests, and they were just so damn opaque about giving them. This game, so far, has been pretty clear about pointing you in the general direction of what’s interesting to the NPCs. Bairdotr told you about Jareth or whoever in your first chat. Madora mentioned where she was stationed over and over and over and I’m just gonna guess that when I, inevitably, go there I should take her cuz quest. Wolfgraff hasn’t done that yet, but I’m guessing he will. I’ve been with him two minutes.

So I think it’ll be clear. It’ll just be up to us to remember to take Madora to wherever when we inevitably go there. Which we may well forget to do, but that’s on us, not the game. FONV was on the game, cuz there was just no way you could know “I have to stand next to this picture with Veronica” (which was one) without the internet.

What I think is interesting about the dog potentially dying is that you could miss/not get quests/companions, but it shows that there’s so much differentiation WITHIN the same quest. Usually, once you get a quest, there’s one real way to do it. Sure, there might be little paths that are marked as “optional,” but the path from “quest started” to “quest completed” is a pretty straight shot. Shit, we’ve done “solve the murder” quests in any number of games, and they’re usually “talk to this dude, who will tell you to go there, where you will find that thing, follow those tracks to that other thing” until you get to the truth. It’s almost never that you see a “solve the murder” quest that can be solved by things so different as spending god knows how long finding things for the dog to smell OR KILLING the damn dog and doing….whatever the fuck it is you’re doing. It isn’t that I got the “solve the murder” quest and you didn’t, it’s that we’re doing the same quest, getting to what I must believe is the same outcome, but doing it in completely different ways. Completely. That’s very unusual, and very cool.

Maybe we should do things differently more often. Good bloggage when we do.

Oh, who are we kidding?

Feminina:

True. Missing things we had no way of knowing were there is different from missing things because “oops, the dog is dead” or whatever. At least it’s pretty obvious that the dog is dead. It’s a lot harder to notice that “oops, here’s a random picture and Veronica’s not here.”

Ah, FONV. Some good times. Some weird choices. Some stories we will never know.

Butch:

Except I don’t think you ARE missing anything. You’re going to solve the murder. We HAVE to solve the murder. It’s a main quest. Your murderer will almost certainly be the same murderer as my murderer. Ok, you missed some amusing dog dialog (he was amusing. You would have liked him. You killed him. You monster), but storywise, we’re still in sync, I think. We must be. Cuz this isn’t some random missable side quest. It’s the main damn quest.

Feminina:

I didn’t kill him! The skeletons killed him! I just…dug up the skeletons, for unrelated reasons. It’s not my fault he tried to attack them.

And yeah, I didn’t mean I expect to miss something major, like “we will never know who the murderer was,” I just meant miss certain pieces of dialogue or whatever. We will never know the part of the story that the dog would have told us!

Which is obviously just a form of the usual things you miss when you choose one conversation option over another or whatever. You never know EVERYTHING that could possibly have happened, without playing multiple times, which we don’t have time for.

Butch:

He referred to everything as “awesome” and “not awesome.”

Jake was awesome. He played ball which was awesome. His wife? Smelled so not awesome, all like soap, but Jake was awesome.

Which was kinda awesome.

You totally killed him.

He tried to attack them? Good dog! Crazy dog, but good dog!

Feminina:

I know, when I first saw the dog and thought he was acting all significant, I totally thought it would be an option to recruit him to the party. Especially when he prepared to fight with us!

But then he instantly died, so I gave up that hope.

You couldn’t add him to the party, though? Hell with him, then.

Just…maybe be careful about digging up any more graves, at least until you’ve found out everything you want to know from the dog.

Butch:

I don’t think you could. I asked him if he could come with me, and he said that there were too many awesome smells and he’d get distracted.

Which was kinda awesome.

He even talked in this fast, distracted, doglike way. Well done.

And yeah, see, I figured out early that this wasn’t maybe the game to always be lootin’. This game penalizes you for wandering too close to the campfires!

Imagine that in Horizon.

Player: I’ll just save and HOLY CRAP I’M DEAD!
Merchant: ***nods sagely*** And that’s why we never light them.

Feminina:

Ha! Yes. It’s true, I’ve never actually burned myself on them, but wandering by those fires the characters are always commenting “wow, I’m toasty all right!” or whatever. And the ‘warmed’ condition, just so you know they’re warm. (There’s also a ‘wet’ condition, for when it’s raining. Obviously.)

Butch:

Yes, “warm.” I like that. And I like it’s easier to set warm people on fire. A nice perk of a cold day like today: harder to ignite me.

I also love the rather direct D&D rules way that spells will say things like “Rain. Geomancy. Will set targets to the wet condition.”

“I didn’t spray water everywhere, dad, I just set the kitchen to the wet condition.”

Feminina:

“It’ll be way harder to set on fire now! You should be pleased!”

I have this spell that makes things oily, which makes them much easier to set on fire. It’s pretty great. Unfortunately, I don’t have a spell that actually sets them on fire, which is disappointing. I need to work on that.

We’re also still working on targeting…the targeting is really finicky sometimes. It will be really hard to get the red crosshairs on someone, or with an area effect it will end up KIND OF in the area I meant it to be, but not exactly.

Especially area effects, actually. Be very wary of grenades and such. We find they often reach farther than the little outline suggests they will. I’ve set party members on fire even though it looked as if they should have been clear.

“Sorry guys! Still finding my range on this! Uh…here, have a water balloon to put that out.” I love that you can find water balloons to put out fires. I like to imagine us just lugging them around in our backpacks with all our other junk, magically not breaking until called for.

Butch:

I don’t have an actual wizard yet, so I’m lacking on the spells. My cleric is pretty sweet with the heals, but right now I’m scrolls or nothing. Maybe arrows? Can you light things on fire with fire arrows? That would be good.

Oh, dude, for enemies, just use R1/L1. Scrolls through the enemies. No need to use the cursor. Just puts the red crosshairs right on the dude you want to thwack.

Area effect…yeah. You just have to make sure the baddie you want to nuke is highlighted.

Yup. Did that with grenades. It’s hard, because there’s this instinct to charge, get everyone in close to thwack, then AFTER that you’re all “Oh, wait…poison grenade….well, that would’ve been smart two turns ago…”

HA! I was thinking that about balloons, too! Must be hard to fit them in there next to the daggers and arrows and lockpicks. Still, they are quite useful. And it’s a great image, tossing around water balloons in the middle of a fight.

On water, I tried to find a way to use a bucket to carry water to put out of a fire. Didn’t work. I put it in my skill bar, and was trying stuff….anyway, was playing a little a while ago and Junior was all “Why does Roderick have a bucket on his head?” Turns out you can equip buckets as helmets. Who knew?

Poor guy. Talking to cats with buckets on his head.

You HAVE to get the Pet Pal thing.

Feminina:

Ooh, scrolling through the portraits? OK, noted.

I have an attractive hood, but I’m thinking of putting a bucket on Wolgraff. Dude needs any kind of armor badly. Mr. O’ was looking at it for his character, but turned out to have a helmet that had a better stat for something or other.

You can light things on fire with fire arrows! It is awesome! Do it now!

Butch:

Oh, it is ON!

No no, when it’s all “Scarlett’s turn!” just hit R1 or L1 and it will highlight a bad guy. Then just keep on tapping until the bad guy you want is targeted. Done.

Haven’t fought with Wolgraff yet, but I did use him to pickpocket the Duke of Farol, which was pretty satisfying. Stealth! I always forget about stealth! Stealth is so key.

Feminina:

I haven’t pickpocketed (picked-pocket?), but I did steal a lot of food and dishes from the inn! It was great. Stealth rocks.

Somewhat literally, since when you’re successfully en-stealthed, it looks like there’s a big rock on top of you. I swear I wasn’t thinking about that terrible pun when I started. I just wound up here. I’m an innocent party in all this.

I’m not sure how it works in combat, though–when I tried having him sneak, with an eye towards a later backstab, it said successful, but then on the beginning of his next turn he was visible again and ‘stealth failed!’ when I tried to re-hide. Maybe it’s an opposed hide/spot check every turn.

Butch:

When I tried it outside the inn, I was near a bush, and it looked like he was carrying a bush with his feet moving and all, like in a cartoon. How he got away with the bush trick inside is beyond me.

Feminina:

Ha!–I’ve only ever seen him look like a big rock, including indoors. As you say, how he gets away with it in a busy inn is unclear, but I guess that’s why he’s the rogue.

Butch:

I love when I try to stealth and everyone makes it except Roderick.

Scarlett: “I am a rock!”
Bairdotr: “I am a tree!”
Wolgraf: “I am a bush!”
Roderick: “I am a-“
Bad guy: “I totally see you!”
Roderick: “Oh come on!”
Bad guy: “You’re right there! By the rock, tree and bush!”

Feminina:

You’d think the bucket would help with that. Throwing people off the scent and all.

Butch:

I guess “I’m a bucket” is a tough sell.

Feminina:

Wolgraff could pull it off. But that’s why he’s the rogue.

Let’s Get This Spacetime-Saving Party Started!

Tags

, , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for the beginning of Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

General thoughts!

The shell was awesome. Call me Ismaeshell. See, that’s exactly the kind of funny yet slightly precious shit that college kids come up with when playing D&D. Not Mr. O, of course. I’ll just…move on.

The rock paper scissors thing is…maybe not as good in single player. I get why they did it in split screen. Eventually, you have to move on, and, while it’s one thing when you’re playing with someone you know, you COULD play this with strangers, and you need SOMETHING. Alone, well, I liked it TOO much. Yes, it’s in character cuz my characters wouldn’t have agreed. But it took the weight out of the decision. In a game where you decide for the lone PC, you have to step back and ask yourself “Why did I do that?” That’s one of the things that makes such a unique art form. But this way, I don’t have to do that. I, Butch, didn’t decide. The game did. And so no weight. And I liked it TOO much because I didn’t know the “right” answer, so now any negative consequences aren’t on me. And that’s not so good from an artistic standpoint.

I stopped right when I got to Cyseal (MAN this game is a love letter to Baldur’s Gate….start a drinking game! Take a shot whenever I say that!), but the last thing I did was put out a fire on a boat. Now, that was, in a sense, timed. The boat was actively taking damage. Had I not saved the boat then, or close to then, it would have been destroyed and I couldn’t have saved the boat. I had to see it, notice it, and make a decision in the moment. And, considering that I could talk to, like, anyone about it and they obviously noticed, this makes me think there’s gonna be a lot of “Decide and live with it” parts of this game. And THAT I like, cuz that’s some good role playing.

I wonder if the rather lighthearted tone will continue. The shell, the cat, kinda amusing. If it does, will I get tired of it? If it doesn’t, will that be jarring? We shall see.

Feminina:

We missed the shell. Damn it! I thought we poked around the beach thoroughly! I found and picked up a collection of shells, which I later sold to some random trader. But not one that had a name.

Rock paper scissors seems like a weirder mechanic for PC negotiations than for NPCs. With NPCs, it’s basically a skill check (am I better at Reasoning than you?) such as we do all the time, only drawn out over several rounds. Skill checks against other players (or yourself) feel awkward. As you say, it takes the responsibility for the decision away from the player, which can be comforting (not my fault!), but is that comfort a good thing in a game?

We also saved the burning ship. I cast a “rain” spell on it. Speaking of which, what do you think of the vocabulary: “cast skill”?

I don’t like it! You cast spells! USE skills!

It’s the drinkable poultice all over again.

Butch:

It was awesome. Ishmaeshell. Forever marooned away from his place in the sea! “Do you know how many snot nosed brats have held me up to their ears to ‘hear the ocean?’ Yes, YES I can hear the ocean! And I want to return!”

So we chucked him back into the ocean and got some loot. It wasn’t really a quest so much as a humorous aside. But well done.

No, comfort is not the ideal. Especially when against a weighty decision. The one that came to mind was whether to save or kill the orc that had been hit with the love potion. I killed it, and left the poor guy standing there crying. Now, usually, as you know, I don’t LIKE to leave people standing there crying, and this would have bothered me (more than it did. Still bothered me), but because I could be all “Pfft, just lost the rock paper scissors thing” it lost some oomph.

This ‘cast skill’ is gonna bug you for months, won’t it?

Onward because played more:

So…does star stone mean anything to you? Cuz that happened…..

Got to the King Crab, got about 12498732984 side quests, laughed at the guy who said he was featured in “Sidequest Monthly,” didn’t join the Fabulous Five (yet) cuz they seemed weird, joined up with Madora (who I assume was the fighter you DIDN’T join up with….why not?) and was trucking towards the watch commander or whoever who’s permission I need to get to the crime scene when I found the hospital and…well….

Then I listened to a lot of dialog in…..that place…have you found that place?

Feminina:

Oh yeah, that happened. That was… Unexpected. So we have to save the fabric of spacetime? Low pressure stakes, here.

We didn’t add Madora to the party because we already had a couple of extra people. No room, man!

We also didn’t join the Fabulous Five because Mr O’ thought they seemed sketchy. I think we have to join at some point because one of the roughly 8,000 side quests involves they search for Tom, and the FF guy is the only one who seems to have heard of him. But that can wait. We have stuff to do.

Butch:

It certainly was unexpected. But you know? I kinda liked that they got that out there when they did. We’ve seen in fantasy games (if I have some more coffee I’ll think of some) where the first two acts are all “We’re just lootin’ and solvin’ murders” and THEN it’s “A HA! You’ve been, like, a GOD all along!” That’s silly. If you’re gonna have trippy space time shit, get it out there.

Now….here’s a question cuz I honestly don’t know…

So I was using Scarlett when that happened. Scarlett was the only one of my party that got dialog choices. So when the Weaver was all “You’re not in the tapestry,” was that JUST Scarlett? Or both of my characters? That was a tad confusing. How’d that play in co-op? Cuz if only one of you is the special timeless not in the tapestry one, that would matter. And if you both are like that then, what?

Only 8000 quests? Seems like more.

Still liking it?

Feminina:

Only one of us had dialogue options at that point, but when I (the one who hadn’t initially been speaking to the Weaver) wandered by later to see if she had anything else to say, she didn’t, but a conversation option for repeating all the stuff she already said was “so we’re not in the tapestry, what’s that about?” or something, suggesting it applies to both of us equally. Maybe even the entire party, I’m not sure, but at least both the PCs.

We have Bairdotr, and another guy we picked up in…a place. Have you been to the graveyard yet? We went there before the inn, because priorities. Graves before brews, man.

Also, it was the first one we wandered past.

Butch:

Huh. Weird. Because there’s nothing I’ve found that links the PCs to each other before the game starts but for being source hunters.

I only had Madora with me at that point, and she’s a source hunter…hmm.

Wait, dude….

You’ve played D&D. As has Mr. O. Quite a bit of it.

ALWAYS go to the tavern first.

ALWAYS!

Feminina:

Tavern schmavern. Graveyard! The graveyard is where the action is!

Presumably time and fate or whatever just doesn’t know what this particular party of weirdos is going to do.

And yeah, I agree, I kind of liked just getting it out there. “Check out our eight million perfectly normal side quests, and also SAVE THE UNIVERSE.”

Butch:

You can almost hear Sylens all “Really? We just told you something was eating all of time, but you go enjoy playing in the graveyard.”

Feminina:

We didn’t know about that yet! We went to the graveyard first thing. Always take a look at the graveyard first, that’s my rule. Take care of any undead problems right off the bat.

Butch:

But dude, you go to the tavern first to see if anyone will HIRE you to do what you were gonna do anyway. No one has to know that you will compulsively check off quests and kill things, paid or not. Make them think they need to fork over the loot!

What didn’t you know about? Did I spoil something?????

Feminina:

No, no, I just meant we didn’t know about the thing eating time when we went to the graveyard. We know now. It’s cool. But if Sylens were talking to us, we’d be all “we didn’t know that yet, dude!” Which is where I was going with that message.

Moving on.

Compulsive adventurers are compulsive. We can’t help ourselves.

Butch:

That would’ve been kinda awesome if Sylens had spoiled shit.

“How can you be at a hunting grounds when a rogue AI is threatening our very existence?”

“How can I be at a hunting grounds when what now?”

“Oh….um….you haven’t done that quest have you….”

“A WHAT NOW?”

“Just….”

“DUDE!”

“Sorry.”

You’re liking this game, yes? So far, good bloggage.

Feminina:

It’s fun. It feels like we’re still kind of fumbling along on some of the mechanics, but it’s fun.

Like, I think I’m controlling one character so I’m watching where she’s walking, but I’m actually controlling the other character and so I’m not watching where he’s walking and accidentally walk him directly into a fire and he burns to death. We have used way too many Resurrection spells on really, really stupid deaths so far.

Also, we’ve gotten pretty used to a certain amount of hand-holding in regards to quests. Like, where do we go next? Check the quest marker to find out! And this has no quest markers, so it’s just a matter of wandering around talking to everyone and looking at everything. Which is fine, and we’d do it anyway, but it’s a different approach. Not quite used to the total absence of hand-holding.

Butch:

Yeah, that is a bit of thing.

And I keep trying to click on the little icons on the map and, of course, this does nothing. (I gotta give you that, MEA. You nailed that particular feature.)

This game really is OLD school. Probably the most PC gamer’s game you’ve ever played. This is how it used to be, Femmy. We EARNED our XP! We NEVER knew quite where our characters were! It was the best!

A marriage that can withstand many stupid deaths is a marriage that will withstand the test of time.

Though maybe not home ownership.

Two line T SHIRT!!!!!!

Feminina:

“Back in my day, we walked characters directly into fires all the time! Sometimes on purpose!”

Those were good times. The Resurrection spells flowed like water.

We keep having to resurrect the rogue. He’s not the toughest character, as is typical of his class, and with me walking him into fires and stumbling into zombie infestations while he’s still injured from the last fight… Well, it’s not an easy life.

Butch:

What rogue? I need a rogue! And there wasn’t one at the bar! There’s ALWAYS one at the bar!

Heh. In Baldur’s Gate (TAKE A SHOT!) you could have six characters, and it was always good to have two that knew “raise dead” as a spell. As they were wimpy, they usually just kept using it on each other, which was probably not the goal of having two, but hey.

Nothing bonds two people together like taking turns raising each other from the dead.

WEIRD T SHIRT!!!!!!

Feminina:

You gotta go to the graveyard, man. I’m telling you. It’s where (some of) the action is.

That is probably a very true T shirt, in any world in which it’s possible. You probably develop a personal backlog of stories about the raisings, like “remember that time the frost demon froze me right as I raised you so you had to immediately raise me?” and “remember that time what’s his name the rogue needed to be raised but we were both too tired from raising each other?”

Butch:

It was usually that second one.

Cleric: “Ok, raise me. Thanks! Ok, now I’ll raise you! Ooo! This is fun!”

Fighter: “Rogue’s dead, little help….”

Druid: “Wait, it’s her turn! HA!”

Fighter: “Down to one hit point here….”

Cleric: “HA! SO much fun!”

Ghoul: “MRWAHSHALKJAHA!”

Druid: “Hey fighter…could you protect us from this ghoul? Fighter? Rogue? Anyone? Where are you…oh. Heh….uh…got any spell points left?”

Cleric: “No, you?”

Druid: “Uh….nope.”

Player: “And…..reload.”

See? You got this PCish gaming shit down cold, Femmy.

Feminina:

It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

Just don’t go rushing out to get a pc rig.

Heh.

Feminina:

No fear of that. We have a house now! We won’t have money for anything else!

New and Exciting Things

Tags

, , , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for character creations in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Jesus what a crazy morning. Gotta go to the store, but did about an hour and a half of divinity and I’m into it. Spent too long agonizing over character creation, as one does. Female shadow blade (and no, not because of the armor) and male cleric.

Every game should let you pick your underwear.

Decided I’m gonna play her as no nonsense, impatient, why am I doing this scut work and him as all “isn’t this great? Hey, maybe he could’ve flown! There’s magic everywhere! Isn’t this NEAT?” Maybe an unlikely romance will ensue.

I’m exploring the optional tomb place that’s really a tutorial cuz tutorial.

I really dig the conversation mechanic. Combat will take some getting used to.

So what are your characters?

Oh, and total coincidence my characters look like Morrigan and Geralt.

So far, into it.

Feminina:

Total coincidence!

We’re a female wizard (me), male knight with some nifty healing ability.

Plus a rogue and some sort of fighter we’ve picked up out in the world–you can find people to recruit pretty quickly once you get into the town. Which is the part right after the optional tutorial tomb area, which we obviously did because tutorial. And also because tomb, honestly. I mean, loot opportunities!

The combat does take a little getting used to, but works all right once you’re into it (very D&D!) and I think is in some ways preferable to real-time for a two-player game. That could get really confusing.

Butch:

Total, total coincidence. And total coincidence that I picked the voice that sounded the most like Morrigan. And Chloe.

I’m not ashamed.

Nice characters! I almost went knight. I was going to make her a snooty knight and him a dashing rogue, but that’s so been done.

I was intrigued that, in addition to the picking of underwear, which was awesome, you could make them both male or both female. Would they have the same voice? I’ll never know.

Indeed, loot. Cuz you don’t start with much, do you? I mean, c’mon order of the source hunters or whatever. Spring for some loot!

I did equip the underwear that seemed to come with my woman (I stayed with the default names, Scarlett and Roderick, cuz I can’t be bothered. I will use them in bloggage henceforth). Don’t know what it does. But other than that, yeah, man, gotta get some loot. Especially as things can break! That was a nasty surprise.

I’ve seen my kids do fights in things like LEGO and minecraft split screen and it’s insane and I hate it. I have no idea how folks do shooters and shit like that, but so many people do.

It took me some time to realize that when the ring around the baddie was red that meant I COULD attack. I would be standing right next to a baddie all “Why can’t I attack?” Usually red means “you can’t do this.” But once I got past that, not bad.

I really like the mechanic of using the environment, like oil and water and stuff, and using spells that alter the environment just so you can use it to your advantage. I figure when I have an actual party, this is gonna be fun.

Can you control the NPCs? Like in Dragon Age? And Baldur’s Gate which I wish you had played cuz this is, like, a love letter to Baldur’s Gate?

Feminina:

Yeah, the red meaning “OK, go!” is different. Gotta adapt to that.

I think two female (or two male) characters COULD have the same voice, but they wouldn’t have to. You could give one the regal voice and one the rogish voice or whatever. Assuming you didn’t WANT maximum character confusion. It would be kind of funny to just make them identical twins, though.

You can control the NPCs, yes. Just switch to them the same way you can switch from one of your PCs to the other…they’ll show up in portrait boxes under your PCs, and you can pick what they wear, carry, etc. just the way you do for the PCs.

Also, you can follow the time-honored tradition of making them carry all the loot you don’t have room for in your inventory. Good times.

Butch:

The voices are all the same actors though. I think. Weird. Must’ve been audio shopped. No way they read everything three times.

Ah, the portraits. I finally, finally got some characters right the first time, then noticed that, if there was a way to pick a portrait I missed it. The portraits I have look absolutely nothing like my characters, but I got the characters so just so that I’m gonna have to live with it.

Never perfect.

Was there a way to change portraits?

Feminina:

There was a way to change portraits, but even so they tended not to look very much like the actual character. I think there’s a selection of portraits the way there’s a selection of underpants (which, I agree, more games should let you pick! I chose the ones with stars, obviously), and you just look for one with a passing resemblance.

The one I have is only vaguely similar to the character I made. I look kind of sinister and gloating in it, where for the actual character I chose a wide-eyed, pigtailed look (the better to make my enemies underestimate me!). I like to imagine the portrait is a ‘Wanted’ poster of me based on the description of some terrified cultist.

Butch:

HA! Yeah, Scarlett, for some reason, has face paint in her portrait, and Roderick has a neck like a truck and black hair.

Ah, well.

What are your names?

I was SO proud of myself, as I usually have to restart the game two or three times to get it just so, and this time I nailed it! I was so happy. Then I looked at the portraits….

I went with the red underpants look. Classy, me.

 

Feminina:

Our names…uh…I think mine is Valena. I think that’s right. Mr. O’s is…I don’t remember.

So we changed them, but obviously not to anything with deep personal meaning.

Butch:

Ever since MEA called me “Sara,” I’ve decided to stick with the default. Cuz ya never know.

Do you think the underwear will ever be seen again? Or was it a character creation joke?

We shall see.

Feminina:

Ah, you’ve hit on a bit of a mystery there!

I assumed you’d be wearing them if you took everything else off. (If you can take everything else off? I haven’t tried, but can you ‘unequip’ all your clothes?)

However, you can specifically equip underwear, or at least I found some star-spangled underwear in my inventory that I was able to put on. They go in the ‘belt’ slot. They offer no special benefits, but I put them on anyway, obviously. This means that if I someday find an actual magical belt, and put it in that slot instead, I guess I’ll have to assume my character is choosing to go commando. That’s a little awkward, game.

As a further however, Mr. O’ couldn’t find any in his inventory, so maybe I just randomly found these underpants from a treasure chest and grabbed them without noticing because I grab everything (“loot first, evaluate loot later,” is my motto).

They might not even be the same underpants I selected during character creation (although if so, it’s odd that they had stars, like the ones I selected). Supporting this theory, there were ONLY underpants, no bra, even though the undergarments shown during character creation included both.

Like I said: a mystery.

Good thing it’s Friday. This discussion would seem out of place on some other, more sober day.

Butch:

Scarlet had those! Roderick did not. They were, like, “made with care” and had huge durability? I dunno. Scarlet doesn’t seem the type to go with sensible, durable underwear. Maybe she’ll give them to Roderick.

And they had stars, even though I went red.

Watch: it’ll cost you romance. You’ll equip them cuz they’re there, and when it’s time to get it on with your brooding armored love, he’ll see your durable underwear and get turned off.

Friday gonna Friday.

Feminina:

Aha! So it was a weird side ‘bonus’ for female characters? Odd. Very odd. But yeah, ‘made with care’ and ‘your mother always told you to get underpants that breathe’ or something.

Maybe it’s an oblique nod to chastity belts. “Put these on if you’re not a slut!”

Butch:

Well, grandma had to do something to counteract the really useless but good looking armor.

I’ll give them to Roderick.

Feminina:

Yeah! Make him wear them. Especially if he’s a starry eyed romantic. He probably wants to save it for marriage.

Butch:

Though what if they wind up together? That might wreck the mood.

“Oh Roderick! I have been waiting for this since….wait…are those…..? Oh…uh…. oh my….”