The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 44: Cleopatra Jones and the Stonestalker Tribe

Cleopatra Jones and the Stonestalker Tribe

Last time on Tyranny, we got our first ever Tunon wrath by freeing the unfortunate Left-Claw from a bunch of racist assholes. Today we're going to visit the Stonestalker tribe and see if we can't get the shield or something. We helped them out, right?

This is the gorge where the Stonestalkers live.

These little purple crystals are everywhere.

There are also a pile of Scarlet Chorus trash mobs. We treat them with the respect they deserve.

I'm not sure if we actually are allowed to just trot on by.

: Run. Run while you still have legs to carry you.

It's actually nice for people to realize that yes, Cleopatra is probably the most dangerous thing they are going to encounter short of an Archon. Then I realize we have an Archon working for us, and we have to revise the threat assessment upwards.

: Scared prey is best-tasting prey. Is most fun to hunt. Yep-yep. Tremble and whimper more, human! Will not save pathetic life. But will please Beastwoman.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:hist101: Why'd you kill all those Choirmen?

: Run if you want to live.

:hist101:: Oh fuck! Oh shit! Help! This is madness!


They go down about as easily as you'd expect.

We find this along the way. I will probably never actually craft it, but it's there!

Be sure to grab this so you can get into the next Spire and continue your naked power grab!

More Chorus members show up to get beaten down.

: I need to speak with the leader of your tribe.

She doesn't get a name, I'm not summarizing this.

: Hm. Human smells like will of Alpha, like snarling over fresh kill. Unusual, but still unwelcome. Why has strange, strong-stinking human crept into tribe's den?

: The surly mountain of a Beast snaps her focus to Kills-in-Shadow.

: Kith slinks like shadow behind human who harasses Stonestalker tribe. Why, Shadow? Does Beastwoman savor human's putrid smell?

This is probably true. We've hinted at this in the thread, but if you are here on behalf of the Disfavored, you don't get this scene. Instead you are given the option to betray your alliance or massacre the unfortunate Stonestalkers. It's one of the indicators that Ashe is just as evil as Nerat despite his honorable facade.

: I'm looking for the Azure Shield, and was told you know where it is.

Now, you might be tempted to ask "what does the Beastwoman need with the Shield? Kills-in-Shadow said they don't trade artifacts!" and then go make a long CinemaSins video or something. This is because Hundred-Blood isn't an idiot. First, the shield is proof of her legitimacy as she took it in combat from some slavemaster or something. Second, she has no idea who we are or what we want. Yes, we freed Left-Claw, but we also brought a potential leadership challenger who is saying that we're extremely dangerous. By trading us something useful for the Shield, she can cement her legitimacy (it's her shield to dispose of, and everyone will remember it via what Cleopatra did) and gauge what she's dealing with.

: Disfavored predators - hunters and enslavers of whole Beastwomen tribes - have slunk and burrowed into rocks at Jagged Maw. In short seasons, will be scratching at tribe's den. Will be threat to cubs and elders.

We're already on kill on sight with the Disfavored anyway and Kyros' Peace has effectively collapsed under the civil war.

: Very well. I'll slay those soldiers for you.

It's a good trade for both sides. Hundred-Blood eliminates a dangerous threat without anyone knowing the Stonestalkers' location or that they were even involved. We don't care about Ashe retaliating because we're already one of his most hated people and that's just more Disfavored troops we feed into the meatgrinder known as "Cleo's high Lore stat."

: Good, human. Kill Disfavored for tribe. Then can slink to Spire-shine in Gulfglow and beg Red-Fang for Shield.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Who approaches Hundred-Blood, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms?

: Oh, it's just a human who smells like ass. Why are you here? And why are you with her, Kills-in-Shadow? Do you like the smell of ass?

: I don't l-like her or anything! But she's really strong! I bet she could kick your ass!

: Try anything and I'll eviscerate you. Now bray for me!

: I'm looking for the Azure Shield, and you seem to know where it is.

: For free? Why the hell would I do that?

: How about a trade?

: Go wipe the Disfavored out at Jagged Maw shrine. They're crazy genocidal assholes and I don't want to deal with them.

: Sounds good.


: When you're done, go to Gulfglow and hit up Red-Fang for the Shield.

Remember the missing settlers the idiots in Halfgate thought Left-Claw had eaten? Well, they're all here, and the aptly named Stone-Warden is holding them prisoner.

It's really not hard to see why the Beastmen are so territorial when their history involves being slaves, escaping after Kyros' edict fried their masters, and then being constantly hunted by racists.

: These people you've chained, what crimes have they committed?

: Humans trespassed in tribe's territory, encroached on sacred lands. Had no right, yet thought to steal from Beastwomen.

: Hundred-Blood says to keep humans. Prima will decide what to do with humans - whether to kill or release.

The irony is that if the villagers had been correct in their stereotyping all these people would have been eaten, but apparently Hundred-Blood is considering releasing these guys. The supposedly civilized villagers jump to conclusions faster than a speeding bullet, but Hundred-Blood is trying to figure out a decent way to deal with these people despite having every right to kill them.

The second option is callous, but as was pointed out last update, these people have not sworn allegiance and thus are fair game under Kyros' Peace.

: I want you to free the humans you've taken captive.

: I saved Left-Claw from Halfgate, so the Stonestalkers owe me. Now free those settlers.

The Stonestalkers are probably the most reasonable faction in the game. They're not altruistic by any stretch of the imagination, but you don't get into pissing matches where Graven Ashe demands the right to feed rare and valuable elite troops into enemy artillery fire.

: [Nod silently.]

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What are you doing here? Do I need to smack a bitch?

: What'd all these people in chains do?

: They trespassed on our sacred lands and stole our shit. Hundred-Blood is still trying to figure out if we should kill them or release them. Why, are you trespassing too?

: Could you let them go?

: Why in the name of Beast Jesus would I do that?

: I freed Left-Claw. You guys owe me.

: That's fair. These idiots are free to go, but we're going to tear apart the next trespassers we find - no capturing!

Now we can talk to the settlers.

Here we see the effects of racism on the human mind, specifically, that it makes you stupid. We know from Kills-in-Shadow that the Stonestalkers don't eat people and Left-Claw confirmed this. I will freely admit to hating the townsfolk in this area, so I may be biased, but if the Beasts were going to kill and eat them, you'd think they'd be eaten already. We haven't seen a single animal in this area except for a few dogs in Halfgate. Left-Claw says there are boars, and the Beasts look fairly well fed, but this is the Bronze Age and figuring out where your next meal is coming from is a big concern. If the Beasts wanted to eat them it would be easier to kill them on the plains and not risk them doing something in camp.

: The Stonestalkers have agreed to free you in payment of a debt owed to me.

We also get a prompt to return to Grayson in Halfgate for a reward. Sweet.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:heritage:: Please, you have to save us from these cannibal beasts who kidnapped me for absolutely no reason!

: They owed me a favor, so you guys can go.

:heritage:: Yay!

Now, as discussed in the thread, if you free the settlers here you can release Left-Claw without pissing off Tunon due to the incontrovertible evidence that the Clawster didn't murder them. The problem is convincing Stone-Warden without doing that. If you're a Hunter you can use that option, otherwise you can join the tribe and convince them that way. Oh well!

: How did the Stonestalker tribe come to live in Azure?

: Human's mewlings make no sense. Come to live? Have always lived. Stone-lands have belonged to Beastwomen from ancient seasons, even when Beastwomen were blunt-clawed, no-fanged, and hairless like humans.

Wait, what?

: So if I challenge and defeat Hundred-Blood, I can take control of the tribe?

: How many is 'many-seasons'? How old is Hundred-Blood?

Oh boy.

: I'd like to ask you about something else.

: She huffs and hobs her massive head.

: What's with the whelps?

: Are Black-Maw's, the Beastwoman growls, her dark tone a mixture of both warning and pride. Are strong, good whelps. Smart cubs. Have grown big but are only two seasons old.

Yes, if you come here with the Disfavored you have to kill them all.

: You mentioned Elder Teeth. What're those?

: Why do the Stonestalkers care about these 'Elder Teeth'?

Now we leave. I don't want to know about the Brood-Hole.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: What do you want?

: How did the tribe wind up in Azure?

: We've always lived here, before Beastmen maybe mutated from humans? What a stupid question. Anyway, Hundred-Blood leads us after she killed and ate the last Prima.

: So if I beat Hundred-Blood, I could take control of the tribe?

: She'd eat you alive. Do it! I could use a laugh.

: How old is she, anyway?

: Really old! I don't count, math is for NERDS!

: What's with the whelps?

: They're mine. Look how big they are! Also if you touch them I will eviscerate you.

While I fully intend to honor our bargain with the Stonestalkers as there's a very good incidental reward for doing so, we're going to run for the Aurora Spire to grab a sigil that will make future fights hilariously easy.

We run into this asshole. We've actually pissed off the Stone Sea villagers a ton by...asking that guy about his kidnapped wife and breaking up the racist mob. We do have a lot of favor with them, but they have literally nothing to offer and are racist assholes.

: I've no intention of dragging you anywhere. Calm down and tell me what's happened.

: You're safe for now. So tell me what's happened.

: After the Sea split, I thought I'd make a living by mapping the land. I know the area well enough now, so the Earthshakers hired me to guide them. They were looking for some kind of precious stone.

: But the Stonestalkers seem to have other plans. When we got further in, they were already there, guarding the shards. One of the Beasts nipped at an Earthshaker, so I fled. I've done my job, Fatebinder. Getting ripped to shreds isn't part of it.

Remember way back in Act 1 when Graven Ashe recalled the entire Earthshaker order to deal with the Edict of Execution and crush the rebellion, and they decided that they were going to hang out in the Treason Fort and screw us all over? Here they are! Instead of helping us, they left us to die so they could steal from the Stonestalkers. There are reasons for what they did but they're the classic arrogant colonialists assuming they can come in and steal shit.

: Well, y-you don't need me with a Fatebinder here! You to want to go at it with the Beastmen, it's your funeral. I'm out of here!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Nooo! You can't make me watch more Zack Snyder movies!

: Nobody's watching anything. What's going on?

: Whew! Well, I make my money mapping the area, so the Earthshakers hired me as a guide to look for rare rocks, but then we got into a fight with the Stonestalker tribe so it's time for me to go!

: Have you been sent as reinforcements? Let me give you the lowdown.

: I'm running now! Bye!

So we could talk to Basilon, but I'm not going to do that.

The Earthshakers and Stonestalkers are having a standoff, where the Earthshakers would like to take the Azurelith rocks to do magic stuff and the Stonestalkers, who actually live here, want them for their magic.

Everyone is distracted enough by this nonsense that we can roam around and loot unique named weapons.

We are nominally here to speak to Red-fang, but I actually want that Spire before we attack Jagged Maw.

: I mean your tribe no harm, nor have I come for any teeth. I seek only to speak with Red-Fang.

We...kinda stole some teeth earlier.

: I'm trying to resolve your quarrel with the Earthshakers - before you tear each other's throats out.

In we go!

: What in Cairn's name is going on out there?

: Human earth-mystics trespass in tribe-lands. Lured tribe with kind words like meaty chunks of wild boar. Said were like tribe, could hear earth-blood flowing under rocks. Humans claimed to hunt rocks called Azurelith, but only steal Elder-Teeth of ancestors.

: Now Stonestalkers have gathered to skin thieves alive.

Good thing they never search us.

For some reason we have to respond instead of just keeping our mouth shut, and we have to insult somebody. It's kind of annoying! Cleopatra is a diplomat!

: The Beastmen are more organized than you can see through that dented helmet.

They also have literal magic, which makes up for a lot. The last Beastmen mages we fought could summon thunderstorms. I don't think this ends well for the Disfavored.

Damn it Barik, just shut up!

: The Azure Shield - where is it? Do not lie to me, for I know you have it.

: [Leave] I'll kill the Disfavored at Jagged Maw as proof of my loyalty to your tribe. Then you will give me the Shield.

We could just kill her here and steal it to bypass the quest, but that's rude. We're also critically short on actual allies.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Which idiot is sneaking around in our Oldwalls cave?

: What's going on out there?

: Well, the human earth mages came and said they did earth magic too and could they have some rocks? Then they stole the sacred Elder Teeth of our ancestors! So we're here to skin them alive!

: Ha ha! You're gonna get owned, because you are stupid! I'm still a big racist!

: Shut the fuck up.

: :qq:

: Do you know where the shield is? I know you have it.

: I do, but it's not your shield, is it?

: We'll continue this discussion after I kill all those Disfavored.

We get the second of two rubbings, and that's really all we need.

I don't think these puzzles have any symbolism.

We do get this, which makes your self-buffs stronger. It's really only useful for hybrid mage/warriors, which we have none of.

It took me far too long to solve this.

Our power base is unsettled because we have five separate factions fighting for control here - the Disfavored, the Earthshakers, the Scarlet Chorus, the villagers, and the Stonestalkers.

: This place isn't what you'd call stable. It's a wonder this Spire hasn't fallen down a chasm.

Verse, we don't need another Dan Brown protagonist to explain symbolism.

: Feels good. Tastes like blood slicked on tongue. Feels like kith and killing and claws furrowing into flesh. Such savage power. Feels like rutting and howling in shadow of rough stone.

Goddammit Barik! Even when we do something cool you have to shit it all up by being racist!

So the Library is normally the first Spire upgrade you should go for. It's not as good for us, because we didn't warn the Sages before burning the Library and thus we lost the Master Lore trainer. We can probably cheese this with the respec guy though.

This guy shows up when we build a library, and he explains that while we didn't hire him he's not leaving because there's a lot of books.

You absolutely want to hire this lady. I hire Phila as well because she teaches lore, but we're all about to be sad in a few minutes. Now, your Spire recruits require you to leave and re-enter the Spire, which can be done by teleporting in and out.


See that focused rain sigil? We can slap it on all our chaotic descent spells and make them much, much better. I spend far too much money on Eirena.

Sadly, we can't train Cleo's lore stat any higher. If we had the master trainer we could give her 58 more levels, but, alas, we do not.

Sirin is now pretty friendly towards us even though we subjected her to that awful DLC, so we can ask her about her education.

: [Sirin Loyalty 2] You have a way with words, Sirin. Were you instructed on how to speak with others?

: Of course! One of the only good things that came out of my time with Kyros was my education. My teachers insisted I be trained on the proper way to speak with the royal court.

: I was frequently mistaken for someone older, so I think I got away with a lot more than I could have otherwise. For all their failings, they made sure I was properly educated.

: Could you teach me some tricks?

: Certainly, Fatebinder! I don't remember how much of my training I'll remember, but I'm sure I could help you out.

: She leans close, and in the softest of caresses, her lips brush your ear.

This is one of three ways that I know of to get her sigil - you can ask her nicely like this, help out the Blood Chanters, or just find it lying around the Oldwalls later. Anyway, we have to do her quest, so back to Garus.

: [Show him Ancient Parchment.] I found this in the depths of the Oldwalls.

: Ah! Another incredible find, Fatebinder! The scribe gingerly takes the offered document.

: That's interesting, but can you tell me what it means?

: No one can simply decipher texts found in the Oldwalls. At best, a few learned scribes can interpret the writings left in those depths to uncover lost aspects of sigils. Even that requires time and effort.

: [Lore 54] Fascinating. Please continue.

: While there remains every possibility that this is some manner of ritual or mathematical proof... perhaps something even more mundane, such as a record of accounting or recipe... what the document most reminds me of is the notation utilized to record music.

: If anyone could shed light on this, I imagine it would be the Archon of Song. If my inkling is correct and it's some sort of music, her special gift might provide insight. Were I you, I would avail myself of her expertise.

On to Sirin!

Now, there are legitimate reasons to be a dick to Sirin if she's got high fear, namely that without her hat she's one of the most dangerous things on Terratus. Unfortunately, there is no quest to remove her hat even when she's loyal to you. Oh well.

: [Give her the parchment] He thinks this might be written music. What do you think?

: I think I'll be happy to give these a reading - no promises, of course!

: She pores over the pages with a critical eye - at times pausing to raise a hand to her lips and ponder. Finally, Sirin nodes with a sense of understanding and clears her throat to speak up.

: I think your researcher was right. This definitely describes music. No wonder it felt so familiar to me.

: It'll take a little while to fully understand. The relationships between tones are universal, but tempo and volume vary. And just because the notation LOOKS intuitive doesn't mean it is.

No, they are not. Mathematically, yes, but in Western notation the intervals between lines on the staff are not necessarily mathematically equal, and in non-Western music I believe there are intervals smaller than a half step. It's been years since I did any music theory, so take this with a grain of salt.

: Maybe a previous Archon of Stone wrote the parchment?

: Or some musty old dirt mystic - like an ancient Earthshaker.

That last option seems like a kick in the teeth to poor Sirin and I don't have the heart to pick it.

: I look forward to finding out what you uncover.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Hmm, this is very hard to decipher...but it might be music? No idea how I know this, maybe pester Sirin.

: Hey Sirin, my nerd thinks it's music.

: That makes sense! No idea how it got here, but I'm gonna decipher it! Yay!

Now that we're done upgrading Cleo's evil powers, we can go do what the Stonestalkers want us to actually do.

There really aren't a lot of Disfavored at the Maw.

The new spells are not playing around! What the Focused Rain sigil does is make your Chaotic Descent spells cover a smaller area but summon more projectiles. This is a straight upgrade, as the projectiles hit randomly in the area and the area is still large enough to hit packs of guys but small enough that lightning bolts hit your enemies.

This is WITHOUT the max damage sigils we have lying around. I have no idea why you would play a warrior in this game.

We also find this strange rock formation. Might as well touch it, what could go wrong?

Absolutely nothing! This is our last core sigil, and as you might expect, it's extremely powerful.

It even works with our focused rain and chaotic descent sigils, and the spell even inflicts Bleeding because why the hell not?

This Disfavored dies to, among other things, acid rain.

This is Jaws of the Earth. It ruins fools.

Having massacred all the Disfavored we can go back to Red-Fang and get our shield.

Very rude, especially as we're living on top.

: I'm back. I've killed the Disfavored, now give me my Shield like Hundred-Blood said you would.

Look, we put those five guys in the ground. What more do you want?

: I've done enough for the Stonestalkers. Are you going to give me the Shield or not?

: [Growl right back.] Your tribe's Prima promised me that Shield. You will give it to me, now. Not later. Not after a favor.

See what I mean? Yes, Red-Fang tries to put you through more bullshit, but ultimately you can just point out that you held up your end of the deal. You do need Stonestalker favor 1 and to not have killed any of the Stonestalkers, but these really aren't difficult.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I killed all the Disfavored, can I have the Shield now?

: You should go kill all the Earthshakers first.

: Come on! Hundred-Blood saiiiiid!

: No.

: Pleeeeeeease?

: Ok, fine. Jeez.

We throw the shield on Cleopatra, not just because it's an artifact, but also because we can add the cultural inheritance of Azure to our myth of Cleopatra Jones, Rightful Archon of the Unified Tiers.

Now that legacy is ours! We might need to clean it first.

This could have been avoided with better diplomacy - the Earthshakers could have asked some of the Stonestalker mystics to help with their ritual, and bring Elder Teeth, for instance - but centuries of human arrogance are taking their toll. Now, the Earthshakers do not have the same racial superiority complex the Disfavored do. There are Tiersmen Earthshakers, and if you're on the rebel path you can convince the Earthshakers to desert the Disfavored and join your growing personal army.

There are clear echoes of Western scientists coming in and stealing shit for museums and whatnot. It's not a great look, and it could have been avoided if the Earthshakers had been respectful - but they were never going to do this, because they don't believe in silly superstitions, they just believe that Kyros causes the harvest.

We can't go to the last Spire yet, so we will ask Hundred-Blood for directions.


: There is a Spire deep in the mountains of the Stone Sea. Tell me - how do I reach it?

We take our leave. Now, we can go to the last Spire. First, let's talk to Killsy about Left-Claw.

: Alpha smells good. Makes Beastwoman want to hunt. Kill.

Sadly, despite Hundred-Blood being right there and mocking Killsy for liking the human scent, she does not interject. Oh well!

: Happy that I rescued Left-Claw?

: Yep-yep. Fatebinder is good Alpha to Kills-in-Shadow. Listens to Beastwoman's demands. Must like Beastwoman to fight for former pack-whelp.

: She chuffs and shakes her head.

: She pants and scratches the back of her mane, hunching forward, closer to you, her breath puffing hot against your neck. Her dark pink tongue lolls, dripping drool on your shoulder as she grins.


: Never mind.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: I rescued Left-Claw!

: Yay!

Next time: The second Spire in the Stone Sea, and a decision!