Part 43: Gotta Severed Hand it to 'em
Garlic, I'm curious as to what kind of setup you've been running this on? I haven't dicked around with it much but I've been having issues getting it to run well in Vista 32-bit. It seems like the game will run alright for 2-3 minutes and then start slowing down massively whenever my characters move anywhere. I've tried disabling certain kinds of video acceleration, reducing path nodes etc. but that doesn't seem to have done anything performance-wise.
I had a few performance issues, but if toggling "force transparency" or whatever it is doesn't work, I dunno what to tell you. I'm on Vista 32bit as well, Core 2 Duo with an Nvidia 8800 GTS. Good luck.
Anyways, fans of Douglas Adams will find this an auspicious update to end on.
Update #42: Gotta Severed Hand it to 'em
Last we left our heroes they faced the Severed Hand with grim determination and understandable resentment.
I don't get it. Why build a fortress shaped like a hand?
Because Elven architects are fucking weird?
I shudder to think that other body part themed forts may exist here in the frozen north.
I'm ending this chain of thought before Pip gets a hold of it.
Man what if someone had like...a glove-shaped airship that they could just park on top of this? It would win instantly, I think.
Urggzob thinks that only little girls need airships to crush hands and fingers.
We've got our work cut out for us, lads. Shall we...?
Why the hell not. We've come this far on a vague premise of undefined payment, why stop now?
Ever the optimist, Clobberella.
We enter the hand. Apparently we stumble upon a meeting of lieutenants.
Already Urggzob likes this hand! To battle with hand guards!
I was hoping we could hear what they were gonna describe us as.
Yeah, I mean...isn't everyone who works for these guys who's seen us so far dead? How could anyone get a description out?
Honestly, it's no surprise that word of the fantastic Napalm Company has spread, eyewitness accounts or not. Gentlemen?
This is going to be a very violent day, isn't it?
A day without violence is like a day without sunshine. Violent sunshine.
I'm curious why that demon just watched, though. Kind of...creepy.
Well then, that explains things. Sort of.
Oh gods no.
What've we got?
NOTHING AT ALL HA HA HA HA HA let's go.
I'll never get you, Kruskrak.
No one ever does.
What is this place? Too many files. Not enough hurting.
Hush, you. This is the diplomatic affairs office, by the looks of it. Let's see about getting a pass.
Oh no. I fully intend to murder everyone in this tower. I just want to do it at my leisure, instead of all at once.
I didn't really associate murder and leisure. Though they DO kind of rhyme...
All done. Let's be gone now, yes?
We really should ask around about that demon. The indifferent one.
So...we need to find a way to kill the immortal demons before we can get to the demon-twin-guys?
Sounds like it!
Thus: The continuing adventures of "Life's never easy and the gods clearly hate us."
We make it soon to the second floor -- the structure itself composed of four circular floors, then four "fingers" of four floors apiece.
The little bookman can have books when the killing is done.
I suppose you're--
HAH! Urggzob fooled you. The killing is never done.
Moving down the hall, Urggzob is proven right as we're attacked by a demon, for no particularly good reason.
Good heavens! Those mages are just watching. Thinking. Judging.
That's all mages do. Reminds me of my apprenticeship.
Thank the gods there's a fight on so we don't have to listen to your pointless anecdotes!
True enough. Sigh.
No matter! I shall have words with them no less. Harsh words!
...perhaps not. Hm.
Magic disappear-y people tire Urrgzob. Grr.
Continuing to loot the floor, we come across some mystical slippers.
Ooh man, I have a nighty back home that these would go GREAT with.
Fat chance, fruitcake. I get 'em; my feets need to be faster than yours.
You're a downright crime against fashion sometimes, you know that?
I do what I can.
The third floor greets us with a mezzanine full of demons.
Man, how do we get through 'em? Brute force as always?
Hah, yes! If Urggzob had a demon for every demon he crushed, uh...he, um...could crush forever? That made less sense than Urggzob had planned.
Psh. I'll SHOW you all how to deal with demons.
Ta-dah! Thank you, thank you.
Congradulations are in order. I think that's the first time something you've done has worked.
Urggzob would still rather have recursive crushing.
Ever upward we continue. Into one of the "fingers," the War Tower, we find a prison.
Hah, yes! Guard has treasures for Urggzob!
Man, how many of those do you even HAVE now?
Tee hee. A good start.
I shall never understand you, Urggzob.
Good luck kitties are Urggzob's only REAL friends. Harrumph.
Yeah, uh...so who did we rescue there?
Pip, a note if you will.
Dictating, go ahead!
Being a hero is a sham of a business because you have to save people like this.
You mean rocks like this?
Rocks. Named Carl. Who tell you that they are rocks.
Man, the rocks I know don't shut up some days. Especially Roald.
We're done here.
So while you were talking to CarlRock there, I had a word with the Cleric in the cell opposite.
And he says there's a way to do away with the invulnerable demons. We have to find a few of his items, and then...
A fetch quest. IN THIS OF ALL PLACES.
I think the bad guys have your number, Napalm. Watch, the things'll all be covered in children just to spite you.
Fireproof children! With knives!
...yeah. Long story short: Do ritual, smash globe, beat demons.
Oh, is that it? Hey, that's not so bad.
Also maybe kill a god in the process.
What was that?
The next floor is a torture chamber, in which is...well...
You know you're like a creepy cat lady now, right Urggzob? Only creepier.
No, is okay! Skulls keep kitties company while papa is out crushing.
Further exploration of the towers GENERALLY involves one or both of two things: Fights, and sub-quests. This is part of both.
Do we really even need to kill the head bad guys at this point? I mean, we've slaughtered literally thousands of their army by now, haven't we? There's no way they can mount an effective offense.
Pah! Leaving without crushing boss peoples is like making a cake golem! Golem is made, why not eat it?
That would be the weight-conscious wizard's nightmare.
So you're saying you wouldn't be afraid of one, would you, Tubby?
I'm not fat! Pip, back me up here.
You've got enough back already, hon.
What is this...?
Yes! It is like birthday presents day for Urggzob, only instead of beatings and neglect he is getting are good luck kitties!
Where is he even keeping them all?
When we go upstairs, we interrupt church.
Tell you all what, this beats traipsing around caves all day every day.
The afterlife is going to be rather...interesting for you, Napalm.
Psh, you say that now. I know if I'm pissing one god off it just means that another one somewhere else is looking on and giggling.
Um, can I stop dictating now? I'm seriously running out of space on this page.
...dammit man, I was KIDDING earlier.
Oh. So, uh...we're not sending this to anyone then? Admittedly it makes no sense by now.
I'll hang onto it. Never know when I'll wanna look back and laugh. Or cry. I never know with these guys, honestly.
Loot over here. Sorry Pip, looks like you can't use this one.
Aww, but whyyyyy?
I think that's the trick. It has no strings; ergo it only works if you figure out how to play it.
Psh! A lack of strings is no match for the boundless power of my imagination!
Good luck with that.
The nearby Mage Tower has a "puzzle" to get in.
It's like a schoolboy designed this place.
At the top of the mage tower, though...
...is this guy. This guy is apparently important.
So it, uh...looks like we have everything we need for this ritual thing...thing. In the place.
Your knowledge of and mastery over religious practices astonishes me, Marty.
So, uh, yeah. I stand here, put the things on the place, and read the book.
I'm just going to chime in and say that Marty would make the worst preacher ever.
I, uh...think I made this Xvim god guy angry. Oop, yeah I did; there he is.
Urggzob thought a god would be taller.
Are those fireballs?
Those are fireballs.
What the hells, Napalm.
Religion bores me. Fire amuses me. I hardly think there's anything to explain.
My word. That's a fortunate coincidence.
It is good to note that everything in this room is made of stone.
Psh! Fire or stones or gods or no, Urggzob is here for one thing and one thing only!
And Urggzob sets about that one thing with laudable gusto.
HAH! Do you see this? URGGZOB CRUSHES GODS! Shadows and demons and the gods themselves, they FALL before the crushings of Urggzob!
This is a terrifying new development.
I'm not about to tell him off.
I, uh...I'm just glad he's on our side.
Oh man, oh mah. A god? I can't WAIT to tell my wife about THIS one.
I think I heard you wrong is all. Your WIFE?
Yeah, Vicki Prancerson.
For once I am truly without words.
You. You have a wife. WHAT THE HELL, PIP.
I don't get what you're so excited about.
I...that is, we all thought...Pip, the way you've been acting these past eight months...
Yeah? I AM an elf, you know.
See, there's a thing to make a man lose faith in the realms.
Psh. You're all a bunch of silly-heads, you know that.
And so, ritual completed, we learn the next part of our task: Purify the Twins' power source.
You know what? We've been purifying a lot of sources lately. I mean, an absurd number considering how few of us are clergymen.
The ministry of stoned-out hippies doesn't count for anything, Marty.
Just think how much prettier everything is after we do, though!
Give me three or more examples of things we've purified which we haven't subsequently destroyed, Pip.
...this is a trick question, isn't it?
Lacking Xvim's protection, the demon-protectin' globe is vulnerable.
Mmm. Shattering globes is surprisingly relaxing.
Are you sure it has nothing to do with the half-dozen guys you just dismembered to GET to the globe?
Aaaaand here's that pool. I just chuck this holy water in, right? Hell, that's what I'm doing, right or not.
...not gonna lie, I was expecting something fancy to happen.
In fairness everything is at least a little fancy when you're here.
Why thank you!
Urggzob should be buddies with Ilmater priests if they like to hurt so much. Urggzob would like to hurt them. Everybody wins!
I dare say you could only HELP make organized religion better.
Meanwhile, a shady associate of ours tells us just why we haven't attracted the attentions of Isair and Madae yet.
However, when we try to fight our way to the top of the aerie, we get this:
You know what? This Captain Pudu fellow sounds like he needs a visit.
Did the little man issue a veiled threat to some bad guy who isn't here? VERY GOOD! Progress is being made!
...delivery needs work. No matter! Urggzob will crush the shortcomings in the little man's intimidations!
That's what we keep you for, Urggzob.
Key in hand, we make our way to the aerie, and one of the most poorly pre-positioned fights in the game.
That's right. Napalm starts out RIGHT NEXT TO THE HALF-DRAGONS, and Pip is surrounded by guards. Ever diligent, we claw and tear our way through this encounter.
You know, I was sure that would end worse.
Urggzob is too furious for any ambush! Ambushes wish they were as furious as Urggzob!
Ambushes, yeah. What about regular bushes?
Ha-ha, easy! Regular bushes wish they were as bushy as Urggzob's beard!
I do wish you'd stop calling us that.
Oh hush. Anyhow, I...well, now is the time to be serious. These twins in whose side we have been an incessant thorn are apt to up and face us now, and now is the time for us to show them: Napalm company is the culmination of their nightmares. Napalm company will not back down from them. Napalm company will show them the end of time, and they will know no lamentations like the ones we shall inflict. And every single one of you, regardless of the things I've said in the past, shall be integral in their downfall. Gentlemen? It has been the finest honor working with you all.
You've been planning that speech for months, haven't you?
Pretty much, yes.
The end begins.
Clobberella? Where are you going, man? Ma'am? Man'am?
This summoner over here! He's gonna be trouble if I don't kill him quick!
Gadzukes! They're EVERYWHERE!
I've got your back, Pip. Worry about what you gotta worry about.
One by one by one! Come all to Urggzob's axe, and Urggzob will crush you!
They're on their back foot now, everyone! Give 'em blood, and make it theirs!
Gladly! Urggzob will share blood with EVERYONE!
Kinda...ow. Hurting here...dunno if I can...
I got you, Clobby. Heals all around, yeah man?
Yeah, man. And don't fuckin' call me that.
The fight is ours, should we pursue it.
We hardly have a choice by now, you know that.
What about all those monks that were helping us? They were kinda--
...oooor no. Let's just...uh, let's get going. Yay!
Well, at least they hate each other as much as we hate them. That makes things easier, yeah?
I'm sticking with my "if everyone hugged everyone we'd all be happy and stuff" theory.
We'd all have tired arms, too. That's a lot of hugs.
The fight wears on.
Slowly...slowly...we are pressed back, though.
I can't...they're casting too many spells!
Pah! Spells, nothing, casting, nothing! Take heart that Urggzob will crush theirs!
Marty! You're...you're getting see-through!
Guys? Guys, what's going--NNNGHH!
Dammit, McSuperfly! Shake it off!
You can beat this, Marty! You have to!
The sun is setting...I--AAAAAAGGGHHHHH***&&&@#$$$---............
MARTY! Gods damn it all, NO!
He's...he's just hiding over here, right? Not the time, Marty!
Dammit, people! Pull yourselves together!
Rrrrrraaaaaaaghhhh! DEMON MAN DOES NOT HURT URGGZOB'S FRIENDS!
The little twins do not get it! There can be gods, or shadows, or swords or axes! There can be demons, and there can be fortresses! It does not matter to Urggzob!
There can be a hundred! A thousand! There can even be ten, but it does not matter! Because there is JUST!
We...we have to leave.
No! Not without Marty! His...his body, it's around here, there's gotta be a cleric...
Just...help me look...
Pip, listen to me. We need to leave. Now.
Damn this place, and damn those twins...
Already done, I think. Urggzob...?
All is crushed. We go.
And so the heroes left. The tower fell, and the Ten Towns were saved. The twins were vanquished, and the heroes, well? They were heroes.
Napalm retired to Luskan with his share of the profits. Per his constant threats, he saw to it that he was "up to his knees" in fine wine and prostitutes, and commissioned numerous books and paintings glorifying his involvement in the whole ordeal. He has sworn off further adventures, citing "those bloody caves" as a reason.
Clobberella eventually formed her own monastary, after rather unceremoniously returning to her home and kicking every one of the monks there in the genitals repeatedly. She also used a share of her profit to buy pants, and has since been struggling for a complaint that she can just as regularly fall back to.
Kruskrak continued his studies apace, despite the stigma in doing so as a half orc. The bulk of his share was spent building a library in Luskan, though it's unsure whether or not he'll continue to explore and adventure past this.
Pip returned to his home for a time, and then began travelling the world singing of the adventures he had with Napalm company. Were it not for his generally boundless optimism, this would have been a bad thing for his ego.
Urggzob began crushing in a vaguely southwesterly direction after the towers fell. It is estimated that he will slow down between ten and thirty percent once he hits a major body of water, but researchers are truly scrambling to keep up. No one knows what has been crushed or what has been spared in his wake.
And everything else? Well.
To all things an end, eventually.