The Let's Play Archive

Exile 3: Ruined World

by berryjon

Part 28: New Cotra

Update 023 – New Cotra

The New Formello Murders have two contingent triggers. If you complete two monster quests, then the event happens. Or, if you putter around until about Day 60, then the event triggers, regardless of the status of the other events on the overworld. Unofficially, it marks the end of the first third of the game and sets up events that don't unfold in their totality until the endgame.

But the party doesn't know this.

“I was right! I was right! It was a dragon!”

“Yes, you were right. I am sorry.”

“Hey, don't do that. Part of the reason why we're a team is because we each bring skills and knowledge that the others don't.”

“What does Art bring?”


“I cannot object to that. Now, shall we head north? Bodies decay over time.”

“But Flanagan has headed ahead. He's the real investigator. We're just backup.”

“And before that, we're actually going back to the Tower. There are more rewards for us waiting there.”

“That's actually reasonable.”

“I also want to check something out.”

“Of course you do.”

“I remember this! I couldn't get in.”

“As Art-Iktah, I have permission. Matthias, the door please.”

“And why are we doing this?”


“Interesting. A fusion of two culture's magics. It is known that Human teleportation and portal skill far exceeds the Vahnatai. Melding it with the materials skill of the Deep Peoples is only natural to the benefit of both.”

“No need to break down these barriers.”

“What's this? Art not poking her nose into everything? What's the matter? Growing old?”

“At least I'm getting there!”

“Hello! We have permission to get more training from the Tower.”

“You guys check in with Solberg. I'm going to talk to Peregrine.”

“... And that's what we found on Bigail.”

“Curious. The use of insects like that as an infection vector is quite alarming. Normally, such creatures are quite clean, but the artificial diseases involved.... I just wish we had someone who could have examined them for further evidence.”

“But regardless, you've done a good service for Exile. It is only proper to reward you.”

“Thank you!”

“Any further rewards, I will have to direct you to X in his library. He is cleared to teach higher level spells. And I will confer with him when you make your reports, as I will after you leave with him and Mahdavi.”

“Most concerning. I cannot be much help. There is that Witch over in the Great Cave who may be of help, the one who didn't give me her name.”

“I remember the argument you had regarding whether or not Name Magic was real or not.”

“I still doubt it exists,” he says smugly, “But I am willing to concede that knowing something's name can help isolate it from its fellows, as Linda's work has proven.”

“Speaking of...”

“Still being watched. She's in her labs to the North. I would almost suggest you visit her, but I don't know if her face or your hand would break first.”

“Would I do that?”

“Repeatedly. And I can neither confirm or deny that there is a betting pool involved.”

“You wouldn't bet on me, would you?”

He laughs. “Never! If such a thing was a reality, then I would be the fairest person to administer it.”

“Peh. Well, thanks. Any word on when Karmas is coming up?”

“Within the week, I think. Why?”

“There's been some weird deaths up at New Formello, and my team has been tasked with supporting the investigation.”

“Beneath you, but I suppose even you must rest on occasion.”

“Well, I suppose Solberg is done with the others by now. I'll collect them, then be on our way.”

“I will see you again. Oh, and I suggest you read that book I know you looked at the last time you were here.”


* * *

“He could have at least removed the barriers first!”

I know we've encountered Orvid before, but for the life of me I can't recall where.

“A passable spell. But why is it locked away like this?”

“Because the letters are SWIMMING ACROSS THE PAGE?”

“There's nothing left here. Let's go back to Upper Exile.”

“We'll cut across the wilds straight north. Go through New Cotra first, then get to New Formello.”

“Camping Trip!”

“I thought all our trips were camping trips at this point?”

“Or our path could be blocked by water.”

“There's a reason why roads exist, and not because they keep us away from monsters.”

“North to New Cotra, then New Formello!”

“So, what happened to old Formello?”


“Then why is there a new one?”

“Couldn't tell you. Maybe someone there will know.”

“This is east of the road. Why are we here?”


“And there's the road from Emergence to Ghirka.”

“I accept free money as an excuse to go off the beaten path.”

“Hey, anyone else hear that?”

“I think so?”

“Glowing Green hasn't steered me wrong yet!”

“Except for all the times that it has.”


“What was that all about?”

I don't know either. Anyone from the thread care to enlighten me?

GodFish posted:

Just loaded up a fresh party and checked out the pool. I forgot to check more than one person's EXP, but the party lead gained 15 experience, so I suspect everyone did.

“This bridge will take us closer to New Cotra.”

“I'm surprised you aren't asking about old Cotra.”

“Some history was part of the Unspecified Services primer.”

“Screw that, I just remembered something. To Ghirka!”


* * *

“I greet you, Art-Iktah. How fares?”

“{Tell me truthfully, Rentar-Ihrno, in the service of your people and mine. I found a body of yours on the Surface, in a place they had no reason to know about.}”

The leader of the Vahnatai people sighs in resignation. “{Yes. You deserve to know. We too have spies on the Surface, investigations of our own against the Empire. Your leadership knows of this, as they keep us appraised of the existence of other teams like yours. Where did you find our lost number?}”

“{On the Isle of} Bigail, {in a place of vile construction. A source of plagues that threatened the innocent and guilty alike. I burned it to the ground, but your person was beyond identification.}”

“I will pass that along to those in charge of such things. I thank you for your efforts, and willingness to keep me appraised. Go in peace, Art-Iktah.”

“And you too, honoured Elder, Rentar-Ihrno.”

* * *

“That was completely unnecessary.”

“Yes, it was.”


“This should be easy.”

Not a serious battle for us at this point.

“Always nice to help!”

“Hold on, there's something unusual here.”

“You mean aside from the view?”

“This pathway has been hidden, but not good enough.”


“How typical.”

“I wonder if it's theirs?”

“Well, we can talk with words or swords.”

They choose swords. And the fight was boring. We get 260 gold as a result.

“Still, nice view.”

“That it is.”

“And now we cross that bridge.”

“Who is Ilgrith?”

“I have no clue.”

And the name doesn't appear on the Exile Wiki. Curious.

“We'll leave this alone.”

“Anyone else feeling cold?”

“Ice pudding.”

“Maybe a Cryo Lizard?”

“Nothing beats out experience where these things are concerned.”


“I wonder how these creatures formed in the first place?”

“But that can be answered later.”

“Eh, that's enough. Off to New Cotra!”

“Nice town.”

“Typical Garbage disposal.”

“Hold on, I hear something.”

“Sounds like two people arguing. I don't see why we should get involved.”

“It's because I know who those two are.”

“Ah. Personal.”

“Don't you dare!”

“But someone has to do it! And no one else can!”

“You barely fit in your armor any more!”

“It's because my muscle mass has improved.”

“No, you've gotten soft.”

“Hey guys. How's married life?”

“Hi Art.”

“Leave that sort of thing to the guard.”

“They're the Guard! Defending is what they do.”


“So I'm going to go out there and take care of it!”

“No, you're not!”

“Yes, I am!”

“Hey, whatcha planning on killing?”

“Sir Ma'am, Mayor wants someone to take care of an Ice Slime to the west.”


“See! Art took care of it already. Now get out of that ridiculous getup.

“Wait. How long have...”
“you been standing there?”

“Long enough. Good to see you two.”

“Sir! Ma'am! It's good to see you!”

“She's Art, farmboy. Now ditch the armor.”

“Don't mind me, I'm actually passing through to New Formello.”

“Why? I thought you had retired to the Embassy at Olgai?”

“Dmurr mentioned something about then when she passed through, didn't she?”

“I suppose she did, but I thought she was on a lark. Not that Art of all people would unretire from the Services.”

“Eh, less an un-retirement, and more a panicked recall to duty. I'm on the Surface Exploration assignment.”



“Oh god, the Empire is doomed.”

“Good riddance to bad rubbish. So, why are you headed north?”

“I know there was a cavequake up that way a few days ago. That related?”

“Can't tell. Don't know everything myself yet, but I do know that there are dead bodies involved.”


“Well, I suppose if there's a problem, you'll resolve it.”

“I will. Say, Prince Karmas is coming up here soon. If you see him before I do, could you tell him I want to chat?”

“Sure. But we don't really know the Prince all that well. He's more your associate than ours.”

“And even then, we've retired. It's not like we have Royal Clearance anymore.”

“Still, if it's something that happens, it happens.”

“Care to stay for supper?”

“I have a nice salad in the icebox.”

“I'll pass. You know how it is. Travel to new places, meet interesting people, and punch them in the face.”

“Sure. I understand. You never could stand still for long.”

“I'll talk to you guys again when I have the time. But for now, the job is calling.”

“Take care of yourself, dahling.”

* * *

“Random boat.”

“Too bad the rest of you can't swim as well as I can.”

* * *

“Time for the town survey?”


You meet a small, intense woman in short hair and black leather. Several vicious iron blades hang from her bet, and a proud expression graces her face. She greets you with a sharp nod of her head. “I am Elspeth. Welcome to my shop. Please use the front door next time, not the back.”



“How's Nance?”

“At the Inn, if I don't miss my guess. What brings you to New Cotra?”

“Business. This is my team. Team, this is Elspeth. I've done a couple favors for her over the years, so be nice.”

“True that. Well, I run this shop with Nance. I make the best Iron weapons you're likely to find, and you can purchase them if you got the gold. You can also sell me other stuff. I'm sure I can unload it on somebody. There's that woman who lives on the south side of town who loves to pick up random things.”

“Forgive the question, but who is Nance?”

“Nance and I have been through a lot since the Empire sent us down. We just weren't approved of, if you know what I mean. Then we got separated.”

“You were separated? I hope you found each other!”

“Aren't you adorable! We were living in Cotra – the old one – when the Empire War hit. They raided our town, blasted it apart. We were lucky to escape, but got separated. We didn't find each other for months. In fact, it was Art who managed to get us back together. But then we heard about this settlement near the surface. There was no way we could stay away.”

“You sound eager to return to the surface.”

She gives a vicious smile, and for a moment she seems six feet tall. “We will be back on the surface someday. There are no two ways around it. It was wrong of them to throw us down here. And it's up to all of us to make them pay for their crimes.”

“I can state that such plans are in motion. Can you be patient?”

“Oh, I have been. And I will be. But enough about that. Care to see my wares?”


Iron Weapons in Upper Exile. Good to know. You can also sell your stuff to her. In fact, let's take care of that.

“WHERE did you get that Piercing Crystal?”

“Oh, that's the one we found in the Slime cave.”

“You got some neat stuff here.”

“Yeah, you can have all that.”


“Nice female.”

“Nope. Couldn't see why the Empire would send her down. At all. Ever.”

“I wonder what he has for sale.”

“Hello there!”

There is a young man with dark hair and a neatly trimmed beard behind the counter. His fingers are permanently stained from years and years of working with herbs and mixing concoctions. “I am Miles. Miles the mage. Welcome to my shop.”

I think we first met this NPC in Patrick's Tower back in Exile 1.

“And a fine shop it is! What do you study?”

He points to the bookshelves.. “Each of those scrolls contains a recipe I have mastered. Every plant in these caves I have turned into a wondrous concoction of some sort. And I place all my knowledge at your disposal!”

“That's amazing! All of them?”

“Hundreds of recipes! Of course, most of them are useless. But I've mastered them all anyway!”

“And you are willing to share them? To put them at our disposal as you so put it?”

“I make potions of all sorts, and you can obtain them for a price. Let me know if you want to purchase some of them.”

Medium Energy Potion!

“Surely there must be some concoction that you haven't made yet?”

“OK. Not all the plants. I still haven't found a use for Black-spotted sponge moss. But I'm working on it.” He smiles and shrugs. “What's the point of being modest?”

“You don't seem like the modest type in the first place.”

“I live in a cave. I mix mushrooms and lichen for a living. I get backaches all the time. With a life like this, why bother to be modest? Feh!”

I like this guy. I really do.

* * *

“Unmarked building with no obvious way in or out. Suspicious.”

“But nothing we can do at this point.”



This shifty looking man wanders aimlessly but quickly around the town. It takes a minute to catch up with him. He doesn't seem keen on talking to you. He looks you over, then seems to recognize you. “Call me Asp.”

Another man we first met in Cotra back in Exile 1. He helped us get the Ankh from the Mayor of Spire to return to Sulfras.

“And what are you doing here? You're acting very suspicious.”

He looks you up and down appraisingly. “Just wandering. And observing.”

“You do seem like a wanderer. Gone anywhere interesting lately?”

“Here and there. Like you.”

“And in your wanderings, have you observed anything interesting?”

“Well, you know, there's a lot to be seen by someone who likes to pay attention. Like maybe you might have noticed something peculiar nearby.”

“I've seen too many things to simply label something as peculiar.”

“Like, in the northwest corner of town.”

“I saw that.”

“There's a building up there with no doors. No entrances. Nobody goes in or out. Been watching for days. And you know what's really bizarre?”


“Nobody around here owns up to noticing it. Mention it and everyone gets real uncomfortable and pretends they don't know what you're wondering about. What's the big secret?”

“Could be a state secret. Or a glorified trash disposal unit. You know how the government likes to operate.”

“And there goes a man for whom paranoia is a way of life.”

“Always nice to have an alternate food supply.”

“Oh, hello there.”

There is a Nephilim sitting behind the counter chopping mushrooms. This is not too unusual – some Nephilim have made peace with the humans and taken to living among them. A few, but not many. Its tail twitches happily as it graces you with a toothy grin. “Mrrr. My name is Hmurrr. Welcome to my shop.”

“And you do all your own cooking?”

It purrs excitedly. “I make all types of foodstuffs for my good human buyers. Mrrrr. You can purchase all of them that you want and be assured of their edibleness. Mrrr.”

“Why would their edibleness be a concern? Food's food.”

“Be assured that there are none of the delicious rats and bats in the fine foods I am making. All those things are saved for me and my mate. Only we appreciate them as one should. Mrrr.” You look at the food as it is preparing and indeed, there is no sign of the sort of small animal and cat would find appealing.

I'm getting uncomfortable ethnic food vibes here.

“I think I'll stick with Art and her Manna spell for now.”

“Not built yet.”

“Interesting choice of names. Very symbolic.”

There is a gentle looking blonde woman with a kind face sitting at the table. She is sharpening a small knife. She smiles at you as you approach.

“Hello, I'm Matthias. You must be Nance?”

“I am Nance. Greetings to you.”

“If I may, what do you do in town? Your other mentioned you helped her, but only her name is on the store.”

She shrugs. “Oh, I mainly help Elspeth run her shop. Not what I'd choose as a path, but there you go.”

“Oh, yes, Elspeth...”

“Have you met Elspeth?” She grins. She runs the best smithy in Upper Exile. If not Exile.” She holds up the knife she's sharpening. “It's not quite my area, but it keeps me busy until we can reach the surface.”

“And what would you do on the surface?”

“All of us were sent to live in the pits because of who we were, because we refused to fit in, to conform, to submit to unjust standards.” Nance's normally gentle face has a steely, determined expression. “Every day we live here is an injustice. An injustice we will all gladly face death to right.”

She looks a little embarrassed. “I've been told I have a bit of a tendency to go on and speechify.” Then she grins. “But it's fun, so I'm not going to stop.”

“I think you have a future as a politician then, if you can light fires like that. So when you get back up there, what will you choose to do with your life?”

A dark look passes over her face. "I cared for horses when we lived on the surface. When the Empire exiled us, it took away my entire life's work. That is one of the many reasons I want to return to the surface."

“Thank you for your time.”

This man is intensely unappealing. He has bushy whiskers, a distracting personal odor, and wartmoss stains on his shirt (wartmoss is chewed much like tobacco). He fixes a beady eye on you as you approach. He hawks and spits a greyish stream at a nearby spittoon. He isn't too picky about his aim. “Call me Gointz, kid.”


He hawks and spits. “I sails the lake.”

“And what does one find on the lake?”

He hawks and spits. “Yep. Cave fish are good eatin'. Sell plenty of 'em. See some interesting sights too. Real interesting sights.”

“And what could be that interesting of a sight on a lake completely controlled by Exile?”

He haws and spits. “That's fer darn sure. Lot's of peculira goin's on out there. Lots of stuff to see. If maybe ya' got a boat.”

“A boat.”

I buy the boat. It's not necessary, but you'll see why it's useful later.

The bar is being tended by a thin man with short black hair, a twitchy demeanour, and a lopsided smile. He wears the traditional sash used in Exile to mark a mayor. “I'm Crisper. Crisper the barkeep. Or Mayor Crisper. Whichever you prefer.”

“Several jobs like that?”

“Well, I'm the mayor for now. Painful, but necessary. But I also run the Phoenix, which is a bit more satisfying.”

“How does one such as yourself become mayor?”

“We pick a new Mayor every year. That's the person who takes time off building this new, beautiful city to carry out the administrative tasks.”

“You can't pick a dedicated administrator?”

“We're not there yet. No, I have important jobs. Like pushing papers. Organizing things. Meetings. Endless hell. And worst of all, I occasionally have to press some gang of hapless adventurers to go out on some mission or other.”

“Well, it's your lucky day! What mission is there on the table?”

“Well, there's this Ice Pudding out to the west. One of the locals was planning on taking it on himself, but if someone could beat him too it...”

You tell Crisper how you slew the Ice Pudding. “Well done! Thanks for taking care of that!” He counts you out a generous stack of silver coins. “Now get out there and kill other bad things!”

300 gold, and permission to loot even more? SCORE!

“So, tell me about the Phoenix.”

“The Phoenix, because this Cotra rises from the ashes of the earlier Cotra. I do all the standard Inn things. We have an excellent room for only ten gold, and a round of beer is only two.”

“Mushroom Beer?”

“Nothing else!”

“You know, apparently there are people on the surface who would be willing to import this stuff?”

“Bull. Not a chance.”

* * *

“And that's scenic New Cotra.”

“What's that?”

“What's what?”



“Actually, instead of going overland, I hear that Matthias got us a boat. Let's go for a ride.”


“Too many rocks in the way. There's no way we can go upstream to figure out how to get into that isolated building.”

“I'm certain that if it becomes relevant, we can get in eventually.”

“Right! For now, we row!