The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 17: I picked Silver Tongue, I swear!

I picked Silver Tongue, I swear!

Goons voted to help the stichus and fight some robots. I'm not going to lie, I totally cheese the last part. If you are offended by me sneaking past a bunch of robots rather than engage in tedious Tides of Numenera combat, I..don't know what to tell you.

We made it to the Changing God's sanctum and shut off the probability machine that was mutating women into his daughter to try to resurrect her. Remember that, it will be important later. As we may or may not be the Changing God, we can loot the place.

Cal wants our sire's book.

: [Anamnesis]: Try to remember where the notes might be.

I want to point out that "datasphere link" is an ability that nanos get, and I have it on Cal.

: Of course. It's more useful to you than to me.

: Even so, please be careful. Accessing the full, unrestrained datasphere might be dangerous for you.

: Tell me again how you're feeling.

: When two great minds complement each other, there's nothing that can't be accomplished. So it is with you and I.

We leave her to it.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Oh shit! Is that the Changing God's book on the datasphere? Can I have it pleeeeeeease?

: As you've risked your life helping me fight plasma cannon robots for a moron, I don't see why not. Why the hell would i pick anything else?

: Oh, wow, I wanted this book so bad. Thanks!

: You should probably be careful because the Changing God's machines are kinda nuts and unreliable as we saw less than five minutes ago.

: Pssh, whatever.

: How are you otherwise?

: We are BFFs because you are smart too!

: Cool.

Running through the sticha lair. If we hadn't persuaded them we could have fought our way through, but, again, Numenera combat is terrible and makes us sad.

We have satisfied your arbitrary and idiotic condition so can we get the rewards?

The weird combination of mysticism and technology doesn't really work in my opinion, and there's going to be more in the post-Chapter 1 update of why I think the game can't be fixed.

: I discovered the location of the Changing God's sanctuary.

Mapper's entire schtick is that he wants to bring people together but the map is a tattoo on his skin that only he can read because he's a mutant. This is probably supposed to be mysterious and interesting, and I imagine security had to drag someone out of the building for obsessively insisting they add a quest to save Mapper and his unique cartography or 20 orphans instead.

: He rubs at his skin, as if trying to rid himself of the mural's image. His blue eye looks anywhere but at himself, and he shivers, bone-deep. "I don't envy you seeing that thing, friend. No, not at all."

Basically, when we want to progress the main quest we ask Chk'ekt back there. Cool.

: Have you been to the sticha lair? I can tell you what's in there.

: Where did you get all those tattoos?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I have completed your arbitrary assignment. The Changing God sanctuary is maybe 500 feet away if you walk through those tunnels.

: Now that you've done that, let me tell you that stichus you were talking to could have let you skip all that this whole time. Thanks tho!

: Oh, also been to the sticha lair. It's a tunnel.

: Yes! My skin mutates with pleasure!

: Uh, what?

: Yea, these aren't tattoos, they're a map. Only I can read it because I'm a mutant cyborg, don't even try.

: I'm leaving now.

Alright. The stichus is really close, so we're going to do that quest first.

If you'll remember, Lord Vuntgen was rallying the people here against the stichus to give them a common enemy. This is not helped by the stichus community burrowing under the poor neighborhood here causing houses to collapse on people.

Anyway, the stichus is hiding in the trash dumps near Avina, Nym, and Zebb's house.

Everyone who predicted more trolley problem bullshit gets a round of applause!

: What is a stichus doing here?

I get what they are trying to do here, but can anyone tell me what abandonment smells like? What does a great void within the earth have to do with it? Wouldn't it make more sense to describe it emotionally?

The answer is of course that whoever was on the remote call with Colin McComb remembered "abandonment" is one of the themes of the game.

: You were sent up here? By the other sticha? Why?

: Sticha dig for food? What do you eat?

This guy is literally starving to death because in a city filled with probability engines, cyborg parlors, aliens in spaceships, and women who can travel to infinite alternative dimensions no one is apparently capable of building a solar panel.

: If you can't make 'sparks' to eat, why haven't you starved to death up here?

Also I don't think our ability to speak sticha comes up here.

He's been living off the random batteries the orphan kids gave him.

: What are you doing in this garbage dump?

I had to actually go back to the update to check that Lord Vuntgen's skin is an "unhealthy shade of yellow". I think this is supposed to be because everyone in Numenera is brown as everyone has married everyone else and you can trivially travel the globe in salvaged teleporters or whatever, but that is not actually explained in game. It does retroactively justify my use of Donald Trump emojis to represent him, however.

: Are you the stichus everyone is looking for?

This also really shouldn't come as a surprise because Vuntgen randomly told us that he was trying to come up with a scapegoat to rally the Cliff's Edge denizens.

: A man with a yellow shell left you in Cliff's Edge? Did you mean a man with yellow skin?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What are you doing here?

: Don't hurt me!

: I won't. Why are you here?

: No one likes me because I suck and can't dig to feed myself. I am weak and scrawny and have only been surviving on the kindness of small children.

: How did this happen?

: Oh that weird yellow dude dropped me off in this garbage dump.

: Huh, bye.

Anyway, I stop by the kids as they usually tell you not to attack the stichus because he's innocent, but we get this.

Uh oh. Remember when we asked the Changing God cultists to take care of these kids with the collapsing shitty house? Well, it collapsed (it is actually gone from the map), and...

Yeah. One of them straight up died! This is after we negotiated that deal with the sticha, so I don't even know. No, you can't help. RIP small, inoffensive child.

: I found a stichus in Cliff's Edge. It's hiding in a refuse heap, and the humans want to kill it. Can you help?

: [Persuasion] Weak or not, it doesn't deserve to die at the hands of a mob. It's your kin.

And I'm out of intellect points, and arbitrarily can't use Tybir's because we're speaking stichus presumably.


Whatever, shitlord, I have the reload button and you have not.

Ok. I've activated our Flex Skill for a Persuasion boost, and refilled our intellect with consumables.

Ok, you'll take the stichus back, right?

This fucking game.

He's not joking, they will give you an actual functioning laser pistol (like the one we bought) for killing the outcast. Whatever.

So I reload and fail the 80% chance again (my guess is that the seed stays the same). Whatever.

Alright, we're going to the Order of Truth again.

Remember Qorro? That guy from the beginning who tried to retrieve us and Callistege warned us not to trust him, so we told him to look behind him and he thanked us while letting us escape?

This is about to get very dumb.

Uuuuuugh. You do not need that hyphen, the dialogue can speak for itself rather than the one-sided argument, and we can see that there is a robed woman. Whatever.

Qorro: What? No, Salimeri, I...I searched the Reef for hours! Whatever fell was long gone by the time we got there!

I promised no Planescape comparisons, but even I know this is a Planescape reference.

: I am not, uh, Adahn.

Passive voice torments.

: That sounds interesting.

: Let's talk about that favor you want.

: Remain silent.

: Why me?

: "Simple," she says. "You are a castoff. All of you were made to be useful in some way or another. All of you are, at minimum, competent. In short, you're better than any of the draff I have at hand."

I am getting unpleasant flashbacks to Wheel of Time and the horrible awful women.

: Yes.

If you remember Ziobe from the Fifth Eye had one of these that could apparently detect devils the entire time and they just...forgot to use.

: I don't work with amateurs.

The game seems to want to present helping Qorro as the good guy option, when he is willing to fight and kill Aligern and Callistege to capture you and that - having proven himself unable to complete his employer's instructions and also being kind of amoral, you should bring him along to explore dangerous lost technology built by a lost civilization. If you were exploring an old nuclear power plant, would you bring a rando who tried to kidnap you for money?

We literally told this idiot to look behind him and he thanked us for doing so.

: Trembling, Qorro pockets the eye and leaves, eyes downcast.

Is this really a man you should be sending into lethal danger?

Salimeri is a horrible mean boss anyway. We leave.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes so you can skip it! posted:

: God damn! You are awful! I paid you real money and you couldn't bring me the falling star.

: I am very sad. Please let me make it up to you.

: Oh, look, a Planescape: Torment reference! Where have you been? We fucked 10 years ago and you didn't even text back! What is wrong with you?

: You know I'm not the Changing God, right?

: Oh, well. Hey, if you do me a favor I'll tell you some useful information. Also, you'll get XP.

: Cool, what is it?

: Go to the place from the start of the game and look for a dome. It is filled with ancient lost technology but also is extremely dangerous. I want you to make it safe for my squishy robed ass.

: Can I try too? I want to prove that I'm qualified for this job.

: Sure, don't fuck it up or you're fired.

: Ok, bye.

: He's gonna fuck it up. He's awful.

: Uh, wow. Bye.

I make a pit stop with these two because we got their quest book from the Changing God's sanctuary and I like having XP.

: You must have met the, uh, previous inhabitant of this body. What did she take?

Falinda: The thief asked. Falinda faltered, but only for a moment. The merchant's library was as organized as a library shelf, and it remembered this face, twisted with desire for the very book in question. It remembered the same voice making promises it apparently had no intent of keeping."

: Here's the Tome of Singing Thorns.

: Humming and Hiding - The Secrets of the Labyrinth of Sound.

Whichever book you pick raises the Tide. This one raises blue, and can be sold for 183 shins which we are going to do in like five minutes.

: Why do you narrate everything I say?

Really. That' know what, fine. Whatever.

Also, I just looked the Singing Thorns book up on the wiki and if you read it you get +1 intellect. I did not know that and now feel like an idiot. Oh well, we can beat the game without it.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes for your mental health posted:

: Falinda saw the book thief had come back, and spewed third person narrative like a bad science fiction game writer trying to come up with characterization.

: Here's your book.

: Falinda would offer the Last Castoff a random book, because, after all, books are hard to sell out of a questionable tent despite the Last Castoff being able to resell them literally two seconds from now.

: Labyrinth of Sound, I guess? Do any of these books give any bonuses?

: Falinda laughed and noted the book the Last Castoff just returned did.

: Cool book.

: Falinda kept up her awful gimmick to point out Tybir was lusting after her.

: Boyoyoyoyoying!

: Why are you doing that awful narration gimmick?

: Falinda could not explain, but she suspected it was because she was poorly written.

: K, bye.

I'm not reloading for the boost. We already missed +2 speed by not killing that kung-fu guy.

The idea of a labyrinth navigated by sound is almost intriguing but this is seriously just classical music and advanced instrumental techniques, pass.

The eye lets us in while I cut an uninteresting description of futuristic retinal scanners.

I just want to point out the description says robes but those are pretty clearly skirts.

: That's their telepathy. Just stay back, and it won't hurt as much.

Incidentally, if you are a nano with the Scan Thoughts skill you actually take mental damage from these assholes.

That's the comparison we're going with. The crow-human hybrids remind her of crows. Really.

: Why are you here?

: The murdens toss their feathered heads at your words and seem to swell beneath their robes. Still, none of them will quite meet your eyes.

This combined with the models makes me thing they're, uh, getting inappropriately excited.

: The largest one bares its talons at you, hissing, and the clinging static of its thoughts intensifies.

: Wait casually.

: The lead murden cocks its head at your disregard, its filthy feathers falling limp.

: [Persuasion] Step aside. Maybe they want to leave this place.

The murdens leave, and more importantly, we can loot the place for a gravity bomb (it does exactly what you think it does) and some cash.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: My head hurts.

: It's because these crow-men have telepathy.

: Crow-men huh? They look like crows. Anyway, they're probably vicious predators looking for a weakness. Better not provoke them.

: What are you doing here?

Birdman: *pops a boner*

: Please leave.

Birdman: Bye.

: Thank God.

Unfortunately it causes this bullshit, which we solve by making Callistege carry a cipher.

We can examine the dead murden.

One of the things I dislike about Numenera is how internally inconsistent it is. It makes sense that TLC can recognize beam weaponry as she's the weird not-daughter of a scientist who owned a space station, an army of robots, and weird machines that could fuck with time. It doesn't make sense that beam weapons are common enough that random crow dudes could be expected to carry them, yet everyone in Sagus Cliffs is carrying swords. It desperately wants technology to be mystic claptrap limited to a few, but the nature of technology is that you cannot do that. You cannot build, say, a computer without knowledge of metallurgy and electronics and in the real world that knowledge is spread out. It's incredibly obvious that they wanted to make it Dungeons and Dragons wizardry, where the nerds are powerful because they're the only ones who read books and you have to invent the entire practice yourself, but building the kind of machines the Changing God was using requires industry. I know I am on record as hating worldbuilding, but this all comes together not as some nerd's passion project but as someone taking the Dungeons and Dragons players handbook and replacing the word magic with nano. People seem to have a fairly high understanding of scientific principles but then they revert back to using middle ages swords.

There's a place for swords in literature, where the sword is typically the weapon carried by knights and other nobility who have divine sanction a la Arthurian myth/Star Wars/whatever, but I will bet the reader actual money that this is done because Dungeons and Dragons did it.

Whatever. Let's take the not-elevator built by a machine civilization that happens to fit humans perfectly.

Oh. Hi, floating drone.

Hey, you guys remember HK-47 from the Kotor games? We remember.

: Bow to the construct.


I'm really sad there's no option to bow mockingly, but then I remember The Last Castoff being sick of all this stupid dumb shit is a GreatEvilKing invention and not intended by the writers.

: Never bow to a construct. It gives them ideas.

: Even the construct seems somewhat taken aback by your show of respect. But it recovers quickly.

: What did you call me?

: You mentioned the other drones. What can you tell me about them?

We really don't need "says smugly" because the dialogue is smug as hell. The reader isn't stupid.

: So the drones are copies of you?

: What are you doing down here?

: I'm leaving.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Peerless: Kneel, meatbag.

: *bows*

: Don't bow to the smug robot, dear.

: Why did you call me a meatbag?

Peerless: Remember Kotor? I member.

: Seriously, what are you doing here?

Peerless: It is very important, meatbag. Now leave or die.

So if you don't attack, what do you do next?

Ok, maybe we can just sneak by?

Nope! You can only hide in combat! So...let's do this.

I'm sorry, it's a crisis because this is Numenera.

Now, there are two ways to do this. One way - which the wiki calls "the brutal way" and I call "the dumb way" is to fight the army of red drones and kill them all. This will take forever, as there's a ton of HP to chew through and this game doesn't have interesting abilities that make combat fun. Or you can do the cool way.

See the objective in the corner? We can just run to the three control terminals and press the "Peerless: No" button, winning this combat. As literally everyone in our party can burn enough speed for 100% hide, we can just...not interact with this combat at all. Really. I recommend you do that.

There's a ton of these assholes and they all mount beam weaponry. Unfortunately, despite these being futuristic attack drones they still float at the slow, slow rate of everything in this combat system and make you wish you were playing literally anything else.

You could seriously be playing XCOM instead right now.

It's a generic sci-fi AI.

You have to do a Lore check to purge the Peerless AI from the first terminal and also spend an action. Hope you didn't double-move to get here, enjoy sitting through turn processing. Subsequent terminals can just be purged with an action. I'm not transcribing the dialogue, you can get the gist from the screenshot above.

One small mercy is that the Peerless drones will not move if everyone is hidden and they have no one to shoot. Peerless is not very bright.

When you activate a terminal it flips the associated drones from red to yellow and they sit there. It unfortunately does not remove them from the turn order.

Bye, asshole!

I want to say this is a Homeworld reference. Whatever. We kill it and this ends the crisis.

I see this AI was built by Reddit. Whatever, free healing is great.

This last asshole drone is the source of the infection, but I'm cutting the update here because of the dread Emoji limit.