Part 6: Greed is goodPart VI: Greed is good
This is Gaius Goonius, and he'll be starring in the side playthroughs. First up: merchant.
Merchant is arguably the easiest background for beginners, as you'll rely entirely on dialogue skills and won't get a sniff of combat if you're smart.
I'm getting good vibes from Linos.
Remember Gracius, the merchant with the map who ended up dead? Linos was behind it.
: You'll kill a man for trading in your town?
: What about the laws?
Oh, well if that's all...
We're transported to the Boatmen of Styx guild. It's nice to see someone who enjoys their work.
: This time?
I invested some points in Trading since we're a merchant. It'll come up a lot.
I didn't know Stalin existed in this universe. Time to see our buddy, Feng!
He's his cheery self, as usual.
: What do you do around here?
He's also the sass dispenser. Time to show him the map.
Our Streetwise/Trading is high enough to know Feng's bullshitting us.
: Easy there, Feng. Let's leave this "valuable artifact" act for farmers and discuss a reasonable price.
: Here is the money. What else can you tell me about the map?
This sounds familiar.
: How grateful are we talking about?
Time to squeeze Feng a little.
: [trading] I wonder what you will do once the new loremaster settles in. I've heard that it's hard to start begging at such an old age.
Nice. We'll deal with Cassius right away.
Instead of shanking the doofus, we'll convince him to leave town.
: You aren't getting it, are you? If you stay here you *will* die. Do you want to wake up everyday, wondering if today is the day? Do you want to live in fear, never knowing when the assassins will strike?
We tell Feng the news, he gives us the ring, blah blah blah.
Something I didn't show off in the main playthrough: there's a trader outside the inn we can bilk. It's easier if we have the merchant background.
Ah, there's nothing like shaking down hapless citizens. Puts a smile on my face.
With that out of the way, we go back to Linos.
: About Gracius' map...
I imagine Linos bathing in a pile of gold every day, like Scrooge McDuck.
: What should I do now?
: Cado's tavern? Isn't that the thieves guild?
: Why do you care about the Imperial Guards?
Linos sounds like Mr. Burns in my head.
By the way, the Zenon we referenced earlier? He's right here.
: I have some questions...
Q & A time!
: How long have you been with the guild?
The Commercium operates much like the mafia, it seems.
: Why did he refuse?
: Who runs the Commercium?
Great. Sounds like Strabos is another unbearable, power-hungry tyrant.
: Who else has the power in the organization?
Linos, Strabos and Athanasius could form a comedy team. Call it "The Three Sociopaths."
: Any tips?
Thanks for the SP, Zenon.
: What do you do here?
I dunno; the Commercium is less of a hen and more of a viper.
Off to the palace. We talk to the preacher along the way, but things go differently...
Instead of asking about the Gods, we can go on an ego trip.
A major ego trip.
We need a charisma of 9 to pull off this next bit. Luckily, we do!
Yes, we convinced this man we're the fucking Messiah. How many games let you do that?
Huh, this is different. Thank god we don't have to waste time with Dellar.
Back outside we go. Looks like we have to complete Dellar's missions after all. Before we leave...
: I've heard you raided caravans back in the day.
Aw, poor Dellar. Sadly, his training is wasted on this character.
At the bandit camp...
: I'm here to negotiate.
: Lord Antidas will certainly appreciate your kindness, but a thousand coins is too much.
I told you Trading would come up a lot.
: How does an Imperial Guard become a raider?
Boy, people will tell you anything when you've got god-like charm.
: So, how did you end up here?
Pay attention to this next part.
: I've heard of such platforms. It's said that there is a similar device in the Commercium's building in Maadoran.
: A temple carved into a mountain? It's got to be Hellgate. The stories I've heard match your own -- it's a gateway to the underworld. No man has ever returned for only the dead can dwell there, or so the legend goes.
: Do you remember where this cave was?
Back to Dellar!
: They want money. They asked for a thousand, but I talked them down to five hundred.
Oh come on! I went through the whole negotiation for nothing?
: Then pay the raiders to attack the Aurelian outpost. You'll kill two birds with one stone.
Back to Esbenus!
: blah blah, do the thing, blah blah
God dammit, why do I get pushback on every plan I propose?
: [persuasion][trading] Do the thing and get paid.
Back to Dellar! Again!
Yeah, it looks like Esbenus held up his end of the bargain.
We could keep the money, but, uh, that seems like a bad idea.
And he gives us the power module for keeping our word. See? It pays not to be a backstabbing douche, Cassius.
From here, we activate the smelter like we did in the main playthrough.
You'll notice we can do something else at the control panel, but our Crafting is too low. We may find out what it does later...
We show Antidas the map and he goes through his spiel.
Remember when we asked Antidas about his House and he shut us down?
: The story is most inspiring, my Lord.
So, Daratan was king of the hill until the war against the Qantari almost wiped them out. Then a prophecy said Antidas would rebuild the Empire and, being a stuck-up noble born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he swallowed all of it. Yay!
: Speaking of rings, check out this piece of work!
Hilariously, Cassius spots it's a fake immediately. Time to shit on his expertise.
: The only ring you've handled is the one on your cock.
: Shut up and sit down, my unassailable logic has bested you.
Eat my entire ass, Cassius.
Next time: Subterfuge, forgery, and windbags