The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 49: Cleopatra Jones and the Fortress of Fuckups

Cleopatra Jones and the Fortress of Fuckups

Last time on Tyranny we attacked a fort full of Unbroken because they wouldn't give us the information for the artifact we need to build the legend of Cleopatra Jones, because they were too busy using it to create a screwed up version of their national myth.

I didn't mention it last update, but the setup for the Anarchist is really contrived. First we meet Janos, the one Unbroken who thinks we deserve the Dauntless for some reason, then we go to Captain Agathon and instead of deciding to, say, sneak around his camp or offer his men bribes or something we just slaughter them all and conveniently find a Disfavored prisoner, who, once again, is simply hanging around while the Unbroken commanders yell about their plans.

Now we're going to try to convince Elia that she should cooperate with us so we can run off with the national emblem of Stalwart and use it to prop up our myth as a Northerner who nonetheless deserves rulership of the Tiers. We can't be worse than Graven Ashe, right?

This is just another reminder of the ultimate reward for following Kyros - to be disposed of when Kyros decides you're no longer useful.

: Are you all right, soldier?

:hist101:: He turns to you in bafflement, squinting across the dust-strewn expanse, recognition barely evident in his gaze.

:hist101:: Before he can continue, you both catch the sound of iron boots trudging closer.

This is going to go well.

The thing to remember is that "war crimes" is a serious enough charge to convict an Archon. Killing escaping prisoners is, by modern standards, a war crime conducted by actual Nazis - like Hitler shooting all the airmen in the Great Escape. Now, for the Bronze Age, this is kind of "whatever" (gotta keep the slaves down!) but Teodor here is a worthless asshole and we're supposed to see him as such.

The Geneva Convention posted:

The use of weapons against prisoners of war, especially against those who are escaping or attempting to escape, shall constitute an extreme measure, which shall always be preceded by warnings appropriate to the circumstances.

: Stop this at once!

As I recall, in practice the war crimes laws don't apply to "oathbreakers", so we have no idea what the hell the law is (does Kyros' Peace protect this man? Is this a war crime?) but it's fairly clearly morally wrong. The man is defenseless, wounded, and begging for mercy, and Teodor is a sick fuck whining about how murdering this man just isn't fun enough.

Again we get referred to Graven Ashe as the guy authorizing this stuff.

Earlier in the game posted:

: [Conquest] What gives? Last I was here, the Disfavored showed a little more mercy to the enemy.

Right now we're seeing what all the Disfavored talk of honor is - a facade to disguise the fact that under the iron armor and lies about discipline, they're the same violent thugs as the Scarlet Chorus. Teodor here isn't some random asshole, he's a Disfavored officer.

Earlier in the game posted:

This is a lie! I know we discussed this, but look at that "kill for sport" line. We haven't seen Graven Ashe kill anyone for sport personally - mostly because he hides in his tent instead of, you know, leading his men - but he tolerates behavior like this, and as the commander, is held personally responsible. If Graven Ashe didn't tolerate this kind of behavior, how did Teodor make the officer corps? This isn't an isolated incident, either.

The very beginning of the game posted:

It's basically the same as the Confederates executing black soldiers because the black men challenged their idiotic racism.

This is who the Disfavored truly are when no one holds them accountable.

: The Disfavored soldier turns to the Unbroken camp, frustration evident in his tone. Then his gaze shifts over to you, and back to the walls.

: Are these your allies now, Elia - traitors and miscreants who break wars rather than win them? Teodor shakes his head. Better that you open your gates to me and preserve your dignity.

: I don't believe we've been introduced.

: She spits over the edge. How's that for your courtly greeting?

Oh boy, Teodor, I can't believe you offered to put her in a position to be a slave so you could rape her, how could any woman turn down such a gentleman?

Let's go to the fort, maybe Elia will help us?

You're going to refuse and make us do a bunch of tedious combat, aren't you?

: Her expression twists with sudden recognition. Aren't you the one who fucked over Agathon at Duskwatch? We have nothing to say to one another. Either you're Graven Ashe's favorite comfort soldier or you just like to see honest folk die. Either way, you're a pile of Beast shit to me.

This kind of lands hollow because, again, the game doesn't give you a choice if you're on the Anarchy path. There is no option to stealth into Agathon's fort to free the prisoner (this game does have stealth mechanics!) or just lie to him and say you need it to break the Edict.

: I hear you're looking for artifacts. Found anything?

: Do you truly believe that you can win?

This is the exact same logic the Vendrien Guard used, and their rebellion was crushed and now one of their leaders owes Cleopatra personal allegiance. Stalwart has already lost.

: This camp will fall today. Surrender to me, or sentence your soldiers to death.

That's real easy to say from inside the fortress, missy!

: I already know that the Disfavored are looking for artifacts of Stalwart. I also know that they're searching blind. I'll take my knowledge to the grave if it keeps you out of Sentinel Stand. You can count on that.

: [Attack] I didn't come to negotiate anyway.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

:hist101:: Please help! I am trying to escape, but I am all wounded and cannot tell friend from foe. I'm completely helpless, please...

: Ha ha! An escaped and helpless man! I'm going to murder him! I have a huge boner right now!

: Stop this right now!

" Hmm...this Disfavored man is committing a war crime! Disfavored...bad? No, it is the Fatebinder who is wrong!

: Ha ha ha! I don't follow the law, I follow Graven Ashe! I will commit war crimes in front of a Fatebinder, because I am a narcissistic dumbass! Did you catch that Graven Ashe is cool with this? Woo WOOO!!

: Hey, Elia, did you see me murder that guy? I plunged my sword into him like I want to plunge my penis into your vagina! Boyoyoyoing!!!!!

: Fuck off small penis man.

: Who are you?

: Go fuck yourself.

: Ha ha! Just remember, you could have been my slave but now you must die!

: Oh, look, it's the dipshit who screwed over Captain Agathon. You suck! Suckity suck suck!

: Find any artifacts?

: Go fuck yourself.

: What the hell is the point of this? Stalwart is a wasteland, you guys literally have rusted weapons, that's a garbage wooden fort with a door that looks suspiciously punchable, and if Kyros actually gave a damn he could march in more armies.

: Well, we may die, but future generations will remember our fight and rise up to destroy the Overlord!

: You know what? Fuck this. :black101:

: No, fuck YOU. I'm going to waste YOUR time with a ton of unskippable Tyranny combat!

: Fuck.

So all these dumbasses get firestormed outside the gate.

As it turns out this gate is surprisingly swordable. Presumably Teodor was too busy drawing dicks in his Disfavored sketchbook to actually do the one job the Disfavored were supposedly good at.

Elia fled like a coward, but set up this fairly competent pincer movement from the guys on the bottom. Unfortunately for her, Cleopatra is an RPG protagonist and is perfectly capable of butchering all these idiots trivially.

Yeah, I don't know what they thought was going to happen.

Even with our crazy ubermagic these guys are a fat sack of hit points with no interesting abilities where the outcome is predetermined in our favor but we have to play it out.

Seriously! Look at the health bars. I don't have cheats enabled or anything, we've got enough lifesteal and tankiness that this shit doesn't matter.

So, guess what? We have to butcher our way through the entire fort of boring HP sacks to get to Elia.


Not even the wiki knows what this sigil is. It would be nice if we'd gotten a new one here, but...

Again, this would be more interesting if the entire camp rallied to a point and swarmed us, but I guess we're grinding these dorks for experience.


By murdering all these bozos, we got an aura that degrades enemy armor. Hooray!

What a senseless waste of human life.

Anyway, we need to shoot the winch to...

...lower the drawbridge Elia is hiding behind with three guys. Like I said, none of this makes sense and she just comes off as a truly inept commander. The initial ambush made sense, but it should have been sprung when the gates were closed and instead of pulling all the guys back they should have been throwing spears and whatnot. Instead she wasted the gate guards, wasted a bunch of men on an unsuccessful ambush she could have reinforced but didn't, wasted a bunch of men by leaving them outside the drawbridge area to get slaughtered piecemeal, and is now going to go into fighting a dangerous Fatebinder who has wiped out three separate city garrisons singlehandedly with herself and three other guys.

You and what army? The one I just killed? :smuggo:

: Give me the artifact and I will spare you.

: I've heard it all before. This is only going to end one way, but that doesn't mean I'll make it easy for you.

Ok, so I guess you'll fight and die and we'll have to find another le-

What a worthless coward.

We get an animation of the gate slamming shut and these men agreeing to die for...what, exactly? A ruined country whose sovereign they are fighting to end? A leader who fled and abandoned them in the face of a tyrant? Elia really comes off as a completely incompetent idiot who is unable to lead a band of men and I suspect the only reason the fort has held out as long as it has is because Teodor is also incompetent.

All of the garrison we've killed could have rallied here and made it a hard fight. This just sucks!

Barik has fought in these lands before.

Why are you doing this? You could have rallied the garrison while Cleo attacked the gate. You could have rained missile fire while Cleo attacked the drawbridge. There are even traps scattered around here, you could have slowly tried to wear the party down by withdrawing to prepared positions. This isn't fun to play through, it's not fun to write about, and I don't have much commentary besides "the Unbroken are Disfavored level idiots and also this is boring".

We can push this boulder to reveal...

What the hell is going on, and why aren't you in the fort? Why is our only option to attack these men? The game presents the Fatebinder as happy to lie when it suits their purposes, why can't we lie and say we're part of the Dauntless hunting party?

Sure, why not.

For randomly attacking and murdering these guys we get this dagger, which goes into the stash of unique named items I forget we have. We don't want it on Verse, she tanks by being evasive. Barik could use it, I guess, but he doesn't really take a lot of damage. Kills-in-Shadow might want it, but she's not really a dagger user. I have no idea if this ability applies to spells. If it does, I guess we could use it with the blood magic sigil, but you gotta pester Fifth Eye for that one and I failed to do so. Oh well!

Ok, that's it, let's fast forward through the boring combats and finding Elia, shall we?


: Never thought I'd live to see Kyros' forces leaping and snarling at each other. Do you fight this way in the North, or do you only lose control during important battles?

: Don't act like the South has its shit in order. We were slaughtering dynasties for strips of land long before Kyros showed up.

This is how the Unbroken got all their combat experience.

: Are we having fun yet, Verse?

: Are you kidding? This is more fun than skinning Beastmen in the winter! I should have joined your gang years ago,

We are? I thought you were running like a coward leaving your men behind to die.

This battle is mildly interesting because the enemies attack each other.

It's the same old shit we've seen hundred of times before. See hit point sack. Fry hit point sack with overpowered magic. Repeat.

Despite spouting her mouth off about how she'll never surrender and she's going to die to free Stalwart, Elia immediately surrenders and is thus immune to our firestorms. Amusingly the game seems to implement this as a damage absorbing shield, as the log says in the corner.

This stupid asshole makes us go down and find him, so we murder him to progress the plot.

Sirin? Could you use your powers on her? Pleeeeeeeease?

I guess not. She is a teenager, after all.

: [Lore 74] You have nothing left to lose, but I can still ensure that Stalwart finds peace under Kyros.

: That's more of a promise than these corrupt scavengers deserve by far, but I'll grant you that she talks more than a corpse.

: I don't care about your convictions or your country. That makes me more dangerous than you.

: Now that was some impressive work. My policy has always been to kill folks and hope their orders were written on their palm, but you've got a knack for getting people talking.

AHA! Remember all that crap about how Verse couldn't read?

Earlier in the game posted:

: You can't read?

Ok, Faunia Farley, you carry on there.

: What do you know about Ashe's daughter, Amelia?

: You're looking for an artifact, right?

: Aye, and we've been searching for some time. She glances around with evident exhaustion. A fool's errand, perhaps. Suppose I'll never know for sure.

: What did you learn about the Regent?

This was literally Raetommon's plan, and when Elia calls something stupid you know you messed up.

: What is the Steadfast Insignia?

: How did a breach form in the Oldwalls?

: She attempts a meager shrug. We've been a little preoccupied with you Northern fuckers to waste our time patrolling the length of the country, so you'll excuse me if I'm shady on the details.

: How do I get to the local Spire?

: Who leads the Unbroken?

: He was looking for Dauntless, the sword of the Unbroken. He thought that could rally us, give us hope. She laughs bitterly.

: You have anything else you want to tell me?

: You're better to me as a prisoner than a corpse.

I recall we got Wrath from Bleden Mark for promising Stalwart Kyros' Peace. Oh well!

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Fuck you! I'm going to fuck you up!

: Ha ha that's adorable!

: Ok, seriously, I killed all your guys, NOW can we proceed with the plot?

: Lol nope I'm going to run away behind this gate and lock these three guys in to their inevitable death so I can die a patriot fighting a desperate battle for a wasteland and a country that doesn't exist. Sure, you're gonna kill me, but I can subject you to Tyranny combat while doing it.

: Fuck fuck FUCK! :commissar:

: After her! She went North!

: Hey, it's the Disfavored! Look, men, that Fatebinder and her retinue are reinforcements!

: What the fuck?

: I'm gonna kill you Fatebinder!

: Lol the Kyrosians are fighting! Suddenly it's time to kill the Fatebinder again!

: :commissar:

: Don't hurt me! I surrender! Uh, I mean, I'm not telling you anything, Fatebinder!

: Can we hurry this up? We've seriously spent an entire hour grinding trash mobs.

: Look, I can help Stalwart if you help me, but if you don't cooperate, well... I don't actually care about this country or your beliefs.

: Oh shit! What do you wish to know?

: Nice! Usually I just kill people and look for written orders. Wait, I just admitted to literacy, didn't I?

: Tell me about Amelia Ashe.

: Who?

: What's this artifact you're looking for?

: The Steadfast insignia? It's in the Oldwalls. Apparently it can just straight-up defy Kyros' Edict of Storms. Maybe. Who knows?

: Can you give me directions to the Spire?

: Yup! Go into the Oldwalls!

: Can you sell out your entire faction and the hope of Stalwart's salvation for me?

: I can, but I'll feel real melancholic about it. Here's all the information on his location and plans. I was hoping he would be our post-war leader and rally us to victory, guess not.

: Anything else?

: Nope. You gonna leave me be now?

: Nah, you're my prisoner.

: What! No! Despite your threat to devastate Stalwart that I believe you can carry out, I'm going to commit suicide by Fatebinder, because I'm a hot-headed idiot!

: :commissar:

Elia has this unique heavy armor that goes right into storage because the only heavy armor user is Barik, and he's stuck in his own shit.

She also has this Disfavored patrol map she got from the Scarlet Chorus. For all their talk of freedom from Kyros and Stalwart-to-Come and their future being led by Mattias, the Unbroken are just being used as pawns by the Chorus to hurt the Disfavored in their little civil war. We know from Bleden Mark and Myothis that Kyros is tacitly encouraging these idiots to fight as they're no longer needed, so she's literally doing what Kyros wants her to do. Elia's certainly not accomplishing anything by resisting, first she pisses her men away, then she surrenders while all her remaining forces die around her, then she crumbles under our vague threat that we don't care about her country because we can apparently somehow make the ruinous wasteland with no food or resources worse. Yes, she's in pain and not thinking straight, but it's kind of hard to feel sorry for her on a meta level because she wastes your time with so much pointless bullshit and on a narrative level because she is a coward who abandons her men while running away and then betrays her "country" and sells out the resistance movement. Thus I'm not sure if the writers actually intended for Cleopatra's vague threat of destroying everything Elia worked for to be a horrible moment where we're reminded that yes, the Fatebinder committed unspeakable atrocities and by all accounts is evil, or whether it's just a commentary that we're sick of Elia's time wasting bullshit. Certainly we don't care about her convictions, because she very clearly doesn't care about them either!

Now, the game lists this quest as optional. We're missing out on a ton by not doing it, and it's on the way to the last Spire, which we could really use. Off we go!