The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing, Xander77

Part 32: Return of the Postman Conspiracy

Return of the Postman Conspiracy

Welcome back! Last time on ATOM RPG, Dan revealed that he knew we were the world's most incompetent double agent and thanked him for putting him on the path to ruling the local region. At least we got thousands of rubles I guess.

Today we're going to continue the theme of being manipulated by various evil conspiracies because the Cadet is the dumbest fucking moron known to man.

The thread wanted us to go to the Mountain Pass of Woes, but I want to swing by Red Fighter first and see if anything interesting is happening.

I throw more money at Pasha because we get a secret - who am I kidding, it's Alexander. Alexander shows up if you upgrade this place enough.

Sasha and Dunya disappear from the factory after the mutiny and decide to raise a family. For what it's worth, you get a very different conversation if you banged Dunya, but we'll see that in the pacifist run.

You can be a real asshole to Dunya, presumably because she pointed out she was married when you tried to get a one-night stand out of her.

They're now your next door neighbors who run a farm. Thanks, Gozhin!

Ha ha. On to Fogelevka!

I am almost wishing I'd massacred all the mutants for the car now.

So, funny story about this stupid hunger mechanic. Remember, if you want to cook the meat, you have to load a massive fucking map just to have the little campfire pot. Why?

The Devs Posting on RPG Codex posted:

Sigourn guessed our way of thinking! First iterations of the game had you carry meat, and then one meat would go away from your pack every 2 minutes spent walking on the world map. It wasn't bad at all, but then we made the campfire, the sounds and the descriptions, so it turned out pretty atmospheric and we decided to change the system to what it is now. It can get boring if you have to eat for your wounds' sake every 10 minutes of playtime, but there's something to making that campfire, picking what to eat, listening to the rat meat sizzle on the coals and stuff. We also thought about a more intense sleep and thirst mechanics in the early days but it eventually came down to "better make a single, but nice and roleplayable mechanic" than 3 kinds of fuels that always run out making you dead.


Now, I personally don't find this anything but tedious (which several other posters at the Codex agreed with), but it comes down to these developers completely failing at the fundamentals of game design at every turn. Whatever!

: What do you mean with "going for a ride"?

: [The driver finally finishes rolling his cigarette. He licks the rolling paper to glue it together, but instead of lighting up hides the cigarette in his pocket]

: Sounds interesting. What's your price?

: [Speechcraft] Hey brother, can I ask you for a favor, as a friend? Could you give me a discount?

Unfortunately we don't have the money in our inventory, so I prepare to sell a bunch of crap.

Then I realize that Dzhulbars has nearly 3 grand on his... person? for some reason, and go back.

: Here goes nothing. Money isn't an issue for me. Let's go!

I like how that is written to make it sound like the Cadet is financially irresponsible.

Your challenge is to identify what this narration adds to the scene. It wants to be funny, but I don't think it actually matters to our story that we're listening to Atomic Love Gurus, that this man has a mustache, or that he's smoking. We will never see this character aside from these rides.

: Let's go...!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, wanna go for a ride?

: Uh. What?

: To the Mountain Pass of Woes of course! Only 5000 rubles!

: As we are now bffs, can I get a discount?

: Sure, I can do it for 3000.

: As I am fiscally irresponsible and rich, I can throw money around with wild abandon!

: The man picks his nose. Then he lights a brown, tobacco-smelling cigarette. He gets out a tape of the Atomic Love Gurus, a musical group, and inserts it into the truck. Then you drive off, moving in the direction of the Mountain pass of Woes, a moutain pass associated with great sadness.

We get a little video clip of the drive to the Sad Mountain Road.


Then we get stuck with a loading screen.

The Mountain Pass of Woes is surprisingly small for a side area. The Dead City has a whole lot going on - mostly ripping off the Metro series with ATOM's trademark inability to understand how the Metro series evokes the emotions it does - while the Mountain Pass of Woes has maybe three locations you care about.

: Impressive. Powerful structure.

: [The little man touches the warm stone wall and nods with content]

: Indeed. A true beauty! And as long as artifacts like these exist in our world we, humans, are gonna be okay. I believe that!

: [The short man turns toward you and extends his hand with a benevolent smile. You instinctively shake it and notice that the grip is strong and his skin is rough]

: Hey, listen, do you know where the old bunker might be?

: What do you mean? Explain.

: Well, as a matter of fact, a while ago a detachment of strange men in blue armor passed through the Mountain pass[sic]. I wanted to offer them my services, but they only shook their heads and went further, deep into the mountains. They didn't even stop for coffee in Caravanserai!

The horror!

: I'll be honest with you, I followed them for a while. As it turned out that detachment was heading straight for the old bunker! And on the way, they made a deal with the thugs from the old castle, that they would not let anyone else approach the bunker. Presumably these strange men in blue are still there doing hell knows what.

: Hmmm. Thanks for the hint. I'll got check it out. See you soon.

So, yes, Ariadna fucked us again.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Check out this sick ass building!

: Yeah it looks great and not garbage!

: Yeah, it fucking owns!

: The narration abruptly uses a bunch of cliches to indicate an outdoorsman, because the ATOM devs have never had an original thought in their lives.

: I'm Guide Jaforov.

: Hey, can you guide me to the old bunker?

: I wish I could! But I can't. A bunch of men in blue armor came by looking for the bunker! I offered my services but they told me to go screw myself! Then I snuck behind them, but they made a deal with the army of thugs in the castle to block off the bunker! So now it's illegal, otherwise I could take you for 100 rubles.

: So I sent the men off with instructions to hire the local thugs to prevent anyone from coming after them... and then I sent that ATOM spy into this completely letting him think I had no idea...

: Pffft...snort...hehe...

: And I told him not to come back until after two weeks...haha...and he still thinks he might have a shot at tapping this ass!

: My sides...

: Ugh guess I better go deal with this particular bit of time wasting bullshit. What are they going to do, reuse a quest idea?

The redundant man who was redundant.

: Huh? Makmudov? I've been sent from Krasnoznamenny.

I'm tempted, but I go with option 3.

: Krasnoznamenny is hoping for fruitful collaboration.

: Oh. Is that so? Big words coming from a big city man. You know what? I might agree to their demands if you decide to help me, akhi. We have a problem that to you might seem insignificant, however we find it rather perturbing.

: Come on, spit it out! There's a reason why I brought this up.

: How did he disappear?

: What if he's dead? What happens next?

: Alright, I'll see what I can do.

: No time to waste! I will be back with the cook before your kettle of water begins to boil.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I'm Makmudov! How can I help you?

: Oh, yeah, you're that guy that Krasnoznamenny wants to submit to them!

: Young man, you know how things are done around here. I'm gonna send you on a quest to find our cook, he's gone missing but we think he's alright. We sure as hell can't cook, so if you do that we will gladly kneel before the genocidal corrupt dictator.

: Sounds cool, I'm in.

We have MORE bullshit to pick up here.

: Hey, dude, are you an adventure seeker by any chance? Listen! Help me! Just help a man out! I will make it worth your while, officer's honor. And you will get good reputation[sic] among the members of the court.

: What is this court you are talking about? Where you want to talk me up?

: I hope you understand that the things you describe are purely imaginary?

: [Your corpulent confident widely opens his eyes, covers his mouth with his hand and makes a loud "shhhhh" sound]


: You fool. I know that. I am not a kid! But how come you don't understand, that if you start a rumor about something, it will sooner or later come true?! Like this one drug dealer I know... I mean... An experienced mailman, Blue Phil, he introduced himself as Adam to all the cops in Krasnoznamenny. And then one day some Adam feller just materializes out of nowhere, with a knife, a jar full of acid and a couple of question[sic] to my buddy...

Oh look, the Postman conspiracy is back, AND we get a Planescape: Torment reference!

So I go and return and ask what he needs us to do.

: So, here goes, dude. You see, I'm a postman. Get it? I am bringing mail to various people. And I used to bring mail to the old castle as well, when I had a client there. But the last time I brought him his mail I've gotten into a little misunderstanding with his friends.

: I had to run. And, long story short, I have lost that important package near the castle. Can you go and look for it? I would've went myself, but I am afraid that they will shoot me. After all, we had quite a fight. I will pay you an even grand. It's good money.

: Not a bad salary for a mailman... How come you have so much money to spend?

: It's a deal. I'll search the forest and bring the package. But for now, let's change the topic?

We end it there.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, can you help a brother out? You'll gain favor in the Mouse Kingdom.

: What the fuck are you talking about?

: Look, man, if I was like mouse sized, think of how much weed would comparatively be in a normal sized bag! Also, this is an elaborate setup for a Planescape: Torment reference. Remember Torment? You could be playing that instead!

: Ok, what do you need me to do?

: So I'm a postman, and I lost a package near the castle. Can you retrieve it? I'll pay you a grand.

: That's a lot for a postman. Is he related to that Pizzagate guy? It couldn't be...

: It's totally legit! You in?

: Eh, why not?

This guy has a boring ass quest we are not doing.

This is what you get if you ask the old man for rumors, which I'm sure will never be relevant. Let's wander off into the wilderness and find a castle or something.

This is a Mountain Pass of Woes only encounter.

They die the same as regular bandits.

This is the big thing you get. It's a pirate hat. You will never wear it, because you can wear the pirate hat or you can wear something that will block bullets from impacting your squishy skull.

This is a special encounter with giant crickets. We last saw them in the lazy Halloween event.

They don't do anything interesting, but they drop chitin we can give to Ant Gavrilov to make armor that is...ok. We need to kill 10 of em. Grind!

Welcome to the castle. It is small and kind of crappy, honestly.

: No, it wasn't Jafarov.

: Good. He's getting on my nerves by crawling everywhere. I get that he's a guide and so on, but this does not give him a permission to go where he is not allowed. And especially not to guide strangers there...

: Thanks for your advice. Who is this Dread?

: I'm looking for someone.

Holy shit? Are we actually going to ask about Morozov?

: Ah, I see... Someone from the castle?

: Not really.

: What did Jafarov the guide do to you?

: What are the places that shouldn't be currently visited?

: [The guard looks at you suspiciously and shakes his head]

: I think I will do just that. Bye.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Who the hell are you? You better not be with Jafarov.

: Nah.

: Good. Fuck that guy! He keeps sneaking into places he's not supposed to be! Sorry, I'm just venting. If you're here to see the Dread, go in, but he's in a bad mood, so be careful.

: Thanks for the heads up. Who's the Dread?

: Wait, what are you doing here?

: I'm looking for... Major... Zorobliv??? Fuck.

: Yeah go talk to the Dread, not my department.

: Why do you hate the guide anyway?

: He keeps guiding people to banned places!

: Like what?

: Go see my boss.

This guy has a quest to get another guy to stop joking about killing him. I don't care enough to do it.

Sure, whatever, guy.

This is who we're here to see.

: I'm on a mission and need to pass through your sand land. Tell me your demands.

: [The man rests his hands on the tabletop, and makes the shape of a 'house']

: [Speechcraft] That won't be necessary, because the guys you're talking about are my colleagues. They're waiting for me.

: You don't prohibit your own people from walking through here, do you? I'm ready to work for you.

: [The man suddenly grinds and looks into your eyes]

: As soon as you learn about my heroic deeds, you will understand I'm worth a hundred of your men.

: Yeah, what is it? I'm all ears.

: [This confession is clearly taking everything out of him. His powerful voice begins to tremble treacherously]

: My daughter... My Alina. She ran away from the castle a while ago. I can feel it in my heart. I know where she went, to the Zagorensk waterfall. There's nowhere else she could be, but every time I send my men to fetch her, she hides.

: It's no surprise. I've been bringing her to play there since she was three years old. She can disappear any time she wants.

: All right, we'll see. Wait here and don't go anywhere.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Who are you? I don't take shit from anyone, so be polite and respectful.

: I need to pass through your lands to do a mission.

: I gave my word to those blue guys I wouldn't let anyone through.

: I'm with the blue guys.

: Damn, I believe you, but I gave my word.

: What if I did a quest?

: Yeah, that's legit. Listen, my daughter Alina is at the waterfall hiding because she recognizes all my men. She'll think you're a random traveling swordsman, so you should be able to catch her.

: Cool, I'm off.

Now to do the other quest.

Yeah it's the motherfucking Postman Conspiracy! Remember them?

Earlier in the game posted:

The Pizzagate quest?

: Wait a sec... how did you know my name?

: [The man gives you a cunning smile and winks]

: What kind of a postman would I be if I didn't know your name, Bear Bearovitch? What if someone sends you a letter? How am I supposed to find you if I don't even know how people call you? See my point?

Why does it seem that Fidel's purpose is to tell us obvious shit and make mewling moral protests?

: But where did you get the information if we never met before?

: So you don't know yourself. I see. Let's change the subject.

Read: we weren't going to write code to make this spooky or effective, unlike Doki Doki Literature Club, a free anime visual novel. You could at least check to see if we did the Pizzagate quest.

: As far as I remember, you needed some help?

For fucks sake! What does describing his nonverbal agreement add?

He verbally describes what he wants you to do in the next statement! Why was so much effort put into overwriting this game, and so little put into everything else?

: Okay, give me this package.

: Ha! I knew you'd help me out! Don't worry, we, mail carriers, remember good that's been done to us. Here.

: [The man gives you a rectangular box packed and taped over so tightly there's no chance to look in without breaking the wrapping first]

: Sasha Stantsevich in Caravanserai. Remember his name! And I have to go now. Mail won't deliver itself.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Bear Bearovitch! I need your help!

: How did you know my name?

: I'm a postman, of course! What if I had to deliver you a letter?

: I want to remind you, the player, that this is very suspicious, because we assume you're a dumbfuck for buying this game.

: So, you needed help?

: Yes. Deliver this extremely suspicious package to the fat man at Caravanserai. I must go rig ballots for Joe Biden now. Goodbye.

I then get stunned and killed by wolves, having to redo the entire castle section. Fuck that fang quest, the rewards are garbage anyway.

We'll hold off on this, we have a daughter to find.

It's not wasting the player's time, it's atmospheric!

This is one of the few good decisions these developers have made.

Hexogen levels up, and I realize I don't really have an idea of a good perk for him. Whatever!

There's a waterfall below the castle, which exists to troll you while you try to get in and finish the quest. The actual waterfall requires you to transverse the entirety of the Pass of Woes overland map, with all of the slow movement that exemplifies ATOM while you wait for death.

Miss Alina, I presume?

: Indeed... Can I ask you a couple questions?

: Are you afraid of living here?

Yes, this is another "break up the young love" quest.

Arsen is the guy the old man wanted returned so they will kneel before Krasnoznamenny.

: Well, I've heard that when you love a man, you don't need money to thrive. Another question.

: Do you know any sightseeings here?


: There's an ancient castle not far away from here. It's beautiful, but I don't recommend going there. The king who rules it is too cruel.

: Oh, I know how cruel kings can be... Or general secretaries... Hangmen, enemies of all good in the world, bribe takers who, like parrots, spill empty promises and fake prophesies!

: I eat cruel kings for breakfast. Another question.

: What can you tell me about this place?

: The first impression is the strongest. Another question...

: Got any good rumors to share?

I mean, all we have is Horny Hussars.

: Films are interesting. Another question...

: Let's change the subject.

: Is your name Alina by any chance? Your old man has searched high and low for you...

: [The girl winces, sudden fear appears in her eyes. The guy who sat at the fire a second ago jumps up and cautiously raises his fists, which doesn't look like too much of a threat]

: No! Has he sent you for me? So he guessed I would hide from his men but might talk to a stranger... So cunning! He's such a sly fox!

: Go away and tell him I'm never going to return! Arsen and I love each other! Neither Caravanserai, which hates me and my Dad, nor the father's castle, which hates Caravanserai and all its dwellers, even mere cooks like my Areson, will ever accept us!

Fucking melodramatic teenagers.

: [Personality] You're breaking your father's heart... He's an old man, after all...

: [Attention] Look at yourself! Emaciated, haven't washed for ages, mosquito bites all over you. Won't you be better off home?

: [Endurance] How much do you weigh, I wonder? I can bring you to your father on my shoulders...

The way of the Cossack Sword includes threatening idiot teenagers, apparently.

: What do you need this Arsen for, baby?

: [Speechcraft][Lie] You advertise his male skills just like the kitchen maid from Caravanserai...

: You're a real heartthrob Arsen... a true Don Juan! He-he!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: It sure is beautiful around here...the waterfall looks like "tomatoe" juice! So pretty!

: Will you submit to interrogation?

: Sure!

: So, aren't you afraid of being here?

: No! I'm here with my dear Arsen and we love each other!

: You got any of those "sightseeings"?

: There's a castle here ruined by my DAD who's a total DICK!

: I know all about total dicks!

: What's up with this place?

: It's the most beautiful place ever! I used to come here with my dad all the time when I was a kid! I love it, even now that I'm 18!

: Know any rumors?

: Yea, there's a movie theater in Krasnoznamenny!

: Are you Alina? Your father sent me to look for you!

: Go back and tell him that we're totally in love and I'm never coming home!

: Uh...let's try Personality...your father's very worried!

: No!

: Attention... uh.. you look and smell like shit?

: No!

: Ok, at this point I could seriously just pick you up and carry you. Endurance.

: Oh shit... don't do it! I'll scream, and say you tried to rape me! They'll believe me! The mountain men will kill your ass! Go back to my father and tell him I'm not going back!

: What's so great about Arsen, anyway?

: He's the most passionate man ever!

: Finally, a Speechcraft option! That's what the kitchen maid at Caravanserai said too, lol!


: Bear Bearovitch... cockblocker!

This solves both the find Arsen and find Alina quests. You can go back and try to talk the Dread into accepting the relationship, but that sounds more like a pacifist thing to do and really, Arsen's way better off.

Trudge trudge trudge.

: It's about that job you asked me to do.

: I was able to break them up. Expect her back shortly.

: She's already back. I don't know what you did to him - she refuses to tell me - but both of them are alive and want nothing to do with each other. In short, life is good!

: Yes. Now let's talk about my reward.

: Like I said before, after completing this task I'll grant anything you wish. It's not easy to earn my friendship, but once you get it everyone will want to be you. So first of all, here's a hundred crisp rubles. Good money. Second, since we're already talking about crispness, have this fresh, juicy apple from my personal tree.

Dude, there's an apple tree in Fogelevka that people are just allowed to pick for free.

Hell, why not just have an entire orchard? You got a whole castle of guys to feed, and it beats rat meat.

I think the castle being small and shitty like the reward is part of the joke. Unfortunately, as far as I know you cannot just go and sword your way through the Dread's men to find the bunker.

: [Speechcraft] This isn't enough, friend. Give me something else!

Bullshit. Every time you talk to his men they have pristine assault rifles.

: Thank you. I'm going now.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Why are you here now?

: I broke them up, Alina should be back soon.

: They're both alive and well, and hate each other. YEEEEEEEEEA!

: Money please.

: As I said, I am a very powerful man. My friendship is not easily gained, but everyone will want to be you when they hear you are my friend. Here's one hundred rubles, oh, and an apple.

: Come on, you've gotta have more than that as a fearsome bandit lord with a castle.

: TWO hundred rubles. We're fuckin broke! Oh, and more apples!

: Thanks, and good bye.

Now we can go back to the Caravanserai and turn in some quests.

: What was it you wanted me to do...?

Huh, as far as I know he's the only guy who does this.

: You mean this parcel? Here it is.

: [The man loudly pats you on the shoulder and shoves a bundle of bills into your hand]

: Dude! You saved my life! Take the money! Wow... This is amazing... it's all there, tightly wrap...

: [The eccentric fat man becomes abruptly silent mid-sentence, freezes like a statue, and seemingly stops breathing]

The ATOM developers wrote unnecessary narration and repeated themselves needlessly.

: Your fellow mailman asked me to give it to you.

: People who use seals like these are not my fellows!

: [The fat man is shoving the delivered parcel in your face with unprecedented aggression. You notice a mysterious symbol scribbled in the corner, it's a pioneer horn plugged by a cork]

: What is the most horrifying thing that you could ever imagine? The nuclear apocalypse, the Japanese ninjas, the order of Assassins? Or maybe a Freddy - Krueger or even Mercury?! So let me tell you, people behind this seal are worse than everyone I just mentioned combined!

So, we live in a post-nuclear apocalypse filled with bandits and insane warlords like Syoma Voronok. We know people like Dan and Shishak, and we routinely cross swords with venomous mutant creatures on a regular basis. Why the fuck are these all references to the pre-war world? The nuclear apocalypse should be a fact of life for all these characters!

We finally get a name for the Postman Conspiracy, and it's the most generic fucking shit.

: So what's inside that package of yours, huh, mailman?

: [The fat guy skeptically stares at you]

: How about leaving the Wasteland?

: Damn it... The Secret Cartel will find me anywhere, as long as I am on their list. There is nowhere to hide! They will come after me wherever I am! And even if they don't come after me themselves, they will find a useful idiot or a mercenary that will. This is it. My life is over. I have to get used to that idea.

Yea, that's us! We are everyone's useful idiot.

: Well, suit yourself. Good luck.

: Oh, to hell with this! I am out of here! If they want to kill me, they will have to catch me first.

: [The man jumps up from the table and starts running to the exit from the Caravanserai, followed by the perplexed glances of the quests along the way]

: What a story...

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Uh, what did you need me to do again?

: Bring me my package you useful idiot!

: Oh, durr, this package?

: Yes! You've saved me! Have 1000 rubles! I - oh fuck! Oh shit! Fuck! Where did you get this?

: Your postman colleague.

: We're not colleagues! This is the symbol of the Secret Cartel! I'm marked for death now! They're the evil conspiracy that controls all crime in the wasteland, and they won't tolerate a competing drug dealer like me! They'll find some kind of brain damaged Cossack swordsman and send him to kill me! Oh fuck! Oh shit!

: You could leave.

: No! I mean, yes! I don't wannaaa diiiiiiiie!

: What the actual fuck.

We can also go check on the old man.

: It's about your cook...

Ok, the joke of the Dread talking about how his friendship is super valuable and then giving you a third of what Makmudov did is pretty funny.

: Three hundred rubles won't hurt. I'll take the money.

: But what about recognizing Krasnoznamenny's authority?

: I'm happy to hear that. Have fun at your little tea party, Makmudov.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, I found your cook.

: Thanks! Here's 300 rubles! I know it's not much, but it's all I have.

: You'll swear allegiance to Krasnoznamenny now, right?

: Sure, whatever.

: Thanks, dumbass.

I have to go through the dialog menus a few times, but we finally get Jafarov to take us to the bunker.

Yeah, the bunker entrance is inside the cave, we need an explanation for the campfire that no one cares about, blah blah blah ATOM dialog.

We've had two locals warn us about this and even Ariadna said that this could destroy humanity. Bah, it's fine.

I'm not sure what this rigamarole with the cave is, because there's obviously an old military truck and a fence and whatnot. Come to think of it, I'm surprised no one has taken the truck. Is it the cult's? I'd assume they'd post a guard.

Having made it to the bunker, we'll cut the update here!

Next time: The Mushroom Cult's sinister plot revealed!