Part 6: Ghouls' Night OutPart 6: Ghouls' Night Out
Last time, we finished our business in the Taris Lower City, which means we're now ready to head down to the Undercity and meet the horrible diseased rakghoul monsters we've heard so much about. Without any further dawdling, let's get to the elevator and make our way down.
That headgear looks so, so dumb. The next time I record, I'll remove any and all headgear and won't be using it for the rest of the game because these horrible things are seriously cramping our style. Yes, that means we'll miss out on various bonuses, but this game is easy enough anyway and fashion is very important.
Let's just get on with this, Carth.
Listen, sister... just because we're working together does not mean you get to badger me with constant questions!
Do we have another problem, now?
Blast it if you aren't the most frustrating woman to talk to! Isn't there someone else you can harass for a little while?
No, sadly there isn't. If there was, that'd really break up the monotony of having Carth as our only conversational partner for the first few hours.
Carth just doesn't get it. Hey! I see a swoop bike!
I... *sigh* Okay, I give up. You win. Look, I suppose I... could use someone to talk to. I'm just not used to it. And I don't know why you're so interested. But here goes.
I'll get back to you in a second, Carth, but more importantly we've got more swoop bikes! I don't think I've ever actually noticed those in the background before. I suppose it makes sense that they'd be traveling on what passes for a road here, instead of being in the pedestrian areas. But yes, I believe Carth was about to finally tell us more about his past.
Saul was my commanding officer back when the Mandalorian Wars first began. He taught me everything about being a soldier... and I looked up to him. Saul approached me before he left. He talked to me about how the Republic was on the losing side... and about how I should start thinking of my survival. I know now that he was trying to recruit me into the Sith, but I couldn't have conceived of it back then. I argued with him and he got angry and he left. I never saw him again.
I just... I couldn't conceive of it. He... he couldn't be serious. I was wrong, of course... he not only left us for the Sith, he... he gave them the codes to bypass our scanners. I remember waking up as the first of the Sith bombers snuck past our defenses and began destroying half of our docked ships. I knew right away what had happened. I... could have stopped him. I could have stopped it all.
I don't know. Maybe. He might have killed me if I'd tried, or I might have killed him. I was stupid, however, and I let him go.
But I don't want to talk about it right now. Let's go.
So, Carth was betrayed by his mentor, the man he admired most in his military career. That will go a long way towards explaining his uneasiness around us, but there's still more to the story and we'll learn about that eventually. For now, though, we should get going.
That is a lot of blaster turrets. Keeps the swoop gangs away, I suppose, and ensures we won't be fighting our way into the elevator.
Unless you've got the proper security papers you better just turn around and go back the way you came.
I've got my security papers right here.
Let me see... hmmm, these look to be in order. Okay, you can go down if you want. Can't say I envy you, though. The Undercity is crawling with mutants. Rakghouls, they call 'em. If you see anything moving down there, shoot first and ask questions later.
Noted. Let's go.
We've reached the Undercity, and immediately someone's trying to shake us down. That's not a very promising start to our visit, although at least these guys don't appear to be rakghouls.
I think we might be able to afford that, but I doubt the elevator actually belongs to these fine fellows. Yes, there are two beggars here, they just look exactly the same.
Here in the filth and darkness we claw out a wretched existence, scavenging and begging just to survive long enough to see another wretched day.
This is our village. We live here in the undercity. You have to pay us five credits for using our elevator.
Sure, okay. I guess we can spare some credits to these poor souls.
Credits, my brother! We have credits! Now we can buy food and medicine!
Hush, or the others will hear us! They'll want our credits! We have to hide them!
Err, did we accidentally do a bad thing there? (No, that's just how you get more light side points, and these guys will never show up again)
Carth, don't be rude.
Well... I suppose it does look quite nice. It's just a shame about all the people.
Gendar, the leader of our village, tells me I should spend more time trying to improve things down here and less time dreaming about something I can never have. Maybe he's right. You probably think I'm a fool, having dreams of a place I've never even seen. But when l was little, Rukil used to tell me stories of what it was like up there.
Rukil? Who's that?
Rukil's the oldest man in the village. The kids call him Rukil Wrinkle-Skin, but he's a kind man. He used to tell me the greatest stories when I was a little girl. I still like to listen to his tales about the Promised Land, even though I know they're just legends. But it helps to make the Undercity seem less... less dark, somehow.
The Promised Land? What's that?
It's... it's just a story to make little children smile. Rukil believes in it, though. Sometimes I can almost believe it myself, but then I look around and I see the ugly truth. *sigh* I guess we have to make the best of what we have though. If you really want to learn more about the promised land you should speak to Rukil.
Where can I find Rukil?
He's wandering around somewhere on the south side of the village. He doesn't move too far... it's hard on his bones. He's over 100 years old! The children laugh at him and people think he's crazy because of his stories about the Promised Land, but he's really just a kind old man.
Where can I find Gendar?
He'll be somewhere in the village. I couldn't say where for sure. He's always busy, doing whatever he can to make the lives of the other villagers easier.
Have any other up-worlders come through here recently?
There were quite a few people from the surface marching through the village, but none of them bothered to talk to me. Gendar might know more about them.
Do you know anything about the escape pods that crashed into the Undercity?
I don't know anything about that, but maybe Gendar could help you. Sorry... is there anything else you need?
Well, not really, but since it doesn't seem like Shaleena gets to talk to visitors very often we might as well ask her about the Outcast village.
Some of the people have given up all hope; they've become bitter and depressed. But most of us are good people... despite what our ancestors may have done. Gendar could probably tell you more. Or maybe Rukil. You could talk to them if you want.
So hold on a second. These people have been living down here for generations after some of their ancestors got banished to the Undercity ages ago? Their village is RIGHT NEXT to an elevator leading to the Lower City, and there is only one Sith guard (and even he hasn't been there for that long, considering that the Sith only occupied the planet recently). There are several blaster turrets, yes, but those do not shoot on sight and presumably have to be activated by the Sith guard. Yet, for HUNDREDS OF YEARS nobody here has apparently thought about getting into the elevator and making a break for it. I know for a fact the Outcasts have weapons and armor, we'll meet a merchant in the next five minutes, so that wouldn't be a problem either.
Yes, if they all tried to force their way up top, there would likely be casualties but presumably that would be worth it for not having to live amidst a bunch of literal monsters. Do people still get banished down here? If so, who does the banishing? The Sith? Am I missing something? Because if I'm not, nothing about the continuing existence of the Outcasts makes one iota of sense. Am I playing Fallout 3 all of a sudden? What is happening?
I suddenly have a terrible headache.
Unfortunately, that's all Shaleena has to say to us and we can't tell her more about ourselves either.
The Undercity in all its glory. As you might expect, it's dark and depressing, and hopefully you like grey and brown because those are the only two colors we'll be seeing for the next hour or two. Shaleena mentioned Rukil and Gendar, so let's go introduce ourselves and see if either of them knows anything.
The what now?
Despite Carth's concerns, Rukil doesn't seem dangerous. A bit crazy, probably, but not dangerous.
Maybe we can get him to explain himself a bit better, because right now we have no idea what he's babbling about.
Perhaps I can make things more clear. Some things, at least. My name is Rukil, the oldest Outcast here in the village. Rukil Wrinkle-Skin, the children call me sometimes.
It's a shame the game only had the one old man NPC model, because Rukil does not look like someone who has lived in this pit for 100 years.
The true path? What does that mean?
No, no, no. Not yet. I must be wary. Careful. You may be a false savior. Dare I share my secrets with you? No... not until you prove yourself.
Please, up-worlder - will you help an old man? Will you seek out my apprentice in the Undercity? Her name is Malya. I must know of her fate, whatever it may be. I must know what she... found.
Sure, we can keep an eye out. It's doubtful we'll find a whole lot, though.
I'll be back if I find anything out.
I wish you luck, up-worlder. Come speak to me again once you have discovered the fate of my apprentice.
Well, that didn't help us very much, but we'll help him out.
Carth's journal entry has been updated as well.
Maybe Gendar here will actually have some useful info for us.
Carth, please behave yourself. You're not wrong, but please behave.
I am Gendar, the leader of this village: as my father was, and as was his father before him. Many of us have been here for generations, our ancestors cast down long ago. There is no return to the surface for us, or our descendants. But somehow we manage to survive amidst the filth and roaming bands of deadly rakghouls.
You live next to the elevator. You have guns and armor. Why is this so difficult?
But life goes on, and we must try to make the best of what we have. And maybe someday we will find a better life... Ha! Listen to me. I'm starting to sound like Rukil.
So people are still being cast down? How does that even work? I'm sorry I'm harping on this one thing, but I forgot how silly the whole setup was.
The rakghouls are monsters, hideous mutations who feast on the flesh of our villagers. Their diseased jaws can infect those they attack, transforming the victim into one of those abominations. We know of no cure for the disease, and for the good of the village we must banish any who become infected, lest they transform and turn on us.
I want to ask you some questions.
Ask your questions, up-worlder. I will answer to the best of my knowledge, though I know little beyond the borders of the Undercity.
You said something about other up-worlders who came by here recently?
Our village has seen many visitors from the surface recently: armored troops, swoop gang members, mercenaries. They come to search our sunless world. They are even searching the sewers.
I'm looking for a Twi'lek named Mission Vao.
Yes, I have seen this Twi'lek many times, though I have never spoken to her. She and her Wookiee companion often pass through our village on their way to explore the sewers.
How can I get to the sewers?
If you dare to travel those dark tunnels you would be wise to go heavily armed, unless you wish to become a meal for the rakghouls and other foul creatures.
Great. Sewer level incoming. Most people who have played KotOR tend to hate the Taris section with a passion, to the extent that "Skip Taris" is one of the more popular mods for the PC version, and stuff like this is why.
At least we now have some idea where to head next.
We can talk to the random Outcasts wandering around the village, but they don't have anything of real interest to say.
This guy does, however.
Carth really isn't enjoying his time in the village, but he's not wrong when it comes to this particular Outcast. He sounds very shady.
How do you manage to run a store here in the Undercity?
If a villager comes across any useful salvage in the Undercity they bring it to me. Every so often members from the Lower City gangs come down to trade for the salvage. They'll exchange food and medicine for engine parts, old blasters and the like. Sometimes they even give me credits if I have some really good stuff.
Let me see your inventory.
It ain't the best stuff - mostly salvage and such. But the prices are right.
First off, we're gonna need some antidote kits because we WILL get poisoned at some point.
We'll also buy this heavy pistol for a nice damage boost. By the way, don't sell your stuff to Igear unless you're desperate, because as an Outcast he's not very rich and can only pay you half the default selling price.
Looking good. Weapons in this game have different models, although it's often kind of hard to tell and their textures are extremely low-res.
At least they had the sense to build a wall around their village to protect from the rakghouls.
As we approach the gate, this cutscene activates.
This scene was quite a bit longer when the game was still in development, but got cut down to what we see here. There were some more shots of the rakghoul pursuing Hendar, for example.
And if I open the gate they will kill us all!
Do we have to do everything down here? (yes, yes we do)
Anyway, there's our first glimpse of a rakghoul. They are these creepy humanoid mutants running around on all fours and trying to bite and slash at everything that moves. In the original version of the cutscene, you got a much better look at it.
I can't open the gate... not while the rakghouls are so near.
You would risk your life for a stranger? Heh. You are brave, up-worlder. I will open the gate for you, but you've got be quick. In a few seconds I must close and lock it again.
Hendar, you were supposed to run.
Hendar does not run, and instead chooses to fight the rakghoul with his staff.
Okay, that's not good. Thankfully, much like a Resident Evil protagonist, we can't get infected with the disease that transforms people into flesh-eating horrors. However, the rakghouls can poison us on hit and and inflict weakness, which causes your attribute points to go down by 1 every six seconds, for 36 seconds. As you can probably guess, that will fuck you up.
Case in point. If you get poisoned here, you're basically toast. You may have time to use an antidote kit, especially if you do the inventory screen exploit, but usually you just get wrecked and there's no point wasting healing items. Fortunately, Carth is able to dispose of the rakghouls.
All's well that ends well. Except for us, because we're seriously injured and in dire need of healing after all that.
Thankfully, this Outcast healer can help us put our guts back inside where they belong.
For our own sake, I'd prefer if she healed us.
Aside from the obvious, of course. Please, can this wait? We can talk later.
Yes, we've established as much. Would you kindly heal us before we bleed to death here?
For the sake of the village, we have to keep the infected ones locked away. And when they finally do transform into rakghouls we'll let them destroy each other.
There must be something someone can do!
Nothing can be done for the infected villagers. Even the serum to counteract the rakghoul disease wouldn't be any use, now. Nobody would be foolish enough to risk going into the pens to give them the cure: the infected ones could transform into rakghouls and attack them at any moment.
Great, sounds fun. Could we please receive some medical attention now?
That shouldn't have been as hard as it was. We can go into the cage right now, but since there's no way we can help the infected ones we shouldn't do that.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's finally head out to the Undercity proper and see if we can find anything. That's a Sith patrol up ahead, maybe they have some of that rakghoul serum we heard about.
However, before we can continue on, Mission stops us. She's clearly in considerable distress.
Me... me and Zaalbar were just wandering around here in the Undercity. You know, looking for stuff we could find, just kind of exploring. We do it all the time.
I guess with a Wookiee at your side you've got to figure you can handle the odd rakghoul attack.
Only this time they were waiting for us. Gamorrean slave hunters. We didn't even have a chance to run. Big Z threw himself at them, and he roared for me to run! I... I took off; I figured Zaalbar would be right behind me. But there were too many of them - he couldn't get away. They're going to sell him to a slaver - I just know it!
Do you know where they took him?
Please don't say the sewers.
It's a deal - as soon as we get Big Z back, I'll show you a way into that Vulkar base! Now, come on - We have to find Zaalbar before they sell him to slavers - or worse!
Do you know where he's being kept?
And with that, we finally have more than one party member. Let's see what Mission is all about.
Mission comes equipped with a stealth field generator, which I'm sure would be very useful if we were ever planning to use stealth. She also has her own custom vibroblade, which we'll equip for the time being.
She is also a level behind, so we'll just get her up to speed. Mission is really good at stealth as well as demolitions, the latter of which will come in handy soon. Her security skill is also excellent, but so is ours.
I ended up giving Mission the extra combat suit we had lying around to boost her defense a little.
Now that we're done with that, let's see what the Sith soldier up ahead has to say.
We've already lost one patrol... we figure the rakghouls got them. We've had so many encounters with those things we've actually run out of rakghoul serum. Plus we've had several skirmishes with looters from those Lower City swoop gangs. I'm telling you, we should just stay in the Upper City where we're in control!
At least we didn't have to fight the patrol, I guess. Sadly, they're out of rakghoul serum, so we'll need to find that someplace else.
Oh, is that why you're down here? Search and rescue? I didn't think they would send anyone. They were in the southern section of the Undercity when we lost contact. I would have gone to investigate, but my orders are to search for those crashed escape pods... even if it means leaving another patrol to die.
Come on patrol, let's get back to it. The sooner we get this search done the sooner we can get out of this mutant infested hole. Move out!
Mutant infested hole is right. This place is absolutely crawling with rakghouls, including some stronger ones such as the Rakghoul Fiend.
This isn't really the time, but why not.
"Mission, could you come a bit closer so I can hear what you're saying? Carth is in the way, too."
I want to know a little more about you, Mission.
Really? You want to know about me? Nobody's ever really been interested in me before. What did you want to know?
This was before the gang wars were out of hand, but even then the Vulkars were scum. A few of them were hassling Big Z, trying to pick a fight - but he wasn't looking for trouble.
That seems like a bad idea.
Anyway, I don't like Vulkars at the best of times. And when I saw them picking on this poor Wookiee - all alone on a strange planet, overwhelmed by the big city - I just lost it. I screamed out 'Leave him alone, you core-slimes!' and charged right at them. One of them saw me coming and slapped me so hard he just about knocked me cold.
That also seems like a bad idea.
Those Vulkars didn't scare me. They're nothing but cowards. I knew how to deal with them. Of course, I never got the chance. I guess Zaalbar didn't like seeing me get smacked around. He let out this howl and yanked that Vulkar a meter up off the ground and held him there by his throat.
The other two screamed and ran off. Can't say I blame them. The first time you see an angry Wookiee up close it isn't a pretty sight. I thought Zaalbar was going to rip that punk's arms off and beat him to death with his own fists. The Vulkar was so scared he fainted. Or maybe Big Z's breath just knocked him out. I keep telling Zaalbar to brush those choppers of his, but he never listens. Just stay upwind when he's speaking and you'll be fine. Anyway, I knew those Vulkars would be back with friends, so I grabbed Zaalbar and we took off. Ever since then we've been a team. We look out for each other, you know?
We're pretty far from Kashyyyk.
Doesn't much matter to me, though. I accept him for what he is, not what he was. Me and Zaalbar like to live in the present.
How did you survive before you met Zaalbar?
What's that supposed to mean? You think I can't take care of myself? I've got street smarts! I know how to get by on my own! In fact, I look out for Zaalbar more than he looks out for me, you know? Big Z's a little bit too gullible to make it alone on the mean streets of the Lower City.
My brother's a touchy subject, you know? It just so happens I don't really feel like talking about him right now. Nothing personal. Let's just get back to the business at hand, okay?
Yeah, I'd wager Zaalbar might be more appreciative of us saving him from the Gamorrean slave hunters than talking about him, so let's get a move on.
Even more rakghouls. In case you hadn't noticed, there are lots of rakghouls down here.
As we cut a swath through the horde of rakghouls, Mission levels up. Generally speaking, I'll be going with the recommended skill point applications for the party members, so from here on out I'll only show the Skills screen once for each companion so you get a general idea of their skillset.
Mission has the Dueling feat, which means an attack and defense bonus of +2 while using single one-handed weapons. Because I tend to prefer dual-wielding, I actually never noticed until right now that Dueling actually applies to both melee and ranged weapons.
I really wish there was a cosmetic option to keep the party members' default appearance regardless of the equipment they're actually wearing, like RPGs these days tend to have. The brown combat uniforms are just so tedious to look at.
Eventually, we come across a dead Sith soldier who obviously got on the wrong end of a rakghoul attack. He's got a bunch of goodies on him, but the one we're after is the rakghoul serum. We'll take this to Zelka at the clinic once we make it back to the Upper City, but that'll be a while so we'll hold on to it for the time being.
Party members can also have conversations with each other, and they're often a lot of fun.
Yeah, but that's only since the Sith occupation. Before that... well, I guess it wasn't all that different, really. Hmm... maybe Taris ain't as great as I thought, you know?
Trust me, Mission. There are a lot of worlds better than Taris. There are worse, too. But Taris is no place for a kid to live on her own - even a kid who's got a Wookiee to look out for her.
I'm sure Carth means well, but he should know already that Mission does not take kindly to people calling her a kid.
It's like we're traveling with a bunch of children. Well, Mission actually is one despite her protests, but you know what I mean.
Guys. Guys, please. We're supposed to be rescuing Zaalbar, not bickering amongst ourselves.
Carth just got owned by a teenager.
To the northeast, we see a crashed escape pod. We also see several mines of the Minor Frag variety, so we have Mission recover them to be sold later on.
The only thing of interest near the pod is this Republic soldier, who must be a survivor from the crash. We should have a chat with him and see if he knows anything about Bastila.
Well, that's not going to help.
Fortunately for him, we've got the rakghoul serum and enough doses for several people, so we're able to help him out.
To administer the serum, Zila walks over to the soldier and stares at him.
Bastila? She wasn't in this pod. We were tracking her pod just before we hit the planet's surface. It went down somewhere to the west. We lost the signal when our own pod crashed. Maybe... wait - what was that? Did you hear that? I thought I heard something.
I didn't hear anything.
That'd be because there was no sound effect or anything to indicate something's going on.
The terrified soldier runs off before we can question him any further...
...and proceeds to run directly into the claws of a waiting rakghoul, which he really should've seen because he was looking right in its direction. Well, that's one dose of the serum down the drain.
However, we earn some light side points and that's what matters. We kill the rakghoul and its friends and continue on.
Here's one of the entrances to the sewers. We're not going there just yet, because there are still things for us to find here in the Undercity, specifically the western part of the area.
As we head west, we run into Canderous and some of Davik's men.
Hm... by looks of you I'd say you're down here for the same reason we are: to salvage something from those downed Republic space pods. Let me give you some advice: forget about it. Do yourself a favor and just head back the way you came.
This isn't a good place to stand around chatting. The Undercity is crawling with rakghouls. I've already lost half a dozen men to those monsters.
More rakghouls? What a surprise.
And here they come. Time for yet another rakghoul fight.
Pictured: Yet another rakghoul fight
Okay, boys... we're getting out of here before I lose anyone else. I can't carry all this salvage back by myself! You'd be smart to get out of here as well. Even if you can handle the rakghouls I doubt there's anything worth finding anymore.
But the Lower City gangs got here first. Anything worthwhile in those Republic pods is probably in their hands now. Davik won't like that.
What can you tell me about Davik?
What are you, an off-worlder? Everybody knows Davik. He's a member of the Exchange. You know - the interstellar crime syndicate. Smuggling, gambling, extortion - Davik controls it all here on Taris. That's why I'm working for him. But lately the Lower City gangs have been giving my boss some trouble.
What do you know about the Lower City gangs?
This isn't really the place to have these kind of conversations. But I guess I could spare a couple seconds for you - after all, you did help us out with those rakghouls. The Lower City is overrun with gangs, but the two most important ones are the Hidden Beks and the Black Vulkars. Used to be the Beks were the big dog and kept the others in line. But lately the Black Vulkars are moving in on Bek turf and challenging them for control. The Vulkars are even starting to defy Davik! Take these escape pods, for example. Everyone knew Davik would want first crack at them, but I know for a fact those damn Vulkars have already sent their own salvage party down here.
Looks like he's only got one of the boys left at this point, the other two apparently got killed by the rakghouls that attacked us just now. Davik's gonna have to hire some replacements.
Carth levels up and learns Sniper Shot.
Yet more rakghouls. I'd also like to point out that Mission is fighting three or four rakghouls on her own there, and winning.
...good work, Mission. Not even a scratch on her.
Past the rakghoul horde, we come across a dead Outcast.
This is Rukil's apprentice Malya who, sadly but not entirely unexpectedly, has lost her life in search of whatever it is Rukil sent her out to search for.
Her journal is intact, though, so maybe that will shed some light on the situation.
Promised Land Apprentice Journal posted:
This journal details the search for the Promised Land carried out by Rukil's Apprentice. Most of the entries are mundane; however, the last entry is quite interesting:
"I have uncovered evidence that others have been seeking out the fabled land, and that their treks have led them into the sewers. I have decided that I must go there as well."
Interesting. Next time, we'll take the journal to Rukil and see if we can learn more about this "Promised Land", and then we'll head down to the sewers to fight more rakghouls and a small army of pig men!