The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 30: The Fart of Destiny

The Fart of Destiny

Previously, on Tides of Numenera posted:

: Farrrrrrrrrt!

: Dammit, Callistege, I told you to lay off the bean burritos!

And now, the idiotic conclusion...

Welcome back! As you may have guessed from the preview, we are going to go back to this point point. However, we're stuck in the Labyrinth with some Sorrow fragments to fight first.

Anyway, we went into the MC Esher staircase to battle the black demon seed and came out only to discover there was more black demon seed.

Anyway, we go through generic mindscape portal #26.

The game isn't content to trust in the skill of its artists (again) and dumps a battery of uninspired dull description on us.

Blah blah blah blah.

We press the "party members" button because it's more time I can actually interact with the battle system instead of watching people slowly march around the battlefield.

I make the initial mistake of interacting with these machines instead of fighting. Remember how the Peerless quest could be cheesed by hiding and zerging to the machines instead of fighting legions of boring-ass slow robots armed with energy weapons? The devs thought that gameplay was "too pleasant" or something and made it so the machines do finicky bullshit like maybe pull aggro.

There are a lot of words spilled about how each encounter was supposed to let you interact with terrain effects to do interesting things and yadda yadda yadda shut up.

For a Tides Dog Oom kinda sucks at combat.

This machine actually generates another Evil Sperm Monster. I made the mistake of thinking "Flush the system" meant "send the sperm into the great condom in the sky".

These assholes do relativistic damage, but also physical so you can resist it with armor. My guess is a beta tester tried armor stacking at one point. Straight-up fighting these things isn't so much hard as it is a tedious slog of watching numbers slowly go down.

I fuck up and Cal goes down. Funny thing, any healing spell can revive her, so Rhin does that next turn.

Callistege: Not a fucksgiver.

The Last Castoff is doing a fair bit of damage with the Impossible Blade now. Sadly, Rhin can't actually do much here because her speed is low and these guys have enough resistance to shrug off Stingcharge shots.

Once everyone's stat pools are exhausted the combat becomes a boring fucking slog of waiting for the women to hit with their powerful attacks, much like playing D&D 4th edition.

The game dumps another wall of text on us after all the Sorrow fragments are dead. Despite what you think, we don't get stat boosts for this. We don't even directly get XP.

We do, however, get glorious lore dumped all over us which gives us XP. Enjoy!

: Let the memory take you.

: You stare at the back of his head. He's undeniably gifted. In certain aspects, you have to admit, he even surpasses you. This is, after all, part of why you constructed his body the way you did. But now that he's achieved you dare to let him return to the world? He knows your deepest secret now, and holds your future in his hands.

: ...but you feel a certain affection for him. To kill him would be poor thanks indeed. Instead, you speak.

So yea, rather than Phat Stat Boosts we get more Changing God backstory.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, remember that time when you couldn't get the television to work, then your castoff apprentice fixed it, but he knew about your daughter? You just erased his memory instead of killing him! What a hero!

: Allow the memory to come.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Member when you were walking in the desert, and some dudes gave you water, so even though they were stupid you blew up a robot that had stopped time to help them out? Even though you nearly died? Member?

: Allow the memories to come.

Heh heh. It is a sex joke.

This is probably the most interesting flashback of the three.

This is, of course, the Endless Battle which is a completely pointless and uninteresting waste of time.

This is interesting because it's the first time we've seen the Changing God actually proclaim himself divine. This is, of course, massive hubris of the kind that gets you struck down by divine lightning. We, as enlightened Numenera players, realize that this has no spiritual significance.

Of course, this raises the question of whether the Changing God is actually a god and what makes a god. The man literally created an afterlife which we are stuffing random people into. He's immortal, unaging, has great power over others that he can use to command people, and can fuck around with time. There are limits on his power, sure, but Zeus didn't make his own thunderbolts.

This is not a question the game is seriously interested in engaging in.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Member when you were the Changing God, and some racists thought you were a castoff and banned you from the bar because of the war you started, and then you revealed you were the Changing God and made them all worship you and kill the last unbeliever? Man, you sure felt like an asshole huh?

The Specter wants to remind us that the Sorrow is still really dangerous and we should live in fear of it, because the writers still aren't able to effectively convey it or come up with a scenario where you have to actually run from The Sorrow. In my playthrough I didn't do these two quests or the Flashback Hell Machine and the Sorrow felt...further off.

Seriously, how hard would it be to actually give TLC nightmare cutscenes or something?

Remember, the Specter is NOT the Changing God!

We un-die, much like Angry Bob.

I take the opportunity to rest the team here, because we're going to progress the main plot. Yeah, we have Phoenix's quest but fuck him, we can put that off. We also have a hidden quest for a not-lich. Whatever.

Welcome to the Tomb of the First Castoff. In case you've forgotten, this is the entrance to the castoff sanctuary Miel Avest, which Matkina sent us to to go find Mazzof the artificer who can fix the Resonance Chamber that stops the Sorrow. We have been told the Endless Battle is fought because the Changing God was going to sacrifice all the castoffs to stop the Sorrow. I'm sure these two factoids are completely unrelated.

We just haven't had enough flashbacks this update.

: Succumb to it.

I foolishly examined the frieze again. I have learned nothing.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Member when the First Castoff and the Changing God built Miel Avest together? And they were friends, but the First Castoff got the portal to work, and not the Changing God?

: Changing God? Where? Fuck!

: Examine the frieze.

Wait, go back. I get the concept of a divergent reality, but how does it "snap shut around her like teeth?" What does that look like? Could you maybe get the art team in here? That seems pretty extraordinary even for the kooky standards of this game, maybe ex- ok, get a competent writer to explain.

: Examine the frieze again.

So the Changing God and the Last Castoff were friends who did things together. Then they had a big fight and he raised an army to kill her. We will discover why soon enough.

There's a line about how Matkina probably didn't know the portal was closed, followed by a prompt to put your head against the wall like The First Castoff did and that opens the mural.

We get 100 XP for going through the teleporter and are just in time to be ambushed by the local Exposition Dump.

Oh, hey, it's that lady who held Matkina down so Tash could not-rape her. Is the narrative going to address this at all?

No, this is going to be an infodump on the Endless Battle. I have no idea how Paj is going to stop the crimes of the Changing God when the Changing God can wander around disguised as a random castoff and be unrecognized. She owes the Sorrow a beer though for blowing up the space station so she doesn't have to find some kind of lost spacecraft or something.

: I know you. I know what you did in Kholn Village.

Do you hear...a trolley?

There are a few points she doesn't bring up, and we're not given the option to:
-The Kholn villagers were werewolves who went berserk and murdered innocent people. (It will surprise no one to learn that being a werewolf in Numenera is a focus, but instead of a curse it's transdimensional science bullshit).
-There is absolutely no scenario where letting Tash rape Matkina - his own sister - gets you any closer to stopping the crimes of the Changing God.

Also this heroin enthusiast is going to fight the Changing God, a man who can mind control crowds with his Tides powers and presumably still has a robot legion...with a sword. Good luck with that.

: [Raises Gold Tide] Sacrifices? Some might call them war crimes...and you a monster.

Is it intended that TLC come off as weakly condemning this? She's not directly accusing Paj here, she's just saying that "Some" might call them war crimes.

So we're not gonna talk about what happened to Matkina, huh.

: In a thousand years, we'll be dead. The Sorrow will outlast us. Does that make the Sorrow right?

Is that even true? Castoffs can regenerate from almost anything. Would they really age and die?

I'm still not sure what ideals were served by massacring the werewolves - who, as far as I can tell, were just kinda near the Technocave - and what they did to Matkina was inexcusable and proves they're full of shit.

Of course, our supposedly Silver Tongue'd castoff can't actually use these arguments, instead weakly muttering about the Sorrow.

: What did you mean when you said I'd made this sanctuary more vulnerable?

: "There are rumors that Sorrow activity has increased recently. I don't buy the stories, but many of them do." She points a thumb behind her to the other castoffs. "Your brothers and sisters. Your family. Even if the Sorrow isn't more active, it's still active. And they came here to be safe."

Again, you worthless hypocritical shitlord, you let Tash hurt Matkina, your sister.

Engineering, huh? Let's ask an expert in Ninth World engineering, shall we?

The Changing God on why Paj Rekken is a stupid dumbass posted:

Keep this in mind. Much of what Paj Rekken says is uninformed, wrong, or both.

: Be that as it may, I have important information to share.

: I ran into Bericael. She said she had a message for you but couldn't get in.

Wow. If there was some kind of...obviously patronizing and sarcastic dialogue a reader could use to figure out she was being sarcastic. Good thing they included that line!

: Where are you headed now?

: What crimes has our creator committed?

: The other castoffs who work for the Changing God...maybe they believe in the salvation he offers.

Wait. Wait. What? Go the fuck back, game. What salvation has the Changing God offered? I'm serious. Go back through this LP and the Changing God...doesn't really offer salvation. The closest we've seen is that one cultist talking about how they aspire to become as the Changing God and get immortality, but by living in a trailer park and being hoboes instead of going out to learn science. Does the Changing God put people in a Labyrinth like ours so they don't die? Is he promising the other castoffs that he can stop the Sorrow if they all work together?

Seriously, what are you talking about?

: What were the Changing God's plans?

: Tell me again how the Changing God planned to kill us all.

I want to ride the trolley! TOOOOOOT goes the whistle!

: How did the First die?

: Let me ask about something else.

: I need to find Mazzof. Is he here?

: Tell me about Aadririis.

: Well, don't let me keep you any longer.

: Why would she take your advice? No one here trusts you.

Remember, Paj Rekken is always wrong.

She walks into the teleporter and disappears.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this trash posted:

: Fuck you, you dumb skank! Now you've let the Sorrow in and it will kill everyone!

: Hey, you're that crazy genocide woman!

: Oh yea? Well, I made hard choices. I massacred an entire village for my ideals. You just don't get it, but I don't care, because this is a very hard world and that excuses my actions.

: Some might might be a monster.

: But what about me? What about my problems?

: Should I bring up Matkina and what you did to your own family in service of these 'ideals?' Nah, I've seen how these writers treat women. I know! You realize you sound like the Sorrow, right?

: We make hard choices to protect people, mannnnn!

: I'm not engaging with this anymore. What was that about endangering the family?

: Well, when you opened the door you could be letting the Sorrow in! That would be bad! You endanger our FAMILY!

: Like Matkina, whom you Tides-raped? Don't answer that. You know what, sure, whatever. Some Bericael person was looking for you with a message.

: That is useless information and you are stupid. Anyway, I'm going back to fight a man with godlike powers, an army of robots, and a space station with my sword like a real hero. If I kill enough random people, one of them will be the Changing God, and we'll all be safe.

: What crimes did the Changing God actually do?

: He's going to kill us all! He made a deal with the Sorrow!

: I wonder if this has anything to do with the resonance chamber? Nah. Maybe the other castoffs believe in the Changing God's salvation?

: Despite this being a concept that has literally never come up in the game before, I will halfheartedly agree with this idea before calling you a dumbass.

: Can you tell me more about how the First Castoff died? There was some confusing verbiage about being eaten by alternative realities these writers don't have the skill to pull off.

: She died like a hero, saving us all!

: Do you know Mazzof? Is he here?

: Go talk to the waifu in the corner. She's really hot, and idealistic, and loves piece and is like a shitty anime Mary Poppins. I'm off to the endless battle. Oh, one last thing, Callistege?

: Yes?

: Give up your immortality project. It's a terrible idea.

: Fuck off! No one likes you!

: Well, don't let the edgelord cut you on my way out.

I get Paj Rekken is supposed to be a war veteran with PTSD, but her line about my problems reminds me more of this:

Lord Foul's Bane posted:

[note: Covenant has just been cut with a knife by the would-be boyfriend of the girl he raped]
"Crime?" He heard the word like a knife thrust through the beating wings. "Crime?" His blood ran from the cuts as if he were a normal man, but the flow was decreasing steadily. With a sudden convulsion, he caught hold of himself, cried miserably, "I'm in pain!"

This is from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, better known as that series with the rapist leper who spends the entire book whining about how helpless he is. He's a self-centered piece of shit.

Let's go get some upgrades and do something much less unpleasant.

This is Lady Anshe. She was awarded a title for doing some stuff, she's a castoff, and she has wires cybernetically implanted that let her manufacture things. She also has a store, which is why we're here.

This must be the "enhanced reactivity" promised by the kickstarter.

One of the things I do not get about this setting is why the ancients made all these science swords and shit when they could build railguns or devouring nanobots or teleporting bombs or whatever.

Or is this another Planescape reference?

This I buy immediately. I've been carrying around the other piece of the ring for a little while now and we can put them together for the Ultimate Power of...+2 relativistic damage on all attacks and +5 resistance.

We get more confusing bad prose just to assemble a quest ring. I have no idea what "beyond magnetism alone" means. The magnetic force is actually really fucking strong.

Skipping some more dialogue where I can combine the two:

: [Might] Push the fragments together by brute force.

We don't have the Tidal Affinity skill to do this, and we won't get it until Oom's quest, but somehow we can just muscle our way past a magical bullshit field that is stronger than magnetism (that we also recognize as being stronger than magnetism without any kind of scientific instruments)

Thank you, Tides Dog!

Oh shit! I can think of all kinds of badass sci-fi stuff a ring of power could do! Call in orbital railgun strikes! Let us teleport across star systems! Go back in time during combat to undo turns!


I buy some more crap.

We can't upgrade Oom because he's a nudist Tides Dog, but Callistege and Rhin we can buy new clothes for.

We're talking about your dress, you weird innuendo lady. They both have short dialogues about how they are offended by you criticizing their clothing, then Anshe uses her cyborg wires to make new clothes, and the new clothes are awesome and stylish. I will upgrade all the characters. I will spare you the dialogue.

This concludes our business with Lady Anshe. We'll be back with the rest of the gang eventually.

Now, let's talk to Aadiriis. Let's just say there's a reason today's update has the previously on Numenera.

If I were being generous, I would say Aadiriis is like Beatrice or one of the many women in Dante (Lucia, Matilda, etc) who represent Divine Love and Grace. Of course, there is no spiritual significance in Numenera, so she comes across as someone's OC waifu they ordered a body pillow of so they could remember what women looked like.

At least this one isn't being chased by a horny incel with Jesus-like resurrection powers.

(She has the Scan Thoughts power because she's a nano).

: You don't need to probe my mind. It's the truth - I can change reality by using Merecasters.

She's very special and warm and caring, and I need to use the barf bucket. Also, Tash? Holy shit! Tash is awful, dude raped his own sister. Fuck him!

: [Raises Indigo Tide] If you must. Don't probe too deeply.

It also occurs to me that as the Changing God presumably shapes his own bodies, he had a smokin' hot woman body lying around for...what purpose?

I'm sure not detecting the Sorrow in our head ends...well.

Oh, yes, this is going to be stupid...

: Two people. An Aeon Priest named Aligern and a nano named Callistege. They were arguing as I woke.

If you look in the back, Callistege is right there. The pink-haired woman in red? She might be a little offended that we're talking about her like she's not there.

Hold up. Are you saying what I think you're saying?

I swear to you I did not cut a single screen of dialogue out there. Callistege does not interject. She does not question whether she was fair to Aligern after we hit her with the Tides. She is not angry that we used the Tides to mess with her head. She does not say that it was an accident and she forgives us.

We literally mind controlled this woman into breaking up with her boyfriend, and she has nothing to say.

: Will you give me the Merecaster after that?

: I'll do it. I want to ask some other questions first.

: I'd like to ask some questions about...well, castoffs, and all that entails.

: Can you tell me about the castoffs here?

: What can you tell me about castoffs who aren't here?

: What can you tell me about the Sorrow?

It's a Ringwraith with tentacles that uses the Tides as a weapon. We discovered this in a few weeks of fucking around. You guys haven't discovered anything in centuries?

That can't be! There's no spiritual judgement in Numenera! Oh, no, I'm not revealing the Sorrow's Big Dumb Twist yet! Nice try!

: What can you tell me about Miel Avest?

Aadiriis: They built homes, laboratories, and more. The shields protected them from the Sorrow's gaze. But when the First and the Changing God struggled, all that fell apart. The peace of Miel Avest was shattered, and those who remained chose sides. Blood spilled on the great disc. Factions fought for control of the wisdom gained here.

: She shakes her head. "Such a waste. It was not until after the First's death...and my arrival...that we were able to resecure peace."

This is my big problem with the Endless Battle. It happens entirely offscreen, no significant places we care about are actually affected by the war, the combatants have no clear objectives, and it's handled incredibly poorly. I've posted earlier that it's supposed to be a commentary on the futility of war, but all it convinces me of is the futility of reading this game's writing.

The occasional guests line makes me wonder how many castoffs bring one-night-stands here. "Ok, babe, we're gonna go through the Necropolis and enter a tomb but once we're there I'm gonna cover myself in whipped cream and you get the transdimensional assless chaps and then we-"

: Can you tell me about the First Castoff?

: Let's talk about the Changing God. What do you think of him? Have you seen him? Do you know where he is?

I'm sorry goons.

: Have you seen him recently?

: She laughs. "Never, to my knowledge. Perhaps I have and he never revealed himself. It would be very like him to gather his intelligence and then be away. We regard every new castoff with the suspicion that he or she might truly be our creator - and frequently, a new castoff will pretend to be."

: What do you think of our creator?

Aadiriis: A brilliant man. Thoughtful, charismatic, a mind greater than any the Ninth World has seen. Where the Aeon Priests of today cobble together bits and pieces of numenera, our creator was a visionary. Were it not for the Sorrow... I honestly believe that he would lift us into a new age of human achievement.

: What do you know of his history?

Aadiriis: Much of it he has deliberately obscured, and much he has rewritten, either to make himself seem a better man, or to keep his enemies from finding him. But I can provide you with the broad strokes, if you wish.

We, of course, know that this was because he wanted to resurrect his daughter whom the Tabaht slew.

: What do you know about the Tides?

Aadiriis: I have studied them - what else can I do when I'm not trying to keep the peace here? The First and our sire used Miel Avest as their sanctuary, after all. Though their remaining notes are cryptic or piecemeal, I have learned enough to believe that it is our use of the Tides that draws the Sorrow to us. Each of us has access to a broader Tidal power - the Tidal Surges - as you have no doubt discovered. But I choose not to use mine, and I have seen no sign of the Sorrow.

: Let me ask about something else.

: Tell me about yourself.

The what now?

I had to look them up. They are a cult of assassins, apparently responsible for our cyborg knife. Don't care. They are, to my knowledge, never mentioned in the game.

: Why would you feel guilty about our sire bringing the Jagged Dream to Sagus Cliffs? It wasn't you.

"The haters". You wrote a game in 2017 and you called the bad people "the haters". That doesn't match the tone of this somber guilty reflection, that sounds like something a teen girl would put on her Instagram.

: Who put you in charge of Miel Avest?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Damn, this woman in front of you is HOT! Mmmm-mmm! Violet eyes...oh yea....

Aadiriis: Welcome, sister! I heard you can change the past with Merecasters. I need to read your mind to check it out.

: I mean, I can do that. Do you really need to read my mind?

Aadiriis: Probably not, but do you want the plot to continue?

: Do it, I guess.

Aadiriis: I know you helped Matkina get unraped. But what about her rapist? Did you consider how he feels?* We can't progress the plot until I'm satisfied you're a caring person.

Aadiriis: You see, the Tides are really dangerous and maybe even attract The Sorrow! When you awoke to your own personality, was anyone with you?

: Yea, Aligern and Callistege. They were arguing, why?

Aadiriis: Well, when you woke up, your Tides powers mind controlled them into breaking up with each other! You should go talk to that guy over there.

:Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore! Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

: Cal? Cal? You gonna say anything? Hello? Screw it. If I talk to this guy, will you give me the plot device?

Aadiriis: Maybe.

: Got any exposition? May as well get this over with.

Aadiriis: Well, this is Miel Avest. It's full of castoffs you've never met who have their own exposition about the Endless Battle to tell you! I don't know much about the Sorrow, but I think it's linked to the Tides somehow. Anyway, Miel Avest was a happy peaceful sanctuary, until the Changing God and First Castoff got pissy and started a big, pointless fight offscreen. Good heavens, we only have 5 million dollars, we don't have nearly enough budget to depict something interesting like that!

: Know anything about the First Castoff?

Aadiriis: She used to be pretty cool, but so many castoffs died in her war! I wish I could have showed her how to be a better person.

: How about the Changing God?

Aadiriis: Never met him, but maybe he was spying on me! Tee-hee! A brilliant man who could have single-handedly advanced science to a non-garbage point if he didn't spend all his time running from the Sorrow. Also kind of amoral and bad at relationships. It is a tragedy that is very deep. Anyway, after the siege of Sagus Cliffs, he started researching mental transference, then he went to another dimension and made the First Castoff, and then he learned about the Tides and genocided the Tabaht. He keeps trying to increase human knowledge to make himself look good.

: Know anything about the Tides?

Aadiriis: They are very dangerous and if you use them the Sorrow will eat you!

: Who are you, anyway?

Aadiriis: I'm an idealistic peacekeeper! The Changing God used my body to hire assassins - get your mind out of the gutter - and I feel very bad because they were haters. It makes me sad. My legacy is peace! Am I doing this right, Colin?

: Peace OUT!

*I am not making that up. That is a question she actually asks.

Anyway. That was a lot. So Callistege learned we just mind-controlled her into a she maybe gonna have something to say?

Ha ha, nope. Well, maybe Aardiriis was using her psychic powers to communicate, and nobody heard it?

It's sad, but I think Rhin is speaking for the audience here.

: The Tides are an invisible force. My body uses them to stay alive, among other things.

Trust me. The Tides will be explained, and it is very stupid.

: You're thinking about what Tol used to do to you, aren't you?

God damn! Enough with the fucking trolleys!

This is proof that the Tidal alignment system is full of shit. Telling the truth to Rhin and lying your ass off to Rhin do the same fucking thing.

: [Raises Gold, Indigo Tides] I won't do it unless it's absolutely necessary, like to save your life, for example.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What's with all this Tides bullshit? Is it supposed to be like D&D alignment? This is dumb! Why can't these people come up with anything original?

: Well, it's...exactly like D&D alignment, in that in D&D I can use the power of Good to hurt people, and here I use Tides. Except I also need them to live, too. You're thinking about that slavemaster, aren't you?

: Yea. She said that if she didn't hurt me, a man would be run over by a trolley. She nearly made me kill myself. Please don't hurt people like that.

: I promise to only use it if I really have to, like if someone's going to run you over with a trolley.

: Ok.

Next time: I don't want to put up with Aardiriis' bullshit right now, so we're going back to sidequests!

And then more main plot bullshit.