The Let's Play Archive

Septerra Core

by ToxicFrog

Part 6: Words Words Words

6: Words Words Words

So, here we are on shell three. Our first priority is to warn Wind City to look around the landing zone for secrets.

First, there's a tower to the north, identified only as "???".

It's locked.

It looks quite impressive, but we can't get in...yet.

To the south, a nondescript patch of forest is also a "???".

Entering it gets us this tree-and-stones arrangement. The leftmost stone can be examined, but be prepared before doing so...

...because it starts a fight with this guy.

It's durable, strong, and can lash your entire party with lightning for around 15-25 damage. In the ensuing fight, Grubb gets taken out, but Maya and Runner eventually finish it off.

We score another Soulstone as a reward, and Grubb gets back up with 1hp. If we like, we can examine the next stone now...

But that's a fight we'd be completely unprepared for even if our entire team weren't on the brink of death, so let's not do that. Instead, we leave the forest and head west.

Wind City! You can see the reservoir to the left, but it's locked up tight at the moment, so we'll skip it and head into the city proper.

It's smaller than Oasis, but there's still plenty to do. Most of those doors lead the shops - there's the usual armour, Core Engines, and general item stores, and a store selling swords, which we haven't seen before - but as we'll be hitting a better place to go shopping later in the update, we'll give those a pass for now and concentrate on the NPCs.

To keep the curse out, dummy!

I notice you have all sorts of gadgets here.
We've done much to retrofit our old buildings. Energy from the power stations to the north is pumped in through large cables.
You trade with other nations?
Yes, especially Shell 5. Ankara and Jinam both buy our helgak and water for their military. They had a little war a few years ago, but nothing's happened since then.
They communicate with you often?
No, they're too far away for radio. The Core's energy garbles anything over half a mile or so.
Where can I find a man named Bowman?
Mourning at the cathedral for his fallen comrades. It's a shame, really. We need him now more than ever.

Don't associate with him. I pay allegiance only to President Dugan.
He stands for change. That's why I voted for him...Bowman and his Holy Guard are an antiquated idea these days. They probably want to go back to a kingship!

My father is part of Dugan's task force!
What's that?
He helps think up new ideas for the city. They're the ones who brought in the power lines and lit up the streets!
Why is the place called Wind City?
Because of the great windmill generators that power the city. My friend says that's not true, that the city is named after the Seven Armies of the Wind that Marduk led against Gemma, but I don't believe him...

What'cha got there?
It's a computer I use to keep track of my work. But it's on the fritz.
Let me see what I can do...aah, you need the new OS upgrade.
Crap. Thanks though. Let me repay you for your help.

Kyra's Tear is the uber-salts; it revives a fallen character and fully restores their health.

How big is this kingdom, anyways?
Kingdom? We're a corporate city-state, with a profit by the workers, for the workers. That's what President Dugan says...
Where can we find Bowman?
You'll find him in the Cathedral. But I'd stay away from him, he's trouble.


At the northeast corner of the city, we find the Cathedral, with a beggar hanging out by its doors. Of course, nothing is free...

O' supply and demand, kid. coin for you.
Good enough, girl. What can I do for you?
What is this place?
The Cathedral of the Seven Winds. Home to the Holy Guard of the Seven Winds, who proudly carry on the traditions of Marduk.
Do you know a guy named Bowman?
He's the leader of the Holy Guard. Teaches 'em the ways of Marduk.

...and that's all we get out of him. I think we got ripped off. We can at least get a bit more dialogue by trying to open the doors:

They aren't admitting visitors, girl.
Why not?
They be in mournin' for their fallen, lost on Shell 2 in service of their brothers and sisters of the Seven Winds.
Then this is the home of the Holy Guard?
What's it look like, an outhouse?

Well, we can't get in through the front doors. But the Guard is an official branch of the Wind City government, so perhaps we can contact them through City Hall?

Who's in charge here?
Our newly elected president, Dugan. Do you have an appointment?
Uh, no, I guess not...
How can I contact the Holy Guard?
We no longer have any official ties to that branch.

So much for that idea.

The capitol building is actually huge. However, we can't get past the secretary. All we have access to is the city library.

They have a nice globe thing, but...

It looks broken.
This is supposed to turn.
Hmm, I'd need a MUCH bigger wrench to fix that.

There's an iron collar bolting it to the table.

Heading right takes us to a little nook with two books and a stone carving of a head. The library contains a lot of books (all of them one page long, or perhaps the game is just showing us summaries), so rather than include them all here, I'm going to do the same thing I did in All Things Devours and link them.

The Book of Draxx
Alchemy in Modern Times

The library is full of monks, but they won't talk to us. They don't mind us reading the literature, though.

Favorite Ghost Stories
Book of Helgak, vol.I
Elementals and Demigods, vol.XIX
Ancient Manuscripts and Texts, vol.X
The Big Book of the Conjunction
Elementals and Demigods, vol.XIII
Book of Helgak, vol.II
Core Energy: its Power and Usage (Unabridged Edition CR4342)
Elementals and Demigods, vol.X
Fate Cards in Theory and Practice
Elementals and Demigods, vol.XVI
Ancient Manuscripts and Texts, vol.XII
Ancient Manuscripts and Texts, vol.XIII
Ancient Manuscripts and Texts, vol.XIV
The Life Sciences
Ancient Manuscripts and Texts, vol.XI
Elementals and Demigods, vol.II

There's nothing particularly critical in here, but there's lots of setting information. There are a few useful tidbits; the Big Book of the Conjunction's note about crab spawning habits will become relevant later, and more usefully, by reading Elementals and Demigods you can figure out how elemental weaknesses work in Septerra Core. Unlike most games, they're circular; fire is vulnerable to water, which is vulnerable to air, which is vulnerable to earth, which is vulnerable to fire.

After reading all the books, we finally find a monk who will talk!

This place is even bigger than Azziz's temple!
Azziz...hmm. I once knew a man named Azziz. Bright fellow.

Azziz would be glad to hear that the Abbot remembers him, if we could tell him that.

Do you have any books on robotics?
What's up with the monks?
They have taken a vow of silence to protest the proposed dissolution of the Holy Guard. The monks have proposed a system by which the city would be run by both the Guard and the Presidency, with the Library as a third branch, balancing them. But the people do not listen.
Do you know a man named Bowman?
A great, yet troubled man.
President Dugan wants to dissolve the Holy Guard, the protectors of Wind City, and rule without the checks and balances that the Guard provides. Bowman, who leads the Guard, must decide if he should force the people into the light of truth, or give in and watch as they are led down a dark path of lies...

We can also ask him about 'Marduk', 'Septerra', or 'Wind City', which will get us another retelling of the story of Marduk and Gemma. He does add some details we hadn't heard before: the Army of the Seven Winds is so named because Marduk formed it of volunteers from all seven World Shells, and it is for this force that the Holy Guard and Wind City itself is named. He also mentions that the angel Kyra was captured by Gemma, along with the Keys, and that she was the one who led the Seven Winds to Gemma's stronghold, using a mirror obtained for her by Dogo (the trickster god) as a beacon.

We've pretty much exhausted the possibilities of Wind City, so we head south, to the creatively-named town of South Farm.


Shell 2.
Shell 2 is full of homeless garbage eaters and scum.

Jamey was never seen again. Some say he was eaten by a robot dog; others, that he was last seen being used as zombie bait by a party of adventurers.

All we know is, no-one missed him.

Do you know a man named Bowman?
Well, we only deal with Dugan and his officials now. Bowman is the leader of the Holy Guard up in Wind City, but if you deal with him, Dugan's likely to stop trading with you...

Excuse me?
Oh, can I help you?
What've you got there?
It's a disc player I got at the World Bazaar, but it's not working.
Let's see it...hmm, there's your problem. Try it now.
Oh, thank you. Here, let me give you something to repay you.

This is what we've been waiting for: the birdseed. It will be a long time before we learn its secret, but worth the wait. For now, we tuck it away in our key items bag like it's more precious than everything we've found so far combined...which it is. (We can't feed it to the birds there, if you were wondering; this seed is reserved for a higher class of fowl.)

Animals that can fly.
This town has a heavy wall around it...
Keeps the curse out, especially at night.
Exactly how does this curse work?
Raises the dead! What else would a necromancer's curse do?
Who buys Helgak from you?
Since they can fly, we sell 'em for transport and shipbuilding. We only use 'em for for beasts of burden, but some use 'em for bioengineerin'. Like them folk from Shell 5...they turn 'em into engines and systems for their ships.
Are the people from Shell 5 friendly?
The two countries that share that shell are usually aimin' weapons at each other. One day they're gonna start fighting.

The graveyard?
Aye, a curse festers there. If you want to learn more, seek the Carver. He's full of old tales.
What's this town's main trade?
We raise Helgak in the farms.
We don't have many Helgak at home.
Many strong beasts live on Shell 3. The Helgak are great beasts that fly through the air like a balloon. Tamed, they can be used for labour, mounts, or the air sails of transport ships...we sell them at the World Bazaar.
Who do you trade with at the 'World Bazaar' you mentioned?
Ankara and Jinam from Shell 5 buy a lot of Helgak. Some of their ship parts are organic, and they use the Helgak for the job. They don't go as far as the Chosen, though, they actually grow their ships completely organically.

South Farm contains two shops. This one, on the north edge, sells consumables, accessories, and Acid Vials. We'll take two.

It's also home to Carver, mentioned earlier as a good source of information.

What do you sell here?
I carve art from the bones of the Helgak.
Are any of your pieces for sale?
No, only my services. I carve whistles from Helgak bone. It is said that only the bone of the Helgak can reproduce the sound of the Helgak's mating call.
What do you know of helgak?
A majestic race of air-dwelling creatures. They float upon the wind as easily as fish swim the sea.
But how?
They take up air within themselves and heat it, allowing flight.


Anyways, Carver doesn't actually know anything about the curse (or at least, we can't ask him about it), contrary to previous information. So we head to the shop in the middle of town...

This is why we didn't go shopping in Wind City - the shop here sells everything they do, but in one place rather than three. I buy MedEngines for everyone - Grubb will lose the +2 Core his TurboEngine provides, but everyone will get a significant Strike and Power upgrade. I also pick up Speed Shoes for Grubb and Maya and HardSprings for Runner, for an armour and speed boost. Sadly I can't afford to upgrade anyone's body armour.

With everyone geared out and the locals pumped for information, let's retire for the night.

...after we annoy the barflies with requests for information.

How come there aren't more small towns?
Cuz of the Curse, from the old graveyard. People nowadays gather up in larger places for protection.
You know anything about the Holy Guard?
Just that the teach the Daemon Sword of Marduk.
Daemon Sword?
When Marduk defeated Gemma, he trapped his daemon servants in another dimension. The Daemon Sword technique will unleash them on your enemy...

You haven't been to the Graveyard, have you?
Um, why?
Steer clear of its darkness!
How are you-
Stay in at night, friend! It's not safe to walk the streets at night! The undead will get ya!
Do you know anything about Bowman and the Holy Guard?
Oh, they could stop the evil that walks at night, but they hardly come around anymore, got too many troubles of their own!

Haven't you heard? It's getting bad down there. Two big kids, not enough room on the block, I guess...
Have you ever been across the mountains?
No need to. There's some isolated towns up there, but they keep to themselves.

Can we get directions?
What am I, a map? Order something! Drinks are five coin.
How about a drink, then? Can I get some information then?
Whatever you want, baby.
Things seem slow in town...
Ask the drunkards around here. They have more time to drink and gossip since they lost their jobs.
Do you know anything about the Holy Guard?
Those crazies up in Wind City are trying to figure out whether they want 'em anymore. Their president's trying to throw 'em out...WE could use 'em. Protect us from things that go bump in the night.
Do you have a room for the night?

And with that, we rest, after a long day spent talking and talking and talking.

To summarize what we learned today:
- We can't easily warn the Holy Guard, because they're sequestered in the cathedral mourning for the guardsmen killed on Shell 2, and contemplating what to do about Dugan.
- Dugan wants to dissolve the Holy Guard, considering them an anachronistic obstacle to his efforts to modernize Wind City (and, most likely, become elected dictator-for-life). However, he worries that the Holy Guard will attempt a coup to prevent this - a worry which is not entirely unfounded - and has resolved to abandon his plans to dissolve them legally, and strike first. To do that, however, he needs outside help; the Holy Guard is Wind City's military, and he can hardly tell them to attack themselves.
- Doskias has offered said help, making a bargain with Dugan: he'll help Dugan eliminate the Holy Guard, and in exchange Dugan will let Doskias's fleet use Wind City as a base of operations as they move towards to the lower shells. What Dugan doesn't know is that Doskias has no intention of keeping him alive.
- On top of this, the Curse of Draxx, legacy of a long-dead necromanceer, is particularly bad of late. Roving packs of undead are a very real concern, no-one goes to the graveyard anymore, and the catacombs in which most of Wind City's dead are interred have been sealed in an effort to contain the curse.
- The catacombs reached all the way to the Cathedral in Wind City before they were sealed, and may provide an alternate way in.

Next time: a lot less talking and a lot more violence. Warning: may contain traces of zombie.

Fixed, along with AM&T v.XI (missing entirely) and E&D v.II (pointed to the wrong book).