Part 4: Let's Not Talk About RaceLast time, on Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, we got into a fight with some crazy people and used blood magic SO POWERFUL it crashed the game.
The big secret is that we don't actually have to talk to the bank teller. We can just hang on to our Secret Society medallion and maybe sell it for some Cigs later. Talking to him just gets us into a fight with lunatics. That's bad. Moving on to the next room!
Oh, goddammit. Perhaps I should have invested ranks into stealth.
Anyway, Lunatics have a few abilities.
The Waltz of Madness here wastes a turn, much like combat in this game wastes your time.
The Howl of Madness does minor sanity damage to the entire party. Now, you might think because the Outsider hung around with ghouls in pyramids and shit a few lunatics wouldn't faze him. You'd be wrong!
The lunatics can also throw rocks, which are very annoying when you're trying to set up Blood Circles. I don't bother casting at all this fight, we have enough good melee fighters that I'm just bashing lunatics to death off screen.
The last notable ability of the lunatic is that they will scream this out and then attack another enemy for you. It's pretty great when it happens.
After beating a bunch of mentally ill homeless people to death, we then trigger the progression escape. If you get Bertha to one of these squares you win the encounter and get full XP and ANGST.
This is not the last we've seen of the ANGST mechanic, not by a long shot! Note that we didn't get any loot - you're expected to loot the bodies in combat if you escape. Lunatics suck and don't have anything, so I don't care.
We pick up the second of these.
Apparently "3" is a Big Number in Stygianworld.
This triggers a fight. It's not very interesting.
This is spit of al-Razi in action.
It does a fair bit of damage along with a damage over time. You used to be able to upgrade it to a fuckoff AoE attack, but the spell upgrade system broke the devs' spaghetti code so badly they just purged it from the game. Really. No, you do not get to start with the upgraded variants, what do you think we're playing?
Truly a nuanced look at mental illness.
Eduardo busts a cap in the ass of crazy.
Not to be outdone, Bertha shanks this unfortunate lunatic.
After a few more rounds of stabbing lunatics, the Outsider vomits acid on to the last one, killing him and ending the fight.
We get a whopping three whole cigarettes! We also get to loot the room, which has some valuables and science components.
If we were rationalist, we could read Darwin to recover sanity. We're not. It also betrays a hilarious misunderstanding of Lovecraft's themes, that human science is inadequate to explain anything deeper about the universe and our understanding of the laws of nature is so flawed as to be useless. Reading about conventional biology really shouldn't help at all, but eh. It's not like anything in this game is based on something more than a surface reading of Lovecraft's work.
This will teach someone Evil Eye. Both of our mages already know it, we can't teach Eduardo magic, and I'm not sure if you can level the other two companions in Occult.
Last room of the bank! There is one final note from the manager that we need to read.
Because we have a good Melee skill, we can open the safe. If we didn't have any useful skills, we'd have to go outside and pay the Mafia guy with the sledgehammer to open it up for us.
Also, we level up.
I give Bertha the increased spellpower perk and teach her science and the occult. We'll want the science later.
The Outsider is still a better mage than us and there's nothing we can do about it. I bump his melee and occult skills and grab Wisdom of the Centuries.
The Dismal Man left us this shitty poetry to go with the sweet Cthulhu statue. It actually gives us 10 sanity.
Ok, what do you want?
: (Show him the poem)
: What can be the scavenger of the seas?
: What was meant by the line about bodiless star-farer?
It's the fucking Whisperer in Darkness, what did you expect?
: What do you think the drop of swarming chaos symbolizes?
: And the book that should not be read?
This is either going to be the Necronomicon, or they'll get cute and say it's one of the other five books Lovecraft made up.
: Where do you suppose we might find it?
"The depiction resonates" is just an awful sentence.
: Understood. Let's go.
The Great Evil King summary posted:: Can I see that note?
: Here you go. Can you tell me anything useful about it?
The game actually does something kind of right for once.
This is why I wanted science. We are going to need that kerosene later for a truly awful portion of the game.
So we can go to the far east screen of Arkham to loot this bus, but that's not why we're here. I want you all to meet one of this game's most odious NPCs.
: Are you all right?
: Will you cut it out, please?
: This is not funny.
Is there even any running water in this town? The river is full of tentacles and stuff, and all the food we eat is out of cans. Shouldn't everyone smell like ass?
: Who is that man with paint all over his face?
You know game, it's not helping your case when the one guy speaking vaguely against racism is also characterized as smelling like a skunk's anus.
: He's still putting on a show?
: Who is he performing for?
: I need to go.
What the fuck is this shit? Look, it's a game and it is allowed to take some liberties with the American history of racism. None of the businesses have Whites Only signs or any of that crap. Why is this guy here? Are you trying to deliver an anti-racism message? It's not working! Your mouthpiece of "racism is bad" is characterized by being a smelly hobo, and he is still hanging around this racist guy instead of going literally anywhere else. At best you can interpret this pathetic blackface loser as being a commentary on how racists condemn themselves and look pitiful, but the game has already failed at this for the simple reason that everyone we have met so far is some kind of stereotype.
-Marino is a toxic masculine Italian man who is also part of the mafia.
-Eduardo is a vaguely Hispanic man who speaks poor English, loves violence, and lusts after white ladies
-Isidore is a Jew who is described as having eyes that flash with greed.
Oh, and the only black guy we've met is a jazz musician, the trumpet player in the bar.
Next time: Being a dick to a dying man!