Part 8: Croatoa - Fearless_Decoy
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This here's Salamanca, and a while back this used to be one of them fancy upscale tourist spots. Sunny beaches, plenty of beautiful critters runnin' around the forests, and olde timey stores sellin' overpriced antiques. Then one autumn the barrier between this world and the spirit world was weakened enough for all kinda weird shit to come over and claim th' forests and scare the crap out of th' tourists.
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And that's why I'm here. People call me the Bowhuntin' Hick, and that suits me just fine. My real name's Billy Joe Bob Carl Danny Frank, if'n it matters. I'm what you'd call a Defender, meaning it's my job to protect folks from all the super powered crap this city throws at 'em. And not by doin' that namby pamby layin' on hands healin' or tossin' up fancy invisible shields, I help folks by huntin'.
Specifically, Bowhuntin' Hick is a Trick Arrow Defender. Trick Arrow is different from most of the other Defender sets because it's completely debuff based; no healing or buffing at all. His secondary is Archery, a ranged damage set that naturally pairs well with Trick Arrow. These two sets came out at the same time, and oh the number of Green Arrow and Hawkeye knockoffs create that day...
Folks now call this area Croatoa, which I think is a reference to one of them old original colonies down in Virginia that went and got wiped out somehow. I ain't never been one for history, unless it's got explosions.
Now the town proper's surrou... hold on do you see that?
Lemme get one of those Jet Pack things on and I'll try and get a better look...
Boy howdy ain't this a treat. Folks, meet Sally, she's one of the few good things that came along with all the monsters and fog and stuff. I guess all them tourist trap rumors about a lake monster came to life.
Ain't she a beaut? Lemme see if'n I can get a snap shot...
Dang it, I spooked her... ah well, she'll poke her head out when she's relaxed I guess.
Sally's a neat little easter egg kind of critter. She's non-hostile and will let characters come right up to her without any hassles, but she can be targeted and attacked. She's got all of 10 HP, so hitting her with anything will cause her to be 'defeated', meaning she says 'Fuck this' and goes under for a half hour or so. Snap Shot, for reference, is the first Archery power and, after factoring in resistances and archtype numbers, it's probably the weakest set based attack in the game.
Anyway, as I was sayin' the town itself is now smack dab in the middle of a centuries old turf war that started way the hell back in Ireland. Again, I ain't the guy to talk to about history, but I can tell you that innocent folks are getting caught up in th' crossfire and dyin'. And that ain't the worst of it, the dead get trapped in that Spirit World nonsense and end up as Ghosts, and whenever I get the chance I help 'em off to Heaven with some of my arrows.
The Ghosts as a faction are seen elsewhere, including some alternate dimensions and they get spawned in the Ghost Ship events in Talos and Independence Port.
Now I ain't the only superhero that helps out 'round here. Take this young lady here, calls herself the War Witch. Yeah, you ain't seein' things, she's kinda transparent. She got this whole sob story about how she went and got killed by Requiem and she's a ghost, boo hoo, but I know the truth! This is one of them fancy holographs or astral projections, she's out hittin' the bars and flirting with those yuppies at Pocket D.
The official explanation is that the one in Pocket D is from a different dimension... eh, it's comic book logic in action.
As far as I can tell, the critters to the West hate the critters on the East. They'll go after each other when they get too close, and even help out their buddies if needed. At this point it's hard to say if there's good guys or bad guys, spending centuries trapped in magic land and getting transformed into monsters made 'em all insane.
As far as the back story goes, the Red Caps are pretty much to blame for everything. They're the ones that trapped the original human clans from Ireland in the Spirit World, they followed the colonists over to America, trapped more folks, and then let everything loose in Salamanca.
Now them real ugly howling shamblin' things with the antlers are called the Tuatha de Dannon, though th' exact spellin' is one of those translation things that's open t' interpretation. They like throwin' around big branches and rocks and howlin' at anythin' they see as as different, which means pretty much everything.
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North of them up in the hilly area are some real nasty bastard midgets with funny Red Caps.
They seem to hate everyone and love hurtin' folks, laughing when there's someone sufferin'. Heck, the big boss midgets will even toss smaller runt midget bombers at you!
And then there's this big piece of lard that hangs out with 'em, calls himself Jack in Irons. If'n you think a fifteen foot tall bald fatass is scary, you should smell the bastard.
Jack here is the first Giant Monster we've seen (more on that later), and while he's the biggest threat in the Red Caps faction, he's not the leader. He's just some really evil dick that they found in the Spirit World, so they let him out to cause chaos.
Over in th' Northwest ruins you'll find a bunch of witches called the Cabal. Hundreds of women of various ages and not one man to help set 'em right with a good dickin'. Heck, they'll just as soon blast you with lightnin' and wind as much as say hello.
The only one I've met who'll talk to folks not from their group is this cute lil' number named Katie Hannon, the youngest of their group. And I know what you're thinkin', yes she's over 18. She was born in th' 1600s, she's legal!
The last group tends to hang around th' farmlands in the West and Southwest, they're the Fir Bolg and they're the ones I feel the worst about. They get run out of their ancestral homes in Ireland, trapped in limbo, sent across th' ocean, and wind up trapped in produce.
I guess they've learned t' live with it, though, since I've seen some of them try to hide as trees. Fairly good camouflage, too, except for the burning head thing ruinin' it.
Problem is they've gone just as nuts and territorial as the other groups, so the few farmers that are brave enough to leave the safety of town often get terrorized by bands of Fir Bolg. Excuse me while I show off some of my skills.
Just gotta grab me a bunch of arrows, lean way back...
Heh, damn I'm good. Got 'em all and the farmer's untouched.
Rain of Arrows in action. It's the signature Archery attack, the last available, and damn powerful considering there's no drawback to it like some of the other 'nuke' superblast powers.
That ain't enough, watch this... see those two pumpkinheads over there?
Ha ha, look at 'em floppin' around like fish out of water! But wait, it gets better! Do y'know what happens to an Oil Slick when a flaming pumpkin pie on a stick hits it?
I love Oil Slick Arrow. Not only does it reduce defenses, make things slip and fall for a good while, and be used to anchor other Trick Arrow or other debuffs; it also gets lit by any fire or energy (or electrical) attack from any critter or player. The fire does some really good damage while still causing the defense debuff and slipping effects.
Ok, the farmer said that there was a big one of these Fir Bolg in th' barn...
Sweet Lord that's big. Lemme just back off a bit and
OH GOD SAVE ME JEESUS! SAVE ME BETTY CROCKER!!
Meet Eochai, Croatoa's other Giant Monster. GM's have a few major differences compared to other mobs, the big one is that they're essentially level-free. Meaning that no matter if you're level 1 or 50 with loads of end game crap, they scale in power so they're always at least +5 to you. Add in a boat load of HP and the regeneration that brings plus the special Purple Triangle status protection bonus and you get serious pain if you're alone. Also, Eochai can spawn in the same tree mimic state that the little guys do.
And yes, the five foot tall flaming Jack o Lantern about to crash into Hick laughs at you as it flies.
Dang that stung... Thank Christ for that Medi-port system. Ok, I'm going to need back up... and a reminder not to use the hospital in the neighborhood infested with trickster fiends.
A brief sperg about getting killed in City of Heroes: It's not really that bad compared to some of the systems in other games. You don't lose any cash or experience if you're knocked out and there's no armor or weapon degrading. The sole negative is Debt, which is an amount that sucks up half the exp you earn until it's paid off. Even then there's a maximum of 5 defeats worth of debt you can have, and you don't get debt until level ten. So go on and take a risk, on a good team the debt will be paid in two or three spawns.
The costume change is just for a joke, and the painting in the background is part of the Goonbox. I thought it fit the narrative.
One guy with a bow and arrows ain't gonna cut it. Time for a few phone calls.
Now we're talking. A babe with a big honkin' energy sword and lighting shooting out of her ass!
I apologize for not being able to get any good shots of the revenge beatdown, but Croatoa at night gets pretty dark. A big shout out to PUPPY PUZZLE for the assistance
Now that we've taken care of that, the last thing I need to tell you folks about is that ravine way up to the north, the Grim Vale. Apparently when tensions get too high between the Cabal and the Red Caps, they have a full blown war up there. The witches call in the big pumpkin guy, the dwarfs call in their big bastard, and those two pound on each other for hours on end.
Aside from spawning alone in their respective territories, there's a chance that Croatoa's real zone event could start up, the Croatoa War. Waves of Cabal + Fir Bolg run into waves of Red Caps, and once enough waves happen the two GMs saunter on in. Fun and exciting, yes, but with their massive HP and Regen neither one can do any lasting damage to their rival. This can keep folks from getting credit for actually killing them and ending the war, since the game looks to see if you've done 10% of the damage the GM's taken when it figures out who gets the kill. If the war's been going on long enough, players won't be able to reach that 10% mark due to the GM's doing hundreds of thousands of HP damage to each other.
Welp, tour's over, I'm gonna go get drunk. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?
Click here for the full 1600x900 imageI probably should have stopped at that smoldering castle and asked for directions...
(Next up I'll probably do a Oroborus/Pocket D two pack, unless there's a better idea)