Part 33: Cleopatra Jones and the Totally Legal SettlementCleopatra Jones and the Totally Legal Settlement
Last time on Tyranny, we watched some idiots bicker over stupid shit and killed them all to help the denizens of a hobo cave. Today we're going into said cave.
Sirin hears something. This is a big neon sign that her personal quest is in the walls, but everyone not named Barik or Verse has their own quest in this DLC. We'll be seeing Lantry's shortly.
HEY DID YOU BRING SIRIN?????
: He? He Who?
: A message?
I like how our options are either to be a stupid anime protagonist or an asshole.
: There's some meaning in the music... I think. She shakes her head.
: I don't understand it, but maybe there's more deeper in! Let's go.
: Sirin pulls a crystal from the formation and slips it among her belongings. It slides free without effort.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: HEY PLAYER! BRING ME ALONG SO I CAN GET A COOL POWER-UP!
Anyway, we continue our trek through the hobo cave and...
Man this is bad.
: I opened your cave for you. It seems to me that some gratitude is in order.
: You ate the people who came before?
Cute. I really hate when genre authors try to set up analogies of "fantasy monster==minorities" and then have the fantasy monsters eat people. It's not hard to write about actual racism, but people keep coming up with tortured analogues where they use space aliens with laser guns and super strength for undocumented immigrants (Supergirl, hi!). Stop it! You're not clever and your analogies just make things worse.
Tyranny isn't that bad about it as the Beastmen don't map 1-1 with any real world group as far as I know, but it's still not great.
: [Athletics 51] You will let us through, or we will tear your arms from your sockets and cobble boots of your hides.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: Turn back! Or I'll eat you!
: Even after I cleared the hobo cave entrance?
: Is that supposed to make me horny? Ha ha! I'm gonna eat you!
: You're really cannibals while being a loose analogy for oppressed minorities?
: Ok, seriously, get out of my way or I'll burn your ass.
: Uhh....thanks for clearing the hobo cave!
So...yeah, this is the main DLC area! We're back in the Oldwalls again!
This is probably the best place to hide from Kyros, as the Kyrosian laws are literally that Kyros herself has to clear a path for any forces moving through the Oldwalls.
This should be interesting.
: I uh... could ask the very same of you! Taking shelter in the Oldwalls. That takes... nerves of iron or wits of stone.
: There's running water! If you don't mind a Bane attack now and again, this isn't the dumbest place to hide.
: Well this is unexpected... though I'm glad to see you alive, my young friend. I'm not here to reminsce - I'm with the Fatebinder now, so I'll need to insist that you start explaining... whatever it is you're doing here.
: What is this place?
: I struggle with a definition myself, truthfully. We call this place the Bastard's Wound, or just 'the Wound' for short. It's a refuge of sorts, a haven for folks displaced by war and poor decision-making. Everyone that's here discovered this place by chance, but remains by choice. The decor is unorthodox, to be sure, but it does come with the benefit of extreme seclusion.
: Not... that we object to the Court's presence, or that of the Archons. We simply thought it best to unburden you all of the weight of governance. I know, you have better things to do than check up on us. We're fine, really. Everything is fine.
: What's all the commotion about?
: You need only fear a Fatebinder if you've done something wrong - like violating the laws regarding the Oldwalls.
: Ah of-of course, I can see why things might appear that way. He stammers, running his hands clumsily over the scrolls along his bandolier. He snatches one from its loop and taps at it nervously. If you look at this drawing of the area, we are, by way of several fathoms, below the Oldwalls you see rising up. So who's to say if we're in the walls or really just underground.
Mell, you would make a fine Fatebinder if you just had more confidence.
: [Examine the parchment]
: I'm not here to condemn this settlement...yet.
: Thank you, Fatebinder. I will merely say that this is an unusual place, and its legal standing somewhat unclear. We would never knowingly violate Kyros' law, is what I mean.
: We appreciate your generosity, Fatebinder. I hope that you will come to appreciate the Wound in time. No doubt you have many questions of us. I shall do my best to acquaint you with this, ehm, outpost.
: I received a missive from a "Sage L" that directed me here. Know where I can find this person?
: [Show him the missive.]
: The Sage holds the parchment for all of three seconds before nodding slowly. That's her handwriting, no doubt about it... been a while since she penned her own missives...
: Master Lexeme is sadly not among us. She vanished into the lower levels some time ago. She wasn't herself... He furrows his brow, visibly distressed. Life here is rather complicated, and the Oldwalls bless us with numerous mysteries. One of those is unending sleeplessness, an affliction that drove her mad.
: Friend of yours?
: Were you two rivals or friends?
: Did you try to contact all the other Sages you thought were alive?
: [Remain silent.]
: Last I know, she went into the depths of the Oldwalls. To me, that's a death sentence, especially if she's no longer able to work her magic. I'm so sorry, I wish you had stumbled upon us sooner... maybe you could have reconnected with her.
: Her mind was dwindling, and I know she was fixated on making sure everything she carried out of the Vellum Citadel was hidden and safe.
: What do you do here?
: Aren't you a bit young for a Sage?
: If I were a tenured Sage, that may well be true, but I'm just an apprentice. Many in the guild scribe for decades before attaining rank. As the School is no more, I suppose I'll never be officially counted among the Sages, but I am making my contributions to knowledge in my own ways.
: Where is your master?
: Let's speak of other matters.
I'm gonna spare you the long info dump about this fictional settlement and ask the important question.
: Who is in charge here?
Welcome to the central conflict of this DLC - a bunch of idiots fighting over who gets control of the Oldwalls Board Game Club. Sure, there's a merciless, nigh-omnipotent tyrant out there who would eradicate this settlement as a matter of course, but the real fight is over which of these idiots gets to rule over all...thirty or so?...people who live here.
: Wait a second... Tidecaster Wagstaff? Is that what you said?
If you think the spelling is bad, wait till we hit the quest-breaking bugs.
: [Address Eb.] There's another Tidecaster alive, yet you seem largely disinterested.
: Of course, because all of us Tidecasters sleep together in a big clam shell made of solid moonlight. Look, I'm glad Wagstaff is alive and well - I'm just curious why this fucking coward didn't join us in our battle against Kyros.
(I'll remove the hats next time I record! Promise!)
: What happened to Reef-Talon?
Anyway Reef-Talon is our third choice for faction leader. We're going to get more into the curse as we go deeper into the DLC.
: [Lore 51] That's an unusual...power? Can't say I've ever heard of a Beastman mystic that does such things.
Huh. I wonder if that will be thematically relevant. Nah.
We should probably figure out who these jerks are.
: Tell me about Jaspos.
: Look for the broad-shouldered man with the booming voice. He's almost always taking out his frustration on some poor rock or boulder just there, by his Forge. He points northwest, towards a plume of smoke rising above the surrounding walls.
: Jaspos and his two apprentices arrived some time after Wagstaff. I think we worried he'd be a true loyalist and demand we surrender to Kyros, but he's taken a shine to this place and is trying to create his own little corner of Terratus. I think he likes the seclusion and being surrounded by a variety of rock types. He built most of the bridges you see here, some cisterns to filter water - he's a one-man work crew... and he knows it, unfortunately.
: I'd like to know more about Wagstaff.
: He chuckles, his lips pressed together in a slight, knowing smile. Prickly old fellow, Wagstaff. One of the last Tidecasters in the Tiers, I believe. His eyes widen in sudden realization. His kind were enemies to Kyros, true, but I'm certain he has no personal designs against the Overlord, Fatebinder.
: Had you told me another 'caster is lurking in the Tiers, Wagstaff wouldn't have been my first guess, but I'm not wholly surprised, either. He insisted the Exodus was a foolish, cowardly plan... at least he's sticking to his convictions on this matter.
: He's not one for pleasantries or... charisma of any sort, but he is a master of his craft. He was the first to treat the toxic waters in these Oldwalls, and to date, it's the only cure that works. The Wound would be in bad shape without him.
I think he's saying that only Wagstaff can treat ill effects of drinking the water, while Jaspos has a water filter. I'm not wholly sure?
: A Beastwoman was in charge? That is a bit unusual.
: Indeed, but Reef-Talon is a most unusual beast. She's a lot more focused, patient, and sensible than all the other beasts I've ever encountered.
: Anyway, Reef-Talon was able to organize Beasts and humans into effective patrols against the Bane. With her in charge of defense, casualties dropped, no Bane ever slipped into the common area, and disputes between Beasts all but disappeared. At a certain point, it seemed foolish not to have her in charge.
: Let's speak of other matters.
Seriously, this turned into massive fucking infodumps.
Oh no. This isn't a David Weber novel. I'm escaping.
: [Leave] Farewell.
Yea, we get to get involved in the power struggle for the Anime Club.
It's still going! Look, I understand this is critical for Lantry's character, but we've gone from arguing over whether the settlement's legal to Lantry's sagacious squeeze to a power struggle between two idiots after the only effective leader disappeared into the wilderness because her well-intentioned actions had horrific consequences and now Lantry's going to wax poetic about his wacky girlfriend.
: Guess one of your old friends is here. What should we expect?
: An old love interest, I presume?
If you chat with an old man about math he's happy to talk about his ex. It's just science.
: It was her magic I loved most. She was gifted, truly gifted. She could achieve these little accents on her spells that none of us could replicate. At first, I had nothing but envy and hate for her, but somewhere along the line, it became adoration, and I just hoped to Kyros that if I rubbed up against her enough, maybe some of her talent would rub off onto me... no such luck.
Now in defense of the Tyranny writers the player CAN cut this short, but I don't know if Lantry actually answers these questions later. Remember, I'm going through this DLC for the first time - I've wiki'd some of it, but this is all new to me!
: If you were so close, why didn't you flee the Citadel together?
: There was a time when we were inseparable. I learned much of my magic from her, and her from me - we are each other's mentor and student... it is a very special sort of bond.
: But it was a relationship that I fouled through my own convictions. In the years before Kyros' conquest, I urged our School to surrender. And 'urge' is an understatement...'rabidly advocated' would be a more apt description. Lexeme did not share my assessment of Kyros or my opinions on what must be done. I was in the dissenting minority, and most felt I was a traitor - Lexeme included.
: What do you make of her condition?
: I assure you, whatever struck her, I won't let it happen to you.
We know it was Reef-Talon's power from what Mell told us - and if we assume he's lying, then we also have no actual idea what happened to Lexeme.
: Deal! Come to think of it, you look a little off... Lantry, quick, fall asleep at once or I'll have to assume it's time to euthanize you.
It's amusing how fixated Eb is while Lantry officially doesn't care. Lantry is by far the more dangerous of the two.
: So you two worked on the Chronicle together?
: We are but two members of a team spanning generations, but yes, we both contributed to the Chronicles. Long bouts of fieldwork and longer stretches of authoring our findings suited our temperaments. My colleagues insisted original research was the way to make a name for myself, but the accounting of everything is a cause greater than us all.
: What do you make of these Chronicle fragments she tasked us to find?
: My heart sings every time I can safeguard a text against destruction. Still...there is something bothering me about these writings.
: Let's look around a bit more, shall we? Ask me again when I have a few pieces to compare.
Jesus Christ, that's a long one. Let's bust out a summary.
TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:
: THE FATEBINDER AAAA! I mean, good day. This was a surprise, but it's a pleasure, but not in a creepy way, but uh, hi Fatebinder! Lantry, my dude, what are you doing here?
: Nice try, buddy, you're still the one talking here. Why the hell are you in the Oldwalls?
: I mean, there's water, this isn't the worst idea i've ever seen.
: What is this place?
: I'm gonna take about a thousand words to explain that it's the titular 'Bastard's Wound', a settlement founded to, um...shit...relieve the Archons and Court of the weight of governance! Yeah! Good one, Mell!
: Why is everyone running and screaming?
: They're all worried you're gonna shut down our totally legal settlement in what appear to be, but are not, the Oldwalls!
: This is illegal you know.
: No, you see, Kyro's law forbids settlement IN the Oldwalls! This settlement is under the Oldwalls! That is totally different! See! I drew a diagram!
: Sure, whatever. We'll come back to this. Who is Sage L and why did they tell me to come here?
: About what? Oh, the message...sadly, Master Lexeme went nuts and ran into the Oldwalls after getting cursed by sleeplessness.
: She's alive?????
: You know her?
: Yeah we might have been more than friends can we just continue interrogating Mell now?
: Yeah sorry but she's fuuuuucked!
: What do you do here anyway?
: Well, I used to be a lowly Sage apprentice, but here I'm a cool dude with numerous responsibilities that people respect!
: So, who's in charge here?
: Well...about that... you kind of walked into a power struggle between two assholes, Tidecaster Wagstaff and Forge-Bound Master Jaspos. Their magic helps us survive, but they're now in a power struggle. It's not great!
: Wagstaff! Fuck that cowardly asshole! He hid like a bitch while we fought Kyros! I can't even say I'm the cool Last Tidecaster anymore! Fuck! PISS!
: There was a Beastwoman named Reef-Talon who was actually a competent leader, but she disappeared too and so we're stuck with these two morons.
: What happened to Reef-Talon?
: She was a great leader and had a wondrous healing power. Unfortunately, it cursed people to be unable to sleep and go mad. People have...real mixed feelings about her now! She drove Lexeme insane, and this, coupled with good old fashioned racism, convinced her to stop being a good leader and fuck off into the Oldwalls leaving us at the tender mercies of the two stupid jerks I told you about.
: That's not a usual power.
: Yea, I'm not racist but Reef-Talon was real cool for a Beastwoman.
: Tell me about Jaspos.
: He's a loud asshole but he works hard and invented a water purifier, so a bunch of people actually like him.
: How about Wagstaff?
: He's an uncharismatic asshole, but he's really good at magic and also has the only way to purify the water despite what I said about Jaspos a minute ago.
: And Reef-Talon?
: Reef-Talon was a credit to her race in a totally non racist way.
: Cool, bye!
: Wait, Fatebinder! Before you leave, you should talk to one of the two assholes locked into a power struggle and inject yourself directly into our internal politics! You can pick either Jaspos, the Forge-Bound guy, or Wagstaff, the guy who has a unique interaction with one of your party members! Choose wisely!
: Hey, Lantry, were you two fuckin?
: Yup. We were a thing for fifteen years, making the magic happen both figuratively and literally. It was a deep relationship where we bonded over nerd shit and taught each other, but everything changed when the Kyros Nation attacked. Unfortunately, we split over whether we should surrender to Kyros like I kept telling everyone or whether we should fight Kyros...as it turns out, I was right, but I take no pleasure in it.
: How do you feel about her going insane?
: That's bad.
: I've got your back, I won't let it happen to you.
: I have no idea how you plan to do this despite us knowing the clear cause of this and it being nowhere near by. If it happens, just kill me.
: I'll kill you anyday, Lantry.
: Just dump me in a brothel, I'm sure the women there wear more clothes.
: So what's the deal with this lost text Lexeme left?
: It's part of the history we used to work on together, but I kinda think the document in the middle of the illegal Oldwalls settlement is a little sus. Ask me later.
Just looking at the summary this goes all over the place. Now, you can just leave Mell (and this is without us asking for a historical infodump) but the important things we're conveying to the player are:
-The Fatebinder will be expected to render judgement on whether this settlement should be allowed to exist. This makes everyone nervous.
-Sage Lexeme disappeared, but not before leaving pieces of a manuscript lying around, which she wanted us to have
-The Wound is in the middle of a power struggle between Jaspos and Wagstaff, two egotistical assholes who assume their engineering prowess makes them natural leaders
-The actually good leader Reef-Talon was forced out or left after her healing powers secretly drove people insane.
-Eb has a history with Wagstaff and doesn't like him.
-Lantry has a romantic history with Lexeme and is somewhat suspicious of her history.
The problem is that this is all kind of dumped on us by Mell and Lantry rather than shown. I'm OK with Eb's interjections as they don't take up too much space, but between the naturally overly verbose style of the Tyranny writing staff - they have dialogue written as a stutter, then go and describe the character as "stuttering" - and the fact that all this is stuffed into one meandering conversation of unrelated subjects, it's not great. Compare it to the war council scenes with Ashe and Nerat - sure, a lot was said, but things were revealed by the two Archons trying to outmaneuver each other, and much of the information was only revealed on careful analysis that if you missed didn't detract from the core of the scene. Mell here just serves the purpose that the authors didn't really set up this area at all and didn't really have the time or budget to let these conflicts unfold in front of the player - but the bare minimum of the conversation doesn't convey enough to understand what's going on, so you're stuck with the infodumps. It's also not consistent - either Wagstaff has the only way to treat the water and he's indispensable, or Jaspos' water filters work and you can resolve things in his favor. Lantry's romantic adventures with Lexeme probably could have been brought up in a separate conversation, but as it stands he's a pretty open guy and he's never hinted at any kind of relationship. Lexeme taught him magic, but she never comes up when he's teaching us!
You can't even use the excuse that it's just self-contained DLC when Witcher 3 has Gaunter O'Dimm show up in the first five minutes of the game, even at launch.
That said, I will gladly confess I am extremely biased against the DLC's writing because I think the new ending that came with it is stupid and shits all over the game. We'll get there.
We can't do much of anything until we speak to one of the two assholes, and this update is very long already, so I need you to vote on which...
Nah, I'm kidding. We're talking to Wagstaff first, he has special content with Eb and Jaspos doesn't. Don't worry, we're not missing much.
Next time: Talking to Wagstaff but also getting super hardcore sigils.