The Let's Play Archive

Ash of Gods: Redemption

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 8: Follow that man!

Follow that man!

By popular demand, we've decided to follow Rask.

Naturally, we're gonna explain the map first. First, strixes. We have a count at the top, and traversing the three routes eats a number of strixes equal to the amount under each number at the bottom - so the stone bridge takes 22 of our 122 strixes. The red symbol at the top is game difficulty - we will be discussing this in Hopper's chapters. Morale is I believe averaged across all your characters. Anyway, time to follow Rask!

We end up at this watchtower. Starting with the center icon, which is to examine this corpse pile.

: Krieger grows pale at the sight of the slaughter. "Shit! These're the guardsman who were chasing after Rask, the whole dozen of 'em. I recognize their uniforms. What kind of monster did this? The poor bastards had wives and children..."

: You examine the corpses. "Masterful work. They were each slain by a single blow. Either to the neck, or between the ribs... Look, there's the weapon-stuck in one of the poor sods. The handle's broken. It's Rask's axe."

: The captain's eyes widen in realization. "I'll be damned if it isn't Rask's! Used to hang on the wall in his shop. Remarkable piece, I've never seen another like it. But why would he butcher the corpses?"

We decide to bury the guards. Looting them causes a morale hit for the team, so screw that.

: With your limited manpower, burying twelve bodies would take too long. Therefore, you decide to leave the poor sods as they are.

: You think for a moment, then ask Krieger to help you. Together, you turn the bodies face-down, sparing your companions the gruesome sight.

Checking out the tower next:

Breaking in the door!

: Despite the efforts of your companions, the cursed door holds fast. It seems to be the sturdiest part of the tower.

We try climbing through the window.

Send Hode, why not.

Damn, Hode, impressing the main character's daughter. You're moving up in the world.

: Silence sets in, only to be interrupted by a muffled cry. You rush to the door. A moment later, you hear the latch sliding aside, proving your fears unwarranted. Your soldier emerges-his face pale.

: Inside lay the corpses of the Jeranian guards. They've been stabbed, but with the entire detachment lying dead in front of you, it's hard to tell by who. You examine the narrow embrasures in the walls, but it's unlikely that the guards were shot-there are no bolts or arrows in the bodies.

We get the option to loot, which I pass on because I'm pretty sure it lowers morale.

We get the option to inspect the south and west roads after examining the massacres.

: The mysterious hoofprints make you uneasy. Soldiers from Odalah or Jerana would have stopped to check on the guardsmen. Unwelcome visitors to Berkana can only mean trouble.

Checking on the west road gets us this:

: You feel frustration at failing to intercept Rask-or even pick up his trail. You share the disappointment with Krieger.

: Krieger spits. "Rask is as good as gone now, the bastard. I'm sure he went further into Gebona, where you can ride for a day and not come across a single settlement. Lately, even the robbers have sort of died out. There's nothing for us there.

: You begrudgingly agree. "Well, I hoped for good fortune, but it didn't come. We've no other choice but to head to the menhir in Dynford village."

I elect to take the secret path to waste less strixes.

Hey, it's that guy who's wife we didn't insult! I elect to say hello.

Now you all voted not to rob people, so we won't be doing that. We will not be telling him about strixes, either, because that causes him to raise his prices. Fuck that. We will, however, be seeing what he has for sale.

Some new things! The purse is what I go with. The emerald gives +7 energy at the expense of some health, the Merchant's Bracelet gets broken down for 20 strixes, and the cards are special.

You can't just buy cards, unfortunately. You can only buy 2 of the 3 paralysis fragments, and stunning comes default on our 2 warriors. The Miraculous Healing card has 5 pieces and restores everyone's - us and the enemies' - health by 15, and the Rush of Vigor card does the same but for 10 energy instead of 15 health.

We ride off into the night.

The map pans suddenly and we get this message.

Who the fuck are the Frisians? Keep reading to find out!

Another question we can ask is, how do we know this? We don't have any sorcerers in our party who can tell us. It would have made sense if the merchant told us, but he seemed pretty out of touch and isolated. You get this message no matter what route you take, so

: Krieger raises himself in the stirrups, glares at the traveler and shouts: "Well, if it isn't Ramlin! Wait, you knucklehead, you! Don't you recognize your commander?"

: Taken aback, the lad hunches his shoulders, but then sighs in relief when he recognizes Krieger. "Hello, Captain Krieger. What brings you here? I'm on my way home...Not that far off, in fact."

: Krieger squints to scan the nearby houses. "Your village isn't going anywhere, and your horse needs some rest anyhow. You'll ride the poor thing to death, you bonehead. Get off before it crushes you."

: Ramlin gets off the horse, and the exhausted animal collapses. You give the young guard a scornful glance and dismount in order to talk to him.

Dialogue menus!

: Did you notice anything strange on your way?

: The footprints, maybe. Lots of 'em. Looks like a party on horseback-larger than yours. I didn't see them even though I rode without rest, but my guess is that they're heading for our menhir.

: We noticed that too. I can't imagine what company this could be. It's too big for a Berjanan patrol. Could it be bandits? I hope they don't find their way into your village.

: Never seen any bandits in these parts. We're not rich, and there are several bows and lances in every home. They'd lose more than they'd gain. There's also a watch around the menhir, and they would come to our aid.

: Alright, we'll deal with those mysterious horsemen later.

: How did you manage to ride for so long?

: So, are you a sorcerer or not?

: Nah, I wouldn't call it sorcery. Just a small hex, if you will. A lot of monks from the Temple of Divine Retribution can heal people, too...

What the hell, devs? This isn't low magic at all! If you can meet random dudes on the street who can do magic, have magic healing stones scattered across the land, and can buy Magic the Gathering cards that shoot lightning bolts you are not in a low magic setting, I'm sorry.

: Don't drag monks into this. Their power comes from the gods. The Temple wouldn't like what you just said.

: (Comfortingly) Thankfully, we are not in the Northern Kingdoms, and there's no inquisition here, Krieger. Vandils can observe their customs, even if they understand gods differently.

: Well, we have to set out.

: Just go already. Nobody's accusing you of anything. Visit your grandma or return to the watchtower-we are too preoccupied to care.

This is where the weird Russian translation angle comes in again. "Preoccupied" is just not a strong enough word for this situation, I'm sorry.

: "The villagers must've gathered near the sacred stone," Flitt says. "It's a holiday after all!"

: You agree, relieved. Indeed, villages near the menhirs traditionally hold spring festivities. Lost in thought, you don't immediately notice someone addressing you.

: Flitt calls to you again, pointing to the road. There's something smoking there, and scavengers circle the black plunes. You slow down to take a closer look.

: Scorched and torn asunder, these people died without making a sound, their mouths choked with dirt. Severed limbs lie nearby. You turn around, slowly. Gleda stands nearby, clenching the hilt of her sword. The others stand further back, frozen in place.

: Gleda sobs. She's petrified-unable to get a word out. Feeling sick, she runs off on stiff legs.

I really have to question why Gleda is always the one affected here. Are we to believe those young men in the guard saw this on a routine basis? They seemed more like a friendly local small town police than a hardened homicide investigation squad.

: You order your men to help Gleda and keep their distance. A low whimper draws your attention. You notice a pregnant woman struggling under the corpses. She's suffered severe mutilation and won't last long without aid.

We help the pregnant woman out.

: You wade through the corpses and pull the woman out from under the pile. Your companions come to your aid. Your group lacks a healer, and it's pointless to return to the village-these corpses are all that's left of it. Seems you'll have to bring the woman to the menhir.

That menhir isn't looking so good...

: You stop your company at the bridge. Suspicious figures stand on the other side. The watchmen's bodies hang nearby, close to the blood-soaked menhir.

: You draw your sword. "They've noticed us. Be on your guard! These aren't fools, they've gathered near the bridge. We'll have to dismount. Don't swarm a narrow path like this, you'll only get in each other's way! Gleda, look after the wounded girl!"

: You order some of your companions to get to the bridge and the others to guard the rear. It feels as if the Enses want you on the bridge so they can bring it down.

Naturally I ignore Thorn's advice and stack up on melee guys like a moron. I thought Fisk was wounded, you see.

I immediately fuck it up, but it gives me a chance to show off something.

You can restart any fight from the menu if you screw up. I...may be making use of this in the future.

Despite clearly going down in the last fight, Fisk doesn't have a wound. There'd be a little red skill on his portrait if he did. I send Thorn in again anyway, because I'm angling to be the first and only member of the Ash of Gods multiplayer championship hall of fame. You can see Krieger got the CASH MONEY BAG at least.

The game always reshuffles your deck before a fight. It looks cool, at least.

Because we're on the lowest difficulty, those three doofi in back just kinda stand there while we beat the nearer two doofi to death.

Pump them full of shafts like French knights at Crecy. You'll notice the archers are far enough back that I have no compunctions against using their health draining moves. Even though the Shirtless Wonders over here have weird telekinetic swords that can lash out to about 3 squares, they still can't hit the archers and get shafted to death.

The asshole in the back is an Ense Sorcerer, who can heal their guys. It's moderately annoying. Two of these guys tend to start a circlejerk where they sit there and increase each other's health. They don't have any firebolts or anything. Ense warlocks, on the other hand...

Thorn goes down and takes an injury. I decide not to reset so I can feel like less of a punk.

The gang uses the buff they get on Thorn's death to murder the crap out of the last guy. Remember, though this is heavily ripped off Banner Saga, there is no pillage, so the last enemy gets a turn for every one of us.

Murdering enemies gets us more strixes, which is why I recommend killing everyone you meet in this game. We also get cold hard cash. Don't think too hard about where the Enses stored it.

It's at this time that I realize people still don't have enough XP to level up, and this is the last battle of Chapter 1. Oh well, we have sheer numbers and Fisk's maybe bugged resilence.

Gleda tries to calm him down, while you listen to his jumbled account of what happened in the empty village. Judging by the blood stains, some of the bodies were thrown in the river, and some... he goes silent. You turn your attention to the menhir.

It's...kinda looking bloodstained. We get an option to talk to Ramlin or a mystery survivor, but I missed that screenshot alas. We'll talk with Ramlin.

: (Shrugging) I don't know. Seems like they savor pain and death. In any case, we've purged this pace of abominations, and we'll kill any more of them we find.

Now you might be thinking, "Gee, TheGreatEvilKing, you should let us vote on this so we can decide whether or not we're going to screw you out of having a wizard". That's too bad. Not only am I not having a vote, this decision doesn't actually affect whether Ramlin joins or not. You can get 8 strixes from ruining Grandma's locket, or you can give Ramlin a loyalty boost. I choose the latter and don't take the locket.

: {Looking at the locket) Some battles are won by sorcerers, not swordsmen. Though wielders of magic are warriors too, in a sense. Your grandmother's amulet is strix-encrusted, that explains a lot. Keep it. Now, if you're ready to fight and follow orders, you can come with us. Anything else you want to say?

No Thorn, don't make me transcribe more screenshots.

: How did you come by magical cards? They're heavy, like lead...and hot to the touch! And you say you don't want to be a wizard?!

: Do you even realize what they are?

: What's there to realize? Grandmother said that these cards aid those who wish to use magic-or shield themselves from it-but have no shamanic power of their own. They're Qimran, and the Qimra themselves are said to be descended from those abominations.

: (Examining the cards) I've heard of them, wasn't expecting they'd suddenly gain power. I won a couple myself. Who could have guessed that ancient trinkets would be of use?

: The Reaping's started, Thorn. What used to be superstition and legend is now manifesting through magic. You must've noticed that some items are displaying special properties. The cards are no exception.

: What use are your cards?

: (Shrugging) You can normally figure out what a card does by the picture. They're not for wizards, remember? They're for those deprived of such power, so each carries a clue. Easy as falling off a horse. Grip the card tightly and use your will to direct its power.

: They're useful-no arguing that...but I'm more at ease with a sword at my hip. You can't scatter an enemy squad with a hand of cards.

: Who knows! I've never used them myself, but it's possible that a card might trump a weapon. Everyone can use them- it's worth remembering.

: Why are some broken?

: They're not broken, just... incomplete. I remember when my grandmother got hold of a handful of shards. She assembled her picture, and then the shards sort of...glued themselves together.

: Do you suggest I hunt for these shards everywhere I go?

: It's up to you. People have always collected fragments of these cards. Even though they have no idea of their true value, using them as amulets and souvenirs. That's why you'll find many merchants selling them. Same with items that contain strixes.

: Thank you, but it's time we left.

: I expect you to do more than just stand there.

: If you can cast proper spells-do it. And thank you for the plaques. I have a feeling we'll need them.

: Everyone runs around looking for clean water and rags. You don't remember feeling such pressure even when commanding a company of soldiers. After all the effort, you're finally rewarded with a baby's cry.

: Gleda looks at you woefully. "The baby's safe, but we couldn't help the mother. She'd gone through too much. I'll search the supplies of the watch, maybe I can find some milk, but we need to find a safe place for the baby. We shouldn't delay.

Next up, our mysterious survivor.

: (Enraged) Curses! So that's why they soaked it in blood! Damn witchery! Pieces of shit... Thanks for the warning in any case. And why in Terminum are you just sitting there-aren't you glad to be saved?

: (Confused) Honestly, I can't even stand straight. I had already given up hope... but I am truly grateful, make no mistake! My name is Vai. I'm a wandering monk. My prayers from the gods will be on your behalf from now on, in every temple in Berkana!

"Why did they let you alive"? Who got that past an editor?

: Why did they let you alive?

: The abominations didn't kill all the villagers right away. Some were captured and forced to dig a mass grave-until it came their turn to die. The menhir was showered in blood. I'm all that remains.

: Why'd they need a grave? They didn't bury those they slaughtered on the other side of the bridge.

: I have no idea. I think they just wanted to torture us for as long as they could. They made it as painful and as horrifying as possible.

: Those fiends! Putting so many to the sword, all in a single day! And the grave... We'll have to make use of it, I'm afraid.

Note that Thorn is not swearing here. "Fiends" is a pretty mild word to use, to the point where it's become meaningless. You can argue how accurate fantasy characters using modern day excretion based expletives is, but that's a debate for a different update. I want us to see more Thorn before I start delving deep.

: How did the watch manage to miss a whole mob of adversaries and captives?

: So...that's what those prints were. The gods truly saved our necks. We could've just as easily ran unto them on our way here.

What the hell, writers? You spent the entirety of the first chapter establishing that Thorn hates the gods and trusts in men and steel. I suppose you could say he was speaking for his audience, but he was visibly pissed when Vai mentioned prayer. Who the hell knows.

: All dead. None were spared-not children, nor the elders.

: Show me your neck. Are there any marks on it?

: (Agitated) So, this plague's gotten to you too. Let me tell you something-you know those rare gems called strixes? They fight off the corruption, but only for a time, until they burn out.

: We've heard about it already, thanks anyway. So how did you come across the strixes and learn of their properties?

: Vai, you're the luckiest person I've ever met. The gods must be keeping you alive for some higher purpose.

Again, when did Thorn get this faith in the gods' salvation? He was literally cursing them a few minutes ago. He was cursing them before Liki died and he became a murderer. Is he just trying to butter up Vai? Did a different writer pick up this part?

: You've already told me what I needed to know.

: We'll just have to try another menhir. The Enses couldn't have smeared blood on all of them, could they? There's a menhir on the way to Ursus, with a small stockade around it. Perhaps the watchmen there will be able to beat the abominations back.

: Let me come with you. I have to get to the temple in Ursus and tell the abbot what I've seen. At least I won't be alone for half the journey if I join your company.

: Well, I can't just leave you alone now, can I? Just know that you must obey my every order without question if you wish to stay with us. Also, it would seem they've left us a couple of horses. How nice of them...

Thus, we got a warlock and a monk. Note Thorn has an injury because he went down, this lowers his max HP and energy. We'll talk about Ramlin and Vai next time I can make them fight.

: Before you can say a word, Gleda speaks up. "Dad... Why didn't you let me go on the bridge, Dad? Am I a bad fighter? Or were you going easy on me during training?"

Well, you blow off all your health to attack.

We call Hode to the witness stand because he impressed Gleda with his mad climbing skills.

Thanks Hode.

: You can tell that Gleda is taken aback by all the praise and decide to seize the moment. "Grab your stuff, all of you! The child's going with you, Gleda. There's a squad of Enses prowling about, so get back in those saddles, everyone! Make haste!

Next update: New protagonist! A country of assholes! Attractive redheaded women! Probably one of the most important votes in the entire game!