The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 19: One Weird Trick To Get Rid of Stalkers! Stalkers Hate Her!

One Weird Trick To Get Rid of Stalkers! Stalkers Hate Her!

When we last left our heroine she had upgraded herself into a crazy cyborg with disappointing abilities to celebrate being nearly done with sidequests. Today we finish up some of the last few sidequests of Part 1, including what is probably the worst take on the Trolley Problem I've ever seen, and progress the main quest.

Anyway, we go to Caravanserai for our next sidequest, and this one is stupid as hell.

This NPC is actually kind of important to the story, so you're sitting through this.

: Try to remember where you've seen Sylph's tattoo before.

: The usual way.

: "There are many ways that may be usual." Her throat works for a few moments before she opens her mouth, exhaling a wisp of greenish gas. "The purpose is to be enigmatic. Understood."

Someone on the writing team is exceptionally self-aware today.

: She regards you, head tilting to the side with a series of small ratcheting noises. You have the absurd impression the motion is meant to be flirtatious. "I hope you will answer another question for me."

: Try to remember where you've heard the riddle before.

So I get distracted thinking the plot dump is here and forget what the riddle was. The answer is "Consciousness," but all I can remember are trolley bells, and this happens:

: Life.

: "An adequate answer," she says, "but incorrect." She raises one hand to form a curious sign with her fingers. When she goes to release it, however, her index finger stays frozen in place and it takes her some moments to disengage it.

: "I have one last question to ask of you. You may not have an answer." She looks beyond you, remaining still for some moments while the gears inside her stomach clatter and whirr. Then she meets your gaze again and asks her question.

As you might guess, this is some blunt foreshadowing.

: I would find my own method.

: [Anamesis] Try to remember where you've seen Sylph before.

So yea, she's a sexbot. Stay classy, Tides!

: "Tell you what, I'll make you a deal," the man says, leaning forward conspiratorially. "I got a male model out back who's a bit more banged up. I'll do you both for, say, 1000 shins." He winks at you. "A lady's got to have her options. I understand. Surely I do." He leans back, pleased with himself, as the memory starts to fade. "So do we have a deal?"

It's kind of weird to me that your past incarnations vary by gender when the Changing God is canonically a man who fathered a child and is worshiped as a man. I get he's supposed to be a trickster like Loki, but still. Granted this is not a game I would trust to handle any gender issues very well.

: Who are you?

: Farewell.

This might not be the NPC I thought she was, or I might have missed content by getting the riddle wrong.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes posted:

: Hi, I'm Sylph. You look like a woman who has nothing better to do than to answer inane questions. What's with the tattoo?

: Sure, why not? Oh, this? Everyone has them now.

: How mysterious. Anyway, want to hear my riddle? What comes in with breath and out with a word, transmutes upon death but can't be conferred?

: Ok...I've seen this robot before...where did I see this

: Nope! So, what would you do if someone succeeded in your life's work, but refused to share how they did it, say, if you were the Changing God seeking mastery over life and death but someone beat you to it?

: Shit, uh....invent my own method?

: Interesting answer. Good luck!

: Flashback!

: Hey, wanna buy two sexbots for 1000 shims? I understand some women are...bisexual.

: Huh. That was odd. Who did you say you were again?

: I am Sylph.

: Bye!

This guy exists. He has a long spiel about a Choir and a Conductor and a fallen city which I suspect is the authors ripping off HP Lovecraft when Lovecraft was ripping off Lord Dunsany. Pass.

He does have one moderately interesting thing to say if we ask him to remake our Numenera.

Now, it's not interesting because of the awful comparison of eyes to outer space, but because the ability to craft Numenera was a kickstarter goal at 4.25 million dollars. Which was met. Now, you might be going "TheGreatEvilKing, are you telling me you can take all these useless grenades and craft a rail cannon? You should do that right now and shoot the next NPC who mentions trolleys."

The answer is despite us raising 4.25 million dollars on the promise of a crafting system, we cut it from the game.

We can also troll some cultists.

There are also these guys. If you succeed on a skill check, they want you to tell them about robots. You can tell them about Ziobe (the psychic in the bar), Sylph the sexbot who is literally down the stairs from them, the robo-daddy bots in the Underbelly, and the Peerless drones we spent last update sneaking past. They give us a pile of grenades and this:

As a combat-focused Last Castoff will get the ability to do all damage as relativistic (cannot be resisted), the objectively best damage type in the game, this is something you never use and sell for 272 shins that you can spend on stupid shit like suicide jenkem.

Not shown: Me wandering into the wrong district and talking to a mercenary who fought in the Endless Battle about how sneaky he is.

What we really want to do is loot this inn room.

The book has a bunch of frankly uninteresting "worldbuilding" I'm not going to transcribe, except it mentions the "Oasis of M'ra Jollos," a promised city map that people paid money for in the kickstarter that got cut. Hilarious!

Thanks Tybir!

: [Success] After a bit of effort, you hear a satisfying click and the drawer opens soundlessly...

This is for a sidequest. Let's start it!

What the fuck is "absolute guile?" Why is this game written so ineptly despite setting itself up for success or failure based on its writing?

Can you say "abusive gaslighting?"

: Can you give me more details of Perseia's appearance?

No, we don't get a picture, we get a cliche. What does this purple-haired woman look like that she should inspire such an obsessive devotion?

: What sort of things will Perseia say when she's raving?

: How did you and Perseia meet?

: What caused Perseia to go mad?

: How do you hope to cure Perseia's madness?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes posted:

: Hey, you got a minute? I need you to find this smoking hot purple-haired anime girl I am in lust with.

: Uh, ok, what does she look like?

: She's super hot and has purple hair! She also thinks I'm a weird creep who wants to fuck her, but I really love her massive ra- er, i love her. Anyway, that's because she's totally insane and I'm going to cure of her madness with my nanopen - er, ancient science. Yes. I just need to isolate her from the world and use my dark mag - , er, science.

: I'm leaving now.

So we go back to the inn and the weird innkeeper there.

: Forgive me for asking, but are you human?

: Tell me about Tranquility's Rest.

Incidentally, I failed to persuade her earlier to put TLC into a trance to hit the labyrinth, and had to pay 10 shins for jenkem instead.

: You're using your tone of voice to calm me. Is that something you learned?

: I found this hair comb in one of your rooms. Do you know who it belonged to?

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hi, welcome to my inn!

: Are you human?

: You're not being rude at all! I'm a mutant and the victim of racism, so I have this inn.

: Tell me about it.

: I use my weird mutant psychic powers to make everyone feel peaceful with pheromones.

: Know anything about this hair comb? Maybe a purple-haired anime girl?

: Nope, and I'm totally not lying.

: Well, we both know that was an obvious lie, but the writers won't let me press you on it until I've talked to that creepy Omahdon guy. Bye!

Back to Omahdon.

: I found this comb in Tranquility's hostel. It has purple hair caught in it. Is it Perseia's?

Real classy, guy.

Now we have to go back to Tranquility and ask her about the hair clip.

You know, I just realized that not only do characters not try to address TLC by name, but no one ever asks for one. It's really weird. I've never been able to check into a hotel in real life without giving my name, but Tranquility just doesn't care.

: I found a comb in one of your rooms, and I showed it to Omahdon. He's sure it belonged to Perseia. She's been here, hasn't she?

: She looks down, embarassed. "Yes. I lied to both you and Omahdon, and I'm sorry for it. But perhaps you'll understand when I tell you Perseia's story."

I...what the fuck is that first dialog option? That's literally something real-life abusers throw at people to trap them. I'm not joking when I say this quest is probably the worst use of the trolley problem in the game. I haven't taken that route, but I really don't respect this games' writers to seriously engage with the "resurrection -> free infinite fucking" premise and present a cogent argument either way. It would be interesting if Tranquility actually had a counterargument and there was genuine dialog, or if the game actually engaged with the abuser mindset to show off how horrific it is. I don't trust it to do either.

: Yes. Love can't be won through obligation. It must be given freely.

: [Persuasion] Can you put Omahdon into a trance? It would give Perseia more time to escape.

We have 100% persuasion here.

: Farewell.

Back to Omahdon.

: I heard a different story of how you met Perseia. I heard you fell in love with her corpse and somehow restored her to life.

: Your story about meeting Perseia is nothing like the one you told me before. You said you were mourning at the same grave.

Omahdon: Can you blame me for telling a tale? Small-minded people would focus too much on the resurrection and not on the love that was born of it.

There are numenera that can resurrect the dead. More on this once we finish the quest.

: Tell me the truth. Did you wake Perseia from sleep or did you resurrect her?

: Tranquility told me you're the reason Perseia is on the run. She hates and fears you.

Dude you literally told us you wanted to get her alone so you could hook her up to a brainwashing machine and presumably then have sex with her.

: If she says she doesn't love you, then you should believe her. Do the right thing, and let her go.

: [Persuasion] The Perseia of your dreams doesn't exist. You're chasing a real woman who hates you. There is no happy ending here."

Fuck off, shitlord!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, I found this hair comb with purple hair on it. Does this belong to that girl you can't get over?

: YES! It does! That lying innkeeper witch took my precious! Go interrogate her!

: Hey, innkeeper lady, I heard you lied to that Omahdon creep about his purple-haired stalking victim.

: Yes, I did. I am sorry, but that guy's a real creep. He saw her corpse and it gave him a boner, so he used his dark science to violate God's will and brought her back to life. Then she was kinda creeped out by him constantly trying to hook up with her and ran the hell away. I don't like lying, but that guy is a weird creeper and I was trying to help a girl out.

: Holy shit, what an asshole. I am a professional criminal and traitor and even I despise this.

: Huh. Despite just learning that there is technology that can raise the dead like Jesus, we're going to just ignore that and realize that maybe trading resurrection for sex is morally wrong.

: Oh good, I thought for a minute there you might be an incel. What now?

: Can you use your mutant powers to put that creep in a coma forever?

: Sounds legit.

: Cool, I'm gonna go talk to that guy.

: So Tranquility tells me you raised her from the dead hoping to get in her pants?

: What do you mean? She totally wants me, dude. I went to all the trouble of raising her from the dead and I haven't even seen a single titty!

: Are you even listening to yourself? She's running away because you're a creeper!

: Just because I defied the will of God, those small-minded fools will never understand! Back in the day they resurrected people all the time! She really loves me!


: How could I be wrong? I know what she really wants.

: You're being an obsessive moron and nothing good will come of this.

: Suddenly, I realize I am an obsessive moron. This makes me sad, because i realize what a massive asshole I am. I will leave her alone now, and be very sad.

Looking at the guide, there is an alternative option where you can have the, erm, parties involved in this quest reconcile but tell Omahdon he was being an obsessive moron.

The Route We Didn't Take, because Jesus Christ! posted:

: She deserves someone who loves her, yes. What if Omahdon could be shown how his obsession is hurting her?

Over Tranquility's objections that he's behaving "like a crazed stalker" you can persuade her that it's totally real love and he won't hurt her. Oh, and that raises the fucking Gold Tide. You get a cypher though, totally worth it right?

There's really so much wrong with this quest that it's not even funny. Remember how the Changing God, the master of science who invented things like space stations, robot armies, and standard-issue time machines for his castoffs couldn't just resurrect the dead, and had to do a bunch of incoherent shit with a probability engine to try to mutate some innocent woman into his daughter, this stupid asshole apparently lucked into industrial resurrection technology and was able to raise Perseia from the grave with the power of horniness. This isn't like Greek mythology where you need to convince Hades to let your wife out as a one-time favor that isn't repeatable, you can just fire up the resurrection engine and bring back Grandma whenever you like. The game makes it pretty clear that people in the Ninth World actually do understand physics and technology well enough to punch holes into other dimensions and do other crazy shit, so why the Changing God was unable to find resurrection 101 was beyond me. More on this later.

I'm ending the update here because Christ, this quest is stupid.