Part 16: The World BazaarSorry for the long absence, but rest assured I have not been idle. This time has been spent writing a script to extract dialogue from screenshots automatically, along with migrating the LP to a new build system and starting to convert all the screenshots from PNG to JPEG. I've also started including MAPMAKER-generated area maps in the LP; click the thumbnails for big.
16: The World Bazaar
Map - The Ill Repute
Here we are on Shell 4. Led and Grubb are in tow; Corgan and Selina stand stiffly at opposite ends of a table while Runner watches them both. There's a serving wench wandering around...
Hello, welcome to the Bar and Brothel. We have a fine selection of liquors at the bar, and a fine selection of girls upstairs...Enjoy!
...but that's all she has to say.
Fortunately, the bartender is more talkative.
[talk] What is this place?
The Bar and Brothel is what I call it, otherwise known as the Ill Repute.
[talk] Is it true this city runs the length of the equator?
Sure does, buddy. You're on Shell 4 now. Kinda the middle layer, ya know. Everyone comes to the world bazaar to trade, buy and sell.
[talk] Wow, I'm at the World Bazaar, for real.
You uh, want a job?
[Transport] How can I get passage to Shell 7?
Well, you're gonna have a hard time of it. Now that Jinam and Ankara are in ruins, the pirates own the skies.
[Trade] Does anybody regulate trade here?
No, we're free here to do what we want. If you want protection or revenge, hire a bounty hunter.
[Marduk] Is it true that Marduk ruled his ancient kingdom from this shell?
Some say his lost city is under the Bazaar, just waiting to be ravaged of its ancient riches. But it'll be hard to find, the bazaar covers most of the equator of Shell 4, goes all the way around...
Asking about Bounty Hunters causes Selina to chime in, whether she's in the party or not.
I know a bounty hunter named Araym, he's worked for me before.
Araym? The Bounty Hunter leader Duke has him locked up.
He betrayed his buddies on a job. The Duke don't take too kindly to that. If you see him, let him know I've got his stuff.
Araym? Haven't we heard that name before?
We have, way back on Shell 3.
Upstairs, there's a grimy room - which we can rest in for $50 to restore all health and Core, incidentally -
- and this rather tacky room, underscored by a bass-heavy techno remix of one of the combat themes.
Looking for a good time?
[talk] How can you do this?
My dear, everything in the Bazaar is legal. We have little government and no police.
I don't think that's quite what Maya meant.
[talk] M-Maya, we, ahh, we should get out of here.
I-I'm having trouble breathing.
[talk] Hey, where do you get those great outfits?
Perhaps you would consider taking a job?
You'd make a fine addition to the place.
And a fun one too, by the looks of her.
The two girls flanking the dude with the pickaxe aren't great conversationalists. Let's see if pickaxe dude himself has anything useful to say.
Don't you have someplace to be?
Ha! I'm a bounty hunter!
You don't look like one.
Show her the key.
See this, it's the key to the canals, our secret entrance! Now, are you the new girl?
I beg your pardon, pig!
Mind yer manners, little girl, or I'll have to teach you a lesson! HA HA HA
That's it! We'll take care of this outside....
So much for diplomacy.
Loch is fast and hits very hard, although it doesn't help that Grubb hasn't gotten an armour upgrade since Shell 3.
A bottle of smelling salts get him back on his feet, however, and that means it's time to try our new card.
Led's fully charged, so she leads the cast with Air; Grubb syncs with her and uses Summon. Together, the two cards form the spell Summon Simurgh.
The party vanishes. The camera zooms out, and a storm of lights forms around Loch.
Simurgh sweeps overhead, trailing lightning in his wake...
...before swooping down to hover briefly over his target, as the storm intensifies.
As things return to normal, Loch is struck by one last bolt of lightning...
...and passes out. We soon find ourselves back in the Ill Repute; notably, we get no loot of any kind for winning this fight. I guess Maya didn't feel like going through this one's pockets.
Back for more, wench? Even a beatin' can't teach you manners, can it!
Excuse me? Didn't we just summon a demigod to kick your ass?
Talking to him with Maya is a repeat of the earlier conversation, except without the violence. Now that he's been smacked around a bit, however, we can talk to him with other party members too.
[talk] You have an interesting selection...
[talk] I don't think I like this place.
We can also choose "Fight" to have it out with him again, but it's just the same fight repeated with no rewards this time, either. There's nothing more to do in the Ill Repute for now, so it's time to head out and explore the rest of the Bazaar.
Map - Shell 4 Red Light District
We find our first NPC on the dock right outside the bar.
[talk] Where's your ship?
Who knows! The pirates are going crazy. Most shipments are late, like mine.
[talk] What's in the hanging containers?
Explosives. Got 'em from the mining operations at the Core. Them bastard Ankarans were too busy killin' the Jinam to notice us.
[talk] My name's Led.
How's it going?
Pretty good, now. Do you have anything to eat?
Sure...here. Say, uh, you wanna go out some time?
And he gives us a Kyra's Tear! It's not really "something to eat", but I'm not about to turn it down. I generally don't bring Led with me in the Bazaar, so this is actually the first I've seen of this trigger; and it's not the only time Led gets gifts - and propositions - from random strangers, either.
Next to the Ill Repute is a staircase leading up. Following a few flights of stairs gets us to a landing with another NPC.
[talk] Do you live in the Bazaar?
With no law? Nice place to visit, but ya'd have to give away free land to make me live here.
[talk] This city must draw a lot of power.
Well, they say that from the upper layers, seen at night, it looks like a halo around the world...
[talk] Any news of Shell 5?
Nothing good. Pirates own the skies now. Who knows what they're up to.
Ankara hasn't recovered?
Recovered? Jinam wiped 'em out.
The doorway behind him leads to this room. It's inhabited by a bunch of useless junk and a generic enemy.
He doesn't merit the use of multiple cards; Summon alone should do for him.
Absent any other cards, Summon calls upon Bowman's ghost. I'm not sure I want to know what the details of that arrangement are; does the card ask around the afterlife for volunteers? Did Selina trap his soul in this card when he died? Is it just a sending with his appearance?
It sure looks like him, anyways.
He raises his sword...
...and releases a wave of light, vanishing in the process.
The thief doesn't take it well. We loot the body and return outside.
The shop here sells healing items, wrenches, accessories, and the Buzzsaw module (which we already have). I stock up on Core Runes to keep pace with our constant card abuse and also pick up a new wrench for Led.
With this wrench, she's actually more powerful than Maya, although that'll last only until we find someone selling better Core engines. Regardless, it's a nice boost in power.
Hello, what do you sell?
Healing herbs and medicine.
She sells a standard set of healing items, along with a key item - the Mix Bowl. We'll need that later, so I buy one.
Finally, this is - as the sign implies - an armour shop. I buy a HeavySheath for everyone - which drops their speed by 2-3 points, but is well worth it for 40+ extra points of protection - and also buy LightShoes for Maya and Grubb and SpeedSprings for Led to recover some of the lost speed. Everyone's now a lot more durable.
Heading past the shops and down the ramp leaves us back on the lower level, near the exit from this area. Before leaving, though, we backtrack to check out those other doorways and look for more NPCs.
Behind door number one is two Duke-style enemies, packing beam rifles. Grubb Summons one of them to death and Led and Maya hit the other one until he stops moving. They drop a Cornucopia, which restores 500hp to one character.
Door number two contains three enemies, one of whom can cast Barrier. He's our first priority to take out.
Summon Humbaba looks pretty much the same as it did when the Draxx Statue cast it on us.
He reacts poorly to having a demigod drop several tonnes of rock on him, and the rest is just cleanup. They drop an Elixir, which is the Potion's older brother, healing 450 points to the whole party.
On the way to check out the last door, we find this dude.
[talk] The Bazaar seems to be a good place to get black market goods.
Yeah, a lot of shipments come in every day.
[talk] What's with all the canals?
This city was built on a canal system. People say that some of 'em lead to Marduk's ancient city, which they believe to be protected by spirits.
[talk] Has anyone seen any ships from Ankara?
Reports say some escaped. No one knows where they went.
[transport] Do you know of anyone flying off shell?
Very few these days. But there are ship captains lookin' for work.
This room initially looks empty, but if you wander around in it for a bit, you'll get jumped.
We haven't seen Summon+Water yet, so let's fix that.
Sedna emerges from elsewhere in a splash of water, contemplates her victim briefly, and then slips back beneath the surface.
Then the camera pulls out to make room for Pilitak.
Despite being the cheapest summon, it's still very effective; a far cry from the damage using Water on its own will produce. The Summon card makes everything awesome, for just 20 more Core; and compared to some of the energies we'll be throwing around in the late game, 20 Core is peanuts.
I test out Grubb's new buzzsaw, too, but it's not very powerful. Really, Buzzsaw isn't worth it; for ten Core you could have him cast any number of more powerful spells. It's pretty stylish, at least.
Taking these guys out earns you a Soulstone, which is well worth the $50 to heal up afterwards.
And with that, we're done in the Red Light District. There's three other areas we can visit - the Slums in the background, the Bounty Hunter District to the east, and the Shipping Transport Docks to the west - as well as the world map itself.
There's not much to do outside, however, so back into the World Bazaar we go. We're after passage to Shell 7, so first stop is the transport docks.
Hey, sweet thang...
Uh...Get away from me, creep...
Map - Shell 4 Shipping Transport Docks
The docks are laid out in a ring populated with various shops. The only one interesting to us at the moment sells Core Engines; I pick up two PowerEngines for Maya and Grubb, and a Napalm module so that both Maya and Runner have one.
As it turns out, however, I need to sell some stuff to afford it...and this is where things get weird. This grenade launcher is available to sell despite currently being equipped on Maya. I could even sell it, and it would stay equipped on her until I tried to examine or dequip it - at which point it would vanish into the ether.
I opt to sell some obsolete weapons and armour instead.
At the end of the western path is this pipe.
Hmm, looks like some sort of sewer.
There must be a mechanism to open it.
There is (can you spot it?) but we can't interact with it yet.
[talk] How often do you travel off shell?
Never. Got everything I need right here.
[talk] How does the city generate its power?
I doubt anyone knows anymore.
[talk] Have you heard the fate of Jinam?
The whole damn continent came rushing past us. No one could have lived through that...Especially when it slammed into Shell 3.
And, finally, the man we are here to see.
[talk] Can I book passage to Shell 7?
I'm only goin' to Shell 3 these days. Pirates are all over the place now that Jinam and Ankara are gone. To go to Shell 7, I have to go through the pirate dens of Shell 6...
There's no way you'll go?
Find someone who can make nice with the pirates in case we get boarded, and I'll go. But fat chance on that.
[Bounty Hunters] Can a Bounty Hunter be a guide?
Sure, but I only trust Araym. Fought with him in the Resource War. If you bring him, I'll take you to Shell 7.
Where is he?
The other Bounty Hunters got him locked up. Good luck bustin' him out.
[talk] What kind of ship do you have?
Fast, kid. Jinam technology.
Is it bioengineered like the Chosen's?
Parts of it, like the heart and brain computer. Rest of it's steel.
[talk] My father's Ankaran fleet is better than your ships.
My ship is fast, avoids fights to live another day.
Well, it looks it all comes back to Araym. This guy will take us to Shell 7, but only if we spring his friend from the bounty hunters. (He'll offer us passage to Shell 3 at any time, but I'm not heading back there quite yet.)
As we need to free Araym from the bounty hunters, the bounty hunter district is our next stop!
Map - Shell 4 Bounty Hunter District
[talk] Is there a city plan where I could find directions?
The city has no plan. Each new section was added by a different people, all gathering here from different world shells.
[talk] The canals and gates of the Bazaar are fascinating.
Aye, I've heard tell of their linkage to the ancient cursed city of Marduk. Some say they still lead there even now, if one knows the way.
[talk] Why do the women wear tattoos?
The working girls invoke the fate of love and healing, Kyra, who was renowned for the beautiful artistry of her skin.
Exploring the lower level of this area finds us another pipe, this one with a stylized skull and crossbones on it.
I think it's locked off.
However, the wheel near it won't turn, and there's no other visible means of opening it.
On the upper level is a door bearing the same insignia, flanked by two guards.
Who are you?
Bounty Hunters...Looking to hire one?
Then you ain't comin' in.
Denied. We aren't getting in through the front door. Absent any other leads, we might as well explore the rest of this area before we leave.
Hey there, want a good time?
[talk] Are there any officials I can seek help from?
If you want something done, hire a Bounty Hunter.
[talk] Uh, nice outfit...
Wouldn't I look better without it?
Uh...I gotta go.
[talk] Where do you shop?
You're kidding right?
The doorway behind her leads to this room. The shelves behind Led can be searched for a Flack Vest, but more important is the bird on the crates here.
Four birds fed!
On the way out we check out this doorway.
It leads to a fight with these Rogue Soldiers. Apart from higher stats and a green paint job, they're identical to Ankaran Soldiers. Two Summons from Grubb and some directed violence from Maya and Led soon deals with them, and their pockets yield a Core Relic.
Map - Shell 4 Slums
With no leads, all that's left to check out is the Slums, starting with the dude on the lower docks.
[talk] Is it possible to send communication to other shells?
Nope. Radio transmissions aren't good at all. Don't get very far because of the Core energy.
[talk] Hey, how's it goin'?
Just got better! Here, a present.
Maybe you and me could hook up sometime?
Uh, sure...I gotta go.
He gives us a Cornucopia. Yay, free stuff!
The center room on this level is occupied.
[talk] I'm from Shell 2.
Really? Pretty desolate there, ain't it?
[talk] This city is huge. It must take a lot of power to keep it lit.
Aye. Our ancestors built this city on the ruins of Marduk's ancient Capitol...some say that the power source of his city still runs ours...
[talk] Is this city one large slum?
Some live better.
Also, between them, the three rooms contain a SmellSalts, another Cornucopia, and a Quicksilver - an accessory that boosts Speed.
The second tier has this guy wandering around. (The sole room on this tier has a loaf of bread in it).
[talk] I seek directions...
Well, wherever you have to get to, you can just keep walkin'. City goes around the whole world, eventually yer gonna find what yer lookin' for...
[talk] Who rules the Bazaar?
Well, used to be some officials and statesmen. But we never listen to them...So I guess it's safe to say no one rules us...
Heading left and down the ramp gets us to this guy.
[talk] Have you heard any news regarding the Chosen?
Oh, I haven't seen them in a long time. It's a dark day when you do, and I hope that day never comes.
[talk] Does the city have a library. Perhaps a layout of the sewers?
Ha, ha. Well, that would take forethought, AND someone would have to CARE!
[talk] We don't have slums in Ankara...
That's because you ship yer poor here, girl.
On the upper level, the two rooms contain a Root and a Titan - the latter being an accessory that boosts Vitality (and by extension Speed, Armour and HP). We also find these children.
[talk] Hi, what are your names?
[talk] Hey, what kind of games do you play?
I sell stuff.
What kind of stuff?
Whatever mommy gives me...
The room behind them contains the rest of the family.
[talk] How long have you lived here?
All our lives.
Gonna die here, too.
[talk] Do you remember the origins of this city?
I ain't that old, boy!
[talk] Where are you from?
We were born here. But my father came from Ankara.
That's my country!
Not any more...
Led's experience on Shell 4 has gone from recieving gifts from random strangers to emotional abuse and a tragic introduction to socioeconomic realities.
I decide to head back to the bar and get her a drink while contemplating what to do next. All of the "open" areas of Shell 4 have been explored now; to make any progress, we'll have to find a way to spring Araym. At this point, it should be pretty obvious what we need to do, if not how; but the specifics will have to wait for the next update!
For the next update, I plan to use Selina and Corgan, unless people really want me to keep using Led and Grubb; there's a bit of gameplay I want to demonstrate, and I'd rather do it now than, say, when fighting the Shell 7 bosses. After that it's back to the will of the peopletm.