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Some hints/spoilers for Phantom Forest puzzles in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

So, to quote music icon and national treasure Britney Spears, Oops, I did it again.

I did Cassandra’s tomb (that would be the dead people temple). I did the hell out of it, except there’s a place I can’t get into that most likely has killer loot. Anyway, did that, then went to face Cassandra. Died. Badly. Why? Cuz she summoned dudes. So I thought, and thought, and did a smart thing. And killed Cassandra. BEFORE SHE SUMMONED THE DUDES you see where I’m going with this.

So I’m STILL LEVEL 17 GOD DAMN IT. This did not assuage my bitterness of getting nary any XP for figuring out three, count ’em, THREE damn puzzly bits.

I was fucking BRILLIANT this weekend. I mean, on fucking fire. But, with the exception of a big fight in Cassandra’s tomb, and another epic battle that was down to Roderick and one tough baddie that went, count ’em, 55 rounds (for real, 55), I didn’t really have any big death kill a lot of baddies fights.

I’m gonna be bitter re XP for a long, LONG time.

And I feel like I’m sorta fucked. When I met Cassandra, I got the whole “You best flee,” thing, but after I did the brilliant thing I got the “You best flee” thing, then won without taking ANY DAMAGE cuz I rule.

But see, here’s the thing: Cassandra was a level 18 baddie. So the level 18 baddie was still a situation where, with summons, I got the “You best flee” prompt. Barberith, who is with the spirit who has the key to the source temple AND the fern thingy for Arhu, is level 19. And really, I have two paths ahead of me: Wolgraff’s bit, and Barberith. And if I was underpowered for Cassandra, I’m WAY underpowered for this. And I can’t think of anything else I can kill! I tried the ghost boars and poachers again, and still can’t figure that out.

So really, the fuck.

All I can hope is that everything bad around got weaker now that I took out Cassandra. I hope. Though probably not.

So really, the fuck.

What did you get up to?

Feminina:

Dude, you just can’t catch a break with all that brilliance, can you?

On a hopeful note, I feel like we were 17 when we defeated Balberith, so you might not be as out of luck there as you think. We were pretty pleased with ourselves for handling something two levels above us, and thought maybe levels didn’t matter as much anymore. I’m not sure about that, actually, but at least it might not have mattered as much in this particular fight. So go give it a shot!

We had Madora and Bairdotr with us, and Madora resisted death about 5 times, which helped, and Bairdotr did rain of arrows and those big archery tricks, and it was tough, some of us died (including, eventually, Madora), but we did get it in the end. He’s got a ‘fear’ ability that was pretty irritating since it kept making us flee…but, again, we got it in the end. Of course, you’ll want to have Jahan with you, which will change the balance somewhat.

Anyway, you accomplished a lot. Go you!

We accomplished…a little. We put the statues on the platform and went through the mirror. Messed around ineffectually with that and the door with the elemental symbols.

Went off to poke around in the swamp and fought some swamp monsters (mud lords, I believe they were called), so there’s XP out there if you want to hunt for it. Just watch out for those damn exploding eye things. HATE THOSE THINGS.

Ran into our old friend Bellegar! That was a thing we did. Got some loot and possibly some XP, but I can’t remember…probably just loot. (I don’t even notice XP, you know, since we get so much of it it hardly signifies. I really don’t know who all we’ve been killing that you haven’t, other than everyone we see, but I didn’t realize the XP for leaving innocents dead in our wake was so high.)

Ran around and around the whole temple area there but, not being as brilliant as you, could not figure out how to get through any of the locked gates.

Delios got over to the other side of the stone door with the elemental symbols, but couldn’t do anything with that side either. So that’s where we are. Fairly satisfied with our thorough exploration of the swamp, but no further along in the plot.

Oddly, we also didn’t find a Titan Head. Maybe we’re not even in the same swamp.

Butch:

When you kill Cassandra, and given what I got from killing Cassandra it’s a “when” if you want to finish the game, we’ll talk about how I gamed the game but not really.

Sigh. Well, what’s easier, the demon or Wolgraff’s deal? Cuz I’m fairly close to level 18, though, knowing me, I’ll do something the game didn’t expect, Wolgraff will wind up speaking nine languages, and I’ll get 21 XP.

“Resist Death” is a wonderful skill. And something I can relate to! I’ve been successfully resisting death for forty one years and change.

Fear sucks. My Bairdotr is very prone to fear. Like, fuck, Bairdotr, again? We talked about this, Bairdotr. It’s all good, Bairdotr.

Once, I used a nightmare grenade, missed, and scared my whole party. All four of them. Lost that fight.

Ah, yes. The door with the symbols. You didn’t get that?

When I said I figured out a bunch of stuff and got a grand total of NO XP, that was a) that mirror deal and b) three out of the four elemental symbols, some of which did require some degree of brain power. I’m short the one that’s behind the big main gate. You can do at least one just strolling into a place near there. Take Wolgraff. Being invisible is good.

And, that, too, is a when, cuz the entrance to the source temple’s in there.

But level up well cuz it’s worth NO FUCKING XP.

Mud lords. Exploding eyes. Can’t. Wait.

Can’t I just get XP from puzzles?

I even figured out how to get into the temple of bones! Which you also will have to do cuz you can’t kill Cassandra without doing that, and you can’t move the main story forward without killing Cassandra.

Hint: You can do all of this already. No special scrolls or killing or anything needed.

This GAME, man. I’m gonna be bitter a long, long time.

I wonder if I’ll get anything good for actually being a Bellgarette! I did say I’d do it (figuratively).

Uh…you got to the lever, right? Through the mirror? Two levers? And you….did you PULL the levers? Cuz…well….

I mean, dude. This is not rocket science. I’m starting to worry about you two.

“Well, we found a big locked stone door with a star on it, and we found a key that said ‘This unlocks the big locked stone door with a star on it, you know, the one right the fuck over there,’ but we couldn’t figure out how to unlock the big stone door with the star on it so we just wandered around. Guess we’re not as brilliant as you.”

Did you, I don’t know, STEP ON THE TILES??????? The big OBVIOUS “STEP ON ME TILES?????”

I’m worried about you.

Ok….that’s it. I’m doing an intervention. I sent you a screenshot OF THE MAP, with points of reference noted, and my characters very clearly, cuz they’re arrows, POINTING AT THE TITAN HEAD.

I’d say: “Dude, do I have to draw you a map?” bud I DID draw you a map and you still can’t find it!

I’m worried about you.

How are you the ones with the fucking XP?

Feminina:

Sorry, didn’t see that screenshot. We saw the one with you walking on the previously-lava tiles. There was another one? Sorry, man. We have short attention spans.

Also, of course we pulled the levers. Obviously we pulled the levers. And immediately, like magic, nothing happened. So after pulling the levers about 50 more times in various directions while wandering around looking for something to be happening and putting barrels of things on symbols and so forth, we left to kill mud lords.

Step on the tiles? What big obvious tiles? Not the previously-lava tiles. Are they buried under the fire that Delios walked through to get over to the other side of the door? Because there’s that.

You gotta tell me what your meeting with Bellegar is like! I was not a Bellegarette, so maybe that explains…something.

Butch:

I shall! If I can survive the monsters that no doubt live on the way to him, which I probably can’t cuz no XP.

But…

*****bangs head on wall*****

The screenshot of the map. OF THE MAP!

Ok. From that little ledge there, where the little levers are, look down. While pulling the levers. Doors open. One lever opens doors, one selects what door opens.

Voila.

Hint: Split up. Put one person on the levers, one by said doors. Preferably one that can go invisible unless you want to hear INTRUDER SPIED a lot.

No, not the lava tiles, the tiles that are under handy dandy symbols of the elements. Fire, air, earth, water. There are symbols on the walls, with tiles under them. This will do something regarding the large stone door with symbols of the elements on the ground in front of it. The ones that are currently, for you, red. For me, three are now green. I’m taking this as progress.

They are not buried under anything. You should be able to see the symbols on walls on the other side of the doors that you CAN OPEN WITH THE LEVER.

I take it you did not get into the temple of bones.

Feminina:

Oh, THOSE tiles. Yes, we saw those, and the symbols they’re under, and figured there has to be a connection, but since the gates were locked we couldn’t step on them. And dude, we looked around while pulling the lever! We looked down! We didn’t see anything opening!

But I trust you. We’ll go back and look harder. We were probably paying close attention to the exact wrong spot every time.

For a while I was half convinced that the lever had something to do with the repeated bursts of fire and poison in that one area, but then I realized it was just that constantly-exploding chest we sneaked by earlier. Did you teleport over to snag the other chest on the bit of cliff there? Nothing amazing, but you gotta loot.

Butch:

Oh wait…..lever….singular? Cuz there were levers. Plural. One that changed and said “First stage, second stage, third stage,” and one that actually opened doors.

So, if you were doing the stage one, yeah…nothing happened.

Plural. Levers. More than one. Specifically, two.

You gotta loot.

And you gotta kill. So I just played some. And DUDE! THEMES! BLOGGAGE! I WAS BRILLIANT no actually all I did was pick two completely random, pointless fights that were just random pointless fights. But guess what?

Who’s level 18? This guy. That’s who.

Which….

Look at all I did this weekend. Puzzles. Tomb. Cassandra. Nothing.

But some mushrooms and spiders? Now THAT’S worth it.

Fix this in game two, game.

But hey, maybe I can actually do something without being brilliant now.

Ha.

Feminina:

No, sorry, ‘lever’ was a misprint. We did notice that there were in fact two, connected by a little string. One being distinguished by ‘first setting, second setting,’ etc., and the other not. So I get what you’re saying: set the one lever on one of the settings, pull the other lever to open one of the locked gates. Which gate being determined by the setting.

Will do! Thanks for solving that for us!

You’re right, it isn’t that complicated. I guess we must have just always been looking in the wrong spot while we tested it, or something. Because we were staring down into the green mazy area that the mirror overlooks, watching for something to happen, and we didn’t see anything. Possibly also a bit of added complication due to the split screen and so forth.

Or we’re just really dense. I can’t rule that out either.

Woohoo level 18! Rock on! You can definitely handle Balberith now. After you kill a few mud lords, just for funsies.

Butch:

Can I have some XP for solving it for you?

Ha.

Extra hint: Go way around. The first gate up that path that goes north, near the dead body and the sign that says “Beware what lies beyond here” with a busted bridge. That’s the first door that opens.

Mud lords for funsies. Ha. Very much Ha.

I mean, these were RANDOM. I remembered there was a cave with mushrooms near hunter’s edge. Went there. Killed mushrooms. When it had a name (forlorn tunnel) I thought for sure there’d be something interesting in it, what it having a name. Nope. Just monsters and loot.

And what eventually did level me up was a fight I didn’t even see coming. Spiders from above.

Well, thanks random spiders. I guess.

But see, I’m also wary of fighting in the swamp, as the deer told me that Barbereith gets stronger if I harm any swamp creatures. Last thing I need is stronger demon. But thing I DO need is XP.

Sigh.

Feminina:

Good point–we were also very wary of fighting in the swamp, until after we’d killed Balberith. Now it’s open season on everything we see! Except for that deer that stands right near the waypoint. We haven’t managed to accidentally kill him yet. But everything else, we figured if it’s still attacking us, it must be possessed or whatever (I mean, what other reason could any being have for being hostile towards US? The avatars of light and goodness?!), so we’ve been fighting them.

But yeah, until Balberith is dead, that is a bit of a problem. Well, go kill him! As I said, we managed it at 17, and we aren’t even brilliant strategists.

Or go do Wolgraff’s voice…I think that’s all 18th-level things. Maybe 19? I think 18. You’re gonna love it.

Oh, and the forlorn tunnel…yeah, if you had freed the prisoner’s in Hunter’s Edge, they would have escaped through the forlorn tunnel, which has a secret entrance into the dungeon. So that’s where that would have been relevant. We also wandered into it, fought some stuff, and found it didn’t go anywhere, so we were puzzled, but then later when the prisoners were freed and were all “we’re afraid to go in there, please clear the tunnel of monsters for us before we tell you where the wizard’s people are,” we were able to say “head on in, folks!”

Butch:

A ha! Figured it must be something. Especially as I got courageous banter. Scarlett was all “I’m getting tired of seeing corpses,” and Roderick responded all steely and determined “If we do our job, you won’t have to keep seeing them” or something.

Which made me say “What? Dudes. You just killed a lich that was terrorizing a forest, who was surrounded by mountains of dead bodies, who gave you something that is crucial to saving all of creation (well…hm. Creation. Got any more cutscenes?) and nary a word of dialog. You kill five stinky mushrooms and now you’re all “Death to random fungus….for JUSTICE?” Priorities, dudes. Priorities.

But yeah, gotta say, the whole Cassandra thing was kinda a let down in the ‘resolution’ regard. I don’t know if the tree things are still all upset, as I haven’t checked, but I went back to the deer expecting at least a little something and it was still all “Our forest is bad as it’s ever been…” and I was all “Dude, you said that the last time, and that lich? All the bodies, yeah, dead and all, so things are kinda sorta looking up oh no new dialog options. Ok. Whatever.”

Wasn’t Cassandra the Phantom? Of the Phantom Forest? Shouldn’t it just be “forest” now? Sure, there’s a demon and all, but there’s demons fucking everywhere. Shit, Jahan thought the damn pyramids were demons. So, really deer, give some credit here.

Granted, I was still level 17 when I went back there, so maybe had I said “No, dude, the phantom is dead!” he’s have been all “Riiiiiiiiight. So, um, where’s the new ability point? Hmmmmmm?”

Feminina:

Ha! “Unjust fungi will go DOWN!”

Priorities.

The Wolgraff’s voice bit was not that bad. Honestly. Go have a try. It only killed us the first time, so by being a bit more thoughtful we were fine afterwards. It’s gonna be great.

Butch:

Hey, I have a new trick! Scarlett and Roderick now have the very handy talent of getting back to full health when they die and get resurrected! So key. Scarlett pretty much spent the fungus fight drawing fire while Bairdotr and wolgraff picked away, and Roderick kept bringing her back to have her fight again! And, as it took three turns to kill her, she STILL did all sorts of mayhem and no one else took damage.

Nice!

Feminina:

Ooh, ‘morning person’! That’s an awesome trick. I just gave it to Wolgraff, because he had a talent handy. Basically, anyone getting up and instantly being ready to fight, instead of having to spend a turn or more hiding and sucking down potions/regeneration is amazing.

Two of you with that trick will totally destroy the piffling little challenge at the end of the downward path, where Wolgraff is begging you, with sad pleading looks, to go.

Don’t let Wolgraff down. Go check it out. You’re gonna love it.

Butch:

So is. And makes it less likely that you lose a fight cuz Scarlett and Roderick go down. That’s kind of a cheap move, I think. You don’t generally see that in RPGs. Dragon Age didn’t care if the PC went down. Why does this? I always picture Bairdotr and Wolgraff saying “No, dude, really we got this and…load screen. Sheesh.”

I also took your advice and gave him the “never miss with grenades” bit. That pretty much rules.

And I was just able to get the “creeping infestation” one now that I leveled. Sorta curious to try that one. I wonder if the summoned monsters help me. I’ll be bummed if they attack me anyway.

Skills, man. Ya never know.

As for the whole arrow skill thing, I have mixed feelings. I have these tenebrium bows that just fuck the shit out of everything. I’m usually just better off shooting everything instead of getting fancy. One I got from that wizard/mirror room chest, and it’s just a damn wrecking ball. Which is good, in a way, but sucks in the fact that I amped up Bairdotr on all these marksman skills which are getting obsolete.

Feminina:

Yeah, that is a weird twist, that both companions can still be alive and fighting and totally capable of winning the day, but if the PCs go down, it’s over. Certainly the game was aware of Dragon Age and the BioWare approach, and intentionally chose not to follow it, so I suppose it’s just meant to underscore the unique, special, rare qualities of the PCs.

WITHOUT US ALL IS LOST! Give up now!

Butch:

Still, weird. And, at times, annoying. Especially when, for some reason, the baddies focus solely on the PCs. Many a time I have had to hit reload when Wolgraff and Bairdotr have taken no damage at all.

Feminina:

That does happen.

Hey! Those other two people are also attacking you, you know! Spread the hate a little!

Butch:

But you know, this time I really am getting to the point where I feel things are coming together. I haven’t gotten a new quest in ages. The companion quests are wrapping up. Killing Cassandra got me a thing that pretty much screams endgame, or at least “thing before endgame that games always seem to have.” I’m one silly puzzle and one fight away from being able to get into the source temple. I think I’m down to weeks, not months. Badly titled game is out end of May, and, if I’m not done by then, I’ll be close.

You’re only behind because puzzles, dude. Puzzles.

Once you figure out how to get into the temple of the dead, you’ll cruise through it. I eventually won the fights there (spoilers: there are fights), and you’re ahead of me, level wise. And it isn’t that long. And you’ll likely have no issue with the Cassandra fight even without my little trick, as you’re level, what, 19? She’s only 18. You’ll be fine.

And really, all of it is pretty intuitive. Once you get it, it’s one of those “SHIT why didn’t I see that, like, right away?” deals. Or, at least, why didn’t that occur to me, like, right away. This game doesn’t really do the whole multi stage ridiculousness you get in TR or UC. It’s very much a “Oh YEAH!” and you’re done sort of thing.

Thing’s’ll be really quick once you start opening doors and doing temples.

Feminina:

Thinking of random quests, we never went back and fought the two elementals and the ‘boss’ of Sacred Stone…did you? Although if the boss is the Conduit, she presumably wouldn’t actually be in there, and/or would be there but would simply laugh at us and disappear…I mean, surely we’re going to run into her in the endgame, right?

We did go back and fight the guards in the prison there, and released all the prisoners, and then we fought the acolytes in the classroom, just because. I’m inclined to go back and fight the two weirdos who are standing there singing about killing imps, just because their song is damn annoying, but that will probably entail the elementals getting involved.

We can probably take them now, though. We’re level 19, and fairly badass.

So yeah, I guess the point was, if you haven’t done that, you could go back to Sacred Stone and collect some XP that way.

Butch:

Uh….hmm. I got past the elementals, I talked to the person in there, who was not the conduit, I started a fight, died. Reloaded, did Rock paper scissors, won, she became a reluctant merchant, then I went to leave, and she made me Rock Paper Scissors again, and then I forget what I did. But she wasn’t the conduit.

I didn’t do shit with that dude teaching the “class” or the prison though.

That was kind of a weird part. There really wasn’t anything you had to do there. Jareth, maybe, but even he was a side quest. Hunter’s Edge you kinda had to do to get to the phantom forest, Cyseal you had to do, you had to do the mines and shit in Lucella, Sacred Stone was just kind of there.

So no, didn’t do much. And no conduit, for sure.

So I could go back, but why, man, why?

Anyway, now that I just leveled, I’m about 350K away from leveling again, and no way that has 350K associated with it.

Weird “level.” Kinda pointless. I totally forgot about it until now. So that important.

Feminina:

No Conduit, eh? Makes sense. It is kind of a weird throwaway town. A place to shop and sell stuff, I guess.

As for WHY go back, dude, you’re the one saying you never get XP. I was just making a suggestion. Killing everything whether we have a good reason or not is probably why we’re level 19! Although you’re only one level behind us, so it’s not really that big a deal at this point. Go deal with Wolgraff’s voice and see how you do.

Although…are you going to just leave those prisoners there in the dungeon to be sacrificed? You monster! Also, there was a troll in there that we tried to help, and…well…I’d be curious to know what happened to someone else. It’s not huge or important, but…it was weird.

At least go free the prisoners. It’ll be no problem whatsoever, and we can compare notes on the troll.

Butch:

Gratuitous killing so I can do killing that matters.

It’s how we do.

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