The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 26: Negotiations Go...Poorly

Negotiations Go...Poorly

Last time on Tides of Numenera we got trolled by RPG Codex kickstarter backers who managed to create a dumb in-joke that works perfectly with this game's love of "lore".

The kickstarter RPG Codex monster doesn't have much to say if we talk to him again.

Unfortunately, this asshole does. He also reminds me I could be playing Starcraft instead - the original, not sitting through 2's godawful Blizzard writing.

Now, I have no idea why anyone thinks The Last Castoff is in any way wise, as she routinely fails to pick up on obvious hints or actually do anything besides ask "what's that" like a five-year-old. That said, we may as well play along because this guy has a sidequest and we like XP. Right? Right?

: [Raises Blue, Silver Tides] Can I see the note? I might be able to shed some light on it.

: Tell me about yourself.

: "I have decided. My name is Phoenix." He says the name as though tasting a new wine.

: He holds up his hand, and for a moment you can see light fading through it. "I am...a seeker? Is that how one would say it? Yes, I am a seeker."

: Can't it come from within and without?

Is this guy a Planescape reference? Is he supposed to be Dak'kon?

: Why don't you remember your name?

Why is this a question we care about? Seriously, the Last Castoff doesn't have a name. There is no scene in the game, to my knowledge, where you can pick one for her. She never cares, no one in the party asks her name - not even Rhin - she's just a nameless clone of The Changing God, who also doesn't have a name. When we met his daughter she never mentioned it, and no one seems interested in finding out.

I go with the Silver Tide option because it slightly affects the ending.

: [Raises Silver Tide] Yes, although the importance is what we make it.

We will meet these crystals and Phoenix is full of shit

: Are you from this world?

Ok, I am 99% sure this guy is supposed to be a Planescape reference.

: Can I see the note that brought you here?

I'm not even going to parse that. I think it's supposed to be commentary on having a goal versus wandering around, but this entire conversation is just a circlejerk on how deep the game is.

Oh, this is a sidequest by the way.

: Have you had any trouble from the cultists here?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hi, who are you?

: Remember Planescape: Torment? Remember Planescape: Torment? This game is very deep, and you are a deep philosophical explorer for playing this game.

: Why have you forgotten your own name?

: Because I'm a PS:T reference, of course. Now have a sidequest.

: Sold!

I just want to point out that this is a standard teleporter you need to get through this level, and the game will not let you proceed until you read this entire fucking text dump on how it's like, a teleporter or something!

I can't tell if it's these writers or if the Numenera setting is all about navel gazing at how awesome technology is when you don't understand it. Probably both.

Oh, and when you go through it dumps more unnecessarily text on you. Enjoy!

This is for Erritis' quest. Unfortunately by trading him into servitude, we can't call him out here. You know what? This probably makes me a bad LPer, but we're not getting him back. Erritis sucks and is annoying. Yea, it blows that we don't have any characters capable of using heavy weapons, but that is not worth me tolerating Erritis. If you all really want to see Erritis, play the game yourself.

This guy has a spiel about how he's a cyborg and encouraging people to take spiritual pilgrimages, but also more importantly has a store where we can buy stuff.

Callistege is looking for something and interjects to ask this guy.

We will be able to use these soon.

More importantly, we can buy guns! At least I think it's a gun? I was going to go into a rant about how nobody in Numenera, despite understanding interdimensional physics, has bothered to build muskets despite all these aliens and robots lying around who understand basic chemistry, but the air-puff thing has me confused. Coilgun maybe? Whatever.

Anyway, the heavy ranged weapon here has the same damage as the not-a-gun. Whatever. I buy the gun for TLC.

Rhin opens her mouth here.

: ::ssrsrs::

: Well, it was meant as a compliment.

Lastly, we have one bit of pointless weirdness before we go into the Necropolis. Ok, it's not pointless, it's foreshadowing.

: Examine the crystal.

The crystal swirls madly, and your mind is pulled back into memory - but not your own. This is a stranger's life.

: A life of torment. A lifelong torment. From his first conscious moment, he has been surrounded by monsters, a sacrifice to the unseen. A hair's thickness from consensus reality, horrors crawl and gibber, and he must howl with them or be devoured.

: When at last he can open a door to the world of sanity, to escape this endless pain, he does... and he steps through into an abattoir. Robed and hooded cultists devour the dead, and they revere him for the journey he's undertaken.

: In their adulation, they strive to follow his path, wallowing in their own shame and agony, an endless burlesque of horror they hope will end in transcendence. He flees from them, from a darker menace inside him, but they follow, inescapably. His "children".

This is, by the way, going to give us another sidequest where we have to ask around to find stuff about Choi, but we get some stat boosts out of it, so I guess we're doing that.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: OoOoOoO There's a craaaaaaaazy mannnnnn OoOoOoOoO! He is crazy, but there are cultists who revere him! They kidnapped a girl! Go find her! OoOoOoOoOoO!

Incidentally, the cultists we killed are frozen in their combat idle animations. No, I don't know why, but rest assured, the QA on this game is as bad as everything else.

Anyway, we can finally enter the Necropolis where the main part of Act II takes place.

: What's going on here?

This is the leader those three idiot cultists mentioned before we killed them all.

: He looks around, comprehension dawning on his face as he takes in the room and its contents.

: "Ah, it's not what you think." His mouth widens in an ugly smile. "We were just defending ourselves, trying to reclaim what small part of this work Fate has seen fit to cede us. It never would have come to this if we'd only had someone to help us explain..."

: There must be some way we can solve this peaceably.

Spoilers: We're not really doing that.

: [Raises Blue Tide] If you kill them all, how will you get the code then? You'll be lost forever.

This is the only option that doesn't make TLC sound like a complete moron. These guys are cannibal cultists who the other cannibal cultists think are too hardcore because this group murders people to eat them for our obligatory Lovecraft ripoff. Appealing to their desire to save lives is...somewhat misguided.

: [Persuasion] Just let me talk to them. It won't cost you anything to try.

This ends the conversation.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What's going on here?

: Uh, just a hostage situation, but it's only because we're poor speakers. These assholes locked down the tomb so we couldn't go to Hell Of No Spiritual Significance, but that's OK, because we're like, nice guys.

: You do realize that if you massacre them all you won't get the code, right?

: Nuh uh!

: Looks like I gotta deal with this stupid shit to advance the plot, lay it on me.

: Deal!

Anyway, I check out the corpse first.

: Go through the corpse's pockets.

Notice that none of the other hostages are paying attention. But...

: [Raises Gold Tide] Close the corpse's eyes.

Truly, a real hero for our times. I suppose if you were being generous you could say we were investigating, but come on.

Anyway, one of the cultists has a real name so we talk to her.

Again, what makes this woman alluring? Why does TLC notice this? TLC doesn't understand sex at all and asking people about it when it comes up gets you Blue Tide points. She seems to be a warrior, is TLC looking for more friends? Who the fuck knows.

: Who are you?

: You wouldn't be thinking of pulling those daggers on me, would you?

: "I'd prefer not to," she says, palms of her hands flat on the rounded pommels of her twin weapons. "You seem pleasant enough. I suppose we'll see how things go, won't we?"

: You mentioned an "underhouse". What's that?

: Tell me about your "family trade".

: She barks a laugh, hitting her forehead with the heel of her hand.

: "Where is my head today. I'm a... what's the word you use here? Torturer. I get information through pain. Underhouse DiMathe was famous for it, and I was the only one of my family left. I though I'd make them proud by following in the trade here." She shakers her head, sighing at her own naivete.

Oh man, player, are your expectations subverted? I want to say there's a Gene Wolfe shoutout as well, except Severian was more interesting than literally anyone in this game.

: Talking about the death of your world doesn't seem to pain you all that much.

Remember, nothing in Numenera has spiritual significance, so the world ruled by torturers being dragged down to hell is completely coincidental!

No spiritual significance, certainly not related to Greek myths of hubris or Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Nah.

Really, Callistege? Your entire deal is an immortality experiment. Sure.

: Any suggestions on how to get information out of the Memorialists?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hi, pretty lady! Who are you?

: Oh, I'm a trained torturer from another dimension. I used to be a noblewoman, but then not-demons with no spiritual significance came along and destroyed my homeworld, so I escaped here. Everyone thought being a torturer was dishonorable until I was recruited by this cult! Anyway, I try not to worry about death and stuff.

: What a deep perspective.

: I know, right? Anyway, you should try playing good cop to the Memorialists we have hostage.

: Cool, bye

I'm honestly not sure why they gave us such a detailed backstory for such a minor character, especially as she's gonna help us test our new gun anyway.

I guess she's supposed to be one really fucked up seeker of truth? I suppose she would fit right in a Terry Goodkind novel.

Really, if you wanted to ask "what does one life matter", Jaelyn here would be an interesting take on it. Her entire life has been defined by abuse and indoctrination that cause her to torture others - can she be saved? Is she worth saving? Can we swap Tybir out for her, please?

Whatever. Let's talk to that Memorialist lady from earlier.

This guy doesn't know the password, but he tells us the hostages were part of an adventuring party before they became hostages for this incredibly idiotic cult.

Talira here, who was happy we closed the corpse's eyes, is the one who actually knows the password.

: Who are you?

: Why are you crying?

Why do you think, dumbass?

: Do you know the password to the whisperlock?

: [Raises Gold Tide] I am not one of them. I want to help you.

: [Raises Gold, Indigo Tides] Their leader is in the Necropolis. If you give me the code, I can find a way to stop them.

Holy shit! It's a miracle! This is the first time, excluding the DLC character who was retroactively added to prove the Tides matter, that our Dominant Tide has actually mattered in a conversation.

: [Raises Indigo Tide] I promise.

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Waaaa!

: Who are you? Why are you crying? Does it have anything to do with your dead friend in front of you? What's the password?

: You are a bad guy!

: Nuh uh I am a good guy!

: Pinky swear?

: Yes I am going to stop all the bad guys!

: Super duper swear you're a good guy and you won't tell them the password?

: Yup.

: Here is the password.

: Bye!

Anyway, we can go back to Motley and progress this shit.

: Did someone named Kiyatawa come through here?

I don't actually know why we care about Kiyatawa. She did the murder and got away, but we had no investment in either the victim or the murderer.

: [Attack] What you're doing is wrong. It ends now.

Motley: Children! To me! We must protect Lord Inifere!

So the hostages have health bars, but that's the only interesting thing about this fight. You might be thinking "TheGreatEvilKing, doesn't this endanger the hostages?"

The answer is no, because they all waste their time with their Gate-granted focus buffs and go after your characters.

And thus Jaelyn, a highly trained torturer and warrior given the best education money in another dimension could buy, was killed by a nine-year-old with a laser gun.

Motley dies to Callistege soon after. I'm at least partially convinced that Aligern and Callistege being mutually exclusive is an unsuccessful attempt to prevent you from stomping face with three nanos.

The cultists died as they lived, completely worthless to the end.

: Tell me about yourself.

: What is this paradise you speak of?

: She considers you anew, as if determining your worth. "My people are the Memorialists, those who have discovered that this world is already filled with the dead. Though we walk and talk, we do not live. Such is the paradox we face."

Talira: The only escape we have is to remember who we were. We have been placed here as a test, to see if we, as a people, are deserving of the good that is our birthright. Together, we must rediscover our graves and the true names we held in life. If all could do this, paradise awaits.

: How do I find the cultists' gate?

: Now that they're gone, is it possible for me to rest here?

The infinite free rests is why I suspect there's so much on a timer, like the houses collapsing in Sagus Cliffs.

: Have you heard of a girl named Choi?

: Can you tell me how the terminal works?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Thank you for saving me! I died, and was reborn into this hell, in a totally non spiritually significant way, to wander the earth until everyone realized they were dead and get reborn into paradise.

: Wow, cool, can you tell me what to do to advance the plot?

: Yes. Here is the code to descend into the uninspired underworld, which has no spiritual significance.

: Can you tell me about that Choi kid so I can do that sidequest?

: Ha ha nope. But you can rest here infinitely for free!

: Dope!

Anyway, we can loot the place for some crap.

The little worm thing increases our unarmed damage, so we're putting the gun away and going back to our uninspired Wolverine claws, because the people who made this game had so many original ideas!

We can disable the shield with the password that Talira gave us. Join me next time as we descend to the most uninspired underworld ever!