Part 37: Lo Pheng and the Opportunity To Please A Lot Of WomenLo Pheng and the Opportunity To Please A Lot Of Women
Well, it looks like I fucked up and might have to travel more for work, so you all get more Ash of Gods!
YEA LO PHENG!
When we left Lo Pheng, he was on an adventure to go to a magic teleporting rock and spill blood to teleport to the Isle of Shadows. He also is going to get punished for betraying his clan to save an attractive woman.
Personally, I understand.
Let's take the Qimra Path, shall we?
The thread voted to have Lo Pheng be a nice guy, so...
: Give the Ense some water.
This also makes Khama like us more.
: Ignoring the Gells, you examine the stranger. He's not dead, but close to it. You produce a flask and pour some water through the opening in his mask-but the Ense begins seizing. He dies a moment later.
But...why? Khama already told us that thieves can't use the rings.
: You swear you see a glimpse of tears through the slits in Khama's mask. You ask, "Why didn't they finish him off? Why didn't they spare him from the suffering?"
We are going to get a lot of Lo Pheng's lessons on suffering this update.
: Find out where the Gells found the Ense.
: One of the Gells shrugs, regarding Khama anxiously. "It's here, not far away. There are many dead Frisians-but only one of his kind. We'll bring him to the nearest watch."
Remember, the only time we have seen Lo Pheng use torture is when he wanted to get the Frisian guards to talk. Lo Pheng commits violence out of what he sees as necessity, not because he enjoys it. (We don't talk about Shannet. That girl is nuts.)
So, uh, torturing animals is usually a sign of psychopathy.
: Tell Khama to kill the Gells.
Reet will get pissed if we ask her to do it, but these guys just tortured Khama's friend, so we get a loyalty boost.
Huh, writing that actually works. What the hell?
This works on multiple levels. Remember what initially started our journey? Pelko Soturi asked us to kill Reet for Nakoma's amusement, and we refused. We then proceeded to give Nakoma the ass whooping of his life because he took umbrage with our decision.
Anyway, we get three random encounters on this stretch of road. Beat 2:
: Shannet winces in revulsion. "Such people don't survive. Look at her-she's practically dust. Giving her water is a waste of time. It won't make a difference. The only merciful thing to do is kill her."
We're Nice Pheng by vote.
: Save the woman.
: You approach the woman and bring a flask of water to her lips. The water runs down her cheeks until finally, she seems to swallow. "Take the child and try to make him drink," you tell your companions. "Those ready to give a child their blood to drink deserve respect."
The respect of a warrior of peace is not easily earned.
Lastly, we meet this poor guy on the road.
: Remind them that water is scarce.
I guess we ran out of water after helping out the pregnant lady?
: You say that those who give away their water must wait until the next well for a drink. The words sting your companions like a shepherd's whip and they quiet down.
Who is John Galt?
: You move on, but hear Reet shouting behind you: "We can't do it, Eikon! We're people!"
This is the one time the route you take in Lo Pheng's path actually matters. The Path of Mercy lets you do good deed that raise your team's morale and might get you out of a bad ending. The other path, if I recall correctly, involves a lot of torture and murder.
Lo Pheng has a soft spot for the ladies.
: You move past your companions and kill most of the dogs with a few swift strikes. The rest of the pack scatters, whining. Still, the woman is beyond salvation. She clutches her ripped throat and wheezes for air. You've no choice but to put her out of her misery.
With medieval medical technology...yeah. Though we do have Alus who has magic healing powers. It's a shame we don't get the option to ask him to help. He'd be all for it!
That raises our morale by 10%. Watch the gauge as we get through the update.
: How many years have you worn the mask?
Get ready for an infodump, readers!
: If one year here also lasts three hundred days... it'd be five years. But I wasn't made when I put it on. It was a sign of valor. There were many who sought admission to the Sacred Hunt. There was talk about the end of the world. We were the ones to delay it.
: (Detached) But you couldn't do it, could you?
: Do you think the same fate awaits our world?
: Do you ponder fate while in battle? You just fight.
This is an EXCELLENT question and the non-JRPG answer is, you don't.
The Bible posted:
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacobs hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, Let me go, for it is daybreak.
But Jacob replied, I will not let you go unless you bless me.
The man asked him, What is your name?
Jacob, he answered.
Then the man said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.
This is the only piece of mythology I can think of where a mortal comes close to overpowering a deity, and even then God is kinda holding back here. Jacob impresses God with his strength, but in a straight up fight God would just smite him with flame. There's Diomedes, but he needed divine blessing to do it, and so on.
The usual result is something like Moby Dick, where Ahab leads his men on a damned quest to fight God, foolishly baptizes himself in the name of the devil, rejects God's mercy by continuing to chase the whale, and is ultimately killed by the harpoon he forged in the Devil's name.
Don't fight God, kids.
: Whom did the Sacred Hunt target?
: The people. Those called heretics. Those renegades who hadn't gone mad, and fought us wearing black painted masks. Those who tried to destroy the sacred stones, thinking that they were the source of all woes...
So the Enses are also those racist half-white half-black alien idiots from Star Trek. Good to know.
: Did you kill them?
: What made you believe in the end of the world?
: There were many signs. The sun grew brighter and brighter, burning everything out. The plague chained poor folks' throats and wrists. Most importantly, many changed into monsters-the spawn of the abyss. We massacred entire villages if we saw just one of them.
Wait, we could have been having cool monster fights this entire game? Fuck you!
: But it didn't help you...
: So the evil brought you here...
: Were there always only voices?
: Did those Umbra look like people?
: Did the menhirs give them strength?
: Haven't you tried killing those Umbra?
Lo Pheng, you tried it and he just respawns like a cheating asshole.
: Others did. Our enemies wore black masks. But as far as I know, no one succeeded. The Umbra had to deal with some internal conflicts though. They didn't die, in the end. They're incorporeal beings.
: So, if the Umbra fought each other, but the gods nurtured them-does that mean the gods opposed each other?
: Do you no longer hear voices?
: I hear breathing-like a mighty warrior's been crushed under a mountain and can't awaken. It's terrifying.
: Someone must have been in charge here, right?
And there we go, more grammar errors.
: Alright, I won't bother you with conversation.
: Ok, do you know the plot of this game? It's been six chapters and I still have no idea what the hell the Reapers are doing.
: Oh, that's easy. They're going to destroy the world.
: You see, we all wear these masks because they signify we joined the gods' grand crusade to save our world. It didn't work, because it was still a hellhole with a dying sun, like Banner Saga. So the Reapers led us all over here, promised us a quick victory, and left.
: So why didn't you just stab them? I would have.
: Oh, those guys in the black masks in random encounters did. It didn't work. The Umbra started fighting each other though.
: Huh. So the gods were fighting?
: Yup! It was pretty bad! When you guys helped me out back there, I realized I was hearing a whole bunch of voices in my head.
: Oh shit! Anything now?
: Just ominous foreshadowing about the end of the game.
Back on the Path of Mercy.
: Ask the merchant if he has anything for sale.
He turns out to have some strixes, some awful battle cards, and a nifty item I can't afford that has an 80% chance of preventing injuries when you fall in combat. Whatever, I buy the 16 strixes and move on.
: Ruor scratches his head. "That's some foul sport! It's good for dogs to fight a wolf once in a while, but not if it's bound! That's outrageous!"
: Free the animal.
: You step before the women with your sword drawn. Three swings is all it takes to cut the ropes binding the animal. The dogs scatter with their tails between their legs. The wolf limps toward the forest.
: The Gell's eyes are full of hatred. "It was killing our cattle!"
Buddy, Lo Pheng beat a Reaper and a bunch of soldiers at the same time. You're gonna fight him with a stick.
: Threaten the Gell.
: You step forward, striking the Gell below the knees with one fluid swing of your sword. "Because he can," you reply as he topples to the ground.
Lo Pheng isn't a good man, but he's not a complete monster either.
Again, stick to the Path of Mercy.
: Attack the Frisians and send one of your companions to rescue the woman.
This is...a good encounter! You get to choose whether you want to stick to your clan's awful teachings, or whether you want to become human.
: You pick the best person for the job. "You won't have much time," you say quietly. "Try to rescue the children. That's more important than killing the Frisians."
The upcoming battle is pretty unremarkable, so let's talk about Khama.
: Khama is a weird unit who gets a few ranged attacks and the spearman's AoE thrust. He has a very high attack stat and is the only character in the game to my knowledge who can gain multiple points of attack in one level. The downside to Khama is that he is slow as fuck and will never get anywhere you need him to, so you might as well just send the Phengster out alone and reserve the other party members as cheerleaders.
One of the annoying things about fighting Frisians is that their mainline infantry carry spears that can be used to stab Lo Pheng without taking counterattacks. Neither of the other two protagonists has had to face Frisians yet, so I am convinced this is the designers fucking you over for being good.
Shit. That gives Lo Pheng an injury.
I've never used the time cards. I think they just screw with the turn counter for using battle cards, rather than undoing turns or something. I may try them out if I get all the pieces.
Something tells me the Council of Elders would not agree with Lo Pheng here. However, he got to put his magic rock in a cute redhead while they sit around yelling at young whippersnappers, so who's really in the right here?
"Like, hypothetically, if I were sexually attracted to a warrior of peace, could we fuck on the island?"
: Describe the slaves on the island.
: You see genuine curiosity in her eyes and decide to answer truthfully. "We have very few slaves. Peasants tend to their own fields, women to their children, craftsmen to their trade. We only need slaves to train our warriors."
Someone didn't pay attention during the memory sessions.
: Laugh it off.
: You decide to laugh it off. "Oh, we used to temper Eikon blades inside them. We'd nourish and pamper them for a year to fatten them up. For most of them, it was the happiest year of their lives."
: Swarty grows pale. "But you don't do it any longer? Why?"
This raises squad morale by 10%, but it's also important for Lo Pheng as a character too. Remember when he was talking to Swarty and realized he'd spent too long chatting with her? Or how Swarty was sobbing because Lo Pheng seemed like an emotionless human monster?
It's amazing how one act of defiance can bring a whole regime crumbling down.
: "Your stone absorbed the curse and died," she adds as she leaves. "I don't know how the stones die, but that's how it felt. It's just a strix now. This magic is very powerful, Eikon."
RIP Nameless Warrior Guy.
"Yea girl, like what you see?"
Anyway this is the last random encounter before the wandering menhir, I swear.
We do it all the time in gameplay - where else do we get all that gold?
Anyway, the correct answer is:
: Kill the marauder.
That gets us to 50% morale, which is seriously the highest I've ever seen Lo Pheng's party get.
: Take it off.
: And nobody could do it?
: I heard that the black-masked warriors did it, but I can't be sure. It's possible they painted masks taken from people like me. I've unmasked those that I've killed-and have only found ordinary faces.
: Who were those black-masked warriors?
: Do you remember your home?
: Memories of home are painful for me, too.
: Did you burn it down and kill your loved ones?
: No. I renounced them.
In his own way, Khama is a foil to Lo Pheng as well. Where Lo Pheng's clan abused him, Khama's religion did. I don't think it works as well because Khama never had free will because all the Enses are mind controlled, but the intent is there.
: Did the gods destroy your world?
WHAT OTHER WOMAN DO WE KNOW WHO HAS BEEN MANIPULATING ALL OF THIS BULLSHIT?
: What do you mean?
: Ask her when you see a delicate shadow wielding immense power. A light bow will be slung over her shoulder-and not even a band of warriors will be strong enough to draw it. Do not attempt to sweep aside the black tresses covering her face. There is only death underneath.
The Prologue posted:
Look to the right.
: How many Reapers have you seen?
: Good talk, Khama.
: Here's my advice. When you've got time, warrior, find peace in your heart.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I appreciate the BDSM thing you got, but please take the mask off.
: Do you know how expensive our artist's time is? I mean, uh, I'll...die! Yea! The gods will smite me.
: I see. So, what's the deal with the Reapers?
: They fought the black mask heretic guys. The token lady though...I'd hit that, but also she was saying some weird crap about the gods being just like humans.
: Was it that Chil-
: DUDE! We haven't even met her!
: Right, uh, sorry.
That's some "gaping hole" shit right there, goons!
: Ask about waiting for a menhir.
: You try to understand the reason for Reet's unease. "How quickly is it going to appear? Does it appear every time? What's the best way to lure it?"
: Reet looks back, catches your eye, and approaches.
We get a pan across the desert, and then...
: Weapons, armor, and all?
: How soon will the menhir appear?
: How much blood do we need to spill?
: Is there any other way?
Girl if you wore a full shirt you wouldn't have to hold it up all the time.
: Who is this guardian?
: Not one of the Qimra. He's... master of these lands. He has no castle or army, save for the bandits in the Vale of Mercy. And they're just a diversion. He serves the Roaming Menhir.
: Wait for the menhir to appear.
: (In a detached manner) If it does not appear by the end of the day, I would say that there is no shortcut.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: You said something about a magic teleport rock?
: Yeah. We can bait it by killing someone, but it has a super powerful guardian we'll piss off by doing that.
: How tough is he?
: His cutscene powers rival my own.
: Let's just wait.
Decisions lie before us!
Remember, if we kill anyone, we piss off the guardian.
If you vote to sacrifice, name a character.
Also, fanart contest is still open! Bust out your MS Paint and depict the most "Ash of Gods" moment by October 31st for a free forum upgrade on me!