Part 14: Daddy Issues!Daddy Issues!
This was supposed to be the strangler sidequest, but it unfortunately explodes into another sidequest and forces us to progress the main quest. Rest assured, after this progression we will go back to sidequests. Maybe we will even find one that isn't yet another rehash of the trolley problem! Maybe? Please?
Anyway, last time we had killed Robo-Daddy to save some small robot children. We stole a dead robot child to sell its body for money, as you do when you're an RPG protagonist.
As you may remember, the strangley ghost lady murdered us and then told us that she was being mentally implanted in women around Sagus Cliffs. Unfortunately, we can't ignore it because we're still tier 1 and I want more XP, so off we go!
Meet Sigyn. She's named after Loki's wife for some reason, who spent her time holding a bowl to keep poison from dripping on his face after Loki called all the gods assholes and got free booze out of it. Unfortunately we are not reading Norse mythology, we are playing this stupid game.
Character portraits, wasting my time, insert rant here.
I'm pretty sure this "Adahn" is a Planescape reference.
: My name isn't Adahn anymore.
This would be an excellent opportunity to name The Last Castoff. Unfortunately TLC is contractually required not to have an identity.
: I'm looking for a woman named Matkina.
: "The White Death." Her expression goes flat, but her eyes flick to your tattoo again. "I should have guessed that. If Matkina is all you want, then you should ask for her in Underbelly. That's the last place any of my drones saw her, and the levies don't venture there."
: She leans a little closer and lowers her voice. "And if you leave the city afterward, I'd be very happy if you took her with you."
: Another drone swoops past you, stopping just short of the woman's head. It unleashes a series of raspy buzzes and squawks. She whispers something to it, then glances back in your direction. "What was it you wanted?"
: Who are you?
Oh shit! The chief of police! Are we going to get in trouble for starting that riot?
: What are levies?
: Do your levies keep every district safe?
Would a chief of police really admit she doesn't send patrols into the poor neighborhood to random passersby?
: Why don't you send any levies to Cliff's Edge?
Ha ha holy shit! There was discussion in the thread about how Sagus Cliffs didn't seem to have a government, and this is why. They're literally just sitting back and letting a foreign power invade their city blocks from their government headquarters (the generic sci-fi building behind Sigyn here).
I'm legitimately wondering if there's an ending slide where Sagus Cliffs collapses because everyone in the city is an inbred moron.
: If the levies don't keep order in Underbelly, than who does?
Underbelly is where we met robo-daddy.
: How are levies "raised"?
So it's basically conscription for a year, but genre-ified because Numenera.
: The levies seem awfully happy.
There is probably an interesting idea in how what was supposed to bind the community together basically became a blood drive and meaningless sacrifice, but this game won't engage with it.
I'm cutting the "Are you sure" option because it's not interesting and I regret clicking it. We have other questions, so...
: What were you saying to those drones?
So uh, why are we stealing citizens to create guys with swords when we have a network of robots? Can we not put guns on the robots?
: What's in the building behind you?
: Too focused on my studies, I guess.
Alright, enough world-building, let's get to the point.
: You look a lot like someone I met in the Fifth Eye.
: I wouldn't insult you that way. The woman I saw was a younger version of you.
This is gonna be stupid, isn't it?
Sigyn: For as long as I can remember, I felt as though this...other woman...was taking shape inside me. When I was a girl, I'd gaze at myself in the looking glass, and every day I seemed less like me and more like her. I don't remember when I abandoned my family, but I couldn't have been more than ten or twelve. They seemed like strangers to me - I couldn't even remember who they were."
I foolishly subject us to more dialogue.
: I've heard enough.
: So how old are you really?
This would be more shocking if she had a character portrait.
: How long has this been happening to women in the city?
: You said that the levy that was born from your twentieth year was a monster?
Sure. Why not. Let's reduce all death to pestilence.
: Let's talk about something else.
: You don't like Matkina?
Sigyn: I don't like assassins. Especially good ones. I don't like the temptation they represent to people in power...to the people I'm supposed to serve. They make it too easy to solve problems discretely.
Uhhh...did you mean discreetly? Why is solving problems individually a ba - fuck it.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: You look important, and busy. Do you have time to spout exposition in a hopefully nonsexual way?
: REMEMBER PLANESCAPE? REMEMBER PLANESCAPE? REMEMBER PLANESCAPE?
: Never played it.
: Awww. Anyway, I'm Sigyn, I command the city's military force. But hey, I have nothing better to do then tell you about my personal life.
: Oh cool, so you have robots and...levies?
: Yup. Everyone gives up a year of their life to serve in the military to become a citizen. Don't be stupid, it's not actual conscription, it's just genre bullshit.
: So are we going to talk about how reducing conscription to a one-time payment makes it virtually meaningless with no impact on the citizens?
: Fuck no. We're going to talk about how I don't patrol the poor areas of the city, because the Underbelly has been conquered by gangs and Cliff's Edge is home to foreign invaders the government just...isn't going to fight.
: Well, that explains why you're not arresting me for helping start a riot to free a traitor. Nobody gives a shit. Anyway, you look like this weird ghost woman who choked me to de-
: Ooh la la
: It wasn't like that! She said there was some stupid sci-fi bullshit turning other women into her!
: Oh, right, that. Well, I've been supposed to turn into her, but I went and tore a bunch of my life force out to create these useless automata. The one on my 20th birthday was some kind of plague monster. It was weird, but now I don't have to put up with this bullshit. Anyway, I'm really 22 but you have no way of knowing I look older because I don't have a character portrait.
: Does this kind of thing happen often?
: It's been happening for hundreds of years, but everyone was too lazy to do anything about it. Anyway, thanks for letting me unload my personal baggage on you, random stranger.
: Do you know a Matkina?
: Ugh, the White Death. I hate assassins. You would think it would be because they break the law I'm supposed to uphold, but I hate them because they make problems easy to solve 1 at a time, instead of my preferred method of incompetently letting everything explode at once. Also, FUCK CASTOFFS!
: I'm leaving now.
Alright. 3 more women to go...
Rhin and Callistege are feeling chatty today.
: We work well together. Most of us, anyway. We share, we gossip. I am never lonely. And I am in the company of my favorite people.
: But what about when you have to go to sleep and one of them won't stop talking?
: She learned to stop, darling. We taught her.
The hobo kid also is glad to see Rhin. Rhin shoots him down. Hobo kid is going to die alone and unloved.
Otero the hobo exposition kid would grow up to found the Ninth Age's first Men's Rights subreddit.
Anyway I look up a walkthrough for the sidequest and it mentions that I need to start another sidequest to get access to one of these goes ladies. Alright, fine.
Ash of Gods was made on a budget of $87,000 and managed to include unique portraits for even minor characters. This game was made with over 4 million dollars.
: A potential customer.
My guess is that when the writers remoted in they were never able to settle on an actual characterization for TLC, and thus sometimes she is allowed to ineptly try for humor and other times she merely asks questions to absorb exposition.
: "What? No, you're not," he says, effortlessly drawing you into his self-directed tirade. "No one wants these. They're honest, but ugly. Death pulled from dead stone."
: He coughs a cloud of dust. "And I wouldn't sell it to anyone in any case, not even for a tuft of bread. None of them are worth buying. None of them are right."
"Tuft" of bread?
: [Anamnesis] Try to recall why the sculptures look so familiar.
This man is sculpting the Sorrow. When we see the full form of the Sorrow revealed we will understand why he couldn't cut it as an artist.
The Sorrow, to my knowledge, does not have talons. It has tentacles.
: I've seen...aspects of her. Maybe I can help you capture the details.
Also suddenly we know the Sorrow is female. Why? Hell if I know.
: How many statues of this being have you made?
: "Ha! If only my efforts could be limited so. I've sculpted that blasted moment in marble, granite, and clay. I've painted it in oil and blood. It even follows me into sleep, where I weave the scene from clouds and dreamstuff." A frustrated tear rolls down his cheek. "Even those were flawed."
I want you to know Tybir is supposed to be a man wise in the ways of the world and not an abject fucking idiot like he is here.
: You turn your attention back to Zaofi.
: Is there anything you can remember about the creature that killed your subject?
: The creature is hunting me too. I need to learn everything I can about it.
: Tell me about the Dendra O'Hur.
: If I learn anything about your subject, I'll let you know.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I am an eccentric artist! Very eccentric! What am I missing?
: I'm right here. Got any sidequests for me? Can I buy something?
: No all these statues are trash.
: Where have I seen this vaguely sperm-looking monster before...The Sorrow! Oh shit! Let me tell you -
: No fuck the Sorrow, I'm more interested in the dude she was murdering.
: Would not have guessed woman from all the black demon seed. Huh. Well, uh, can you tell me anything about the Sorrow?
: Who could forget such a cliched monster design? Anyway, find me that
: Sure, I need XP.
I go back to the Dendra O'Hur lair and examine the guy's corpse - the guy who did mental damage to us? Anyway, it doesn't count for the quest until we talk to Imbitu, the O'Hur guy in front of the shrine who spews useless visions. Whatever. I do not figure this out and decide to progress the rest of the quest.
I swing by this lady. She knows Matkina and sells stuff that Aligern brings her, but most importantly, she sells guns. I buy an energy pistol for the last castoff and sell some of the vendor trash items.
This should make us significantly less garbage in combat. I will still try to avoid it. Rhin and Callistege get into another chat.
: They just...talk to me. Words, mostly.
: Ah, well, one can mask their intentions behind pretty words, child.
: Is that what you do? I thought you just liked the sound of your own voice.
Not pictured - me running around failing to progress the quest because I didn't talk to (and the FAQs don't say to) talk to that Imbitu guy. More chatting between Callistege and Rhin.
: Your 'sisters'. Could you always see them?
: No. It was the Attractor that opened my mind.
: Whatever makes it easier for you to navigate this world.
I think we are supposed to believe that Rhin is laying a sick burn on Callistege here, but Callistege can teleport and combine her sisters' power for mighty transdimensional attacks. Rhin...can hide better for an effect that is maybe just because she believes in it. Guess which is better?
Oh, and stealth is explicitly only usable in combat. Seriously.
I...what? Are we sexually attracted to her or something? Shame burns our throat?
: You remind me of someone - a ghost in the Fifth Eye tavern.
: You have a woman in your head?
: I'm sorry, but I want to hear about the woman in your head.
: What is that shining object you're holding?
: [Deception] That's a dangerous weapon you're holding. Give it to me.
I'm not really sure why we can cheat this woman but nobody else, but hey! Free shield!
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I HEAR HER VOICE IN MY HEAD
: Hey, you look like that murder ghost! Tell me about murder ghost!
: NO! Look at my etch-a-sketch!
: That's actually a transdimensional thermonuclear bomb. Gimme.
: Later, sucker!
So I go around town trying to get back to the Labyrinth. Murder ghost is not in the Fifth Eye, so I go to the Tranquility Inn because the innkeeper has sexy trance pheromones. Unfortunately, I fail a persuade check twice.
So I resort to huffing jenkem again.
There is a 10-second delay between the black screen and the game playing the "I'm hurt" soundclip.
Anyway, we get more random people in the Labyrinth.
Come on! The Tabaht are just orcs? Really? I don't know why I'm surprised, because The Genocide was moderately interesting, but I keep getting my hopes up for anything original to come out of this game and it keeps disappointing me.
: You remember it? I think it happened a long time ago.
: "Did it? I'm only a broken memory, apparently. What do I know of time?" A wry smile plays on her lips.
What if - and hear me out - you let the characters' dialogue speak for them?
: After a long, quiet moment, she nods as though coming to a decision. "I was there. I remember the screams, the terror. The Tabaht came, many of them mounted on their dragoliths, each of them with a stranger, more terrifying weapon than the one before. Sagus should have fallen, like Shuenha and Iqa and a hundred villages before us. But it didn't. We fought them off."
: She shakes her head. "But what does that have to do with the other women? I don't know. There is more to this story. I need your help to find it."
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, remember that siege from the beginning? I was there. Those Tabaht were just orcs. Keep looking for women to get the real story!
Approaching the Loss-of-Self phantom gets us this:
You get absolutely no points for guessing who her father is.
Ghostly Woman: But the Aeon Priests and chiurgeons couldn't help me. No one could. My father kept me in stasis until a cure could be found.
: She gazes into the distance, as though trying to remember something. "Are the women the result of some attempted cure? I don't know. Please, we're so close. Keep looking so we can find the answer."
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: I remember now! The orcs hit me with some kind of psychic bullshit. No one could do anything, so my father, the Changing God, put me in a stasis chamber and prepared to do something really stupid.
Anyway, I cut out my dumb self running uselessly around and go talk to woman number three.
Specifically, this little orphan kid.
Spitting this update here due to the dreaded emoji limit.