Part 33: Hopper Rouley and the Pointless Waste of Everyone's TimeHopper Rouley and the Pointless Waste of Everyone's Time.
Last time on Ash of Gods, we abandoned the only passable storyline to go back to Hopper.
I apologize, but the game threw up a dialogue screen and removed it so quickly that I couldn't screenshot it. It was Hopper and Sheck talking about Hode's injury.
It was probably rambling and badly translated anyway.
However, these guys will gladly furnish us with more Ash Of Gods exposition!
Earlier in the game posted:
: (Calming down) Glad to hear that. The gods were on the Cardinal's side today, let's leave it at that. Bow to the scribe, Coronzon. He soothed my anger. But don't you dare talk back to the crown prince. As for you scribe...You should greet your future companions.
So that sounds suspiciously like these are Treeg's men, but...
You know what? Fuck it. If the game can't keep this shit straight who am I to disagree?
: Do you report my every step to the cardinal?
So Ake is holding a sword eternally despite not being a combat unit. It would be hilarious if he was just pretending to be dumb, but even that minor subtlety is beyond these writers.
: And did Coronzon give you any orders regarding the prince?
: (With indignation) How could you even say that!? Coronzon may be angry with His Highness, but he's a cardinal, not a highway murderer! Do you really think I'm capable of something like this? I'd sooner end my own life.
..like rescuing the prince? Who would you call if not a great warr- fuck it.
: Maybe he's asked you to stab me in the back, eh?
There's really no call for this as far as I can tell. Note that Ake hasn't said what the favor was.
: (Astonished) Why would I do that? Well, if you made an attempt on the prince's life or something stupid like that, I'd do it without asking. But things being as they are... what in damnation? I did not sign up for murder!
: Or does Coronzon have his own stake in this game?
HE LITERALLY TOLD YOU WHAT IT IS!
Earlier in the game posted:
: Hasn't happened yet... Enough with the weeping. A pompous nobleman is headed your way. You met my request, so I owe you one. However, if you want to ensure my good will, I'd suggest you find Thorn and bring him to Opacum. I want to have a look at him. Oh, here comes Prince Treeg!
: (Interested) Believe me, Ake. Some things aren't as silly as they seem. And the cardinal is definitely not stupid.
: Perhaps I should be going.
: But wait... I've been meaning to ask, why did you send Stein away?
: I never liked him. Odd and secretive, keeping to himself at all times. Truthfully, I've never trusted him and I can't understand why Prince Treeg forced him on us.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Ake are you a cop? You have to tell me if you're really a cop!
: I'm working with that Cardinal guy from Chapter 3, if that's what you mean.
: SPY! TRAITOR! HERETIC! What does he want you to do, kill me? Kill the prince? Burn a town? Write the Ash of Gods sequel?
: He just wants me to take Gleda to Opacum. It's really weird and I hope nonsexual because she's like 16.
: Huh. Also, what's with Stein?
: Oh, the writers never had any idea what to do with him and wrote him out of the story.
I want to comment on this but honestly the bad writing speaks for itself.
: Neither, master innkeeper. I have a question. You know that I arrived in search of Thorn Brenin and discovered something curious. Tell me, how did he quarrel with his brother-in-law, Brann Vichti?
Did we really need more exposition on this?
Many of the players are probably feigning interest too! Holy shit! We've covered this 50 times? Maybe we could ask questions about what the hell Coronzon is up to or why Gleda is spe- no?
: But Thorn's wife perished! There is no one to hold a grudge against!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Ha ha! Fuck you, player! You thought you were going to get something vaguely worthwhile but we're gonna retread the same ground! BRANN IS BAD BRANN IS BAD BRANN IS BAD!
Maybe this will be a worthwhile conversation unlike the other two.
Hode answered this...he clashed with his grandfather and had to hide...
: (Shrugging) Someone's been feeding you stories, I see. The prince claims that the king wanted to marry him off to an elderly and unattractive Gebonan princess, but I think the true reason is completely different.
: (Nodding) That's what piqued my interest. High-ranking individuals don't often share the rigors of service with ordinary folk. And they certainly never do so in secret!
Is anyone in the audience still asking these questions?
From a mystery standpoint, we still have no idea what is with this curse or these riddles, and we seem remarkably uninterested in making even the barest attempt to find out what is going on.
: No surprise there. I would be more astonished if the young scion didn't go against his elders' will.
Another mystery that will never be answered is "what is the king's name" and "why doesn't anyone say it". I don't particularly care about this, but it makes for a particularly artificial dynamic between these characters.
: I see now, Prince Treeg made his base in Ursus to be closer to his son. And his son joined an Odalan company of young soldiers to keep away from his grandfather's spies...
Look, I get it, intelligent characters are hard to write. Hopper is not intelligent. He is not questioning. He is blindly following these riddles because a known murderer told him to.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Wanna talk more about the Prince Ho subplot?
: Yes! At first it was because Ho didn't want to apply his penis to an unattractive lady, but I actually think it's teenage rebellion! Isn't this a deep conversation?
: I am sure the audience is invested in this, and not, say whatever the fuck the main plot of this game is supposed to be right now. What am I doing? What are my goals? Wasn't I supposed to get Thorn to Opacum? Why do I even want to do that?
: You are a very smart man for not asking those questions.
What a waste of everyone's time.
Oh, I guess we are looking for Gleda now.
Sure, why not.
: You take in the humble furnishings of a traditional Berkanan dwelling. "Could she have escaped through the roof or a secret passage within the house?"
We then get to search the house. I unfortunately cut our search off early, but rest assured, there was "humor" about searching the outhouse.
: Inspect the table.
: Move the table.
It's another pointless riddle, boys and girls!
You'd think if our mysterious witchy friend actually needed this stuff down to the point of being careless about revealing herself she'd just...tell Hopper what to do. Seriously. She has the leverage from that curse and clear goals that she refuses to tell the player about.
It's a failing of the plot that we still don't know what the point of any of this is, but welcome to Ash of Gods.
But what if we just...didn't do that? Why do we trust this again?
I'm lost. Ok, Coronzon wants Gleda. Why are we telling Sheck? I thought we were officially hunting down Thorn for escaping from jail?
Can anyone tell me what Hopper's goals are, or why we are doing any of this?
This makes sense because Hopper is a magic healer who tries to save people. The rest of it doesn't.
Is there a conspiracy to kill the prince we should know about? I'm honestly baffled.
Not pictured: woman.
Maybe if you don't have the budget for more characters don't introduce them into the story?
We know that Unda is made up and Philia is actually working with Chila to do...things. We don't know what these things are or why we should care.
Do you guys remember that there's supposed to be a plague going on right now that kills everyone without rare magic stones? The game doesn't remember.
: Are you saying she swapped a quick death for a slow one? Should we all bow down to her in praise? What are we to do? You did well, sorting out the enchantment. But how can we save the prince?
Wait, we do? Hold on! I thought this enchantment bought us a lot more time - fuck it.
: You pull yourself together, and make a difficult confession. "I cannot destroy this enchantment, only transfer it to another. It will not cling to me, and even if it does, it might rebound to the prince again. One of you will have to make this sacrifice."
That sure is convenient, Hopper.
: Sheck smirks. "Why waste one of us? Let me bring some thug from the dungeon and use him. We'll even clear him of all charges and set up a monument for him... posthumously."
: Look at Sheck.
: You nod to the warrior, showing respect. "As you say. All you need to do is touch my hands. The enchantment will do..."
: You watch in shock as the old woman's body collapses to the floor. You can barely move your lips. "Did you see it? She grabbed me by the hands herself!"
What a complete and utter waste of time. We didn't know Tante. There was no reason for the enchantment to attack Hopper other than to waste everyone's time with a stupid Sophie's Choice style dramabomb created by contrived genre banality.
: You look at the prince intensely to make sure that all enchantments have been undone. "Well, that's wonderful. I haven't taken a life in vain. Your prince will live... in better health than ever."
Oh no, not the king the game scrupulously avoided naming or showing to us!
I thought Philia said Unda didn't exist? You know what, I don't care.
Decisions lie before us!
Which way do we go, goons? Remember, we have some riddles:
And if you do not burn out, carry it.
Your path leads to the West. May you not shy away from tall buildings and may you remember old friends and ancient enemies alike.
Also, the Fanart Contest is still open until October 31st! Depict the most 'Ash of Gods' moment in the game, and if I arbitrarily decide yours is best you get a free forums upgrade of your choice!