Tags

, , ,

Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for storylines in Divinity: Original Sin

Butch:

*****looks expectantly at Femmy*****

Feminina:

Urge to kill…fading…

We played! We did! I hate everything in the world a little less today. Although just a little.

We went into the Source Temple, but as you predicted, we are not whole so we couldn’t get through that door. So we went back to the end of time with the starstone we found in the room with the broken mirror, got into another room at the end of time (the darkness, with the demon who offered to reset our abilities and stuff), got another cutscene (about how Astarte and her ‘playmate’ the Trife coaxed the Guardians into glancing away from the Godbox JUST FOR A SECOND), and now apparently we need one more starstone to make us whole.

I have four ‘inert’ stones, which you once said you thought were enough, but apparently those are not in fact enough. You lied, man. YOU LIED.

But it doesn’t matter, because we were playing! So, following the hint in the log, we went to the Truth Teller and bought all her maps (even though we’ve undoubtedly already discovered most of the ‘secrets’ on them) in hopes of finding a starstone somewhere.

And guess what was on one of the maps? Maradino’s lair. So we went to Maradino’s lair and fought his undead and his ghost and his ghostly undead and looted the hell out of his office.

And as is my practice, I grabbed everything without reading it first, and then it was late and time to go to bed, so I’ll read his books and notes later. I as yet have no opinion on your spoiler about how he’s possibly a kid or whatever.

And that was pretty much it. But at least we did some stuff!

And we did find a bloodstone in his lair, which maybe counts as a starstone? Because aren’t bloodstones created by sacrificing something and pouring blood on a starstone?

If so, then good move us, buying all those maps. It paid off, and it’s not as if we need that gold for something else.

If not, we’ll keep looking for things on the maps until we hopefully find a starstone we haven’t already discovered in some other chest. A couple of the ‘secret’ descriptions sounded suggestive. I REALLY wish it would mark the ones you’ve already found so you don’t have to go check it out anyway (that already happened to us with the first thing we tried). I mean, surely your character can remember where you’ve been well enough to say “oh yeah, got that one” and put an X on it, right?

But apparently not. I suppose it all blends together after a while.

Anyway, we did some stuff, and are slightly less insane as a result. Whew. I know we were all worried.

Butch:

Oh thank god. I thought we were going to have to talk about naked pirate sorceresses again. Which wouldn’t have been THAT bad….

Why the hate, Femmy? It’s a beautiful day.

Ah, nice! Trife! Ok, we can work with that.

What room with the broken mirror?

I didn’t lie! You opened four rooms! Yes? Yes. You’re close! So close!

Well, I told you what you didn’t read, so you’re good. And I told you about waking people up just to kill them, so now you know what I was talking about.

Did you find Yox the slave imp? How’d you work that?

That’s it! You’re good! Or you should be. If not, maybe Cassandra? You still haven’t killed Cassandra, have you? Killing Cassandra is good. Good bloggage there. And it moves a key quest along. Two, actually, as there’s a voice in that temple.

A lot of the stuff on the maps is garbage. I wandered around a chest on a map forever looking for the thing, so I went on the internet and THAT’S how I learned that they don’t check off the ones you’ve found. And it was a crappy thing to boot!

Oh, well.

And mad progress! You’re only one cutscene away from all of them! Shit, you could probably just DO the source temple now! But I’d do Cassandra first. Shouldn’t take long. Once you figure out the OBVIOUS AS FUCK way to get into the dead person temple.

But in the meantime……

So we can all agree there’s some serious Adam/Eve/Eden stuff going on, yes? Yes. And that the Guardians succumbed to temptation? (I will hold off on thinking if that was bad until a later time. Like, a later cutscene.) So, if, in the Bible, the tempter was the serpent/Satan, who, in the Bible, is bad, what do you think this makes Arastae? Cuz usually the “god” figure is good in games. Or anywhere, really. The game, thus far, has sort of set up this balance between good guy, on our side Arastae, and nasty, mocking us, bad guy Trife. And now, here they are, apparently in cahoots, and BOTH playing the role as the serpent/Satan.

I did not see that coming. And it made me ponder themes.

After all, when it comes to sin, you can’t really top Satan in that regard. Kinda his thing. So lumping Arastae in with the serpent/Trife is rather loaded.

But….we’ve been talking all game long about how “sin,” in this game, is good. Arastae/Trife are, if they are sinning, doing GOOD by us. Or are they?

It’s an interesting twist. I’ll turn it over to you. How’d you read all that?

Feminina:

It is a beautiful day! But oh, god, the ongoing disintegration of the government…it doesn’t bear thinking about.

So here’s actually what I thought about the cutscene and the diaries that we found in the rooms we opened: “I am really confused right now.” I am really confused about who the generals are, and who the guardians are, and their relationship to each other and to us.

Way back in the storyline, weren’t we informed that “two great generals defeated the void dragon, and then they became the immortal Guardians of the godbox”?

So…the two generals WERE the Guardians. I thought. And also, in some sense, us.

Except that now we’re finding that the generals’ diaries (after spending a lot of time talking about the trials of ruling and not fighting and so forth) are talking about the Guardians as if they were someone else.

So…there were two sets of great generals, one of which became the Guardians and one of which did not? If so, what did the other set do that made them so great? And which ones are we?

Or ARE they/we all the same people on different timelines or something? Like, we defeated the void dragon, became Guardians, glanced at each other and unleashed hell (apparently) then traveled back in time to try to convince ourselves not to become Guardians, or…I don’t even know what.

I’m confused. Don’t bother trying to clarify if you know more at this point, because I’m sure (or I hope) that things will become more clear, but I have to say, it’s not at all clear to me right now.

Moving on. Astarte and the Trife, indeed, are doing a little serpent-in-the-garden thing. It’s kind of interesting that instead of offering forbidden knowledge, they offered the chance to RELAX for a second. Like, they’re not promising power and glory here, they’re actually saying “you’ve worked really hard, take a little break!” Which is tempting in a whole different way…appealing not to the aspirations (you can be better!) but to the sense of what someone already deserves (you’ve earned this!).

It’s…OK, I can sense this thought going kind of far afield, but let’s go with it: it’s kind of like how in the game we’re constantly striving to know more, get more, level up, right? And the Guardians have basically leveled all the way up. There is no more for them to do. They defeated the ultimate bad guy. They got all the XP. They are immortal and they have all the power they could have (presumably): enough to keep a divine thing in a box for eternity. They have completed the game.

And so then what do they kind of secretly yearn for? To stop. To share a glance, a moment of personal contact, with their fellow player.

Which is apparently disastrous, so clearly the message is NEVER STOP PLAYING. The ‘sin’ here is most obviously to turn away from one’s sacred duty, but less obviously, is it to want to get out of the game?

Another possible argument for your insanity theory, there.

Oh, and we met Yox and told him to keep hiding from his master (whom we didn’t kill, although we refused to heal him, so the options were to tell the imp to hide, or to tell him to return to slavery, which I obviously wasn’t going to do).

And as for ‘waking people up to kill them,’ we didn’t do that on purpose! (Just like we never do anything bad on purpose!) We went into the study and started poking around, as one does, and I was like “wait, is there someone lying on the floor, what is this?” and then they were awake and attacking. We didn’t realize they were there in time to realize that we could have sneaked past them.

It’s not our fault we once again killed everyone and got all their XP!

I’m going to imagine we march around everywhere under a big banner that just says WE MEAN WELL.

Butch:

Oh. Right. That.

Think about naked pirate sorceresses! That’s what I do.

Well, I don’t know much more than you do on that front, but here’s the timeline we both know:

Two generals. Fought void dragon, became a) big heroes, b) avid diarists, c) really guilty cuz one of their close buddies died fighting the void dragon (remember the funeral bit in the diary? Yeah, that. I know a bit more about that, and you will soon). Then all the diary stuff, which ends with them being asked/told that they are the only ones who can really guard the god box, and, due to their ennui/guilt/failure to find any other fights/guilt/guilt become the guardians. Then glance happens, bad things happen. Then the last cutscene happens.

But no, the generals and the guardians and us/whatever souls are riding shotgun in our heads: same folks.

Whether the generals/guardians are REALLY us or just riding shotgun in our heads, that I do not yet know.

Hmm. Very true about the temptation to take a break. Which was, by which I mean relaxing, kind of what Adam and Eve were doing in the garden in the first place, right? Sitting around, looking at plants, being naked, doing whatever people did to chill that didn’t involve games and booze, until all that knowledge crap screwed it all up. Here, you’re right, we have two world weary guardians who know so much that they’re crushed by life and the “sin” is chilling out. Hm.

(Good to have you back, Femmy.)

On the sin of not playing… Indeed, I have been pondering just that. And we’ll ponder it FAR more in a cutscene’s time.

Because in my insanity theory, staying nuts is “good.” “Dying” is bad, not just in Scarlett’s eyes, but in the player’s eyes as well. We’ve been spending a good 70 hours here TRYING NOT TO DIE in the game. Trying to STAY there. Diving right back in with a reload IF we die.

I think it’s also tied into the hitch in this game we’ve discussed before: getting a game over if the PCs die, even if Bairdotr and Wolgraff are still standing. It isn’t enough that SOMEONE is still “in the game,” WE have to be “in the game.” Being IN THE GAME, being nuts, is good. The thing we should want to do.

And what really brought this to my mind was the last couple weeks of our rather scattershot blogging.

We’ve been joking about slowly going insane, right? Cuz we’re not playing. And, jokes aside, we didn’t LIKE not playing. Not playing DID make us rather grumpy, right? We couldn’t wait to get back to our little escapist delusional fantasy where we could refer to magical monster killers as “we.” Shitty things like in laws and new decks and chores and jobs and yearbooks and all that were bugging us, driving us slowly nuts because we couldn’t dive back into what really is an escapist fantasy. Now, we know it’s not real, but maybe Scarlett is just taking it to an extreme. She certainly is on our behalf. She’s trying to stay in an escapist fantasy where she is a magical monster killer. Just like we are. She’s trying to escape a world that’s grinding her down. Just like we (sometimes) are.

Go. Get the last cutscene. We’ll talk. A lot. Later.

I am very, VERY curious to see how this game ends.

As for Yox: Really? Hm. I killed the guy. So I brewed up the “courage potion” (oh…right…you didn’t read the books…ok…hang on…)

So had you read the books, one of the things they laid out was the recipe for a “courage potion,” which you could make and give to the imp, imbuing him with the courage to stand up to his master, or, in my case, to embrace a life of freedom. So I did that. And off he went.

Now….I talked about how Marandino was childlike in his notes, right? Well, his “courage potion” ALSO wasn’t the kind of thing that we see as magical, even within the rules of the game. It wasn’t all bluegill mushrooms and shit. It was something like a cup of apple juice and a cup of milk. I forget exactly, but it was the kind of thing you’d give a child to calm them down at night if they had a nightmare. Just the other night, meatball woke up scared and I gave him some milk to calm him. It was like that. Or like, an apple or something. Not at all like the kind of potions you can brew in the game.

And, now that I think on it, I think that recipe was the “spell” he used to stop being scared of the thunderstorms.

So…hmm.

And waking people up, see, as per the post of a couple days ago, those were the guys I so deftly evaded, Yox was the quest I completed on the way out, and THEN I realized that I had left XP on the table, went back, woke them up, killed them, got mad cuz 100K XP, half a level, rant in the post a couple days ago, all that.

It was in a very recent post. Led to an XP rant.

I’m a monster. Who needed XP.

Feminina:

I remember that rant! It was a good rant. You ARE a monster!

I just didn’t put it together until it was too late and Maradino’s aides were already attacking us. We’re only accidental monsters.

We’re also still in the cave there, so I’ll try to remember to read the books before we leave. Maybe I can still give the imp a ‘potion.’

So: only one set of generals. Hm. I’m more confused than I thought. Although also, I suppose, less, since one set of general who are also the Guardians is less confusing than two sets of generals. Because really, that’s just mean.

“Every important person in this game is a general, and they will all be referred to as General.”

And yes…if we assume that everything we do is a desperate attempt to stay in the game/stay insane (an attempt we as the players willingly assist!), then naturally the Guardians’ momentary pause to look at each other (instead of focusing 100% on the air/screen in front of them?) would be a potential disaster. “Don’t look away! Don’t consider the world outside!”

Interesting, too, the dialogue options there: we could choose to say something like “they did wrong, they should have stuck by their duty,” or “it’s understandable, everyone wants to relax for a second sometimes.” This would suggest that the PC on some level understands the temptation to leave, and forgives it. Shares it, even. It just gets so tiring, playing this game/maintaining this fantasy/guarding this godbox all the time.

It’s not easy being insane/a hero!

And then, back to religion, Bairdotr has that dialogue (were you with Bairdotr at this point?) where she recalls the story of the woman who offered to carry water for the gods, and then couldn’t keep up with their thirst and self-combusted or something. (It was 12 hours ago. I can’t remember every little detail!) And then we could either say “it’s cruel of the gods to allow mortals to take on tasks they can’t perform,” or “it shows respect for mortals that the gods [actually I think the term was ‘the divines’] allow them to choose to take on these impossible tasks as a sign of their devotion.”

Which is kind of a pointed discussion for us, in particular, to have around Bairdotr, given that we in fact refused to allow her to choose the impossible task of defeating us in battle.

And we (the players) kind of agreed that yes, it was cruel and unfair of the gods to allow mortals to destroy themselves in their service, and that we didn’t think the mortals’ sacrifice was really noble or meaningful, and Bairdotr was sad. She wanted there to be meaning. And she interestingly got none in her own story, because we didn’t let her choose whether or not to stay with us, or return to Jareth. Ouch. I don’t know if she would have had a different reaction if she’d gotten an end to her story. Thoughts?

So, back to sin, there’s this larger question of whether the gods themselves are in some sense sinning, by giving us these enormous tasks that they should know we can’t fulfill. (By letting us play the game?) The old question of whether the real sinner in Eden was actually God, who knew everything but stood by and let evil happen — or more, who set everything up just so, and thus made sure it WOULD happen.

Which also, perhaps, plays into the sane/insane question, with an added dimension of faith/nontheism…if we’re insane (or religious?) and we want to stay insane/in the game, then the gods are right to set us challenges, or allow us to set them for ourselves, because it gives us a chance to find meaning in our lives. (I mean, the game would be really boring without chances to get loot and XP!)

But if we want to be sane/leave the game (or leave religion?), we might determine that the gods in fact have no sacred, noble purpose in making us their playthings: it doesn’t add some profound meaning to our lives if we spend them entertaining enormous, divine (to us) beings that don’t really understand or care about us.

An argument for turning off the console, looking someone in the eye, and never going to church again?

Also…do you think it’s true that games in general are not very pro-religion, or do we just tend to read them that way because we ourselves are godless heathens?

Butch:

Distracted because I was just remembering that I specifically said “If you do Marandino, make you read EVERYTHING cuz I have thoughts?”

Sigh.

Feminina:

Dude, I have every intention of reading everything from Maradino’s lair! It’s just that it was late and I didn’t want to read it right that second, so I collected it all before we saved. It’s not one of those situations where I grabbed everything and have been carrying it around unread for six weeks.

I’m not denying those situations HAVE arisen from time to time, but this isn’t one of them. I know I have stuff to read. I’m going to read it. Calm your liver.

Butch:

Did you just drop “Calm your liver?”

You really do live in [place you live] don’t you?

Feminina:

It seemed appropriate?

Of course, when is it not, really.

Butch:

This is a major day. This is the day you officially became a New Englander.

Feminina:

I’m so proud it only took 23 years.

Butch:

It’s cuz you bought a house.

Feminina:

It’s true! The house is the commitment. Now I can freely use local expressions at last.

Butch:

And part of the explanation as to why you get antsy when you can’t live in an alternate universe.

A large part of the explanation.

Feminina:

I would agree, except I played just as much when we were renting. Though maybe I NEED it now in a way I didn’t then.

Butch:

You used to be all “Hey, I know, no bloggage, but whatevs, I’ll get to it.”

Now you’re all “Urge….to…..kill….” Which is at a slightly different level.

A totally understandable level, however.

Feminina:

Good point. Good point.

Though there’s also the whole larger political scene right now and our comfortable, totally functional democracy with a great leader who declares himself above the law that makes escapism more of a pressing need than it used to be.

Hey, no bloggage, whatev, we’ll get to it…it’s not like the entire country is about to go down in flames or anything.

Sorry: politics.

Butch:

Hey, it’ll be fine. Get yourself some skimpy armor and get Mr. O a full set of plate and tell him to brood. You’ll feel much better.

Look on the bright side. That’s easier to pull off than me finding a naked pirate sorceress.

Is NPSBHBEBB too long an acronym? Probably. Too bad.

Feminina:

Dude, I think you’re confusing me with you. I’m really more the long-flowing-robes type than the skimpy armor. Though I haven’t updated my blog bio lately.

Mmm…colorful silks…

Butch:

Fair. Sometimes I get into a groove is all.

Might have to replace the skimpy armor for the final battle. I tried to get to the end, but one does what one must.

Feminina:

Colorful. Silks.

With magic.

So relaxed and comfortable compared to all that poky armor.

No wonder my heavily armored lovers are always so angsty! They’re probably chafed all raw around the armpit area. That could make anyone grouchy.

Butch:

Hey, man. To each their own.

But I still maintain I have you beat in the totally not weird fantasy game companion department. No hugging poky armor for me. No sir.

Feminina:

I’m sure naked pirate sorceresses ARE a lot easier on the arms. If only they would brood a little more about their dark pasts…

Butch:

That’s really the only reason I go for them. The arms thing. That’s it. Really.

Feminina:

That’s all very well if you can get past the lack of angst.