The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 36: The Worst Prophet

The Worst Prophet.

Welcome back! Last time we met a computer built to find God, and the game decided that was too interesting and turned it into a bridge switch.

Back to the crystal caverns!

The Changing God was kind enough to leave free money just lying around. What a considerate guy!

This is what we get when we ask Cal how she feels. The Last Castoff must be the most oblivious person ever.

Welcome to the Generic Sci Fi Crystal Cave!

I forget about this poor phobit. I should probably have freed it, but the only way to do that triggers a fuckoff infinite enemy battle that I really don't want to deal with. This update has enough Numenera combat later, thank you very much.

Oh, yes, it has walls of text too.

: Touch the flashing, mazelike rune.

: [Lore: Mystical, Anamnesis] Try to decipher the runes.

This game really loves its random piddly XP awards, doesn't it?

: Return the interface to the initial screen.

: Touch the glyph that looks like a bolt of lightning.

: Press the dim circular symbol.

: Both the symbol and the pod light up on the screen. The circular symbol pulses in time with odd symbols that march into the image of the pod itself.

: In the far corner of the room, new noises indicate that the pod is now receiving power.

It's a stasis pod, blah blah blah. Get ready to repel exposition!

: Press 'Check Status'.

: Press 'Access Data'.

: Access the first experiment note.

: An unfamiliar male voice reverberates throughout the room.

: Access the second experiment note.

: Access the third experiment note.

It's obviously the Changing God: I have several experiments running simultaneously while I wait for the crystal to grow. True to their name, the crystalvores have proven quite adaptable to this environment and invaluable to this part of the process.

It should be clear by now, but the Changing God was a massive asshole.

: Access the fourth experiment note.

It's obviously the Changing God: Several of the crystalvore larvae hatched prematurely and escaped. It's unclear how it happened, but I suspect that someone came looking for the Annulet while I was buying supplies in Sagus. No doubt they tampered with my machines in their efforts to find it.

: The voice sighs. "To prevent further sabotage, I have placed the Annulet and the remaining larvae behind an energy field. The power generator can open the field, but it now requires a passcode sequence to ensure there is no further tampering."

: Access the fifth experiment note.

: Access the sixth experiment note.

: Access the seventh experiment note.

: The voice on this entry is the same as on the other entries, but it has none of the confidence from before.

Anyway, we leave the pod and go back to the machine.

: Lore: Natural, Anamnesis] Try to figure out the key to unlocking the force field based on the clue from the experiment notes.

If only you had an art department who could show me this puzzle, which is clearly meant to be solved by thinking visually.

And now my stim is gone.

This is the right way to do it. You do not want the power to go off, because then you fight a legion of crystalvores. It's boring and they don't drop anything IIRC. Fuck that.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: A mysterious machine with a future UI stands before you!

: *rolls her face on the keyboard like a dumbass*

: Hey, check it out, a stasis pod! Time for that sweet, sweet exposition your flesh aches for!

: Alright! Gonna make me a resonance chamber! I got the Annulet from that Dracogen joker, and he's letting me borrow it, but it's only a matter of time before he gets pissy. OK, I got these little crystal-eating aliens to shape the crystal from this place. Shit! Some asshole was messing with my stuff! Well, here's the key to open the force field if you can make a skill check. Anyway, Dracogen's guys are here, gonna leave my new castoff to deal with them. Changing God OUT!

: I...I killed them all! I don't even know what was going on, but they attacked me, so I had to kill them! I...I gotta go, gotta make this right with that Dracogen dude. Why? Why would a loving, caring creator do this to me?

: Aw, yeah, powered down the loot room and I didn't have to fight any of those crystalvores! Sorry, phobit, but it's looting time!

Not content to make you fuck around with the machine, the developers decided they needed more text boxes so they could advertise the game's high word count. You have to touch it with your tattoo.

Did any of this add to the narrative? We could have seriously just found this fucking thing in the chest. I get it, we need it for the plot, but still.

Again, why? You have a closed box model. You could return control to the player right now so they could keep playing.

There's more loot in the room. Remember how Rhin got the opportunity to reuse cyphers as often as her little heart desires? Yea, this is seriously more damage than anyone else in the party can put out right now. Rhin turns from "useless liability we made good as a joke" to "awe-inspiring goddess of death."

Naturally, we are going to get rid of her temporarily this update.

Let's be honest, we all knew we were going to have to fight these idiots.

A better game would have popped a smirking asshole Doran portrait and cut the first line. This is not that game.

: [Raises Silver Tide] I'm not surrendering my mind to you.

It boggles the fucking mind. Silver Tide is usually used for responses like "I SEEK...THE POWER!" and talking about how awesome you are. This statement is literally "I won't let you kill me."

Numenera Wiki, which pastes from the game posted:

The Silver Tide is the Tide linked to admiration, power and fame. People attuned to this Tide often seek to leave a mark on history or to influence other people.

What the hell does this have to do with any of that? This is just a desire to survive.

Moving on.

Are you talking about the same guy whose ass we kicked with Pepe the Frog memes? Bring it, punk!

: The Changing God is trapped in my mind, though. How can he be speaking to you?

Bonus question: Why doesn't the Changing God just steal this jackoff's body and go do his business? Yea, he doesn't have the cool castoff powers, but there's a lab right there! He could a new body and fuck off!

What a letdown. They've built this guy up over the entire game and he just turns into a generic supervillain.

Come to think of it, he really never came across like a generic supervillain at all. I guess you could say our battle in the center of the mind was his confused egotism (why wouldn't a castoff give me her body?) but we've never really seen him rant about how powerful he is. If anything, the recent chatlog showed that he wasn't throwing his power around. If he was he would have just killed Dracogen's guys, killed Dracogen for attempting to kill him, and then continued his adventures with the resonance chamber.

: When did the Changing God start speaking to you?

: "Years ago," Doran says simply. He taps the base of his skull. "Ever since his device attached himself to me while I was exploring one of his abandoned laboratories."

Has anyone ever gone along with the generous offer of a quick and painless death?

: What is that device, anyway?

I'm going to leave off on some of the characterization here and just point out this idiot is really fucked.

: How would this erasure proceed?

: "Simply," he says, drawing himself further up. "Just bow your head, and your father's mouthpiece will leave me temporarily to bond with you. You will close your eyes, and it will be done."

What discoveries have we made? Serious question. The Tides? They were taught to us. We have invented nothing. We have left no books or other memoirs. If we were being generous, we could compare it to Columbus discovering America while all the Native Americans lived here, except Columbus actually made a long and grueling trip in a shitty boat and the Last Castoff has followed the plot. The only discovery we've made was our answer to the trolley problem, and who the fuck cares?

: (Lie) Enough of this. I am the Changing God, and you have passed my test, Doran.

: He laughs, but the smile fades from his face as he realizes you're not joking.

It's kinda implied the Changing God had a conscience, at least with the flashback where he slaughters the racists and then feels bad about it.

: [Raises Blue, Silver Tides] I don't fault you for doubting me, but I am the Changing God.

: [Intimidation] I'll give you one chance to run. Just one. Be smart.


...and I miss a screen where Doran panics slightly but is forced to fight us anyway.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hello, castoff. The Changing God wants your body...whoa whoa whoa in a totally nonsexual way!

: Fuck off!

: You're not just gonna die? What a narcissist. Have some Silver Tide!

: The Changing God speaks to me!

: How is he doing that if he's trapped in my head?

: The Changing God is too powerful! Ha ha ha! HA HA HA HA HA!

: Ok, seriously, how is he doing that?

: The lab had a cybernetic radio implant, which bonded to me and made me his bitch! He says if you let him have your body it won't hurt at all and he'll slip in nice and slowly. It must be exhausting not having him inside you.

: Yeah I'm the Changing God, fuck off.

: That's not what the voice in my head says!

: Alright, seriously, I'm the Changing God, so please fuck off now.

: Who am I going to believe, the tattoo'd woman in front of me wielding technologically advanced weapons like the Changing God would use, or the voice in my head ranting completely at odds with the Changing God's prior characterization? Well, if you can't trust the voices in your head, who can you trust?

: Ok, seriously, go away or I'm splattering you across the floor.

: RIP.

Yea, we're, uh, stuck doing Numenera combat.

Rhin officially does not give a fuck!

See that little ball in the fart cloud? That is a summon that deals damage every turn until the end of the fight by shooting a laser gun. Normally you can summon it once, but we have Rhin and can spam this shit.

Callistege is still doing her thing. Callistege doesn't give a FUCK!

Murdering those hobos gives us 100 XP. RIght now our party is a well honed murder machine - the Last Castoff drains life on hit and deals relativistic damage, Callistege is a crazy teleporting woman who shits AoEs everywhere, Rhin can use all the 1-use items repeatedly and not give a fuck, and Oom is...Oom is there. He's not very good in combat, but he does let us manipulate the Tides better.

The Maw closes, mercifully just playing an animation and not foisting more terrible prose upon us.

: Touch the Magmatic Annulet.

: You grasp the crystalline artifact. At once, the voices of the Bloom grow louder... and louder still. They fill your consciousness, drowning out your thoughts, hissing and whispering and chittering and buzzing. They're coming from every direction, from above and below, from nearby and far away.

: Swaying on your feet, you nearly topple to the floor.

It's amazing how many words they manage to use to elicit no impact whatsoever. I'm continually amazed by how they manage to just spew dull descriptions that have no impact, and then devolve into that favorite of sci fi, hyphenated-badprose.

: Listen to the nearest voices.

: You hear the cluster of Bloom-tongues whispering softly to you, exuding a sense of expectation and familiarity. These tongues know your scent... or perhaps that of your sire... and they are eager to touch your mind. But their voices are not the only ones here.

: Listen to the distant voices.

: You focus on the Bloom-voices that are coming from outside the Trade Pool. What seemed at first like an indistinct babble is actually many different voices - thousands of voices, each arising from somewhere else in the Bloom.

: Some of the voices belong to individual Maws, evoking expressions of hunger]/i] and [i[need. Others resonate from deeper places within the Bloom. When you concentrate on those voice, you experience flashes of intense emotion or catch fleeting glimpses of men and women being beaten or killed.

Mirriam-Webster defines hunger as "a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient". It also defines it as a strong desire, but the Numenera creed seems to be "never use a word when a sentence will do, never use a sentence when a paragraph will do."

: Try to communicate with the cluster of Bloom-tongues.

Maybe I would appreciate this more if I was into New Age bullshit sci-fi. As it is I really can't relate to tentacles penetrating my memory and searching for something.

: [Tidal Surge] Channel the pain back into the Bloom-tongues.

: And then the pain is gone. The clustered Bloom-tongues droop, their movements feeble, their voices no more than a whisper.

Sure. Why not?

: [Intellect] Try to take control of the Bloom-tongues.

There's a theme of the Tides being primarily used to control others, which is completely undone by having Tidal Affinity be the skill used to put together a ring. It's like a bunch of writers remoted in to a meeting and put things together with no real guidance.

: [Raises Blue, Silver Tides] Steal the knowledge and memories of the trapped human minds.

This is probably very wrong and bad, but fuck it.

These people are dead.

: The tongues have been gradually drawing out the memories and experiences of the dying human minds and feeding upon them. You force them to extract everything that remains and funnel it into your own mind instead. As each brain is emptied, its gibbering voice falls silent, and it dies.

This is the most clinical detached description of what seems to be a mass murder.

Thus we have run over all those dying people with a trolley for a stat boost.

So? Is this supposed to make me feel guilty that the alien fleshmonster thought it was cool?

: Move the Trade Post back to its normal location.

: You close your eyes and relax your mind, probing the limits of your new senses. The roots of the Bloom-tongues run throughout the Trade Post, but they also extend some distance into the surrounding flesh. A few of them trail upward, tracing a path toward an open cavity in the outer reaches of the Bloom.

: Steeling yourself, you take hold of all the tendrils at once, urging them back along that path, clawing their way toward the surface and dragging the Trade Post after them.

: The ground buckles and churns beneath your feet, and the whole chamber begins to move...

: At last you open your eyes, and the shaking subsides. The blocked archway is hear astonished voices outside.

Yet again we harness a powerful alien with vast psychic abilities to serve as... a small number boost and a door switch. If this is symbolic of anything, it's how small and shitty everything in this game is once you strip away all of the pointless, redundant words.


TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Let us inside you, girl!

: The power of spiritually insignificant Christ compels you!

: Aww, manI I hate spiritually insignificant Christ! You can do whatever you want to me, girl. There are a whole bunch of dead people hooked up to me, I'm eating their brains!

: Give me that shit.

: Oh man, you ran them all over with a trolley! That owned! Have +1 intellect!

: Also bring back the trading post.

: Fine.

: There is probably a joke to be made about how these tentacles went limp after satisfying my every desire but I'm not going to go there.

No reward alas. But we can continue the game!

: If the Bloom is really a god, why does it need human help at all?

: Did the Bloom ask for your help?

: [Deception] You're wrong. The Bloom spoke to me about Ioxu. It doesn't want your help at all.

Fuck right off!

Um, what the fuck does it mean that our self-assurance isn't real? I assume this is explaining that we're bullshitting, but our confidence that we can convince these idiots should be real.

: Farewell.

You would think that now that we've lied them away these cultists would just..leave, but that's not how Numenera rolls! They stand out there like morons. Let's go talk to the scientist guy.

: The Bloom cultists have agreed to leave you alone.

Oh look, it's animate dead from Dungeons and Dragons.

Wait, hang on, nothing about this makes sense. So some past guys built this so that nanomachines can repair a body so that it can move again. Hang on. That's a thing? That's a thing you can do? So if the Changing God found one of these, he could have restored his daughter's body? And this dude had one literally 2 rooms away from his secret hideout?

Why is this game determined to undermine itself so badly?

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, you should wreck that scientist guy because he is a blasphemer!

: Actually your god told me you suck and you have a small penis and to fuck off.

: Aw, poopy! I hate when He says that! Bye!

: Hey, scientist guy, I got rid of those idiots.

: Sweet, thank you. I have a device that raises the dead, and these are common enough that I can give them to street randos who do small favors. Take it.

Anyway, the real reason to help this guy and not the cultists is that he sells awesome endgame weapons and accessories. Like this one:

If you are playing a Castoff nano or have Callistege in the party you are mandated by law and Jesus to pick this up.

I'm breaking the update here because it got really long.