Part 47: Face Your Torment! Bring Booze.Face Your Torment! Bring Booze.
Last time, on Tides of Numenera, we sat through a bunch of trolley themed flashbacks, and I learned the thread has a better memory for a lot of these characters than I do. Whoops! Today we are going to speak with the Memovira and get in position to make the final trolley themed choice of the game.
We can talk to Brusca. She tells us we were never expected to survive, and the Bloom is angry at The First Castoff and will eat her if she ever leaves the fort. The Bloom helped evict the last Memovira, but now it wants to eat the First. Whatever. We have a LOT of words to get through this update, and I may have to split it.
She teleports from the platform with an animation I fail to capture.
: You lied to me. You're the First.
: Her laughter scratches harshly against your ears. "Obviously."
: She raises her chin high. Some kind of energy shimmers across her body, "I am the First Castoff. I have kept myself hidden for a century and more, watching, waiting, letting our damned sire execute his twisted plans thinking he had the upper hand. But we have plans of our own."
There's a short animation as four more people teleport in.
Bonus points for describing four people teleporting in after we saw four people teleport in.
There's a short cutscene where the repaired resonance chamber just floats in, meaning our entire journey to fix the resonance chamber was a complete and utter waste of time.
First Castoff: As you can see, my agents have retrieved the resonance chamber from the Reef. With Mazzof returned, we can use the chamber to sever the Tidal connection that draws the Sorrow to us like a war moth. Then we will be free forever - from the Sorrow, from having to hide in Miel Avest or this wretched Bloom, from all our sire's strategems. We will finally be ourselves.
Remember when we had to go back in time and unrape Matkina? Yea, this is the rapist guy. The game is going to be very confused about this for the rest of the update.
: Now that she says his name, it is obvious. This is the man whose body you inhabited in Matkina's merecaster so long ago. His only reply is a leering grin.
If you remember, we changed the past so Tash attacked trying to save Matkina rather than him Tides-raping her.
: "That's certainly what you remember." His unpleasant grin widens.
: Why would you have to kill me?
: She cocks her head to the side. "How do you...? You are more clever than my information suggests. Though perhaps not, if you have not yet divined why I would have to kill you.
: You destroyed Miel Avest! You slaughtered all those castoffs!
: We need to talk about the chamber.
: I thought my body was the catalyst to the chamber.
First Castoff: It is. The Changing God created your body specifically to activate the chamber, to channel its powers. We discovered you had become a castoff when you spoke to Mazzof through Zerian Daywalker. Your body was designed to control the Tidal connection between us.
This explains why the only three foci we could pick were generic as fuck obviously.
: Can my body still activate the chamber then?
: I've learned that in activating the chamber, it can be used to weaken the Sorrow. Is that true?
: Your plan will kill the castoffs, not free them. We need the connection in order to live.
: Our sire learned it from a ghibra castoff named Thom. Thom said both our sire's plans and yours would kill us all.
: Is there any other way to stop the Sorrow?
Oom has been through all kinds of Tides shit, resulting in the Sorrow blowing up his civilization. This...may actually be relevant.
: I want to ask you about something else.
: How was Mazzof taken from you?
: We should use the chamber to weaken the Sorrow. We might be able to kill it!
Now, if you are playing along, PICK THE LAST OPTION UNLESS IT WOULD FUCK UP YOUR TIDES! I'll explain why in a bit.
: How long have you been hiding here?
: She shrugs. "A decade? More? I rescued Mazzof from the ghibra after our sire abandoned him. The Bloom's hatred of the Sorrow, and its power to keep it at bay, was known to me, so we came here in disguise."
: "But you betrayed the old Memovira. Why take over if you only came here to hide?"
: Why didn't you just tell me you were the First from the beginning?
: Voices in my head? What are you talking about?
You and me both, Maralel. You and me both.
: Your plan will kill the castoffs. I won't let that happen.
: [Attack] Go ahead and try.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Oh, look, the heroine returns.
: You lied to me! You made it sound like you weren't the First Castoff, but you actually were! I could have given you the info without the time wasting bullshit!
: Obviously I'm the First Castoff. Let me restate it again because the writers didn't think you were paying attention: I am the First Castoff. Soon my evil plan will be ready! I will use the resonance chamber I got to do something really stupid!
: Man, she has the resonance chamber! She even fixed it up, meaning that your quest to find someone to repair the resonance chamber was a complete fucking waste of time!
: Come forth, rapey castoff army!
: What the fuck? You're dead, creepy man who raped me!
: Ha ha nope.
: That's right! Now, I know you, and your traditional demands for exposition, so to stall for time while Mazzof prepares to fire off the Castoff Genocide Chamber, you can ask me any questions you want. Then I might not have to kill you.
: Hey, what gives? I didn't take a side in your stupid pointless war, and I did literally everything you ever asked of me. Why are you trying to kill me?
: Ha ha you dumb moron! The Changing God made your body the key for firing off the resonance chamber, except Mazzof can just do that whenever, meaning that I want to kill you because despite my centuries of life I have a mental age of sixteen.
: You destroyed Miel Avest and murdered all the castoffs.
: What the fuck is wrong with you? I can't believe you murdered people, unlike me, a person who murders people for money!
: What game do you two think this is? Do you not hear the click-clack of the rails switching? Do you not see the helpless maidens tied to the tracks? Do you not hear the desperate whistle, or see the despair on the trolley engineer's face as he tries to slam the brakes? This was their fault for standing on the trolley tracks - if they had courage, they would be in the car with me, desperately pulling the lever to minimize life units lost! Toot toot! TOOT TOOT!
: Ok, the resonance chamber. This is a bad idea. Can you even use it without my body?
: Oh yes I can!
: But I can still use it right?
: If you try I'll kill you.
: Ok, seriously though, can the chamber actually weaken the Sorrow?
: Maybe, but I can't see any value in a weapon that would hurt our ancient enemy.
: This is just going to kill all the castoffs, you know.
: That's dumb and you're dumb. Who told you this?
: Another castoff named Thom.
: Thom? He, uh, he's dumb, yeah. Could my poorly thought out plan to do the same thing as the Changing God be bad? No, it is the protagonist who is wrong.
: Is there any other way to stop the Sorrow?
: Well, there's the Changing God's dumb plan to kill us all by absorbing us into one body. That plan sucks, let's not do it, my plan is awesome and will one hundred percent work!
: Goddamn look at this dumb bitch.
: How did you lose Mazzof anyway?
: The Bloom yoinked him to try to lure me so it could eat me.
: Seriously, we should just use the chamber to kill the Sorrow.
: That will never work and I'll kill you if you bring it up again.
: How long have you been hiding here, and why didn't you tell me you were the First so we could work together?
: A decade, and I didn't trust you. I knew you heard the Changing God in your head and that made you my enemy.
: Ok, your plan is going to kill all the castoffs, and I'm going to stop you. Taste relativistic damage, fiend!
: Oh yea? Guess what! This was a completely optional "crisis" you just stumbled into that has no effect on the plot and you can actually screw yourself over doing! Enjoy Numenera combat, asshole! There are five of us, and we walk real slow!
: Nooo! NOOOOOO!
So yea, as the dialogue summary above said, this battle is completely unnecessary and sucks.
The one interesting thing is that our guy Coty, who we freed and got the job with the Memovira, betrays the First immediately to help us out.
There are a few little touches that make me think someone on this game actually cared and was just overruled by people possessed by Colin's poorly thought out vision. This is one of them.
Bericael sucks, because the developers gave her both the jack's life draining attack and the Breathes Shadow capstone that lets her become invulnerable and untargetable. Thanks, assholes.
You can try to talk to the castoffs and if you did their merecasters right they'll turn. I turn Tash by guilting him about Matkina, Bericael is pissed we made her try to kill the First, and I stopped after that because everyone not named The Last Castoff got torn to shreds in this fight.
Of course, they can't actually kill our Castoff, because she has the aforementioned life drain attack, a sword that deals irresistible damage, and enough speed edge that she can just spam it.
Despite this fortress supposedly protecting the First from the Bloom, the Bloom can apparently just teleport in Black Demon Seed monsters. You don't actually want to kill the castoffs here, because they're going to fight the Bloom monsters and you can just kind of dully stare at the screen and remember video games that actually responded to player input. I can only imagine the developers coded this section after playing too much Xenosaga.
We take the First Castoff down. Damn, that's a major antagonist dead by our hand, and it's close to the end of the ga -
Oh. Let me tell you the truth about this battle. It doesn't matter at all. You can't make it up there to stop Mazzof in time, and I tested it - you can actually straight up lose here and the game proceeds as though nothing happened. That's why you should just let the First Castoff fire off the resonance chamber, or better yet just not play this game.
Anyway, after an arbitrary amount of time we get a second crisis which is even worse than this one (but mandatory to proceed).
Despite what the game tells you, your choices don't actually matter here.
The Sorrow shows up anyway. I promised the thread a Sorrow vs Bloom fight to see who has the better Black Demon Seed. There was some excitement over a cool fight. This is not it.
This red and black fire pops up in the corner and will start spawning the Sorrow sperm monsters. Note that our objective is just to get to the top of the stairs.
The First runs into the Sorrow fire like a dipshit. I want to point out that if your party members go down in this fight they are permanently dead. I lost Rhin on my test playthrough, Callistege was very upset with me ("Her death is on your hands, castoff!") and I reloaded as fast as I could.
Our Last Castoff is not only a fashion trendsetter and deadly warrior, but can run really fast to complete quest objectives and thus she takes control of the Resonance Chamber on her first turn. So what do we do now, you ask?
We have to wait. A better game would make "survive for X turns" an actually interesting and engaging battle. Here?
Order the entire party to hide. Burn speed pools to get it to 100 percent. That's it. You've won. Now you get to sit back and enjoy a three way battle between the First Castoff's Endless Battle team, the Blooms' continually spawning Black Demon Seed, and the Sorrow's Black Demon Seed.
Really. It's like a bad game of D&D where the players sit there as the DM describes how his Demon Vampire Ninja killed a dragon with a single blow and then impregnated five elf princesses at once and they all agreed he didn't owe any child support because he was just that good.
The AI completely ignores Coty, who is 360 no scoping the First Castoff this whole time. What a boss.
The First can actually use the Tides as a combat attack.
After enough staring dully at the screen pressing "End Turn" as the NPCs do their best turtle impression, the Sorrow finally arrives in the long animation the developers think is a dramatic reveal.
It still saddens me that the best manifestation of Death they could come up with was a giant Ringwraith with tentacles.
Once again they pull the old "describe the image we're about to show you in writing".
The last act of the game takes place in the Labyrinth, and things are about to get silly.
Now, if you hadn't done the probability engine sidequest you would have no idea who this woman was.
: I thought you were a memory or a copy. Why are you here?
She is, of course, the Changing God's daughter we met earlier.
: I thought the chamber would merge all the castoffs into a body, not the Labyrinth.
: "The chamber was just a lever." She speaks as though she is just learning this information herself. "The minds of the castoffs can still be merged into a single body. But not by flipping some switch in the real world. Your fate, and that of your siblings, will be decided here, in the Labyrinth that connects you all...that has always connected you."
: How do you know all of this?
: Her brow furrows. "I'm still asking myself that. When you and your siblings were drawn into this place, pieces of their memories filled gaps in mine. I know what happened to bring you here. I understand what is happening now. And I...know where the Changing God is and what he plans to do."
It's because you're a character in a video game, and the writers don't know how to move this plot along. What are we supposed to be doing anyway? What have we actually accomplished?
: Does that mean that activating the chamber did nothing at all?
: If all living castoffs were drawn to this place, then where are they?
: Why has everything changed? All the doors and portals are different from before.
: If everyone is trapped in an illusion, why aren't I?
: I'll try to stop him. Farewell.
What she means is that you should really check out the portals on the side.
TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this shit posted:
: It's me, the Changing God's daughter's copy or whatever! Suddenly, I have great but fragmented visions of the plot, as though the denizens of the writers' room didn't know how to proceed, and decided to infodump on you!
: Par for the course. Lay it on me.
: All of the castoffs are here, trapped in nightmares of their own personal problems,
: I thought the Resonance Chamber stuffed everyone into one body or something? It was kind of incoherent.
: No, it's just a lever. You can still, erm, merge with the other castoffs, but you have to go into a deep place here called the Resonance, and that will let you stop the Sorrow. Oh no! The Changing God is already there! Better get crackin!
: How do you know all this again?
: No idea, it must be the writers.
: Wait, if the Labyrinth had this Resonance thing the whole time couldn't I have just...gone there, and skipped all these pointless adventures with trolleys?
: You fired off the chamber, so you know the truth and don't have to fight your personal demons, like the rest of the castoffs scattered around here.
: Why does everything look different around here?
: It's a confusing abstract dreamscape that could represent internal struggle but will actually host a struggle against the game's external antagonist. None of this writing makes any sense, roll with it.
: So I'm not trapped in a nightmare why?
: Because you're the protagonist, and your body was literally built to do this.
: Ok, I'll go stop the Changing God. Bye!
: Be sure to do everything here before going through the portal I pointed out!
I go to level up The Last Castoff and encounter this wonderful graphical glitch.
Uh, hi, who are you, and why are you in our head?
Hey, Rhin! Been a while! Please don't talk about what Callistege and The Last Castoff did with that creepy guy to send you home, because that was gross. Also, I have no idea how this kid kept her innocence after being abused by a slaver and then we had her shoot all those people to death with energy weapons.
: You've changed quite a lot!
Rothfuss. No. Stop. Get your shitty incoherent metaphors out of here.
Not sure if I mentioned this or not, but Rhin did give us a "god of finding" when she left. You might ask if Rhin and her gods are going to interact with this theme's of divinity and falsehood. The answer is, once again, no.
: But we're in my mind. Your god helped you find me here?
: It's good to see you again, Rhin.
: She smiles, as warm and bright as the sun. "It's good to see you too, old friend. I think about you all the time."
Rothfuss, you already used the sun metaphor.
: The resonance chamber was activated. It trapped me and all the other castoffs here, in the Labyrinth.
Before you ask, yes, Adult Rhin still has the ability to create infinite grenades and turrets and stuff.
: I do need you, and I'm glad you're here.
: She grins widely. "Of course, old friend. Come on."
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Hey, remember me? It's me, Rhin! It's been 10 years, but you haven't aged a day!
: Because this character is written by Patrick Rothfuss, she is described using incoherent solar metaphors that seem deep at first glance but collapse under the slightest scrutiny!
: Yea, you've changed a lot. What's up?
: Yea, I guess the god I gave you was super powerful and let me find you...wherever the hell this is. Wasn't I kind of not really here to shoot some sperm monsters or something?
: Yea...some idiots activated the resonance chamber and stuck all the castoffs in this generic purple dreamscape thing.
: That sounds terrible! Do you need my help? I know it's not much, but I have the ability to use infinite grenades, summons, and turrets, I can use healing spells and teleports, oh, and I also picked up a custom weapon and a spell that lets me deal AoE relativistic damage and makes Callistege feel insecure about her life choices.
: Rhin, you know infinite grenades are always welcome. Let's go!
Rhin does not show up if you don't send her back. You can take child Rhin to the endgame and get an ending where you adopt her. We're not doing that.
Rhin gets some wacky new abilities to go with her "Shaper" class, as I guess she's gone from a lost child to a wacky god summoner lady who walks between worlds. Oh, yes, and her skill loadout is kinda batshit, which is great, as we're going to be needing her skills to avoid the tedious combats in this area. She gets a skill to pull all our enemies into an area for future nuking, and this:
The only other person who can get this is a Nano Last Castoff. The big problem with Adult Rhin is that by the time you get her there's no one really left to fight. Even the final boss can just be talked down trivially, and you're going to want to do that because Numenera combat is awful.
This is still around, but she's got enough intellect edge that it's free to use. Throw down all your turrets, kids!
These three portals are really easy to miss - I did on my first playthrough, but if you want your party members back you need to break them out of their wacky torment sections.
You also run into castoffs here. Rhin wants you to help Tol Maguur because she doesn't want to hold a grudge, even though these shades are the shades of the people Tol Maguur killed with the tides because she didn't have Rhin. This has no spiritual significance.
Sure, Rhin, whatever. We make a Persuasion check, she recognizes Rhin, and disappears from the Labyrinth with illusions dispelled. I'm sorry, but if we go through every side conversation in this place we'll be here for far too long.
This weird spider eye statue is Dracogen's true form or master or some shit, and they threw this in here because Steven Dengler gave them money but they couldn't give him an interesting character. You can keep touching the statue despite the game warning you not to and you get an ornament that gives you armor and resistance. Yawn.
This asshole is here, and he shows up to waste your time. Incidentally, if we had brought Erritis, this is where we could tell the nanomachine demons that wanted xtreme stuntz to fuck off and let him go back to sheepherding. We didn't do that because Erritis is a terrible blight on all that is fun. Fuck Erritis.
In the middle portal, Matkina is trapped in her flashback of wolf genocide and Tides inappropriate conduct. The game bluntly tells us we can't do anything for her until we proceed to the next portal.
This next fathom is kind of interesting. I mentioned the cut Oasis of M'ra Jollos, which was an underwater city. What I didn't mention was that it was cut, at least partially, because the devs were having trouble with the swimming animations. It's not a dome city like Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, it's literally a flooded city where everyone swims and stuff. Anyway, they bundled their demo area into this fathom so they could claim that the Oasis was totally in the game.
This guy tells us that he's a weird illusion and that we need to snap the castoffs out of their illusions if we want to help them.
They do have full swimming animations here.
This guy thinks he's a census taker, but we want to see his book for whatever reason. It has pages about the Tides that infodump some story for some NPCs we've never heard of if we dump intellect into a persuasion check for a whopping 2 XP, and then if we convince him he's not real we get 4 whole XP. Wow!
Mazzof is here too. He's having a flashback to when the Changing God left his body and ditched him in the Oasis and he was imprisoned by fishmen. We have to toss him a shin, which he can use to MacGuyver his way out of Mind Jail. He has a bit more to say on what the Labyrinth actually is though.
Yay! Incoherent rambling about psychic powers? You shouldn't have.
We can ask him to come with us. You'd think he'd be a cool secret party member, but he involuntarily fades out as he wakes from the dream and gives us a cipher that I dump on Rhin and immediately forget I have. It is basically Fire Shield from Dungeons and Dragons.
Callistege is here too, and this is where we get the opportunity to resolve her personal quest line and watch the game shit the bed with its themes.
: As you touch her, you're moved in time and space to...somewhere else. Images flash in front of your eyes, a cascade of other places and other times and other worlds that barely resolves from a blinding blur. You clutch at a single image, letting it bear you down into the endless chaos.
: Please, Callistege, I need you!
: Come back to me, Callistege.
That is a disturbing enough image to survive this writing.
: I'm here.
: Callistege, snap out of it.
: "You came for me." Callistege smiles at you, radiant, bashful and genuine.
Radiant and bashful seem opposed, but what do I know? Also, anyone who says this isn't a romance is full of shit. Coming after the stuff where Callistege just stares at you and says she can deny you nothing, even if it means her death? Calling it here.
: Do you wish to explore the datasphere though, or will you return to humanity?
: You've been working for this your whole life, and now is your chance. You should decide now.
: I'll help. What do I need to do?
Oh shit! Are we getting a super powered up Callistege, too? Why are the women in this game so overpowered?
: Just concentrate. Concentrate on opening the connection. Allow it to penetrate the Labyrinth, and allow it to reach your mind. I will aid you as I have for so long.
There's also 4chan.
: "Don't forget me." Her hand disappears from her cheek. You open your eyes, and she is no longer standing there...but she is still inside your imagination.
Wha..aren't we in our imagination right now - fuck it. It's Numenera. Weird for the sake of weird.
YUP. The game just took a party member away from us in the final dungeon. If you have Erritis you can convince the nanomachine demons to leave him alone...in which case he also leaves the dungeon. Callistege will appear to help us out later, but it's totally not worth it.
TheGreatEvilKing summarizes this shit posted:
: Oh no! I'm having a mental crisis and I can't keep straight where I am or what time I'm in because of my weird psychic bullshit!
: Callistege! I need you! You are the wind beneath my wiiiiiings!
: You came back for me! Yay! I'm so happy I could k-
: NO ROMANCE IN THIS GAME!
: Uh, so, anyway, the Labyrinth has wifi. You want to help me connect so I can become one with the datasphere, as I've been planning all game?
: Sure, are you sure you want to abandon your humanity and become a powerful AI capable of transcending mortal limits?
: You know, I'm honestly not sure.
: Go for it, it seems like a cool thing to do and it's your life's work.
: Oh god, yes, channel the datasphere through me like that, mmmm.
: Oh, cool. So do you get like a damage upgrade or something? We're in the final dungeon and I could use your help.
: Actually, I'm leaving the party forever. Bye!
When the Changing God tries for immortality or to resurrect the dead, it is inherently wrong and bad. When literally anyone else in Numenera does it, it's OK and doesn't matter!
Goodbye Callistege. You made the combat almost bearable.
Now that that illusion guy told us about illusions, we can go snap Matkina out of it. Yes, we snapped Tol Maguur out of it without the pep talk. I can't explain it either.
: Try to understand how you can help her.
: Get close and let her "kill" you.
Jesus, some of these options. Tash didn't try to help, we made him help with the Merecaster override. Tash is still a piece of shit.
: Matkina, I will help you avenge their deaths. But you need to wake up!
: You're my friend, Matkina. You don't owe me anything.
Remember how the game introduced Matkina as the cold, calculating jack, and then proceeded to characterize her as excessively emotional and hot-tempered? I remember.
: You want to join me again?
: "Between that and rot down here... not much of a choice." She claps you on the shoulder. "I'm with you."
Matkina levels up and gets an AoE blind attack and the same health drain attack that the Last Castoff has, meaning I can run two drain tanks, Rhin's infinite grenades, and whatever the hell Oom does with his life.
This is the merchant from Miel Avest who upgraded our companions' armor. She will upgrade it for free here, as well as sell you some stuff. I buy an energy pistol for Matkina and some cyphers I once again forget to use.
I legitimately had to google how to find Oom, read that he was in the starting area, and felt like a huge dumbass.
Oom levels up. He has a weird system where you can align him to your dominant tides and he gets upgrades to his attack and whatnot. In our case he is rocking the Blue Tide, which increases his hit rate, and Gold Tide, which lets him heal the entire party when he critically hits. I have never seen Oom critically hit.
We have the gang and one lady awkwardly watching us from the internet. Let's do this.
Joy. This is supposed to be a representation of the Endless Battle, but all it does is show how the Endless Battle is small and unimportant in my opinion. Raima here is one of the two castoffs who were arguing in Miel Avest until Aardiris told us to go mediate their argument so we could learn about the Endless Battle.
Naturally, we have encountered this deadly battle legion of six whole infantry with swords and axes.
This starts a crisis where we have to talk Raima down, then she mentions that she wants to save the soldiers and I think you have to smash the green thing above the text box? There's a pearl in there that causes a flashbang because nothing in Numenera is allowed to be coherent. Monte Cook will tell you it's to create a sense of wonder and mystery. It honestly reminds me more of Axe Cop.
Here's Rhin's AoE relativistic attack, called "Blood and Bell". No, I don't understand what those two have to do with each other either.
Cool, combat is done, let's run past Raima...
Ugh! Same deal - the castoffs Andronus and Zerian can be talked down, and you can either kill the mooks or activate the pillars to disable them. As I couldn't figure out how the pillars worked I just kinda stabbed them all again. It's not interesting.
Cool, thanks, can we go now?
So this encounter is uninteresting. You need to get to the door past these two bands of warring idiots. Paj Rekken is mad at you for interfering. As the objective is to get to the door, we are going to use our time-honored Hide button and creep past. However, I did find something of interest to the thread.
Zeniel in the thread posted they had contributed to the kickstarter and made an item called the "Shatter Striker" to be included in the game. I found the Shatter Striker! It seems to be some kind of poison attack like Zeniel suggested, and I'm not sure if it's an item we can loot because I left these guys alone. The wiki seems to indicate it's a lootable weapon but not where it can be found.
Other than that the encounter is doing skill checks on the door. This is quite literally the last mandatory crisis in the game. We don't have to fight any more after this. I know, the Changing God and the Sorrow are on the other side of that door. We don't have to fight them. Deal with it.
Next Time: The plot gets real dumb, real fast.