Part 4: Police ProceduralPart 004: Police Procedural
Let's get this show on the road, we have a mystery assassin to catch!
The old Former building is to the northeast of the city, I believe, I have never been there. Let's go there immediately, perhaps we can catch the murderer there!
Not so fast, Drirr, what if this is a ruse?
We have to use our deductive reasoning. Where else have humans been seen in the city?
Tom, the only other humans in Jirinaar are you and Rainer.
Exactly, the clan house of the South Wind Clan. If wild animals can get into their basement, a trained assassin could dig his way in, too.
Tom, this seems implausible.
More implausible than a human assassinating an important Iskai?
But what of the wild animals? Neither you or Rainer are trained warriors...
Don't worry, Drirr, I have an ace up my sleeve, and the two of us can keep any wild animals off Rainer.
Tom, I appreciate you trusting me with our only firearm-
Shhhhh, just be ready with it when I give the signal.
What was that, Tom?
As I was saying, Drirr, I need merely snap my fingers and I can make any wild animal's head explode.
I am absolutely going to regret this.
The yellow stat bar indicates a stat boost from something equipped pushing the stat over its normal maximum. Here Rainer's being boosted to 80 Long Range Weapons when his normal max is a mere 40.
If made the party leader, Iskai party members also have considerably better vision in dark spaces than human party members do. This is the difference between Rainer and Drirr, both with a torch equipped.
Tom! Rainer! Defend yourselves!
Don't stress, Drirr, I've got this.
By the Goddess, such power!
...that felt strangely satisfying.
Good work, Rainer, now the locals will be in awe of my power. Hand me back the gun.
I don't think so, Tom, you're in no way mature enough to handle this.
We'll talk about this later, for now, we have more walls to break down! The murderer awaits!
Dear God, what is that?
Introducing the second of the early-game monsters. While Skrinn are fast, usually acting before the party and lashing out with many small attacks, Krondiir are big, lumbering chunks of muscle that hit real hard. Two lucky hits from them could well down any of our current party members, even in their level 1 incarnation.
Thankfully they're still "weak" enough that one shot from our sole firearm will drop them... most of the time.
Unlike Skrinn, they also drop loot! The meat has a, brief, use during this stage of the game, but otherwise the meat and their dropped triis(the weird snotty-looking green blob) are just for selling and one of our more reliable sources of income throughout the game as overworld locations with Krondiir will have them regularly respawning.
This looks like a dead end, Tom.
Ah, but a dead end with clues! Rainer, search that trash pile!
Four trash items and a ring of actual value. Aside from being sellable, the ring also lets you cast a Small Fireball spell, though I won't be making any use of it yet since it does pretty piddling damage and items with charges have a limited number of uses. Spells do have the advantage of never missing, however, but instead some enemies are magic-resistant and may wholly or partially shrug off the effects.
Some roots, some rags, a spoon and a cracked bottle, oh and this ring.
Where do you find roots? Outside! Clearly our murderer is outside Jirinaar.
But the Stiriik al-
Brilliant deduction, Tom!
What about the spoon and the bottle, then? What do they tell us, Mr. Smart Guy?
Ah, but that's too easy, Rainer. Dropping his bottle and forgetting his utensils simply shows us that we're right on the heels of the murderer and he had no time to be careful.
One of these days I'm going to catch you without a glib answer.
Keep dreaming. Anyway, it's clear that we must leave Jirinaar and head to the old Former guildhouse!
I feel like someone on these streets might still have clues for us, however...
What, this guy?
No, he's much too ordinary, there should be someone who'll stick out...
Found him, Tom!
Perfect, you look unusual. What do you do?
I am a free hunter and adventurer, and do whatever strikes my fancy.
An adventurer, you say? Tell us more.
Oh, I'm happy to have gotten back alive from my latest trip. At the beginning of the journey, I was near the haunted place where old Argim used to roam. There are some very strange predators there.
What a strange coincidence, we might be heading that way ourselves. What can you tell us about these strange predators?
Most of them are very aggressive. The worst was a creature with a mouth in the floor and a couple of glowing, grasping arms. It was insatiable, I tell you! Fortunately, I discovered a fruit which paralyzed it. They're inedible, but in an encounter with these mouths they're very useful. I'd be glad to let you have some, for a reasonable price.
I don't believe it's actually possible to complete the following dungeon without these fruits, so we buy some off him for a, relatively, cheap price. Oddly enough the fruits don't get consumed once you actually use them, so even if the specific use case ever popped up later in the game, you'd always be ready to deal with it. I also take Tom to the doctor to cure his drunkenness, because holy shit what sort of alcohol do the Iskai serve?
Remember, the old Former guildhouse is to the northeast. It should be easy to find.
Uh, Tom, he said north-east, this is south.
I can't believe you'd imply my sense of direction would ever lead me astray, Rainer.
Nakiiridani, the landmass that Jirinaar(and the party) are currently on is split into three major "lobes" by criss-crossing rivers. A small southeastern one, a large western one and a large northern one. The western and southeastern ones contain nothing except for animals that will try to kill you and some very minor loot. Obviously that means Tom will be going there first.
Enemies on the overworld appear as sprites that start combat when they bump into the party leader, much like in dungeons. On the overworld most of them can be juked and jived around, but sometimes it's possible to get penned in by geography or terrain features, or sometimes you just plain want to punch some animals for getting in your way.
There are other wandering animal sprites as well, but these are just for decoration, they can't be interacted with and they don't do anything to you.
Do you have the faintest idea where you're going, Tom?
You'll never get me to admit it if I don't.
Maybe we should return to Jirinaar and get a map or a compass, or both, and try aga-
Holy moly, what the hell's that?
You're not distracting me that easily, Tom.
It's coming right at us! It's huge! And flying! And hideous!
Really, you're still t-
It's a Warniak, defend yourselves!
Warniaks are the worst. Just the worst.
Gahhhh! What's it doing?!
Fascinating, that sting appears to be some kind of ovipositor.
Maybe we should kill it first and then be amazed by the miracle of life afterwards. Right now it's apparently trying to murder Drirr.
Level 1 Warniaks aren't so bad, they're medium-fast, not too durable, not too great at dodging and don't hit too hard, with a very low chance of inflicting minor nuisance status effects.
Level 2 and 3 Warniaks, however, which we won't see for a bit yet, thank God, can inflict insanity and terror, the former of which is real bad news if you have no cures for it in your inventory and the latter of which removes a party member from the battle as soon as they can reach the edge of the battlefield and leg it.
They drop these little red "Warniak Spheres" that can be sold for a small amount of gold, while the level 3 ones drop pricier ones.
Night-time is mostly bad because it makes it harder to spot enemies before you bungle into them, though any time an enemy starts tracking you(this counts in dungeons as well) they play a growl or buzzing noise, depending on what kind of creature they are, to alert you.
We've been out here for an entire day, Tom, please admit you're lost.
Perhaps it is part of some advanced investigative technique!
It's good to know someone still has faith in me, and for your information, Rainer, yes, I am excluding all of the non-obvious hiding places before I go where we're being led.
I suppose at least this is as good a chance as any to catalogue the local bioluminescent nightlife. Like that fascinating bush over there.
Said bushes can be interacted with to yield...
Taking Drirr's suggestion and selling them to the Dji-Kas is the last thing you should do, however, though it will yield a decent amount of gold, you're quite likely to regret the sale, as the seeds have a use that's currently hidden to us, but somewhat obvious to any player with a functioning short-term memory.
Dji-Kas mages use the seeds to cast spells, and on several pieces of our equipment, it clearly states that we'll eventually be recruiting a Dji-Kas mage.
Highlights of exploring the landmass:
Tom getting owned by a Warniak 2.
Warniaks breaking all my equipment.
More cool weird plants.
I can't believe we spent the entire night running from wild animals.
It's good exercise and it'll help weld us into a lean, mean, crime-fighting machine.
This is certainly more exciting than the usual Stiriik work, all this running and fighting really gets my blood pumping!
Time passes quite quickly in Albion, if I haven't already mentioned it, at a rate of roughly one hour per minute, and thus a full day about every twenty-five minutes.
Outside of actually going to the Former building, there aren't a whole lot of things to find outside. This little hidden grove full of Trifalai seeds is one of them, you basically have to mash the party's faces against the trees until you find the hidden path in, complete with multiple false paths that lead you most of the way, but not all the way.
There's also the shuttle's crash site, where two small pieces of rubble, if Examined, will yield more stim drinks and a chronometer if you either got your dumb ass booted out of the South Wind Clan or you failed to find the one in their storage basement.
Sweet mother of mercy, I never thought we'd see anything other than wild animals. And look, there's Jirinaar not far beyond him!
We should ask the herdsman if he's seen anything, perhaps he can set us on the path to the old Dji-Fadh guildhouse.
Before I follow the herdsman's advice, I dip back into Jirinaar, sell some of my junk and buy a compass for Tom. It's of absolutely zero use on the overworld, but can make dungeon navigation a good bit easier. I also get both Tom and Drirr some much-needed melee combat training.
If nothing else, Albion's overworld art direction is pretty good. None of the plants look like a palette-swapped Terran tree or flower.
There's the abandoned road! We're on the right track!
And thanks to my impeccable leadership, we're also ready to handle the murderer when we find him.
True, I do feel like no bullshit he could put me through could match what you make me put up with.
The little safari got everyone a level or two, boosting their survivability considerably.
...those are some strange mountains. Any commentary, Rainer?
Possibly formed similarly to basalt pillars, you can see the repeating structure when you look at them from the side. I envy the crew still back on the Toronto, the science team must be having a field day.
Eventually, after looping all the way around the northern coast of Nakiiridaani to collect a few more Triifalai bushes and kill a bit more wildlife, I find the old Former building. There's a good reason to approach it from the west, as from the east you'll be crossing a small bridge that may randomly collapse and injure one or more party members every time you cross it.
Parts of this video will also be presented with screenshots.
Tom, Rainer and Drirr enter the old Former guild house and kill a shitload of animals before discovering that Argim is still alive, in a body horror sense, and that the animals already killed their murderer, but thankfully refrained from eating the Vital Clue left on his body.
Another dank cave full of dangerous animals. This isn't what I expected out of First Contact.
Cheer up, at least you're getting to make some first-hand xenobiological studies!
I suppose I wouldn't be allowed to make all these field autopsies back on Earth.
Imagine one or two battles where Tom, Drirr and Rainer get soaked up to their elbows in animal guts between each screenshot.
You should be more careful about interacting with novel plants, Drirr, it could have exploded, or been poisonous.
You should worry less, Rainer, nothing has gone wrong yet!
Yeah, Rainer, you should try being less of a party-pooper.
Just don't make me the party leader next time, eventually it'll go wrong.
Everything inside this cave is so gross and... mobile.
Compared to the Iskai dwellings we've seen, this one does seem worryingly more... alive, yes. But maybe this happens to all of them if they're not properly maintained.
At least something in this cave isn't trying to kill and eat us. Right, Tom?
Tom, are you well?
Please, Tom, you can hardly lift that.
Hnyergh, I, huff, totally can! Behold as I cleave my enemies in twain!
Are his veins meant to stand out like that?
Five gold pieces says he throws out his back before we're done exploring this place.
The heavy battle axe, and also the chainmail once repaired, cause a malus to combat skills while equipped. The axe is also a two-hander, preventing shields from being equipped, but several of the game's best weapons are, so that's not a big deal.
I told you to be more careful!
Don't let Rainer get to you, he's just sour because he's not the one allowed to poke everything new we come across.
I'd just rather he didn't get poisoned, or get us attacked, or bring the ceiling down on us.
For the love of God please don't touch this one.
Perhaps we can fight it?
Just let me get in one good whack-
No! This is obviously what those fruits we bought back in Jirinaar are for.
You can either spend 40 gold to toss paralyzing fruits into these particular maws to paralyze them, or simply not have a lit torch, without a light source they're entirely passive. But not having a light source in here means you might fall into other hazards or fail to notice a side passage, and basically every side passage in here has a reward of some sort.
This is part of a puzzle you might solve by accident, the room has two already-glowing fungi, and if you connect the glowy parts of the floor beneath them, they open a secret passage further back. Not being an asshole later on gets you the solution, and the reward is one of the best rewards in the entire game. I'm going to open the passage right away, but I won't be claiming the reward until the end of the post.
Why does this place have two different kinds of awful floormouths?!
Unlike the glowy ones, these don't require light to be active, but they can be similarly disabled, except it's by feeding them Krondiir meat rather than weird fruit.
Huff, how many damn animals have we been attacked by so far? I'm almost out of ammunition for the pistol.
At least thirty, but there can't be too many more in here.
Tom, Rainer, the cave looks... different, up ahead.
...is it throbbing?
Touching these fiery pillars will fully heal all human party members as well as making them shitfaced-drunk.
I'm going to see if I can push it out of the w-
Oh no you don't, this clearly isn't just some inanimate object we can shove around, it's going to take a scientific approach. Now, I'm going to carefully make contact to ensure that it isn't dangerous, you two be ready to pull me back.
This is going to be good.
Damn, that was pretty priceless.
Nyaaaaaaargh! Let that, ow, let that be a prime example of why not to interact with items you don't recognize. I need to sit down. Ow.
Touching this thing with a human party member like an idiot hurts them and intoxicates them, as well as giving you the option to attack it. Attacking it gives you an immobile opponent that casts damage-and-paralyze spells. If you destroy it, the entire cave "shuts down," killing all the floor mouths, removing the fire pillars, etc. but it's also entirely the asshole thing to do, as we're about to see.
...it reminds me of a giant Iskai trii. I'm going to touch it!
Your funeral, ow. Still ow. Don't let me stop you.
Who or what are you?
I am... here. I am now this place. A long time ago... I was small, I was single, alone. I was...once I was as you. Iskai.
This is what remains of Argim! I'll relate what he says.
That's a twist I didn't see coming. How about you, Rainer?
I'll express proper scientific curiosity when I'm done throwing up, Tom. Hurk.
What happened to you, Argim?
I've been here so long, it is... hard. I'm no longer used to this kind of... thinking... remembering. I wanted to live. My life was so short. I was hot. So angry. Everything flowed out of me. I expanded. It's hard to talk about it. But, everything became good. I live. I live. That is wonderful. I live in this place. I am this place. I live in the animals here. I experience everything that they experience. I am in them. I sense how they live, how they hunt and are hunted, how they love and die. It's wonderful. I am happy. I only miss little. Talks like this. And music.
That's unfathomably gross, so we've been wandering around Argim's guts and feeding him while also murdering him.
Argim, we're looking for a human murderer who came here. Have you seen one?
Aside from the one behind you? Well... Yes. There was a man here. He was a good predator. But he wasn't the only predator here. He has been incorporated into the cycle. He is no longer alive. His remains are behind this structure, I'll move it once we're done talking.
So in the end I was right, the murderer was underground, we weren't in a hurry, and our combat training helped us get through all the animals alive.
Your law enforcement instincts are astounding, Tom!
Please don't encourage him.
I have just one request... will you return with a music crystal? I miss music.
We can buy a music crystal for 75 gold, a non-minor amount, but all we need to do to get the reward(getting told about connecting the two glowing bushes with the glowing floor) is to promise we'll bring Argim one, not to actually do so. Making the promise and then breaking it will upset Drirr, though, and would also be an asshole thing to do. After we promise to do so, Argim moves his brain so we can get past him to the bones and also the last remaining loot in the dungeon.
Finally, now we can get out of here.
[Drirr shows Frill the decorative dagger and explains where it came from.] A strange piece from ancient times. This dagger is definitely over 150 years old. I'm no expert in these things, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had a magical effect. The family of Bradir, the new head of the Former guild, owned this dagger. Strange that the murderer possessed this valuable weapon.
We should definitely ask Bradir about this! Maybe he'll have some clues for us!
...yes, Drirr, I'm sure that Bradir will have some clues for us. We'll just have our weapons handy in case there's another murderer out there.
Dsarii-ma. I assume you are still looking for the fugitive murderer.
Dsarii-ma, Bradir, has anything else come to mind that might help us?
Nothing, I'm afraid, hopefully you'll find the culprit soon.
We found him, in fact, and he was carrying this dagger! Do you recognize it?
It is strange. The moment I feared the most actually brings me relief. Forgive me, Akiir!
Look out, he's attacking!
I remembered this fight as difficult, so I'd gotten everyone healed and all my gear repaired before going into it but instead Bradir goes down like a chump in one round of combat.
Quick, loot his body!
I don't think he's quite dead yet.
Quick, loot his body and then take him to a healer!
"Unusual" is a bit of an understatement, I feel.
The dagger was part of the murderer's payment, and upon seeing it, I lost my nerve.
So you hired the murderer, Bradir?
By the Goddess, no! Akiir did.
That makes no sense at all.
What a stupid twist.
Please, Bradir was my father's closest friend! I want to hear this explanation!
Akiir knew he had a fatal disease that would have killed him in six months at the most, so he wanted his death to get him revenge at Fasiir the Dji-Kas. I tried to talk him out of it, but when I could not, I chose to help him instead. He hired the murderer to assassinate himself, and we bribed Kriis to help implicate his own guild and guildmaster, then I planned to meet the murderer at the old Former guild building to give him the remainder of his payment, the wild animals there were supposed to take care of any witnesses.
It's hard to accept, but I believe Bradir's story.
As do I, Fasiir will be freed immediately, Bradir and Kriis will be turned over to the courts.
So now that we've solved this murder, can we travel onwards?
Of course! A ship will be made ready for you as soon as you're prepared to continue.
Tom, Rainer, I would like to travel with you. Your quest is clearly more exhilarating than normal Stiriik work! There's fighting, and mysteries, and new places to explore!
Please, bring me along, too, I don't really want to hang around here and dwell on my father's suicide. I can be of help with my magic talents.
-yes. Drirr's a friend and I am absolutely not turning down a wizard.
So, Sira is somehow more fragile than Rainer-
Hot damn, I'm no longer the dead weight!
But reasonably fast and also a wizard. She starts off with three spells, a freezing single-target attack spell, a light healing spell and a spell that displays exactly enemy HP. The reason we've been hoarding Triifalai Seeds rather than selling them is that every time she casts a spell, it consumes a seed, and they're reasonably pricey to stock up on. Oh and she's also 12 years old, we're dragging along a literal 12-year-old wizard, Drirr, for context, is 16.
Each of the glowing pillars that the lighted floor "puzzle" unlocks provides a party-wide stat boost, increasing Strength, Stamina and Speed for everyone. This is why you wait until Sira's in the party, so she can get those, too.
We also give Argim his music crystal and get ambushed by some Krondiir on the way, giving Sira her first fight!
Wait a moment, that drained all your mana?
I'm not exactly used to battle magic, Tom.
I can tell we're going to need some intensive training before we take Janiis up on her offer of sending us to the next island over.
Next: More humans! More islands!