Part 14: The New King
Well, this update's off to a rousing start.
These screenshots show Frog and Ayla since I was using them back in the palace, but pretend I had Marle here instead; for some bizarre reason, a modern-day princess struggling with the conflicting pulls of adolescent restlessness and the stifling demands of her duties tends to bring stronger pathos to these occurrences than a cavewoman who likes to eat. Who knew?
Crono! What hast thou done with Crono?
We found no one else...
Be this the Earthbound Village?
This island was the only refuge left, after the Ocean Palace disaster.
'Tis a pity... Whither hath old man Melchior gone?
When the disaster struck, an eerie, black portal materialized. Melchior tried to save Janus, but he was also dragged in.
A "black portal?" A GATE!!! That maiden, Schala... Whither hath she gone?
I don't know. No one has seen her since.
Epoch! What fate hast befallen it?
Your ship is quite sturdy and safe. It's almost as if it followed you here...
Please calm down. This isn't like you at all.
Robo doesn't really belong in here either, but I include him solely for that line, said in direct response to Marle's subdued and remorseful single word muttering and ellipsis. To be fair, I suppose it isn't like her at all; she must be reeling pretty hard to avoid the traditional "Crono's Dead! Time for amphetamines!" Truly this loss has torn our group to its end.
Thou hast lost thy friend before thine eyes. No words can comfort thee...
Oh, this must be yours.
My... pendant. The one Crono held for me.
Young lady, I found it on your shoulder, almost as if it were guarding you. Take all the time you need to rest. I will be in the commons.
Marle's line is a bit weird seeing as this pendant supposedly had great sentimental value, but apparently we've been "holding it for her" ever since she first went back in time. Why yes, this also means that, while we were on trial, we had the pendant in our possession, despite having taken Marle home (this isn't just conjecture; the pendant is an item in our inventory while we're in jail). Maybe the lawyer, Pierre, overreached.
Anyway, now back to Robo, Frog, and Ayla. Sorry Marle, you're great with this whole talking thing, but call me when you can kill 20-foot beasts with your fists.
Due to a crippling lack of ontological inertia, magic has more-or-less vanished over the last few hours, except from everybody who would actually affect us by seeing their magical ability decrease. The exact mechanisms of magic are never really spelled out, to the detriment of absolutely nobody, but presumably most had only bits of magic power that depended on the Mammon Machine to be unleashed. Those in power either had such strong links to magic that the disaster caused little harm, hung onto objects that still have magical power imbued, or were simply blessed by the fact that sitting in chairs for a while is a poor predominant quality for villains to have. The JRPG about coercing me to update has similarly failed to get off the ground.
You there! What's wrong?! You're lucky to be alive! The old crone and the pesky Gurus are gone. I now rename Zeal, the Kingdom of Dalton! YOU! You're alive!? Ah! That vehicle outside must be yours! It's just like the one
Epoch! It Ayla friend!
Ayla, having ridden in the Epoch only once, may be rushing into things a bit, as friendship takes some time to fully bloom. It's possible, of course, that Ayla is merely a Quaker, albeit very bad at following the callings of her faith, or simply over-romanticizes the safety of a well-sprited familiar in the face of how poorly they've tilied this snow.
You'll have to come with me! You might start a rebellion or something!And now, as a token of my esteem for you...take this!!
What!? How's this?!
Alas, while the pendant Marle still isn't carrying managed to deflect the first fireball, we're now blindsided by the snowfield stylings of Saturday Night Fever Disco Dalton and his expertly choreographed river-dancers and captured for the next minor chunk of the game. It might have made more narrative sense to have us simply wake up in captivity, thus avoiding a minute of this happening and the strange setup of the Epoch having gained sentience and locking itself in a corner so as to be a good friend, but then an old person wouldn't have been able to allude to something incomprehensible and the character development of Ayla and Robo as being too cool to look at explosions would have gone unaddressed. I'm always glad when scenario designers make the right choice.
Mwa, ha, ha! Enjoy a little taste of my true power!
Now, I've said a number of uncomplimentary things about Dalton this playthrough, but he may well be the most evil villain we've faced thus far. For all of the evils we've seen thus far, from war to terrorism, from torture to apartheid, from cave dungeons to at least two attempted genocides, Dalton manages to overtake the lot. His actions lay bare the worst of humanity and offer morbid fascination as a mirror to the recessions of our hearts, and what was once thought evil is now, in the shadow of his acts, mere discomfort on a surface oft-unscratched:
The equipment hath evanesced!
Items are missing, too!
All stuff, GONE!
And we are mad as hell.
Going up the no doubt extremely utilitarian ladder placed in our cell results in this view, and the shocking revelation that the poorly-tiled cloud texture remains unfixed; perhaps the remark from the village that the sky had cleared was more due to hazy meteorology, or the unfortunate side effect of spritework that has them staring perpetually straight.
(Frog doesn't quite have the concept of planking down yet)
This dungeon is basically a breather after the Ocean Palace, and it's frankly extremely uninteresting. Despite all characters having access to magic and Robo's weapons being his presumably still-attached hands, Ayla is the only character able to fight, and the dungeon is effectively just combing the series of empty rooms and fighting obligatory battles as you get your equipment back chest by boring chest. If you came here without Ayla (the End of Time character switch menu has Gaspar bluntly respond "Can't do that!"), this becomes a mandatory stealth section where you have to evade enemies via an airduct system that's also a maze, which I'm not showing off because I want to pretend that Square/Chrono Trigger wouldn't hurt me. The accompaniment for all this is a bold experiment in ambient techno which fell flat:
It was not one of Mitsuda's finer works.
Dalton, driven more by ego than rationality, was perpetually exaggerating the needs of his regiment so as to amass more funds for the metal penis extension accompanying his regular cloth-one (as illustrated in this concept art of the chiseled specimen of smug masculinity showing his jazz hands). The end result is a ship slightly emptier than something hyperbolically empty, with most rooms having been converted into five-can storing pantries in a feeble attempt to justify having the space.
Despite this, Dalton refuses to share his empty ship with the frozen unwashed masses below, turning our struggle into potentially one of populism were we not in possession of tens of thousands of G, a time machine, countless shelters, and magic of our own. Ultimately, we really only care about the plights of civilizations ravaged by space hedgehogs if there's technology and motorbikes involved, which will probably hold until Michael Bay wins the rights to adapt Isle of Flowers into a 2-hour film.
After a trip outside and a warning message if we left some of our stuff, we get to fight the polar opposite of the Golem battles thus far; while the first was intended to be lost and the second was one of the trickier fights in the game, this Golem lacks a counterattack and only fights by showcasing his ability to count down from five. When he reaches the negative side of the number line and his previously impressive knowledge runs out, he attempts to distract us from his embarrassing position and we continue attacking him to no opposition at all. This is probably a good place to use the word Alas.
And of course, the obligatory Compendium quote of this update is: "In the Japanese version, he was characterized as somewhat effeminate to better convey the fear." Go Japan.
The Aero-Dalton Imperial! And THEY'RE gonna be my first victims! Aero-Dalton Imperial, engage!
That's well over the five character limit, you know.
Ha! There we go! Ready for takeoff! The Aero-Dalton Imperial! We have lift-off, Houston!!
Content with his knowledge of how to use the radio, Dalton turns to address a soulless expanse of inhuman nothingness with unbearable temperatures and a density of about three per square mile, but accidentally addresses a cosmopolitan and global American city of several million instead. Wait, I totally told that joke wrong. Shit. Okay, give me another moment or two and I'll try again.
Mwa, ha, haha!! You are excess baggage! Make like the wind and blow outta here...!
Okay, so Dalton attempts to address one thing, but uses the out of place name "Houston", confusing it for something with negative elements which can be exaggerated so as to evoke the actual situation to which he does refer. I think I had a joke about Texas here. Next line.
Mwa ha! You are like insects to me!
(General Mills' decision to buy advertising rights to video games was unpopular, but I think they handled the move with astounding grace.)
Hopping on board the A-DI reveals that Dalton's plan for his dozen-man kingdom began and ended with adding the word "plus" to his name, perhaps aiming himself at a primarily American demographic like would be found in that city similar to the horrors of a now-ravaged world: El Paso. This fight is more or less the same as our earlier one, with Dalton's attacks being the HP-halving Iron Orb and the ability to counter magic attacks with the opposite element. As a whole, however, there's nothing new; he still goes down in three turns.
Unfortunately, the portal he summons carries him away, never to be seen for the remainder of the game. This sort of abrupt disappearance is but one of the similarities Dalton and I share, though we can be distinguished because one of us needless drags things on with no coherent plan in sight, oversees needless and offputtingly-large projects, has a higher opinion of himself than is in all likelihood deserved, and summons several Golems while in the sky. The other person does a different thing.
(Alright, I've still got it. Now to enjoy the trickling in of 5s!)
That groundling thief!
More importantly, did he change the controls?
I am at a loss!
Frog! Please press the Y Button! Then try the X Button!
Alas, the decision to load the Blackbird's outside with TNT proved a poor one. It didn't really need to be filled with hydrogen either, but damned if Dalton was to defy tradition as he exploited the MIC.
Fantastic! We are actually in his debt!
Epoch in good shape! Epoch...become bird!!
After a few unfortunate reminders of an earlier LP and a tragic misunderstanding of John James Audubon's celebrated taxonomy, a further search reveals this had we somehow chosen not to 100% the techno maze shaft cave and left without gathering every chest:
So! Dalton was stealing everything!
A dog of a man, if there ever was one! But, where is our money!
Probably back in the Blackbird...
Oh! What a tragic thought!
If Epoch is intact... I'm sure that Crono is too...
Even though we saw him die, and the Epoch was a continent away and not under the sea. Forgive me having some hope.
Crono strong! Crono won't die!!
Dead or alive, let's go find Crono...
Back at the commons we have the option of telling this woman to burn the sapling or plant it, and an unmade Deadly Premonition joke later has her follow neither piece of advice. Telling her to plant it is actually vital to being able to finish the game, so just think of this as a Sierra adventure until next update I go more in depth as to why. Talking around a bit more directs us to the North Cape, and our party refuses to ride in the Imperial until this imperative cape situation is resolved, so it's time to do some inventory shuffling and talking to more NPCs.
It's been less than a day!
Which, in fairness, half of it was before, but still
Gone is the magical kingdom of Zeal, and all the dreams and ambitions of its people. I once lived there... But I was another person then.
I'm not entirely sure why the three gurus were triangularly here for this, seeing as the guru of reason, was gone and Melchior probably wasn't too eager to spend time with the queen. This might have been his way of being coerced by Dalton to come, but presumably the Queen wouldn't have wanted him either for the same reason Grover Cleveland didn't go to the Pullman ribbon-cutting ceremony with Eugene Debs (that being because of disagreements on space hedgehog tariffs, if I recall). Perhaps they just came from the East to see Schala's Zeal-famous impression of Mary Ann Vecchio.
Thou art that filthy urchin!
Ever since Lavos's time portal stranded me in the Middle Ages... I have waited to even the score. You interrupted me just when I had summoned Lavos to my castle. How ironic that, having been drawn into yet another portal, I would end up in this age. Being from the future, my knowledge of the past enabled me to convince the Queen that I was a mighty oracle. But no history book could have prepared me for what happened here. Unimaginable is the power of Lavos. Anyone who dares to oppose...it...meets certain doom. At this rate, you too, will meet a hideous fate. Just like that poor fool, Crono!
...! You dare to insult him?!
More like, play with big fire, eh? Eh?
Magus!! Hold thy tongue!
You wish to fight me?
... I never imagined that we would settle our score in this dusty old era. Come, let us finish this charade!
After a few updates not really having to care, we're finally back to fighting a hugely difficult boss battle where being at level 1 is detrimental to staying alive. Like the first time we fought Magus, the battle is split into two, though the first part is thankfully nothing to worry about. Magus primarily deals physical attacks with his scythe, hence the use of shields for temporary defense boosts, and defensive playing with generous Mid Tonic usage should be enough to keep Frog alive. After a few turns of using Leap Slash, Magus' still incredibly subtle 6666 HP is halved, and then this fight involves significantly more pain.
After his health reaches the halfway point, Magus remembers the powers his name actually implies and begin casting actual magic. Frog is equipped with the Red Mail to absorb fire attacks, possibly an overconfident move having not beaten Magus yet (basically, if you get a red letter, thats usually associated with some great day of joy or significance, but Frog is just assuming that this is going to be a great day even though he hasnt beaten Magus yet, so hes kind of jumping the gun in terms of celebrations, and also sending mail to himself because he has few friends. This isnt actual mail as in what would be sent via Canada Post, to which that term would normally refer, but mail as in armor (e.g. chain mail), and a Red Letter Day doesnt actually refer to sent mail either, but to red typography on a calendar marking off dates, so the joke is obfuscated somewhat. The joke was Cymbals idea; dont blame me), and the R'Bow Helm to cut damage from Lightning, but his accessory slot is consumed by the wallet and his speed simply isn't up to par. Magus will get in about two turns for every one of Frog's, and as always this becomes a battle of attributing one's success to raw tenacity. Frog needs to constantly keep up a barrier so as to survive a string of attacks, and if he gets hit twice successively it's almost vital to spend the turn playing damage control before being assaulted again. The opportunity to safely use Leap Slash only comes after being healed by a fire spell, and then it's back to biding time until the perfect opportunity shows up again. As always, an unlucky series of attacks (several ice spells in a row, for example) spells death.
One thing I like about this fight is that it's never directly revealed what their feud is. It would be easy for Magus to barely care about Frog at all and regard him as merely an annoyance, but making both of them have a score without giving us all the details is enticing and makes it feel like this story is part of something bigger. At the same time, the specifics don't matter, since we're told all we need to make sense of what's before us and feel confident in picking a side.
As a side note, Magus' antipathy towards humans makes incredible sense when you look back on it; a quick look at everyone he's surrounded by, particularly his mother and Dalton, makes it clear that Magus didn't have the best of examples for humility and morality in man. As he shows in Algetty, he doesn't have a high opinion of people on the lower ranks of life either, and a line from the original translation spelled out this:
I heard from the Philosophers that Jyaki-sama hides an incredible magical power that surpasses even Sara-sama. However, he hates that power, which drives the Queen mad and torments Sara-sama, and along with his heart...... he has shut that power away.
Magus was probably hurt by Woolsey's translation more than anyone, though he did at least escape the name Jackie and a corollary joke in an earlier one of these photoshops. Looking at the whole picture it's a bit of a wash.
If... you want... to bring Crono back... find Gaspar, th...the Guru of Time...
Having been finally bested, Magus imitates his favorite scene in James Cameron's Titanic as he is sadly textured out of the fabric of time. This battle was actually optional, as will be seen in an alternate history segment next update, and the Amulet, which shields us from status effects, is far from a unique reward. The two guides I've read about how to do a Low Level Run suggest either avoiding the boss completely (which in my mind undermines the challenge by causing a spoiler-filled and condition-impacting change) or simply coming here without Frog in the party so as to avoid letting him settle his own feud.
No, I don't know why one would choose to simultaneously A) fight this entirely optional boss and B) voluntarily play Chrono Trigger without perpetually carrying Frog, but it is indeed possible for Magus to take revenge on a group of characters zero of whom he has met. So, you exclaim to the heavens annoying your neighbors, why didn't I fight him this way? Because it's easy.
Seriously, I'm doing a Level 1 run here; why would I not want to fight him the difficult way? It's the same reason I fought Dalton Plus while swallowing glass.
(Let this track run for a while. There's far more going on than the first fifteen seconds have you believe)
It's enormous! I'm picking up a tremendous amount of spiritual power!
The Ocean Palace hath risen? Surely, it doth beckon us!
Me hate! Ayla not like boat!!
Ayla would never last in Golden Sun.
The Black Omen, true to its name, is such an epicenter of darkness that the Epoch casts a shadow while under its shadow. Presumably Queen Zeal borrowed the name from some of her son's poetry, written in raven-covered notebooks by his pages of post Gothic cursive while he was trying to find the edgiest way to write "lugubrious". This dungeon is the newly-opened third way to get to Lavos (along with the End of Time bucket and the Epoch's dial) and its reward, unlocking New Game +, makes it the best choice for a first run-through by far. We're actually entirely able to go through right now, but if video games have taught me anything it's that the best way to be successful is through wasting time and doing the opposite of what you're intended to do. On an entirely unrelated note let's go see Gaspar.
To find that this game was made in 1994. Either that or Crono's haircut had been bombing abortion clinics and planning a coup.
... This is terrible news... I have nothing to give you but this song. It's called ... "Memories of Crono"
I wish I could lend a hand...
Ayla need Guru of Time. Search now!
The Guru of Time, eh...? Heard of him, of course, but what do you want with him?
We've heard he might be the one to bring our Crono back...
To bring back lost loved ones... It's what everyone wants... Crono must be proud ...to have friends like you... That is, friends like everyone else, if my last sentence is anything to go off of.
I know you're a sage in a JRPG. Don't worry; it's not.
Here. Take this with you.
By unleashing a specific course of events, it can have a powerful effect on time. Ask the one who made the Epoch, your Wings of Time, how to hatch it... Like any egg, it represents a possibility... It may or may not...hatch. But the Chrono Trigger gives you the potential to get your friend back... The egg will have an effect equal to the effort you put into your search. No more, and no less. Don't forget that. As long as you keep Crono in your heart, the day you are dreaming of shall arrive...
This can only mean ...you are the Guru of Time... Mr. Gaspar, I presume?!
Um...well ...I believe that's what they used to call me...ages ago...
Wow, Robo, how on Earth did you ever discover that ?
An interesting thing to note here is that Gaspar had this on his person during the Ocean Palace incident, and is currently sitting on the free ability to travel through time alongside a master of war. Balthazar worked himself to the bone slaving over the Epoch so as to set right what went wrong, Melchior was opposing the queen before it was cool, and Gaspar would have done something but it would have involved having to move. Great sageing / caring about Schala there, Time Guru. You're the best.
No comment. (This room now contains a Magic Tab).
No, I didn't remove any text here, and this is a stupid addendum as sages do not know how to shut up, nor do they know how to actually fulfill their jobs at all. The Guru of Time is helping us bring someone back to life, the Guru of Reason designed a time machine, and the Guru of Life was the only one reasonable enough to adapt to his circumstances by getting an actual job. These positions were basically assigned by O'Henry, and I could probably add about three other layers to that but I won't.
And you MUST have a clone identical to that person. Only then, can a Chrono Trigger work its magic... The magician, Nolstein Bekkler could whip one up in the wink of an eye. Bekkler loves festivals. Find a festival, and there, too, you shall find Bekkler!
Uh...aye! He be in fine health!
I hope he's behaving. Tell him to be good, all right?
You know, it's probably safe to throw out that christmas tree next to your fridge.
I feel it ties the room together.
You could also stand to get a lampshade for that bare bulb and stop hoarding all these mirrors.
But I like mirrors
Is that oven is the reason this game was never given a German release? It's a shame because the German for weak is "Schwach".
I think I preferred it when the people in my house didn't speak.
The either very impractical brick or very impressive inflatables inside the surprisingly pink heart-shaped tent with an overwrought fanged-skull opening slightly undermined by having its brow host another pink heart is the only place in the fair that our silver points can be spent, making it at least 83.6% likely this fair is some kind of a racket and our party doesn't quite understand an obvious trap. I have a feeling Norstein just likes fairs because people are so soda'd out they'll be suckered by anything, and also because there are fewer weird gurus who insist on pronouncing his name with an L.
The price we're charged depends on our ability to mimic a Crono clone he clearly already made, and I'll be showing off this and other of Norlstein's "amusements" when we return. For now, just rest content that we're being hoodwinked by a used car salesman and probably shouldn't trust Frog with our units of magnetic induction from here on.
I have no idea what you just asked.
After a thrilling update from Melchior Rudyard LastNameOfMelchior on the Earthbound ones not being humans, we return to the soulless thousand-yard stare of his ex-colleagues transhumanist cosplay and I ignore a transition to giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the process behind this LP. In between relaxing in pools of incredible success and money, I write rough draft comments that are more like ideas for a joke that I later flesh out and rewrite; occasionally one of my jokes is slightly esoteric (I know!) and I often do the rough draft portions late at night, so revision is vital to my ramblings being vaguely coherent at all. I've been sick recently, and at one point I worked on this update while on Nyquil. My rough draft comment for this screenshot, verbatim, was this:
"Attempt" makes this sound like some crazy initiation ritual. Presumably it will involve drinking orange juice or somesuch.
It is now a week later and I still have no idea what that comment was intended to say. On the bright side, however, I now understand the creative process of Ted Woolsey to a T.
The 3 entities you saw will help you climb Death Peak. This ends my message. Now I must ask you for a favor. This creature has executed its program. Please let him sleep. The switch is on his stomach.
No, I'm pretty sure the Time Doner Kebab says he's right here.
Mayhaps Balthazar just programs paradoxes into things to spice up the tedium of causality.
Balthazar really didn't need to do this since a time machine could take him anywhere he wants and the enertrons seem to grant effective immunity to death, but I suppose I can understand seizing control of one's fate. If nothing else, his untimely ohgodpuns death will at least ensure a wave of popularity and album sales.
(This thread is really just for me to feel better about being rejecting from Photoshop contests)
Death Peak is Chrono Triggers answer to Schuyler Colfaxs flirt with American Nativism, and it is far from saved by Balthazars creation of robots that transform into trees. Im going to be speeding through my coverage of it, since its gimmicky and repetitive nature strike me as a Diotrophesian misjudgement of what a climactic Chrono Trigger dungeon ought to entail, and Im hoping to get through this update in time to catch Jersey Shore.
The only particularly notable part of this dungeon is that Lavos has adopted the prime gated Death Peak community as a place to raise its 2.5 kids in a series of boss fights I dont particularly care to describe. The goal is to target the head instead of the body and attempt to finish one off within two turns, with the only real challenge coming from surviving the opening attacks and letting Ayla stretch herself tall enough to impersonate Jude Law, and our reward for the first bout of child murder is a StarSycthe left by a rogue agriculturalist who took grass cutting to its absolute extreme. Regrettably, Lavos take on the Luddite fallacy cost the world its chance at the weedwacker; Magus landscaping remained perpetually overgrown.
Even Lavos can't think of halfway good descriptions for its techs.
Unfortunately, Balthazars wood robot was his opus, and his next-highest program is a warning that ice makes us slip. Balthazar, you are not exactly the next Edison, your time hooking up electronics to sentient creatures be damned. You may have gotten further in your Schala-saving plan had you spent less time inventing the Furby equivalent of Cedric from King's Quest V.
It also seems you could have just told us this, and we probably could have just flown here seeing as you gave us a machine that can fly.
Honestly, were still probably giving this guru position more credit than it's due; it's probably just a ceremonial patronage role like being the ambassador to Tuvalu and Zeal was trying to get these nonsense-spouting Guiteau-likes off her back.
Alright, this game is looking pretty good. We ship right now.
Okay, but I'm only halfway through with this one animation. I still need to draw Frog's legs and co-
(Also, I'm not sure s/he/it would be very good at fending off the darkness if she/it/zie is afraid of the night. Might want to find a better incantation there. Or a torch.)
You know, it might have been slightly easier to just use our time machine.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE
The conservation of dramatic tension theorem says no.
(Go down four lines)
The conservation of Epoch dial positions says no.
(Go down three lines)
The conservation of I'm making a joke right now theorem says no,
(Go down two lines)
Those Christmas lights on the tree really serve to emphasize the symbolism here.
I havent been able to find confirmation for this, but Ive read on /r/Bitcoins_UnderageMisogyny_WhiteNationalistPonies_and_JRPGDiscussion that this scene was responsible for the literally seminal epic per se death scene in Final Fantasy 7 of the character Motor Ball, the theory being that its scenario designers loved the impact of having a character die on you but felt disappointed when it turned out to be easily undone. Chrono Trigger does deftly avoid the Why not use a life-restoring item stumbling block by having Crono rest at the bottom of the sea, though Why travel 14,000 years in the future to go several days into the past remains largely unanswered. The needless back-and-forth padding throughout this update would have been at home in the last game I LPed: DallasFort Worth.
I did it off-site; I'm not going to be offended if you didn't know.
Or we flew it here? Dear Gurus: Stop every explanation you give a sentence before you otherwise would.
A fugitive in the Middle Ages, Ozzie, maintains an evil hideout... There's a task to be done in the Future, where machinery originated. And there's a very special stone that can shine its light on each generation, from the distant past to the far future... There's the ghost of a lofty knight, slain by Magus in the Middle Ages, who haunts the present... There's an object in the Middle Ages that sparkles like a rainbow... One of you is close to someone who needs help... Find this person...fast. Just as you touch the lives of every life form you meet, so, too, will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win... I am sorry that I must simply witness the coming spectacle from my vantage point here
The rest of the game before powering through the Dark Sad Machine is sidequests, and community service will prove the most powerful tool in our arsenal besides swords. Next time, we'll think locally and act inter-time-entionally as we whack back on problems and help out the weak. Anime might be involved. As might kittens.