The Let's Play Archive

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

by Kanfy

Part 23: The Sewer Pipe Samba

Part 23 - The Sewer Pipe Samba

(Technically a new track but not really, it's simply the first half of a track we heard back in Dead Man's Switch. About what you'd expect from the background music of a sewer.)

Ah, the dreaded sewer level. Known for being visually dreary, annoying to navigate and often needlessly long to boot. Play a JRPG and you'll probably also get to deal with a random encounter or seventy-eight against all manners of rotten sods while you're at it.

In Dragonfall things actually aren't that bad though, in fact the sewer is one of the smallest areas and shortest missions in the entire game. Still real boring to look at since sewer decorating just never managed to take off as a field but hey, two out of three ain't bad.

We immediately come across an intersection of tunnels, though instead of twists and turns they're all pretty much just simple straight paths. Leave it to Germans to design efficient and logical sewer systems, we don't even need to raise or lower passageways and water levels just to get around. We'll start from the northwest, first ducking into the small room visible to the north.

Not much here but the remains of some unfortunate fellow. Keeping your bones clean is important though, you want to at least look presentable when some ancient curse or necromancer reanimates your skeleton to serve as fodder for a low-level adventurer party.

Further north we come across the pumps and their respective control terminals. With any luck we can just restart them from here and be done. With less luck we'll end up sending the contents of some poor bastard's toilet back up to their bathroom. It's not like we were trained for this stuff.

We'll start by checking the status of the pumps with each console.

Not looking too good... Can we access pump operations?

No, obviously things can't be that simple. So our first order of business is to activate the south turbine, and then we gotta find this central computer. We head back to the earlier intersection and take the tunnel leading southeast this time, guided by the assumption that "south turbine" isn't just a funny nickname some joker came up with for a turbine to the north.

Whoever cleaned up those bones apparently didn't get to the turbine room yet, it's downright messy in here.

A harrowing reminder of the dangers of mishandling laundry equipment.

The turbine itself turns out to be locked with a password. Our decker is currently busy chasing after his ex at our suggestion, so we return to the tunnels to look for it.

A small chamber opposite from the turbine room turns out to be the final resting place of an unfortunate maintenance man.

Guess we found Viktor. Even Rasputin himself would have trouble coming back from that one, so it seems we'll have to be the bearer of bad news to... whatever the other guy's name is. We're not dragging this mess back, but let's at least search him.

This seems relevant. There are two bookmarks we can look at, green and yellow:

This code should do the trick. We also pocket the book itself so that we have at least something to bring back.

Back in the turbine room, we punch in the code and press the highly convenient "Activate Turbine" button. Who even needs manuals these days?

Great, that's step one down. Next up, finding the central computer.

But what's this? The sound of the turbine appears to have brought in some cranky guests, likely responsible for all the corpsinating that's been going on down here. There's just no entering sewers of any sort without ending up in a fight it seems.

Feral ghouls make a return from Returns where they were hanging out in locked crypts like some weird zombie roleplayers. German ghouls don't much differ from their UCAS counterparts, they have a bad attitude, run fast and can take a fair bit of punishment.

To my knowledge ghouls are inherently blind, but making them even more blind does appear to work... somehow. The upside of using Blind over Mind Wipe is that blinded enemies immediately stop in their tracks instead of running all over the place. Gives them a bit more dignity in their final moments on this sinful earth.

We have four ghouls in total to deal with, though one is currently moping in the corner. He's feeling the ghoul blues real bad and is just not feeling up to it today.

Lightning Ball makes its debut. Typically the more different numbers you can get out of an attack the better, and this one makes all kinds of numbers.

Glory has learned a variety of new tricks since the last time we saw her in action, including the AP damaging Compound Attack which we picked as a crew ability. Getting all that ghoul goo on yourself seems terribly unhygienic, but Glory isn't one to care.

She's also learned Twin Slash which both looks snazzy and deals damage to adjacent targets. Bleed effects stack so they're at least a little bit stronger than the numbers make it appear.

Flamethrower III incinerates the first fleshbiter. Anything that gets crit by this big fiery boy is guaranteed to have a bad time.

Ghouls attack by clawing at us which does very little damage and even our 5 armor is enough to block a normal hit altogether, not to mention Glory's buffed 10. As in Returns they do inflict an infection, but it's a neutered video game version and we're in no risk of being ghoulified ourselves. Overall the new armor mechanics make ghouls and their low-damage scratching more of an annoyance than a legitimate threat.

Eiger confirms that yes, shotgun shells remain an effective anti-ghoul measure. You can also see the glow of Dietrich's new ability, making our spells slightly more accurate. Very slightly.

Eventually Glory turns the last ghoul into thin slices, and we're free to move on.

The only section of the sewers we haven't visited yet is the door to the northeast, so it'd be silly of us to go anywhere else.

Within we find a computer located in the center of the room, perhaps a central computer of sorts, alongside more bloodthirsty shamblers.

Dietrich shows off his recently-acquired fetish, summoning the spirit Earthquake whose greatest weakness is getting through low doorways.

As mentioned before, Earthquake's hilariously strong Shield ability gives everyone omnipresent Medium Cover (and a fancy force field effect) which is a massive overkill against these sorry ghoulies. Still, sometimes you just have to send a message.

Buffed to the gills, the Glory shows continues as she finishes off the pair of ghouls. Her damage output isn't the highest but between her adrenaline pump and the team's support spells she can get work done well enough.

She even lands some solid shots with her repeater pistol against more ghouls trying to flank us. Starting look like a bit of a tryhard now, lady.

There's not much else to say about beating up ghouls at this point, it's really just a matter of time before their moaning and groaning gets silenced for good and we can get back on track.

Before fiddling with the computer, we search the room and find a credstick worth 164 nuyen in the corner.

A small storage room also contains a dose of Hyper. First bathroom floor drugs and now sewer drugs, our downward spiral is growing increasingly evident.

Now then, hopefully there won't be any more interruptions. You'd think the central computer would also be locked with a password like the turbine was but nope, this one's all-access. Thanks to the standardized computer interfaces in the Sixth World restarting the pumps is as easy as pressing the buttons labeled as such, and press those buttons we do.

Another job well done, time to get back and

Nnnope. As soon as we turn to leave, another ghoul barges into the room from the previously locked door nearby. They really like this particular door trick.

We could open fire immediately leading to one last fight against a handful of ghouls, but that's a bit of a boring way to finish things.

I don't believe you.

No... please. *Listen* to me!

[The ghoul takes another faltering step toward you.]

The Krieger strain takes a heavier toll on some of us than others. Many of my kin have been driven mad by the virus, but *I* am still sane!

Krieger strain?

[It nods.] Of HMHVV. The virus that has infected us... that has *twisted* us... into *this.* We are not monsters, ma'am. We are people with an illness. Incurable for now, and yet some of us cling to hope. You may think of us as lepers, if you wish.

Keep talking.

But now, our food supply has been interrupted, and the feral ones have gone mad with hunger. They're a danger to everybody. Even us.

You worked for food? Who was feeding you?

Under the terms of our deal, we maintained the pumps that keep the Kreuzbasar's sewage flowing. In return, the Doctor gave us medical waste to eat. With proper rationing, we found that we could get by on what he gave us.

That's a pretty bleak damn existence, though I guess you take what you can get as a ghoul.

The decker monitored both sides to ensure our mutual cooperation. But with her death, the Doctor has reneged on the deal. Without the food guaranteed by the contract, the feral ones have gone mad. And in their madness, they have made it too dangerous for us to maintain the pumps.

Was this decker named Monika, by any chance?

[It nods.] Yes. Yes, that was her name.

Our deceased friend's dealings just keep returning to haunt us it looks like.

And by "Doctor", you mean Dr. Ezkibel?

Yes. His contributions kept our community alive, helped us thrive. But now that the decker is gone, he has demanded payment for our feedings. We have no money, but he does not care. He tells us that we must find some, or that he will let us starve.

That sounds like Ezkibel alright, what a swell guy.

So you were the reason why the sewer system "took care of itself."

But the changes wrought by the Krieger strain require us to eat human flesh. If we don't, we wither and die. Without regular feedings, we will have no choice but to hunt for our food.

I think that I have a solution to your problem.

[Its milky eyes widen.] Yes, please! Whatever you can do. Our situation is desperate.

We have a few options here, again including just putting them all down and going back for our pay which is extra dickish now that we know the circumstances. Another option is to drive the ghouls away for good:


I want you gone. If you leave now and take your friends, I won't have to kill you.

This is just another method of killing us. And if, through some miracle, we should survive, you will be killing many others. We will have to hunt, and people will die. Are you sure that this is what you want?

Yes. Get moving.

Very well, topsider. You won't see us again.

[The ghoul turns away.]

Just let us collect our things, and we'll be gone.

Simple and quick, but not a very satisfying conclusion. It seems they've had a good thing going here so let's see if we can't patch things up between the desperate sewer-dwellers and Doctor Jerkass above.

I'm going to have a little talk with Dr. Ezkibel.

A handful of ghouls are lounging around here in their personal living space. Between the large sofa and what looks like a widescreen tv it's not half bad for a sewer hangout.

Nothing of interest to see or pick up here so we'll proceed to making the call right away, doing our best to ignore the ghoul staring at our back like a creep the whole time.

If you're calling me to beg again, you might as well hang up now. I've been bled by you people for too long now. There are plenty of chop shops and organleggers out there who'd pay *good* money for--

You're not talking to a ghoul, Doc. And I don't beg.

The introduction here is very slightly different if you've never talked to the doctor, the game's always pretty good at keeping track of that.

I've just had a very interesting conversation with some of your long-term customers.

I don't know what those things have told you, Rosa, but they are *not* customers. They've never paid me a *thing* for my services, and--

Cut the shit, Doc. We both know what they've been doing for the Kreuzbasar.

Yes, for *the Kreuzbasar*. Not for *me*. Why should *I* continue to give them valuable material for free when--

Doctor. Please. You know as well as I do what needs to happen here.

What I know is that I'm not doing this for free any more. Period.

My clinic is a business, not a charity. I'm not giving your new friends any more bio-material unless they pay me for it.

Right, we have three ways to resolve this little situation. First, we can threaten Ezkibel and force him to continue feeding the ghouls for free which pleases the ghouls but upsets the doc. Second, we can arrange for the ghouls to do dirty work for Ezkibel in exchange for food which pleases the doc but upsets the ghouls. Finally, we can simply pay Ezkibel for the food which will please him AND the ghouls but upset our wallet.

So what to do? Telling Ezkibel to suck it up and deal or he'll regret it is undoubtedly the solution with the highest personal satisfaction factor, but it's shaky in the long run as he'll no doubt worm his way out of the deal again the second the opportunity presents itself, plus he's likely to hold a grudge against us to boot because he's a petty asshole like that. Having the ghouls do whatever shady violent work the doc has in mind for them also isn't great though, not only is it an obviously shitty thing to do but something's bound to go wrong eventually which is likely to end poorly for the ghouls.

Paying the selfish bastard anything doesn't feel great, but between the three choices it's probably the most reliable long-term solution for both the Kreuzbasar and the ghouls. Exabier is scum but he doesn't seem the type who'll screw someone over just for the fun of it, all he cares about is personal gain. There's no way to guarantee anything, but at the very least he's far more likely to stick to an arrangement if he stands to profit from it than if he's forced into it. Thus...

Fine. How much would it cost me to keep them fed indefinitely?

"Indefinitely" is a long time, my friend.

[There is a long pause.]

But maybe we can work something out.

...a thousand nuyen? Paid up front, here and now, via the commlink's input port.

With either Socialite or Shadowrunner etiquettes the price can be dropped down to 600, but sadly we lack both. A thousand nuyen stings a bit but it's not the end of the world, especially compared to the alternative of practically selling the ghouls as slaves to do Ezkibel's dirty work.

Deal. I'll transfer the money.

Man, the things we sacrifice for the good of the Kreuzbasar...

Very well... everything seems to be in order... Yes. Very nice. Thank you, Rosa. You can tell our friends that their feedings will resume within the next day or two.

They'd better. If I hear anything more about interruptions in their feeding, you'll have me to answer to.

On that count, you have nothing to worry about. Good day.

Well, what's done is done. Let's bring the good news to the head ghoul and then get back to the surface pronto. I don't like the look of that barrel leaking god knows what just a few steps away.

You're back.

I've spoken with Ezkibel. You can expect your regularly scheduled feedings to start up again any day now.

Our good deed is rewarded with 1 Karma. That's not exactly a great nuyen-Karma exchange rate, but at least the ghouls' immediate future and the ongoing functioning of the local toilets are about as secure as we can reasonably hope for.

We ended up having to take a bit of a costly detour, but things more or less worked out for everyone. Except for poor Viktor, his blood is on Ezkibel's hands. Most of it at least, we really gotta wash our hands first thing once we're out of here...


Now before wrapping up completely, we'll take a short dip to the ~Non-Canon Zone~ to show off the alternate conversations for the other quest resolutions. If you're not interested in such things, feel free to close the tab/window/whatever now and see you next time.

Firstly, coercing the doctor to keep the deal:

My clinic is a business, not a charity. I'm not giving your new friends any more bio-material unless they pay me for it.

Yes, you will. If you don't, I'll reveal your little secret to the people of the Kreuzbasar.

[His tone is incredulous.] Do that, and you'll be getting your ghoul friends killed! The Mettbachs will storm down there with their arsenal and wipe them out!

Yes. They'll come. But the ghouls will already be gone. You, on the other hand, will not be so lucky.

[There is a pause. When he speaks again, his tone is guarded.]

What do you mean by that?

The knife cuts both ways, Doc. What do you think that your neighbors will do when they find out that you've been feeding human flesh to a pack of ravenous ghouls for over a year?

This whole plan was *your* friend's idea. Your sainted Monika--

Is dead. This is how *I* do business. So tell me: what's it gonna be?

[There is a long pause. Finally, you hear a sigh.]

Tell your friends that I've changed my mind. Their feedings will resume directly, at no additional cost.

There's also an alternate version from a different conversation path:

Look, Rosa. I don't know what those things have told you, but I am *well within* my rights to charge for that material. They've never paid me a *thing* for my services, and--

You're right, Doc. It is absolutely within your rights to charge whatever you want for your services.

Well, yes. Yes, it is. ...So if you agree with me, why did you call?

To intimidate you. If you don't feed these ghouls, I'm gonna feed you to them.

[His voice goes ice cold.] It's never a good idea to threaten your doctor, Rosa. You never know what might happen the next time you're lying on the operating table.

If anything happened to me on your table, the rest of my team would come looking for you.

Ah... yes. There is that.

[There is a long pause. Finally, you hear a sigh. When Ezkibel speaks again, his voice heavy with resignation.]

Tell your friends that I've changed my mind. Their feedings will resume directly, at no additional cost.


Having the ghouls work for the doctor is slightly more involved.

My clinic is a business, not a charity. I'm not giving your new friends any more bio-material unless they pay me for it.

The ghouls don't have any money. You know that. But maybe they have something else that you want?

What, like the barter system? I don't think so... I can't imagine that a bunch of sewer-dwelling monsters would have much of value to trade.

They're people, Doctor - not monsters. They've already been working for their meals... maybe you could come up with other things for them to do.

Hm. That's an interesting suggestion.

[The line goes quiet for a moment.]

I might be able to work with that. I'll tell you what. You tell their leader that I'll continue feeding them. In return, they'll keep the sewers maintained, like they used to, and they'll agree to do odd jobs for me when I call.

Just so we're all on the same page, what sort of "odd jobs" are we talking about?

The sort that a pack of bloodthirsty ghouls might be good at. Use your imagination.

Deal. I'll give him the message.

Very good. And tell him that I'm looking forward to working with him.

[There is a click as Ezkibel disconnects the line.]

Back to the head ghoul with the good(?) news.

You're back.

I've spoken with Ezkibel. He's offered to resume your feedings, but only on two conditions.

[The shambling figure eagerly clasps its hands.]

Yes, please. Tell me of these conditions. We are willing to be reasonable.

He wants you to continue maintaining the sewers, and he wants you to do jobs for him.

I... see.

[Its voice goes quiet.]

Tell me, what sorts of jobs does he have in mind?

He wasn't specific, but I think that he was talking about jobs of the bloody kind.

We will be forced to discard that which is most precious to us, and act like what the world already thinks that we are. This is the price of survival for us. This is the deal that you brokered.

Would you rather I'd forced you out of town? Because the option is still open.

No... no, this is better. I suppose that I must thank you.

Cheer up buddy. Look, just for you we'll make sure to buy something extra shiny for ourselves with the ¥1,000 we managed to save.