The Let's Play Archive

Torment: Tides of Numenera

by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 43: The End of Sidequests

The End of Sidequests

So all three of these sidequests are fairly easy and don't get us that much. If you're playing through yourself you can just skip these. For the most part they tie into the game's unholy lust for the trolley problem yet again.

People seemed divided on whether we could reconcile Tybir and Auvigne, and I ended up breaking the tie in favor of not doing that. I really don't have anything insightful to say about this game anymore until we get to the ending. There are more trolleys. The authors write like they're being paid by the word. The prose is bad, but used in great quantities to compensate for the lack of an animation budget. Just keep repeating this when you see anything stupid.

Anyway, this is a weird robot with a dude's head stuck in it. These guys are Decanted, who actually live in the tabletop RPG. I'm going to spoil it right now - they try to kidnap attractive people to put their heads on hot bodies until the body collapses and they have to go back in the robot again.

He is right next to the slave pit. That's a slave auction above us. Guess where this is going?

Again, we know it is referring to a young man over there without the "it points". It proceeds to furnish us with a description, even.

: The young man in the pit is a slave, isn't he? Why don't you buy him yourself?

: The murdens in the Old Slave Block captured an attractive woman. They've modified her brain, though.

A part of Aligern's quest I cut out posted:

So this guy is a solid metal robot. The murdens have swords. I'm pretty sure they don't have super strength or anything. Whatever. This is the easiest sidequest in the game, just watch.

: Are any of my companions suitable recruits for you?

The Decanted will actually accept Rhin here. If you rescued her from the slavers and are some kind of moron who doesn't like infinite turrets and grenades, you can do this. Aligern will leave the party, and Erritis will actually stop you. Guess Erritis is less bad than I thought.

: Tell me about yourself.

Why? You kill people for money.

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this crap posted:

: Hey, know any hot people? I'm looking for hot people to put in my museum because I like hot people. Like that slave over there, boyoyoyoyyoing!

: Can't you him?

: The slave master won't sell to me.

: There's also that weird translator woman those crow dudes lobotomized.

: Despite being a future robot I can be completely destroyed by swordsmen, and I am not coded with walking animations.

: I think some of my party members are pretty hot.

: No.

: Who are you anyway?

: We are the Decanted. Our names are just too mysterious for you to understand. Anyway, we put our brains in robots to live forever. It owns.

: The Changing God does everything you morons do better, ha ha!

: Silence from the fugly gallery. I only listen to hot people.

: Cool, bye.

This asshole is presumably upset we used the Tides to get another of its brethren to answer a question. As discussed earlier, this is entirely so Numenera can talk about how mysterious it is but not actually put in the work of having a satisfying resolution. It's the JJ Abrams playbook.

Anyway, let's talk to the slave master. No, we don't have the option to murder him or trick him or anything, our options are "buy slave" and "not interact".

Whoa! He has two rows of teeth! What a mystery! Is your mind blown? Is it? Whoa!

I suppose this could be a commentary on how slavery devours everything it touches, but I'm going to chalk it up to the Numenera setting's obsession with weird for the sake of weird.

Of course, he's just your standard smooth-tongued shady salesman underneath it all.

Oh, you thought Tybir was the only morally bankrupt piece of shit on our team? Remember how Aligern said Callistege had a "vivisectionist's heart?" That bit is going to be coming up soon!

: Why would I want a slave?

Really. This is this game's insane focus on the trolley problem taken to it's logical conclusion. There is a licensed slave trade of people to throw into magical trolley doors so that you can sit back and pick from an incredibly curtailed dialog menu to answer "what does one life matter". Now, you can actually use the trolley problem in fiction, like in the Moby Dick chapter "The Musket", where Starbuck debates whether or not he should take the musket and break the laws of his faith and everything he believes in to gun down Ahab and save the crew. It's not a good chapter because the crew of the whaling ship is worth more life units than Ahab's solitary life, but because it fits the narrative and is the culmination of Starbuck's internal struggle throughout the book - does he remain loyal to Ahab, or the crew? Can he do both? Starbuck is a Quaker - what would drive him to contemplate killing a man?

This is just some nerdy sci-fi writer pleased with their own cleverness at "worldbuilding" and getting to match Colin McComb's great visionary themes.

You can also just force them open. I need to show it off at some point, but you can just use the Transdimensional Scalpel to cut them apart.

: I spoke to a construct near the slave pit. It says you refuse to do business with it.

: Maybe you'd better explain how slavery works around here.

: The slaves volunteer to be eaten?

: Flint blinks, apparently taken aback. "They're desperate people! And being fed to the Bloom is not a death sentence. Well, not always."

: So these slaves are all criminals?

Flint: Of varying sorts, yes. The more vicious, the better, at least as far as my clients are concerned.

: I have some other questions.

: I'd like to buy a slave.

: [Raises Silver Tide] No, but I'm sure you've heard my name. I have plenty of friends in Sagus Cliffs.

Wha...what? We don't have a name. What is our name? I assume this is a dumb bluff or somesuch, but part of name-dropping for influence actually requires a name to drop.

This is funny! Look, the text is telling me it's funny! Laugh!

: Go on.

Flint: One of my slaves is not attracting any buyers. He's a young fellow, fresh from the streets of Sagus, but I fear he's only a thief, not a murderer or a sadist at all! You can imagine how that's gone over with my clients.

: [Deception] I'll give you 250. That slave isn't a hardened criminal - nobody is going to give you a better offer.

: Done. I'll pay 300.

I can't believe the slimy slave dealer ripped us off!

What the hell do you want?

Flint: Your property shall be extricated from the pit momentarily. I believe his name is Coty.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey! I sell slaves! I'm gonna interrupt this auction to get you to buy a slave.

: These slaves are super lucky! Someone I may or may not know may have bought slaves for fucked up human experimentation!

: What would I do with a slave? There's a ton of robots and machines and crap just lying around.

: Why, you can feed them to the trolley doors of course! Rather than doing any serious introspection on the value of a human life, we're just going to keep doing a series of trolley problems.

: Why don't you sell slaves to that robot over there? It said it wanted to buy slaves.

: Oh, that robot is going to cut their heads off and put its head on their bodies! That is inhumane! The trolley doors might not kill you, they might just take a kidney or turn you into a psychopath or something! Isn't this mysterious?

: The slavemaster sits back and grins at you, as though he were written by hack writers entirely too pleased with their own cleverness.

: Wait, how does slavery work around here?

: See, my slaves are all evil bad people who have been sentenced to death, so I sell them to merchants who come to the Bloom to trade in such valuable goods as...fuck it! It's worldbuilding! They volunteer to avoid execution.

: Hook me up, I guess.

: Oh no! You don't have a slavery license! I can't sell you any slaves...except that guy over there! 400 shins!

: 250, that dude is not a hardened criminal and I need a hardened criminal to do crimes.

: 300!

: Sure.

: Ha ha I ripped her off!. Thank you!

: *sickeningly cute onomatopoeia*

Let's talk to our new slave. Like everyone in Numenera, he has a lot to say.

: How did you become a slave?

: Is thievery really a capital offense in Sagus Cliffs?

: How did you become a slave again?

: What are you good at?

: What do you want to do?

: I'll be back later.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: So what now?

: How did you become a slave?

I got caught stealing. I'm gonna vague allude to unspeakably horrible crimes lol. I volunteered.

: They were gonna kill you for stealing?

: Dunno. I just wanted to be free.

: Do you have any useful skills?

: I can steal shit?

: What do you want to do with your life?

: Uhhh....durf?

: Wow, ok, bye!

Yea. I'm not freeing him yet, because at first I think we might need him for the weird robot. This is going to turn out to be hilariously wrong, but right now my plan is to get the Nazi girl, the braindead mutilated woman, and...who knows.

Anyway, to do that, we need to deal with the crow dudes.


: [Raises Red, Indigo Tides] You left that man to die. For that, I'm going to kill you.

My understanding of the Numenera setting are that murdens are always evil, like badly written orcs in D&D. Thus the writers let us massacre these birds to the last man, but people like Dracogen or Tybir? Whatever.

Oh no, not a sword!

This fight goes badly. Can you see why?

All the murdens get to jump our party. They don't do anything interesting, but they do manage to tear apart poor Oom here.

I accidentally throw this on The Last Castoff. It makes her essentially immune to the bird's attacks. This will be essential.

Matkina goes down because there's no way to bring her back up to par and I also forgot to rotate people in for the armor upgrades in Part 2.

Callistege goes down next, befitting the one who gloats.

This screenshot shows one thing the game actually does right - when the murdens are hit, their translator says "Ouch."

I cut the rest of the fight, because it's just the Last Castoff solo draining all these murdens to death.

We can't actually do anything for this poor translator woman.

: Flint just told me that you butcher your recruits. Is this true?

: It may not be worse, but it is not better for them.

Oh no! Trolleys!

So I quit the conversation and saved here.

: [Raises Red Tide] I have changed my mind. You need to leave the Bloom. Now.

Ka-ching! I don't think this asshole gives you anything for turning three people over to Robot Mengele here - looks like shins, but the same amount of XP as you would get from driving him off.

Yes, it did dump an entire screen of text just to explain that the robot disappeared in a flash of light while the robot disappeared in a flash of light. Drink, I guess.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this crap posted:

: Greetings.

: The very trustworthy slavemaster over there said you were buying people to butcher them. Is that true?

: No! We are going to kill them humanely so we can put our heads on them and ride them around! That is totally awesome! Imagine it like a trolley, with the hot people on one track, and -

: Hmm. So you're not going to give me any futuristic advanced robotic weaponry? Fuck off or I'll run you over. I'm greasing the trolley wheels right now!

Decanted: Oh shit! Oh fuck! Bye!

Seriously, what the hell? You have to put in more work to do the evil option and your reward is garbage. I guess you could in theory not talk to the slave trader even though the robot immediately tells you he wants to do business with the slave trader.

Matkina is still Tier 2. I still hate this game.

: I want to set you free.

: [Raises Silver, Gold Tides] As your master, I set you free. Get out of here.

I have no idea where this non sequitur about gods came from. I don't care.

Ah, yes, the Middle Ages, where you couldn't make a living with just a strong male body. Wait...

: What if I found you a job?

Coty: Yeah...all right. You're the boss, I guess.

There are a fair amount of options for Coty here. Because I am lazy and want these sidequests to finally be over, I go with this guard captain on the same screen about 20 feet away who owes us a favor.

: There's a boy over there named Coty. I was wondering if you could give him a job.

: Brusca looks over to where Coty is standing. "He's just a boy! I'd be afraid of getting him killed."

Again, you don't need to describe her looking over. Our lovely Castoff described him as "a boy over there," It is reasonable to assume that Brusca, exclaiming he's just a boy, actually looked at him. Oh well.

: How much would it cost to equip him?

Coty should probably learn to defend himself in case more horny body-stealing robots show up.

: If you take him, I'll give you 300 shins for his equipment.

: [Deception] He may not look like much, but he's young and good with his hands. He'll learn fast.

: Farewell.

: I got you a job as a soldier for the Memovira. You can start immediately.

Coty's deal is that a prank went wrong and his sister died. RIP.

One last sidequest to go.

TheGreatEvilKing summarizes posted:

: Hey, Coty. I want to set you free.

Coty: You can't set me free! I'm an evil person!

: As your master, I do what I want.

Coty: I suck! I'm probably just gonna go steal again! Then I'll get run over by a trolley!

: What if I got you a job?

Coty: Wha?


Brusca: Sure, but he's just a kid! I'll do it, but I feel real bad!

: Cool. Coty, you're a soldier now. Stop doing crime.

Coty: Oh shit, kill- er, thank you. Bye.

You can also have Coty steal shit for you, but then he gets caught and killed and you don't get the XP. You'd think he could steal something good, but it's just the worthless fake currency and vendor trash. Don't do it.

Moving on! We need to go to Chirugeon Slump to finish the last sidequest, which is to get Skoura her eyes back. We meet a pile of colorful characters on the way.

Bourras here begs you for money to buy space drugs. You can trick him into going with the Decanted if you promise him space drugs. It's a complete waste of time, but on the plus side he'll be dead and not live in Numenera any more.

You are not Jack Vance! Stop writing half-assed Jack Vance!

Sheen here sells said drugs, but they're distilled memories and whatnot. We can actually sell her the memory of overwhelming someone's mind with a wave of psychic energy, which she can use to make more drugs.

She thinks its really hot that you're as ruthless as her, a professional drug dealer, and gets wet enough to lower her prices.

I grab this mind control cypher and her unique cypher that permanently raises a knowledge skill. I burn the latter right away to get a rank in Lore: Machinery.

Of course, a nano castoff can just cast the mind control spell as much as they want, but you all voted no nanos.

This man is mad we made Artaglio kill himself, and doesn't understand that it's a 20% damage bonus. He calls us an asshole for taking advantage of a drunk man, and correctly points out we could have done it any other way. We tell him we needed the Maw open and move on.

These are the guys we want to talk to and they have a ton of words as befitting Numenera characters. Just make it end, please.





Apparently we needed yet another Mengele-like mad scientist.

: [Raises Blue Tide] What concern was that?

Oh, goody, they're more verbose assholes who speak with the same voice as every other character who is not a PC or has some kind of accent.

That sounds like a sidequest because it's the same thing we gave to the Techno-Lich. Incidentally, these guys can help you on Erritis' quest to stop being turned into Tony Hawk. Fortunately we have spared ourselves from the curse of Erritis forever.

Just smile and nod. Just smile and nod. It's kind of amazing how Callistege can, as a character, be boiled down to her dislike of Aligern and her weird hivemind gimmick. I am legitimately surprised Aligern entered a relationship with all infinite of these women at once. Lot of emotional support, my man.

Yes, shitlord! We went and placed the stupid face harp that used Western classical music theory a billion years into the future!

Wow. So the Callisteges handed over a Callistege for these guys to vivisect and, know what? I'm glad we don't have more details here.

: Do you know any way to restore the sight of someone without eyes?

: The subject should retain her faculties, yes.

You know what? This isn't the first band of assholes we've had experiment on us. Why not?

: Expensive and time consuming? What about all the eyes your colleague has on his head? Did he undergo all these surgeries, one by one?

You are not Jack Vance.

We could pay, but where's the fun in that?

: [Raises Blue, Gold Tides] Would I qualify as an 'interesting' test subject?

Oh man! These scientists are going to give us deep insight about our origins, right? How can we say no?

: [Raises Gold Tide] Then I'll volunteer myself.

Callistege just wants an excuse to see us naked.

Ha ha! Comedy! Split over three separate text boxes AND spoiled by scan thoughts!

I would apologize for all these screenshots, but I've been manually transcribing all this dialog for the full Numenera experience.

While I like the idea of being so high you think being torn apart by surgeons is beautiful, the "luminous rainbow" is not great and I really wish they didn't use this clinical passive voice style for everything. The transient beauty is told and not shown.

Also, yes, we lose a health point permanently. What new and shocking information can these scientists tell us?

Really? Losing something causes a sense of loss? You don't fucking say!

So we're sterile, and...

: [Raises Blue Tide] What kind of facts?

...Really. That's your information. That we're vulnerable to psychic bullshit. We know this, because the Changing God popped up in our head without our consent.

Rubbing in how useless and shitty you are doesn't make me like you any more. Give me back my health point!




: So what are the next steps to restore the sight to my blind acquaintance?

: [Raises Blue Tide] What if I put it on my own face?


Wonderful! We also have an artificial eye that none of these idiots have commented on.

: Farewell.

Holy shit, read this summary, that was too many words posted:

: We are mad scientists! Durrrr!

: We're also not funny! Damn, Callistege, you're still hot!

: Hey, old friends, how are you doing?

: Now that we are free from ethics and medical boards, we can be mad scientists in this shitty hole surrounded by stomach acid!

: Did you make any progress on my thing?

: What concern?

: Her entire character arc, of course! Despite what the kickstarter told you about deep companions, that is her only characterization. Is many Callisteges.

: Well, uh, other things have come up. Like we were trying to do a techno-lich thing, but we suck.

: You fuckers had one job. Why do I even entrust things to people without character portraits? Look, can you help me not go insane from my own bad ideas?

: Did you do the previous part of your quest? That usually helps me! If not, I can just pull the Callistege Attractor out of your body lol. Then you'll just be one woman.

: Really? I gave you one of us Callisteges and you give me "turn off the plot machine lol"? I can only hope you kept your pants on during whatever fucked up experimentation you idiots did.

: We'll look into it. What can I do for you, castoff?

: Can you fix a blind person's sight?

: Blah blah blah technobabble.

: Do they have to stay sane?

: Yes.

: Whoa, that's really hard! You're gonna have to become our test subject!

: Look, shitlord, I can see all the roboeyes your idiot friend has. I got one myself and it was cheap. Give me one.

: Ok. 280 bucks, or you become our test subject for DEEP LORE.

: For exposition you can test me as much as you want.

: Oh, yay, a castoff tattoo! We tried to investigate Matkina, but she stabbed me!

: I warned you stupid fucks but no you had to blather on for hours.

: You get super high after the doctor's injection, and in a dull clinical passive voice I tell you you find your blood beautiful as it is extracted from your body. Also, lose 1 max health point.

: Motherfucker! Ok, what's this deep lore!

: You're sterile!

: Colin won't let me get any anyway. What else?

: The tattoo...makes you vulnerable to psychic attack! You might be having hallucinations right now!


: Yup. Bye?

: You assholes owe me a robo-eye. What happens if I use it?

: You can't, and it will tear out a piece of your brain if you try. Ta-ta!

Uuuugh. Let's go give this eye to Skoura and end all these awful sidequests.

: [Raises Gold Tide] "I have an eye for you." Press Obervich's eye into her face.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Skoura: Yippee! I can see again! Have this jar of hardcore ubernanites.

So we got the jar of the Iron Wind. It's kind of a big deal, as one of the few things that can kill us.

They're nanomachines, specifically, "nano-spirits".

Remember this? posted:

So nanos can tap into nano-spirits for power, and to an extent so can jacks. These are some of the most powerful nanomachines in the setting which can even kill castoffs. Now, a good game would actually let us tap into the Iron Wind and use it as some kind of hardcore ubermagic, maybe even like the old D&D games (Planescape, anyone?) where wizards found awesome spells off scrolls and could use them to utterly dominate combat. It would even make sense for us to try this because turning the Iron Wind on the Sorrow might actually be able to kill it or at least drive it off. Unfortunately, this being Tides of Numenera, we are not allowed to do anything nearly that interesting with it.

Now that we are finally done with all the sidequests we can advance the main plot.

: [Raises Blue Tide] "What will happen?"

They are going to shove one last fucking trolley door in aren't they?

There's a short cutscene and the Maw appears.

: That Maw has been here all along?

: Where does it lead?

: What does it eat?

This is the Maw that murder bot was looking for. This may be relevant soon.

Cutting out a few steps to navigate up the dialogue tree...

: May I sleep here?

I am lazy and don't go sleep in Qianne's hobo tent, so I get gouged and do a full heal.

: Pay her.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted: know what, that name is stupid: Ha ha! The Memovira sent you because her dumb ass would get killed by the Bloom! Do you want to advance the plot? Look, there was a trolley door here this whole time!

: What does it want?

The Observant Speck: Predators! It seeks to devour the most powerful!

: Where does it go?

The Observant Speck: To the Heart of the Bloom, and your next plot point!

: Can I rest here first?

The Observant Speck: Yes, for an exorbitant price for terrible quarters.

: Sure, why not.

The Observant Speck: At least it's quiet.

Now to the Maw.

: Observe the behavior of the Bloom-tongues.

: You watch as the tendrils wave about, paying close attention to how they respond to those around you...

: Two or three of the tongues seem interested in Callistege, stretching themselves in her direction. Some of her echoes observe the tongues with interest, while others seem fearful of them.

: Several tongues are fixated upon Matkina, tracking her movements like hounds on a scent. When she notices this, she starts pacing back and forth, but the tongues continue to follow her.

: "Hurry it up," she mutters at you.

This is unfortunately the only use of the Iron Wind and Waits-for-Prey's head. Really. We can also send Callistege in and she'll kill an echo to feed it to the door, so both those side adventures were completely fucking pointless.

: [Raises Gold Tide] Offer the head of Waits-for-Prey to the Maw.

Rest in peace, missile bot. Truly, you were better than most of the assholes in Numenera.

That was not an invitation to spew more written diarrhea, game.

Oh look, all these words and no emotional or intellectual impact.

I know you have animators. You're about to play an animation after I close the text box. What if you actually trusted the animation team to do their jobs, instead of spewing more words in an already bloated and overwritten game?


Welcome to the Heart of the Bloom! It's the game's only proper dungeon, but that doesn't mean it's not full of pretentious overwritten assholes!

Just...draw...a...fucking...character portrait...or..use...the...model...

We know he's nervous because of the stutter. We know that the stuttering is again like shuddering.

: Tell me how you came to be here.

: What can you tell me about this place?

: You said you see strange things. Like what?

: Farewell!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Vonetion: Ahhh! The Bloom is eating me! Ahhh! It is very spooky! Nooo!

Next Time: Fucking shit fuck I don't want to do a big Numenera dungeon.