The Let's Play Archive

Beyond Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 1: Soul Mates

Chapter 1 - Soul Mates

VIDEO: Introduction

(Click for Video)

The reforging of my destiny started with a divine paladin chasing a necromancer. This Paladin and his companions recently had some successes in their battle against the Black Ring, and the pompous fools didn't expect much trouble. … They were wrong.

Their smiles were soon wiped off their smug faces when the necromancer summoned the demon overlord Samuel to his aid. A daring summoning indeed, as Samuel can be notoriously difficult to deal with. But unfortunately for me, in this case the demon proved to be most useful.

The Divine Paladins were no match for Samuel. I hear it took weeks to clean up the mess. However, he did leave one alive. He always leaves one alive.

After all, torturing is no fun if the creature is already dead. He imprisoned the last paladin in his citadel, on the demon world of Nemesis, whish is where Samuel likes to test out his latest imaginative torture methods on his long-term guests. And that's where I come in.

Samuel is a very traditional demon. He takes loyalty very seriously. I belong to a very different camp. Being what I am, I wasn't really afraid when he caught me. After all, what could he do to me that hadn't been done already? Unfortunately, I underestimated him, an almost always fatal mistake when dealing with a demon. Of all the things, he decided to forge my soul to that of his paladin plaything.

For a while, I slipped into unconsciousness. When I awoke, I too was in prison. That was easy to rectify, but that didn't solve my real predicament. There was something new inside my head - a burning itch of a presence. And I didn't like the feeling at all. It was time to introduce myself to the itch.


Music: "Despair of the Soul"
Click here to download (thanks to Grawl)

VIDEO: Soul Mates - (Youtube | Viddler)

The air was scorchingly hot and dry in the cell block, courtesy of the rivers of molten magma below.

Mort was still recovering from the most recent bout with the torturer. Through a dull haze of pain, he heard something approach his cell. But it was not the guard.

A Death Knight unlocked the cell and stepped inside. Mort instinctively stepped back, and then he heard words inside his head.

Ah, you are awake… finally!
Yes, I am.
Do not shrink from me, human, I hear your fear. I thought Samuel had robbed me of speech forever. But it seems this curse allows us to read each other's thoughts. … Your fragile body has endured much pain, but you have shown great strength. You wouldn't have been Fergus' first victim, nor his last I'll wager… but, if you had fallen the curse would have killed us both.

What is this curse you speak of?
Do you not remember? The Arch-Demon Samuel cursed us both by eternally forging our souls together.
What do you know about this curse?
I know I would not choose this, Servant of Light. Samuel's curse will not be broken easily. Our souls are as one. We can't be separated for long without suffering or even dying. If one of us dies, the other will share the same fate. … The only person who might be willing to remove this curse is my former mistress Isolde, who's still living on the surface of Rivellon. But to reach her, we have to find a way to leave this accursed dimension.
Who is Samuel?
Samuel, the master of this Citadel, punished me for letting you escape. As you slipped through my fingers, I felt a burning inside as you filled my very soul, and I yours. Now we are bound together in both life and death.
What does this mean?
Our fate is uncertain, human. Now there is only one choice left: we must flee this place *together*.
How do we free ourselves from this curse?
The only way to rid ourselves of this curse is to persuade Samuel… or Isolde, to remove it, and Samuel will *never* relinquish his hold on us. … But with Isolde, there is a chance, for some old ties are not easily forgotten. She is my former mistress, a witch still living in Rivellon. But in order to reach her, we have to escape from Damian's prison universe.
Who is Damian?

The Death Knight lost his patience explaining things to Mort.

Time is not on our side, human. If we want to escape alive, we have to work together. Come now… hurry…
Who are you?
I am a Death Knight, a servant of utter chaos. I served Isolde loyally for many years, but now I am one of the elite guards under Samuel's command.
I meant, What is your name?
My name is my own business, human. I will only tell it to my mistress or master. You are neither.
…Fine, whatever. I'll just call you "D.K." for short. You can call me Mort. Um… Who is Isolde?
Isolde is a powerful witch and knowledgeable in the ways of curses. Back in Rivellon, I was her protector, until I was ordered to join the forces of Samuel.
What shall we do now?
We must leave this dimension at once, find Isolde and pray she is willing to remove this curse.
How do we do that?
We need to find a way upwards and free ourselves from his suffocating place.
Let's go.
And so it begins…

"About the Game" posted:

Here are our main characters for the game. In the Divine Divinity thread, the readers chose a slim-built man with black hair in a ponytail named Mort for the paladin. Unfortunately, they probably didn't know that "slim" in this game is practically skeletal.

If you watched the video, you might have noticed that I started on "Very Easy". That's because new characters start with 2 free skill points on Very Easy. As soon as I got control I changed the difficulty to "Tactical", the third difficulty level, which lets you keep the skill points. You can change the difficulty at any time, unless you change it to the highest difficulty, "Hardcore", which doubles the number of non-plot enemies, which should give you more experience. Hardcore is hard enough that you basically need to stay in Sneak mode all the time, which would make dungeon-crawling videos really tedious to watch. You can't lower the difficulty once it's changed to Hardcore.

Here are our characters, with Mort as a Survivor and D.K. as a Warrior, although you can vote to change that if you want.

The Death Knight inherently has armor, which improves as he levels up. You can only put jewelry and belts on the Death Knight, which means you don't need to invest a lot of points into strength to give him equipment. Magic still sucks, but if you really want a caster, it should be the Death Knight, because he doesn't have to devote many points to Strength to use equipment.

Mort starts with nothing, the Death Knight starts with a short sword and 3 Small Healing potions he "liberated" from a guard.

VIDEO: Cell Block, Part 1 - (Youtube | Viddler)

Mort followed D.K. out of his cell. The heat was even worse, and his throat was dry as paper, and hoarse from screaming in Fergus's chambers, but the faint hope of freedom renewed his strength.

I need a weapon.
Glad to hear you're able to fight, human. Over here.

The fresh corpse of a guard lay on the ground, a club at his side. Mort took it, and searching the body, found a ring of keys to the cells.

Water… I need water…

Mort headed to investigate an open cell.

Do not venture in there!
Why not?
That was my cell. I will not enter there again.
I wish to see inside.
There is naught in there that's worth your time.

Mort ignored him and entered anyway. But the Death Knight was right, the cell had nothing remarkable in it.

I told you so, human. Nothing in there but my bitterness. … I find your lack of confidence in me, quite…insulting.
Your life depends entirely on mine, and you won't even tell me your name. Trust is in short supply here.

The Death Knight strode away angrily, and Mort followed, ignoring the cells on either side.

Hey, prisoners! Who let you out of your cells?
Sorry, we're with the tour group. We must have gotten turned around. Can you show us to the exit, please?

The guard growled and charged.

Two against one, the fight didn't last long. Mort found two more keys on the guard, but more importantly, past him was the way out.

It's locked, I should have known it! It can only be opened from the outside.
Maybe there's another way out.
It's possible. The other cells should be checked, for they may yield more information.

What are you doing outside your cell, prisoners? Do you really think you can leave this Citadel?
Watch me!
You're absolutely right… you will leave from here… feet first!

The guard was dispatched, but unfortunately the hilt of his badly made sword came off when it hit the ground.

The two nearest cells were occupied by another skeleton and a ghost, but the last cell had a survivor… so to speak.

Go away, demon… no, no, don't feast upon me… damn you… leave my squishy bits alone!
Do I look like a demon?
This pathetic human has lost it, he sees demons everywhere now.
Have mercy… please… no… put that sauce bottle down!

Mort saw a plate of food and water, but the prisoner had unnerved him. He quickly backed out of the room, leaving the door open. The prisoner saw his chance.

The prisoner raced to the lip of a parapet above the magma.

FREE… FREE AT LAST! But the demons… they won't get my squishy bits… ju-just let them try!

With a chilling smile, the insane prisoner spread his arms wide and stepped backwards off the ledge. There was a scream and a sizzle.

Mort returned to the mad prisoner's cell. There was a cup of water there, still full despite the heat. Mort drank almost all of it before remembering the Death Knight. Guiltily, he offered the remaining sip to D.K., who took it grudgingly.

They were running out of cells quickly.

VIDEO: Cell Block, Part 2 - (Youtube | Viddler)

This one contained an angry skeleton, but beyond him, a weapon.

What a stroke of luck! I'm good with an a bow. … Unfortunately, there aren't many arrows here.

"About the Game" posted:

Unlike in Divine Divinity, bows now require you to have arrows. This is because there are multiple arrow types. There are 20 arrows here, and those won't last long, so we can't really use this bow until a bit later, but after that we'll have a steady supply of arrows.

The next cell contained an angry ghost.

I see a note over there.

Escape tunnel? This might be it!
Over here, human.

None of these bricks have any mortar at all in them.

He pushed the bricks, and they collapsed.

This is it!
Don't get ahead of yourself, human.

Mort and D.K descended into the tunnel. It went for several meters before coming to an abrupt end. There was another ghost there, but didn't pay much attention to the pair right away.

Abbe? Is it you? Who is with you? Another prisoner? I have good news! We're almost free, the tunnel is nearly ready…
Why is he calling me Abbe?
Obviously this foolish creature's body died a long time ago and his soul didn't even notice.

Are you saying? That I'm… I'm dead?
Yes, you are dead.
Why would you say such a cruel thing to me, Abbe? I need proof of this ridiculous claim!
What was your job?
I was a merchant, selling all kind of exotic spices and fruits. Ah, after we break free Abbe, I will show you my home and we will celebrate with the finest wines my cellar has to offer.
Tell me about your home town.
I don't have the time to play your games, Abbe. You've taught me almost everything I know. So what can *I* tell *you*, that you don't know already?
What is your name?
You know my name, Abbe. It is Edmond.
How are you going to escape?
Be patient a little while longer, this tunnel is our route to freedom.
Can you teach me anything?

"About the Game" posted:

This is the other reason why the skill system in this game sucks. One of two methods of unlocking new skills is by finding a rare, pre-placed skillbook. The other, more common way is to find an NPC, and pay them a bunch of gold. You may even have to do this repeatedly as you hit skill caps, and need to buy higher ranks in a skill from a trainer in another act.

And this only unlocks the skills, it doesn't put any points into them, you aren't awarded any skill points for buying a skill, you need to use your existing pool of skill points.

You see… I still know what you've taught me. I've passed your little test.

Mort and D.K. returned to examining the cells they had ignored the first time. A search of the cell across from the Death Knight's chamber yielded a healing potion, and a lot of rats.

You're not fond of them?
I hate rats! Somebody should crush these vermin!

The rats took offense to that and attacked.

One of the rats coughed in its death throes, somehow managing to spit out a huge bone.

How could such a puny rat swallow a bone of *this* size?

Mort just shrugged tiredly and picked up the bone, carrying it back to Edmond.

Why are you bothering with that bone?
I don't know. I just thought that maybe it would bring that ghost some peace.
He's already dead, and if we don't find a way out, we'll soon join him!

Abbe? Is it you again? I'm happy you're as brimming with health as I.
Take a look at this bone.
Why have you brought me a bone? Is it one of mine? It could be any old bone! Look at it, there's no nobility to it, no class, and no meat! It can't possibly have come from me!

No, no, no… I must accept the truth. This tunnel has been getting harder to dig recently, so I maybe… I am truly dead. Bereft of life, I am no more. … I have to go now! Thank you, Abbe, for showing me the truth. Finally I can rest.

Edmond faded away. Mort turned to leave, and noticed a small healing potion hidden behind a rock.

See, coming back here was worth it after all.

Mort and D.K. opened up another cell.

Bah! Another dead end! We're running out of time and options!
Wait… that blanket.
What about it?
It looks like it's sagging in the middle…

Mort went up and tossed the blanket aside.

Down we go…
Escaping the cell block will be the least of the challenges ahead.

The Map

Currently, I have set things up so that Mort has the stats of a Survivor, and D.K. has the stats of a Warrior. But that's not the final choice. This is where you come in, readers:

1) Vote on what classes you want Mort and D.K to use, and who should use what, in this format: Class 1 (Mort)/ Class 2 (D.K.) Example: Warrior/Ranger

Choose from Melee, Ranger, Trapper, or Wizard. (See below for details.)

2) We'll soon encounter an imp. The head torturer who works as an unwilling assistant torturer. The imp has tortured and killed prisoners. Spare him or kill him?

3) We'll find a permanent potion of +1 Survival. Survival affects a bunch of minor things like regeneration and luck. Who should have it? Mort, D.K., the one that has the lower Survival stat, or the one that has the higher Survival stat?

Notes on character choices:

Warriors have the following skills sets available: One-handed melee (slashing, piercing, crushing), Ranged (bow). If BOTH characters are warriors, they get Repair as a bonus skill set (it is not worth investing points into).

Wizards have the following skill sets available: Single-target Elemental Attack (missile, instant). If BOTH characters are Wizards, they get Individual Defensive Body Magic as the bonus skill set. None of these skills are worth selecting as starting skills, and you can buy them for a total of 60 gold early on anyway.

Survivors have the following skill sets available: Pickpocket, Lockpick, Sneak, Poison. If BOTH characters are Survivors, they get Backstab and Luck as bonus skill sets.

- Pickpocket lets you steal one item per skill rank from a target (usually only merchants have stuff) It can't fail, but the one item per rank is pretty restrictive. I use that to filch stacks of powerful arrows.

- Lockpick is garbage. There are few randomly locked chests, they have a random level of lockpick, and what they contain is only as useful as what you'll find in the combined contents of two random unlocked chests. No battlefield chests are locked.
- Sneak is useful in this game, both characters can sneak, but the Sneak skill decreases the radius at which enemies can detect you. One or two points helps later on. Each character needs to put their own separate points into Sneak. Early investment is mandatory for Hardcore skill.
- Poison adds a hilariously tiny amount of damage to your attacks.
- Backstab requires you to hit your enemy in the back, it has a really low chance of even going off (you need EIGHT points in just to reach a 25% chance of it triggering), and it adds very little damage.

It is important to note that Trapper and Wizard are effectively not available until Act 2, and both need an alternate attack method before then.

Within reason, I will set the characters up the way the thread votes, but I prefer at least one skill set to be Survivor for the Sneak skill, which will be very, very helpful before the end of Act 1. I can get it another way, but that will cost 2000 gold.

There is literally zero reason to take the magic skill set as one of the initial skill sets, because you can buy it cheaply for 10 gold very early on. But even that is a waste of perfectly good gold, because even setting a character up as a wizard, giving them 5 Intelligence points gives them only 145 mana, enough for only 3 casts of the most basic attack spell. It takes 4-6 casts (assuming you get GOOD damage rolls) to kill a level 1 Rat on "Tactical" skill. There is no magic which is anywhere close to being worth using until the second act, and even then "worth using" is a relative term. The only bright side is that mana potions won't be in short supply.

Mort will need to put points into Strength to wear gear, Agility to hit things, and probably a bit of constitution or other attributes to survive better. Because the Death Knight can't equip anything but weapons, rings, amulets, and belts, he doesn't have to spend points into Strength like Mort must. What that means is that only the Death Knight could possibly afford the stat points to use magic, so don't bother voting for Mort as a wizard, I will ignore that. "Wizard/Wizard" votes will be completely ignored.

I also have experimented with both characters using bows and focus-firing, and I found that surprisingly efficient.

If you want, you can specify the damage type you want the character to invest skill points into. If no damage type clearly wins, I'll ignore it. That will have the advantage of letting our characters use anything they have the stats for, with the disadvantage of not doing extra damage with any of them.

Add in initial skill sets and descriptions.


This entire update is on video because many of these early levels have a lot of voice acting, and I felt putting everything into a few larger videos would be better than a dozen small ones. Some later areas with less voice acting will have fewer or no videos.

This game has neutral creatures wandering many maps. The rats in the starting area are the only warning about not attacking them. You do NOT want to attack neutral creatures, because it makes all creatures of that type in the act attack you, and the annoyance is not worth the paltry amount of XP.

This chest semi-hidden here contains something that is EXTREMELY useful early in the game. The catch is that you can't open it until you find the key hidden at the end of the map.

Alternate Conversation

What are you doing outside your cell, prisoners? Do you really think you can leave this Citadel?
No, I don't.
Actually, you will leave… in a small box!

Currently, I have set things up so that Mort has the stats of a Survivor, and D.K. has the stats of a Warrior. But that's not the final choice. This is where you come in, readers:

1) Vote on what classes you want Mort and D.K to use, and who should use what, in this format: Class 1 (Mort)/ Class 2 (D.K.) Example: Warrior/Ranger

Choose from Melee, Ranger, Trapper, or Wizard. (See below for details.)

2) We'll soon encounter an imp. The head torturer who works as an unwilling assistant torturer. The imp has tortured and killed prisoners. Spare him or kill him?

3) We'll find a permanent potion of +1 Survival. Survival affects a bunch of minor things like regeneration and luck. Who should have it? Mort, D.K., the one that has the lower Survival stat, or the one that has the higher Survival stat?