The Let's Play Archive

City of Heroes

by Cleretic

Part 27: Dreams of Peace and Acts of War - Cleretic

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War (Rikti War Zone arc #3, part 1)

Last time, we found out that Soylent Rikti is people, that Nemesis is kind of a jerk, and that I'm not very good at fighting Arachnos. This time, we've moved on to a new contact, Serpent Drummer, leader of the offensive branch of the Vanguard. That's not our first job, though.

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: One

Serpent Drummer posted:

You have proven that you can handle some weird situations, so I want your help with something strange. I need you to work security on one of the most important conferences in the history of mankind. Interested?

I'm glad to hear it. The conference is to discuss terms of peace between humanity and the Rikti Traditionalist faction. You did hear that correctly. One of the factions of Rikti on Earth seeks a peaceful end to the war. They are the far smaller faction, but it is a start. This conference is delicate, to say the least, and someone of your experience will be an excellent asset. Dress well, this is an important time. Your main responsibility is to guard Lady Grey. Once you arrive on site keep your eyes open for signs of trouble. It'll be up to you to determine if anything seems amiss.

Serpent Drummer also gives us a clue explaining the Rikti factions mentioned last update.

Clue posted:

This book is an explanation of how the Rikti have become divided since their time on Earth. While there's a great deal of information covered in the book, a series of bookmarks and highlightings help you pick out the important information:

Ever since the end of the First Rikti War, the Rikti on Earth appear to have suffered through disagreements about how best to proceed. These disagreements grew until the Rikti on Earth began to factionalize into two groups: the Traditionalists and the Restructurists.

The Traditionalists believed that wherever they were, they should maintain the norms of Rikti society, with its slow decisions reached through psychic debate and group consensus. The majority of the Traditionalists were from the minority of scientists and engineers who had accompanied the invasion force and had been trapped when the portals were sealed.

The Traditionalists were terrified of these changes as they saw their society turned upside-down and becoming a military dictatorship. In an attempt to blunt the power of the Restructurists, they've even begun talking to humanity about ending the war. The Restructurists need the continued war to justify their changes, and are unlikely to accept any peace.

It is conjectured that on the Rikti Homeworld, the military is a small minority of Rikti population, and that the Rikti civilian government could have far more power. But, in the war on Earth, the Rikti military and the Restructurists are all anyone knows.

Wordy, but yeah, that's all we need to know. Still, peace conference. We can't just walk into a peace conference in eight foot tall power armor, that defeats the entire point of a peace conference. We need something a bit smarter...

I don't think the shirt design's a spectacularly good idea in any situation, but it'll do.

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Everyone's clearly already dressed better than us, but oh well. Right in front of us is...

[NPC] Faultline: So I said, 'Ninjas and lawyers? Then it's a Tsoo Sue Studio!'
[NPC] Faultline: Get it? Sue like litigation versus Tsoo the gang? No? Oh nevermind, no one appreciates an artiste.
[NPC] Faultline: Hey, Clerisy!

Ow, man. That one kinda hurt.

Faultline posted:

So you may be wondering why I'm all dressed up in this fancy suit. Oh, Serpent Drummer already told you? Okay. So you call that dressing up? Anyway, 'nette and I are on security for this conference. Only the best for world peace, right?

So far so good. It's been pretty quiet, actually. Everyone is surprisingly civil. It kind of makes me nervous, if you want the truth. Anyway, Serpent Drummer slipped in the back door a few minutes ago, so maybe you should go talk to him. He's got that purposeful stare about him and it's directed at you.

Hey fuck you Faultline, ties start choking me after a while. But, we'll see who else is around.

I think this guy's name is Il'los. CoX's font makes uppercase Is and lowercase Ls identical. Either way he's a Traditionalist ambassador, and has awesome fashion sense.

Il'los posted:

Before the coming of Heroes: My people peaceful. Our creators taught: War an excess: Producing only death: Despair.

Among us: Some Rikti maintain: Counter belief system. Preference: Continue warfare.

I: We: Not among those. We: Traditionalist. Belief: ways of peace: Ways of Knowledge. This legacy: We desire to foster.

...But I thought you guys attacked us? Eh, maybe just a bit of an editing snafu.

[NPC] Fusionette: It's my strong and capable yet highly twitchy relative Clerisy! Sorry, guys, family beckons!

Sounds like she's having a little trouble. And her boyfriend is too busy telling Stephen Pastis level puns to help her.

Fusionette posted:

No no no! Don't hurt them! They're just making conversation! They were completely and totally respectful of me and my person at all times! Please, do not instigate an argument on my account!

What pigs. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I was this close to blasting them into next week. Good thing you got here. What's with the get-up? This is supposed to be formal. Oh. Whoops.

What? Oh, no, that's not at all necessary! I'm sure Faultline understands they were just inquiring about heightened security measures for the peace conference! You don't have to tell him at ALL!

That'll fix their little red wagons. Even those Rikti Traditionalists had better manners. Well, except that one. He kept saying, ''nette: Sup?' Someone needs to take away his Mark 1 decoder.

Like my attire? I picked it up from Icon. I practically had to beat Serge senseless before he'd give me a decent deal.

So, hey, did you talk to Faultline and Serpent Drummer yet?

Icon is of course the designer superhero costume studio that heroes go to to change their looks. Villains get Facemaker, a second-hand cosmetic surgeon run by ex-Vahzilok. ...So yeah let's talk to someone else!

This guy was actually first introduced in a very early mid-game story arc, a military general who took it upon himself to investigate the renegade ex-military Sky Raiders.

General Aarons posted:

I am General Aarons, government liaison to these peace negotiations. Every time I think I've seen it all, something unbelievable happens.

Not too long ago we were invaded by these Rikti aliens. Worst day in history, worse than Brass Monday or even D-Day when the 5th Column blew the heck out of Independence Port. Sad... sad day.

But now, here I am standing across a table from a Rikti Traditionalist trying to sign a peace treaty. They seem like they mean it, like they want to stop the bloodshed, but if I've learned one thing in all my years, it's that you have to learn to expect the unexpected.

Good day, Clerisy.

Both of these are lore-only events, we never actually saw them.

Hey Lev.

Levantera posted:

Vanguard Security has been heightened throughout the rest of the base so that we can observe the conference proceedings. If Serpent Drummer has requested your assistance, you must have great potential.

We'll totally get to that eventually.

Borea's right opposite Levantera. They seem to go to lengths not to talk to each other.

Borea posted:

This peace conference is crucial. Whatever Serpent Drummer requests of you, do it.

Alright, alright, I'm on my way!

...Sort of.

Gaussian posted:

I'm here for security, not idle chit chat. If Serpent Drummer requested you oversee this conference, you'll want to check in with him. He's right over there.

Fuck you guys.

Dark Watcher posted:

You have more important things to do than stand here speaking with me. I have more important things to do than let you.

You're just jealous of my fireworks display.

[NPC] Serpent Drummer: Clerisy, good to see you. Let's talk a moment.

Serpent Drummer posted:

I've been watching the conference for a little while and, so far, everything is progressing according to plan. We have diplomats and Rikti Traditionalists in the same room and there is no bloodshed.

I should be glad about this, but I'm not.

Nothing ever runs this smoothly during a conference where peace between two worlds is on the line. I need to stay here for a while longer so make sure you keep an eye on Lady Grey. If you haven't found her yet, slip out the corridor behind me and look at the security computer. She hasn't reported in for a while.

Faultline, Fusionette, and I can keep an eye on things in here.

Guess we finally have a job to do.

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Security is tightened indeed; the base proper is filled with high-ranking NPC Vanguard.

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We head into the back room, full of sadly inoperable military equipment...

And find Lady Grey dealing with an unwanted guest.

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[NPC] Lady Grey: 'Lord' Nemesis!
[NPC] Lady Grey: You dare to interrupt these negotiations, and yet you lack the decency to show up in person?

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[NPC] Fake Nemesis: Please, my dear, do not fret!
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: Your 'Vanguard' society has simply gone too far, and had to be corrected.
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: It was all quite humorous, but steps had to be taken.
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: Now, don't let it trouble your pretty little head.
[NPC] Lady Grey: Oh, steps are indeed going to be taken!

Nemesis spawn all over the base, killing the security crew with casualties so heavy I barely have to do any cleaning up. The cutscene indicated that Nemesis and Lady Grey are in the morgue, so let's head there.

This was all that was left of the full fighting force that hit the moderately guarded hospital. I wasn't kidding when I said Nemesis were no threat at all. The morgue was the least defended part of the base, but I also have no issue fighting through that.

[NPC] Lady Grey: Ah, Clerisy, and just in time.
[NPC] Fake Nemesis: To arms, lads! Have at them!

The morgue's a bit cramped. I was actually lucky here, I got the Warhulk just far enough away from Lady Grey that she survived the explosion, which normally kills her - this was actually such a consistent issue when testing the mission that it doesn't fail you if it happens.

[NPC] Lady Grey: The gall of that foolish old man! Well, let us clean up this mess.

There's nothing left to clean up, so we don't get to see Lady Grey in combat, but she has Dark Blast and Dark Miasma; both sets heavy on debuff and Negative damage. She'd actually be a good partner for Clerisy if there was anything to fight, and if she could stand for very long during one.

Serpent Drummer posted:

The Lady Grey spoke well of you, and I can see why. The negotiations will continue, thanks to your efforts in coordinating the defense, but the Nemesis Army was not completely unsuccessful. We must now reverse their gains, and recover our losses.

You draw the admiration of our allies and the ire of our enemies. Excellent.

I'm not sure how they succeeded in anything, though.

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: Two

Serpent Drummer posted:

Your admirable defense of the talks will allow them to continue, but the Nemesis Army did make gains, which we must now reverse. They captured 6 of the negotiators before they were fought back. Fortunately, their mole-machine was damaged and has forced them to traverse natural caverns instead of traveling to their rally point more directly. This has delayed them greatly and exposed them to counter-attack. A counter-attack I feel you would be well-suited to lead.

Our own work mapping the tunnels beneath this zone has paid off again, providing us with a direct route for you to intercept the Nemesis Army troop column. Once you get there, your goal will be to liberate the hostages. Most will likely flee, but if any are willing to help, all the better.

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There's not much to say about the caves. They're caves. We have six people to save in total, two of them NPCs that will fight with us--for better or worse. The first one's actually right there, behind those two Warhulks.

[NPC] C'Kelkah: Our Mission: Diplomatic!
[NPC] Warhulk: Which is why it must be stopped.
[NPC] Jaeger: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC] C'Kelkah: Recognition: Clerisy! Anticipation: Liberation!

C'Kelkah's Bio posted:

This Rikti dignitary seems more open-minded than most of the strange, militant aliens. She may be the best hope for peace between humans and Rikti.

C'Kelkah's got single-target psychic powers, which should be acknowledged, but against groups the size we're dealing with that doesn't do a lot to help. Oh, and if she dies, you fail the ission, which happened soon enough. So instead of screenshotting the rest, we're working from the wiki.

General Aarons' Bio posted:

Though General Aarons retired shortly after the Rikti War, he has since become a presence in the world community, negotiating cease-fires and peace treaties all around the world.

The other NPC that fights alongside us is General Aarons, who is also the reason I don't think I've ever seen this mission succeed - he has two attacks, a basic melee and a basic ranged, and insists on using them.

General Aarons: General Sherman beat you clockwork jokers in the Civil War, and you don't scare me any more now.
General Aarons: Some people just can't let go of a grudge.

The other NPCs don't really bother saying much of note.
[NPC]Diplomat: Oh thank you! Thank you so much! I'm going to report this injustice as soon as I get back to the office!
[NPC]Negotiator: Profound realization: Difficult occupation chosen: Massive compensation request: In near future.

And the end boss of the mission is two Fake Nemeses - not actually all that bad, but their big attack does have heavy knockback, so if that's an issue for you then you've got problems.

[NPC]Fake Nemesis: Lord Nemesis cannot allow Vanguard to learn the truth!
[NPC]Fake Nemesis: If the two sides start talking, all could be revealed!
[NPC]Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!
[NPC]Fake Nemesis: For Lord Nemesis!

Fortunately, the game doesn't penalise you for failing most missions (there's one particular contact I remember that's an exception, but I don't think it's possible to LP it). We're allowed to continue on with a warning.

Serpent Drummer posted:

Luckily, we were able to teleport General Aarons and C'Kelkah away, but this is a bad sign. The Traditionalist are threatening to pull out of the peace talks if we don't get results on this Nemesis angle soon.

Dreams of Peace and Acts of War
Part: Three

Serpent Drummer posted:

Rikti Restructurist forces are amassing for an attack against our base. They fear the signing of the peace treaty between us and their rival faction, the Traditionalists. This attack must be held off and actions all over the city have depleted our forces. Clerisy, can we count on you to defend this base?

Very soon, the peace between the peoples of Earth and one of the two Rikti factions on our world will be signed. But that will not happen if the coming attack is not stopped. Our other agents are trying to counter-attack, but our new Traditionalist allies have promised assistance. Link up with any other troops, and be prepared for any kind of Rikti attack. This will only end once the Raid leader shows himself, and is defeated. Good luck.

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This might seem familiar. That's because it is. This is the same as the Welcome to Vanguard finale, with two Rikti NPCs in place of Faultline and Fusionette. Our first ally is down where Fusionette was.

[NPC] Traditionalist Commando: Argument Refutation: Restructurist Continuation: Anti-Rikti-Thought Warfare
[NPC] Restructurist Chief Soldier: Accusation: Traditionalist Status: Traitorous!
[NPC] Traditionalist Commando: Identity Confirmation: Clerisy!
[NPC] Restructurist Chief Soldier: Command: Annihilate Clerisy!
[NPC] Traditionalist Commando: Reporting: Ready/Willing/Able

The first one we find is the Traditionalist Commando. The Commando's a generic Rikti boss, and has their same energy weaponry as them. A bit boring, but he survives longer than any other NPC we've had on our side thus far. He still dies, but he puts up a damn good fight.

The other NPC we have is the self-explanatory Psi Scout Lk'Onik.

[NPC] Restructurist Chief Mentalist: Humanity: Doomed!
[NPC] Traditionalist Psi-Scout Lk'Onik: ... : ...
[NPC] Restructurist Chief Soldier: Acknowledge Status: Traitor!
[NPC] Traditionalist Psi-Scout Lk'Onik: Let's: Go.
[NPC] Traditionalist Psi-Scout Lk'Onik: ... : Ready.

Lk'Onik, obviously, has psychic attacks. He's not the most useful teammate, but I won't turn it down when his death doesn't cause the mission to fail.

Fun fact: From my understanding, Lk'Onik is actually a reference to Star Wars d20, where 'Laconic Scout' is a character template.

After rescuing Lk'Onik, the raid leader shows up.

[NPC] Rikti Raid Leader: Leader Status: Entering Battlefield
[NPC] Rikti Raid Leader: Intention: Assure Victory. Method: Personal!

Told you the mission was recycled.

Pictures: Fighting the raid leader, while Lk'Onik dies to a barrel of monkeys in the background. Once we kill the raid leader this time though, he tells us something.

Clue posted:

Though defeated, this Restructurist soldier still wanted to have the last word:

"Hero Status: Foolish! Accomplishment Duration: Short Lived! Rikti (Homeworld) Leadership: Victory Assurance. Hro'Dtohz Leadership: Unstoppable Power. Hro'Dtohz: Invincible!"

The raid leader passed out after he'd said his peace, and you're left wondering who or what is "Hro'Dtohz"?

And so we have our first reference to the leader of the Rikti Restructurists. We'll meet him fairly soon.

Serpent Drummer posted:

The Traditionalists have signed the peace accord, mostly thanks to your efforts to stop the attack. However, when word reached them that this Hro'Dtohz was now involved, they became very afraid. We are speaking with them about this. While we have made great strides, I fear that this war is far from over.

This isn't the end of this arc, but the second half has kind of a lot to cover, so I'm cutting it here.

Next: Beating the shit out of Hro'Dtohz