Part 12: Update XII - Rise From Your GraveUpdate XII - Rise From Your Grave
Alright, next on our list is heading to Colma and picking up Norton's Army.
Norton and Dorbi will be coming along for the ride.
So, back in Colma, and I think I spot somebody familiar.
What kind of evil?
The air here is... thin. It's very easy for creatures to cross over from the other side. The dead have lain at rest for many years, but some being has arrived to whip them into a frenzy. You must tread carefully.
How did you get from Redding to here?
Oh, it is a short distance as the crow flies. It takes you much longer since you need to travel on the roads and cross so many checkpoints.
Thanks for the warning.
Some of the poor creatures who lived here before survive still. I hope that you can rescue them before it is too late.
And she opens the door for us. How nice of her, because I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have gotten in otherwise.
Now, welcome to the next ten minutes of gameplay: We wander around the graveyard, stumbling across groups of ghouls and hostages. Kami blitzes in and rescues the hostage (they just run off after being freed, we don't have to worry about them surviving after that), and then Norton and Dorbi stand back casting spells while Kami tanks and slashes.
Oh, also, I forgot to mention this last update, but we have 3 AP now, and our allies have gotten some upgrades, which is appreciated.
This happens a second time over here, only that we now also have a fire elemental to deal with.
Also, we find a contact list laying on the ground, which I assume is some sort of paydata we can turn to cash later.
A little bit further north we run into another hostage, and more importantly, Tir soldiers. The plot thickens. Still, they don't last long.
After taking that group out, the game tells us we're done now. Works for me.
There are some more hostages around we can rescue, though the sidequest was already officially finished.
Also, Dorbi has something to say.
That big fire elemental thing that seems to be following you... what do you know about it?
Not as much as I should, and that worries me.
Blast... I was hoping you could give me some insight. I understand that freed spirits are very dangerous, but I kind of feel like people are getting too hung up on the whole 'fire elemental' aspect. I mean, it isn't like fire is inherently any more or less evil than any other element, right? I shouldn't take it personally, but so much of my identity is tied up in my skill with fire. And I'm really good at it, and I really enjoy it! So it bothers me when people assume that since I'm good at making fire I must somehow be evil or something.
Power is power. You could summon abomination spirits, and as long as you got results, I wouldn't care.
Uh... thanks? I'm not sure if I appreciate being lumped in with those creeps. but I'll take it as a compliment. People think that fire is just something that destroys. It isn't! Fire provides light when you're trapped deep underground. Fire provides warmth when youre freezing in the snow. Fire clears away the underbrush and allows trees to grow tall and strong. And, yeah, sometimes fire incinerates a group of howling mercenaries who were trying to kill you. But even when it's taking a life, fire can be saving your own. Anyways, I figure you'll probably need to destroy that fire spirit sooner or later, and please don't let any of this dissuade you. Just remember that ALL freed spirits are dangerous. Don't develop an irrational fear of flame based on one bad experience.
Alright, cool. We also find some basic supplies strewn around the map that are probably just going to get sold. Now, let's move on.
However, the evil has chased their children into this mausoleum. Will you save them?
There's a few options here, however I immediately gravitated to the Etiquette one, not knowing it would end the dialogue and move us on. Oh well.
(Etiquette: Academic) That looks like a Byzantine seal. Can you help me depress the opening?
[Tabitha nods silently, then leans toward the door. Working in unison, you both press hidden latches beneath the stone, and it smoothly slides aside.]
Our paths must separate for now. I believe we will meet again in the future. My best wishes go with you.
And with that, we head into the crypt.
Well, this doesn't look ominous at all. Crypts always just have relatively fresh looking corpses strewn about, right?
Spooky gargoyle statues.
Spooky gargoyle statues that come alive.
Spooky gargoyle statues that come alive and burst into poison gas when killed.
In the next room, we get both gargoyles and ghouls. Things get a bit claustrophobic for a while, but that just sets Dorbi up to nuke everybody. It's not a big problem, though Kami does take some good damage - that'll happen when like ten enemies gang up on you.
Now, the glowing statue is the only thing we can check out. We check it out, and it turns blue. When we do it again, it turns off. I assume puzzlery will be involved with this soon.
We find two more statues. One glows yellow...
...and one glows red.
And then we get ambushed on the way back. This time around, the situation leads to the ghouls all filing into the room and beelining for Dorbi, who is not exactly made for getting fucked up by several ghouls. Oh well, we've been saving medkits, so no harm in burning some.
Before we move on, Norton decides to pipe up.
What is it, Norton?
As an experienced elder statesman, we feel we have much valuable advice to offer you as you transition into a position of greater responsibility. Men and women look to you for guidance, and the success or failure of your venture will depend greatly on your leadership ability. Never forget the most important aspect: complete and utter confidence in yourself and your own abilities. If you do not believe your word to be law, why should anyone else? In all that you say and do, let your conviction shine through.
You definitely have that covered.
Secondly, surround yourself with persons of significant skills and unquestioned character. Even as we have benefited from our association, so you may draw great utility from the men and women you attract to your side. But do not forget that such association is a two-way street! The precepts of feudalism demand that you grant your followers protection, even as they grant you their service. Remember, we all have our role to play in the Great Chain of Being. And, last but not least, do not forget to enjoy the fruits of leadership! What aspects of rule do you most look forward to?
Well, we have some options here, and we might as well pick them all.
I'm looking forward to minting my own currency.
Ah, that is truly a pleasure close to our own heart! Emperor Norton banknotes have circulated for nearly two centuries now, and our spirits are cheered whenever we have cause to look upon our visage. You will know your reign is secure when your scrip is accepted by all you patronize. In the near future, you will be able to end the tiresome practice of paying nuyen for equipment that you so badly need yourself!
I can't wait to name buildings after myself.
Indeed, that will be a glorious day! We imagine that, before the year is out, Old City Hall will be known at The Kami Palace. And once your public works department has developed, countless roads and canals will be named in your honor as well! What a bounteous world your children will grow up in, filled with joyful reminders of their beloved parent.
I'll need to design a flag and uniforms sooner or later...
Oh, such colors you shall have! It is always a difficult decision to make. Will you display skulls and crossbones, to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies? Or a palette of pleasing hues, welcoming immigrants into your realm? Or attractive colors that will lure your foes into a false sense of security? The possibilities are endless!
I want to decide who lives and who dies.
Such responsibilities can weigh heavily upon us, but as the ultimate arbiter of fates within our land, this task will be of crucial importance. Will you be a beacon of justice and fairness? Or capriciously follow your whims? We will watch your career with great curiosity.
I can't think of anything else I'd want to do.
Never fear! We have no doubt that you will enjoy a long and prosperous reign, secured in our constant tutelage. Excelsior!
Excelsior! Anyway, where were we? Oh, right, trying to not get gnawed on by zombies.
Next, we find a locked door and a puzzle. It's relatively simple - we need to snuff out those candles, but they're being blocked by colored force fields. How do we get past them? We just turn the statues we found earlier on and off until the combination of the lit statues' colors makes the color of the force field. So, for instance, we have all three on now, and turn off the yellow one, leaving blue and red, which makes purple...
...and we can then turn off that candle. We repeat the process two more times with different colors...
...and there we go! A powerful force lies ahead? Bah, what could it possibly be? It's not like we're just going to stumble right into that fire elemental that's out for our blood, right?
Why are you doing this?
YOU DO NOT DESERVE ANSWERS. ONLY DEATH.
So, we're in for a gimmick boss battle. We have a fire elemental attacking the door that we cannot touch. So basically, it's just a time limit. And in that time limit, we need to beat the shit out of Tophet, lest he turn Norton's Army into Flambé.
Now, he's pretty tough to hit - Kami's only got a 60% chance with Norton's Aim. He's got 170 HP, which is a fucking shitton. He's also immune to some of Dorbi's spells, but thankfully not all of them. Finally, he hits like a truck - his first attack on Kami does a sweet 28 damage.
The second one is worse.
And because he gets two attacks at once, he blasts Norton in the face with 50 HP damage before the game over screen has time to appear. So, uh, let's try that again.
This time around, I don't forget that Norton still has a fetish in his inventory that we can use for a spirit, which helps in a situation where we just need to focus fire the hell out of one enemy. We also put Dorbi on the center of the ley line right next to Tophet - might as well. Norton's spirit isn't the most accurate, but 4 AP every turn helps with that, and it's also mainly there to provide another target for Tophet to attack - which it immediately does.
And the spirit's attacks are just enough damage to come in under the time limit.
Why did you try to kill me?
I COULD HAVE ACQUIRED BOUNDLESS STRENGTH. I LOCATED A SITE OF POWER. THE ONLY ONE NOT YET CLAIMED BY OTHERS. AND THEN YOUR ALLIES STOLE IT FROM ME! FROM DEEP BELOW ANTUMBRA, YOU DEFEATED MY GUARDIAN AND GAVE IT TO PETTY MEN IN SUITS, DEVOURING MAGIC POWER THAT THEY DO NOT DESERVE. I COULD NOT RETURN TO THE ASTRAL PLANE. I THOUGHT I WAS LOST. AND THEN MY ALLY RESCUED ME.
Who is your patron?
THE GOLDEN ONE. THE PRINCE OF PRINCES. THE GREATEST. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? DO YOU KNOW FEAR?
Ah, crap. Not again. Why does Lofwyr keep showing up now?
NO. THE FLAME IS NOT YET EXTINGUISHED. WE SHALL MEET AGAIN. TWICE YOU HAVE BESTED ME. OUR THIRD MEETING SHALL BE YOUR DOOM.
And it just disappears. Well, time to check up on the Army, I suppose.
I am very glad to see you here. I had begun to think that hope had been lost for the remnants of Norton's Army.
Are the children safe?
I am not a praying ork, but I could almost be one now. I thought for certain that they were doomed, as were we all. And then, you arrived just in time to save them. You are directly responsible for the continued lives of two dozen young metahumans, who will surely hold you in esteem for the remainder of their days.
What were you doing before Tophet appeared?
We lost several of our recruits to Shavarus after his plot failed. Lately, though, he has grown even more extreme, and has begun purging non-Trolls from his ranks. We gladly accept his castoffs, and work hard to bring them back into the fold. I've helped lead Norton's Army during the Emperor's absence, instructing them to hone their minds as well as their aim.
Look, I brought your superior to see you!
Orion, we are very pleased to see you once again! You have our gratitude for watching over our flock during our sojourn in Redding.
Of course, Norton. This has proven a wonderful opportunity for me to put my theories about metahuman cooperatives into practice. I believe Norton's Army has become even more formidable than before, but it would not have been possible without the groundwork you have provided.
OK, now we have a choice. We can either use Norton's Army to secure the supply routes, or have them directly help at the base in Redding. I decide for the latter, though honestly, both would be a good use.
I need the remnants of Norton's Army to join me for the battle in Redding.
Friend, after your actions today, I would support you in nearly any endeavor. The invasion of Tir could be a moment of great potential. The forces of humanity are already weakened in this state. Once the elves of Tir cross the border, they will sweep away all within their path, driving Saito back into the sea and pounding the weaklings of Sacramento into the ground. And yet, their short-term triumph would damage our long-term prospects. Without the potent threat of Saito to unite us, we would quickly begin to fight amongst ourselves. Orc against elf, troll against dwarf. So, while it offends me to think that I will be fighting alongside the megacorps, I will gladly do so for the sake of history. The great revolution is coming, but it will come from within CalFree, not from the north. Farewell, Kami. Our forces will join you in Redding shortly. You must play the part that you are destined to play.
Alright, and that's it for this run. Time to head back.
So, once we get back, the contact list is just removed and we get money. Works for me - I guess we could've had some dialogue if Hailey were here (spoilers I guess - I mean, the game already very heavily signposted that the run in San Francisco will lead to us getting back together with her, so it shouldn't be a surprise). Now, time to chat.
How are the preparations going?
I'm feeling pretty good about our chances. You've done a great job at attracting a broad range of folks to come out here. We've got some good soldiers in our group, and lots of other people eager to help out however they can. We should be able to make Tir think twice about even attacking Redding, and if they do, we'll make sure they pay for it in blood.
Hey, that sounds actually decent!
In between, I decide to spend some Karma on Melee Weapons. Attacking multiple targets seems good for somebody like Kami, who dives right into the middle of battle.
Selene still thinks our camp sucks. This would've improved if we had sent Norton's Army to the supply routes, but then our soldier situation wouldn't have improved.
Amelia and Hrafna don't have anything new to say or sell, so let's chat with Dorbi.
Got any plans for the future?
Your organization is paying, so I'll be sticking around here for the time being. After that, who knows? I might track down some of my old buddies who went east. Or maybe I'll put down some roots here. I've started building a reputation in these parts, so that might be worth fostering.
Horatio has nothing to say, so on to Elorn.
Do you know anything about the Tir invasion?
What? Just because I'm an elf, you assume that I'm intimately familiar with enemy troop movements?
You're more local than me, maybe you've seen something.
Well, I don't make a habit of crossing the DMZ into enemy territory, so... no, I haven't seen anything that might help you.
Forget the army for a moment... Norton, who is that? You better not be taking imperial concubines or something.
Will Norton's Army be joining us soon?
We had hoped that they would be here already, but sadly it appears that they have been detained. Moving a substantial force from the Peninsula would be difficult enough, but Saito won't permit them passage through San Francisco, so they have been forced to take a roundabout approach. Our field commander recently petitioned us to ask if they would be permitted to aid the valiant dwarves of Halferville. Apparently Tir has established a covert base in that region and begun sabotaging the settlements. We gave their mission our blessing, but we fear it means we won't have their assistance at the front lines for quite some time.
Oh well, nothing you can do.
Will Colonel Saito help the resistance?
[She pauses for a moment. choosing her words carefully.]
Saito remains an enigma in many ways. He was first invited into CalFree to defend against Tir's last invasion in the 30s, and he probably fears Tir more than any other organization. That said, he's also a very practical man, and unlikely to spend his resources unless he sees a clear benefit to himself. Most of our allies will grow more confident and generous as we convince them of our abilities. Saito may be the opposite. If all else fails, he will commit every last man at his disposal to stop Tir. As long as he thinks we may succeed, though, he will likely lurk on the sidelines, waiting for his enemies to exhaust their power so he can increase his own.
What do you think of our prospects?
I think it's coming together pretty well. You have enough troops and supplies at your location to at least put up a bit of a fight after Tir crosses over. Honestly, though, you might not be able to last until reinforcements arrive. I'd recommend continuing to search for additional recruits and materiel to increase your odds.
And with that, we're down to two options. We can either fast forward to the attack, or take one more run to San Francisco to meet with the megacorps. We'll be doing the latter next time - we still need to get our decker back!