The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing, Xander77

Part 34: The Riddle of Cossack Steel

The Riddle of Cossack Steel

Welcome back! Last time we faced some kind of psychic mushroom that wanted us to let it go to Krasnoznamenny after it mind controlled a bunch of people in a bunker. The thread voted to show it the ways of the Cossack Sword, but today we're going to show off the results and free a slave.

: No! I don't know what you are supposed to be, and I'm not here to tempt fate.

Yea this thing is a mushroom. It literally grows on shit.

: No means no, comrade!

: Well... There is another way. I will try it now, to avoid any bloodshed.

Yea uh

This bad

: Roar! [Attack]

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Do not be afraid, Bear Bearovitch.

: Who the fuck are you? How do you know my name?

: I know many things, but I must get to Krasnoznamenny.

: Wait, are you the mushroom in the tank controlling this poor guy? What the fuck?

: Yes, and if you don't let me go, while I am opposed to violence, I will have these men attack you.

: Absolutely not.

: Come on, man!

: No!

: Mind control time!

: Bitch, this is a cutscene! I am enraged! TASTE COSSACK STEEL!

This fight is a bear.

You need to run into the mushroom room immediately because otherwise these guys will get line of sight on with you with an M-16, a scoped SKS, and a shotgun I didn't recognize designed to put down prison riots. They also have fairly heavy armor you can't loot, and actual fucking grenades. Not dynamite sticks, Soviet Army grenades. The Mushroom Cult soldiers do NOT fuck around.

This run is going kind of OK so far. We've got three men down and there's only have the expeditionary force left, we've got the second-best armor in the game...

Oh, and I misclicked to use a non aimed attack on the lead guy. This is a terrible mistake, because you NEED to go for the eyes 100% of the time or you're dead.

That gunline right there will chunk you down from full health.

Attempt two. These bastards all have triple digit HP, so while we did everything right we get totally fucked by the game's variance and Leopold is going to punish us for it.

The sound of automatic weapons fire defeats a valiant Cossack swordsman again.

Alright, attempt 3. We are going to supplement our swordsmanship with a god damn bomb. The good thing about these is that they have a high stun chance, so while the actual damage is low (although you can stack them) they've got a good chance of keeping the bad men down while you sword a manageable amount of gun havers.

I also remember I have the chainsaw, which while it's 2 AP more has the raw power to one-shot these idiots.

It's still really close.

These guys also have actual backpacks, which we can throw on the entire party to carry all this sick loot from these elite troops.

This damn gun has a 10% stun chance. I'm not sure if that's per projectile fired or what, but these guys have legit endgame weapons that will tear you apart if you're not careful.

This is basically the dream weapon for the sniper build, as you get to 100% crit chance with the right perks and then there's a perk to do double damage with an aimed shot on top of the unlucky optimist perk we're abusing. Honestly that might be better than Bear's brand of bullshit as we could just be popping idiots at range for five AP without worrying about positioning. Eh.

Worse than our mighty Cossack Sword.

Motherfucker! Hexogen pulls a bunch of bloodroots offscreen (he can move thanks to the backpack) and because the AI in this game is coded like garbage he gets brutally murdered before I can reach him.

Thus I have to go clear out the cave. It will not be the last time I have to clear the areas I snuck past because of dogshit companion artificial "intelligence" this update.

Then I have to chainsaw these guys all over again. At least I save the bomb.

Back to looting.

Anyway, this is what you get for going to these bunkers - a code for the door of the Mycelium bunker. I'm not even going to pretend like we don't know what they want the mushroom for, let's be honest.

I believe you can lockpick them, but our new goal is getting the second code.

If you let the possessed guy go he just gives you the code, by the way. It's kind of nuts?

Approaching the mushroom tank gets you this.

It has absolutely no effect gameplay wise and Bear swords the mushroom that tried to enslave him a minute ago. Good riddance!

Leaving the bunker turns into an ordeal as Dzhulbars wanders into more bloodroot and we have to clear them and reload a few times as people keep getting AP drained and dying. This is backtracking, by the way - it's all stuff we snuck past.

Christ, fuck this bunker.

Fidel is safe and sound, having gotten trapped near the entrance and being just about as useful as he normally is. Let's blow this joint. There is more lore in the sickbay about how people went insane from being contacted by the mushroom, but I think the game has shown enough that thing is really bad news.

Oh, he wants to talk about what happened. Ok.

: I have some ideas about what we've run into...

: Good for you... But hell! And then these ATOM fighters who seriously work for the Mycelium! I wonder how many more of such people there are. Yeah, I've definitely lost control over the situation while I was sitting in the bar like a hermit. I'm not sure we'll be able to sort it all out, really. There are definitely forces at work we have never even imagined.

The more I look at Fidel the more it's clear he was sent to infiltrate Krasnoznamenny as a means of getting him out of the way. More on this later.

: Hey, cheer up! Why this defeatist attitude? You might not fill me in on all the details of your assignment, I'm not asking for this, but anyone would be long since dead in our place! And we're like Soviet champions, like internationalist warriors, always soldiering on!

It's funny that Hexogen is championing soldiering on, because Prokhanov's conclusion is that you can't win and the conspiracy devours all.

: Crap, Hex... I'm not complaining. Just speaking my mind.

I'm gonna have to do a bonus update on the apartment bombings and the suspected Putin involvement, because those were real events.

: Speaking out of line!

: My boot will have a date with the ass of this "force"!

: Now this is what I wanted to hear! We'll show them, amigo!

: We sure as hell will! Alright, let's go!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I don't get it... it felt like I was half asleep...and there were voices! Voices in my head!

: I think I know what's going on. If you look at TheGreatEvilKing's dia -
: Well, good for you. But all those ATOM fighters who are working for Mycelium... what the hell? How many more of them are there? I've lost all control by just living like a hermit in my bar...I think we're fucked. There are vast, conspiratorial forces at work against which we cannot prevail.

: Cheer up! Unlike my actual stories, where the Conspiracy wins and all the protagonist learns is that he's helpless, or every other conspiracy story where, say, the Philip K Dick protagonists can never win or Slothrop goes insane after learning that no one values anything, we can stride forward like soldiers of the Internationale! By using our socialist magic we can solve this!

: I'm not... bitching! I'm just speaking my mind!

: Speaking shittily!

: Ok man, jeez!

: I'm gonna kick these conspiracy fuckers in the nuts.

: Yea! Nut kickings for ALL these fuckers, amigo!

It's interesting as a moment of characterization for Fidel, who as part of his cover seems to be the blandest motherfucker imaginable but briefly lets that slip to point out that, well, we cannot win this. That's going to be a theme of this update.

We can go back to the Caravanserai in the knowledge that we at least stopped this particular mushroom from mind controlling innocent people.

I then have to play magical inventory management until the game decides I'm no longer encumbered after taking enough drugs.

We have to pay the driver 1000 rubles to get back, but we don't need to come here again. There are a few pointless side quests we could do, but we are done with the mountain pass forever!

On the way back to Krasnoznamenny we unload some loot and I grab some gasoline for Lenin's Wrath.

Lady only protagonist item!

I grab this as well, cursing myself for missing Shishak's key ring.

Hey, pirate truck man!

So the quest log encourages us to not tell Ariadna we slaughtered the squad to a man. I'm pretty sure it breaks the main quest if we do, so here goes nothing.

: About those bunkers...

Is that... is that a fucking Skaven reference?

: Well, I found the expedition that came to the Mountain Pass of Woes.

: They are all dead.

Now the "correct" answer is probably number one, where we just fucking lay into the Mushroom Cult and try to stop whatever insanity is happening here. However, I'm going to use our executive veto to not do that, because there is some shit in the Dead City we're going to slog through.

: A pack of mutants attacked. All the men died in combat.

: Well, tough break. Seems like our planet was dealt a shitty hand.

: Fine, I'll go and check out the second bunker.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, I found the Mountain Pass team.

: Yes? Are they ok?

: Uh... they were killed by mutants. With chainsaws.

: That's terrible! Now the planet is doomed!

: Welp, RIP!

: That's a terrible thing to say! Please, go check on the Dead City expedition!

: Sure, why not.

She has nothing more to say other than to wish us luck, so we go to the Krasnoznamenny bunker to report our success to Ivan. He's a pretty powerful guy, maybe we can tell him about all this Mushroom shit and he can sic the Krasnoznamenny guards and Dan on this cult and we can go home and... I dunno, hook up with Zhanna again or something.

: As for this task of yours...

: It's done. Caravanserai will accept Krasnoznamenny as its de jure sovereign.

: [Ivan Ivanovich claps you on the shoulder]

Wait, WHAT?

Alarm Bells Should Be Going Off Right Now posted:

As the Mycelium says, 'We're strong while we're united'

Earlier in the game posted:

Ivan's a member of the Mushroom Cult. He's their man on the inside. He's also the Krasnoznamenny bureaucrat who actually goes out and gets shit done, such as rigging the Otradnoye elections or recruiting Dan. Dan's not going to help us either, he needs Ivan to have an in with the Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier in the update posted:

: There are definitely forces at work we have never even imagined.

Remember that Oushakine quote about how all of these disparate events are connected into one big conspiracy, and only a few people can make order out of it? Ignore all the shitty racism and references, ultimately the story is about us trying and failing to stop the conspiracy from wrecking everyone's lives.

We just handed control of the Caravanserai over to the same people who were trying to bring that psychic mushroom out of that bunker and probably use it to enslave people. It's the same track record of failure we've had all game, from being a "double agent" who works for Dan to destroying the Pizzagaters at the behest of the evil Postman Conspiracy that does the same shit. Hell, Leopold even said they got a mushroom out of Bunker 317!

We might as well ask for more blood money.

: [Speechcraft] Come on, Ivanovich! That's not enough! I put my very soul into this!

: That's better. I'll accept anything you have to offer.

: [Ivan Ivanovich gives you the money and a pile of grub to boot]

: How about a chat?

: Tell me about the local authorities.

The Conspiracy has basically won. Peregon is somewhat defiant, but they're run by Pizzagate pedos, and we found Ivan there presumably bullying them into complacency.

: I don't doubt it. Can you answer another question?

: What do you know about the Wasteland?


: Well, okay. Can you answer another question?

: What can you tell me about the city?

: Happy to hear it. Can you answer another question?

: Heard any good rumours?

Oh, yes, we basically got manipulated into blackmailing the only guy who could have helped us. Never mind that the game won't actually let us help him out, because this game really suffers from having no other way to tell it's story other than tight railroading that would make a JRPG blush.

: See how nice it turned out! Anyway, I have to go. Bye.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, Ivan! I did your quest! Caravanserai acknowledges you as its master!

: Yes! As we in the Mushroom Cult like to say, "unity is strength". Have a fat stack of cash and some snacks!

: Could I get some more?

: Hell yeah! I don't even care, we are the big dogs now!

: So how's the government business?

: Everyone kneels before us now. Even Dan and his gang. There's occasional resistance from Peregon, but they can't do shit.

: Do you know anything about the Wasteland?

: :smuggo:

: What can you tell me about the city?

: It's huge, and also completely under our control. Everyone does what we want. As it should be.

: Heard any good rumors?

: Ha ha that fucking pig is DEEEEEEEAD!

The merchant is still sobbing over his pig. Oh well! I guess we will need to find another way to put the boot up the ass of this mysterious force!

Per the Russian wiki and Google Translate, this guy is the husband of the random adultery woman who sent us to get a bra.

Anyway, it's off to Red Fighter!

I trade a bunch of loot to buy this machine gun for Hexogen. Look, it's a machine gun okay?

Ant Gavrilov shows up and wants to stay at Red Fighter. I'll condense this, we ask if he has any special skills and he says he's an electrical engineer but he can also make us armor out of dead crickets. I tell him to make us the armor and that he can stay.

It's not very good. It's one of the few sets that has fire resistance, but the physical resistance is crappier than mid game stuff. There is precisely one enemy type that uses fire damage, and guys with molotovs. As far as I know you don't get a flamethrower. Hexogen gets to wear it.

There's actually a very special event gated behind the rest area repair, so we'll do that.

We need to wait a day to trigger the event, and -

What's this?

Some kind of loser fort! Who are these idiots?

Oh. Well, we have maxed out Dexterity so we can never fail these attack first checks.

The party murders them brutally as their gear is trash.

Oh, I wonder what kind of sick loot is in this cage?

Oh no no no I do not want to know what these developers are going to let us do to the human trafficking victim.

Bear Bearovitch would never dishonor the Cossack Sword by choosing option four, holy SHIT!

: Doesn't matter. But I definitely don't have much love for human traffickers.

: [You allow the woman to get up. Shaking, she takes a few steps across the room]


Why is this giving us so many options to enslave the woman who was formerly enslaved to self-described rapists?

: It's up to you... I'm letting you go! You're free!

I think the generous interpretation is that this is all in the male PC's head as a fantasy after learning all this conspiracy shit, but you can run here from the beginning of the game. It's also completely incongruous with the writing style.

: [The woman's face is lit up with happiness... which a second later gives way to fear]

All of these options are terrible, so I take the fedora dork option because it's the only way to promise her she gets there.

: I'll be honoured, my lady! Onward, to Krasnoznamenny!

: Thank you! Thank you! You're a living saint, I swear by everything that's dear to me!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What happened out there? Oh my god, who are you?

: Want a lady slave?

: Doesn't matter who I am, but I despise human traffickers.

: What am I to do now? My masters... they're all dead.

: Come on man, two dialog options for a sexy lady slave. You know you want to. Do it!

: I would never dishonor the Cossack Sword like that! You're free!

: Thank you thank you thank you! I know I have no right to ask this, but could you take me to Krasnoznamenny?

: Think of something cool... think of something cool... Of course, milady! Fuck!

: Yay!

The game refers to her as "slave" until we let her go. She's a party member, but she won't fight or anything and people will shoot guns at her. Besides, we're really close to getting our last real party member anyway. There's another companion, but she's... special.

We can ask her name, but there's no "never call me master" option.

Back to Krasnoznamenny.

So I incorrectly remembered Gyulchatai here ran off when you got to Krasnoznamenny, so I end up going through some more dialog.

What you actually have to do is kick her out of the party via the dialog option in Krasnoznamenny. It makes sense, because she's still traumatized and seen some shit, but it doesn't sit quite right with me.

More conspiracy shit. Kicking her out gets us this.

: Do you have anywhere to go to?

: I... I'm not sure. For now, I believe, I'll go to the tavern on the outskirts.

: Go in peace. Kostya, my apprentice, will do his best to help you there.

: Do you need help?

: Good luck.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Out of the party.

: My hero! Yay! I'm free! Thank you so much!

: Do you have anywhere to go?

: I was just going to crash at Fidel's bar.

: I'll make sure they take care of you.

: Need any more help?

: Not now. Thank you again!

Like, ok, yes, in Fallout you could enslave people and do slave raids and crap but it still leaves a gross taste in my mouth. Back to Red Fighter.

Who could this be, on the bench? We'll find out next time!