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Divinity: Original Sin — Spoilers for Hiberheim locations and sub-plots, and the Desdemona/lighthouse guy plot in Cyseal

Butch:

Ok, comparing notes time cuz I’m confused.

So went out from Icara’s prison there to try to cross the bridge to Boreas. Died. Lots. Lots and lots. Those fucking sentinels, man. So I did the thing that got me by them the last time: making Wolgraff invisible and sneaking past them. Didn’t fight them. Got to some barrier. Can’t open the barrier. Need a spell. Where’s the spell?

So I went looking for a spell.

My first thought was “Hey, maybe it’s in that castle thing over there!” so I trucked that way. Found another ice prison and broke it, and there was some dude named so and so the disembowler, and if you found him, we’ll talk about him, because I have thoughts. If you didn’t, we’ll wait, cuz I don’t want to spoil.

But I did that, then got to the castle thing. There was a guardian. I died lots and lots. But I got by it by either exploiting the game or being brilliant, can’t decide (have you gotten past that? Cuz if you haven’t, won’t spoil). Got back to the wishing well, but couldn’t do anything with that cuz I haven’t killed Boreas. He did offer me a wish for 2050 gold, but it was either “clear up the snow” or “clear up the stuff by the lava pits” and I couldn’t decide and didn’t want to spend the money so I didn’t do anything.

What I didn’t find was a spell.

So then I thought “Well, lava pits. What could go wrong?” So I went up that way, found a waypoint, fought some elementals, progress was slow, and eventually said “Oh what the fuck am I DOING? Why am I even HERE?” and saved and quit cuz I was pissed.

So I’m once again at a “The fuck am I supposed to be doing?” moment.

The fuck am I supposed to be doing? Do I have the spell already?

Feminina:

Have you been to the Elemental Forge? I think we got the spell to cross the barrier at the Elemental Forge. It’s…hm…northeast on the map, I think. Up a hill, fight some stuff, the usual. There’s a big stone door and a bunch of Immaculates. If you’ve already been there, you probably have the spell–it’s a kind of glowing paper thing, like the one we used to get through the barrier around the witch’s house.

It might be through the lava pits, actually–are those in the upper right corner of the map? If so, keep going, you’re on the right track!

And yeah, those sentinels at the castle are nasty. I think we sneaked by a couple of them too, although there was also some fighting.

The Guardian! We so sneaked by him. We did this whole thing where Wolgraff went up and lured him away and we sneaked up the steps behind him, intending to have Wolgraff teleport to us later, only Wolgraff died, so I had to sneak out and resurrect him and have him run after us…it was exciting.

And then it turned out that we found the wishing well, as you did, but it was before we’d been to Boreas, so we also couldn’t help him, so it was kind of all for no point. I charmed or reasoned the well into giving us a wish for free and we picked ‘stop the volcanoes’ (our logic was that the storm was keeping the Immaculates hunkered down, since we met a couple of camps of them that were complaining vociferously about it) but I have to say we still saw an awful lot of lava around afterwards, so I’m not sure it actually did anything. Though your lava pits may be worse than ours! We need to go back now that we’ve dealt with Boreas and see if we can free him this time.

The Guardian is still alive, so we’d have to sneak by it again, but we could also just go back to Cyseal and have the brother well transport us. Might be easier. That Guardian was TOUGH. We could damage it, and it wasn’t actually hurting us that badly, it was just taking SO. VERY. LONG. to make any kind of dent in its vast hit point reservoir.

And we did not meet so and so the disembowler, I don’t think. Doesn’t ring a bell, anyway. And normally you’d think meeting someone by that particular name would be the kind of thing one would remember, but in the life of an adventurer, I can only be moderately certain my failure to recall the name means we actually didn’t encounter him.

P.S. I see the internet also suggests you can get past the barrier by throwing one of the teleportation pyramids over and then teleporting to it…we didn’t try that, I guess just assuming that a barrier would keep everything out (plus we’d already been to the Elemental Forge, so why would we?), but maybe it was only designed to stop creatures, and not inanimate objects. Tricky!

So if you’re sick of the lava pits, you could try that. You know, if you don’t mind cheating off the internet’s test.

Butch:

The hooza wooza what now? Uh….no. I think. I’d probably know that.

See, dude, the whole “comparing notes” thing only really matters if you read the notes. You said “Yeah, we found Icara first, then we went to Boreas.” You did NOT say “Yeah, we found Icara first, then went all the fuck up to the corner of the map, killed a bunch of dudes, went through a big assed stone door, found something called the Elemental Forge, then went to Boreas.”

Which…see…kinda MATTERED.

Ah, see, what I did with the Guardian was similar, only I had Wolgraff go in alone, spring the trap that made lava everywhere, then teleport over said lava, and go “Neener neener” at the guardian until it lumbered up towards Wolgraff, thus stepping in lava and dying instantly. I don’t know if that was what the game wanted me to do, but that’s how it went down. A good DM is always prepared for smart players, so I don’t feel too guilty.

Well, at least my guardian is dead. Sigh.

Now I gave you the answer if you want to kill it. Well, at least we’re trading answers.

And yeah, you’d probably have remembered a guy who seemed to equate disembowling young women with sex. He was memorable. Name or no. And it wasn’t so much the dude that led to interesting themeage, so much as our reaction to it, and, moreover, the snow wardens reaction. THAT was interesting. Go find. He’s by the castle. Right near the castle.

Also…I’ve shared my theories re the wardens. What do you make of the fact that when you sneak in Hiberheim you become a snowman? Not a bush or a bucket, but a snowman? If I’m right and these are “doctor” figures, that’s interesting. Shit, even if I’m not right, this is the first time we’ve “hidden” as a monster, not as an inanimate object.

Feminina:

Well, yeah, but…spoilers! I mean, if I just told you “yeah, we found the witch, and then we went exploring all over creation and found an elemental forge and eventually went back to Boreas,” then I’m spoiling possible surprises.

But I apologize if I made “found witch, went to Boreas” sound more immediate than it was. I am pretty much always reading “magpied a bunch” between my own lines, so I didn’t mean to suggest that one thing necessarily followed instantly on the heels of the other, just that we did both those things in that order.

I just ASSUMED that obviously one would magpie all over creation in between, because…there’s all that creation waiting to be magpied! And Boreas sounded like the kind of thing we could wait a while on to make sure we were all tough. Still, my bad. Next time I’ll say “magpied a bunch, fought some stuff” in between the steps.

Although clearly we didn’t magpie ENOUGH since we missed this disemboweler fellow. Who sounds like a real winner.

Actually, you know what, I think we found his crystal, but we had been told that Boreas had imprisoned all the worst things in the kingdom in those and we were kind of short on scrolls and potions at the time, so we said “nah,” didn’t break it, and planned to come back later. And then didn’t. But we did find one of those crystals like Icara was in, out there in the snow, so I bet that was him. We’ll get him next time we’re there.

Also, I don’t think we ever sneaked in Hiberheim, so I didn’t even know you looked like a snowman. Interesting. I always figured sneaking made you look like something innocuous, which the snowmen in Hiberheim are not, so that’s weird.

Unless maybe they’re USUALLY innocuous, but have gone mad along with Boreas? Would we still look like a bush if we were sneaking in part of the world where bushes were carnivorous? Hm.

Butch:

You don’t look innocuous. You look like a snarling, demented snowman. Which, again, must’ve been intentional, cuz it’s sinister.

And as for the “gone mad,” go find the serial killer nutcase and listen to the snowmen. They’re…not unreasonable.

As for spoilers, well, a “yeah…you might not want to go right there and waste half an hour dying” could’ve helped. Just sayin’.

In your defense, I know you well enough to have assumed you magpied. My bad.

Ah, see, the first one of those I broke contained the very reasonable sounding elemental who gave us the helpful tip. So I figured that these crystals contained innocent prisoners, freedom fighters, nice, tip giving good guys who ran afoul of the evil king and his creepy snowmen. It didn’t think I’d find someone terribly evil who ran afoul of the evil king and his snowmen.

Which is a nice twist! Usually, bad king bad guy is bad to good guys! That’s how you know he’s bad! You don’t often see bad king bad guy being bad to…you know…OTHER bad guys in a perfectly justifiable way.

And the way sex was portrayed in a game called Original Sin was…hmm. Go do it. It’s…interesting. And themey.

Feminina:

That is a good twist, that the people imprisoned by the evil ruler may include other evil people, and not just the righteous and unjustly held. Also interesting: why did we just assume that was true, and not break the crystal?

Because you’re right, in a lot of stories, anyone you run across who’s in prison under an evil regime should be freed. Yet we somehow decided that Boreas probably had a good reason to lock people up, even though everyone we met said he was horribly cruel and awful, and so we avoided letting them out.

I think it must be because of who told us…I’m trying to remember who told us that the worst criminals were imprisoned in crystals. An animal, maybe? Arhu?

I seem to recall that it was someone who was no fan of Boreas, which I think is why we were inclined to believe them. (Although, as your helpful elemental proves, it’s not ALWAYS true.) If Boreas or his henchmen said “these are the most terrible criminals, don’t mess with those crystals,” we would have disbelieved, but someone who was opposed to the king was also concerned about the badness of the prisoners, which I think must have been what convinced us.

Hm.

Butch:

Ah, see, I met the imprisoned elemental who said he was fighting for equality. Now I’m nervous. I just sorta took that at face value, because, well, bad guys lock up good guys. But considering he told me to free everyone, I am now officially nervous. Especially as he just said he was going to some other plane, not that he was going to keep fighting the good fight.

And icky sexual violence serial killer…he helped me against the snowmen, then asked me for the rift spell so he could go back to Cyseal. I could have said “Yeah, sure, bye, please don’t kill me,” but hell no. So I said no and he attacked me and I killed him.

But now I’m worried that letting that elemental go fight the good fight was a mistake. Hmm.

I doubt it was Arhu. Arhu said no such thing to me.

My elemental was no fan of Boreas, but he wanted everyone out.

Go back and free him. Or, if not, tell me you won’t. Cuz what the snowmen did was very, very interesting. I’ll share if you’re not going back.

Feminina:

Oh no, we’ll totally go back and check out the snowmen, so we’ll crack open the crystals too. We have to go back to Hiberheim for the wishing well anyway. No spoilers. We’ll get there eventually.

Also!–we were back in Silverglen and I remembered what you said about Ruby, so I paid Ramon for his time.

We went up to his room, he said I should send Wolgraff away (fair) and strip down, so I did, and then he said I was a source hunter (true) looking for the Conduit (true) and had to die because I would prevent her glorious powers or whatever, and he attacked me while I was standing there in my underwear.

Fortunately Wolgraff was right outside and was able to quickly pick the lock and get in to help me (because while Ramon was not a very tough fighter, he had a silencing skill that prevented me from using any spells, and I had no weapons, so I was just punching at him and not doing much damage), so no harm was done.

But that’s what Ramon’s deal is. Ruby may have been more fun.

Butch:

Oh that little tool! I hope that’s not the only time we see underwear. Ha.

But, we talked on Ruby and religion, how we assumed that religion meant they gave up casual sex but really they gave up stories and thought and art. I wonder how Ramon fits into that metaphor. He made you THINK you were getting sex, got you that far, then got all religious. What do you make of that?

Cuz Ruby never even went there. She didn’t say all “Take your clothes off…now HA! Fooled you!” She did what she said. Sat you down, gave you a piece of tale. Period.

So I wonder how that matches. The religious guy was the one that a) tried to fool you, b) lied (cuz didn’t he say he didn’t like Immaculates before you went up?) and c) tried to kill you. The “whore” was honest. All along.

Hmm.

Feminina:

Oh, and forgot to say, but about the Guardian, nah, you should definitely not feel guilty. That was totally within the spirit of the game! Go with brilliant.

Interesting that the elemental told you to free everyone and then left. Hm. There may be an agenda there. But oh well! It still could have had a point, in that elementals are in fact suffering under Boreas’ rule.

Interesting also with Ramon and Ruby and being fooled, we could think of it as Ramon having fooled us — he really did offer sex, or at least some sort of sensual massage or the like, but then tried to kill us instead — but with Ruby we fooled ourselves, because as you noted, she really does offer “a piece of tale,” and one could argue it’s on us if we miss that or assume it’s a typo.

Although that does cut Ruby a fair bit of slack: in real life it’s pretty unfair to assume everyone is going to be able to read your subtitles, so while she may have been technically honest, I’m still of the opinion that her promotional spiel was at least highly misleading, and likely intentionally so.

Though I suppose she could be just that naive, and perhaps that’s how we’re meant to read it: that her flirtatious pitches are completely innocent. Sometimes we must accept implausibilities for the sake of a joke and/or some themes.

Butch:

I shall not spoil. Except…not that you do anyway…but keep Blasto and Grigio away, like, far away, before you go there.

I’m going to go with brilliant! Cuz I did it on purpose! This wasn’t one of those “AIEE! WHAT DO I DO oh I won” things. This was a plan! So I’m brilliant.

And they may well be suffering….but he came out all freedom fighter (“I was fighting for justice and he imprisoned me!”) and then he was all “ok bye.” And serial killer dude (this isn’t really a spoiler) wasn’t an elemental. So this wasn’t a “Free all elementals! Even the bad ones! Elemental unity!” It was “Free ’em all ok bye.”

Hmm.

But wait, Ramon was never going to give you sex. He wasn’t all “Ok..now get ready and WAIT YOU’RE A SOURCE HUNTER?!?!?!” It was all a trap to get you unarmed and naked. Ruby gave us exactly what she said she would, Ramon never intended to give us what he said he would.

Honest is honest, dude. She was, Ramon wasn’t.

And, well…wait.

Here we (well, you) are, judging Ruby because she was flirtatious. You are! “It’s implausible she’s that naive, it was highly misleading, likely intentionally so.” Isn’t that, well, the sort of thing traditionally religious people do? “She’s sexual, so she must be wise in the ways on the world and likely dishonest.” Why? Some people are just flirty. Doesn’t make them them liars (she wasn’t) or thieves (she wasn’t).

Indeed, the two flirty women we’ve met (Ruby and Esmerelda) we were led to think were “bad” and they weren’t. Esmerelda didn’t do it. Ruby did what she said. And yet, our initial impressions (or at least mine) were negative. “Oh, look. A hooker.” “Man, really? Flirting with that guy when your husband just died?” But they were honest and innocent in the end.

Well…hmm. Looking through that lens, there IS one other flirty woman I’ve met: Scarlett. Wonder how that fits in….

Feminina:

Well, no, he was never going to give US sex, but presumably he doesn’t try to kill everyone who attempts to purchase his services, so I assumed that he might genuinely offer sex to somebody. Although it’s certainly true, that, like Ruby’s, his usual services may not actually have involved sex. Maybe he normally just read to people too, except when they’re source hunters and must be stopped before they can bother the Conduit.

And I’m not really judging Ruby, whose scam I find amusing, but come on: if you’re selling “a piece of tale,” which is not a common turn of phrase at all, you’ve either naively and fortuitously come up with a weird, obscure way to talk about storytelling OR you’re intentionally playing on the fact that “a piece of tail,” which IS a common turn of phrase, customarily refers to sex.

Of course, in a totally foreign fantasy world, common turns of phrase would be different, so one could argue that “piece of tale” IS quite ordinary and understandable as a reference to storytelling, but given that the player has no way to know this, the writers of the game, even if not Ruby the character, are obviously working with the fact that their players are a lot more likely to interpret the dialogue one way than the other. I’m not judging Ruby: I’m judging them.

Also, I’m not sure we were led to think Ruby was BAD, exactly. Esmeralda, yes, she was accused of murdering her husband and seemed at best pretty cavalier about his demise, so I’ll buy your argument that her flirtiness was linked to a suspicion of her general character (which as you say turned out to be unwarranted), but Ruby…I mean, yeah, I thought she was a hooker, but I didn’t assume that meant she was a bad person. She seemed perfectly pleasant.

Butch:

Fair point. But we must judge through the lens of what we are given in the narrative.

Except the player is MORE at fault than the character. It did say “piece of TALE.” There is was, spelled out. We didn’t HEAR it. We read it. Scarlett HEARD it. We were the ones in position to know she meant Tale instead of Tail because we saw it written down. We were ready to call it a typo simply because the “whore” said it.

Fair about Ruby not being presented as evil. They were assumed to be different brands of sinners.

Except…we do know that Esmerelda was an adulteress. THAT we know. For all we know, Ruby’s a virgin, and we totally misjudged her. Esmerelda? She’s not a murderer, true, but we DO know she did involve in a deadly sin (adultery is a deadly sin, right? I think so. It’s bad, whatever it is). I have her panties to prove it! (Eww.) So her flirtiness was tied to a judgment of her character, but WAS it unwarranted? Are we ok saying “Well, she wasn’t a murderer, so she must’ve been a good person?” Cuz she was sleeping around on her husband. Ruby, we thought she was a whore and she wasn’t, so we say “We were wrong, she was GOOD, not a ‘sinner.'” Esmerelda, we fell into a trap of saying “We were wrong, she wasn’t a murderer, ergo she was GOOD not a ‘sinner.'” BUT SHE WAS! And we forgave it or ignored it because she wasn’t the SINNER WE THOUGHT SHE WAS, even though she wasn’t a very good person, at least in the wife sense.

Which is an interesting indictment on how we…well…indict.

Good stuff.

Feminina:

Adultery is forbidden in the Ten Commandments (7 or 8, I think? could obviously look it up, but meh), but is not one of the Seven Deadly Sins, which if I recall are commonly considered to be anger, greed, envy, gluttony, lust, pride and sloth.

So Esmeralda is probably guilty of lust, unless she’s just sleeping with a ton of guys out of low self esteem or something. We don’t know her story, man!

Also, I think it’s not so much that I learned she wasn’t a murderer and decided she was therefore good, as that I learned she wasn’t a murderer and therefore didn’t care anymore.

I mean, Jake’s murder was my quest, right? Who his wife sleeps with besides him is between her and those people–and obviously him, if he were still alive, but since he’s not I don’t owe him any worry about his widow’s behavior. If it’s nothing to do with the murder, it’s no concern of mine.

Unless he comes back as a vengeful ghost and gives me a quest about it.

I’m not here to be bothered about other peoples’ sins unless there’s loot and/or XP in it for me! I have enough sins of my own to worry about.

OH!–speaking of vengeful ghosts! We went back to the lighthouse a while back. Told Desdemona she didn’t have to forgive what’s his name, and so she didn’t. Tragic ending!

And yet, I really didn’t feel it was my business to tell someone they had to forgive the unreasonably jealous spouse who intentionally caused their death, as well as the deaths of dozens of other people. Especially because it wasn’t that she was torn, like “I still love him but I’m so mad!” She was very specifically angry: “part of me is upset and part of me is completely enraged!” Sounds like you’ve made your decision, lady. Go with that. Even though he did seem very sorry about it.

So I guess I WILL judge people if there’s death involved.

Butch:

Ah. I knew adultery was bad for some reason.

And before you get all spiritual, the reason you know that was from the Brad Pitt movie, wasn’t it?

True that Esmerelda’s non-murder conduct is no concern of mine.

“Unless he comes back as a vengeful ghost and gives me a quest about it.”

T SHIRT!

“I’m not here to be bothered about other peoples’ sins unless there’s loot and/or XP in it for me! I have enough sins of my own to worry about.”

And, again, T SHIRT!!

By the way, how are we coping with the fact that the murder was our quest? We solved it. Wasn’t there some little dialog about that between Scarlett and Roderick? I wonder what would have happened if we both picked “Yeah, what are we doing? We’re done.” Credits? Cuz that would’ve been awesome.

So what happened with Desdemona? Cuz my two forgave each other. I guess because of me. I had a hand in that, right? But those two in my game went into the light hand in hand. And were very happy! So what happened for you?

Feminina:

On the contrary! I knew the sins long before that movie, which I never even saw all the way through. I don’t need no Brad Pitt to teach ME about sinnin.’

There was a list of them in a big dictionary or something that we had, and I memorized them as a teenager. I was into memorizing that arcane stuff.

I worked on the periodic table for weeks in college, but never could get further than xenon. It did keep me from focusing on my actual classwork, though, so that’s…something.

Butch:

Why doesn’t this surprise me?

In your defense, it’s far easier to memorize seven sins than, like, 108 elements (or so). And Xenon is the coolest one, so no need to continue.

Feminina:

You’re right! Xenon is the coolest, and that’s totally why I stopped there. Thanks for that spin: you’re a true friend.

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