The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 23: The Tragic Tale of Tides Dog

The Tragic Tale of Tides Dog

By the will of the goonmind, last update didn't happen. We never got emotionally blackmailed by Rhin or tolerated Erritis for any longer than we needed to to deal with a space squid.

I fuck around with this thing to get the loot, chat with Matkina, blah blah blah.

Turns out the central pillar is a loredump machine that dumps the history of Sagus Cliffs. It's surprisingly uninteresting.

Callistege tries to command Oom and fails. She is not happy about it.

Anyway, I take a rest at the Cult of the Deathcheater (snicker) and inspect some of the random crap we've picked up.

Apparently if we have Lore training we can get MORE infodumps out of vendor trash. To my knowledge these robots simultaneously never come up again, but are more interesting than Tybir.

I start the levy quest and go place the order for Particle Effects at the Order of Truth.

Callistege also tries flirting with Oom again, but the little grey blob is a serial monogamist who cant handle all those pink-haired women at once.

The Order of Truth guy recognizes Cal, but she's not gonna stay because she has mad science to do with us.

Anyway, for Oom's quest we need to poke those stupid cones from the second update or so.

Anyway, we need to talk to Oom.

Oom has a weird meta history with this game.

: What do you know about Sagus Cliffs?

Get used to this. All Oom's dialogue is in onomatopoeias. You might think this would encourage the writers to write less because there's no dialogue, yet they take the opportunity to step up their overwriting game under the mistaken belief that more words = better. I assume they were visited by the ghost of Robert Jordan.

: Can I examine you?

Anyway, where was I? As I mentioned earlier, Oom wasn't in the original release of Torment. He was a kickstarter companion named "The Toy" who was cut so Numenera could make the release date with all the women abuse quests intact.

: Touch Oom's eyes.

The official rationale from going from six to nine companions was that the writers needed time to focus on making the companions interesting. As a counterargument, I will offer Tybir. The man got no votes for the final party.

Now, as you might imagine, people were furious when the game released. This is not the first stretch goal to be explicitly cut, but the donors were rather upset that they had basically been lied to about the content of the game that - need I remind you - they paid for and that had been advertised to them with these missing features.

Anyway, they released an announcement that they'd restore our little goo buddy within the week of release and finally got him out in a content update entitled "Servant of the Tides".

: When I touched your eye, you made me think of the cones in the Reef. Why?

: Pet Oom.

: You run a hand over Oom's smooth...back?

: I have other questions.

: I have some questions for you, Oom.

Really? We just said that, writers.

: Oom's eyes collapse and shrink at your question, moving to the ground. It could be deference, or embarrassment. It could be anything.

: And yet, you find a strange...focusing in your mind. As if the part of it Oom occupied is preparing itself for your questions.

See, this isn't helping. The game telling me Oom's inhuman expressions are mysterious isn't nearly as effective as describing the expression and then not explaining it. This forces me, the reader, to actually engage my brain and interpret the text, instead of dully scanning it on a surface level for your entertainment.

Of course, this game is a shallow copy of PS:T designed to cash in nostalgia, so maybe they do really think the reader is that stupid.

: What are you made of, Oom?

So, in other words, it's probably nanomachines.

: Why were you in that mirror to begin with?

: If I offended you, I'm sorry.

: Let Oom hug you as long as it wants.

: I sense the Tides more strongly when you're around. Why is that?

: I have other questions.

: Let's talk about our companions.

: Tell me what you think of Callistege?

: Do you get along with Rhin?

: ::mmmelp:: Oom says, turning from side to side, as if confused.

For a game that aspires to be high literature, scenes of people behaving like people are really rare, so this stands out to me.

: Actually, let's move on.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey Oom, what's up?

: You would think a character with less dialogue would have less to say, but you'd be wrong. You see, I enjoy the sound of my own voice, and am possibly paid by the word, so...

: *grows eyes*

: *pokes eyes*

: Ew, wtf?

: Check out those stupid exposition cones! Meanwhile,

: But...why?

: Disgustingly cute onomatopoeia.

: So, what do you think of Callistege?

: *fart noises*

: I don't think he likes me very much.

: What about Rhin?

: Who?


: *poke*

: Ha ha it's just like a dog!

Now, I'm gonna be frank: this section is a lot of words. The writers deliberately strip the visuals from their game so you can read more "quality" Tides of Numenera prose. You might want to just skip to the summary, because we are about to get inundated in Oom's tragic, edgy backstory. You didn't think a nanomachine dog could have an edgy, tragic backstory? Man, are you in for a surprise!

: You see Oom's reflection in their gleaming surfaces as they dance and find you can't look away.

: "Rorn", a voice says from the space between the cones, and your vision blurs and goes dark.

So, yea, Oom has PTSD. Really.

: [Raises Gold Tide] Comfort Oom.

Oh, it's not a void, it's the Proper Noun Ominous Void beloved of sci-fi fantasy writers.

Also, yes, the "hooded figure" is a hint at the Sorrow's true form. It's exactly as disappointing as it sounds. "Bruised light" is just kinda cringey.

: [Raises Indigo Tide] Why does the Sorrow want to kill me? What have I done to it?

So this is kind of mysterious, but it's not a mystery we're in a real hurry to solve.

: [Raises Silver Tide] Was any of that real? Or was it something you made up for me to see alone?

You know what would have made this work better? A cutscene! This is entirely reliant on imagery for any effect at all, and this is a video game, not a book!

This is your cue to exit the conversation and click on Oom.

: I want to examine you again.

: Lay your hands on Oom's eyes.

: Lean on Oom for support.

Why yes, the screen IS fading to black.

Again, this would have been so much better as a cutscene or even as a slideshow with the Merecaster scene artists showing the Changing God in a variety of incarnations cutting up a frightened Oom. An image is worth a thousand words, after all.

Here we try to show how strong it is by showing our castoff's reaction and that it made her very sad. The problem is that these writers attempt to describe an eternity of torture in a short paragraph that emphasizes that you feel something, and then repeat "cutting" twice. It's not great.

: [Raises Gold, Red Tides] You must be strong to have survived what the Changing God put you through.

: Oom? Why are you showing me your past?

You know what this constant Tides repetition is reminding me of? That stupid pattern from Chrono Cross. You know the one.

: If the Changing God was so cruel to you, why are you helping me?

Huh, a Venn diagram telling us we're nothing like the Changing God. Cute.

: Channel the Tides through Oom's eyes.

Again, cutscene.

: Wait. You taught the Changing God about the Tides?

: Were your other captors using the Tides as well?

: Why do I need to learn about the Tides from someone who isn't a castoff?

: If you taught the Changing God about the Tides, than I only exist because of you. Thank you.

: The Changing God wouldn't exist if not for you. Does this bother you?

I don't even know.

: You want me to seek a better understanding of the Tides from someone who isn't a castoff? Who?

Gee, thanks asshole. We literally have infinity alternative dimension Callisteges right next to us, Rhin is from another dimension because of course she is, and we seriously run into extradimensional entities every 5 steps.

: Can you teach me the language you were using before?

That might possibly make these conversations less annoying, so we're not going to do it.

That ends the relevant portion of the conversation, so have my (heavily edited) summary.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Ok, talking to the cones, what's your tragic backstory?

: OoOoOoOo The Sorrow it is very spooooooky!

: 2spooky for me! Aaaaah! Oom, why does this thing hate me so much?

: Disgustingly cute onomatopoeia.

: Ok, seriously, did you just make that up to troll me?

: Disgustingly cute onomatopoeia. Now we must go to...the flashback zone!

: Le Gasp! The Changing God! He is torturing Oom for centuries yet it is confusingly described as an instant!

: Shit, the writers had no idea how to make that emotionally impactful so I'm crying, Oom. Why are you showing this to me?

: The writers realized the tides weren't important enough in v1 of this game, so they added me to make them seem deep and interesting.

: You can talk now?

: Hell no! I'm just going to draw confusing pictograms filtered through the writers' awful prose in this visual medium!

: Cool. Why are you helping me if my space not-dad was such a dick?

: You aren't him.

: Anyway, now that we've established I'm a better person than him, I will use my slavemaster-gained powers to pry out another flashback!

: Oh no! Some bad men were keeping Oom and his friends in an energy cage, and stole energy in a vaguely rapey way described as "a violation". Then the Changing God freed Oom to do experiments to learn about...the Tides!

: Huh. So you taught the Changing God about the Tides, along with the evil Rape Scientists, and these pictograms are a language?

: Yup. Anyway, I want you to find an extradimensional random man to learn about the Tides from.

: Anyway, thanks for teaching the Changing God about the Tides so I can be born. I guess that makes you like my mom? Anyway, the Changing God wouldn't exist except for what you taught him. You OK with that?

: Kinda conflicted but weirdly proud.

: Can you teach me that pictograph langauge?

: Lol nope.

Anyway, that concludes Oom's quest until part three of the game when we meet that extradimensional weirdo and learn more about the abortion created when the D&D alignment system got drunk and fucked the Magic: The Gathering color wheel on a trolley.

There's some more crap in the area we can pick up. This is gained by rooting through a trashpile.

This obelisk infuses the crystal shard from the beginning. Thanks to drkeiscool, I can inform you that the monolith also gives you a game over if you touch it. The loredump machine indicates its a weapons array from an old war machine that attacked Sagus cliffs.

The infused shard is strictly worse than our laser pistol.

We can also flip off this random structure in the Underbelly for XP.

I also buy some new armor for our castoff so she looks less like a hobo. Fun fact, only the Last Castoff can buy and equip armor. Everyone else is stuck with what they come with, though there's an NPC later in the game who can upgrade it.

Finishing the levy quest lets Rhin level up and maybe actually be useful for once in her life.

This is the basic healing spell, so now Rhin's job is to hide in a corner (literally) and heal the crew. I also give her a point in the healing skill so she can restore a lot of HP at once.

It is at this point that I realize in horror I have forgotten one last sidequest. Well, not forgotten per se, but I thought I locked us out of doing it when we did the probability machine quest.

: [Raises Silver Tide] My business here is none of yours.

He'll never become a Beedrill now, alas.

: [Raises Silver Tide] You can count on me.

: I want to examine the murder scene behind you.

People in Numenera are stupid and deserve to live in squalor.

: [Raises Blue Tide] The murderer may have left behind evidence, I won't know unless you let me look.

: Do you have any clues about the killer's motive?

: Do you live in the Underbelly?

Wow. I...actually like the "smiles like he's paying for it by the millimeter" line.

: Fulsome seems like a strange name for you.

: Farewell.

We can check out the circle.

: Inspect the hand in the pool of blood.

: A flayed hand with long, slender fingers lies palm up in the center of the pool of blood. The rest of the victim is missing.

: Examine the bloody circle on the wall.

Sadly, we actually need Matkina with us to complete this quest. I'll splice her dialogue in now rather than subject you to the party-swap scenes.

So, yes, these are the Death Cultists from last update. These guys were actually a kickstarter goal, along with another cult of flagellants who as far as I can tell never made it into the actual game.

: Surrender to the memory, no matter how much it hurts.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this garbage posted:

: A man has been murdered! Help me out while I stand here and stare at this crime scene angrily.

: Sure, I'll help you. Wait, why is that the egotistical answer?

: Good.

: Could I inspect the crime scene?

: Why would you want to do that? WHY?

: So I can look for evidence about the murder you literally just asked me to look into?

: Sure.

: Do you live here? Why are you named Fulsome?

: Nah, I'm a weird hobo gang boss, but I love this place because it has nice mutants and robots. My name is a wacky nickname from my mentor. Anything else?

: Nope. Gonna inspect the crime scene now. Huh, a flayed hand. Suddenly I'm a hardened badass inured to suffering despite crying like a baby during Oom's flashbacks a few minutes ago.

: Hey, that's the symbol of that uncreative death cannibal cult the devs promised as a stretch goal! You can go talk to them to progress the plot now!

: Aaaaah! A spooky foreshadowing! A generic evil void with maggots! This is so spooky, I took psychic damage!

Anyway, to progress the quest again we need to talk to Fulsome, who lets us talk to Imbitu and interrogate all the cultists.

So, there are five of these assholes. Imbitu explains he's innocent but was hanging out with Fulsome at the time of the murder, and when you talk to Fulsome he confirms this. He does have a bit to say about the Children of the Endless Gate:

We get permission to harass the acolytes.

Anyway, we know Devourer of Wrongs is innocent, so let's ask him. He's pretty angry that the cannibals are actually murdering people instead of just eating people who die randomly, and gives us this advice.

This, unfortunately, leaves us with three more of these assholes who we need to go through their entire dialog tree. The first time I played, I legitimately thought this was a cross-examination deal but you're apparently expected to go through their alibis.

Uuuuuugh. Let's get this over with.

: Imbitu gave me permission to ask you about the murder of Fulsome's protege Wheedle.

: Did you know Wheedle?

: I want to talk to you about your eating habits.

: How many corpses have you eaten?

: "You mean besides you, shulmeat?" he says, chortling.

: Doesn't eating human flesh bother you?

Oh, he's not a bad cannibal, he's just...addicted or some shit?

: Why did you eat corpses if it troubles you so much?

: "It doesn't trouble me," he growls, but his voice is shaking. "It just ain't easy. But it'll get better. Look at Imbitu. He's been doing this a long time."

: I want to ask about something else.

: Have you ever heard of something called the Endless Gate?

: Tell me what you think about the other members of your 'family'.

: What are your opinions on Imbitu?

: What do you think of Gh'zei?

: How do you feel about Kiyatawa?

: He opens his mouth to respond. Closes it, thinking.

: "Something's wrong with her," he says finally. "An' I ain't stupid. I know how that sounds, coming from me. Just... something's broken in her, an it's always getting worse."

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, what's up? Did you kill that Wheedle dude?

: Nah, tasty lady. He was an asshole, but I was too busy getting drunk to do it.

: So, uh, how many people did you eat? Do you like eating human flesh?

: Yea, I ate, like, a lot of people, mannn! It's not freaky at all and I'm totally cool with it, for real!

: If it freaks you out, why do you do it?

: I gotta be cool.

: Know anything about the Endless Gate?

: Nope.

: What do you think of the others?

: Imbitu's pretty cool, Gh'zei is a weird-ass creepy mutant, and Kiyatawa...that woman ain't right.

Anyway, Gh'zei is next.

: Imbitu says I can ask you about the murder of Fulsome's protege.

: What do you know about the murder?

More pointless weirdness for the sake of weirdness in

: What is that word you used to describe murder? That clicking, growling sound?

: "Word?" she says, blinking. "Oh, yes. Your language does not have the word, so we use our own."

: She clicks her teeth together thoughtfully, then answers. "We know of murder of course. To leave a body to rot is to say that the soul inside is not worth keeping. This, we punish. This decision is not for anyone to make."

: [Raises Blue Tide]: I see. You only think it's a murder if the murder doesn't eat the entire body.

Remember, there was a flayed hand left at the crime scene.

But...wait! Isn't that leaving the body to ro - ah, fuck it.

: You don't think Kiyatawa or Mallet killed anyone?

: Do you know about a group called the Children of the Endless Gate?

: Where did you see the bloody circles again?

: I'm done asking about the murder.

: What did you gain from... eating me?

: There are many of us.

We have the opportunity to lie to her for Gold tide, but let's be honest, Tol Maguur sucks. I wish you could send Gh'zei her way, to be honest.

: Who are you?

Yup, Gh'zei is of course from another dimension.

That is...incredibly stupid.

: [Raises Indigo, Blue Tides] You're saying that the individual dies, but the soul is dispersed among all who eat the body?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes posted:

: You here to offer me more of that tasty half-bald girl flesh?

: Nah, I'm here to interrogate you about the murder.

: It's not a REAL murder! Real murder is when the body is left behind, because that wastes the soul and tells people you don't care about them. It's totally OK to kill people and eat them...but only a kid would leave delicious, delicious hands.

:'re saying the other two didn't do it?

: I didn't say that! Those two are delusional.

: Know anything about the Endless Gate?

: Seen it a few times.

: I was tasty?

: Yes! Are there more like you, who can regenerate for infinite free tasty meat?

: Uh, yes. Lots.

: You should send them my way, so that we will never starve again.

: Uh, what? Who are you?

: Oh, I'm a mutant from an alternate dimension where there is no plant or animal life and the only thing we have to eat are each other. Then I came through a portal to learn about the wacky magic here where you can just eat a dude to preserve his memories, so no one on our plane would die unremembered.

: Cool...bye!

Anyway, time for the last interrogation.

So, yes, Kiwatawa here got hit by the probability machine, which is why I thought we were locked out of this.

: Imbitu says I can ask you about the murder of Fulsome's protege.

: Mallet says he caught you eating a corpse on your own.

: Do you know anything about the Endless Gate?

: Do you have any idea who the murderer is?

: Why do you think someone killed Fulsome's protege?

We can ask her about the Gate again but she just shakes her head in confusion.

: I want to know your opinions on the other Dendra O'Hur.

: What are your opinions on Imbitu?

: How do you feel about Mallet?

: What do you think of Gh'zei?

That wraps up the questioning of Kiyatawa.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Kiyatawa: Woah, you tasted great! What brings you back?

: I'm investigating the murder. Know anything about it?

Kiyatawa: Well, everyone hated that guy. He got messed up, ha ha!

: Anyway, Mallet said you were eating a corpse in the market?

Kiyatawa: He's a crazy jealous murderer guy. I just...found it.

: Ever hear of the Endless Gate cult?

Kiyatawa: Nope.

: What do you think of the other Dendra O'Hur?

Kiyatawa: They all suck!

So, with such interesting interrogations, where do we go next?

Oh, that vaguely worded shit about a corpse was supposed to be at the time of the murder? I don't really like this quest.

Anyway, get ready to interrogate the merchants for a lot of information an -

Oh. That...that was easy. Prata here is the only merchant who's actually seen Kiyatawa here, and we caught her lying about the gate. I find some weird and wacky shit while looking, though.


: The S...your subject's murderer came here?

This is actually kind of interesting. It characterizes the Sorrow as something other than a mindless killing machine, which is why it's tragic it's buried under this one sidequest.

That's more like it, stay classy Tides. We can ask them for more about fucking for Blue Tide points.

Anyway, I'm snipping me going back to Kiyatawa and her lying her ass off about being drunk, so we can go back to Fulsome. He confirms Imbitu's alibi if you ask.

Anyway, we tell him Kiyatawa did it.

He sends the guards off, and they return in a bit.

Anyway, that is the actual last Part I sidequest we are doing in this LP. I don't like it very much. There's no opportunity to confront Kiyatawa about the murders because she has to appear in a future boss fight and it never feels like The Last Castoff is smart enough to actually cross-examine the suspects. On the plus side, it's not obviously a trolley problem sidequest, so...points for that I guess?

Anyway, Erritis sucks and I'm going to make him work off the debt.

: [Raises Silver Tide] Are you telling me that you can't turn working on an airship dock into an adventure?

Neither Tybir nor Erritis are selectable, and I think that's because they're both in Caravanserai where we are now.

Alright, back to part two!

We get to deal with this asshole again.

: Why do you want to find them?

: But why must you open the Endless Gate?

: Are you Children of the Endless Gate? Do you know Kiyatawa from Sagus Cliffs?

: [Attack] I don't think so.

Klin'kar: I will flay the skin from your muscles, the muscles from your bones, and free your light into the Endless Gate!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Klin'kar: Help me kill some dudes, stranger!

: Why?

Klin'kar: So we can open the Endless Gate! Duh!

: You know a Kiyatawa?

Klin'kar: Maybe. Help me murder?

: Die!

We can intimidate them off, but I think the best way to celebrate finishing the first third of the game is to suffer through pointless Numenera combat.

So Klin'kar here gets a free action at the start of combat to put up the EVIL particle effect on the stairs so we're stuck in the battle arena.

The cultists have a bunch of moves like this and something called "Possession" that are vaguely shadow-themed that you can't learn. It doesn't matter because these assholes only get two turns.

Remember when I bought all that shit at the cyborg lab? Our castoff is fighting unarmed because I got her the wolverine claws and she rips the crap out of Klin'Kar for 11 damage.

Oom's goop spit kinda sucks. His big gimmick is that you can turn him into armor, but then he can't take turns. Screw that!

Callistege can hit all these losers for 20 damage, and the cultists have 42 HP. I gave her and the Castoff the buff sharing rings, and it turns out Cal's teleport gimmick hands out 30% evasion when she uses it. This ALSO applies to our high-speed melee castoff now, making her really hard for enemies to hit.

It's not a long fight, these dudes get torn to shreds in two turns.

You guys had weapons. You could have fought alongside us, seeing as we were fighting for your lives.

: What if I refuse?

: [Raises Silver Tide] I'll help...for a reward.

You're asking me to risk my companion's lives to fight dark cultists with strange powers. Give me some damn money.

: [Raises Gold Tide] I'll do it.

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Beltrax: Wow, you killed those suckers! I'm Beltrax.

Ronos: And I'm Ronos. Anyway, having hid like cowards while a literal child stood and fought, we'd like to ask you to go kill all the cultists. They are mean poopy heads!

: Why the hell would I do that?

Ronos: The cultists will kill us all, and we will be very sad. Also, all the knowledge we've looted might be gone, or something.

: Got any money?

Ronos: Honestly, I was hoping I could hide like a despicable piece of shit for free, but I guess we could find something.

: Cool. I'll do it.

I'll try to get a Part I postmortem up this week so we have some more to discuss.