The Let's Play Archive

Divine Divinity

by Stabbey_the_Clown

Part 3: Found and Lost

Chapter 1 - Found and Lost

Music: "A Wind of Aleroth"
Download (thanks to Grawl)

8 Sembten 1218

I awoke in near-darkness.

My mind was awash in confusion. I remembered being in the woods, and getting attacked by orcs, but other than that... nothing. Slowly, a few tiny trickles of memory came back.

Why was I in the woods... I-I think I was looking for someone... yes... I was looking for my sister... what was her name? ... What's my name?

Sudden panic surged through me and I tried to get up, far too fast. My head reeled, and I felt an uncontrollable urge. With my eyes screwed shut, I shifted onto my side to vomit, not particularly caring where it happened. But nothing came up except for a bad taste in my throat. I dry-heaved painfully for several minutes before collapsing back onto... a mattress?

I've got to calm down. I'm no to shape to rush off blindly, even if I knew where I was. Focus... one thing at a time... who am I?

A name floated up through the haze in my brain. Jeremiah Liro.

Yes, that felt right. I'm Jeremiah and my sister... her name is Jenna. I think I remember a letter. It said...I feel terrible, it's hard to think... the letter, it said...

"Jeremiah Liro - I'm a friend of Jenna. She's missing, I may not survive long. Hiding from -"

Blast and Damnation! I can't remember the rest!

I opened my eyes and waited for them to adjust to the dim lighting. I saw that I was lying in a comfortable bed in a perfectly ordinary cellar, which appeared to be slowly spinning.

"About the Game" posted:

Yes, giving the main character amnesia is cliché, but it serves a few purposes. Memories will provide many of the spells and skills he remembers. And since I'll be using an exploit to learn some spells well ahead of the normal way to get them, that can be explained as remembering skills he already learned.

Memories will also help break up the large dungeon which will occupy several chapters. By the time the main plot starts, the main character will have pretty much all his important memories back. The amnesia won't be a big factor after that. The amnesia isn't concealing anything important for the actual main plot of the game.

Besides, it's unclear if the main character in the game is supposed to have amnesia. He doesn't have a past.

I tilted my head to the left, a move immediately regretted as fresh waves of dizziness struck. I saw a nightstand and a bottle of water, which I was able to grab in only three attempts.

After a few small sips of the water, the pounding in my head subsided slightly and I felt well enough to stand, despite the protests from my muscles. I felt like I had never been this weak.

There was a robe folded neatly on the stone floor. I reached for it and - "Thiu fingol!" I cursed in surprise.

There was a strange design, an arcane tattoo wrapped around my right wrist. No ordinary tattoo glowed with yellow light. It itched as I stared at it. It was possible I had it before I lost my memory... but I doubted it. It didn't seem even remotely familiar.

What happened to me?

There was an old scar on my right shoulder, it looked several years old. Whatever caused it must have been painful. I checked myself for further injuries and I found none, which was odd because... I was sure that my memory of getting hit with an orc arrow was very recent. But there was no trace of injury, or even a scar on my leg. I slipped the robe on.

In the woods, I cast a magic spell. I think I was a mage, or maybe a mage who was badly out of practice.

Unfortunately, I couldn't seem to remember any spells, other than Swap Places. I tried pressing my memory again, but instead of something familiar, I had a brief vision.

They Are Coming.

My head was beginning to throb again, worse than ever.

The vision didn't feel like it had come from my eyes, and it certainly wasn't my voice I just heard in my head. A cold chill ran up and down my spine, despite the warmth in the cellar.

Maybe it was just fatigue. I decided not to tax my mind too much by trying to force memories.

I looked around the room. At the foot of the bed was a mat with some worn sandals on it. Beside the sandals was a pile of papers. It seemed familiar, so I picked them up. It was my faded map, and a bunch of letters to me from Jenna. The stationary told me where they were from.

Stormfist Castle in the Dukedom of Ferol. That's where she was last. But why was she there?

I remembered something, a fragment of a conversation.

7 Apirius 1218

I was staring out the window, marvelling at how green everything was already. Spring had come warm and early this year. I heard footsteps on the stone floor approach.

"Jeremiah?" the woman asked. I could tell from the firm tone in her voice what she wanted to discuss.

No one had come banging on the door looking for me so far, and I preferred to put off that discussion until either someone did come or until the world ended, preferably the latter. I blatantly tried to change the subject.

I just heard the news. Congratulations, Jenna. Look at you. Just 28 years old, and you're going to be an ambassador. Even for you, that's impressive.

Jenna paused, as if she was re-thinking how to broach the subject. Not for the first time since my return, she decided to avoid it for the moment.

Thank you, but it's not as impressive as you think. The Dukedom of Ferol is mostly just farmland and forest. I won't have many real responsibilities when I'm there.

You may have been the one who inherited father's knack for politics, but even I know what the appointment means. It's well known that Duke Idfren holds a great deal of respect for you, and he has no heirs...

I certainly didn't have Jenna's knack for speaking. My clumsy attempt to manipulate the conversation further backfired.

"Stop it," Jenna said with sudden anger. "Enough games. You're trying to distract me. Over a year, Jeremiah, a year! No word, no letters, it was as if you had vanished from the face of Rivellon. Then two months ago, you returned out of nowhere, carrying a -"

"I-I know. I'm sorry," I said. "I know an explanation is long overdue. ... The night Tom died, I had to get away to clear my thoughts.

The rest of the memory strand was lost among the fog in my mind. I tried, but couldn't remember anything else.

"About the Game" posted:

Since the actual main plot of the game doesn't start for several hours, Jeremiah needed a goal to focus on. Jeremiah's search for his missing sister gave something more personal than what the game gives us. It will become clear in time how she ties into the main story.

I read the last letter in the bundle and frowned.

The last letter - the warning about Jenna is missing. Damn! It must have fallen out when I was attacked-

A creaking sound from the floor above reminded me that there I had other things to worry about. I slipped the sandals onto my bare feet and I looked around the cellar.

There was a chest by the wall. It only contained a pouch which jingled with the unmistakable sound of gold coins. I thought for a minute and dropped the pouch back into the chest.

If I'm going to rob someone who saved my life, the least I can do is introduce myself first.

I quietly crept into the next room. There was a ladder leading to a trap door, and whoever was waiting above. There didn't seem to be anything else to the cellar, so the only option was the ladder.

"About the Game" posted:

Before we go any further, let's take a quick look at the main character.

The Personal Traits section of your diary wants to make it perfectly clear that YOU SUCK.

Jeremiah is a Mage (the game uses that term interchangeably with Wizard), which as usual means great at killing from a distance, but fragile up close.

Vitality: 40 Magic: 90
"You are nigh onto death. Call a priest! Your mystic reservoirs are drained. The smallest magic is beyond you and you often get splitting headaches."

I chose a Mage for a few reasons: It's a lot easier to make combat interesting if you have a variety of attacks, instead of just hitting things with sword or arrow until they die. Also, if there are any areas where Magic doesn't work (which is a possibility  and by that I mean a certainty ), it will change how a mage approaches combat a lot.

Mages are the only class in the game which can find free skills at random in the form of spellbooks. Even better, unlike skill points, which have a level requirement, you can use spellbooks right away, even if you are far too low a level to learn the skill naturally.

That ties into the amnesia as well, by making the main character someone who already learned some advanced spells, the amnesia allows him to "remember" them whenever it's convenient for the plot.

Each class has a unique special attack, the one for the mage is:

Swap Places
- At the cost of about 1500 Stamina (your initial Stamina is 3000), you change places with an entity. Some NPC's are immune to swap. It's best used for getting from the middle of a swarm to the edge, but it's even better to not get into that kind of trouble to begin with.

One of my silly pet peeves with many RPG's is that they give you a skill point when you level up, but start you at level 1 with no skills. Divine Divinity is different - you start at level 1 with THREE skills - your class's special move, and two more determined by both your class and your gender. Jeremiah's level 1 skills are Summon Vermin and Meteorstrike (fireball). I'll explain what those do when it becomes relevant.

I spotted a knife sitting on the barrel and scooped it up. None of the barrels contained anything.

The fact that I was still alive, unrestrained, and had a weapon seemed to indicate that I was in the presence of friends, but there was no reason to take chances. I climbed the ladder, knife at the ready.

I levered up the wooden hatch as quietly as I could and climbed up. I was in a small, cozy-looking wooden cabin.

No skulls, glowing glyphs or corpses nailed to the wall. That's a good sign at least.

There were songbirds chirping outside, but I didn't hear anything else until I rounded the corner and saw a bald human with a friendly expression on his face.

VIDEO - Meet Joram (Voice Acting)

"About the Game" posted:

You may notice that we didn't see Joram standing in the next room until we rounded the corner. Even though it's a sprite-based isometric game, line of sight matters. The upside is that the line of sight checks make it easier to steal. The downside is that your initial sight is very limited - we can't even see to the door of Joram's house. This means enemies will get uncomfortably close to us before we spot them. Ranged characters and mages will almost certainly need to invest in skills or find items that increase their sight.

I felt a sudden twinge of pain in my head and groaned. The man didn't seem threatening, so I lowered the knife, but I kept it in my hand.

Who are you? How did I get here?
My name is Joram. I'm one of the healers here. As to how you got here, well, it's an odd tale. Three days ago, while I was searching for some herbs on the edge of the forest, a small white cat drew my attention. I mean, it actually seemed to want me to go with it. I followed it cautiously, and literally stumbled over your unconscious body.
Three days?! No wonder I feel so weak. And blast! She had already been missing for at least two weeks before I got the letter. Now, with three more days wasted...
I immediately brought you back here. It was lucky for you that cat was watching out for your interests, a little longer and you'd have been food for the kites.

"My name is Jeremiah, Jeremiah Liro. My thanks for saving my life, Joram... such as it is. I'm in your debt, friend," I said distractedly, absorbed in my thoughts.

Joram must have seen my disheartened expression.

You're welcome. And don't be glum, whatever your problems are. If I hadn't found you when I did - with the help of good fortune and a cat - you'd be stone dead by now. We healers have a saying: 'As long as you've breath, you've reason to be happy.'

"What a pithy and useless sentiment."

Joram frowned at me.

Did I say that out loud? Blast. I've never really been able to stop myself from blurting out the first idiot thought that comes into my mind.

"I apologize," I said, "There's someone who was counting on me, and this unexpected delay has me worried."

"It's all right," Joram said forgivingly. He eyed me curiously. I saw his eyes dart to the glowing design on my wrist. No doubt he was curious about it. Well, so was I. The design itched under his gaze, as if it wanted to hide. The notion seemed crazy, even to me, but I had the queerest sensation that it didn't like attention.

"Can you tell me what happened to you?" Joram asked.

"Well, I don't remember much except the past couple of weeks. I know my name, where I came from, and I believe I'm a wizard, but not a lot else."

"Ah, a wizard. That would explain it."

I looked at Joram blankly. "Explain what?"

"Why your face looks so young. I've heard that wizards know techniques to increase longevity. I suppose it doesn't work on everything, though."

I was getting even more confused, and I didn't like that. "I'm twenty-five years old," I snapped with irritation. "Why wouldn't my face look young?"

Joram looked a bit confused. "Your hair, it's silver."

"My hair is brown..." I started, but Joram shook his head negatively.

Getting a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, I tugged a lock down in front of my eyes.

"Seven Gods!"

Joram was right, my hair had gone silver.

Whether from surprise or physical dizziness, the room seemed to shift under my feet, and I moved quickly to a chair before I fell.

"How the hell did this happen?" I asked.

"I haven't the faintest idea. Hair isn't exactly a specialty of mine," said the bald Joram.

I couldn't keep a smile from tugging at the corner of my mouth. "That's obvious."

I recounted the events directly leading up to Joram finding me: fleeing from Orcs, and getting struck by an arrow.

Joram interrupted, "Uh, but I found no signs of injury upon your body."

I shrugged and said, "I don't have an explanation, I'm just telling you what I remember. I was on the ground, helpless, and then a yellow beam of light came down and struck me. That's all I remember. I don't even know what year it is."

Joram smiled kindly, "Don't worry, I'm sure your memory will return in time. The year is 1218, by the way. The 8th of Sembten, to be precise." I nodded in thanks.

It was now my turn to struggle with a question. I hesitated, but finally asked Joram, "Do you have any idea what this mark is?" indicating the glowing design wrapped around my right wrist.

Joram shook his head no. "In all my years, I've never seen anything remotely like it. I asked the others about it, but the only one who may know is uh..." Joram hesitated, searching for a word, "... ill."

He was holding something back, but I had a more important concern. "Others? What others? What is this place?"

"You're in my house in Aleroth - a small community of healers. In normal times this place would be bustling with activity, but things have been rather quiet due to the recent troubles," Joram said.

My week-old stubble itched and I scratched it in irritation.

Why do I get the feeling that these troubles are going to be an annoying obstacle?
What are these troubles you were talking about?
You mean apart from the Orc bandits infesting the woods?

"Aside from that, yes," I said dryly, rubbing my leg where the arrow had hit.

Well, we've lost our connection with the Source, and our leader, Mardaneus by name, seems to have gone, how should I put it, well...

Joram hesitated but eventually said, "...he seems to have gone as crazy as a loon."

My next words came out in a measured, 'are-you-saying-what-I-think-you're-saying' tone, "Mardaneus - he's the only one here who might know about this... magical tattoo? And... he is... crazy?"

Joram nodded thoughtfully, "Yes, that's the only way to put it. He's constantly raving about dark chambers and evil spirits and he thinks everybody is a servant of the dark powers. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he's been possessed by a demon. Of course, that can't be true. Nobody has gone down with possession in... in centuries. The whole situation is a bit worrying. Mardaneus is a powerful wizard."


A vision came over me without warning.

They Are Coming.

I didn't think it prudent to mention that I was having strange visions.

I do owe Joram a huge debt, and Jenna would have wante- No, she does want me to repay my debts. But if a village of healers can't help one of their own, I doubt I can fare better. I'll find a way to repay the favour later.

"About the Game" posted:

The main plot of Aleroth is finding a cure for Mardaneus. Jeremiah has no personal stake in this yet, but it is important to do. It ties back into the main plot of the rest of the game much later on.

When I looked at the door, I got an uneasy sensation and the glowing tattoo on my arm tingled uncomfortably. I had a feeling I should try and hide the tattoo as much as possible, it would attract attention and raise questions I didn't have any answers to.

"Got any bandages?" I asked Joram.

He looked at me quizzically, since I had no injuries. But then he got the idea and rummaged in a cupboard, pulling out a roll of bandages which were dyed with flesh tones.

Those should pass for your flesh tones, barring close inspection. I hope it helps.
Yes, thank you.

After the glowing tattoo was concealed, the tingling subsided, but my uneasiness grew even worse.

What happened to me in the forest? Is the glowing design what caused my memory loss, is it a symptom of it, or entirely unrelated?

That line of thought was interrupted by my stomach, which growled fiercely.

Joram looked embarrassed, and said, "Oh my, I forget my manners sometimes. You must be starving, would you care for a late breakfast before you go? I can put on some spiced porridge."

"Got any bacon?" I asked.

"Bacon? Um, no, sorry. I don't eat meat."

I nodded affirmatively. "In that case, spiced porridge sounds good."

"I think you'll like this - it uses some of the spices used by the Lizard people in their dishes. Have you ever tried Lizard-style porridge?"

A memory tugged at my brain...

1 Aventuris 1213

The courtyard of Idfren City's renowned magical university, Magicum Omnus Liberum , was filled mostly with human men and women. There were a few Dwarves and Elves about, which was a testimony to the schools' renowned quality. The elves and dwarves generally had their own institutions of education, and as for the Lizard, Orc and Imp races, they were rarely seen in human cities at all.

Many of the elves were carrying bows. Perhaps they were there to learn techniques for infusing arrow shots with magic.

I stamped my feet and rubbed my hands together in an attempt to keep warm. "Gods, it's cold. I hope we learn a fire spell soon."

A human man next to me chuckled and said, "Aye, that'd be nice. But from what I hear of this place, I wouldn't count on that anytime soon."

I was about to ask him what he meant, but then there was a brief flicker, and the general hubbub of conversation died down to a murmur. I looked up and saw a senior-looking wizard hovering in midair above the courtyard. He waited until the murmur silenced itself.

"I am the Archmage Eritor, Chancellor of Magicum Omnus Librym. Welcome," he said, his voice seeming to boom around the courtyard, even though he was not shouting. His face and tone took on a jolly cast.

"So, you wish to learn the secrets of magic, do you?" There were a few cheers from the crowd. I gave a rousing shout as well, but the man next to me kept silent, and he shot me a cautioning glance. "In this place, you will learn how to fling fireballs from your fingertips!" Eritor continued.

A fireball materialized in his hand and began to orbit around him.

"You will learn how to manipulate objects with your mind!" A decorative vase rose up and joined the fireball in circling Eritor. There were more cheers this time. I remained silent this time.

"You will learn the secrets of summoning!" A skeleton materialized out of thin air, and was also picked up and sent orbiting the Chancellor. The crowd cheered loudly.

The objects began orbiting much faster. Eritor's expression changed and he shouted, his voice booming much louder than before: "But not yet!!" There was a tremendous bang and a blinding flash. The vase shattered on the ground.

When our eyes cleared, Archmage Eritor was standing on a balcony, scowling down on us disapprovingly. All sense of merriment was gone from the crowd.

"Magic is dangerous. It is not to be trifled with. It is not for doing tricks in a public house! Before you ever touch a spellbook within these walls, you must learn many other things: discipline, focus, control!"

He paused in his diatribe. "It will be long and difficult. But it is necessary; for if you cannot master yourself, how can you ever hope to master magic?!" He paused to let this sink in, then nodded and said, "Good day to you all," then strode back inside.

"He's a hard one," I muttered.

The man next to me shrugged, "Aye, but he has to be. It wouldn't have the reputation of being the best magical school west of the mountains if it produced a lot of half-trained, hot-blooded idiots." The man paused. "Hey, do you want to get some breakfast? I know a place near here that makes a pretty good porridge, spiced Lizard-style."

"Lizard Style? I dunno..."

The man laughed. "Everyone says that until they try it. Come on, give it a shot. You've got to have guts if you want to play with magic."

I smiled. "So no guts, no gnusto, huh? Well, in that case, it sounds good, I am hungry." I stuck out my hand to the man, "I'm Jeremiah Liro."

The man shook my hand. "My name is Tom. Tom Genusson."

"Huh? Have I tried Lizard-style porridge? Yes, I have," I said, half-distracted by the memory.

After breakfast, I was feeling better. My headache had quieted down to only a mildly annoying level of pain, and while I was still tired, I wasn't exhausted.

As I headed for the door to leave, Joram stopped me.

Uh, before you go... I couldn't carry your belongings with me when I brought you here. Feel free to take anything you find necessary from my house. We healers believe in sharing what we have with the needy.

I nodded. "Thank you, my friend."

Oh, you're very welcome, you can always repay me later if you feel in my debt. Perhaps you should pay George a visit. He has a small shop and could provide you with some basic gear for a reasonable price. I know you have no money, but I'm sure an adventurer like yourself will find ways of making enough money, even here in poor Aleroth.

A search of Joram's house revealed a handful of items worth taking including a quarter-staff, which I felt I may need if I got dizzy. I made a mental note to return every item I borrowed.

"About the Game" posted:

The conditions and statistics of items in containers (even unidentified items in locked containers) are generated the first time the container is moused-over. I wanted a staff in good condition, which took quite a few reloads to get. Later, I realized that staffs do absolutely terrible damage, but they also prevented me from using a shield, which I'd need much later on for my ultimate gear.

There are a bunch of bookshelves. They have a random chance for items as well, but I'm only concerned about spellbooks, which are free points into a lot of the Wizard's skills. I'll be doing a lot of quickloading around bookshelves to get free spell books.

I shook Joram's hand and said, "Well, it's been good talking to you, but I have to go. My sister is in trouble, and I fear my... illness may have been a costly delay. I must reach Stormfist Castle, in the Dukedom of Ferol. Do you know where it is?"

Joram nodded, "Aye, you're in the lands of Duke Ferol, albeit the outer reaches."

Without even thinking I grabbed his shoulders. "How do I get to Stormfist Castle? Tell me quickly!" I said urgently.

Joram was startled at how insistent I was. "Just follow the road south until it turns east over a bridge. From there, Stormfist Castle is roughly due east, through the farmlands. But I don't advise that you travel. You've in no shape for that. You've been unconscious for three days, and the woods are filled with orcs."

I ignored him and walked out the door.

Next Time: Shipwrecked, Minus the Ship

Behind the Scenes:

There's also an additional conversation path I cut out of Joram's dialogue.

You can choose to play the part of a backwoods savage and suggest killing Mardaneus is a good idea, and you can tell Joram that you're planning to take his stuff even if he didn't offer it. That makes him irritated at you, which raises the prices you pay for his goods and lowers what he'll pay for yours.

You can also offer to help Mardaneus, although oddly that grants you a lesser bonus to disposition than offering to kill him and then recanting.

Videos for voice-acting.

Video - Giving Joram a bad impression (Voice acting)

[Mardaneus is] constantly raving about dark chambers and evil spirits and he thinks everybody is a servant of the dark powers. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he's been possessed by a demon. Of course, that can't be true. Nobody has gone down with possession in... in centuries.
Dark Chambers, evil spirits? Well that does sound like a demon in his head all right. Look, why don't I repay my debt to you by putting the old boy out of his misery?
I don't follow you... good gods! You want to KILL Mardaneus?

(Two choices here: The choice I took was to retreat from that language)

Calm yourself! Clearly we need to know if he really is possessed. Where can I find Mardaneus to see the malady with my own eyes?

This gives us a +30 boost to disposition with Joram, oddly enough, and he gives us the directions.

The second choice is to confirm that yes you do think killing him is a good plan:

Aye. Look, you said yourself that he is possessed by a demon. You know that such filth has to be destroyed or it can spread!
You must either be a savage from the backwoods or a simpleton. This is the modern day, not the ages of darkness!

When you leave, Joram generously offers to let you take his stuff. You can be deliciously rude to him, although there's no benefit other than ROLEPLAYING!.

Uh, before you go... I couldn't carry your belongings with me when I brought you here. Feel free to take anything you find necessary from my house. We healers believe in sharing what we have with the needy.
Huh! I was going to do that anyway.
I see... As you are in my debt I'll feel free to speak my mind: learn better manners if you want to get anywhere in this world. You were very lucky that I found and healed you... many would have simply slit your throat and robbed your corpse. Good day to you. I trust we won't meet again.

Video - Offering to cure Mardaneus (Voice acting)

[Mardaneus is] constantly raving about dark chambers and evil spirits and he thinks everybody is a servant of the dark powers. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he's been possessed by a demon. Of course, that can't be true. Nobody has gone down with possession in... in centuries.

That's strange indeed... Is there anything I could do to help Mardaneus?

That's good of you my friend, and I don't want to sound rude, but we are, after all, professional healers. If we can't help him, I doubt a simple adventurer could do better. Then again, so far all our efforts at curing him have failed and the man is in constant mental pain. Maybe strange illnesses must be cured by strange methods...

This also gives a bonus to dispostion, but only 10 points, which seems a bit backwards compared to your offer to kill him and subsequent retraction.


Here are two books. They're not mandatory to read, but it's a good idea. The first book is on the general geography of the region we'll be exploring.

The second book is background on the primary religion, and it tells you of the seven* major races. Most everyone is familiar with Humans, Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves, and they generally conform to the stereotypical view.

Divine Divinity has two additional races, Lizards and Imps. We'll meet our first Lizard soon, but other than that we won't be dealing with those folk for a while.

* Wizards are so important as to be considered on par with the other races, even though they come from one of the other six races. They even get their own seat on... wait, I've said too much. Wizards have their own patron deity, the Goddess Amadia. Yeah, being a mage has its perks.

What's fake in this update?