Game Handholding: Helpful, or Overly Grabby?


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Spoilers for minor quests and locations in the Cyseal area, in Divinity: Original Sin


Well, I guess we’re both getting senile. Cuz I missed the buttons in the church and you missed the way to the secluded beaches.

Remember when we were all “Yeah, I walked all the way on those rocks…and I saw the waypoint up there on the beach and we just couldn’t get there…” Remember that? And I was all “Yeah, and I have all these quests?”

You just find Tom’s body there and keep on going. The other end of that tunnel gets you right there. Right to the waypoint.

So I killed the robot (more on that in a moment), found Tom, found the way out of the tunnel, said “Really? REALLY?” activated the waypoint, then decided to truck it back to Cyseal to shop and mop up the quests I did in the tunnel. So I told the sister the truth, and she didn’t want to believe me, and I think I caused her psychological harm. Except she went back to doing what she was doing. Then, in “arhu’s failed experiment,” I’m supposed to find the dude who survived, who was saying he was going to go find the legion. I can’t find him. Where the hell is he?

I miss hexagons. I really, really miss hexagons.

So I wasted time looking for him, gave up, and said “So to the beach or to the church?” and decided “church” cuz I’ll get sidetracked at the beach.

So back to the church and the buttons that you helped me with and under to find the force field and the control panel that I have no idea how to work which is, ironically, a hexagon. And I tried to figure it out forever and couldn’t and got mad and hit save. What am I missing?

I miss hexagons.


Dude, of course we walked all the way to the end of that tunnel. It was a rock wall. We checked twice. Unless you have to open it with the levers that we couldn’t figure out how to work?

As for the church…sorry. I didn’t want to be spoilery, but I should have said “not that there’s anything you can do down there” or something, so you didn’t think you had to keep working on it. Because we don’t have that hexagon either, whatever it is, so I don’t think you’re missing anything.

We messed around with it for a while and then decided that we must have to find the hexagon somewhere else before we can get in. We figured we probably we have to follow the trail of the Conduit/Evelyn for a while and maybe we’ll come across it.

So we went out and got in a fight with some undead and got to the mortician’s hut (you probably picked up a key to that) and found some veeeeeeery interesting information about the plot, conveniently written down for us. So go do that maybe?

And I guess we’ll go back to Tom’s cave and fiddle with the levers?

Also, where did you even find Tom’s sister? She is NEVER THERE when I go to the mayor’s house. No one is ever there except Maxine the cat and the bodies of the guards. It’s creepy. I think maybe the weirdness with us fleeing a fight and magically killing all the guards in the process has glitched everything on that floor. (The upstairs library seems fine. Sister is never there, though.) Oh well…we’re not going back to redo it now, that’s for sure.


I don’t think it was the levers. It wasn’t a door or anything. It was a cave you had to “use” just like the door that got you in there. You had to go up to it and have it highlight (or do the yellow circle deal) and hit “use.” And it was just there! It was around a bend. The place is like a backwards C. Go in, go by where you killed the robot, past the levers, and it goes off to the left there and voila.

I don’t think the levers had anything to do with it, unless the password is “I think I’m using it wrong” repeated several times. Cuz I couldn’t make heads or tails of those either. Junior was watching, and he pointed out that the pipes that came into and out of the levers also seemed to begin and end outside of the cave somewhere, so there must be a think that affects this elsewhere.

Figures there was nothing in the church. All I found down there was a guitar in a vase. People do leave things in the darndest places.

Really? Mortician’s hut? Hmm. What hut, like, his house? Where is all this? I’m sure I have a key, but where are you looking here?


I really don’t think you have to fiddle with the levers in the cave. Just go near the end of the backwards C and hit search until a useable cave shows up. Because the lever fiddling I did had no obvious result. A lot of “I’m using it wrong.”

And Tom’s sister was in the library. Upstairs. Just kind of dusting or whatever. I was worried when I went back and she wasn’t in the office there, because you said she was gone, but no, there she was in the library. Done.

You have any idea where that survivor from the robot thing ended up? Cuz he’s as missing for me as the maid is for you….


Huh. OK, yeah, I guess we must have missed that we could ‘use’ the wall. Way to notice something useful, WOLGRAFF.

Yeah, we saw that with the pipes coming from somewhere outside the cave…the levers probably do have something to do with something that we haven’t run into yet.

OK, we were just there last night, so hopefully I can remember where something is for a change: to get to the mortician’s hut, go the the ‘Cyseal–Grove’ waypoint.

Then go up that hill there (to your right if you’re just coming out of the waypoint and facing away from it). Alternatively (which, hint hint, worked out better for us), go forward a bit and turn right at the SECOND path up the hill. Either way, you want to bear right and go up, and then you’ll get in a fight with about 50 (i.e., 6) undead. Defeat them and keep going towards where they came from, and you’ll find that hut. With, as I say, some veeeeeeery interesting plot development.

And I don’t know about the survivors from Tom’s cave…we haven’t run into any of them either. Unless…wait, maybe they came up when we talked to Selenia or whatever her name is, the legionnaires’ second in command? Because we’ve only talked to her once and I remember covering the stuff with the ones who were supposed to be exploring the lighthouse, who we allowed to take credit for OUR having explored the lighthouse, but it was also after the cave for us, so maybe we mentioned them too.

Damn, sorry, it’s all a hazy blur.


Dude, I didn’t even have to “notice” it. It was just there. Big, obvious and there.

That’s what I figure…the levers will apply to something somewhere else. And when we find out what it is, we’ll forget what it was.

T SHIRT!!!!!

Will get on the mortician’s hut. And then we’ll both check out that secluded beach that you somehow totally managed to miss. There’s quests up there! The Mayor’s staff! Nick the head! Getting a fancy cat collar! (You’ll pick that one up at some point).

And guess what’s on the way there? The TWIN DUNGEONS! Which you really should do, you know.

As for the survivors, nope, not that lady. I thought to check with her, but there were no new dialog options. Just the same old stuff. Even checked with grumpy pants commander guy. Nada.

Of course, he just said “The legion,” not “The legion in Cyseal,” right? Right.


Very good, very good, twin dungeons. Tom’s cave. Tunnel to the beach (but dude, I swear, we went all the way up along that backwards C you talk of MORE THAN ONCE and didn’t notice this, so I don’t know, I guess we’re both going blind).

And you go check out that mortician’s hut and things will be moving along nicely.

Oops, we’re planning. This can’t end well.


In your defense, the “cave” was hard to see. Once you noticed it, you were all “Ah, yes, there’s something,” but I found it by searching. So go back into that part and just search and search until one thing is “tunnel exit” and you’re golden.

Plot! Plans!

We’re screwed.

Especially as the kids are home cuz early release, Mrs. McP is coming home…at some point…cuz snow, etc.

Why do we plan?

But before we talk on plans and all, here’s a thing: This game would be really, really hard, well, maybe not hard but frustrating, if we weren’t playing it at the same time. Practically every day we compare notes and give each other advice (novel, us being at the same point so often). If we weren’t playing this at the same time, and couldn’t rely on anything except frequent google searches, would we hate this game? Or at least want to throw things at it? And is that the game’s fault or our over reliance on hexagons?


We’re doomed.

And that’s a good question. Would this just be a frustrating mess if we couldn’t pass along helpful tips? It definitely was a bit frustrating near the beginning before we had many tips to pass along and it was kind of just “talked to a bunch of people, not making any progress…”

If it continued that way, and we weren’t both playing and exchanging tips, I can definitely see either turning to the internet for EVERYTHING or just giving up in irritation.

But that doesn’t seem to have been a major complaint among reviewers…I don’t remember reading anything about how it’s hard to figure out what the hell you’re supposed to do half the time. Maybe we’re the problem here.

Objectively, we’re not simply terrible at games overall: we play way too much for that. Are we just way out of shape for this particular TYPE of game? Gone soft with excessive hexagons (the good kind of hexagons) and handholding?

But again, it’s hard to believe that we’re significantly less accustomed to these things than the average player. So…I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s a good thing we’re doing this the way we are, because it IS a fun game, and it would suck to spend half our time frustrated and angry with it.


See? Another reason to blog.

It IS a fun game. I find myself thinking about it and eager to get back to it. Both important signs.

And whether we’re not used to it, or it’s flawed design, well, that is the question. I do feel like I’m getting a little better at this game all the time, not just in terms of combat, but in terms of figuring out what I can and can’t do, what I should do, etc. Not 100% there yet, but getting there.

I think the only way we’ll know for sure is when we, inevitably, get back to a game with metaphorical hexagons after playing this for so long. We’ll either be all “Phew! Finally a quest marker with a dutiful countdown telling me how far away I am! How I have missed thee!” or we’ll be all “Man, get that thing off the screen! I KNOW where I’m going! GAH! WHY DID I USED TO LIKE THIS?”

Time will tell. Because lordy knows we’re going to be used to this after we play this, cuz this seems long.

Though it does seem to be going more. Even though there are times where I did feel like I wasted a bunch of time, there hasn’t been a session in a while where I felt I didn’t accomplish anything at all. That’s a good sign.


It’s true, going back to a more ‘current’ game after this will be the test. And this game is a few years old and I have a sense that games (at least the games we play) are getting more handholdy lately, so maybe even a few years ago people didn’t notice the lack of direction as much and that’s why reviewers didn’t all comment on it?

But yeah, it will be interesting to get back to something newer and handholdier and see whether we’re more relieved, or irritated.


Maybe. But damn, this game isn’t THAT old. Have things gotten that hand holdy just two or three years?


It does seem like a huge shift if that were true. I think if there’s anything to that theory at all, it’s certainly not a matter of “every game was like Divinity in 2014 and now they’re all MEA hexagons in 2017.”

More like, it might have been somewhat notably non-handholdy at the time, but the bar for handholding in most games was also bit lower, and especially given its generally old-school style (no animated conversations, turn-based combat, etc.), its lack of direction didn’t stand out to people?

I dunno. It certainly stands out to us, and as you say, the game’s not THAT old. Surely the games we were playing 3 or 4 years ago didn’t offer THAT much less direction. It seems like the kind of thing people would have noticed.

Maybe they did and we just didn’t read enough reviews. I admit I only looked at two or three, so this entire discussion could be based on a profound misunderstanding of what other people talked about. But even so, as big a part of the game experience as this issue has been for us, you’d think one of the two or three would have said SOMETHING, if it were equally significant to them.

Certainly one of the things we would probably throw into a two-sentence summary at this point would be “you have to do a lot of poking around to follow up on quests because the game does NOT tell you where to go.”


Not that that is necessarily a bad thing in a game like this. Lord knows that, back in the distant days before children when Mr. O was running D&D campaigns, he wasn’t all “Ok! Now go east 458 feet cuz that’s where the hidden thing is!” And, while this isn’t D&D per se, it’s certainly channeling it.


It’s very true! That’s why I hesitate to really call this a negative. I mean, it’s a thing, and it’s sometimes a frustrating thing, and it’s a thing that I would definitely mention to anyone who asked what I thought about the game, but I don’t know that I feel it’s a BAD thing. In a way, I can’t help but feel it’s kind of nice not to be spoonfed each next step with a nice quest marker…even though it has frequently annoyed me not to be given a quest marker because it means I have NO IDEA where to go.

I’m torn.


Well, it’s a good thing we’re playing together.

Friendship is all about diffusing the rage.




Religion Found, Promptly Misplaced Again


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Spoilers for the abandoned church location in Divinity: Original Sin



Last night was fucking frustrating. Talked to the guy in the yard there. Told him I was investigating a murder, he nodded and disappeared. Then my quest was all “We must find a way down [to where the conduit went]” so I went looking. Found nothing. Thought “Maybe by those archers…” so I tried to kill them 3429743 times and failed. Then I thought “Maybe by that skeleton knight” so I tried THAT 45439835 times and failed. Then I noticed that I was only 750 XP from level 7, so I decided to go to the easy place to kill easy monsters, so I did and, completely accidentally found Tom’s cave.

THAT’S how I found it.

It’s nowhere NEAR where you said. I blame you.

I’ll go in tonight. I hope. 


Yeah! That’s what happened to us! I said “I’m investigating the murder of counselor Jake” (which seemed more diplomatic than “sure, I’m an adventurer who likes to loot!” or whatever–though both were equally true), and he nodded and vanished. I figure maybe if we HAD just said “I’m an adventurer who likes to loot,” he would have turned on us? Since he kind of said he was a caretaker for the place?

Or maybe he would actually have befriended us, because he’s not really a caretaker, he’s a thief himself! That disappearing thing looked a lot like when Wolgraff does his ‘vanish into the shadows’ invisibility trick. Maybe he would have shared some loot with us! Damn it.

As for getting down where the Conduit went…did you not push the buttons to open the altar? I’ll say no more.

As for Tom’s cave…dude. It has to be SOMEWHERE near where I said. The map isn’t that big. I mean, it must at least be on the same side of the town that I said. Right? Give me that much. But yeah, go in there…fight that thing…see if you can make anything of those levers, because we couldn’t. I’ll say no more.



That guy…maybe. He certainly didn’t like adventurers. Not everyone likes looters! Strange, I know. Sorta like not everyone likes brooding romantic bugs.

We’ll never know his secret. I did dig up the secret. Nice stuff.

Ah, fuck. I knew I was missing something. What buttons? Where were the buttons?

And dude, you said the road back to town from the lighthouse. What you MEANT was the road AWAY from town nowhere near the lighthouse. Now, I can see how you’d get those sentences confused as they both had “road” and “town” and “lighthouse,” but dude. Dude.

I shall lever and get thing. Then probably truck it back to find the buttons I missed. Shit.

So I died all those times for nothing, didn’t I? I did.


I’m sorry, but I’m afraid that yes, you died many times for nothing. There are some buttons hidden behind the paintings in the church. Go try to take the painting (as I did because I wanted to sell it) and you’ll find that you can’t, but that a button will be revealed.

See, there’s a benefit to being pathologically acquisitive! You just didn’t loot hard enough.

As for Tom’s cave…maybe we were wandering especially far afield, probably in search of loot, when we found it, but we WERE on the way back to town. My bad not remembering exactly where.

But let’s not get caught up in discussion of who badly misled whom about what: the important thing is that you’re there now!


God DAMN it! I always forget to look there!

And well….on looting…..

So, in order to proceed in the CHURCH, you have to LOOT THE CHURCH.

That’s….consistent with our discussion of themes in this game, yes? Looting. A church. For real. You have to loot a church.


I am there now! And I look forward to playing with levers I won’t understand!


What did you get up to? The twin dungeons?


No, we didn’t play last night, so I’m happy to keep talking about what you did and are going to do. Casualty of the needing-two-people to play thing. It’s fun doing it together, but it definitely creates a scheduling issue that doesn’t exist with solo play.

As for the discussion of themes…I agree, looting the church certainly fits, but do you HAVE to loot the church? I don’t know. I mean, we could have just looked around but not taken anything. (Indeed, you actually couldn’t take the paintings you look under.) So could we have advanced the story at this point WITHOUT looting–that is, without taking things that didn’t technically belong to us?

I think we could have. Whereas earlier on there was in fact no way to move forward with the story without sneaking and taking things that didn’t belong to us. So maybe this bears on the question I raised earlier, the “well, you HAVE to do it sometimes, so now that you’re used to that, are you going to just go ahead and steal everything you can carry, or are you going to do your best to be as lawful as you can, and only take what you absolutely have to?”

To which I guess the answer must be, I’M going to try to take anything I can haul away, but YOU apparently are taking a slightly more reserved approach.


I don’t mind your scheduling issues a bit. We no longer have me being all “I finally did that!” and you being “Yeah…I kinda remember? We’ll go with what you said.”

And dude, I searched the living hell out of that church and there was no way under that altar. None. I blanketed it in yellow circles. The buttons under the pictures didn’t pop at all. The only way you could find them was trying to loot. You didn’t know you couldn’t take the pictures until you tried, right?

So there ya go.


Ah, but one can TAKE things, and not intend to KEEP them. In a brief period of having a conscience, I stole a couple of books from Thelyron, read them, and then dropped them again, all “see, I’m not stealing! I just wanted to borrow and read!”

Although it’s not very likely one would have any reason to do that with paintings (“I was just looking at it close-up! Then I was going to drop it!”), so your point is well taken. It was only in the course of looting like a lootfiend that I stumbled upon the buttons, and since it’s not as if hiding things behind paintings has been common up until now, there’s no real reason anyone would try to take them ‘just to check.’

So, yeah. You pretty much have to at least INTEND to loot the church.


Right. You had to INTEND to do bad. Which is still pretty bad. Even if the game didn’t let you actually do it.


And yet, interestingly, at the same time, this is NOT bad. I mean, sure, it’s somewhat socially frowned upon in the real world to loot churches (depending on how old and what religion you/the church are), but in-game, this was not an instance of things being outlined in red so we knew we were being naughty when we messed with them. According to the game itself, looting here was fine and dandy.

This church is explicitly (by its name) abandoned, and the things in this church explicitly (by game signifiers) belong to no one, so we aren’t actually ‘sinning’ in the game’s terms by taking them. To assume that we’re doing something bad by looting the church is to bring our own assumption that it’s particularly wrong to loot churches into a game world that states no such belief.

Which, perhaps, they kind of intended, as a means of being all themey and thought-provoking (particularly to players of Christian faith, who might be expected to feel this most keenly), especially when tied in with a book called ‘Blasphemy’ that promotes atheism.


Hmm. I didn’t even notice they weren’t red. Which probably says something, right?


I think it means that deep in your unbelieving heart is a kernel of respect for the sacred spaces of your native country’s dominant faith tradition. You just ASSUME we shouldn’t wreck them. You have a god-shaped hole, dude!

You should get that fixed: it’s going to let all kinds of damp in and then you get faith-mold, start humming hymns…

Whereas my approach is “well, no one seems to be around to mind–time to tear this place apart! Let me at that painting!”


Or maybe I fear that further desecrating a church will make level 9 monsters appear. I’d go back and fuck shit up when I’m level 10.


I certainly hope that’s the reason. I’m going to have a hard time dealing if you start peppering the blog with religious aphorisms.


I promise that’s the last thing on earth you need to worry about.


Blasphemy forever!


Go ahead. Say it.


You better believe that’s a T SHIRT.


Bravo! You’re getting good at this!

Housekeeping Tip: Don’t Allow People in the House


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Some spoilers for Cyseal quests in Divinity: Original Sin


It’s funny how much the house stays clean when you’re asocial.

Starting the week with a T SHIRT!!!!! Was going to have people over, but not feeling well. Slightly better now, and at least things are still tidy.

Ok, got into the church. That was my accomplishment. Well, not really. Talked to the ghosts. If you did that, he’ll mention a cat, and I know cats, so I talked to a cat. Then decided to move on.


You said that when you got to the courtyard, waypoint, etc., you looked ahead and saw a fight and did it. You did NOT say you saw an impossible fight with a fucking battlemage and poison zombies and evilness. That. Took. Forever. FOREVER! So much dying. So very much.

Like, dude, that was not a “We looked ahead and did it cuz whatevs” fight. That sucked.

But I did it, and talked the statues into letting me in and got in. But that’s it. I didn’t really go past the one first thing there.

So that’s where I am. If you got in, we can dish on that.


Sorry…We didn’t have that much trouble with that battle mage fight. I mean, they were nasty, but we stayed back and picked at them and only lost Bairdotr. I didn’t mean to mislead you!

Then we talked to the ghosts, thought “man, if only one of us could talk to cats about that cat,” pressed on, dug up another chest with a key in it, talked to the statues outside the church, didn’t talk them into letting us in with Delios’ intimidate, got into a fight with them, died, tried again and did talk them into it with my display of piety…

Yeah. We can talk about the church, and also the End of Time, where we finally got around to going. We are avatars of ancient gods or something? Heavy, man.

Otherwise, the Hall of Heroes was kind of empty. I did steal all the tableware to sell later, of course. I don’t miss that kind of opportunity.

“Wow, thanks for the weird info, Astarte! I’ll totally ponder that. While I’m at it, don’t mind me taking these roasted pigs no one else seems to be eating…I think better when my pockets are stuffed with pork and gold spoons.”


After all that, it’s all about the spoons.



Yeah, that whole “You’ve become so weak guardian…” bit. And the hall of heroes, I think, is supposed to be empty for now. I got questions.

Why do your companions go there? Ok, we’re special and stuff, if weak. But my Madora is up there eating the pork I left behind (you monster).

The hell were we guarding?????

And the woman who seems to WANT to destroy everything….

Now, I got some theories:

1) We’re…how to say…Eve figures. Purveyors of the titular Original Sin. We’re not in the tapestry (yet) as we haven’t left some sort of Eden. Or we did leave and have gone back. I’m still working on that theory.

2) None of this is real, and we’re insane. Hear me out: We’re in a place we don’t fit. People are trying to end this whole place. It reads as someone who is in a delusion, with people trying to “fix” That delusion by eliminating that reality entirely. We can (or I can) do some crazy things, like talk to animals and (as you said) bring back the dead, that other people can’t do, much like someone in their own delusion. That and I’ve found a couple things that seem to come from the “real world,” things that say “Made in Japan.” The first time I thought it was a joke, but…. And we’re weak! “You’re so much weaker than when I saw you” is something you say to someone in a hospital. Right?

I don’t know how either of those things relate to our “sin to survive” or “sin is necessary” theme, but I’m starting to ponder….

Or I’m just really tired. Maybe it’s the tired.


I think better with pork! Don’t hassle me about my thought processes!

So did you take that guy up on his offer to give you some ‘better’ companions? We were like, “uh, no, weird dude, we’re fine, thanks.”

Again, I figure at some point we’ll have to swap our companions in order to get maximum companion questage out of them (uh…and get to know different people in order to be social?…), so we’ll go back and talk to him again, but we haven’t even begun to do a damn thing towards helping Bairdotr or Wolgraff, so I’m not sure we need more quests at this moment.

I’m intrigued by your theories about our place in all this. Another, equally outlandish speculation I had was, what if we’re not in the tapestry because we’re the thing that’s destroying time? Maybe we ARE the thing that we’re working to stop?

Also, in a largely unrelated point–at least, a point that relates fairly equally to any theory we might come up with–we have to keep in mind that since we’re dealing with time, it’s conceivable that anything people tell us about what we HAVE been, could actually be about what we’re GOING to be. Maybe Astarte knew/will know us in our future when we become mighty (by using the power of destroyed time? by successfully preventing the destruction of time?).

That time weaver lady said something like “I see you leading great armies,” right? And it seemed as if she was referring to something that had happened, but that phrasing could equally well apply to a prophecy of what’s still to come.

I’m also very interested to know if the story ever explicitly addresses the dual nature of the PC here. We are two people, but in a plot sense only one: this key dialogue about our once/future mightiness seems to be addressed equally to either of the PCs, depending on who happens to talk to someone. Were we born at the same moment (or moments, if we’ve reincarnated) and thus share a single fate?

Are we a split soul that happened to end up in two bodies conveniently traveling together? Maybe in the end of the game we’re going to reunite somehow? (No, not by becoming romantically involved, I meant more like if they both dissolve into a being made of pure light or something, although I guess becoming romantically involved would also be interesting…)

Many questions. Many, many questions.

No answers!–but plenty of questions. Which I would not have come up with without pork, so don’t argue with my methods.


Also, on “sin is good,” what did you make of having to fight/lie to get INTO a church? An “abandoned church “ at that? Not “desecrated” or “demonic” or anything. Just abandoned. Like everyone just left. There’s a lot to chew on here.

Like tying to my “there’s echoes of our world” bit: that church was overtly cross shaped. It was set up as a Christian church. You don’t always see that in fantasy games.

So we had to lie to get into a cross shaped abandoned church. Or fast talk. I told the guardians WHO WERE TRYING TO KEEP ME OUT OF A CHURCH “didn’t they think they were wasting their time asking people silly questions about what they believed?” And they bought that!

I mean…. many, many things going on here.


A cross-shaped church that is explicitly abandoned (none of that religion’s worshippers are around anymore?), and that is now guarded by animated statues that talk about protecting it for the use of a goddess who drenches everything in blood.

And, as you say, a church that one must now either fight or lie one’s way into (I went with “Of course I know her name but I have too much respect for her magnificence to speak it aloud.” A good spin, I thought.) And, once inside, a church where one will be compelled to kill several people (or die in the attempt).

A lot going on.


“I think better with pork.” Three T SHIRTS before lunch!

Nah, don’t bother with that guy in the hall. He has, like, 100 companions for you to “hire,” so I get the sense these are not questy companions. I browsed, but they were all just folks with stats. I could be wrong, but there’s no way they wrote all of those characters. I think they’re just mercenaries. I mean, Bairdotr, Wolgraff, Madora and the wizard I haven’t met are written, but that means that unlike other fantasy games, you can’t really experience each character class (cuz there’s lots), so I think this was just a mechanic to let you “play” each class. But I could be wrong.

Hmm. I like that about the memory/phophecy! I always forget time shit. But it also makes sense of the “You’ve become so weak guardian” bit.

We’ll file these away.

And as for our split soul, Ok, do the twin dungeons. Next. Cuz….well….do them. Before we forget about this particular line of bloggage.

We have no answers, not yet….We’re still early, you know. Those hireable companions went up to levels in the high 20s. (You can’t afford them, so don’t bother). So we’re still early. There’s still most of the map, and the other dimension…and and and.

Though I got the sense that the goddess the statues were talking about wasn’t the same thing as the priestess there. Did I misread that? That the Goddess wasn’t trying to like, end everything that ever was. And if they’re different, begs the question: How did conduit person get in?

Later, we will dish on what she’s a conduit between, and how Braccius fits into all this. I’m sure we’ll meet him in time.


Yeah, I didn’t have the sense that they were talking about a goddess that wanted to end time or destroy the world: more one who just likes a bit of human sacrifice now and then (and who among us can’t say the same?).

I feel that we’re kind of meant to conclude at this point that Jake was such a sacrifice? Since our investigation of the murder led us here and all.

Speaking of which, did you go out to the backyard area of the church and talk to that mysterious stranger who said he was just keeping an eye on the place or whatever?


Again, though, did you read it that way? Human sacrifice? I sort of read it in a “crusades” sort of way…we will fight those that stand against the Goddess…you know..sin.

I’m not ready to make any conclusions yet. Jake being a sacrifice certainly is a very viable theory.

But you say “Led us here…” It didn’t. Evelyn’s cave thing is the other way. Totally on the other side of Cyseal. Sure, the murder led us to Cyseal, but investigating the undead wasn’t part of our orders. Not directly. Sure, this woman seems to be the (a?) conduit, and Evelyn had a diary with same, but this wasn’t on the path to Evelyn. And the game, I think, wanted us to do all this before facing Evelyn. I went out that way, thinking BEACH! and everything out there was level 8 or 9. This stuff is all six and seven, so just by that the game was hoping we’d do all this before we got to Evelyn.

The backyard…Not yet. I beat those four cult dudes (which was easy) and was so tired from all that battle mage stuff which was so not easy that I stopped.

But I know it’s out there! The game did one of those “Scarlett has spotted something” deals when the something was on the other side of a wall that one probably has to do some work to get to. Thanks, Scarlett.


Hm. I was thinking of the murder investigation leading to Evelyn and Evelyn’s diary mentioning the Conduit as being a direct path to this, but I suppose you’re right, that doesn’t mean THIS weird thing has anything to do with the MURDER, necessarily. Evelyn could be involved in more than one sinister plot.

“Look, I have a lot of different things going on!” she might be saying if she were real and here right now.

Oh, hey…I bet you’re right, I bet that’s what was going on! When we first got to the church door we got a “Wolgraff notices something” message (Wolgraff is our designated noticer), and we went round and round trying to figure out what on earth he’d spotted since the last several things turned out to be dirt piles that were pretty obvious. We couldn’t figure it out here, and eventually just went ahead with talking to the statues. But I bet it WAS the place behind the door.

Don’t worry, though, you don’t really have to do any work. Just poke around in the church, which you were going to do anyway.


Well, maybe the murder made us stumble upon this mess. I gotta admit, I didn’t expect anyone saying “I am the conduit” in this church. I thought the conduit was going to be some late(r) game reveal, like a secondary boss (there is always a secondary boss). When she was all “I am the conduit” I was thinking “You are? But I’m only, like, level 6….” Maybe she is level 82 or something, but still. We weren’t on this path going “This way is the conduit, who shall shed light on the murder.”

Yeah, the thing Wolgraff noticed was behind the door. When someone notices something, said thing (which is often a pile of dirt) gets a certain white glimmer to it, and I saw said glimmer on the other side of the trees. And rocks. And things I couldn’t get by.

Figures it was through the door. I was tempted by the hatch I found, though….maybe I’ll wait to go down there….

Did you pick that lock? And find the book on the table?

On picking…and gear…I’ve noticed that rings that give you +1 to whatever stack. So Roderick is wearing two loremaster rings which lets him identify all sorts of good shit. Wolgraff is wearing a ring and bracers for lockpick, which makes him able to pick everything I’ve found so far. Do it!


Stacking bonuses rule!

Dude, the hatch…just goes to the backyard. There, I’ve spoiled it. But you’ve already done all the work.

So yes, we picked that lock and got to that hatch. Wolgraff noticed it!

I…was kind of here thinking “this Conduit shall shed light on the murder”? Because…Evelyn’s diary, etc. etc. We haven’t even gone out the gate to find Evelyn’s lair yet (we’re maybe doing it more in the order you suspect they wanted us to). We’re kind of like, “well, let’s follow up THIS lead Evelyn mentioned that’s not outside a gate where the guards keep making frantical “no, no, not yet!!!!” signals, and maybe it will tell us something.”

So I dunno, man, with your out-of-order playing YOU may be checking on the undead as a side gig, but we’re kind of looking at this as related somehow, even though we don’t have any idea how.

And we were also kind of surprised to actually find the self-proclaimed Conduit right there, but…we didn’t actually fight her, right? She took off and left us a few measly young cultists to spar with. So she could still turn up later as a secondary boss, or at any rate a bigger deal opponent than “hey, we wandered into your church, let’s fight.”


Oh. I was thinking “This is gonna lead under something and fights and stuff and fuck that.” I guess I should’ve gone through.

Did you find the “Blasphemy!” book? Cuz…hmm.

My Wolgraff also noticed! Scarlett is usually really good at that, and I always imagine them saying/passing notes saying “I saw it first.” “No, I did!” “NO, I DID!”

Yeah, I ignored the frantic “Not yets” and it didn’t really matter because the monsters thereafter and the repeated deaths were a fine way for the game to say “No, really, dude, not yet.” There isn’t really a way to do the cave first. Unless you cheat or something.

True, maybe this was a “see the boss, save for later” deal, like seeing Asav through binoculars or having the Carja dude cut Aloy and kill Rost and then not turn up again for several levels. Games often do a “Hey, nice to meet you. We’ll likely fight in about 10 levels, I’ll say some stuff that advances the plot then escape, and you’ll kill me 10 levels after that.” Maybe this was that sort of thing.


Yeah, I was thinking it was kind of like that. “Haha, you’ll never catch me! Until some future point when you will totally catch me and we’ll fight, but for now, bye!”

I feel a little bad for the young cultists left behind to cover her escape, but I suppose they were probably glad to do it. Sacrifice and all.

Oh, and I did find the Blasphemy book, but I think I forgot to read it. The weird inventory system means half the time when I go to check out something I just picked up, I can’t find it.


Well, when you sign up for being a “cultist.”

They were all probably named Kevin.

And dude…read it. It’s interesting. Much more about atheism, which you don’t find in games much. Lots of “Why should I ponder some spirit when I can ponder the reality of the flowers and birds?” and stuff. Usually “Blasphemy” games is all “My Goddess shall slay your demon!” and shit. Not anything so secular. This was straight up secular.

A good trick? Before you pick it up, go to actions and hit read. You can even get recipes and stuff that way, without even picking it up. Then you read it without losing it!


Ooh, can you do that trick on books belonging to other people? That is, read them without having to steal them? I’ve seen a few books on peoples’ desks that I wanted to check for recipes and spells, but the person was standing right there so I didn’t.


Oh that’s a good question! I don’t think I’ve ever tried. I’m still getting over this stealing thing. I fear angering people! I gotta try that.

And I have to remember what skill books I have. You know how you keep forgetting to learn pet pal (which you should learn)? I have all these books that are all “you need a rank in geomancer” so I say “ok, really want that skill, must remember to take a rank in that” and then I promptly forget to remember. So I carry them around and forget what they are.


Yeah, skill books. I finally did remember to get the levels I needed to read the two I had, so score! Also, I eventually remembered to give Delios the one I had that was for him. That has proved useful for all of us since his improved combat skills can only improve our chances of survival.

Still can’t talk to animals, though.

Siiiiigh. It seemed like such a good fit for Bairdotr!


I’m so surprised she can’t. It’s important to enough quests that it seems like something they’d pretty much give you if you chose the right companion. I wouldn’t go back to the ghosts until you have it. Not sure how you can.

Ah well. Work those xp.


We will. Eventually we will. Those Talents, though…rare and precious things. Who knows when we’ll get another one?


I Will Temporarily Die for the Cause!


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Minor spoilers for mechanics and a particular battle in Divinity: Original Sin


I got nothing. I was tired, I was sick, and I figured the best medicine would be to stare vacantly at The Great British Baking Show and then fall asleep listening to the radio.

Or, I could phrase it “I will, completely altruistically, give Femmy a chance to catch up to me.”

So, now that I’ve given you this chance purely out of the kindness of my heart, did you play?


Awww…that’s so nice of you! Such selfless generosity!

And yes, we did. We went past the wishing well into the graveyard, dug up all the graves, fought a zombie, found a chest, and then…yeah. All those explodey guys.

I now vaguely recall you saying something about sending Wolgraff ahead to trigger the conversation and then teleporting back? Maybe? Or maybe that’s just what we did. The second time, that is. The first time we got there, we just died, because there were about 50 ticking bombs all around us, but the second time…Wolgraff goes in to wake up the ‘graveyard madman’ or whatever he was called, teleports back to the group, we all stand back and pick away at explodey guys until they blow themselves and each other to pieces…success!

And on our merry way we went, digging up dirt piles. If anyone asks why we’re desecrating an entire cemetery’s worth of graves, it’s because we’re on a mission to quell the Undead Menace and one can never be too careful.

Although there is that one grave (not in the cemetery, back in town) that had a little message saying something like “pretty please do not disturb this grave!” and so I left it alone. True story.

Just ask nicely and I won’t loot your crumbling remains! It’s that easy.

Which is good to know if you’re looking to become the High Ruler of All Zombies.

“Would you mind terribly not bothering all these graves? My undead soldiers are resting until it’s time to burst forth and destroy the town. Thanks!”


I am a true friend. And yes, that’s the fight I totally didn’t spoil.

Ok, see, this is what got me thinking.

Here’s what I did: After my success at sneaking and putting everyone in place against the level seven archers, I figured I’d do the same here. I didn’t know what was ahead, of course, but I split everyone up first. Then I sent Scarlet WAAAAAY ahead with the thinking that I could teleport whatever back to the main party. So I see the madman, figure he’s alone but strong. I teleport him into the ooze. This, much to my surprise, triggers dialog, and, well, all that.

So I wind up with a situation where Scarlet is all alone, surrounded by baddies, and the madman who’s standing in ooze. I think “Ok. One flaming arrow, everything blows the fuck up, the other things will dutifully try to get to me, thus blowing themselves up. However, this will blow Scarlet to hell as well.” But I checked, I had a resurrection scroll, so I fired, blew the fuck out of everything, including Scarlet, and twiddled my thumbs watching the things wander into fire and die. Easy peasy.

But see…I’m playing alone.

What I was curious about is a) would you and MR. O’S character stay together and b) whether if, given the chance, you or he would nuke the other like I did to Scarlet. I knew I didn’t have to hear my partner being all “The fuck did you do that for?” Cuz when you’re playing alone, you can do that without a second thought. Well, maybe a short second thought. But not one that lasted long.

Graves…Oh THAT’S why you’re taking so long. I left them alone. Well, all but one. Why? Because there I was, and there were graves, and I thought “You know? Femmy is digging these up. Femmy has lots of XP. I am missing out. I’m going to dig these up.” So I picked one and dug it up. This triggered a MASSIVE explosion that burned everyone in my party to death in about three seconds. So my next thought was “Oh FUCK this. This is why they’re so behind me. This does not lead to good bloggage. Fuck this.” Then, for good measure, my next thought was “Seriously. Fuck this.”

So I just found the chest and the waypoint and now I’m going to talk to….the things up there….that seem to be things to talk to….I shall say no more.

Although as for the resting undead soldiers…Oh…I….uh….didn’t think of that…..

Man, fuck this.


It’s a good question. We’re pretty cavalier about death because we’ve developed a policy of assuming someone will die and always having a bunch of resurrection scrolls on hand, so I think probably either one of us, in that situation, would have been OK with being briefly sacrificed.

Given the turn-based nature of combat, though, it’s not as if we’d really have to explain why we did it after the fact: we can sit there as long as we want and talk about it.

“So, you cool with dying for a minute if we just blow these guys up here?”

“Yeah, no problem…I’m still running Wolgraff anyway.”

Harking back to yesterday, we could discuss the effect this trivialization of death has on our overall attitude to the game and the potential seriousness of its themes. I’ve found it interesting that we can’t resurrect people who aren’t in our own party, so the dogs and this one guy who fought with us, and that archeologist we were supposed to escort back to town, are out of luck.

This leaves me taking other peoples’ deaths way more seriously than my own, which, thematically…I dunno, encourages us to consider the value of the lives of others, even though they are limited beings subject to laws of mortality that we (answering to a Higher Law and all) are able to evade?

On another note, people SELL resurrection scrolls all over the place, we find them in chests, they’re clearly nothing terribly out of the ordinary, so why are we the only ones who use them?

I mean, I understand why from a game design perspective, but from a perspective of trying to make sense of the world from inside it…is there any explanation? Likely not, I suppose.

On yet another note, dude, I know the explosive grave you’re talking about! We dug that up too. Fortunately, we’ve learned from bitter experience to make one person dig while the rest stand back, so only Delios died. Tip: right next to the explosive grave is a grave full of poison! Bet you want to keep digging now.

But really, you ARE missing some occasional loot and weird stuff by not digging up the dirt piles. Like, last night we found this locked chest. A chest sealed with a lock that could not be picked! Wolgraff tried and it said right there: ‘this lock cannot be picked.’

So we’re moving along, digging up more graves, and we find a key! And we go over and it unlocks the chest! And in the chest is…a key.

We have yet to figure out what that key goes to. Probably another chest we’re going to dig up as we advance further into the graveyard. It just goes to show that people bury some weird things.

We dug up a pillow last night. You can sell that for a gold piece (merchant: “why is this filthy and scented with grave dirt?” you: “vampire youthening spell!”).

Anyway, after the fight and the digging, we reached the waypoint, looked far enough past the waypoint to get into another fight, finished that fight, and are now preparing to go try to find and talk to those wandering ghosts that keep passing by on the other side of the wall.

Are we in exactly the same place again?


Get. Out. Yes, we are. But I didn’t look ahead at the next fight. So you’re a fight ahead of me, and I’m a twin dungeon and end of time ahead of you (Right? You didn’t do that, did you?) But we are, once again, standing in the same place on the map.

I mean… is this happening? It’s like you plus Mr. O equals me. And that’s just too fucked up to contemplate.

As for character death, see, that’s the foundation of trust in a marriage. And an illustration of how laid back you are. Mrs. McP would be all “The hell you doing?!?!?! I WANT TO KILL! Give me your controller! I don’t want to just sit here!”

You know she would.

Hmm. Good point about other peoples’ deaths being more serious. And it can’t just be a source hunter thing.

But it is true that I tried like hell to save the ultimately thankless dog, and I totally blew up Scarlet. Hmm. Maybe back to the “have to do bad to do good” theme?

Did you do the twin dungeons? Cuz…..

Nope, seemingly no resurrection scrolls for the common folk. Maybe they’re too expensive for lowly fish mongers? It’s probably one of those “don’t ask” provisions. But it does, intentionally or not, fit into the theme of sinning to win.

Even you saying “a higher law we are able to evade,” well, isn’t sin evading a higher law (if you’re into that kind of thing)?

About the buried keys, though, man…now I’m worried I missed something. But I did find two…if not key, then interesting books in the graveyard, but each time it was preceded by one of those “Scarlet noticed something” deals. So that wasn’t just random.


Remind her that she’s still controlling Wolgraff! She can still kill!

There was one fight where BOTH the people I control were dead, and that got a little dull, but usually it works out that we each have at least one person alive at least most of the fight.

Speaking of which, another interesting bit of the death and NPCs…you lose a fight if both the PC characters die, even if both the NPCs in the party are still standing. Kind of highlights how important the PCs are here. Along with your note about ordinary people not being able to afford resurrection scrolls, maybe it’s also partly that most people can’t actually cast them, but we’re special?

We are special! In so many ways.

One of which is, we reached level 7 last night and got a new Talent! So we were all excited, “ooh, we can finally talk to animals, who should take that one? Bairdotr, because it’s totally the kind of thing she’d do! Half the time when you talk to her she growls at you!”

But no. NPCs apparently cannot take that talent. Which we discovered after assigning other new talents to both of the PC characters. Siiiiiigh.

So we will continue to plow forward not knowing what animals are saying, because it was either that or refight the entire rather lengthy battle that got us the XP to level up, since we (of course) had not saved between the conclusion of the fight and the commencement of leveling.



Seriously? Even animals are all “Who are you, the butler? I will talk to your superiors!” Damn. Animals are tough.

Dude, my Wolgraff, unless he gets too close to shit, is killing like mad. I got him some armor that resists a lot of elements, and a couple of fire wands. He’s badass!

Yes….yes it does suggest we’re special…..OH FUCK BEING SUBTLE GO TO THE END OF TIME!!!


I know, I know. End of Time. It’s just there are all these graves to dig up. One loses track of the to-do list.

Yeah, my Wolgraff is surviving a lot better lately. I didn’t think to give him wands, he’s just got some nifty daggers, but wands could work too. I tend to forget that basically anyone can use magical stuff. Part of my head is still in actual D&D where we’d be saying “all right, give all those scrolls and staffs and wands to the wizard! they’re no good to anyone else.”


Yeah, I forget that, too. Wands are key. He even has this little twirly fire ninja move he does when he kills stuff. Plus, it keeps him away from everyone else.

We’re too old school! Or just too old.

T SHIRT!!!!!

We’re pretty with it for a Friday.


Interesting…I mostly use a staff because one time using wands I seemed to have to get right up and bash someone with them, so I thought they were basically melee weapons. Is that not true?

Being a frail wizard, I’d use them more often but I prefer not to let anyone get too near me.

We’re not doing too badly today. We must have calibrated our booze dosage and exposure to children JUUUUUUUUUST right.


I don’t think I have any staff weapons! I keep thinking I do, and then I go to use that Staff of Magnus! and it won’t let me. Wands. Wands I have. And you can double wield them, and no, they are not melee weapons. They’re missile weapons with a really, really long range. So wolgraff just stands back and is all “Fireball one! Fireball two!” (ninja twirl) (Writes note that says “how do you like me now?”)

But wands are the WAY dude.

As for us calibrating the booze and kids, nah. It’s cuz I basically lost Wednesday and Thursday to illness. I’m two days off. Wait, Sunday I’ll be watching TV and I’ll occasionally just say “NUDITY!” randomly. I’ll try to get back on track next week.


Ah, good point about the timing.

I am totally going to give wands another try! I have a bunch of staffs, I don’t know why, we just seem to pick them up. The Staff of Magus is basically magic missile, and I use it often, although like magic missile it does limited damage so it’s kind of a backup.

After I do my signature ‘hurl an oily boulder on them so I can set them on fire next round’ trick.


But see? Got Nudity! in anyway. I’m good like that.

Wands are so great. A really powerful fire wand is just so versatile.

And your trick–with a fire wand, why wait? Drop the boulder and then be all “Wolgraff! Do your thing with the thing!”


Hmm…my Wolgraff has mad initiative so he always goes before me, but he could totally get them next round…something to ponder!


Between that trick and the fire arrow thing, I can light up anything. Which is good cuz undead don’t like fire.


We’re going to have to completely change our tactics when we run into something that resists flame, because yeah, I am also heavily reliant on setting things on fire. But we seem to have plenty of undead still, so I’m not going to worry about it.


I’m sure that, by then, you’ll have a shotgun and can just switch over to the other way you kill things.

“Splintering arrow” comes pretty close.


Wolgraff might enjoy that. I got him a rank in bow, just for some flexibility. Not that he needs it if he can use wands, but hey, fancy arrows!

The Greatest Challenge We Face


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Minor spoilers for the wishing well bit in Divinity: Original Sin


Didn’t play. We’re both feeling blah (not the flu, but definitely infected with a cold Grigio brought home from daycare, so scratchy throat and coughing), and had no energy.


You wimps! I’m sicker than hell. Can’t talk, short of breath, achy, etc. But Mrs. McP let me sleep until seven, which was good medicine. But with all that, I STILL PLAYED!

Badly, though.

But we might have something to talk about anyway.

I, what, did the wolf fight, the dog (who healed me in combat. Some dog.) didn’t die, and yet, after the fight, he wasn’t there! I spend god knows how long looking for the fucking dog, and nothing. So I googled it, and, guess what? He doesn’t say anything! He just runs off!

Fucking dog.

Then I decided to head north up to the church because I didn’t want to deal with a bunch of armored skeletons like I did after trap house, and I found a cave….guarded by armored skeletons. Died multiple times, then gave up.

But…I did find the wishing well, which is, I’m guessing, what you found re: other dimension. If it was, we’ll talk. Was it?

And I continued north towards the church. Got into a fight with about 32519825948 bomb skeletons, which was an XP gold mine, made level six, stopped.

It’s that fight, and the well, that we can blog on, cuz I got stuff to say. Did you do that?


Yes, the wishing well!

“Ah, I miss my brother, want to go visit him in the winter dimension right now?”


We went there, talked to the brother well, glanced around nervously, and came right back, because Mr. O’ was afraid of picking up another 30 quests before we finished any of the ones we already had.

This is an area where our approaches differ, because left on my own I would have immediately magpied all over the place in the land of winter and never mind whether or not it took two in-game years to get back to the quests we’d left dangling, but hey…he wants to try to maintain some vague semblance of order, I’ll play along. If only to make up for the fact that I keep digging up graves and getting us into fights.

Tolerating each others’ little quirks is what makes this relationship work so well.


Did you get up past that into the courtyard there? Cuz the courtyard was right there. That was the fight I hope I didn’t just spoil. Oops.

Well, if it makes you feel any better, you couldn’t magpie. If you talked to brother well, he said something like “You’ll have to find another way into Hibernium” to get into the castle, because those doors, can’t, in fact, be unlocked, so you couldn’t get off that balcony anyway. I tried.

I did, however, move my cursor all over that map, and, guess what? It’s big! Surprise surprise!

And I found something truly awesome, that I won’t spoil, but for the throwaway fact that something is from one of the “seasonal planes of the Fairies” which would indicate there’s a spring, summer and autumn place as well. But that’s just speculation.

This game is large.

I was wondering, though, why some of these tonal shifts don’t bother me. We’ve talked before about rather silly things in rather serious games being jarring at times, and yet going from the lord of the underworld to Wishy McWisherton Wellington Wellsworth or whatever didn’t jar with me at all. Should it have? Why didn’t it?


We were GOING to go to the courtyard past the wishing well, and then we said “I bet there’s a fight there, and it’s bedtime.” So that’s probably the next thing we’re going to do. Thanks for spoiling the fact that it’s full of armored skeletons, dude.

Also, thanks for easing my mind with the news that we couldn’t magpie in the land of winter. I did get that the well said we’d have to find another way to the castle, but I thought maybe there was a way into some other part of the realm that we could have explored.

So thanks for telling me there wasn’t! Now I can just pretend we looked around and learned that on our own and came back because I got bored.

I feel like this game has been such a mixture of clever humor, groan-worthy humor, and semi-seriousness from the beginning that it’s easier to accept tonal shifts now. We’re used to the fact that that’s just how this world is! Rich with comedy even in the midst of horror!


Whoops. But not armored skeletons! So I didn’t spoil it! And it’s….well…I thought it was easy, but do it, and we’ll talk about why I thought that and if you agree. I’ll leave it at that.

I think there wasn’t a way in. I think he said “another way into the realm” and not the castle. Plus, I tried to open the door, which was locked, and Scarlet said “Well, I don’t see another way in around here,” which is game language for “Talk to the well then go away and keep looking elsewhere,” so I think you’re cool.

And we often don’t forgive that kind of tone-mixing, though. I mean, something that’s wrong from the beginning doesn’t become right just because the writers keep doing it. Some things are pervasively bad, and we point that out. But this, I don’t mind.


Oh, OK then. If you spoiled it, I guess I wasn’t paying attention, so no harm done. As long as I don’t re-read these messages…

And hey, I’m perfectly willing to accept your call that there was no other way in and nowhere to go besides the wishing well balcony. You looked around, and I didn’t! But can now pretend I did.

I don’t know, I guess we just accept that this game doesn’t take itself–or us–too seriously. I mean, honestly, even the ‘serious’ tone of the undead guy ranting about raising the king of the dead and destroying everything was a bit humorous given the comments about the empresses lovely bones and how “if you resist, as I know you will, you will be destroyed!” or whatever.

So I don’t know that there IS that big a tonal shift, is maybe what does it. I mean, it hops from subject to subject, sure, but does it really treat even its ‘heavy’ subjects with particular reverence or solemnity?


Yes. Don’t reread.

True about the lack of solemnity….but then, we’ve also talked on sin and stuff (which is heavy) and certainly the end of time stuff is heavy (wait until you go back). I mean, the game is called Divinity, for heaven’s sake. Heavy. This isn’t a game like TR or UC where you know going in there isn’t going to be a whole lot of theme and that’s ok.


Well, but themes don’t have to be somber. Maybe this game is all about big themes with a casual, lighthearted approach.

“Can we do something on a huge, serious topic without actually being serious? Let’s try!”


Fair point. I am enjoying it, I’ll give it that.

A good sign is when you realize there’s like, a whole other dimension to explore, your reaction is “Oh, cool! Cuz I was getting to the end of the map!” and not “Really? REALLY?” (Like it was in poor, poor MEA.)


I’m enjoying it. I think it took us a while to get the hang of it, especially combat, but it’s been fun. We keep wanting to get back to it, except when we’re half-sick and one of us falls asleep.


I hear ya. I’m trying to stay healthy myself. But the big thing wrong now is I can’t talk, but I’m playing alone so it’s cool.


Yeah, you can mutter hoarsely to the screen just as well even if you’re not actually making any noise. It’s all good.

We can still talk, so also all good as long as we stay awake.


Which is one of life’s greater challenges, isn’t it?


Yes it is.

Yes, it most definitely is.

So Many Memories. That We’re Trying to Block Out.


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Minor spoilers for Cyseal-area quests in Divinity: Original Sin


Man, it seems like Friday already. And not just because we got weird yesterday. This week is going so slowly. And I was sick all night, and I have a headache and barfing and all sorts of great stuff. Fun.

I hate it when I have a stomach thing and can’t drink coffee, cuz that leads to head things, but I digress.

Played! And dude, where HAS this Wolgraff thing been all my life? (I mean, other than right there on the skill bar….ahem….) That made short work of the trap house. Just blooped him over all the traps and lava! Then got him to the waypoint there and voila. Everyone popped through! And, as I have him in bracers and a ring that boost his lockpicking, I was able to get through that gate to the poison pool thing! Which led to the…poison pool thing! (I still have no idea what to do with the poison pool thing, but it sure LOOKS important.) There was some decent loot there, but nothing earth shattering.

Then I decided to see if I could find a way north to the church from this side of the house and magpie along the way.

I’ve noticed something about magpieing in this game. Usually, when one magpies, time gets spent getting off the beaten track. You see something over there, and then you go over there, and see something WAY over there…etc. This game, you notice something, and it’s right there, and you still have to spent time either figuring something out (more on this in a second) or staring at it wondering what you have to figure out before saying “fuck it.” (the poison pool).

So I found this little lava pit, and, in it was “West King’s Chest Key.” I mean, who WOULDN’T want “West King’s Chest Key?” But damned if I could get the thing without dying 27 times. Took forever. Wasn’t even really that hard, but I was tired. So it wound up being time consuming despite it being right there.

The Twin Dungeons did this to me, too.

But I got the key. Then went north and there were these three Skeletal guards. They killed me a couple times, but then I thought shit through, used sneak to position everyone just so, armed myself with the right things, and….WON! So satisfying! It’s so great when a plan comes together and you beat things that are a higher level than your party! You just feel great! So great that you think “Pfft! I’m on a roll! I’ll just see what’s up these stairs. How hard could it be after that?”

At least I remembered to quick save.

Cuz up those stairs was that undead dude that talked about a king….you meet him?

Better zap myself home and buy some more fire stuff before I pick things up there.


Oh yeah. THAT guy. That guy and his undead empress with the pure bones we weren’t fit to disturb or whatever. That party kicked our butts. It wasn’t even really close.

So we bailed and went off to poke around other places. Haven’t been back yet.

Isn’t Wolgraff’s teleportation awesome? Love it. Somewhat relatedly, how do you use telekinesis? I have a rank in it, but I can’t figure out how it works. It’s not on my skill menu, and it doesn’t seem to work to just click on things…is it with ‘options’ on the square? I forgot to check there…

So, we played, but we didn’t do any of the stuff you’ve done, we just magpied around for a while. Sorry! One gets distracted. I know where the West King’s Chest is, though. It’s actually over by the undead guy talking about the king, whom you’ve just met. Check that out.

We KIND OF figured out how to get into an entirely different dimension, which is a thing, and I was all “let’s explore!” but Mr. O’ said “let’s clear up a few more things in the FIRST dimension before we go picking up quests in another one,” so we went back. BOR-ing.

Useful things we learned: you can set ooze on fire! It makes a very satisfying explosion, too. Just don’t be right next to it.


That’s the dude.

I mean, I did take out his level seven guards, but that was when I could set up everything just so. Fights where it’s like “And now I will kill you,” you can’t be all “Hey, um, could you chill a minute while we stealth to where we want to be first? Mmmkay? Cool.”

Yeah, going off to poke around elsewhere seems like a plan.

Uh, telekinesis is not teleportation, is it? Cuz if it isn’t, can’t help ya.

I did manage to find that chest, and I picked the lock on the East King’s chest, which kinda made me mad that I spent all that time dying to get the damn key for the other one. Wolgraff would’ve been all “Dude, I could have handled that” if he could talk.

Wait, what? Another dimension? HOW? Where? Did you go to the End of Time again? Was there a….shit…dude…you gotta do this so we don’t spoil each other’s shit. But do tell about how you got where you got. That’s weird.

Actually, that bit about ooze explains some of the times I died…..


Other than Wolgraff, none of us can teleport, so I don’t think so. It just says I can use it to move small objects without touching them, which could be handy, but I don’t know how it works. Ah well.

It was probably in a tutorial I ignored. Incidentally, nice mechanic there making you hit X to say “I understand” what the little pop-up is telling you. I can still ignore it/skim it and miss half of it, but now they can prove I SAID I got it, so I can’t complain. Good legalese.

We did not go back to the End of Time. (Were going to! Distracted. Also, ‘source pebbles’? I have something called ‘star pebbles,’ but I ain’t got no source pebbles.)

This was a completely new realm! Not reachable by the Waypoints! I don’t know how or if it ties into the Waypoints and the End of Time. It was a bit random, to be honest.


Ah, that would be handy! Teleport only works on big things, and not, say, keys. Which I tried. A lot.

Yeah, I noticed that about having to indicate understanding on the tutorials. And you have to hold it down. “Really sure? REALLY sure you get it?”

Dude. Go. To the end of time.

And where is this dimension? How? Did you finish something I didn’t do?


More like ‘barely started something you didn’t do.’ It gave us a lot of XP, but we didn’t finish anything. NOTHING. I don’t even understand what we STARTED.

Literally, you’re just walking along exploring and you meet a thing and have a little conversation and get “do you want to go to another dimension? I can send you right now.”

Uh…OK? I mean, what could go wrong?

You’ll stumble across this soon, probably. It’s in the same general area as the trap house/death staircase/King’s Chests, but north. Past where the dog wanted you to fight wolves.

So we’re probably still kind of in the same place on the map, but having done completely different things along the way.


I get asked that about other dimensions, like, every week.

And that’s usually what I say.

Oh dude! I was just going to go that way! Because the whole point of getting past the trap house and going north and finding the guy with the bones and dying was to get north, past the lava, and, hopefully, to the waypoint that I can see on the map that is taunting me (like the one on the beaches up there). (Spoiler: can’t get to it from where the bone guy is). So I was gonna go up that way! Cuz I haven’t killed those wolves.

Yup. If that’s where you are. I’ll catch you soon! But maybe not tonight, cuz this shit I have here, THIS is the flu. Chills? Throwing up? Can’t swallow cuz sore throat? That?


I’m sorry about the sick. That sucks. At least this isn’t the night you have a nice dinner planned? Faint, faint bright side? I hope it passes quickly. That’s about the best one can say with the flu. Rest, imbibe fluids, etc.


Nah, I have no plans save for killing virtual wolves. But there are these kids who do NOT get the concept of “Guys? Dad feels like shit. Could you be slightly more quiet than usual? And maybe not fight?”


Kids NEVER understand “maybe don’t fight.” Does not compute. “But dad, he TOUCHED MY STUFF.” Or took my toy, or scribbled on my picture, or looked at me funny, or moved my carefully piled items…

It’s the simplest video game ever. ‘My great-grandfather’s missing handax’ is genius storytelling by comparison.

With kids it would be just “you walk into town and some guy knocks over your block tower.” FIGHT!

“You go to the bar and order a drink and some other guy asks for a drink too and wants the same cup you wanted.” FIGHT!

Enjoy those wolves. GENIUS narrative.


Not even! “I walked by him and I was bored so FIGHT!”

I tried to kill the wolves! But didn’t. This time, I’m gonna try to draw fire away from the dog. Must. Protect. Dog. Cuz you mock the narrative, but I can TALK to the dog. I’m sure it’ll have all sorts of narrative.

Watch: he’ll explain the whole dimension thing.


He probably will! Good luck saving the dog. I still feel bad about the dogs.


Well, now that I know the whole “sneak and get into position” trick, I can put a couple of my guys right by the dog. All good.

And the wolves are clustered. I feel some grenades might work….


Grenades! I always forget I have those. Grenades are good.

Ooh, do you have the Holy Hand Grenade? I almost used it last night, but then, reading the text carefully, noted that it heals everyone within a large radius. Since our enemies were right on top of us at the time, I concluded this was not in our best interests. Still, a fun item. They have a lot of amusing puns and references.


Ooo! Good safety tip! I never thought it would heal the bad guys! I’ve been waiting to use it until I REALLY needed it, like some awful boss fight, but I don’t want to heal the boss….

I wonder if those underwear were a reference we didn’t get.

And why haven’t I found more underwear? I don’t have anything else I can equip in that spot save for “smelly panties” and no. And I have no “garments” whatsoever, save for what each character came with. There’s gotta be something to all that other than start of game garments and jokes. Right?

As for starting gear, I also rather liked “Wolgraff’s dagger” and “Wolgraff’s other dagger.”


I know, I haven’t found anything else to put in that underwear slot either. Doesn’t it have a picture of a belt on it? Suggesting that at some point we might find magical belts, but I haven’t so far.

And I really liked “Wolgraff’s other dagger.” So much so that I haven’t sold them, even though he now has some much better daggers that he uses instead.


Yeah, a belt. That’s why it’s so weird that you can put underwear there.

I haven’t sold it either! I also still have Madora’s sword and the source hunter armor.

Reminds me of olden times, it does.


“Ah, remember last week when we were wearing that armor? So many good times…”

I always hesitate to sell things that have people’s names on them. I think it’s because this one time in a BioWare game one character called you out on it, like, “sure, you gave me this new, cooler sword, but I really liked MY sword!” or something, and I thought “wow, that’s awesome characterization, of course people WOULD get attached to specific items,” and ever since I’m kind of worried in the back of my mind that someone is going to be unhappy if I sell their stuff.

So I give them the better stuff and keep their old stuff hanging around in my inventory for 50 levels, just in case.


It would be even cooler if you gave it back to them in 50 levels and they said “Uh…..really? You’ve been hanging onto this piece of shit? Dude, the whole reason I joined you was for the better loot.”


That would also be pretty awesome. “Check it out, I’ve carefully kept your first-level gear!”


Look, I respect both a sentimental attachment to worthless old items, and a strong desire to trade in said items for better loot.

Which is, as you point out, why we adventure in the first place.


The NPC would be all “Uh….thanks….dude….”


“Hey NPC, where’d you get that gold?”
“And where’s your sword?”
“Uh….in the shop?”
“Which shop?”
“The cheese shop.”
“Why’d I save it then?”
“How should I know? Hey, can I have my old garment back, too? I could use some ale money….”


“And you wouldn’t happen to have been holding onto Other NPC’s starting equipment too, would you? Because I’m just going to talk to her and I could totally drop it off. At the cheese shop.”

Wandering, Lost and Confused…


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Minor spoilers for Cyseal-area quests in Divinity: Original Sin


Well….THAT happened.

Ok, so I went up to the lighthouse and those dudes were right were you said they would be! So I talked to them and lied for them and all that. And I walked back looking for a cave with a Tom in it and LIES! There is no such thing. Found nothing.

But I got the fat XP for the lighthouse thing. And Roderick had a crisis of “Am I being to kind for a source hunter?” and Scarlett used it as an excuse to flirt. I’m romancing myself.

But then….

I remembered that I was going to go check on the end of time there, see what was up with that source stuff. So I did that. And….THAT happened.

Did you do that? Because if you did, we should talk about THAT. If you didn’t, that’s a thing to do. That and the twin dungeons.

Then I tried to find a way west, because I think we have to go west before we go north to that beach. Found the wolves and they were hard, man, so I didn’t fight them. Well, I did, and I died, and I reloaded. (How do wolves rage?)

So I decided to explore the imp trap house, which I am doing. It’s a lot easier to loot things that are on the other side of nastiness when you can teleport them to you. Teleport rocks.

So things to talk about if you did them. What did you do?


Didn’t play. Can’t talk about much of anything. But I’m glad you found the legionnaires! And no, that cave wasn’t right next to them, it was more “somewhere along the way between them and the city”. We were walking back in order to make sure we cleared all the available map, as one does, and it was in there somewhere.

I swear! You’ll stumble across it someday when you least expect it. You’ll know it by the giant robot.

We’ll go back to the End of Time, then. And talk about that. Eventually.

In the meantime…we could address some themeage? We talked before about how in the game you basically have to ‘sin’ (break into peoples’ houses and steal stuff. But that leaves a question of “even if you HAVE to sin, do you still try to be good by only sinning as much as is absolutely required, or do you just give up and start stealing everything you can carry?”

Because there are levels of naughtiness, and while it’s certainly naughty to break into someone’s house and poke around, it can be excusable if you’re looking for evidence to solve a murder. It’s not so much excusable to break into their house, poke, around, find the evidence, and also haul away all their clothing and paintings and tableware so you can sell it later.

So are you only as naughty as you have to be, or do you figure you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and just take it all? Mr. O’ is more inclined to the former approach, but I’ve been running Wolgraff, so he and I tend to split off and then run away with everything we can carry. What the noble Delios doesn’t know, won’t hurt him.

Source Hunter Tax!

Oh, and I also had that moment of reflection on whether I was too soft-hearted to be a Source Hunter, and Delios was all “that gentleness makes you a shining light in a dark world” or whatever. We’re totally into each other.


Lies I say! I looked at every damn rock face on both roads! Even the ones by random ever burning torches!


Oh no. “Eventually” sounds like “We’re having trouble finding time to play.” I was afraid of this. Go lone wolf if you must!

But do that dungeon thing first cuz I’m curious.

YES! We, uh….I? They? Uh….moving on…. did the same thing in that discussion.

But that ties right into this themeage! And I was going to tie it but you beat me.

First, I haven’t really done anything particularly nasty yet. Well, hmm. I guess I’m in the middle. I don’t loot and loot, but that’s mostly because I don’t want things cluttering up my inventory, which is already a mess (why does the empty square stay there once you’ve sold something? My inventory looks like morse code). Does that make me moral? And I do take things that look neat, even if they’re not for a quest. So, say, when I was looking for evidence against Esmerelda (the panties, which I still have, and can be equipped….eww….), I didn’t feel bad because, as you say, looking for evidence, noble purposes, etc. And I didn’t loot like crazy! So noble. But I did kinda take the rock collection. Cuz….well…looked important. And valuable. And I needed the money. Hmm.

(As a side note, you say “what he doesn’t know,” but Mr. O knows even if Delios doesn’t…how’s that working out?)

But back to that conversation on self reflection.

So I got that dialogue after I agreed to LIE to the legion. Lying isn’t generally considered “good.” And here I am all “Am I being too GOOD?” And Scarlett being all “No way…be GOOD! It’s sexy!” We’re doing bad things here. We’re lying. We’re stealing. We’re looting. We’re killing. And before you’re all “Well, they’re just undead,” we’ve met “good” undead, and we both have blood on our hands in terms of allowing “innocents” to die, be it the orc with the love potion (me), poor, dear Murphy (you), and the chicken (both of us) who probably had something to say.

We haven’t done a whole lot of good, really. The quests we’ve done have been a lot of “Welp, found your dudes. They’re dead,” (not that helpful), or “Well, found your evidence but she got away,” (not that helpful), or “Stole your talking head!” (not that nice).

And that’s weird in a game like this! Usually, by now, you’ve helped/saved/avenged someone! You’ve righted a wrong! I can’t think of any of that! I haven’t even gotten those poor sailors a job!

So we’ve lied, stolen, killed, etc., none nothing really “good,” and here we are, worrying we’re too “soft hearted,” too good, and congratulating each other for BEING so good!

And ain’t THAT an interesting take on good/bad…or, well, sin?

I’m very curious as to what you’re gonna have to say about all this after the twin dungeons and your trip back to the End of Time. Cuz there’ll be stuff to talk about on this.

And when we both get to the abandoned church that’s surrounded by burning lava, maybe there’ll be stuff to talk about re: sin as well. Just guessing.


Great minds! Great, brilliant, thoughtful minds. Thinking alike.

We’re definitely chaotic good, if anything. I mean, lying for those legionnaires helped THEM, even if it was technically wrong because it wasn’t true. We’re not at all lawful (unless, as we talked about before, we’re referring to a Higher Law to which alone we are answerable).

But hey, I let the chicken go! Also, we found those sailors jobs. (Talk to people in the marketplace. Like, everyone in the marketplace. I forget who, but one of them will hire sailors. Hm…or maybe it was someone over in the fairground area? Well, just keep talking to everyone you see. SOMEBODY will hire sailors.)

And I gave Bertia the money we got from the mortician, to make up for the loss of her sheep. So we’ve done one or two nice things.

Even if we’ve also stolen a lot of stuff and stood idly by while a lot of people and dogs died. (Although actually, we were fighting our hardest when the dogs died, we just couldn’t defeat the enemies in time to save them. We do our best for dogs! People…enh.)

As a sidenote–lord, yes, about the inventory. It’s a mess. Empty squares that just stay there until they’re filled by you picking up something, which means you can’t just look at the top or the bottom to see the new stuff, you have to either remember where the empty squares were (ha!) or click on every single item to figure out which ones aren’t familiar. Half the time I just give up. I have very little idea what’s in my inventory, honestly.

Anyway…yeah. One could argue we’re chaotic good. We’re doing our best, sort of, whether or not that’s technically legal. That would be Delios. Or maybe Valena, at least, is chaotic neutral, since she’s not above stealing everything that fits into her bag of holding…although she does mean well, and tried to resurrect the dog. I mean, it’s quite common for adventuring parties to be composed of people with different alignments, so maybe we get to have it both ways as players.

Yes, we’re good! And no, we’re not good!


But….we’re not that good! Well, good or not, we (or, at least, I) really have nothing to pat ourselves on the back for. We mean well, but we’ve done precious little. And sure, you’ve done some, but enough to get your character patting himself on the back? Characters never do that even when they’ve saved the world! I mean, Roderick, why are you feeling so proud, dude? And yet you are…..and I agreed with him! I was all “Yay me!”

Go to the end of time. We’ll talk. Later.

Sailors: Ah, ok. I sorta figured I was missing something, as that couldn’t have been THAT hard.

What money? I didn’t get jack from that guy! How’d you get money from that guy?

Dogs over people:
HA! There’s something in there, too. I kinda feel the same way about rats. They’re helpful when you can talk to them! And so often, collateral damage. They have, like, two hit points. Poor things.

Do you think that ties into some notion of original sin? Animals weren’t supposed to have that, right? Like, Noah saved them, etc? (I have a feeling we’re gonna lose some bloggage because we’re godless heathens who are missing some stuff.) So we’re more ok with the humans dying because they’re not “innocent” like the poor innocent animals? Even though we don’t know that in game?

Inventory: YES! All. The. Time. “Oh, something to identify! Oh…where is it…Hmm…” [kid screams, I pause, come back, forget] [two weeks later] “Why do I have this unidentified thing?”

And the tabs…what ARE those tabs for? Some have books, others have books. Some have stuff, others have stuff.

Side rant: I hate books in video games. Even when games try to make them look different, they look the same. They ALL look the same. And you end up with SO MANY OF THEM. This happens in every damn RPG ever.

The saving grace of the inventory system is not having to have the character actually holding a weapon/helmet/whatever to equip it. You hit “change” and you see every non equipped thing the WHOLE PARTY has. If I had to check every character each time? We’d never change anything.


“Yay me! I’m so proud of my awesome goodness! I haven’t even intentionally killed all the people I’ve run into! Yet.”

You didn’t get a bag of gold from the mortician? See, maybe you should have talked to him instead of broken into his house! We confronted him about the sheep corpse and he confessed everything that was in the ledger, with the four possible names, and also said “I couldn’t refuse this bag of gold that was lying there! But here, you take it.”

And we said “OK.” Which is arguably acceptance of a bribe, as long as we’re talking about being good and obeying the law, but hey, it was a present! I didn’t want to hurt his feelings!

And then later I gave it to Bertia to compensate her for her lost sheep, which IS good. I think. I don’t know, I confuse myself.

I do agree about that one useful feature of the inventory. Because you’re right, if we had to give an item to every person to compare whether or not it was better than what they had, we’d all still be using our starting gear.

‘Magic pockets’ is also pretty handy. Having to deliberately hand off the shovel or pickaxe every time would be tiresome. So OK, there are a couple of good things about inventory management.

But many that are not. Like, if we’re talking about how books all look the same, KEYS. Keys all look the same and I can never remember where any of them go (especially if they’re just descriptively titled ‘key’), and I always want to just throw them away but I never dare to because what if we wind up going back to wherever this was and it’s locked again!? So I have a whole page of keys, even though in many cases we just picked the lock or broke the chest open. I want an inventory system that will highlight which keys still go to a working lock in the game, so I can throw the rest away.

Although to be fair, a mess of unidentifiable keys is VERY true to life.


There is that. And, at least, you don’t have to find one to use. You just open whatever it is that opens.

I still keep them all. But then, as you say, true to life. I think I have at least one drawer, probably more, that’s full of keys for locks that no longer exist, cars I no longer have, houses I no longer have. But you never KNOW, you know?

No gold from the mortician! I guess I should’ve followed the law. I just found the ledger and that was that. Sigh. Though, in my defense, I WENT to find him and he wasn’t there. Figured he was running away or something.

Your moral choices confuse us all. But then, maybe that’s what the game is trying to get us to do.


Yes! You never know!

And true, they already give you the magic of instantly having the right key in hand when you try to open the door, instead of realistically making you try every single one of them. I suppose it would be greedy to also ask for the magic of knowing which ones you didn’t need anymore.

The mortician was probably just out for lunch. And rather than wait for him to come back, you unlawfully entered the premises and poked around, and missed out on a bag of gold.

Always obey the law, kids! Except in those instances where you can’t advance the story without disobeying it.

We answer to a higher law, which is called Narrative, and all we do is in its service.

Well, that and Loot.


Or he was bugged. There was one time where I went in and he was just standing there, and I could talk to him, and I could walk through him.

Main quest bugs are scary.


Yes, they are. Shiver.

At least this one wasn’t critical.


Though strangely, I’m not sure what’s main quest and what isn’t. Is the murder part of the main quest? It has stuff that shows up under “Source Hunter’s Journey,” but it also has it’s own entry. Is the whole “find source of undead” part of the main quest? Is the main quest the whole end of the world and everything that’s ever been ever quest?

Usually, in games, the main quest is pretty clear. I kinda like that it isn’t here.

Well, wait. I should say that the whole “end of everything” thing is the main quest, as, really, failure to do that kinda moots everything else. But is anything tied into that?


Not that I’ve seen so far. But it seems like the kind of thing that could wind up being related because it turns out that it’s Sourcery that’s rending the fabric of spacetime or whatever, and so by trying to stop sourcerers we’re also working on that problem…?

I’m only speculating here, but it does seem like the kind of thing that the Higher Law we serve, Narrative, would enjoy.


Cuz…well….Go back to the end of time. We gotta talk. Cuz, as I mentioned, stuff happens.


Happening stuff. Duly noted.


This game does have its share of narrative. And we’re doing well on themes! And it’s still early!

It’s gotta be still early. Lots of black on that map.


There is a lot of black on the map. And only a few yellow highlighted points out in the black, suggesting that there are all kinds of quest we haven’t even heard of yet.

Although I find the yellow highlight points kind of confusing…they must be highlighting only areas related to the main quest? More or less? Because we have a lot more quests than we have highlighted points.

And yet, some of the areas I don’t know anything about in terms of the main quest. I guess the connection will become clear in time.


It better. But it might not. Many an RPG leave things hanging. But it’s early. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Whole towns are undiscovered. Silverglen. Hunter’s Edge. And I’m getting quests that tell me I have to go there, so….

Yeah, there are marked points like “Arhu’s study” and “Captain Aureus.” I know, game. Been there. And yeah, “abandoned church.”

But not CAVE WITH TOM IN IT! Just sayin’.

Buuuuuuut, if we doubt the series:

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Is One Of The Best RPGs I’ve Ever Played


Yes! The yellow points don’t go away! So I don’t know if we have to go back and talk to Aureus and Arhu again sometime, or if that’s just reminding me of the good times we had talking to them before.

The review of 2 is reassuring, although it doesn’t tell us anything practical about 1. Like, where Tom’s cave is.

Still, they clearly have some chops.


Well, no. But I figure that playing this one will be both fun (which it has been) and give us something to look forward to.

Cuz we’re so good at planning.


We plan well. We follow through…well-ish. I mean, we usually do play what we plan to, but not always on the timeline we thought.

I can’t really think of anything we definitely planned to play, and then never played. (Lots of “oh, someday in the home when we have time,” but nothing that we were saying “yes, let’s DO that!” and then we didn’t.)

It just might take us longer to get there than we anticipated.


Fair point. It’s not so much plans as timing.

I don’t give us enough credit.


Yeah! Give us more credit! We need all we can get.


Oh stop! I think we’re doing quite well! Yes, we owe the internet an apology for the Civ 5 post, that we do, but we’re delving pretty deeply here. Considering most analysis of this game (and most RPGs) centers on character creation, combat, etc., and misses why it’s called Divinity: Original Sin, we’re ahead of the curve.


I regret nothing!

Nobody objected to that, anyway. Maybe people aren’t as obsessed with in-game nudity as we assume?

Nah. They were probably just busy getting ready for the weekend.


Well, what better way to prepare for the weekend than to check out pictures of Ghandi?

T SHIRT!!!!! that I hope NO ONE EVER WEARS!!!!


Well…if you were planning to spend your weekend on nonviolent resistance activities, it could actually work.

A bit long, though.


Yeah…let’s go with that.

Fuck, it’s only Tuesday, isn’t it?

For God’s sake play tonight, go to the end of time, do the dungeons, SOMETHING! Cuz it’s only Tuesday and here we are!



Yeah, things get weird and scary when we can’t talk about what we’ve both been playing. I’ll check on the source pebbles tonight! Or something!


Actually, I don’t think it was the pebbles. I’m not sure what it was. The thing Evelyn had? I don’t know. But something. You’ll be fine. Things will happen.

And the dungeons. Do those.

I’ll keep trucking in the trap house tonight. Cuz, you know, you told me it was pointless. But I don’t know what else to do!


Oh, speaking of that, I meant to note in regards to an earlier comment that we don’t have anyone who can teleport things, although that sounds awesome, but Wolgraff can teleport HIMSELF, which can also come in handy when it comes to getting to things that seem to be out of reach.

As long as I’m not accidentally teleporting him directly in front of the powerful undead clubber, it’s very cool.


Whoa….how’d he get that? Can my Wolgraff do that?

What’s disappointing is, for some reason, you can’t teleport those explosive mines. It would be very handy to teleport those.

But you can do stuff like light an enemy in fire, then teleport him right on top of an oil barrel. So teleport can be fun.

Pet pal and teleport. So key.

Don’t take a level in teleport just yet. Cuz there might be a book that’ll take care of that when you do the twin dungeons.

Helpful hint.


Aha! Noted.

I didn’t pick this out for my Wolgraff, so yours probably can. I believe it’s a Scoundrel skill. It’s called…hm…not disappear into shadows, that’s the invisibility one, but some dramatic name. Check his skills. It’s handy.


Damn. I wish I had known that earlier.

Scarlet has one called thunder jump that gets her behind enemies in combat no matter where they are, but that’s only in combat. Still, when dudes are sniping you from distance, handy.


Wolgraff’s is also pretty handy. Out of combat too! Check it out.

The Monsters We Ourselves Have Spawned


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Some spoilers for Cyseal-area Divinity: Original Sin quests


Good LORD this morning. Go home, take a look at your kids, and remember them this way, for someday they will be emotional balls of hormonal evil who will cause you to be very, very bust and psychologically drained.

You’re gonna love it.

Ok, video games!

Played some. My big accomplishment was solving the twin dungeon deal, with the levels with the elements. I have a feeling that was/will be a different experience (and an easier one) for you two, what playing split screen and all. If you’ve done that, we can compare notes.

Then I went to sell stuff and go shopping and learned the hard way that you should really check what level you have to be to learn a skill BEFORE you buy the skill book. Ah, well. At least I know what I have to look forward to.

Then I just went exploring, and found the church, and talked to some undead people, and was unable to go further cuz lava. Then I found some estate thing that’s covered with ooze and traps and obviously has a puzzle element but what it is or why I should do it or if NOW is the time to do it is all very opaque.

So really, I’m at that point one gets to in non linear games where I’m all “So…..what should I do next?” I mean, I have, like, 15 quests, but either a) I know where I’m supposed to go but can’t cuz too hard, b) I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or c) I have some vague idea of where I’m supposed to go (like Silverglen) but the game seems to be impeding my way cuz I’m not supposed to go there yet.

And the places I CAN go are like this mysterious estate with the traps, and I don’t know what they are.

So I dunno. What the hell should I do? Wander around where I’ve been and potentially waste time? Forge ahead? What?


Adolescence! I can’t wait!

We played some as well. Still didn’t get around to Evelyn’s lair, but we went to the house full of traps. At least, it’s probably the same one? Was there a body with an Imp’s research notes on the steps? First room full of ooze, room full of lava farther back inside?

If so, it has a bit of treasure, and on the other side of it there’s a locked gate we apparently weren’t high enough level to get through (Wolfgraff also couldn’t open one of the chests in the house), and then there’s also a sort of temple full of 7th-level skeletons that promptly murdered us to death. We decided to come back when we’ve got a couple of levels. Given that the locks were also too tough for us, you might want to save that for later.

Right near there in the other direction we met a dog who seemed to want to show us something (we of course couldn’t talk to it), so we followed it right into a pack of wolves. The dog fought on our side, but was killed in the battle (and we checked, but resurrecting it wasn’t an option), so I guess we’ll never know what that was about. In-game, anyway.

So in answer to the question of what should you do? Turn left at the house of traps and talk to that dog and tell me what the heck was up with him or her!

We reached level 6, too, but we STILL don’t have a new talent point to spend, so none of us has the option to learn to talk to animals until at least the next level.

We saw the twin dungeons, but we didn’t do anything with them because we were on our way to something or other. I know what you mean, though.

Hmm…nothing else to report that I can think of.


Adolescence. You’re gonna love it.

Yeah, I met that dog. He said, and this shouldn’t surprise you, that the undead were “all you can eat,” but wolves had driven him away from a huge bone pile that he wanted to chow down on, and could we drive them away? I didn’t do it right away, because I had just found the interesting place, and damned if I was going to abandon it for a dog. But yeah, he said he’d lead me to wolves, which you figured out all by yourself.

Wolves. Wolves were what was up with that dog. I’ll let you know more when I do the quest.

Talking to animals is damn handy. Mostly because animals give you a heads up. Practically every place has a rat or a chicken, and the first thing I do is chat up the rat (or the chicken). It’s usually all something like “Wow, that ghoul upstairs sure is strong!” or “Why aren’t you wearing your pendant?” or something that tips you off to something else. Handy!

Do those dungeons. It’ll give us a chance to talk on both mechanics and theme. And there’s some prime loot. But go get Madora first. No need for lockpickin’.

So what to do? The only thing I can think of (other than going full magpie) is to go back and do something with the lighthouse. My “Expedition: burial mounds” completed when I took the archeologist home, and “expedition church” completed when I told the boss about the two skeletons by the church/lava, but she’s still musing if any of her legionaires survived at the lighthouse, and that quest is still live. No idea as to how to complete it. Thoughts?

I also have no idea what to make of the ghost. I have a quest that just says “We met a ghost who said he crashed a ship to kill his wife,” and I’m all “Yes, yes I did….and what do I do?”

And I have a couple of quests that talk of beaches, and I can SEE some beaches to the north there, on the other side of a long ridge of rocks, and I TRIED to find the way through/over the rocks and couldn’t. There’s a waypoint there mocking me, that I can’t activate. How do I get up there?????

Oh and here’s a thing….remember that main quest? Like, time is being eaten? That one? Well, I found three “source pebbles” or something, and I figure I should do something with them, but damned if I know what. Go back to the end of time?

WHAT DO I DO???????

What are you gonna do?


Yes! We can’t figure out how to get up there either. There’s that waypoint for ‘secluded beach’ or whatever, and we can’t travel there. We’ve been walking up and down that rocky barrier trying to get in there, on and off, for several sessions, but no luck.

Ah–thanks for the translation of the dog’s commentary. I still feel bad he got killed, but at least I know!

About the lighthouse and the legionnaires–did you not talk to those two, on the path to the lighthouse? They were sort of standing on this short offshoot of the path down there, and they told us about the lighthouse and how they were afraid to go near it.

So we went and killed everything, and they went back to the captain or whatever her rank is and claimed credit for defeating the ghoul, so she let them go home (their reward for surviving a mission). We let them get away with claiming the credit, because…we’re softies, I guess. It was also an option to tell her that no, it was all us, but we refrained.

Anyway, that cleared up the quest for us, so if you never met them, then maybe they don’t know the ghoul is dead and haven’t come back, so maybe you could go find them?

I don’t know what to do about the ghost and shipwreck either. Find the shipwreck? Find the wife’s body? And do what with it?

There are a lot of very unclear quests in this game. We have open quests right now where the next step is to talk to someone, and we simply can’t find them. Like the mayor’s maid! We have to tell her what happened to Tom, but damned if we can find her.


Ah, ok, so it’s not just me. Ok. I always wonder if it’s just me. There must be a second act up there. And I’m starting to think there’s more than two acts. Considering that Evelyn’s cave thing is in, well, a cave, maybe it leads up there.

Now if only I could get there…..

I thought maybe underground, but I can’t find a way there.

Well, the dog might have more to say, if I can do that and not get him killed. But, at least at first, and I’ve only done “at first,” all he’s about is getting food and being pissed at wolves. Nothing plot oriented, like with Murphy.

Ah. No, no I did not talk to legionnaires near the lighthouse. I’ll go find them.

Some other things, I’ll wait until we find a way up to that beach. Actually….wait….shit…there might be a cat I can talk to. Seriously.

You gotta get the pet pal perk.

But I don’t think so. The cat gave me something else to do.

What? I don’t have any of those quests. For real? The maid quest involves those “fearless five” I’ve been ignoring, right? She’s sometimes upstairs in the library. Check there.

Did you find the source pebbles? And do you have any idea what to do with them? Cuz they must be important. Esmerelda explicitly mentions them, and when someone explicitly mentions something, it’s gotta be important, right?


But all the same, next I better mop up the lighthouse, then deal with the fearless five? Cuz that’s the maid? Then maybe I’ll level up, cuz then it’s either a) trap house, b) the courtyard by the church and the lava, or c) Evelyn’s cave. Cuz I got nothing else.

Did you find the burning chest?


You don’t actually have to talk to the Five to find Tom, although if we’d joined (we probably still will at some point, but they’re just so sleazy) it’s possible they would have sent us to the place where we eventually randomly stumbled across him. This was while doing…what? Hm. Where DID we find him?

Oh, right, we found a cave and went in and there was…stuff. The cave was…where? It’s all a blur.

I think it was while we were walking back from the lighthouse to the town because we needed to sell some stuff and buy more healing. (As one does.)

So if you’re going over that way anyway to talk to the legionnaires, keep an eye out for a cave. There MAY be a big fight inside it. Plus Tom.

I looked for the sister in the library, and I thought I heard her talking, but I couldn’t find her. We’ll keep trying. She’s got to be somewhere. She’s not lying among the dead guards that still haven’t been moved since that weird battle that we fled from.


Ah, man! Like, the one road I missed. Shit. I think what I did was, after I killed the ghoul all that, I fast traveled back to Cyseal cuz I was messed up and needed to sell some stuff and buy more healing. (As one does.)

HA! That would be kinda funny. Maybe, when you ran away, the guards figured the maid was the bad guy. And the mayor. And they somehow all killed each other. Or something.

You know what’s really weird? We’re still kinda in the same place. We’re in lockstep main story wise, and, while you have Tom and the Legionaires and a chunk of trap house on me, I have the twin dungeons (go do that) on you.

This is so weird!

But you did something with the source pebbles, didn’t you? Cuz you’re being coy.


Oh, sorry, no, I’m not being coy, I’m just being forgetful. I think we found one source pebble? And we haven’t done anything with it. So your guess is as good as mine.

We haven’t been back to the End of Time, so it makes sense that maybe you do something with them there, but we don’t know what, if so. Maybe we give them to that tapestry lady? It’s a mystery.


I’ll give it a try. Cuz I found three up there in Esmerelda’s room. Jake the dead guy had three in his rock collection.

Fast traveling, man. I should know better.


Really, Esmeralda’s room? I thought I looted that place pretty thoroughly, and I don’t remember three of them. Maybe I was just in such a fever of looting that I grabbed them without noticing what they were.


I think so. Yeah. They were in a chest with a ton of other rocks.

We’re missing stuff. We’re lost without hexagons. We’re going soft.


We are! We’re soft and spoiled! But I swear I walked all over that room doing the magic ‘search’ thing and got everything. I even remember getting some other rocks…a moonstone and a diamond, I think. Maybe I picked up the source pebbles too.

I’m sure we’ll wander back by there someday…I’ll have another look just to be sure.

Speaking of game things, have you crafted anything? I’ve found a number of recipes, and I’ve made a few things and have been hanging onto totally random things I find lying around (“hair! yes!”) because I figure it’s probably an ingredient in something, but you don’t seem to get XP for it and the only thing I could craft was much less useful than the versions I picked up all over the place so…I dunno.

I’m kind of thinking of just skipping the whole crafting system. Selling off all my collected hair and eyeballs and stuff.

Although I did learn to make healing potions, which are in fact useful, so maybe I’ll just skip crafting everything else.


We never craft! It’s how we do.

I fiddled with it some, and mostly what I got was “This WOULD be a recipe but your level is too low.” And I have this cup thing that says it makes things into gold, and I tried to combine things with that, but kept getting “You have made nothing.”

Crafting is usually silly.


At least in Skyrim you got XP for making worthless gear that you would then sell to the nearest person for pennies! I did it all the time for that reason alone.

Yeah, crafting always seems like it probably has some use if you keep at if for long enough (like in Skyrim you could eventually make dragon scale armor or whatever, which you couldn’t buy anywhere), but…with all that time, you could just be looting perfectly good gear, which is what I always do anyway.


Yeah. I have more things than I even need! I have things I can’t even use cuz levels and AP!

And it’s little weird being able to craft things like rabbit feet when you can talk to animals. Like “Hey man, can I borrow your feet?” Though it is polite to ask cows for milk, which I can do.


We have stuff we don’t need, too. Things do wear out, although repairing seems cheap, so I’ve been hanging onto extras of things just in case I’m in the middle of a fight and my armor totally gives way or whatever, but even with that we have all kinds of random stuff no one uses.


Oh dude, I ALWAYS forget about repairing stuff. I’ve remembered when I was THIS close to losing something good.

Fun fact: those underwear you get when the game starts can get damaged.



I noticed that!



Some things are not meant to be understood.



Yes, let’s just move on. Fortunately, it’s the end of the day!

So Very Tired


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No spoilers


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.



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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.



XP Reform Now!


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Minor spoilers for some quest points in Divinity: Original Sin


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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….


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.