The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 35: Cleopatra Jones and the Enormous Pile of Assholes

Cleopatra Jones and the Enormous Pile of Assholes

Last time on Tyranny, we met two douchebags who plunged the settlement of Bastard's Wound into a worthless power struggle and asked us to solve their moronic problems. Today these idiots are going to make a very strong case for Cleopatra to just wipe the settlement off the map.

This position is going to be justified very, very soon.

The vote was in favor of helping Jaspos and then screwing him over and helping Reef-Talon. Unfortunately the wiki lied to me and it turns out you have to help BOTH Jaspos and Wagstaff. Mell is a little shit.

We proc a random encounter, and defer to Eb.

So, guess what this is? We refuse, and...

Huh? It's a damn berry. Why are you so mad, Eb?

So this is the magical aphrodisiac berry. Really. You offer it to people you want to fuck. According to the wiki you can offer it to Sirin and she asks you what the fuck you're doing. We're, uh, not doing that. This is revealed if you ask Lantry or ID it yourself, I just confused it with the other berry encounter where you find tasty berries.

Me, being an idiot, eats one.

It's toxic to magic users like Cleo.

There are two versions of the transcript on the wiki, one where you get horny and either go off by yourself or with Kills-in-Shadow, and everyone else rejects you. I'm glad we didn't get the option to proposition Sirin. Why is that even in the game? The entire encounter is weird and vaguely rapey as the Fatebinder is drugged up and Sirin is fifteen. No.

Anyway, we're here to see Lohara.

: You did well, Fatebinder. Zdenya's capture put us in a difficult position. We're duty-bound to continue our work at all times, but there were plenty in the Forge that wanted to use their hammers to pound Brotherhood skulls, not iron.

: I found Apprentice Garrick.

Sadly, we have this sigil known already because I blew our cash on it forgetting this quest reward. It's the form sigil for weapon buffs. Oh well.

: I'm looking for some knapping tools on behalf of Jaspos.

: He's in a remote settlement in the mountains bordering the North. Claims to be one of its founders.

: She scratches her chin, smearing soot across them[sic] in short streaks. Now that's odd. Kyros gives us leeway in our duties, but a several-years absence would be frowned upon. That settlement would have to be producing something valuable to excuse his detour. At least I hope so... for his sake. A smile creeps across her face and she offers a half-hearted shrug. But he's not my ward, and not my concern.

Remember how Jaspos was desperately trying to roleplay a master last update?

: What did you know of Jaspos?

Jaspos is one of those guys who's ahead of the class and thinks that puts him in the same league as the actual masters - but who, when put to the test, can't deliver.

: Does Jaspos have any associates still around?

: Did the stone knappers leave behind any of their tools? If so, where might I find them?

: I have no idea what inventory the stone smiths kept with them. All of our stone workers left some time ago. A few of them meant to return north by ocean travel, which meant first traveling to the southern coastline. I'd imagine they're probably gone by now but if you need those tools, I can't imagine they had room on the galley to take all their sledge hammers. If I were you, I'd ask around for Cassandra, or - since she's likely on a boat home right now - see if some local was drafted to attend to her or haul her stuff - maybe they inherited some of her excess belongings she couldn't take on the boat.

Now, we're not given the option to just ask Lohara for said chisels and hammers, even though she's a master herself and could probably at least supervise these guys.

: [Leave] I must be going.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Thanks for helping out Zdenya, we are under strict orders from the Court to continually forge and can't interfere. Though we wanted to.

: I brought back your missing apprentice.

: Thanks, have a sigil!

: Hey, I'm looking for some knapping tools for Jaspos.

: Jaspos? Where is he? He was supposed to return home.

: He, uh, founded some kind of wacky settlement in the mountains.

: Well he's about to get fucked if Kyros catches him, but that's not my problem, is it?

: You know anything about Jaspos?

: He was a fairly good student but arrogant far beyond his actual capabilities. He used to work under Cassandra, the real Master of Knapping, and they're all in the South to get a boat home. I'll make some noise about maybe making tools, but you gotta go down there to complete the quest. Have fun!

We appropriate this from the smithy in the name of Kyros. Why not.

Anyway, I hire this guy at the Spire. He can respec characters, so you can do things like take all your defensive skills and instead dump them into Lore.

That is not nearly enough Subterfuge, as I am to discover later. Oh well! Cleopatra is far more hardcore as a battle mage now!

We're greeted by one of the locals.

I'm gonna sum this up, because it's not very interesting - this guy has some kind of learning disability, the Forge-Bound came to the town recently and have been providing it with useful items, and he has a crush on Cassandra. You can manipulate him into stealing the tools for you and get him executed. We will not be doing that.

We can help this guy out with a Lore check to get him cheap herbs and he tells us there's a curfew and that Capteron is an easily manipulated but well meaning dumb guy with a massive thing for Cassandra.

Anyway, this is Cassandra, the real Master of Knapping.

Notice how Cassandra is just instructing these guys without going out of her way to demonstrate her superiority?

: I thought Jaspos was Master of Knapping.

Let's all look surprised.

: So what rank does Jaspos hold if he's not a master?

It's literally just Nerat vs Graven Ashe all over again. Wagstaff is an obvious boorish asshole, and Jaspos seems like a cool person in a bad place until you dig in and learn he's an asshole too. Just wait till we get to Mell.

: It takes at least a decade of consistently impressive work before the Guild would allow for the title of Master to be bandied about. If I dropped dead tomorrow, there are a dozen others more qualified to inherit my title.

: Jaspos has claimed that title for himself.

: I have chisels older than him - he's far, far too young for such a rank! He of course had potential - I wouldn't instruct anyone who doesn't - but he seeks approval in people, rather than in his own craft. Hardly a master's mindset.

Much like Graven Ashe, Jaspos is only a master because he's playing in the kiddy pool of people who don't understand smithing. Much like Graven Ashe, Jaspos talks a good fight and then falls apart when he runs into opposition that's stiffer than a bunch of half-naked dudes with knives.

: I'm here to retrieve Jaspos' knapping tools.

: [Subterfuge 53] Good question. I'm starting to suspect I've been duped. And I'm guessing the only tools here are yours.

: After we left Lethian's Crossing, I noticed the set was incomplete - several key hammers and chisels, one of my best loupes - all missing. At the time, I assumed the fault lay with me. The way to South Haven wasn't without its troubles, and I assumed I misplaced things during the shuffle. I would never have guessed that Jaspos would steal them from me, from his own master!

This seems pretty bad, but it's actually worse than that. Let's take a look at what Jaspos said.

Jaspos sending us on this quest posted:

Note that line about tools breaking. It's a bit of a stretch, I admit, but these things are crafted by a master smith who is also a wizard and Jaspos is breaking them. He's the kid who got an A+ on the multiplication table test and thinks he can build a rocket ship.

: What makes these tools so special?

: Zdenya fashioned them as part of series[sic] of works inspired by some pre-war study into the Tidecasters and their ways. She took it upon herself to spend a year working only with the crystals and metals the 'Casters used in their designs. My tools were some of her best pieces that came from that year of experimentation.

: I try not to make a big deal about having tools inspired by Tiersman magic, but... they are the finest I've used. I guess the idea is that some of the moonlight's energy remains trapped in the business end of the tools. All I know is that with them in hand, I can work faster, and with more precision and strength.

This is the difference between a master and an apprentice. Joshua Bell can pick up a terrible 100 dollar violin and make it sound good, but they give him a Strad not because he needs it, but because he's a master who can use it best. Jaspos is just trying to cheat. Fuck him.

: [Speak sincerely] I misunderstood the situation. The tools are rightfully yours.

: You have hair? I thought all Forge-Bound shaved their heads.

: [Leave] I must go.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I'm instructing these apprentices correctly, not boastfully. Hello Fatebinder, I imagine you're here to see me in this out of the way town, what do you need? I am Cassandra, Master of Knapping.

: Wait, Jaspos said he was Master of Knapping.

: Uh, no, there's only one Master of Knapping and that's me. He's just an apprentice. I'm reporting his stupid ass for fraud. Fuck that stupid asshole in his stupid ass.

: He sent me to get his tools.

: I'm sorry, what the fuck are you talking about?

: This was a con to get me to steal your tools, wasn't it?

: Yup. Those tools were made for me by my friend to celebrate my fifty years of working in the guild. I thought I'd lost some...motherfucker! BITCH STOLE MY TOOLS! IF I WASN'T OLD I'D WHIP HIS ASS! I don't need them to do my job, but they were a gift from Zdenya, and I value that highly.

: So what makes these tools special?

: Oh, they combine Tidecaster and Forge-Bound magic to work more efficiently together. Like, say, if you had a Tidecaster and a Forge-Bound trying to purify water for a settlement, they could solve their problems if they worked together. Hint. Hint.

: Jaspos fed me some shit, keep the tools, they are rightfully yours.

: Thank you. I'm glad we could clear this up, and I apologize for Jaspos - as his instructor, I feel responsible for him feeding you this line of bullshit.

: How come you have hair when Forge-Bound shave their heads?

: When you're a master Forge-Bound who served for over fifty years you can relax the rules a little.

We'll talk more about the cooperative magic theme in a bit, the game has a bit more to say on it.

We have 4 days of traveling without Eb doing...whatever the fuck that was.

Meet Eisly. She's the second of Jaspos' apprentices and is thus introduced with a text dump per RPG writer convention.

: Sorry, Fatebinder. My spellcraft hasn't been cooperative of late. I take it you're not here to talk about my preoccupations?

: What happened earlier, with the hammer?

: I was embarrassing myself again... seems like that's my only reliable talent these days. Her cheeks grow flushed as she looks to the ground.

The important thing to remember is that Jaspos is a dumbass apprentice who is not let out of the house by himself, so Eisly rating herself as a journeyman is probably not accurate.

: [Lore 48] You're becoming one of the Sleepless, aren't you?

Let's remove "probably" from that statement. Also, she's pregnant. You get no guesses as to who the father is.

: What do you do in the Forge?

: I'm Jaspos' apprentice. Have been so for the last few years. She scoops up a small clay pot and spins it between her fingers.

: Knapping wasn't originally my specialty. I apprenticed under Master Erasma back in Lethian's Crossing, but a freak accident meant that she'd take her secrets of the ceramic arts to the void.

: Do you enjoy working for Jaspos?

: [Leave] I will take my leave.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: *fucks up visibly*. Sorry Fatebinder, I'm kind of shitty at my job.

: What was that?

: I fucked up again...seems like that's all I'm good for. I thought I was a competent knapper, but it turns out I can't cast magic for shit.

: You got cursed by Reef-Talon, didn't you?

: Yup, can't cast spells, and it might mess with my ba- er, nothing! I just want to spend my last days with Jaspos!

: What do you do around here?

: I used to be a potter, but my old master died and I met Jaspos on his way to remedial knapping but we decided to live in this hobo cave instead and he became my mentor.

: So you enjoy working with Jaspos?

: Yes! He taught me knapping, which came to me naturally, and then we fell in love and married so I'm a traitor to Kyros!

Hoo boy there's a lot to unpack here. Eisly's a potter being taught knapping by a barely competent apprentice who's a pathological narcissist. Said narcissist has convinced her she's a super competent knapper despite her hitting herself with her hammer and failing to cast spells for the purpose of convincing her to marry him and impregnating her.

: I decided not to take back 'your' tools.

Go fuck yourself you lying piece of shit.

Did you notice that no matter how angry Cassandra got, she never took it out on her tools, materials, or apprentices?

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I decided not to take back the tools.


The developers had to patch the game so you could speak with him after this quest, but honesty under the laws of Kyros we could just execute him now and be done with it. There are Fatebinders who execute people for wasting their time, Jaspos lied to us and tried to trick us into sabotaging the Kyrosian war effort. We should just splatter him across the floor after some pronouncement of judgment, but alas we cannot do that.

: It seems Jaspos is rather furious with you at the moment. Not sure exactly what you did to enrage him but... be advised.

: I wanted to know if you needed assistance with anything.

Dammit. Per the wiki we only needed to do ONE of these quests, but I guess we're going all in on Wagstaff's idiotic misadventure.

On the way to Lethian's Crossing we have another random encounter.

Fortunately this one just has some kind of goony merchant who has some pretty cool stuff for sale.

I buy the sigil of Piercing Force (more armor penetration), the Sigil of Killing Blows (extra damage inversely proportional to target health), and the hood that summons a pig. Why not.

In the interest of keeping the update less harsh on browsers - she's a shady information broker lady demands 800 rings if we don't have Athletics 48 or Lethian's Crossing favor 3. I invoke the second and she points us to a new map marker we can go to progress the quest.

These guys are dicking around. There's a bunch of crap you can do, but we all know how this ends.


The lack of enemy variety really hurts this game, but it makes my job much easier.

: Ah, Sage Phoibe. You're looking... like you're staying active?

: Who's your friend?

: Let's focus on to the task at hand.

This section of the game really needed more time in the oven.

: Wagstaff sent me to kill you - says you're a threat.

: What's the story with you and Wagstaff?

: I want the details. Enlighten me.

: [Subterfuge 48] [Bluff] I already know the unmentionables - he spared few details. I want your side of the story.

: What did you gain from your collaboration with Wagstaff?

: [Subterfuge 53] [Lie] My mistake. I'm merely assuming you two worked together, as I can't imagine Wagstaff discovered all that he told me about by himself.

: Together, he and I... discovered something special. His understanding of Occulted Jade's magic and my knack for expressions... it all came together when we pooled our rings to purchase a text copied from the Forge-Bound.

: Tell me about this discovery of yours.

: [Lore 53] So did you stumble upon some undiscovered accent or some new arcane power? I assure you, such matters are not beneath me.

Let's see if we can't try something else before resorting to torture, as the Chorus has been torturing her for days and it hasn't worked.

: You don't seem surprised that Wagstaff sent me.

: He asked me to bring back whatever you were carrying.

: Then it's as I suspected - he wants my writings... he's too late.

: I've decided not to kill you.

Huh? What are you talking about? All the Scarlet Chorus are dead, right? We killed them, I posted the screenshots. I was very confused at this point. It turns out there's one last Scarlet Fury who is offscreen and didn't aggro.

: I didn't say that, just that I won't kill you.

At this point I'm sitting here going "help you with what? The Chorus are all dead. You can escape now."

I'm roiling in confusion and already annoyed by having to do this quest in the first place.

Nope, same shit.

Another day, another dead Scarlet Fury.

: Tell me about this discovery of yours.

Same old shit. At this point I was about to kill her because I couldn't see another way of progressing, soo..

: [Draw your weapon.] Killing you and taking your things seems like a much simpler solution, no?

: Continue...

So I cut out the part where you say "Wagstaff sent me to kill you" and you go back into the regular tree. You have to say this:

: Answer my questions, then we'll discuss your fate.

: I suppose I am in no position to decline...

: What were you doing here?

: Why did you come to this ruined village, specifically?

: Funny I would be asked by the Fatebinder who proclaimed the Edict of Fire! Can you imagine my colleagues fleeing, parchment and scrolls wrapped around their limbs and bursting from their packs? Well, I've been scouring the area, hoping beyond hope to find some scraps of our old writings.

: You risked coming to this village because it "seemed plausible" someone hid something here? Odd risk to take.

Unfortunately, we cannot ask Phoibe to unlock the Archive for us. The writers remembered it existed - the Chorus were talking about it - but seem to have forgotten Lantry's monologue on how only authorized Sages can query it. Oh well.

: [Athletics 48] Uncertainty is an easy lie to peddle. Tell me why you came to this meaningless spot or I mangle your writing hand.

Phoibe here offers the most opportunities to be an asshole. One would think Lantry would interject because he knows exactly how cruel of a threat this is - but this is Tyranny's DLC, where Eb tries to feed you an aphrodisiac berry by surprise.

: The truth is... I stashed some old writings in this village years before the war. I came back to recover the texts but... someone beat me to it.

: What sort of texts were you here to recover?

: [Subterfuge 53] You're right. I was hoping to hear that you had hidden away some research into some rogue Archon known only to the Tiersmen.

: Finish that thought...

: Though my work was in the earlier stages, I was exploring an adaptation, of sorts, of old Tidecaster magic. I was working with an expression that allowed earth and alloys to be made liquid, then back into solid.

So it's a fusion of Tidecaster and Forge-Bound magic that solves a problem in the Wound. Have you realized the symbolism yet?

: [Untie her.] Done. Now your end of the bargain.

There's no point to killing her.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Oh boy, are you going to torture me too?

: Hey, Phoibe, long time no see!

: Oh look, a traitor.

: For someone who's so good at concealment magic you got caught pretty easily.

: Wagstaff sent me to kill you and steal your shit.

: Wagstaff? That bastard!

: You guys were a thing, huh?

: Yes! I fucked that asshole, but it was our secret love affair where...well...

: He told me about all the stuff he discovered.

: That lying assmunch! We discovered a way to combine Tidecaster and Forge-Bound magic, but I'm not telling any more! Now he's an angry ex who hates me! I won't say anything unless you kill that last Scarlet Fury over there.

: Fine. :commissar: Look, can we get this over with? I've got 50 subterfuge and athletics, one of them is going to work.

: Free me and I'll tell you. I hid the book in a tree, thanks, Fatebinder!


If we approach the argument, we eventually get to this screen.

I vote to save the Sages on the grounds that the other two groups are our enemies.

The first attempt at the fight goes poorly, not because I lose, but because Sirin is permanently suspended in the air, Lantry somehow permadied with no wounds and still being a party member, and I can't leave the screen.

The second attempt goes much better. You can aggro one of the Kyrosian forces and the other will stand there and watch.

After that it's just the standard Tyranny combat. Spew spells everywhere and all the human enemies with no noteworthy resistances or abilities slowly get chipped to death while being permastunned.

Finally, we can get back to Bastard's Wound.

: I have news regarding Phoibe.

: Here's the tome of Aqueous Metallurgy you were really after.

I just want to point out we were never told what to look for and if we'd encountered Phoibe at some other time she might not have had it. If we'd hit her before the Chorus captured her we might seriously have just killed her and brought back her stamp collection or Yanni albums or whatever because Wagstaff didn't tell us shit and sabotaged himself via withholding information. The man is not competent to run a McDonalds.

: So you don't deny it's the research notes you wanted all along? Come on, Wagstaff, you don't have to falsify pretenses to get me on board with killing Sages.

It's not a great rationale, but Wagstaff is a moron.

: [Lie.] She's dead, as requested.

I suspect getting a Fatebinder to kill someone under false pretenses is a crime that merits execution. Lying to a Fatebinder certainly is.

: Fatebinder, I thought your arrival would lead us to ruin but instead, you have blessed us with your service. You have my thanks.

: The Bastard's Wound presents all sorts of threats: the Bane, sparse vegetation, the toxic water. Perhaps the oddest threat came from within. Reef-Talon, former Alpha of sorts to our tribe became wild and uncontrolled.

: She started to exhibit healing powers, or so it seemed. She could heal the outward symptoms of injuries but those she treated became Sleepless, doomed to waste away. Reef-Talon is gone, she fled into the Oldwalls, but in her lies an answer to our woes.

Unethical request in three...

: I'll think about it.

: That's all for now.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hey, I'm back with the book you didn't bother to tell me about. Here you go!

: Seriously, Wagstaff, I like killing Sages because I'm a psychopath, you could have just told me to do it.

: Using my galaxy brain, I determined that if you didn't kill her she would trade the book for her life, and it worked, because this DLC was obviously rushed and made to appease Reddit. Is she dead?

: Yea, I killed her by, uh, shooting her out of a cannon into a brick wall.

: Excellent! You are truly heroic! Now, I need one more favor - I want you to go into the depths of the Oldwalls, murder Reef-Talon, and bring me her body so I can use her blood to purify water and solve all the water problems in this place forever.

: Uh... I'll think about it. Bye!

NOW we can talk to Mell. Ask him if he needs assistance again, and...

: You've probably noticed that both Jaspos and Wagstaff offer much to our settlement. And you've likely noticed, while they both want the Bastard's Wound to prosper, they're long past working together toward that prosperity.

: What do you have in mind?

You might be thinking Mell is the lone voice of reason here. We'll address that next update.

: Reef-Talon created the Sleepless, right? Why would you want her back?

: [Lore 53] You think MAYBE she healed someone and they didn't become Sleepless? Huh...

: What do you get out of this?

: I get back a leader that doesn't fear the Bane, and the only one who can order around all the Beasts without a protracted argument.

: How would one bring back Reef-Talon?

: You'd have to find her and convince her to come back... or take advantage of her nature - her kind uses strength as a form of debate. From what I know of her, she left out of self-loathing over the Sleepless. So the trick is convincing her there's hope.

This is a not-so-subtle hint that Mell's a huge racist.

: I'll try to find Reef-Talon.

: To access the depths of the Oldwalls, you'll need the Keystone that Insipid Moniker carries.

No, Mell, I don't, are you going to tell me?

Wait, no, go back! What was that?

: Best to make your journey as quickly as possible. Jaspos and Wagstaff have already sent some of their hunting parties into the depths. Their best men, I'd say, hard looks amongst them all. Can't be for any good purpose - my bet is that they're looking for Reef-Talon, and not for a cordial conversation.

This is the opening to the DLC, and to be honest, it sucks! Nothing makes sense, your options are all bad and stupid, and you're railroaded into helping these two stupid assholes because it's assumed you're invested in these idiots' survival. I've been saying this throughout the DLC so far, but this scenario is the same as the opening of the game, but there's no actual motivation for us to be here. Jaspos and Wagstaff's conflict is just a rehash of Ashe vs Nerat, but again, we don't care and the game railroads us into dealing with their stupid bullshit if we want to actually engage with the DLC we paid fifteen dollars for. (The sex berry is a separate seven dollar DLC. Don't buy the DLC for this game!) The game wants to drive home the message that Jaspos and Wagstaff's infighting is destroying the Wound and they'd be best served by working together - but the rest of the game has already told us this, from the Tiers falling because they're not unified to us having to carry the Kyrosian coalition through Act 1 because Ashe and Nerat were acting like whiny babies. Yes, each leader's quest item being a combination of Tidecaster and Forge-Bound magic is fairly clever, but this is all undermined by the existence of the Wound itself being incredibly idiotic. Yes, Kyros' forces can't legally enter the Oldwalls under penalty of death, but the water is undrinkable, there are regular attacks by spooky cognitive dissonance ghosts, growing food is nigh-impossible (though they apparently have enough to feed pigs), and they live in the Bronze Age. Just hide in the mountains or the forest or something! Kyros' forces don't have aerial surveillance, they don't even have horses! We could possibly consider the Wound a commentary on artificial scarcity except that there are no prohibitions against leaving or anything like that. All of these people have chosen to be here, and Kyros' forces are all distracted by their civil war so it's not like anyone is actively looking for them. The reason we're here is because Lexeme offered us a false history that we don't care about because we work for the local version of the Ministry of Truth. Mell wants us to believe that Jaspos and Wagstaff are critical to the operation of the Wound, but they could have just set up a farm and some rain barrels in the ruined house or something. The entire thing is a contrived microcosm so the authors can rehash the same stuff we get in the base game, and no one's actions make sense. Mell won't give us the dirt on Insipid Moniker and we're not allowed to ask for it. Sirin is a member of our party with mind control powerful enough to work on Kyros the Overlord, but she can't control Phoibe so we can skip the torture sequence. Hell, the Sleep spell is granted by Sirin's sigil of emotions, but we're never given the opportunity to try to use, say, Lantry's medical knowledge, Kills-in-Shadow's unique perspective, or our own high lore skill to actually do anything about the Sleepless. Trust me, things are going to make less sense as this goes on.

Next time:TROLLEYS!