Part 8: While You Studied Mein Kampf, I Studied The BladeWhile You Studied Mein Kampf, I Studied The Blade
Last time on ATOM RPG, we ransomed a drunk man from a bandit camp and saved a bandit from death. Today we're going to learn why the Roaring Forest roars! It's...kind of exciting, I guess?
I try to get Kovalev's life story out of him but unfortunately we are not a slick enough operator to do that.
: How do you like being the head of this commune?
: Riiiiight. Moving on...
: Tell me about yourself.
Unfortunately we are not high enough level with Speechcraft to weedle his past shameful history out of him. Damn!
: I got your point. Can I ask one more question?
We go back to the "Speak" screen so I omit it.
: How's life out here?
: We are very lucky. I heard some communities are ruled by criminals. That must be total hell.
Read: every other community in the game.
: People get their heads sawed off or are hanged, their eyes are gouged out. In spring they are tied to trees, to get drowned in the floods. All kinds of terrible things.
: I would love to say that the cause of all evil is the usual suspects - the criminals, the drug addicts, the lowlifes. But they are not the only ones. Some of the atrocities fall to regular people who simply forgot the morality of the old world.
: You don't say. May I ask more?
: Heard any rumors?
: [Comrade Kovalev shrugs his shoulders, indifferent]
This is all we're going to get out of him, sadly. Some rumors are useful, like the one about the experimental gun. Some are not.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, how's being the head of the commune going?
: Pretty good. We all work together, and no one questions me!
: So, uh, tell me about yourself and any salacious details about infidelity.
: Ha ha, I have no idea what you're talking about. I used to be a police detective before the war, but now I'm a generic mayor guy.
: How are things out here?
: Pretty good. Let me tell you about all those criminals torturing people son, and it's not just criminals - when the Soviet Union fell, morality went straight into the dumpster! Hint! Hint! It's very thematic!
: Anything else useful?
We are sadly not strong enough to move this rock for a sidequest. I have a plan though!
On the way back to the factory we're ambushed by bandits, and this is actually pretty great!
The bandits unhygenically attack Bear.
Bear is now a one hit killing machine that can put down most enemies for the low cost of 4 AP. 30 HP instakills this bandit.
As you can see, this bandit takes 60 hp. The actual amount of damage done is really, really swingy and this is going to bite us in the ass later.
The bandits are carrying this magic talisman that gives you a luck boost if you're stupid enough to believe in it.
This guy lets us take all his stuff for saving his life. He's got 100 rubles and a bottle of vodka. We're going to need that booze for...shenanigans.
This is, um, a unique encounter.
: So... So you finally found me! Despite all the precautions, all the measures that I took. But how?!
This would work a lot better if one of the random encounters wasn't with tinfoil hat murderers.
: Here we go...
: [The man quickly lifts his head, and focuses his crazed gaze upon you. You can't really tell what he is thinking right now. But, seeing how he did not lower his weapon, it can't be anything too good...]
: Now, who do you think I am?
I have to post this next part from the game, because, well...
...presented without comment.
: Who are you, even?
: What are you, high or something?
: W-what do you mean? I'm sober? Well... Um... I used to drink back in the day! Sometimes until I dropped... it happened! Vodka, beer, different cocktails, like <<The Hanann Balm>> or <<The tears of the she-scout>>, <<Aunt Klava's kiss>> and all that. But! But.. it's all because you Zionists tried to get us hooked on alcohol! Made the whole population into drunks!
Those options sadly just repeat instead of coming up with new Crazy Town. Let's leave.
: Listen, I'm not who you think I am.
if you just keep waiting he starts spewing the fourteen words, and follows it with this line:
This fuckin crazy dude posted:
: You just... You just better understand one thing, you creature from the deep! I just need the beauty of the White Aryan woman not to perish from the Earth! I fight for beauty! There's so little of it left in the world... I still remember how it was before the war... I drank some strong wine with some floozy one day... And after that we did the deed! Quick, it was! Around ten minutes in all...
This leads to your character getting pissed and a luck check to not get shot (Source).
Back to our playthrough:
: Listen, I'm not who you think I am.
Incidentally, telling him to fight gets you this.
Crazy Town posted:
: Sure you're not afraid! You'll simply get back to your master after death! Your master Satan, the Hell Jew! There he'll be, with all your pals, drinking the blood of Christian children!
: [Speechcraft] Hey, if you really think I'm all that, why am I strolling around with no bodyguards?
: [The man slowly lowers his gun. He eyes you for a few more seconds, and then finally comes to the conclusion that you are innocent. His gaze suddenly becomes unfocused again, and his weapon drops, just to hang from a makeshift belt]
: And that's that. See you later!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Are you with them Jewish Illuminati I've been hearing so much about?
: The what?
: You're one of them Jews! Or lizard people! The ones who destroyed the Space Aryan starport and colonized earth with the evil colony of Jerusalem!
: Who the fuck are you?
: I'm a Nazi! I read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf! I was a fascist before the war, but who's laughing now?
: Are you high?
: THE JEWS MADE ME AN ALCOHOLIC!
: Ok, I'm leaving now.
: No! You must die!
: If I was really with the New World Order wouldn't I have bodyguards?
: Ohhhhh, yeahhhh, we're cool.
Unfortunately for Klinov here I held an impromptu poll on the LP discord and the denizens called for his death.
This is the big flaw in the melee build. Weapon damage variance gets multiplied a hundredfold (metaphorically speaking) so our relatively low crit of 24 damage, while provoking a shocked reaction from Captain Racist over here, does not actually kill him.
His AK rips off a good chunk of our health before jamming. This guy will absolutely fuck you up early game, as most people have small caliber pistols at best and this guy's throwing around automatic AK fire.
Fortunately we are a pro drug chugger and make poor life decisions to murder a crazy guy in a forest.
This drug crazed asshole also has healing drugs, so the fight becomes a WoW raid style slogfest and we become drug addicted. It legitimately doesn't matter.
We get 100 XP for that long battle, but our stash of drugs is sadly gone. For now.
I am planning to go in on automatic weapons late game, but right now we do not have the skill to use this thing. Into the Backpack O Guns it goes.
We encounter a few caravans along the way, and I clear em out of money and drugs.
This is the real problem with addiction. Every so often your character will whine about how they now need to get high, and while withdrawal does impose some minor penalties (and then goes away on its own) actual addiction doesn't matter because you're gonna be shooting up stims in combat.
The game wants you to go to Krasnoznamenny to burn 400 rubles to cure addiction. Never do this. Addiction goes away on its own.
These things are always useful but I don't want to burn all our money on it just yet. They're the closest thing the game has to traps in combat, and there's one late game encounter in particular I am going to cheese by setting the timer on a bunch of these, dropping them on the floor, pulling aggro, and running like hell.
I am grateful to all the gods that these lines are not voice acted.
Also, Bear just killed three bandits in two turns with a knife.
Different encounter, same shit.
We're walking nearly the entire length of the gameworld for this, and there's a reason I'm rushing this early.
God damn, Bear, when did you become such a whiner?
These spiders attack us. You know the drill by now, aim the knife at their eyes and stab.
We're going to collect these for a future fishing unfun adventure.
This man and his wife live in the woods. The man gives us a quest to go wipe out a wolfpack. It's dully translated dialog that we've had a lot of already, so I'm just gonna skip to the wolf fight.
They also don't know why the forest roars, but we'll find out in a few minutes.
I'm not gonna dignify this with a blow-by blow. The AI in this game is easily exploited because enemies will happy run right next to you and burn all their AP doing it, and then you melee attack them with TURBOCRITS that instant kill them.
The husband gives us "various forest products" which are some fish, some herbs we can never use (it's a luck check as to whether they help you or harm you, and we have 1 luck) and toadstools. I'll hang on to the toadstools for a later adventure.
This is the other event in the forest we're going to pay attention to. Carving "penis" into the idol isn't the way to go, and "listening to your feelings" just spits out some crap about how you're hungry. Left unspoken is the Star Wars reference.
My first guess was Perun but I'm honestly not sure who this guy is?
Anyway, what you need to do isn't in this dialog box.
Dropping three pieces of meat in the stone circle causes divine lightning to strike you and give you a luck point. While this does nothing to alleviate the "Unlucky Optimist" penalty for Boris, people who aren't dumping luck should definitely seek this out. This raises so many questions! Is this an actual god? Like, a magical god? In the atheistic Soviet Union? Gods are real? So far the game has portrayed magic as a thing dumb people believe in, like with the rabbits food, but we just offered some meat to an actual, no shit god who blessed us with supernatural luck.
It's a throwaway encounter, but it clashes with the whole vaguely Nietzsche-esque thing the game has going where there's no morality, God is dead, and in the absence of anyone to judge society breaks down and ordinary people become murderous bandits, leaders are all self-serving and corrupt...and here's an actual god throwing lightning around. Is he judging people? He clearly judged us as a cool meat offering dude and gave us a blessing. All of the other magic stuff in the game is clearly charlatanry for idiots (with one notable exception).
It's never mentioned again. You get a luck point and an achievement (Sacrifice: Gain the approval of the higher powers). That's it!
As I said, it's sadly not too much help to us. It's very tragic.
Penalties for addiction as well.
There's not too much going on here, you need to have the rope and you can go down to the hole to do the quest.
Now we're trapped underground!
Hope you had more than 5 hit points, sucker!
This is on a skeleton to the right of the fall point. It's a hint to the secret item here, which you want. You want it badly.
It turns out that the earth shaking is caused by mutant bugs digging a hive. Now we just have to get out so we can report to Dan.
Except I want that item that the note hinted at, so we're going to be here a while.
If you have a second rope you can make a mad dash for the exit. We will not be doing that.
This bastard is known as "Blind Death" and he is going to wreck our shit for one extremely bullshit reason. Well, two, but there's one obvious one and one less obvious.
I ignore the obvious hint that the game is not fucking around and go right in.
Alright, good start! This guy is down 54 HP, and we have drugs, so if he can't kill us in one hit we should be good, right? Game says he's injured, we just gotta grind him do -
Take a good long look at the motherfucking log.
While we're desperately chugging drugs to stay in the fight, this bastard has healed back to full health because his melee attack has 100% lifesteal! If we had a decent gun or a bunch of those explosives we could kite the bastard to death, but we don't. So, uh...
We get off another 50+ damage crit and blind him. Guess what? Blinding does absolutely nothing to hamper melee attacks!
That could have gone better.
Here's the game over screen, which I definitely planned to show off deliberately as part of playing this LP and not as a dumb thing.
The bastard has a really high stun chance too! Now, if you bring guns and multiple party members he's a lot easier to beat, but I have a plan.
What is the plan? Simple. Look at our insane damage variance. As long as we hit him first, we can keep reloading until we hit the top of the bell curve and murder him in a single round.
It's not great, but this is the problem with having an extremely shallow combat system. There's not a lot we can actually do besides attack one target, throw a grenade to attack multiple targets, and run around.
The variance is just as likely to work against us as it is for us, but I have the reload button, and it is not merciful.
Get used to this.
Blind Death wins again, Lews Therin.
I eventually get cute and try the shovel in the hopes of proccing the 25% stun chance. You can save on your turn in combat, you see. Look, if the devs are going to place a giant sack of HP with 100% lifesteal, I have absolutely no compunction about pulling this bullshit.
Yeah, I'm not sure if this thing is immune to stuns or what, but it fucks us up badly.
The exciting conclusion to this fight is proccing two crits in a row, and the last crit rolls stupid high for 104(!!!) damage, killing this asshole on the first round before he can do his dumb life steal crap. To my knowledge, that's an enemy only ability that only shows up on certain mutants.
He drops 3 meat, but that's not why we're here.
The corpse behind him has this! What does it do, you ask? The letter early said that one injection turns you into a strongman! We also found this letter from the Knife:
So, what does it do?
We can increase an attribute by 1! There is one more of these in the game, along with one event that is super fucking tedious and will be the death of me, and you don't increase your SPECIAL by leveling in this game.
I raise intellect to 7.
Sadly, it does not retroactively increase our skill points, and I fear I've made a terrible mistake. Onward!
There are a bunch of these assholes between us and the exit. They have sacks of HP and a melee autoattack that might poison? I have no idea, we were already poisoned by walking into Blind Death's lair. Fuck that thing.
Even getting cornered by three of them does nothing more than slow us down. There's a queen to the left we can kill for some okish loot, but I'm done with this place.
Pictured: the main effects of poison.
We make it out with a level and I dump Bear's skill points into speechcraft and melee weapons. Someday we'll level up guns. Today is not that day.
We escape into a completely new instance that's actually farther from the Factory.
Bear takes the opportunity to whine about drugs as I frantically pan the overly large map trying to find the one designated exit.
Back to the factory!
Have I mentioned that this game absolutely does not respect the player's time?
There are ways to get out of these random encounters, but for the most part they're stupid easy.
And you can of course fail the skill check and have to waste time stabbing rats in the face.
Are you threatened yet?
This is a whole fixed map encounter that has some pretty good loot! We're going in!
CAN YOU SHUT UP ABOUT DRUGS FOR FIVE FUCKING MINUTES???
So there's a bit of strategy involved in this battle, as we're a currently unarmored melee character faced off with a bunch of gunmen. See that wall behind Bear?
That wall is our life. Unlike in the real world, where heavy caliber ammunition could probably shred it and force us out from cover to be killed horribly, the enemies cannot penetrate this wall and will walk to one of the two designated murder points, at which point we will jump out with a knife critical to the eyes.
This build is real fuckin dumb.
The AI will happy, once again, burn their entire turn moving near us and then not having enough AP to actually fire their weapons.
Enjoy your Darwin Award.
Enemy melee doesn't do nearly as much damage as we do (usually), and will happily run right up to use, exhaust all their action points, and put themselves in range for a knife eye crit.
These idiots are loaded! Here we get our first piece of armor, and these guys have a bunch of weapons we can sell for fat stacks of cash and drugs to replenish our supply. Starcraft marines don't have SHIT on Bear!
Oh, and this dorky helmet too.
I go to loot the place and discover that these two idiots with decent guns were waiting to ambush us. He does a fair bit of damage before his rusty gun jams, allowing Bear to show him the miracle of Cossack Steel.
The other idiot plays peek a boo around the tractor, gleefully wasting all his AP...
Yea. Welcome to ATOM combat, kids!
He kindly drops an armor upgrade, which we slap on to become immune to rats and wasps forever.
They also have weed.
I end up just talking our way out of the remaining random encounters, because this is taking forever and I want to get the cash from Dan.
: I've come to report.
: I checked out the Roaring Forest and came to an unexpected conclusion.
: It turns out the forest rumbles because there is a massive colony of mutant insects burrowing and digging tunnels beneath it.
: [Dan raises an eyebrow in surprise... but soon calms down]
: Fascinating. So it's because of mutants. That's a more logical conclusion than all these nonsense stories about pre-war machinery and underground trains. It was worth it though to find out once and for all what was going on, and to put an end to the rumors, however stupid.
: [The leader takes a bundle of bills from the breast of his jacket and hands it to you]
: Understood. [Take the money]
It's still an extremely generous payout.
: [Dan runs a hand through his hair and looks up at the ceiling]
: All right. I'll be on my way.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, Dan, guess what? It was crazy mutant bugs digging a big hole! Uh, sorry I didn't bring any proof like a mutant bug head or anything.
: Nah, it's cool. Here's 1300 rubles, you look like you fought an exceptionally shitty boss. Unless you try any of that speechcraft bullshit, in which case I am going to hire a stripper and stuff every single one of these rubles into that thong.
: Hell no! This amount rules!
: Come back tomorrow and I'll have another job for you. This is the last time I will ever show any interest in acquiring advanced pre-war weaponry, despite literally everyone in Otradnoye talking about a "Bunker 317" and marking it on random strangers' maps. Hell, I literally saw it on your map when I marked down the location of the Roaring Forest, and I don't give a FUCK! What, is it going to have like a helicopter or a battle robot or something? Pssh!
So, we're going to fuck around the Factory for a bit before advancing Dan's quests, but before we do Dan's next quests, what do you want to see? Should we go to Kraznosnamenny, pick up Fidel, and do various dumb shenanigans, or should we check out Bunker 317 and the main plot?