The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 8: Cleopatra Jones and the Case of the Missing Iron

Cleopatra Jones and the Case of the Missing Iron

Last time on Tyranny, after showing uncharacteristically un-Kyrosian mercy to the rebels, the local brain trust showed up and asked us whether we want to burn down the village or preserve it and enslave everyone.

: The settlement should be preserved, and any still here made slaves or conscripts.

Yes Barik, we get it, you are racist. Now he's not wrong that the locals aren't particularly loyal to the Scarlet Chorus, but again, this is your army on tyranny.

At least someone appreciates us.

I love these models.

Antio, you realize that if you hadn't fallen for the obvious trap that got all your troops killed, we could have crossed the river much sooner, correct? Aren't you supposed to be a student of the "Great General?"

: A sensible decision, Fatebinder. If we hold to the Disfavored's pogrom of razed soil, what will remain for us to rule?

: Bitter Quip claps his hands, raising his voice to address his gangs. Seize this place! Search the homes, take all that you can carry! Give each survivor a chance at the Voices' mercy, but to the ungrateful, be brutal!

This is supposed to be more evidence of Kyros' tyranny, but this was the standard treatment of the defeated in the Bronze Age. Kyros sure as hell isn't paying the Scarlet Chorus, they're in it for the chance to loot.

: Fifth Eye needs your services dealing with the oathbreakers in the outer valley, no? Well when you are done with Fifth Eye's request, the Archons will be gathering for another meeting at the Disfavored camp. As our sole representative of the Court, your presence will be required - don't keep them waiting.

Ugh. So we are going to put this off for a while so we don't need to watch them try to murder each other or some stupid shit.

TheGreatEvilKing dialog summary posted:

: Look, Fatebinder, this is a matter between warriors - let the villagers go.

: I'd rather talk - I want you to peacefully surrender.

: Well, unless you can un-murder my friends I don't know that I have anything to say to you.

: Why do you resist the order and prosperity of Kyros?

: Are you serious? Like those two idiot archons and their fuckup armies? I guess there is some unity as we've got people from all over the Tiers coming to fight Kyros. That is good unity?

: Damn, I'm never gonna star in Based Fatebinder destroys rebels with facts and logic, am I? Why throw away your lives in a pointless insurrection?

: And submit to Kyros' tyranny? For peace? I hate the word, and will express my hate in the same rhetoric you would use for rounding up people you don't like.

: You know what, everyone out. That includes you too, rebel warriors.


: Why, so you can sta - wait, you're serious?

: Yes. Go.

: I owe you one, Fatebinder. Bye!

: Hey, Fatebinder! It's us, your intelligent and handsome friends! Where's Sybil?

: I let her go to strike fear into the enemies that I was going to personally beat all their asses.

: That was pretty cool. So, can we enslave the village now?


: Preserve the village, enslave the survivors.


: Yaaaaaay!

: Anyway, once you're done helping Fifth Eye we're having an Archon meeting, and we need you there to represent Tunon's Court. Don't take too long!

We are of course going to do that quest...later. The thread pointed out a bunch of shit I never found in act 1, and more importantly we have sigils to buy!

You're alright, Bitter Quip.

Anyway, as it happens I know where to find the missing iron.

We told all the villagers to run. I guess they didn't listen? Aside from this old man there are a bunch of villagers scattered around. Maybe they didn't hear us.

This is smart of the old man because his life is protected under Kyros' laws. Unfortunately this also makes him vulnerable to being conscripted by the Archons, one of whom is a turbo-racist and the other who has absolutely no respect for human life.

: I suggest you cooperate with their demands.

We are given the option to break Kyros' law here. Let's not do that.

: I doubt you'd enjoy quartering any Scarlet Chorus if you stayed. This settlement is becoming a garrison.

: Last thing I need is good-for-nothing soldiers demanding room and lodging from the one hospitable local!

: The old man shakes his head No peace at all... fine. I'll gather my things... best be off before the crossing becomes a war camp.

We are of course going to break into this old man's house. Unreasonable search and seizure? That's cute, this is the bronze age.

I guess this old man is a wizard. Score! This increase spell damage and buff duration.

You have some explaining to do, old man.

: I found Forge-Bound iron in one of these barrels. You have a great deal to explain old man.

: Villagers forcing you to help the Vendrien Guard? That sounds suspicious.

Editors. Editors no!

I misclicked here, so enjoy tormenting an old man!

The Road Not Taken posted:

: Either way, you know... and the Disfavored will make you pay the price.

This is good writing! Instead of helldumping a paragraph about how frightened the old man looks, the dialogue speaks for itself and the terrified reaction of Old Man Mua in the portrait speaks volumes.

: You should have thought of that before being complacent.

Notice anything? Tunon's favor didn't go up. Tunon's favor or wrath is the game telling you that you correctly applied (or misapplied) Kyros' laws. We didn't get wrath either, so this is just a free opportunity to torment an old man because we like power. This seems really out of character for Cleo (and made me feel bad) so I reloaded.

: It seems like your stubborn ignorance may have saved you. I'm taking the iron, you may stay.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: This is my home! I've always lived here! Fuck off! Oh, you're not a Disfavored. You're with Kyros, right? Well, I surrender, and thus Kyros' peace protects me.

: There are going to be Scarlet Chorus all over soon, you may wish to leave before they camp in your house.

: Alright. I'm leaving.

: Time to search his house for the missing iron. Ooh, a sigil!

: Hey! What are you doing! Get out of my house you skanky ho!

: Can you explain why Kyros' iron is in this barrel in your house?

: Yes! Some assholes saying they were with the Vendrien Guard came and made me hide it! No one respects their elders!

: Really. They made you hide it. That sounds suspicious.

: Do you have shit in your ears? That's what I just said!

: I will take the iron. You can go.

: Thank you, Fatebinder!

We don't really have the evidence to disprove his story and we don't have the time to conduct a full investigation. We can't really speculate on the character of the rebels either, except to wonder why they didn't bother extracting the iron while they had men to hold the river. The old man didn't come across as a die-hard freedom fighter, just someone who wanted to be left alone to live his life - and quite frankly both we and Kyros can live with that - but in the absence of evidence we will leave this alone.

Also the old man gave us this sigil which let us increase all our spell damage. How could we kill that old man?

We did give you warning to leave. Back to the Scarlet Chorus camp!

Oh look, it's the return of the sci-fi bad-prose.

We are tolerating this lady for a reason.

: You said something about the Horde thinning?

: And what might that be?

: How exactly do you plan to convince them?

: If it means expediting an end to this meandering conflict, so be it.

: What were you expecting?

: How has the military life treated you so far?

: Oh, it's a wonder of wonders. I eat what I want, I shit where I want, and I kill who I want. Sometimes I even combine pleasures. She winks at you

Gross, lady.

: My... enthusiasm for the work brought me here. A decorated Scarlet Fury veteran, eh? But I'm looking for advancement. If it means killing one of the gang bosses, I'm not above taking a swing at someone bigger than me.

: They can be bigger than you. Just make sure they don't hit harder than you.

: What is your role in the Scarlet Chorus?

We know that Death Knell is trying to come off as intelligent though her use of sci-fi bad-prose and she manages to completely drop it by discussing scholars of the "shiv". The symbolism of the Scarlet Chorus elite wallowing in their own shit and seeing it as freedom should be fairly obvious.

Wait, the Chorus has training? What?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Oh, you're the Fatebinder? Well stay out of combat because you're a little punk. Leave it to the real warriors like me. Anyway, we keep running out of trash conscripts, and I can't understand why.

: You're running low on conscripts despite billing yourselves as superior numbers?

: Yeah, I was thinking...what if you went to the settlement and made a real sales pitch, instead of us just having a big murderfest?

: If it ends this collective idiocy any faster than I'm in. How are you otherwise?

: I'm free to do what I want, and that means cannibalism and wallowing in my own shit!

: you do around here?

: I'm an elite Scarlet Fury! But I'm going to fight my way to leadership!

: Yea!

: I'm leaving now.

This is just more confirmation of what I've been saying the whole time. The Scarlet Chorus isn't nearly as free or egalitarian as it likes to pretend, and the freedom they're granted is merely the freedom to wallow in their own shit. Let's keep wandering around the camp after we level up.

This is mandatory. The way spell slots work in this game is that each character has a base number - the Fatebinder has 4, Barik and Verse have 2 - and then you can get more by taking talents like this one, which is mandatory. The Fatebinder also has a talent that gives everyone in the party two additional spell slots. You need to take it if you're playing along.

With the updated spell slots we can assign this as well as a cone of fire. Yes, that is an AoE stun that deals unresistable damage. Magic in this game rules.

What are you doing here? Seriously, I've never seen you until Act 2. That at ease and uncomfortable paragraph...sure is a description.

The voice actress delivers this with such contempt, it's great.

Meet Sirin, everyone! Yes, they took one letter from "Siren", as in the mythological songstress that lured men to their doom, and named her that. Yes, she's got a magical song that mind controls people. She's the third Archon we've met and she's mingling with the trash Chorus members. I wonder why that is?

: You look familiar. Have we met?

: You don't know me, little worm? I am Sirin, and my degenerate allies have the pleasure of calling me the Archon of Song. You hear the distant peal of a bell in her laugh. She regards you for a moment with dim interest.

: And you are Tunon's Fatebinder. What brings you here to the middle of the battlefield? Did Kyros send you to shame Ashe and Nerat into action?

: Ashe certainly needs someone to dig a heel into his back, if only to distract him from his problem. She purses her lips in thought.

: What are you suggesting about Nerat?

: What? Oh, never mind... There isn't anything interesting happening in camp and the solitude is making me paranoid. Nerat is the Archon of Secrets. I'm sure he has one or two he isn't sharing with everyone.

: I can't be expected to keep track of all his comings and goings... His plans and secret meetings... His betrayals..." She trails off and stands in thought for a few moments.

: Anyway... we have a more important matter to deal with. There is something you can do to assist me.

: Sirin's mouth opens in a perfect O-shape, and the sound that pours out is captivating, entrancing. It dampens the ambient bustle of the camp, until it seems that nothing exists but her voice.

At the end of the day these are still fantasy game writers.

: [Lore 40] What are you trying to do to me?

: [Leave]

Lantry, no.

: Keep walking - best not to offend her.

: Quite right - now's not the time to trouble her with a thousand questions. Another time, perhaps.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: The game gives you far too much bad fantasy prose describing this young lady, almost as if she was a future party member. Hello, worm.

: Have we met?

: I'm Sirin, and my asshole allies call me the Archon of Song. You're Tunon's Fatebinder, aren't you? Is Kyros sending you to clean up after the Archons? Ashe sure could use a boot to the back, but Nerat...

: What about Nerat?

: I'm going to insinuate I know all his evil plans, but I need your help with something. Weia! Waga! Woge, du Welle, walle zur Wiege! wagala weia! wallala, weiala weia! Remove my helmet.

: Is that mind control?

: Well, this is embarrassing. Go away.


: Let's leave before we piss her off.

: Good idea.

Now you might dismiss this as "authors ripping off Greek Mythology for fantasy bullshit" but, like many things in this game there's a lot more going on then meets the eye. Sirin represents the artist under the Tyranny of Kyros. Did she seem like a teenager to you? That's because she is. She's fifteen. (Spoilers). Sirin is a teenager because art under Kyros is not allowed to grow into anything more than a recruitment tool for the army or a tool to glorify Kyros and spread propaganda. She is manipulative because the regime has no need of beauty or meaning unless it directly glorifies them and imposes subservience on others. The helmet is the direct weight of Kyros censoring her work and thus her attempts to get the helmet off are akin to Skostakovich writing a symphony about a man being beaten while people tell him "you must rejoice". If you haven't gotten it by now, the game is not about how awesome it would be to have a powerful dictator as your ally, the game is about how tyrants degrade everything they touch. Kyros is bad. Everything Kyros touches Kyros perverts, from Sirin's beautiful music to the Disfavored's misplaced loyalty.

On a happier note, we were able to grab this sigil which we can add to increase the accuracy of our spells. Score!

Anyway Bitter Quip is arguing with somebody.

: We meet again, Binder. Bitter Quip bows.

: Murder? That's a serious charge. Tell me everything.

: Three weeks ago, we were in the eastern end of the valley. We were on assignment ot keep Vendrien Guard runners from leaving and reinforcements from coming in. Bitter Quip and some Scarlet Furies came with us for, his voice falls flat for an awkward pause support.

: Well our trail puts us between two Vendrien Guard patrols. Thinking they have us outnumbered, they draw bronze. We close ranks and fight together. It's a rather rousing melee and the oathbreakers give as good as they get - but among the dead - a dozen conscripts and two Disfavored.

: So the Vendrien Guard slew them? How the, is this Choirman to blame?

: What sort of magic did you use?

: I don't talk the craft outside the guild but I can't defend myself with silence. The Blood Chanter clears his throat, measuring his words carefully

: I invoked a spell of frenzy, and directed the chant at the enemy. They could move faster than our party and letting them escape would undermine the mission - so I fueled them with rage to get them to stand and fight.

: Blood Chanter, is that all you have to say in your defense?

: What more need I say? For I have done no wrong.

: You are not enlightened, so I can forgive your ignorance. If you were illuminated in the ways of the arcane, you'd know that Kyros' law does not hold the mage culpable for that which cannot be controlled.

: [Lore 20] Bitter Quip is citing Magician's Folly. If in battle for Kyros' glory, a mage inadvertently harms someone protected by Kyros' Peace, the mage is not legally at fault.

The Tunon favor indicates that it's the right law. Incidentally, this is a spell we can learn, and it also slows the target and reduces their defense against mental attacks.

: [Lore 34] Spend a decade mastering the craft of magic and perhaps you will understand why this law must exist.

Translation: Mages take years to train and we're not killing them because they accidentally burned some Scarlet Chorus peasant.

: I am ready to pass judgement.

: The case is a simple one, is it not? So do you think he's guilty?

: Kyros' Law shields Bitter Quip from negligence in battle. The matter is tragic, but not criminal.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Nyeeeah! Nyeeeah! Nyeeeah!

: Fatebinder! This guy got a bunch of people killed! I charge him with murder.

: Murder? Hit me with the details.

: We were on patrol, a mixed force of Scarlet Chorus and Disfavored.

: The Vendrien Guard weren't going to attack us, so I used a magic spell to make them fight. Specifically, I drove them berserk.

: They killed two Disfavored! That's bullshit!

: Well, that's what happened. I rest my case.

: Is that all you have to say?

: Well, you know the law. I'm not responsible.

: What fuckery is this?

: He's talking about the law of Magician's Folly. If you hurt one of Kyros' servants with magic in combat and you're fighting for the glory of Kyros, you are not liable.

: What kind of law is that? There's not even friendly fire in this game! What the hell?

: The kind of law that prevents Kyros from having to execute skilled battle mages.

: Fuck all wizards, only Kyros should have magic.

: I'm ready to make my ruling. Bitter Quip is shielded under Kyros' law.

: Nyeeeah! Nyeeeah! Nyeeeah!

This is the only way that gives favor with Tunon. The other two get Quip killed and he might have something for us later.

Aside from that, this is the game demonstrating the injustice of Kyros' laws. We knew that they were bad, but the law of Magician's Folly is explicitly created to favor the powerful. Notice that Bitter Quip uses Graven Ashe as the example of a magician. All of the Archons are mages and magic power in this setting directly corresponds to political power. If it serves Kyros ends the powerful can trample the powerless with absolute impunity. Bitter Quip probably did intend to kill those Disfavored, but the law states we have to preserve him because his power is useful to Kyros.

Anyway, let's head to the Disfavored camp to do stuff.

Let's talk to them, we are the Peacebinder after all.

We will try talking again.

I see we haven't met Nerat, huh. Let's try subterfuge.

This can work, but it doesn't here. Now, let me state something.

This random-seeming road encounter is one of the hardest fights in the game.

You are outnumbered, in open terrain, and your spells haven't really come into their own yet.

Furthermore, tanking - much like Pillars of Eternity and D&D - is a lie forced on you by the game designers. The enemy will happily run up and murder Lantry here, and two of them can teleport for...reasons.

It took me a few restarts before I remembered how to do this fight.

What you need to do is run the party down to the trees. This causes the enemy to group up so you can hit them with all the cone and AoE spells, and lets you follow the One Easy Script For Winning Every Combat In Tyranny.

The Great Evil King's Guide To Every Combat In Tyranny
Step 0: Bring mages - generally three mages and one melee person. Make sure all your mages have the omnipresent AoE CC and Damage spells. Damage over time is good too.

Step 1: Cast every single buff spell and ability you have on the party. Unlike Pillars of Eternity, which arbitrarily disables all your buffs out of combat, in Tyranny you can buff to your hearts content.

Step 2: Have melee person pull as many enemies as you can into a confined space.

Step 3: Have your mages unload every single spell into the blob of enemies. Repeat until dead.

NOW we can go to the Disfavored camp.

Hey, wait a minute, Ceveus?

Earlier in the update posted:

: {Salute] Graven Ashe protects.

: Our little camp is overrun with these southern lepers that the Voices adopts along the way. Ceveus looks out toward the brace of Choirmen loitering by the edge of camp. Probably half of them were the fuckers we didn't kill the first time through this valley. Troubling thought.

: Graven Ashe doesn't tell me everything, but I know you're here on official court business. Iron Marshal's running the logistics on this one - I'm just playing slave driver and making sure the patrols stay on schedule.

: I overheard you asking that Earthshaker where their reinforcements have gone. Is there a problem?

: I could lend a hand.

: Why do you think the siege has delayed for so long?

: [Disfavored Favor 1]: It should have been over real quick and simple. The First Cohort arrived in the valley and went right for the kill... but that was before we knew the Vendrien Guard had Sages and that water witch on their side.

: A bigger problem is the Scarlet Chorus. They eagerly conscript the Vendrien Guard but... I have no proof of this... but it seems they do very little to keep a watchful eye on these drafted Tiersmen. They are often sent out on patrol, and we suspect they use that opportunity to escape back to the Vendrien Guard!

: The two armies haven't worked well together in years. Why do you think that is?

: Come on Binder, seems like asking why Beasts stink. The Disfavored are only too eager to deliver Kyros' Peace to the Tiers, while the Scarlet Chorus bring only mayhem in their wake. You can tell me the Voices of Nerat has a plan and I'll take your word for it - but the Chorus sure seems to blunder around, never moving with purpose as we do.

: I wonder if we've been fighting the same war, soldier. I've seen Ashe yank his precious soldiers away from more battles than he's won. If you want to call that 'progress', be my guest.

: Tell me about yourself.

Wait, what's with that second option?

Yep. Graven Ashe used to be a freedom fighter and was hardcore enough the other Archons respected him as a turncloak. How did this happen? Read and find out!

: [Lore 39] He was in the Bronze Guard? So your family must have been with Ashe since before he was with Kyros.

: Speaking of heritage, how is your family looking these days, Barik? Are they still the pride of the North, or have they debased themselves in some unspeakable manner?

: Speak not of my family, Verse, or of our honor. You have no right.

: She chuckles Don't I? Very well. Go about your ignorant way, you dumb ironclad. I'll say no more.

We can ask about this later, but remember how Verse's father was a Northern merchant who knocked up her mom in a one night stand?

: Bronze Guard?

: Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Fatebinder! It's time for HUGGING! Anyway, those Scarlet Chorus fuckers are everywhere in camp, and I'm just playing slave driver to keep the patrols running.

: I overheard something about missing Earthshakers, is there a problem?

: Yeah, I have a quest for you, can you find them?

: Sure. Any idea why the siege is taking so long?

: Well, the Tiersmen have mages, that stopped our assault. You know what's worse? The Scarlet Chorus! They're traitors - but I can't prove it, and don't treat that as a court case.

: You can kill all the traitors its cool.

: Any idea why the two legions can't get along?


: Anyway, tell me about yourself.

: Well, I'm Ceveus the Younger. My father and grandfather both fought with Ashe and the Disfavored, back before we had iron. They were part of the Bronze Guard.

: Wait, back when Ashe fought Kyros?

: Yep. I'm very proud of my heritage.

: Are you proud of yours, Barik? Your father didn't do anything like, say, have a child out of wedlock with a farmer?

: Don't you dare.

: Heh. All right.

: ?

: Bronze Guard?

: Well, this was before Kyros invented iron, so we had bronze.

: Bye!

Anyway, back to the very first map where we started the game.

We can get this sigil out of the locked chest. It lets us make aura spells that...kind of suck. We'll learn it anyway for lore XP.

We grab this sigil and the Lesser Sigil of Timeless Form which increases spell duration. Unfortunately we don't have the Lore to add this to our current attack spells. Pity.

NOW i remember I never turned in Kyros' iron.

You can steal the iron from Kyros. At this point in the game there is nothing you can do with it, and it's really not worth it later in the game. It also incurs Wrath with an Archon we have yet to meet who is extremely dangerous. Don't do it.

: Here it is. Good thing the oathbreakers didn't get their hands on much.

Another problem caused by incompetence and fixed by Cleopatra Jones. It will not be the last.

He doesn't have much to sell and this is far too short to be worth a summary. Onward!

Tunon was nice enough to reply to our missive from earlier. It sounds like he's as sick of the Archons' shit as we are.

Anyway, this is the settlement map for Death Knell's recruitment quest.

Next time: Questing for Kyros!