The Let's Play Archive


by TheGreatEvilKing

Part 58: Cleopatra Jones and the Trial of Tunon

Cleopatra Jones and the Trial of Tunon

Last time we wrapped up a bunch of stuff before the end of the game. Today we confront the game's final boss.

It's time to confront our old boss, Tunon. He actually likes us a lot, oddly enough. This might actually help us!

This is the last challenge in the game.

Let's face the consequences of our actions.

Court is very busy today!

One lone idiot protests but everyone files out because shit is about to go down!

He's not kidding! This is the final confrontation of the game and I absolutely adore it.

: [Bow to Tunon.]

: I first want to make it clear why we've assembled today. After the collapse of Vendrien's Well and the start of the civil war, it became clear to me that there must have been some great fault on the part of the Archons.

I'm not sure if he's supposed to say this on Anarchy given that he never gave us the assignment to investigate.

And nothing of value was lost.

: I hope it isn't your intention to arm yourself before a court of peaceful legal representatives, commander, unless to offer amusement as Bleden mark flays you for our delight. Calio offers an encouraging smile.

: Tunon turns to aim what you can only assume is a stern look. He refocuses back onto you with cool stoicism.

: Much has happened since I dispatched you on that mission.

I'm pretty sure this is bugged.

Remember, Tunon values the law and the commands of the Overlord.

: I acted on the Overlord's admonition that only one Archon would rule the Tiers.

Shut up.

I believe these guys will chime in for you if you sided with the appropriate legion, but it's been a while since I played any of the legion paths.

: And you would be that self-appointed ruler? Tunon shakes his head. This court wonders what blood sacrifices your ambition will demand of you next.

Tunon isn't entirely wrong here. By all appearances we have been grabbing power faster than Homer Simpson grabbing donuts.

: The court has a serious problem to address. Your conduct throughout this campaign has come into question, and you will answer for your actions.

The legion delegations leave the court here.

Did you run around shitting on Kyros' laws? You're going to have a good time!

: Am I not allowed to have a trial? Is that not the proper procedure?

Tunon doesn't preconvict you if you helped a legion.

: I want to defend my actions.

This is a massive turning point. We didn't see the Archon trial, but Tunon convicts the Archons in absentia without giving them a chance to defend themselves. It's a hint that you are going to receive a fair trial, for reasons we shall see.

I sure hope you've been paying attention to the Overlord's laws! Tunon is actually kind of hardcore.

The Fatebinders will chime in - they will say good things if your favor is high, and shit on you if your Tunon favor is low.

: The Court has inquiries into your conduct.

Did you treat your companions like shit?

: Who will speak on behalf of the Fatebinder?

: The ironclad commander will step forward, if indeed he had the strength to walk.

: You... you want me to speak, Adjudicator?

: Barik self-consciously straightens his shoulders and steps forward.

Aww. thanks Barik! You want your character witnesses to have Loyalty 3 or higher.

Our entire party has loyalty 3 or higher.

: Will anyone else speak on the Fatebinder's behalf?

: Tidecaster. Let yourself be known to the Court.

: The Court wishes my testimony? Well then... I am Eb of the School of Tides and... this room echoes a lot, it's very intimidating.

: Will anyone else speak on the Fatebinder's behalf?

: Let the aged chronicler step forward.

: If it may please the Court, I will speak true.

: And, if required, I could produce my travelogue to back my claims. I have noted the good with the bad, and I think you'll find the Archon has been a force of order and balance - exactly what you should want from a Fatebinder.

: Will anyone else speak on the Fatebinder's behalf?

: Evidently not. The time has come for the Fatebinder to offer her testimony.

So here's the thing with the trial - this is not a kangaroo court or the Moscow Show Trials. Tunon has real doubts, and if we play our cards right, we can prove to Tunon that something is rotten in the state of Kyros.

: Supporting Archons who already proved themselves lacking would have been a waste of progress. I recognized a better way to unify the Tiers.

What you want to emphasize is that you followed the will of the Overlord, your duties as a Fatebinder, and the law of Kyros.

: Lethian's Crossing is under my protection, and yet you stole the Magebane Helm. Without the arcane protection that I commissioned from the Forge-Bound, the city is laid before the Bane like an offering.

: Why did you steal it?

This is another legitimate concern! Now, we did kill all the Bane and our buddy Big Bane, but Tunon does have a point that we stole from the city.

Calio interjects favorably because we've gone out of our way to kiss Tunon's ass.

: I couldn't allow the Bane to impede my attempts to restore order. The helmet will be returned.

Tunon is not a forgiving sort.

Do not be arrogant toward Tunon, and do not admit fault.

This actually got updated in the Bastard's Wound DLC. Before you could ace the trial by passing lore checks. The best you can do here now is mitigate Tunon's wrath.

Do NOT pick option 3. We, the player, know it's true, but Tunon is actively looking for crumbs to bolster his faith in Kyros here. By committing blasphemy we confirm Tunon in his beliefs and he can happily sentence us to death.

: Kyros didn't intend for the Edict to last forever.

We discussed this in spoiler chat, and someone in the thread pointed out this shouldn't be possible. This is your hint that Tunon is wavering. Remember, Tunon's entire deal is that Kyros' law is good because Kyros offers peace and an end to starvation, but Kyros just threw her own peace right out the window with the special declaration of Archon war and tacitly encouraging the civil war.

Remember how this was our textbook example of an impossible situation where the laws failed?

: My only trespass came in pursuit of trespassers, that I might punish their transgressions.

: The circumstances you describe have no precedent... but I trust your reasoning. Agents of the Court are not immune to the law, but your position was an impossible one.

: They attacked me and hence violated Kyros' peace. I defended myself appropriately.

Remember, take the Kyros' Peace option. Peace good!

See? You can see the doubt grow as Tunon realizes that you're in the right.

This one is a result of using [Glare Silently.] too often. Really! The questions Tunon poses are drawn from Conquest actions and in-game actions. Delaying Edicts gets Tunon asking what the hell you were thinking, for example.

: In my dispensation of justice, I find it most useful to let others do the talking while I observe and allow them to incriminate themselves.

: That is... a better justification than I had suspected. Thank you for satisfying my curiosity.

We're really at the bottom of the barrel here.

: I joined this conquest for the glory of Kyros, but I'm less certain the Archons did for the same reason.

So, you know all my advice about what NOT to say? I'm throwing that out, because you get special stuff on both succeeding and failing the trial. The wiki also claimed you might get Tunon to go along with this.

Cleopatra throws the trial in a deleted scene posted:

: Kyros' Peace is a lie. The Overlord holds dominion because we are ignorant to alternatives. The better Overlord stands before you, ready to define justice as she sees fit.

While we can prove the first part, the second part just tells Tunon we're the same as those two asshole Archons he despised, and he reacts appropriately.

You fucked up, player!

: After weighing the charges, this court finds you...

Tunon might have his doubts, but we just revealed ourself as another power-hungry asshole. He doesn't like that.

: We shall see about that, Adjudicator.

: Hubris in the face of annihilation. My court, and the world at large, are better rid of you, wretched thing.

: Bleden Mark, execute her!

Little does Tunon know that Bleden Mark works for us now! He's gonna get fucked up!


: Forgive me, Adjudicator, but this dagger now cuts for another Archon.

: I'm going to slice you from throat to thigh and bleed your insides out, but I'll make it quick.

Tunon raises his gavel....

...and blasts Mark with some kind of shadow.

We might be in over our head here.

: The shadow immediately begins to seep and dissolve into nothingness, slipping with a hiss through black-gloved fingers, but before it can escape, the Adjudicator slams the haft of his gavel against the ground, rocking the Court with a staggering shock wave of raw power. A blindingly white light flares from the head of the gavel, and the wisping, thrashing shadow in Tunon's grip snaps harshly into the very solid form of Bleden Mark, sneering with pain, as every last shadow in the room burns hotly away.

This is of course not rendered in the engine.

Remember way back when we asked Mark for his Binding of Shadows, and he warned us there was a catch? This was the catch - it was supposed to control him for Tunon.

: Did you think the Overlord favored you - because she spared you once? Tunon lifts Bleden Mark higher into the light. Did you believe that she would one day allow you to defeat me? That she would entrust you to me with no sound means for discipline?

: The assassin twists enough to look at you. He grimaces a wistful sort of half-smile.

: Sorry kid. Can't help you... after all. His eyes widen as the light bursts through him in several places, disintegrating whole chunks of his body. Don't... worry... Won't die....

Pour one out for our buddy Bleden Mark.

: Begone, and reflect upon the consequences of your choices, Archon of Shadows. Suffer in a state of endless illumination until I deem you have corrected your misbehavior.

Bleden Mark gets cutscene imprisoned.

And now we fight Tunon after he demonstrated his cool shadow teleport I completely fail to screenshot.

The epic battle between Cleopatra Jones, rightful ruler of the Unified Tiers, and Tunon the Adjudicator, keeper of Kyros' laws for the good of all, will now begin.

While Nerat was kind of lame and spawned a few copies of people we killed, and Ashe mostly dorked around until he could hit us with powerful single target attacks, Tunon comes out swinging with powerful AoE attacks. He's also got high enough deflection that people not named Cleopatra Jones can't reliably hit him.

He gets off his Judgement of Storms while the meteors begin to fall. Cleopatra picked up shock immunity from... somewhere, and no-sells the attack.

This is what Judgment of Storms looks like, by the way.

Next is the Judgment of Stone. I can't find info on what any of this stuff does, IIRC it's another fuckoff AoE attack.

He also set the gang on fire somehow, but I remembered to pass out healing potions. With an actual healing setup we could probably just tank this, honestly.

We just kind of rotate through our standard spellcasting allotment while Barik does... stuff. Tunon is immune to taunts, so we can't do that.

We're slowly grinding him down through the time honored tactic of spell spam and stacking DoTs. Poor Eb isn't looking good.

Eb goes down while we set the special effects budget on fire.

Fortunately both Lantry and Cleo can revive downed party members, making it so that our team can never, ever die. Remember, Big T here is the game's final boss.

Tunon's judgement of traitors deals Corrode damage, which as far as I know is linked to poisons and the only magic that deals Corrode is Tunon's own. It's far more common in Pillars.

This is not a fast fight.

Unfortunately for Tunon, we have powerful AoE healing and he doesn't.

In fact, the fight takes so long our focused rain spells come off cooldown.

So does Tunon's storm.

I don't want to know what this does, so it's time to keep doing what I'm doing and hope Tunon goes down. Maybe I should be using the big damage Vigor buff?

Eventually poor Tunon goes down.

This is confirmation that when two Archons fight, it's as much a clash of ideas as a clash of RPG characters.

At the end, Tunon realizes his doubts were true or we never would have triumphed.

Prior to the Bastard's Wound patch, and the shitty new ending, Tunon would just warn us and die. Here we have a few options to whine about how loyal we are like an idiot.

: Can't I? An Edict issued upon the Northern Empire should do the trick.

Like every other Archon, Tunon gives a speech upon his death that characterizes him. Nerat was a petty bastard trying to bring us down, Ashe revealed that he always hated his men and wished Kyros would love him, and Tunon dies lamenting that Kyros ruined all of the good he tried to do with the laws. It's why I honestly feel bad for killing Tunon. Did he do terrible things in the service of good? Absolutely. Did he do the most to empower and legitimize Kyros? Absolutely. Yet it was never about personal power for Tunon, Tunon always tried to do what he legitimately thought was right.

Unfortunately, I kind of have to show this off now as we don't see Bleden Mark's rebellion on any other path.

: The Adjudicator has fallen... I never thought the paragon of Kyros' justice would see himself judged, much less in his own court.

This is true.

Tunon floats up and disappears in a puff of smoke.

He leaves behind his gavel and mask, in case you hadn't killed Ashe or Nerat.

We, however, will be reloading the trial to do it the cool way.

: Though I have ever strived to bring peace and order to this shattered region, I recognize that our work is an uphill battle, and well worth the struggle.

: The way you frame it, the conquest sounds like a matter of true personal investment. Most curious...

: After weighing the charges, this court finds you...

Huh. Astute readers might have inferred the result from Mark not attacking. Needless to say, this only occurs on the Anarchy route.

: Adjudicator. Kid. He greets the both of you with a curt nod before stating his claim.

: Be careful, Archon of Shadows, for you are in danger of overstepping your station.

: Dark tendrils flare from beneath Tunon's cloak, a silent warning.

This is your cue to shut up. Tunon even said that silence was cool and good when we explained our motive, so...

: [Remain silent.]

: Do not speak of our Overlord in such a manner before others. Do not sully Kyros with your petty ambition and desires. Your testimony has been heard, Court Blade. Interrupt further, and I'll find you in contempt.

: The Archon bends forward into a stately bow, glancing one last time to you before he steps aside to await Tunon's decision.

: Cleopatra Jones, after weighing the charges and with careful consideration of Bleden Mark's testimony, the Court concedes to judge you...


I have been yammering on this entire LP about how Kyros' law pretends to be a cool system for something resembling social justice, and is actually used to justify stealing shit and screwing people over. Tunon's been dealing with this cognitive dissonance for a long time, until Kyros openly threw everything out the window. We've been talking a lot about how Kyros can control bad people with power, but she struggles when it comes to idealists like Tunon because they actually expect her to promote those ideals. Of course, being an opportunistic tyrant interested only in power, Kyros has no intention of doing any of this.

: Adjudicator, are you unwell? Rhogalus takes a cautious step.

Tunon can't ignore the evidence any longer! By all accounts, Kyros ordered him to execute someone who did everything right, followed the laws to the best of her ability, and put everything she had into trying to make the Conquest work, and yet Kyros is asking him to throw everything she supposedly stands for out the window.

: I once thought that Kyros was the sole Overlord. The notion of rising to her echelon of power and influence wasn't a concept that existed for me... for anyone.

We've shaken Tunon so badly that his impartial mask is twisting and he can't even bring himself to finish his thought.

It also speaks well of Tunon that instead of trying to play power games, he offers to join you to make better laws that don't suck.

: I accept. Together, we will rewrite law and lay the groundwork for a new empire.

: My gavel, and my justice, are yours. I will execute your laws as you draft them, show mercy as you see fit, and bring to ruin all who would reject you.


Tunon goes back to his office to arrange for the oath.

Tunon's purple now! He went from a gold nameplate to a purple one.

: The time has come to take up the gavel and usher in a new age of structure and law to the Tiers.

Tunon assembles all the court officials and Tiers nobles to join him in swearing fealty to Cleopatra.

: Your loyalty and confidence are appreciated.

: As the ruling Archon of the Tiers, I submit to your authority, and thank you for bringing order out of chaos.

The assembled Fatebinders, nobles, and bailiffs take a knee to acknowledge the new ruler of the Unified Tiers.

It's pretty clear this is what he wanted Kyros to be - a shining example of leadership and unity who led everyone to peace and prosperity. This is exactly what Kyros could never be due to the mechanics of her rule.

Unfortunately, Kyros is still coming to beat our asses.

: What would you recommend?

Tunon knows Kyros better than anyone at this point.

: An Edict proclaimed on the Northern Empire should do the trick.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

: Cleopatra Jones, you were to investigate the Archons but they're both dead. Now, for your many crimes against Kyros' order in the Tiers, you are guilty and must die.

: Could I have a trial? Pleeeease?

: I suppose so, we can add "mocking the Court" to your list of charges. Companions, what do you think of Cleopatra?

: She rules! You should not convict her of any crimes!

: Hey, we're going to be running commentary throughout this, that cool?

: So, you were to assist in the Conquest, yet you ignored the Archons. Why?

: The Archons were stupid dumbasses, so I found a better way to do things that helped Kyros out.

: That makes a disturbing amount of sense. If they were dumbasses, I completely understand your actions. So, why did you steal the Magebane Helmet? That left Lethian's Crossing defenseless.

: You know, if it wasn't supposed to be moved, the Forge-Bound could have made a statue.

: I needed it to fight the Bane threat there. I will return it. I have like five million artifacts anyway and that thing's active sucks.

: Huh. I was expecting a greedy asshole, but...that makes sense. Moving on. Why didn't you kill that baby? Kyros wanted you to destroy the bloodline.

: The Edict abated, so I fulfilled Kyros' words.

: You twisted the Overlord's will! You cheated! Wait, is that possible? She should be omnipotent. Fuck, this trial was supposed to ease my doubts, but all I have are more doubts. Why did you enter the Oldwalls?

: I had to stop Raetommon's crazy rebellion somehow. What was I supposed to do, let him break Kyros' Peace?

: Shit. Why did you kill all the Chorus members at Halfgate?

: They attacked me, violating Kyros' Peace. I defended myself and restored order.

: I can't argue with that. I bet you can't tell me why you're constantly silent, is it because you're dumb?

: It's because people will incriminate themselves while I give them the rope.

: That actually rules. One last question: did you knowingly intend to screw the Conquest, or were you just screwed by circumstances?

: I was in it for Kyros, but certain Archons outside this Court weren't.

: Yea... Ashe and Nerat really fucked up, didn't they? Any closing statements?

: Dude, Kyros' Peace is a shitty lie, Kyros is trolling you, and I would be a better Overlor-

: I KNEW IT YOU LIAR! I sentence you to death! Bleden Mark, kill her!

: I work for Cleo now! Bye!

: :commissar: You fool! Kyros taught me how to keep you in line! Now, you must watch all of Michael Bay's movies before I let you out!

: It won't kill me, but I can't help you Cleo. It's OK, I'm secretly a Megan Fox fan.

: Now you die, Fatebinder!

: :commissar:

: You've learned much Fatebinder - this was not just a clash of blades, but a fight of ideas, and I fear you have proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that Kyros' laws are a mere mockery of justice. She is coming, her armies are merciless. You have no chance to survive.

: I'm gonna Edict that bitch.

: You do have the power of the Overlord...better that you kill yourself than face her wrath, as she will destroy everything you tried to build as she did to me.

: Yay! He's dead!

: RELOAD! I've of course taken the Conquest very seriously, and I tried to clean this place up and everything.

: The court finds you -

: Sup T. Sorry I'm late, but come on! Are you really going to kill Cleo over this shit? Look, this is wrong. Cleopatra's done everything Kyros asked. You'd be committing an injustice in your own court if you did that. We both know Ashe and Nerat were turbo fuckups who were going to do this, and we both know Kyros' law is just dumb shit to placate Kyros -

: SHUT THE FUCK UP! he right?

: I find you... innocent. I...I can't explain it, but you and Bleden Mark have convinced me that something is seriously wrong here.

: Are you OK?

: Dude, shut up! This is awesome!

: Archon... you've proven that Kyros' laws are a lie, and an inconsistent mess. I believed they were sacred, but now they don't make sense. I used to believe in Kyros, but you're better at this whole law thing, even better than....

: Can you be my Overlord? I want to help you make good laws!

: Sure.


: Anyway, Kyros is coming with an army of apparently competent soldiers. I recommend you Edict her ass.

So, let's talk about the trial. You need to have sufficiently high favor with Tunon (I believe 4) to stand a chance at passing it at all, and then various factors give you points for passing it. You want to bring companions at Loyalty 3 or higher to be effective character witnesses, and post Bastard's Wound there's a lot more actions that start Tunon predisposed against you. I'm told that if you come in with extremely low Wrath you can get Tunon to acknowledge some of the criticisms of Kyrosian law, but I don't recommend it. You can pass the trial on any of the four paths, but you really need to watch your answers and methodically prove you did your due diligence as a Fatebinder. As we saw from Cleopatra's reply above, it's really easy to fuck up this trial by making the wrong choice and be forced to fight Tunon.

Thematically it's pretty simple - while ostensibly the Fatebinder is on trial here, it's the kind of trial that simultaneously puts the burden back on the legal system. Kyros would very much like Tunon to turn his power against Cleopatra and make her disappear, but Tunon is first and foremost a legal bureaucrat - he can't do that, because he truly believes in the principles of the law. Now, he is very much biased in favor of Kyros after the Bastard's Wound update - before, you could spam Lore checks and he'd realize that Kyros sucked and was fallible, and now you have to lead him to draw these conclusions while he clings desperately to the ruins of his faith - you can still demonstrate how Kyrosianism falls apart when confronted with reality. If Kyros is omnipotent, why are all these laws collapsing? Why are we punishing Cleopatra for doing everything Kyros wanted? If I'm the Archon of Justice, why is Bleden Mark - the slayer of the unjust - warning me I'm about to commit an injustice in my own court? There are a few hints scattered throughout the dialog that Tunon's faith in Kyrosianism is shaking, such as calling Cleopatra "Fatebinder" when Kyros named her an Archon, or believing that Cleopatra can somehow corrupt the will of the omnipotent Overlord.

The other great irony is that while Kyros's empire is built on being cruel and arrogantly striving for power, winning over Tunon requires compassion for your companions and humility in the face of allegations of ambition. Yes, Tunon will judge you for things like sparing Amelia's baby or delaying the Edict of Fire, but there is legal precedent for the last (Nerat asked me to do it) and sparing the baby requires Tunon to process a ton of cognitive dissonance. Ultimately Tunon turns against Kyros not because he's an amoral monster, but because he's the opposite. I would not claim Tunon is some moral paragon by any means, but he's the only Archon we've fought so far with anything resembling a conscience.

I legitimately never noticed this, but if you scroll off the map you can see Ashe and the Disfavored. It's a nice touch.

We have one last vote before the end of the game.

Unfortunately, the DLC interns took one last dump on us with the new stupid ending I've been hinting at all game, and here it is. In the original game your only option was to drop an Edict on the Northern Empire, but our new ending is that we can surrender to Kyros.

I'll be honest: I hate it! The entire game, from start to finish, has been showing us that there can be no peace between us and the Overlord. Kyros doesn't value loyalty, Kyros has no interest in the people she governs other than stealing their possessions and lording it over them, Kyros' Peace is a lie, and Kyros would happily destroy us to cling to power. We're personally a massive threat to the Overlord because, as we told Tunon in the failed scene, we actually offer an alternative. The only reason I see this ending added is because idiots on Reddit and Steam forums would not shut up about how they wanted to be loyal to Kyros and bring peace and prosperity to the Tiers, and it misses the entire point of the game! The reward for loyalty is death.

That said, if people really want to end this playthrough by surrendering, I will show off that ending if it gets enough votes.

Decisions Lie Before Us!

Do we surrender to Kyros, or use an Edict? If you choose an Edict, pick one: Fire, Storms, Stone, Nightfall, or Malediction.

Choose wisely!