Part 16: Computer ControlledUpdate 16: Computer Controlled
We return to the action in Imazi where I realize that Lokath back in Choth didn't just shove some spare rations into my inventory and crash my game, he also provided me with a quest item that I completely missed.
Let's give that one to Birge and see what happens.
So what strikes me most about this conversation is that Lord Gersson, who is presumably the officially sanctioned ruler of the region, has already tipped off the authorities that he's under siege. So what's going to happen when the peasants and mercenaries hang him from a lamp post? Is William's dad just going to accept that the peasants are in charge now? This usually is not how things go when there are peasant rebellions, either they gotta hang every noble or they get hung in return.
ANYWAY. We need some holes dug. Let's get some hules dug.
Who do we know that's good at digging?
The Montari down on the south coast, obviously.
On the way, nothing much happens, but Aren researches a couple new spells I'll never use.
Rachel's Song is a theoretically great spell except for the part where it only works in melee and is thus terrible and bad.
I can either do 1 damage to every enemy in melee contact with Aren, which would probably be like... twelve points of damage total over the course of the battle, max.
OR he could cast Swarm and do 120 damage split between the targets in contact with him, which is a lot more than twelve! And also fucking kills some enemies very dead most likely.
Hell he could beat the shit out of someone with his staff and that would still do more damage than Choking Cloud would do over an entire battle!
I stop by Ligano on the way and it's this guy again.
Scott is very unfazed by us being wanted for a capital crime. It's cool, it's not like guards or authorities or anything ever give a shit except for that like... one time in that one town where they tried to stab us and then gave up.
We're on the coast pretty soon and... it's kind of weird how, while in chapters 1 through 5, any areas we return to usually have some sort of updates happen to them, even if it's just a house or two. But here in chapter 6, nothing in Pianda except for Imazi seems to be updated at all.
There isn't even a single new Maslith in the tunnels up to Chee, and I don't think we ever see another enemy Montari. It's also kind of weird that... I got the impression from Birge that they wanted the Montari to tunnel under the walls, but Chee is talking about tunnelling under the moat which... doesn't actually block access to the front door of Gersson's estate, only the back way around.
Aaaanyway, back to Birge! Try not to collapse under this pulse-pounding action.
So now we're going back to Lokath in Choth... also along the way I'm hunting around a lot for that wine for Lord Dakka that got stolen from the innkeeper. FAQs suggest it should be along the route from Briala to Bakril, but I feel like I killed every mercenary and pirate along the way without finding anything. I guess we won't see how that sidequest ends.
Didn't even clean up any of the corpses, very classy Lokath, or did you have some more new recruits gut your old hands like fish?
I'm moderately amused by Lokath struggling with Birge's use of long words. It makes me imagine Birge is some out-of-work guy with a degree who's only doing mercenary work because no one's looking for someone with a Master's in Applied Vell Studies, and he's peppering his reports with five-dollar words and poor Lokath just knows SWORD and FOOD and can't follow along.
Anyway, you might've noticed a few tents in the back of Choth the other times we've been there, now we can actually go to them without getting told to fuck off.
I feel like what this game is missing is a way to shortcircuit situations like this. Either an option to go along with Lokath and etc. or just drawing steel and cutting our way in through hard combat encounters.
Similarly with the thing in Imazi, imagine if we actually helped deal with Gersson rather than just leaving, and depending on how much help we gave the mercenaries, Brunia and the peasants, there'd be more or less of Gersson's troops hanging around. But no, we gotta go through every fucking hoop every fucking time and then we just fucking leave.
Oh damn good thing we proved ourself enough that we can be trusted to deliver a handful of bottles.
Anyway, to get to where Kahleth wants us, we start by going back to Torlith.
Then you face down the road of destruction, trying not to vibrate out of reality and turn left to where we talked to those Grrrlf for no reason a while back.
Where a few mercenaries are hanging out. I think what's worth noting here is that the mercenaries locked up their important hostage in a place where they couldn't get to him without magic potions.
Like why not just lock a fucking door. Or keep him in a cave.
What happens if you run out of magic potions? Or your supplier has a heart attack? Or gets cut in half by idiot adventurers? Or has his soul stolen by wraiths? Your hostage is now hanging out in a cabin in the swamp, starving.
Whatever, let's give them the swamp potions.
Potions drunk, time to swamp for like five seconds.
For that matter, what if their hostage could, you know, fucking swim five meters or some such shit? I mean it's a swamp, not magma.
Short version: The Consort has been drugged, so Aren scares off the mercenaries with the most goofy-ass expression I've yet to see, then he and William un-drug the Consort and haul him off to safety.
Short version: Raal and Kaelyn leave Kaelyn's father, with Kaelyn receiving a charm from her dad after he tries to excuse not telling her the truth about her mother for decades. I will note this is the only thing that happens in this cutscene.
We're now dumped unceremoniously into the Ridgewood as Kaelyn and Raal, with our world map objective being "Join William and Aren."
This thing actually has an unlisted effect of granting +5 Defense. Frankly I thought it would just be an annoying quest item clogging up my inventory, but it actually does something!
Now, I want to repeat: the cutscene above tells us nothing, and we have access to the entire rectangle of area from Grandeur to south of Isten. So where the hell are a woman and a dog to go?
Thankfully, I, being a genius, refer to a guide, because I don't intend to bumble around in the woods for five hours shooting arrows at fire wolves before tripping over the arbitrary trigger that progresses the plot, and it turns out our next location is Grandeur, which is a bit odd since it's pretty out of the way for William and Aren. Or, at least, I assume it is, because we also don't know where they're heading! I'm assuming they intend to bring the consort back to Antara(the city, as opposed to the empire), but for all I know they might well have brought him to Briala for some home cooking or something.
Now, the other problem with this chapter, aside from the lack of guidance, or not even guidance, but in fact even the absence of hints at what guidance might theoretically be, is the combat. Because we're back to Kaelyn and Raal.
Which means every fight consists of the highly advanced strategy of "drink relevant boosters in inventory, hit nearest thing until it dies, rinse and repeat," unless there's a mage in which case hitting it first is more important. So I do, once again, the extremely clever thing.
I flip on the AI controls and read a book, deciding to re-read The Disaster Artist since I don't have anything new to hand. Any recommendations? Because just completing this update I managed to read 75% of the way through that one, so I'm going to be eating through a lot of books completing this LP.
It's also worth noting that friendlies on AI seem to function pretty much exactly like hostile AI, which means that they can't focus fire for shit, and the two idiots managed to get themselves killed a couple of times by trivial encounters.
Outside of Grandeur, we run into Naku again. Let's hope he wasn't the one who ratted out William and Aren three chapters ago.
Naku delivers a letter and, sadly, Raal talks him out of joining the party, which sucks. We should've totally have brought along the bird! Just imagine him kicking enemies wide open like a fucking Cassowary or some shit.
Boo, bad Grrrlf.
The letter then promptly sends us in the immediately opposite direction.
Welp, back to Darvi.
Also because the developers hate me, you can't actually just beeline to the inn, you have to head to the post office/book store first, because that makes perfect sense.
Thank you for telling us exactly what the letter already told us. Jackass.
I'm sure the innkeeper won't give us any static and will just tell us what we need to know. That's how this game works, right?
Well, at least he just wants a bribe.
Okay, he wants two bribes.
Oh, cool. They don't tell us a fucking thing. Thankfully a bit of logic will solve this. They went west from Ghan, they're not in Grandeur or Darvi, so if we assume William and Aren have not developed any superpowers since we last saw them, they can only have gone through Durst and Friole unless they scaled the mountains to the south.
These fellas along the way die while I read about Tommy Wiseau trying to stiff his movie crew on their wages. What an ass.
There's literally nothing new in Friole, so we skip straight to Durst, where most of the town's homes are shut and don't have anyone who want to talk to us. How about the helpful mercenary guy, though?
Alright, making progress! Now we know Aren and William passed through. Let's go to the church instead of doing anything about the forest fire thing, though, because Jhana has some stuff to say to us.
It's also worth noting that Kaelyn and Raal apparently know about a forest fire that they have yet to see or hear mentioned.
Short version: Jhana tells us that the forest fire is raging(but not exactly where, it's to the west, though), and someone is trapped in it, and we need to bring a shovel and Senwater to deal with it. Also they didn't bother to change her goodbye dialogue, so after all of the "oh no the fire is about to kill someone! how tragic!" she sings a song of the kind you'd get kids to sing in kindergarten or something. This lady is on some heavy shit. Oh and she makes us temporarily fireproof.
Here we go, there's the lady guarding her tree.
Nice fucking sprites, Christ. These look awful.
Now let's talk to this lady, then toss her a shovel, then toss her a bunch of healing holy water.
I gotta say, though, the whole Senwater thing feels so weird. Like, what you've got is a miracle. A literal fucking miracle that bubbles out of the ground somewhere, and it feels like it's treated with the same reverence as an industrial solvent or something. Like it's just another tool. It felt a bit less weird with the Restoratives in Krondor because they were just something you made in a cauldron or beaker from a bunch of herbs and stuff, but as far as I can tell, Senwater is just naturally occurring, completely unvinvolved with the works of men or other sapients.
Like here they're literally filling a fucking moat with it to save a tree that has sentimental value, when that same volume of Senwater could probably cure like, a dozen crippled people or something.
Whatever, let's go back to Jhana and get some sort of reward.
Short version: Jhana goes "yaaay how great that you did a thing" and then BZORP we get a magical +3 to all of the characters' skills. Sadly not to any of the really important stuff like strength, health, stamina, etc. but I guess it's an okay reward. We can now finally never see Durst again.
I make the wild assumption that Aren and William continued west and follow the road.
Oh, yeah, there was a bridge and a river there, wasn't there?
Oh no! Someone's cluttered up the bridge with a bunch of crusty jpegs! However shall we get across?
In a rarity for Antara, there are actually three different ways across this, though one of them feels unintended and is probably down to someone missing an interaction.
For now, though, let's head north, we know there's another way over the river up north of Eastbank/west of Grandeur.
We reach Camille first, though, and it's got some updates.
You might think this is related to a subquest where we can help this poor guy out, but it's just some scene-setting.
This is a good question. Why are the authorities just allowing mercenaries and bandits to roam all over the place? At least in Krondor we had the excuse that they were largely aiming for our party, and thus not ambushing everyone in sight or burning down infrastructure, but here they're damaging important shit like bridges and barges, and until chapter 4 they don't really have a reason to be aiming for us more than anyone else.
So this is our first and, in my opinion, clearly the intended way to get across the river, by hooking up this girl with a wizard so he'll magic up a crossing for us.
The second is that if we go up north, there are more bandits, but we can pay our way through them(I don't think fighting is an option).
Lastly, the "fast" travel carriage will just completely ignore the logistical issues and will allow us to skip, at the very least, over to Isten. I'm 99% sure it's unintended and don't want to accidentally break anything more than what's already broken, however, and also the fast travel prices are insanely high.
Now we'll be hopping back and forth between Camille and Eastbank a couple of times.
I buy some cheese because this guy does provide some useful info and seems to be on hard times. Thanks to him for telling us about the blockade to the north. Across from his house...
Let's go back and serenade her for him. Got it. I'm sure Kaelyn can own that.
"This lady has terrible taste, there's no way he can be too bad for her."
There we go, secured a way across that doesn't involve us having to bribe our way through any bandits or exploit game mechanics.
And he didn't screw us over or anything. What a nice guy.
Son of a bitch, more bandits already.
I'm going to hold it here until I can come back with a fresh book. Maybe I should read the First Law trilogy again.
Next time: More autocombat, possibly plot advancement? Maybe some idiotic stuff happens.