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Spoilers for Hunter’s Edge and some other Phantom Forest locations in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

Well, levels still matter.

Got to level 17 in Hunter’s Edge there, fighting side by side with friendly maniacs. And, upon returning to the phantom forest last night, that fight with the zombies and shit that kept killing me was cake. Cake, I say! Maybe it was the gear, but there was certainly a difference.

XP. You always get it when you don’t need it.

T SHIRT!!!

Anyway, did that, talked to a bunch of creepy assed tree people, got into a fight with a bunch of ghostly poachers who I WOULD have beat if I hadn’t lost track of their damn boar, and if they hadn’t been clued into the rule that if Scarlett and Roderick both die I lose (SHOOT BAIRDOTR FOR FUCK’S SAKE!). So I skirted around them upon reloading, found the Cassandra temple thingy there, it tells me I can’t get it unless I’m dead, and I’m not dead, and all that. So I putzed around trying to find a trick and found no trick. At least I disabled all the sentries so I don’t have to listen to them being all “INTRUDER SPIED!” even though I disabled their damn lava things.

And then I called it a day and made dinner.

Did I miss a trick? Have you gotten in there? Cuz I dunno.

I’m curious about this, you see. You know that I’m still going with “death” being “cured.” (I so wish you had done Jahan’s deal!) “Death” means “getting sane.” So having to be “dead?” Hmm.

Anyway, couldn’t figure it out last night. You?

Feminina:

We were just puttering around the Phantom Forest fighting those ghosts yesterday! Against all odds, are we back in the same place at the same time?

We’ve only poked around the edges of the temple as well. We’re kind of thinking that the rune stone we got from Balberith’s corpse will allow us to enter even though we’re not dead (the spirit made it sound as if that were the case), but we haven’t found a way in yet either, so we haven’t actually tried that out.

Did you meet Cassandra herself?

Butch:

Ah, man! I still haven’t killed Barbereth! Just heard Jahan’s monologue and died. He’s level 19! He was what got me the “You best flee” prompt.

I don’t think this was the main source temple thingy. This was just a little square bit with four sentinels with lava who were easy to get by, and a lever that didn’t do much cuz I’m not dead. I got the sense from the rune stone thingy was to get into the main, end game, meet Leandra source temple. This seems to be the Cassandra side quest bit. Or something. It certainly doesn’t LOOK all main endgame etc.

And no, I have not met Cassandra herself. I sorta thought she’d be past this “gotta be dead” lever. She isn’t?

Must poke around more.

If you’re at that square, sentinel lever place, we are standing in exactly the same spot.

No. Way.

Feminina:

OK, we’re not EXACTLY there. We’re around the corner from that wall where there’s a big weird-looking statue made of branches or something, and if you step on the trapped panels in the floor around it you instantly burn to ash.

I accidentally discovered a trick for that, if you need any spoilery mechanical tips.

Oh, and yeah, good point, this isn’t the end-game temple, is it? And that IS the one the rune stone was about. Hm. So we have to figure out how to get into a place we have to be dead to get into.

My first thought was to summon an undead soldier and send him in, but they last such a short time outside of combat (or inside of combat, but it seems longer inside). Unlikely we’d have time to send one in to do…whatever.

Maybe Jahan is technically dead and we can send him in?

Maybe WE’RE technically dead and can walk in ourselves but will have to leave our companions. I mean, we know there’s a lot that’s weird about the PCs. Maybe we’re not actually alive, strictly speaking.

Hm. First we’ve got to find the door.

Butch:

That we do. Indeed, the log said “This puts us in a bit of a pickle….” Yes, yes it does.

HA! I did that, too! Didn’t work. I even had Bairdotr stand right by the lever, and pull it right away, and nada. Anyway, I’m not sure what I’d’ve done. Can’t give him the pyramid.

Oooo! Didn’t think of Jahan.

And on Jahan and pyramids, forgot to tell you: He did NOT like the pyramids. He got ALL about demons and that’s demon shit (paraphrasing) and it was evil and all sorts of shit. Which was kinda surprising. Like, dude, they haven’t given me any trouble….they’re just a game mechanic, right?

But, well, I got the sense that the circle there with the lever WAS the door. Cuz it was when I pulled the lever that a) all the dead stuff on top of it disappeared and b) Scarlett was all “I guess I have to be dead” (paraphrasing) and the log updated. So I think we have to be standing there, pull the lever, while, somehow, dead.

It’s that last bit that’s tricky…..

And where you are… Yeah. Uh….haven’t found that. At all.

But I can’t wait. Ash. Great.

Do they also annoyingly say “INTRUDER SPIED” over and over?

Feminina:

Miraculously, no–this one does not say that. But it’s right around in that same area. You’ll find it soon. We’re probably about 50 feet apart, in-game.

We should make our characters wave. “Hi alternate selves!”

Butch:

That would be kinda awesome. Your Scarlett would be all “I’m SO much hotter in his game” and she’d be sad.

That INTRUDER SPIED stuff was both annoying and silly once I disarmed the traps. Then they just kept looking at me, sternly saying that, and doing nothing. “Yeah, yeah. I see you seeing me! You can stop now!”

Feminina:

Ah, see, I only know we have to be dead because one of the tree corpses said so. Also someone else that we ran into that you’ll undoubtedly run into soon enough.

We haven’t disarmed the lava yet…we walked past it when we first got to the Phantom Forest, went around, talked to people, and were on our way back to check out the lava steps again when we got to this trap-floor branch-statue place first.

But it is right around the corner. We’ll be there soon.

Butch:

Ah. Well, spoiler. You have to be dead. And there’s a lever.

One of the great mysteries: Remember WAAAAAAY back in that cave? The levers and the pipes? In Cyseal?

We’ll never know.

Feminina:

Levers! You have spoiled the discovery of the lever! That’s it, I’m not playing this game anymore.

Butch:

It’s quite a lever.

You can pull it.

Feminina:

Oh, well, if you can PULL it…fine, I’ll keep playing.

Butch:

Best kind of lever, really.

There’s even a couple of buttons. You can push those.

Feminina:

Amazing! I’m so there!

Butch:

If Wolgraff could talk, he’d probably be saying “Like, guys, can one of you learn the invisibility trick? I mean, happy to do it, but it’s kinda stressful, all this ‘get past the deadly lava trap before it counts down from five.’ I have other skills, you know.”

To which Scarlett would say “Dude, until you learn not to drive your bomb exoskeleton in such a way that it doesn’t draw an attack of opportunity when it’s right next to all of us, we’ll talk about your other skills. In the meantime, get in there.”

Feminina:

Yeah, that bomb skeleton is an awesome but dangerous trick. It pops into existence so CLOSE! We’ve all been burned more than once by it getting hit while it was still right next to us.

But when it works out, it’s so satisfying!

Bomb toddles up to some monster, stands there invitingly. Monster hits it. BOOM.

Is there anything more delightful?

I actually have the invisibility trick, but Wolgraff’s lasts longer, so it’s still on him.

Butch:

Plus, the little laugh it makes is truly, truly awesome. Such a wonderful sound effect. You generally don’t notice that sort of thing, but isn’t that just perfect?

Feminina:

Uh…probably? I hadn’t noticed.

You know me so well.

Butch:

That insane “Hee hee. hee hee hee.”

Frankly, it’s how I feel inside when using the thing vocalized.

Feminina:

Oh right, that. Just its normal noise. I thought maybe I’d missed some specific “I’m exploding now!” noise.

I wouldn’t be surprised. Missing noises is what I do.

Butch:

Well, played some.

Met Cassandra, found the mute boar that made Wolgraff all “MY QUEST!” Did you meet him? Killed a couple of void demons which made me feel good about myself. Didn’t kill the ghost poachers which didn’t make me feel good about myself. Discovered a waypoint so at least I can go shopping and come back. Failed entirely to find a way into the Cassandra gotta be dead place, but I figure that’s how to make her vulnerable. Found a bigassed head that spoke in tongues, and learned that I need a relic to talk to same. Have no relic. You find that?

I THINK I found the step on lava bit that you mentioned. Is it behind gates? Gates that are, at least for me, very much locked? Cuz they locked. I did see little plates under pictures of fire, but they were on the other side of said locked gates.

Basically, met Cassandra, found a head. I’m starting to think I really, really have to kill that demon to do much of anything. Though it sure feels like I should be able to do Cassandra/tomb/all that shit before Barberith. Cassandra is level 18 (once I can hit her) and Barberith is 19, and the gotta be dead temple is closer to the entrance than the abandoned shack.

So we’re missing something.

And fuck if I know about the big head. It seemed to be the same language as the weird shit by the Knight’s tomb in Hunter’s Edge.

Compare notes! Cuz I’m even more confused.

Feminina:

Big…head? OK, now I’M confused. I don’t remember a big head!

I also don’t remember having to go through any locked gates to reach the trapped area we’re near right now, although maybe something we did unlocked them…I guess?

Hm. Well, let’s both keep poking around and we’ll probably stumble onto whatever it is we’ve both missed.

As for Cassandra, yeah, interesting. And poor Arhu there in the cage, all “please don’t make me be human full time, that would be horrible!” Another crushing moral decision awaits. As soon as we find whatever that thing is that she wants, which may be a while.

We indeed met the mute pig, and then, because we love Wolgraff and care about his concerns, unlike you, you monster, we immediately followed up on it and went downhill in the direction indicated. At least Wolgraff will get to participate in the conclusion of his own story arc!–we vowed.

I shall not spoil what followed. You’ll get there. It’s 19th level, so maybe don’t go there immediately. We were 18, and it was a tough-ish fight, though we managed it on the second try. Levels matter!

Butch:

Dude. Big. Head. Indeed, “Titan head.” It’s a big, stone thing that looks like it fell off a really big statue. You can even see it on the map. You go up, it highlights, you hit use, it talks to you in gibberish, you say “I guess we need a relic.” It’s just a step north of the gotta be dead temple.

I’d tell you more, but I have no relic.

Well, were there iron gates? Cuz if there were, you have something that unlocks them. Likely the rune you took off Barberith. I do not have that.

Big. Head.

Might be useless, I dunno. No relic.

Oh, that wasn’t obvious? Cuz she was all “The spirit will know,” and you freed the spirit, right? Shit. More to do. Game is large.

Heh…I am a monster. Especially as I said “Yes! We shall charge forth and resolve your quest!” and then screwed up, went the wrong way, met Cassandra, and completely didn’t follow up at all.

GOD DAMN IT! I’m always the bridesmaid, aren’t I?

At least I’m a damn good looking bridesmaid.

Feminina:

Being good-looking is some consolation.

I think the spirit does know, it’s just that we haven’t been back to talk to the spirit since we met Cassandra. We had JUST been there trying unsuccessfully to provoke Jahan into recognizing the end of his story arc, and we kind of felt like “nah, don’t need to go back there again right this minute.”

There’s no waypoint nearby, and there are those exploding eyeball things along the way…it’s just a hassle to travel there, you know? Like going to the south shore. Meh. We’ll go. Eventually. After we find the Titan Head.

Which…I’m beginning to think we aren’t in the same area at all, except we have to be, because we’re talking about a lot of the same landmarks (ghost fight, Cassandra, lava steps) but not all of them.

Butch:

“Being good-looking is some consolation.”

Phenomenal T SHIRT!!!!!!

HA! “END YOUR DAMN STORY!”

Some people just won’t.

yes, the south shore. Which also has exploding eyes.

At least there’s a waypoint there by Wolgraff and Cassandra and the titan head. Still, I’ll go see if I can find the thing that’ll let us actually get something out of the titan head first.

I saw the lava things (I think) I just couldn’t get there. Pressure plates? Under signs with fire on them? In, like, a stone maze/courtyard kinda place? Void demons outside?

The titan head was one of those things you had to get close to to highlight (like the lever cave way back when) or you can totally miss it. I found it merely cuz I was hugging the wall, sneaking, trying not to die. It’s there, I promise.

Feminina:

Sneaking and trying not to die…that sounds like the Phantom Forest, all right.

Or the south shore.

Butch:

At least the void demons aren’t so hard. They freeze easy. XP!

Feminina:

XP! Love it. Maybe Jahan would open up if we brought him along to freeze demons.

Missed opportunity!

I mean, honestly, he’s basically told us his story at this point. Was king of noble land, scorned all ladies, met THE AWESOMEST lady, fell ill, summoned a demon to tell him why he was ill, demon revealed it was THE AWESOMEST lady (the horror!!!), made a deal with the demon to be cured but demon now has power over him, has been traveling the world for ages hunting demon.

And, as of the first thing he said to us when he joined, but which he himself has apparently forgotten, is now FREE! The demon’s hold is broken!

He just won’t stop brooding about it. Because he apparently can’t remember that his story is over. MOVE ON, dude.

Yeah, yeah, you’ve spent a millennium thinking about this one thing, but it’s done! Accept that! Pick a new hobby!

Although…put him in some heavy armor, and that brooding obsession with his dark and troubled past could make him VEEEEERY attractive. He’s a little more of a jerk than I generally like–I prefer brooding, angsty, mournful types to brooding, grumpy, snappish ones–but…there certainly aren’t any better options at the moment.

Off to increase his strength so he can wear plate mail.

Butch:

Yeeeessssss……he did say that, didn’t he? Yes….yes he did…..He did do that….

There is, of course, a wrinkle to that. That doubtless will have either a choice or a result based on things I don’t remember doing which I will confront when I go there intentionally and don’t die.

Wrinkle. There’s a wrinkle. That I’d spoil, but I don’t know how it ends cuz died. I’ll spoil when I don’t die.

There you go! See? He’s even bearded! You LOVE that! LOVE IT!

But remember when I said “I see how they can do sequels even if I’m right about Scarlett? At least got when he said “My Rivellon.” MY. And then doubled down: “A Rivellon you cannot see…can never see.” Which is completely consistent with people here having their own delusions, insane people talking, incorporating each other into their own delusionary worlds. And before you say “Wait, how can the sequel take place in Rivellon,” you can continue the metaphor of Rivellon=delusion just fine.

After all, the idea that Scarlett is nuts isn’t really the metaphor. The metaphor is Scarlett is Eve and Eve was nuts. That WANTING to stay in Eden, feeling punished for leaving Eden, that even considering that sin was bad and knowledge was bad was, well, nuts. That Eve should’ve been dancing the happy dance, and that Scarlett, who is crazy by “real world” standards, is really the one who’s right: Sin is good. Sin works. We should all embrace our own “insanity,” our own misconception that Eden is paradise. Rivellon’s more fun.

So you can take the “Rivellon’s a delusion” and apply that to any narrative where you’re putting a twist on any accepted real world concept and it would be good.

That said, I highly doubt that we’ll get any clear resolution that I’m right or wrong. I don’t anticipate Scarlett waking up in a hospital bed in Pittsburgh and the “reveal” happening. I think they’ll leave it sufficiently vague. Better metaphor that way.

Feminina:

Wrinkle, eh? Well, maybe that’s why he can’t let it go.

Siiiigh. I really kind of wish they’d worked harder to not let us complete peoples’ quests without them. I mean, I forgive. First game. We talked about that. But it’s really something I regret, unintentionally getting into all this stuff without people and never getting any resolution for it as a result.

Maybe I’ll put him in heavy armor and bring him around with us some more, and it will finally come out.

Or you’ll spoil once you don’t die. Either way.