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Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9igkVvDySY
[Main menu music]







There is a village lost at the frontier of the invisible, swallowed by a horizon of snow, fog, and mountains. A last point of rally before the void, and then nothing else; ice, wind. Miles of solitude distance this village from the last sketch of a road.




If it used to have a name, everyone has forgotten it. It is only by hazard that one reaches it. Erased from all maps by the passage of time and snow, it stretches, a long garden of grey stones, at the entrance of a small valley of naked trees and frozen cascades.


An old rifle, a weaver's loom. Here, no other form of technology has prevailed. Neither the steam trains nor the telegraph can arrive. Every day, hunters go to lose their way in the plains and forests. Every day, they return.

Sometimes, a house becomes available.


Leaning against the frozen brook, a little further out, a small house hangs over the west part of the village. A man is standing out front. Next to him, a little girl is sitting on a wooden chair. They are not speaking. From time to time, she glances at him, curious, in silence.


As you're approaching them, you recognize her.

She is you.

You must have been seven, maybe eight. It was, most likely, a day in October. The man who is standing next to you is your father.


He does not smile at you. Impassive, he stares straight ahead, with such clear blue eyes one would think they were white.







Your story begins here and now, on these motionless lips, under this cold stare which fixes the horizon and leaves no room for compromise. Under this stare that does not seem, and has never seemed, to grant you any significance.

Your story begins on a day in October. What do you have left, from this moment in time? The little girl fled, on a night of weariness. She disappeared in the fog, many years ago, and you have never talked about it since, and she was never seen again.


:
"Now that all that's out of the way, one little question remains: who are you? ...What's that? 'What about who I am?' That's not so important, and besides, explaining it now would just make your eyes glaze over. Mmmm... glazed eyeballs... Sorry, where was I? Oh yes. You.

"Right now, you are like a figure in a snowstorm. We know your shape, but little else. There is an infinity of possibility, but I will narrow it down and give you, let's say, three choices. After all, there are always choices. Choices in conversation, choices in battle, choices of meats.

"Are you Bengta the Huntress, the stern and self-sufficient ranger of these white northern lands? Her will is strong, and she is quite perceptive, but she has forgotten so much, and honestly... she is not very likable. Please don't tell her I said that, though. Anyway, when the monsters come, as they invariably do in these stories, she faces them alone, with pride and fortitude.




"Are you Sigrun the Weaver, whose mouth is always ready to smile and whose tongue is always ready with some quip, jest, or witticism? She is so kind, funny, and helpful, but many subtleties pass her by, such as why exactly it is the villagers are so cold to her. When problems arise, she relies on her friends, some of whom are... shall we say, more real than others.



"Are you Frida the Völva? She is a mysterious priestess-in-training who has devoted herself to exploring the depths of the mind... her own, and others. She is no naïve child, but even so, she has not yet begun to grasp the true power and pain such knowledge will bring her. Inner conflict is something she embraces and accepts, because she knows it will make her strong. And if she is to be a good shepherd to her people, strong is what she must be.



“As we await to see what shape this approaching snow shadow will take, this is what we see clearly before us:


The man... has not changed. Fifteen years later, lying in bed, worn out, he would still look out the window, his face turned towards the light. Even yesterday. On a day in November. You don't quite remember at which point he closed his eyes, but even afterwards, a long time afterwards, it seemed to you as if he was still looking.

As you stare out of the window in another room of the house, you hear a voice you almost recognize, but none of the words seem real yet.





[Okay, here's the “what's all this then” summary. I am LPing Winter Voices, a somewhat Nordic-flavored episodic RPG by French indie developer Inner Seas. If you've heard of it, chances are you've heard mixed reviews at best. The main reason for that is that the original team went bankrupt halfway through the project, and it was taken over later by a different group.*

*Actually, according to poster Lavatein:

Lavatein posted:

The project was actually bought at a bankruptcy auction by the lead writer and one of the founding members(?) of the original Inner Seas group. They worked solo to piece together the final episodes in their spare time from the half finished work that they bought.

Ouch. That had to have hurt. It's so indie though.*

Anyway, there are bugs, missteps, and misspellings galore, especially early on... but I have fallen in love with it. The game excels at presenting its melancholy, introspective mood, and it abounds with choices. Nearly everything your character says and does has multiple prompts to choose from, and there are many approaches to every conflict. The music is fantastic as well, and I'll include as much of it as possible in my posts.

Then there's the combat. It's isometric, turn-based stuff reminiscent of Final Fantasy Tactics and the like. Except the monsters are (probably) not real. They are memories, shadows, and inner demons, and you defeat them using a suite of abilities you select from your skill snowflake. Yes, it's not a tree, it's a snowflake, and each point of the flake represents a general method people use to deal with trauma, remorse, and emotional pain.

For example, there is the Flight ability, which allows you to literally run from your problems by giving you more movement points. You can also take Endurance: each time something hurts you, you gain resistance to further damage. And one of my favorites is Imaginary Friend, which generates another character on the battlefield with different bonuses depending on how you speak to them. Other examples of skills and their enhancements include Self-Mockery, Altruism, Super-Ego, and Self-Flagellation (not all methods of dealing with pain are healthy, though they can all help you win encounters).


It's big, too. Can't even fit the whole thing into one screenshot.

There are a whole bunch of them to choose from, so I probably won't open up each individual skill point expenditure to vote. Rather, I'm front-loading a lot of that process in the choice of protagonist: each of the three I came up with will be taking different skills. And, for that matter, different dialogue choices that are less consequential, because there are a lot. I also designed the characters' appearance and portrait, since I don't want to bog the LP down with post after post voting on hair colors and names. If that bugs a lot of people, I can easily change it though. Either way, I can promise that major choices, like which NPCs to recruit and which narrative routes to follow, I will definitely put up to a vote, have no fear.

Note: Parts I've added to the narrative are in italics, but even then, I've tried to keep things in the same general tone and character as the rest of the game. Brackets will usually be mechanics discussion.]


[Here's a sample character sheet, of Sigrun the Weaver, with explanations of attributes:]



Humor reduces the amount of damage you take, and also opens up the more light-hearted dialogue options. Since this is the Weaver class's primary attribute, she gets a bonus to it of +5 per level.

Willpower's main effect is determining your Energy, or “health.”

Memory increases the experience points you gain from battles, but also increases the damage enemies do to you.

Perspicacity determines how much Psyche, or “mana”, you start each battle with, and how much of it regenerates per round.

Charisma helps mitigate debuffs some enemies inflict on your movement or psyche points.

Intuition increases your Dodging ability and improves trap detection.

In addition, many Skills you pick up give your attributes additional effects. For example, a high Charisma makes a lot of healing abilities more effective.

As for the secondary attributes below...

Energy points are your health. Psyche points are your "mana" for casting "spells." Movement points are how many squares you can move per turn. If Fatigue drops too low, mostly based on story events, you have to sleep, and with sleep, come dreams. Mitigation is a damage multiplier based on your Memory attribute. I put a couple points in it, so enemies do 10% above base damage to Sigrun. If we played a Volva with the maximum rating in memory, it would be a whopping 80% more damage. Absorption is damage reduction. Dodging is a chance to avoid each attack that comes at you. Regeneration is the amount of Psyche Points you regain every turn. Dissipation Resist and Flaw Resist both protect against enemy debuffs. Sorry to ruin my pro cred a little, but I don't recall exactly which does what.]



Chapter List, as Frida the Volva:
Prologue: Avalanche
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Episode 1: Those Who Have No Name
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Episode 2: Nowhere Of Me
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11

Episode 3: Like a Crow on a Wire
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16

Episode 4: Amethyst Rivers
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

Episode 5: Overflow
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24

Episode 6: Falls
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27

Epilogue
Chapter 28
Chapter 29

Klingon w Bowl Cut fucked around with this message at 20:03 on Jan 29, 2015

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Like Clockwork
Feb 17, 2012

It's only the Final Battle once all the players are ready.



This looks like a really neat game! I look forward to the rest.

As far as voting, Frida seems like the best choice to me.

Yapping Eevee
Nov 12, 2011

STAND TOGETHER.
FIGHT WITH HONOR.
RESTORE BALANCE.

Eevees play for free.


Soiled Meat

Hmm, this certainly looks to have something of an interesting premise at least. There's potential here, and I'd like to see if the game lives up to it.

Sigrun seems like a good choice. Her current lines feel like the right type of weak humour; the kind a person might use to avoid breaking down, but which isn't really working so well. Or at least that's how I'm reading it.

Tzarnal
Dec 26, 2011



If we are going to literally battle our own inner demons we should probably be Frida.

Sally Forth
Oct 16, 2012


Yapping Eevee posted:

Sigrun seems like a good choice. Her current lines feel like the right type of weak humour; the kind a person might use to avoid breaking down, but which isn't really working so well. Or at least that's how I'm reading it.

Agree with this. Let's stick with Sigrun.

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Yapping Eevee posted:

Hmm, this certainly looks to have something of an interesting premise at least. There's potential here, and I'd like to see if the game lives up to it.

Sigrun seems like a good choice. Her current lines feel like the right type of weak humour; the kind a person might use to avoid breaking down, but which isn't really working so well. Or at least that's how I'm reading it.

I totally agree. I wouldn't call the humorous lines in the game laugh-out-loud funny, but they do present someone who's using them as a reflexive coping mechanism. I also like how it can make her seem very unhinged at times, going from trembling paralysis to sarcastic quips in the span of a few minutes.

Tzarnal posted:

If we are going to literally battle our own inner demons we should probably be Frida.
The Volva is definitely an interesting choice too. You know the verse the Dusk Shadow first quotes?

"The worms do their work: Weariness, Sleep.
They stretch, they crease, they weave years together miraculously.
They mold the human shape, they shape the differences,
They are close to the roots, where the tree begins.

"They make the moonless night, and the new moon as well.
They make the North and East. They make the South and West.
They harvest in the Dead, all that is left to take.
They make the Ancestor and the Wolf, which we call hydromel."

That's from the Voluspa, which is the oral tradition of the game's folk religion, and also one of the more famous parts of the Poetic Eddas in our world. The Volva can recognize the exact verse numbers the shadow quotes, in addition to many other unique dialogue options (the Huntress also has some, but most are much later in the game). I have read a sizable portion of the Eddas, so you can look forward to me quoting and referencing them extensively if we choose Frida.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

Say "Cheese!"


Sigrun might help lighten the mood a touch.

StrangeAeon
Jul 11, 2011


Oh man, this game. I fell in love with its presentation and mechanics long ago, but I've never gotten very far in it myself. Eagerly looking forward to watching it played out.

bagrada
Aug 4, 2007

The Demogorgon is tired of your silly human bickering!



I'll vote for Frida, though any of them would be interesting.

I played through the prologue when it first came out, and went back to get the achievement for the steam summer sale when that was a thing. I bought a few more episodes, saw it removed from steam, then bought the rest when it came back, but still haven't gone back to play any more. I had no idea what I was doing so I'll be looking forward to your playthrough to see if it can inspire me to play again. The art, music and mood are great, the gameplay and skill tree are a bit dense though for casual play.

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

StrangeAeon posted:

Oh man, this game. I fell in love with its presentation and mechanics long ago, but I've never gotten very far in it myself. Eagerly looking forward to watching it played out.

Do you remember how far you got? And do you have a preference for which protagonist I play?


bagrada posted:

I'll vote for Frida, though any of them would be interesting.

I played through the prologue when it first came out, and went back to get the achievement for the steam summer sale when that was a thing. I bought a few more episodes, saw it removed from steam, then bought the rest when it came back, but still haven't gone back to play any more. I had no idea what I was doing so I'll be looking forward to your playthrough to see if it can inspire me to play again. The art, music and mood are great, the gameplay and skill tree are a bit dense though for casual play.
I have yet to meet a single person besides myself who has actually finished the game. I'll try to offer more combat tips in future battles for the people in the same boat as you.

By the way, I'll keep the voting open for another 24 hours (so until around 10PM eastern US time tomorrow), since this is a pretty important decision. We also currently have a tie anyway.

Wales Grey
Jun 20, 2012


Another vote for Bard Volva. The thing that kept me from completing this game is my choice paralysis when confronted with a web of skills.

StrangeAeon
Jul 11, 2011


Klingon w Bowl Cut posted:

Do you remember how far you got? And do you have a preference for which protagonist I play?

I got stuck on an encounter in the dream sequence. Couldn't for the life of me figure out the victory conditions., I'll point it out when we get there.

As for preference... honestly my preferred character sounds like the huntress, but for voting's sake I'll go with our Volva. From what I saw in some of my experiments, the Volvas get some very interesting choices that the other classes don't.

OldTimeyProspector
May 29, 2010


I was very interested in this game, but I honestly just find the overall pace of everything far too slow. Like, the actual animations and movements, even. I spent what felt like an hour on a section where you have to talk to everyone in town, plodding around, and it just sucked it all right out of me.

I do enjoy the atmosphere, and the art, the music, and the idea of the game, but I'm relieved that someone else is here to actually play it for me.

I guess I'll vote Volva since I was scared off by the threat of extra damage.

HashtagGirlboss
Jan 4, 2005



The art direction is very appealing. Never heard of this and following with interest. Voting for Sigrun.

ZZZorcerer
Jul 24, 2007



Frida the Völva looks interesting

Lokapala
Jan 6, 2013


This looks very interesting (and depressing).

We should be Frida.

Rockopolis
Dec 21, 2012

I MAKE FUN OF QUEER STORYGAMES BECAUSE I HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH MY LIFE THAN MAKE OTHER PEOPLE CRY

I can't understand these kinds of games, and not getting it bugs me almost as much as me being weird


Volva

SpruceZeus
Aug 13, 2011



Huntress.

Scribbleykins
Apr 29, 2010

Any scientist with the right background can brew his own booze.

...

What do you mean electrolytes aren't used for brewing booze? That's silly!

...

Well when all you have are chunks of TNE and an overly large water ration, all the world looks like a still!

Grimey Drawer

Sigrun.

There was an earlier attempt on LPing this game here, but I believe it faltered when the original studio collapsed, leaving the game clearly unfinished, possibly for all time. Glad to see that production was eventually resumed and that the story of this girl and her world may finally be brought to a conclusion!

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

OldTimeyProspector posted:

I was very interested in this game, but I honestly just find the overall pace of everything far too slow. Like, the actual animations and movements, even. I spent what felt like an hour on a section where you have to talk to everyone in town, plodding around, and it just sucked it all right out of me.

I do enjoy the atmosphere, and the art, the music, and the idea of the game, but I'm relieved that someone else is here to actually play it for me.

I guess I'll vote Volva since I was scared off by the threat of extra damage.

I get what you mean about the speed. They did patch it so combat animations are faster, maybe even too fast, but walking speed is still the same. I've gotten used to it, but I can see how it would be off-putting.

I made it through the game once as a MMV (Max-Memory Volva), and the way the vote is going, it looks like I may be doing that again. Yay! (It's actually cool in some ways, as you'll be able to pick up a ton of skills. Survival is a bit more of a concern though.)

Scribbleykins posted:

Sigrun.

There was an earlier attempt on LPing this game here, but I believe it faltered when the original studio collapsed, leaving the game clearly unfinished, possibly for all time. Glad to see that production was eventually resumed and that the story of this girl and her world may finally be brought to a conclusion!

I did find that when I was looking the game up on the master list. It was quite a while ago, so I figure it's time to give the game another shot. I almost had the crow delivering the OOC comments, but then I saw the previous attempt did that too. Oh well.

Lokapala posted:

This looks very interesting (and depressing).

We should be Frida.

Ho boy. Right on both counts. And voting for one of the moody characters too? Bold move.

Monk E
May 19, 2009


Glad to see this game get another lp it seems like the sort of game thats good for multiple playthroughs also voting for Sigrun .

Vandar
Sep 13, 2007

Isn't That Right, Chairman?







OldTimeyProspector posted:

I was very interested in this game, but I honestly just find the overall pace of everything far too slow. Like, the actual animations and movements, even. I spent what felt like an hour on a section where you have to talk to everyone in town, plodding around, and it just sucked it all right out of me.

I do enjoy the atmosphere, and the art, the music, and the idea of the game, but I'm relieved that someone else is here to actually play it for me.

I guess I'll vote Volva since I was scared off by the threat of extra damage.

That was my issue with the game. I love the concept and the presentation and the overall style of the game, and the story seemed really interesting, but everything seemed to move just...so...slow.

Then I got to a dream sequence that I couldn't figure out how to get past.

Looking forward to this LP. I really want to see where the story ends up going. Throwing in a vote for Bengta the Huntress.

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Dexie posted:

That was my issue with the game. I love the concept and the presentation and the overall style of the game, and the story seemed really interesting, but everything seemed to move just...so...slow.

Then I got to a dream sequence that I couldn't figure out how to get past.

Looking forward to this LP. I really want to see where the story ends up going. Throwing in a vote for Bengta the Huntress.

I'm glad to see Bengta (Scandinavian, feminine form of Benedict ) get some more love, but the vote has now concluded, with Frida the Volva carrying. I'll have an update ready tonight. Hopefully faster than the protagonist in Winter Voices walks, amirite?

Accordion Man
Nov 7, 2012




Buglord

This game has some really neat ideas but it ends up being real flawed for multiple reasons. One is how convoluted your ability choices are, its way too easy to just totally gimp yourself and even when I ran a good build that was recommended by the dev that got me through most of the game I still ran into a nigh impossible battle in Episode 4 because the combat design blows. It's got a really great atmosphere and with my build the combat was nice enough for a while, but yeah I think this game would have been much better off as an adventure game or something. Another flaw is that the writing gets genuinely hella pretentious, though some of its still good. Also I do really give them credit for fixing a lot of the bugs because I really didn't run into any. I still think this game deserves an LP so people can at least experience it so good luck.

(Also the whole game is 75% off for the Steam Winter Sale just as a headsup)

Accordion Man fucked around with this message at 03:37 on Dec 19, 2014

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Chapter 1 of the Saga of Frida, the Princess of the Pyre:



Veikko: (A man is standing at the doorway) Frida? It's Veikko... May I come in? I... I came to tell you that I will help Kaleki. In a few hours, we will carry your father's body to the funeral pyre. You have some time left, if you want to hold a wake for him.

Veikko stays quiet for a moment, undecided, then leaves the room without a word.

(Frida slowly makes her way to her father's room.)








They make the moonless night, and the new moon as well.
They make the North and East. They make the South and West.
They harvest in the Dead, all that is left to take.
They make the Ancestor and the Wolf, which we call hydromel.

Frida: The Voluspa – 9, 10, 11... Who are you?

Dusk Shadow: When you were little, you used to look out the window in search of new images, of new lights—of useless things. What do you look for today? What is left to search for, in this cold, misty landscape, bound by lassitude? He went away, taking all the light with him. He took all the light, do you remember?

Frida: I don't understand. What are you implying?

(A shadow blocks the way. Calling upon her training as a Volva, Frida mouths words halfway between prayer and plea.)

“Thence come maidens, much knowing, three from the hall, under which Yggdrasil stands; Urd hight the one, the second Verdandi,—on a tablet they graved—Skuld the third. Laws they established, life allotted to the sons of men; destinies pronounced.”





(She raises her arms and wills the creature, whatever it may be, to move. The shadow slams into the wall and away from the door. Before it can recover, she runs. Just as her hand touches the knob, the shadows at the window speak again.)

Dusk Shadow: Do you find him frightening now? Yesterday he was a mountain, a demon, a threat; today, reduced to a state of refuse, what could he do? A pale, inert, already cold, skeleton; his eyes dead, his body still... He doesn't expect anything from you any longer.

Frida: Leave me alone.

Dusk Shadow: And now, you leave. Without any respect for the one who made you the way you are, you flee his useless corpse, you flee the sight of his empty azur-circled eyes, you flee his room where nothing holds you back. Unfazed, you forsake him to the shadows. To the claws of the night.

Frida: That's the way it is. I can't be responsible for all the ills of the world.



(Then, the shadows gently evaporate, leaving you alone, alone in the freezing room where your father's corpse lies. You leave hastily.)






(The shadow's shape looks vaguely female. She addresses you with a soft voice, both insidious and terrifying.)

Mocking Shadow: You are trembling, my daughter. Are you scared? What are you looking for here? What are you looking for, my daughter, in this salon void of all things?

Frida: I just want to cross the room in peace.

Mocking Shadow: Where will you go? You can't even stay up... Frida, why do you have to be so stubborn? Your knees are quivering, you're just about to collapse. How long has it been since you last slept?

Frida: Will you just go away!

(She screams, and the scream echoes amidst terrifying stillness. Is it the sound that will cause the avalanche?)

Mocking Shadow: Yes, my sweet. I know. Come. Come with me. (The shadow smiles.)



[Repulsion again. These first few "battles" are just tutorials, really. Plus, pushing your problems away always works!]




(While you take a moment to breathe a little, you hear footsteps coming up towards your house. The silhouette emerging is one of a man in his forties. You were not expecting a visitor at this hour, but talking to someone may do you some good.)




The Father: I stepped into an avalanche... it covered up my soul.

Frida: ...Dad?

(Frida recognizes some of what is around her. She does not realize it yet, but this is one of the things for which she has been trained. Reaching out to the Norns—or reaching in?—she senses the buried pain in the landscape that threatens to destroy her mind before she can get to this thing that calls itself her father.)







[In the majority of battles, the first thing you should do is take a page from a Dungeons & Dragons adventurer and SEARCH FOR TRAPS. Your ability to detect traps depends on your Intuition score, but the threshold is quite low at this point. Later on in the game, you should periodically cast Detection throughout the battle as you move, because the range on it is limited by your attribute, and the difficulty of detecting them goes up. They also have various awesome and evocative names, like the Buried Pain here.]



The Father: You should leave. I am... too old to leave. Only one destination remains open to me. One possible journey. I have wasted too much time.

Frida: The dead don't speak. Who are you?

The Father: It's true. But his appearance, his memory, you own all that. He is dead. He is lying down in his bed, in the room that you fled. He never talked to you as long as I talk to you now. I am only... an image. I am only a regret.

Frida: I see. But... why should I leave?

The Father: Isn't that what you should do? Don't you want to anyway? It is in your nature. It was in your mother's nature. It is in mine.

Frida: I don't understand. What should I do? I am exhausted. Can you not leave peacefully? Does it have to be so hard?

(Your father turns his eyes away from you and stares at the horizon. It appears all of a sudden that he is no longer interested in you. He stays like this for a moment, then gently fades away and disappears.)







[Here, there are traps to the north, named Buried Sadness.]

(The memories are insistent, and even though Frida can predict what they are doing to her, they still wear down her psyche nearly to the point of collapse, but then...)



(A woman approaches. Frida nearly flinches at the sight, but forces herself to remain calm. After all, there is no crow nearby. This must be real...)


Frida: Oh. Hello, Volva Inkeri.

Inkeri: What's happening, my love?

Frida: I was... out getting some air.

Inkeri: Well, the bonfire is ready. The cremation will take place in less than an hour. Kaleki and Veikko will come and get your father. Are you ready?

(Frida pauses for a long moment.)

Frida: Yes.

Inkeri: Follow me.





(Two men from the village come in carrying your father's corpse. As your eyes wander on his discolored face, your strength seems to fail. You tremble, your mouth opens slightly.)

(You feel your legs collapsing under you. As you fall on your knees, the voice of Old Inkeri rises in the cold atmosphere. The Volva begins the first strophe of the Voluspa, by which, as an ancient and a prophetess, she will guide the defunct into the Kingdom of the Dead.)

Inkeri: Every Thing in silence, Every God within oneself;
Every being as difference, born of the same belly;
For those who were killed, and their Father at their core;
For those, I must sing the oldest of poems.

His Spirit was dead; His body fell to earth.
The murder was consummated, the childhood came undone.
They sat down, dreadful, atop the walls of dust.
What will the worms do with this intangible flesh?



They make the moonless night, and the new moon as well.
They make the North and East. They make the South and West.
They harvest in the Dead, all that is left to take.
They make the Ancestor and the Wolf, which we call hydromel.

(Frida's eyes widen as she recognizes the words, and she instinctively backs away from the sound, as if the shadows are waiting behind it.)

Inkeri: And they make the Horse; and they make the Tempest,
They make the hollow magic and the burning desire,
They are workers defined by their patient outlook,
and all things they have made are flawless creations.

All that can be found, all that can be grasped,
All the songs of sorrow, all the crumbled towers,
The cold and salty wind, the pale and chapped hands,
All that rapes and murders, all that gives and cures.

Every thing was calm; Every thing is battle,
Thus goes the power of these man-eaters.
From the house that burns for being made of straw,
To the rose that is picked during a massacre.

(The Volva becomes silent. One can only hear the sound of the wind in the pine trees, and your heavy, numbed breathing. As a man approaches the bonfire with a torch, you do not move a muscle.)


...it is fascinating how much I have hoped for your death as fiercely as I hoped for mine, and how naked and useless I feel in this moment. It is fascinating how, even arrogant and lonesome, I can still long for your gaze, your black, busted, cracked eyes, that turn toward the sky, and that don't look at me, and don't look at me any longer.”

People pass by, but you don't hear them. Progressively, your father's silhouette crumbles, the flames abate. You remain standing, immobile, eyes lost in thoughts, watching the wind as it caresses the red ashes, waiting.

Until the morning comes.

(Frida now has an inkling of what form her enemy takes, and she has already begun to ready her mind to oppose it.)



Frida: I am my enemy. If I am to overcome this, I must become that which is other than myself.



[Betrayal is a great ability, mostly because it changes what exactly you turn into, as well as what stat bonuses it gives, depending on where you are in the story. It changes at least once per chapter, maybe more. I know the text is a little garbled, but that happens when translating games sometimes.]


[Here is Frida's starting character sheet. Of note: 45 is the maximum you can have in a base stat at this level, and 10 is the lowest. She remembers much, but is not a very humorous or light-hearted person.

Every level, you gain 15 attribute points to distribute, and one skill point, like so:]


(Frida decides to begin by seeking out the advice of her mentor.)





Frida: Hello, Inkeri. I haven't slept. Thank you for your reading and your presence tonight.

Inkeri: Don't exhaust yourself, my sweet... (She has a sad smile.) Have you visited your father's friends? It is hard, but it could do you some good.

Frida: Not yet.

Inkeri: I think Veikko and Anna-Liisa would be happy to see you. Grandpa Einari as well. What's more, it seems your father knew Olov pretty well... Among foreigners, in a way, they may have discussed things which are... unusual.

Frida: Foreigners?

Inkeri: (She smiles.) Your father hasn't always lived here. But he may never have mentioned it to you.

Frida: My father didn't talk much.

Inkeri: Indeed. He never talked much to anyone... (silence)

Frida: Anyway, thank you for your advice, Inkeri. I may come back to visit you later on.

Inkeri: You are always welcome, my dear.

(In fact, Frida thinks to herself, it would be wise to speak to as many villagers as I can. I must show them that even in a crisis, I can still lead. Hopefully Inkeri has many years left in her, but I have to be sure I have earned their trust, before she too is gone... Listening to them speak is also a good way to lose myself.)

[Talking to more than just the four people Inkeri names also nets you a lot of experience points, which are especially crucial when playing a Volva.]


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9rf1yfSqOQ&list=PLR4c1SJ_SyUJv7UAA0Dq2x6H9IJv9Zmk7&index=6
(Village Classique)
(Frida heads to the town's small market, spending several minutes staring at the frozen brook that runs through it. She closes her eyes and focuses them on an imaginary point above her head, then slowly lowers them back to a resting position. It is not a particularly deep method of entering a meditative state, but it is all Frida feels she can do at the moment without passing out.)



Frida: Charming. I just remembered why I usually avoid you.

(Sygg does not say another word to Frida, nor acknowledge her presence.)



Frida: As you wish, Eini...

Frida: That was... an inauspicious start. What did I do to them? ...I will go see Veikko and his family instead. They may not be my friends, but at least they were friends of my father.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD2jxiYuGho&list=PLR4c1SJ_SyUJv7UAA0Dq2x6H9IJv9Zmk7&index=17
Mélancolie

(Along the way, a familiar sense of dread makes its way up Frida's spine. The demons spring to life around her again, but this time she is ready. In her mind's eye, she envisions herself as one of them. It is enough to fool the shadows far away from her, sparing her a great deal of damage to her mind.)



[At this point in the game, Betrayal turns your sprite into an Insistent Memory (like so: ), and its additional effect is to increase the rate our EP (hit points) regenerate each round.
Quite useful.]


[Whatever you do, don't end your turn next to Sudden Memories. They do a lot of damage, but they only have a range of one square (hovering the mouse over an enemy displays their attack range, psyche points, and movement points. Luckily, Sudden Memories can't move.)]

(Frida weaves among them, reciting prayers, songs, and mantras until, at last, they disappear. The way to Veikko and Anna-Liisa's home is clear.)

[The way to a level up is also clear. I chose Minor Oblivion from a previous level gained from talking to people (which I will include more of in the next update), and this time I chose Emptiness. Both are a gamble to use, but I feel they really fit the way Frida is trying to deal with her problems.]



(Almost without effort, Frida slips back into her minor meditative state, trying to empty her mind of thought, both good and bad.)


Frida: Hi, Veikko...

Veikko: I was worried... You want something to drink? How are you feeling?

Frida: I have seen worse. I am ok. (Smiles.)

Veikko: You have to rest. We are very worried about you. I would have offered for you to come sleep here for a while, but... (He glances at the little girl in the corner)... We don't have enough beds.

Anna-Liisa: What are you going to do now? Do you have any projects, some ideas?

Frida: I don't know. I would like to keep living a normal life, but it doesn't look like it's going to be possible.

Anna-Liisa: I know it's hard. But you must hang on, and be courageous. Things are going to get better soon. It's only a bad phase. You know you can always count on us, if you don't feel well.

Veikko: Anna-Liisa is right. You can't let it overwhelm you. Have you slept? No, I am sure you haven't slept...

Frida: Indeed, I have not.

Veikko: I know you well. You look tired, and you were still here last night when I left. You must sleep, you know. Things aren't going to get any better if you don't.

(Frida slowly stands up from her seat and turns away from them. She grips the back of the chair hard, so hard that the wood creaks a little.)

Frida: I can't. Every time I try to rest, I feel like the shadows are going to... swallow me whole. When I walk through the village, I am terrified. I almost fainted twice before I reached your doorstep.

Anna-Liisa: Is is that bad? You were always... fragile. (Her look is evasive, almost guilty.)

Veikko: Did you talk about this with Volva Inkeri?

Frida: Yes. For the moment, she said I should get some fresh air. It's not really working so far...

Veikko: Well, she's probably right. Get some air, and rest if you can.

Frida: Yes. And I am going to stop bothering you with my problems.

Anna-Liisa: No, no, you are not bothering us...

Veikko: Come back any time, Frida.

Frida. Will do. See you Veikko. See you, Anna-Liisa. Farewell... child?

Klingon w Bowl Cut fucked around with this message at 05:09 on Dec 20, 2014

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

This is interestingly psychological. Looking forward to more.

Can you actually suppress these memories, or are you just running around and waiting to time out?

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Accordion Man posted:

(Also the whole game is 75% off for the Steam Winter Sale just as a headsup)

Nice! Thanks for the info. That brings the whole package down to $5: http://store.steampowered.com/app/72900/ There is also a demo. If anyone is at all interested in picking up this game, now is definitely a good time.


Glazius posted:

This is interestingly psychological. Looking forward to more.

Can you actually suppress these memories, or are you just running around and waiting to time out?

No, that was just flavor text from me to try to describe what the time limit means from the character's perspective. You have to survive 10 turns however you can either way. With my selection, using Betrayal and then Minor Oblivion on anything that gets too close is the go-to method.

Accordion Man
Nov 7, 2012




Buglord

Klingon w Bowl Cut posted:

Nice! Thanks for the info. That brings the whole package down to $5: http://store.steampowered.com/app/72900/ There is also a demo. If anyone is at all interested in picking up this game, now is definitely a good time.
As a word of warning they never patched the demo so its still buggy as poo poo.

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Chapter 2

(Frida continues trying to tend to her village. Most have little to say but offering condolences, but what else can they do? Some are more interesting, however...)






Gan the Partridge: And the young Leila, who already has issues with men, were you trying to cheer her up when you groped her butt maybe?

Grandpa Silk: I thought that with a tenderly, fatherly massage, the trust would come back. By rectifying the dominant male figure... Or something like that.

Gan the Partridge: Fatherly? FATHERLY? You call that fatherly? But when are you going to grow, you old fart? Masculine role model, my rear end! You're harassing her, and you're still trying to justify it!?

Grandpa Silk: (He smiles.) You're exaggerating, Gan, as usual. You see evil everywhere. I thought you did not have periods any longer...

Gan the Partridge: Dirty old bast... (She trails off when she notices that someone has entered.) [Frida's a Prophetess. She goes where she wants! ]

Frida: I wouldn't want to disturb you...

Gan the Partridge: WHAT THE... Oh, it's you, Frida. I am sorry, I was busy...

Frida: No worries.

Grandpa Silk: Oh... Hello Frida. Forgive this old couple's habit. My condolences on the death of your father. I wasn't able to attend the ceremony, but I appreciated him very much, even if it probably wasn't mutual...

Frida: I must say I don't know much about it.

Gan the Partridge: Who would appreciate this old mad man?



Frida: Maybe if you stopped teasing her...

Gan the Partridge: Ha! That is not going to happen any time soon. He's going to bug me until he lies on his death bed... Ill weeds grow apace!

(She pauses.) Anyway, your father was a good boy. He passed away too soon. If only Ulrik was as nice as he was, or as nice as his sisters, my daughter wouldn't cry so often!

Frida: I don't know if we can consider his sisters nice. In any case, Vanna isn't a model of selflessness.

Gan the Partridge: (She laughs.) She reminds me of myself at her age! It's surprising my idiot husband isn't chasing her more often.

Grandpa Silk: Maybe I have more complex reasons to be chasing young women, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes. (He smiles.)

Gan the Partridge: Now that we mention it, my dear husband, let's pick up our conversation where we left it...

Frida: Oh well, I guess I will leave you to it then. Have fun.

Gan the Partridge: Go! And come back to see us anytime!

Grandpa Silk: You are always welcome, young woman. As a matter of fact, all young women are always welcome in my house. (He smiles.)


(As Frida exits the house, she sighs heavily.)

Frida: What a foolish old man. That reminds me, though... I should check on Leila. Hopefully he has not upset her too much.




[It seems I picked Leila's exact hair style/color and clothing. Coincidence!? ...Yes]

Frida: Thank you Leila. Aren't you working with Pihla today?

Leila: No, I knew you'd be coming, so... Even if we have more work than previous years, that's true.

Frida: It has been a warm and fair season. That's understandable.

Leila: Yes... well... Are you sure you're okay?

Frida: Not really. Why are you asking me this, out of the blue?

Leila: I... I thought it must be hard. He was your only family. Now you don't have anyone to protect you... (She bites her lips).

Frida: I can protect myself.

Leila: No! You're only a village girl! There are dozens of stronger, more violent men... (She clearly has tears in her eyes.)

Frida: Leila, you almost seem more moved than I am by what happened. Are you alright?

Leila: No... I'm... Sorry, it will pass. Bad memories, which... It'll pass. That's okay. I am sorry.

Frida: There's two of us, in that case. (Smile)

Leila: Sorry. I think I am going to lie down a bit...

Frida: Get some rest, then. I'll see you soon.


(Frida leaves.)

Frida: I wish there were more I could do to help her, but I don't even know what's wrong. Why is she so frightened of men? (She sighs.) Well, Grandpa Einari's house is nearby. I will pay him a visit now, as Inkeri suggested.



Frida: Thank you, this is appreciated.

Tilia Einari: Your dad took good care of your mother's parents, until their death. He was a respectable man. Your grandparents were happy and left in peace thanks to him.

Meikka Einari: Yes, he was able to replace the daughter they'd lost.

Frida: Did you know my grandparents?

Meikka Einari: Of course! Your grandfather was one of my favorite friends. We often had dinner together, your grandparents and us. When their daughter left on her adventures, they never got over it.

Tilia Einari: And then one day, years later, he came. At the time, leaving or coming to the village was not easy. There was no road, no Kingdom... And yet, he came, with you in his arms, who were barely one year old. Your grandparents were surprised that your mother had passed away giving birth, since, for them, she had to have died on the road, way before then.

They were not expecting much from life in the village. They ate very little to avoid being a burden to anyone. Your arrival was a surprise and an incredible gift to them.

Frida: Traveling was that difficult back then?

Meikka Einari: He came from Sapphire Bay. At the time, it was a smaller town; the Kingdom of the Three Rivers didn't exist and there wasn't any road up to here. As you might know, Sapphire Bay is located on the other side of the continent, near the ocean. It takes months to travel all the way there. I don't know if he originally came from Sapphire Bay. I think he lived there for a very long time though.

Frida: Why did he come all this way?

Meikka Einari: No particular reason. He considered he had to do it. He did the journey your mother couldn't do. Or never wanted to do. What your mother didn't want to pay, he paid for her. He was the only one who could. He was a man of common sense, true common sense.

Tilia Einari: He left like he had come. In silence.

Frida: Yeah. He never even left a note, or a letter, or a will.

Tilia Einari: I... I think I recall he did leave a will. But it is in Sapphire Bay. I asked him, once, what would be left to his daughter if he died. He had a faint smile, like men who have lost habit of smiling tend to do, and he answered... "I leave her the road. She is free to take it."

Frida: That's rather ambiguous.

Tilia Einari: I think he simply wanted to say, once he was gone, you would only be more free. Don't bother your head with this too much. You should rather think about what you want to do now. Which life you want to lead.

Meikka Einari: Tilia is right, you know. You must decide how you want to live your life now.

Frida: I don't know yet. Your words were very comforting, though. I learnt a lot.

Meikka Einari: Good for you. If there's anything we can do for you, please don't hesitate.

Tilia Einari: Yes, our door will always be open to you... as long as we live.


Frida: I did indeed learn a lot, like how remarkably eager they are for me to be gone. Am I so unwanted now that my father is gone?



(“Yes,” the shadows whisper, seeming to nod vigorously in their dark dance.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqnnZQXHjEI&index=8&list=PLR4c1SJ_SyUJv7UAA0Dq2x6H9IJv9Zmk7
(Village Combat)


[I'm going to have to take at least a little damage in this fight since the road north is so narrow, so I use emptiness to reduce it by half for a time.]

Frida: “Yggdrasil's ash suffers hardship greater than men know of...”
(With these words, the bright flame of the shadows seems to subside, and the memories they insist she remember become like pages of a book she can read at her leisure. She skims them and turns them without concern, even as her body makes its way to the north, away from the sudden onslaught. Frida almost faints from the effort of controlling her mind this way, but she makes it, and the enemies once again evaporate.)




[We level up again, and I choose a Skill that will help slightly with the whole max Memory thing. Now we only take 68% more damage from enemy attacks, instead of 88%! ]

(Farther along the path...)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHM7rK3yWn0&list=PLR4c1SJ_SyUJv7UAA0Dq2x6H9IJv9Zmk7&index=19
Souvenirs Combat

\



[Detection reveals these black Horrifying Memories, which sap your movement, in addition to the damage-causing Brutal Memories.]





[This map is so littered with Brutal Memory traps that you have to step on at least two in order to make it to the green tile and win.]



Frida: “He is sated with the last breath of dying men; the god's seat he with red gore defiles: swart is the sunshine then for summers after; all weather turns to storm.” (These are the words Frida whispers as she watches her form melt into silver flame again, trying to become one with the terror and agony around her. She floats back down the path; for now, there is no way forward.)

[It's possible to end many battles without getting 100% success, you just get less xp. If you lose, you can choose to try again. If you do so, the game displays a “Best:” score alongside what you actually got the second time. This encounter is very tough, so I had to make a few attempts. Thankfully, it's also optional. Just don't go to the section of the map marked “Woodwork.”]




Frida: I... I must go tend to the other villagers. This place has no need of me...


Frida: Hello!

Jesper Lisakki: Oh, I thought you were my daughter-in-law. My old eyes aren't what they used to be, that's for sure.

Frida: Come on, you are barely older than my dad.

Othilde Lisakki: How is he doing by the way? It has been three weeks that I haven't seen him.

Frida: ...He passed away, Othilde. You attended the cremation ceremony yesterday.

Othilde Lisakki: Oh yes, I remember yesterday's ceremony. My poor thing. I am very sorry for you.

Frida: I am very moved by your thoughts.

Jesper Lisakki: A good guy, that's for sure. The villagers will miss him. He was a stranger, for sure, but he did good work. It's fortunate the carpenter learnt so much from him. He is not a stranger.

Othilde Lisakki: (Cold stare) Jesper!

Frida: The carpenter? (Frida's mouth trembles slightly before she wills it to stop.) I... I must go. Goodbye.



Frida: (Emptying her mind, she fills the pit in her stomach with its contents.) Thank you, Heikki. How is work?

Heikki: Very well, Prophetess. Not very exciting, as usual.

Frida: It isn't very pleasant work, but it is necessary.

Heikki: No doubt. Well, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do.

Frida: Very well. See you soon, Heikki.

...Why do so few villagers treat me with the respect Heikki does? I will go to one of the common houses. I could use some water.





Frida: (Smile) Such is life, what can I say?

Seije Thel: (She laughs lightly). The Volva has spoken! It feels dumb to say, but such is life. Sooner or later, it all comes down to that one day. I am actually surprised every day to see my old man still alive... Bad weeds...

Frida: Indeed, such is life... Well, and you two, how are you doing?

Seije Thel: Oh, me, you know, my stupid father is still alive and kicking, and perfectly able to blabber idiotic things all day long. I don't know how my mother can put up with him.

Esti: Come on, Seije, Silk isn't that bad... If you forget about the, er, “accidental” groping. His habit of doing magic is amusing. I find him rather sweet for an old man.

Seije Thel: (She snickers.) You have a very peculiar notion of what is funny. But anyway, my mother's younger, so she is still very healthy. Come by and visit them during the day. They'll be glad to see you.

Frida: I already have. It was... interesting.

Seije Thel: When it comes to Ulrik... I suppose I am the only one who can put up with him anyway. There is not one woman in the village who has my patience. Even my sisters have given up. The qualms of marriage... But you should rather ask Esti, she knows all about it.



Seije Thel: (She laughs) You are not optimizing reproduction, Esti! Need some advice?

Esti: (She darts her a killer look.) By the way, we're still waiting for you to give birth, my dear! I don't mind optimizing the reproduction quotas, but Stig isn't in a hurry to optimize either... He's not Ulrik, if you see what I mean. I should ask my brother how he did it...

Seije Thel: Veikko doesn't really have family pressure on his wife's side. Every cloud has a silver lining. Time passes, peacefulness, married life... Grounds that grandma Lisakki seems to have forgotten altogether.

Esti: Tell me about it... I am getting desperate.

Frida: (To herself: Finally, here is a problem for a Volva to solve!) Maybe you can change target? There are plenty of fish in the sea.

Esti: (She laughs.) No, I'll wait. I am patient. Let's hope they will be too.

Frida. (Sigh. Or not.) I hope so, for your sake. By the way, who is that man at the other table? I have not seen him before.

Seije Thel: Some foreigner, I think, from the capital. Haven't spoken to him much.

Frida: I see... Well, I'll leave you two to talk in peace. See you later!

Esti: See you later, Frida. Hang in there!




Frida: Hello. Welcome to our village. I am the apprentice of our Volva. It's rare to see strangers here. Do you mind if I ask where you are from? [I decided to make Frida a little more polite here, since Volvas are somewhat analogous to village leaders.]

Vili Matkusta: From Sapphire Bay, Miss. I am Vili Matkusta.

Frida: Pleasure to meet you. I am Frida.

Vili Matkusta: Pleasure to meet you, Frida. Is there anything I can do for you?

Frida: Strangers are rare to come by, especially those from the capital. Could I ask you a few questions?

Vili Matkusta: (He smiles.) Why not. What would you like to know?

Frida: What brings you so far from the capital?

Vili Matkusta: It's a valid question to ask oneself. To tell you the truth, I work for the Ministry of Eternal Snows. I was sent to write a report on the northernmost villages of the Kingdom. A difficult task, since the villagers are not very cooperative, and the climate is rather... difficult.

Frida: The Ministry of Eternal Snows?



Frida: So you're a cartographer?

Vili Matkusta: Indeed. I take care of the cartography of the north of the Kingdom, to establish a census of the life and habits of its inhabitants. It's a very interesting field, but often very dangerous. (He smiles.) That's it for my work. I think I have told you everything!

Frida: Thank you very much, sir.

Vili Matkusta: Is there anything else you'd like to know?

Frida: Can you tell me more about Sapphire Bay and the Kingdom?

Vili Matkusta: (He laughs.) That's a vast subject! Where should I start... The Kingdom of the Three Rivers, based in Sapphire Bay, is the federation of the land of the three rivers. Governed by the Queen's hand of steel, a wise yet merciless monarch, it stretches until the mountains of Rosa Gallica in the South. These last fifteen years, the Queen has had a lot of roads built, including that which leads to this village, as well as many administrative and educational structures.

The city that has known the most changes is probably the capital itself, Sapphire Bay, which we also call the City of the Mist. Twenty years ago, it was still a large fishing port. Today, it's a gigantic, tentacular city, which expands on a large area of the Fjord. Dominated by the high towers of the citadel, which are perpetually in construction, it stands as the embodiment of the Kingdom's and the Queen's power and stability.

Frida: This Queen seems like an unusual character...

Vili Matkusta: That is very true. When she speaks, one can hear altogether the wisdom of our ancestors and the violence of our best hunters. She's a peculiar woman. I don't think any warrior would like to challenge her in a duel. When furious, her gaze alone could set an ash tree in flames.

[The only dialogue response is to ask “Is she pretty?” followed by a discussion about how the Queen also enjoys the company of women and... No. Sigrun or Bengta might have cared, but Frida does not.]

Frida: She sounds like a myth... I think I have no more questions. Thank you for all these explanations!

Vili Matkusta: You're welcome. It was my pleasure. Don't hesitate to come back and see me, young lady.





Frida: Not so well. I've got some bad memories coming back.

Miska: I understand what you feel. At least I can imagine. I was barely ten years old when I lost my father as well.

Frida: What happened?

Miska: Bah, not miraculously, that's for sure. I was sad, but I had to eat. That keeps you busy. And I found some distractions.
[I'm pretty sure I didn't miss a screenshot here... I believe that's just an awkward or poorly translated dodging of the question.]

I met Perigrini during one of my first hunts. I was fourteen, he came to me, and we've been inseparable since then. He is an excellent hunter you know. I don't think there is anything more precious than a faithful animal. I mean, sometimes I wish he'd talk to me. That he'd say good night before going to sleep, you know.

Well, that's fine for the daytime. Once the night falls, you find yourself alone at home. For most people, there's only alcohol, and you know where that goes. I have this deck of cards, that I bought from a salesman. Oftentimes, I'll play for hours and hours, so when I am tired of it, I just look at them and invent stories. It's a bit as if I could read.

Frida: It must be quite pleasant having an animal companion. Sometimes, I am a little uncomfortable among men.

Miska: Maybe. Peregrini is more than an animal for me. He joins me in my ordeals, in a way, but not only. The few joys I had in my life, he was there to share them, and when I talk to him, I am also talking to this old me from another era. It helps me get over the difficult times we face.

Frida: And the cards? Do they also help you fixate your souvenirs?

Miska: No, I don't think so. Here, I discussed this once with Olov, the foreigner. He told me this one (he shows a card) was a very important person in the capital. But he didn't know more than that. Maybe they all are real people, who knows? But what matters is that all of them are very much alive in my head, from now on.

Frida: Very interesting. I think I have taken enough of your time though. We should play a game of cards some time.

Miska: I hope I was able to help. Come back whenever you want.

Frida: Thank you, Miska. You have helped more than you know.

(Outside) Speaking of Olov, I believe it is time to pay him a visit. He is the last of my father's acquaintances to speak to. Also, the talk of alchohol reminds me that Botka the hunter usually has a supply of wine. I may need a little, to take the edge off...

Klingon w Bowl Cut fucked around with this message at 05:08 on Dec 20, 2014

Readingaccount
Jan 6, 2013

Law of the jungle

Bought the game due to thread. Really understood the whole theme of intrusive negative memories and the uniquely psychological mechanics of dealing with them. Lovely game.
Stopped playing it because the lady moves everywhere at 1 m/s. If you buy this game and finish it after goodness knows how many hours, say 40, (I pooped out after 6-7), 24 of those will be spent watching the MC walk from one place to another, and another 4 will be walking from one place to another in combat.
Plus it hangs. Vocabulary usage ranges from artistic to verbal diarrhea, but depends on personal taste.

Hopefully its sequels are playable. One. Meter. A. Second.

Readingaccount fucked around with this message at 18:43 on Dec 20, 2014

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Readingaccount posted:

Bought the game due to thread. Really understood the whole theme of intrusive negative memories. Lovely game.
Stopped playing it because the lady moves everywhere at 1 m/s. If you buy this game and finish it after goodness knows how many hours (I pooped out after 6-7), 24 of those will be spent watching the MC walk from one place to another, and another 4 will be walking from one place to another in combat.
Plus it hangs. Vocabulary usage ranges from artistic to verbal diarrhea, but depends on personal taste.

Hopefully its sequels are playable. One. Meter. A. Second.

The walking speed doesn't change in any of the episodes, unfortunately. I'd say the game is well worth getting used to it, but if you're not used to it after 6-7 hours, chances are you're not going to be. You'll still have me to play it for you either way though!

There is a little hope. The devs have plans to start a Kickstarter for season two some time next year, and they have been listening to a lot of feedback about the game. There is a not-insignificant chance the sequel-sequel (not just the subsequent chapters of Avalanche) will be better in that regard.

I can't honestly defend all of the game's text as being pure artistry lost in translation from French, but I do believe that, on the whole, it excels at evoking the moods it wants. That will vary by taste as you said, of course.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

So what happens if you don't detect those hidden enemies and walk into them? Free attack from them?

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Glazius posted:

So what happens if you don't detect those hidden enemies and walk into them? Free attack from them?

Invisible enemies and hidden traps still affect you whether you detect them or not. So yeah, the Horrifying Memories reduce your movement when you step on the tile they're in (by one, although one is a lot when you only start with three) if you stumble onto them. Unlike the traps in the Betrayal memory, however, it's possible and highly advisable to avoid all of them.

Klingon w Bowl Cut fucked around with this message at 19:01 on Dec 20, 2014

StrangeAeon
Jul 11, 2011


I'm a little surprised you didn't grab the memory of summer from outside your home, during that encounter with Father.

Kopijeger
Feb 14, 2010


One strange thing about the setting is the mixture of Nordic and Finnish names. Seems like the developers either did not realise or did not care that these languages belong to completely different language families and would be unlikely to be mixed together in the way we see here.

Readingaccount
Jan 6, 2013

Law of the jungle

Yeah, thanks for playing it for us.
I agree the game's language use, art, and especially its music, are great at setting the tone.
I especially liked the unique psychological game mechanics, and the way it presented the various cognitive options for how to deal with issues.

Readingaccount fucked around with this message at 18:53 on Dec 20, 2014

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

StrangeAeon posted:

I'm a little surprised you didn't grab the memory of summer from outside your home, during that encounter with Father.
It does provide a nice buff (and a Steam achievement), but I've heard that if you already have said achievement, stepping on it bugs out the encounter and makes it un-winnable. I can't confirm if that's true, but I didn't want to risk it. Plus, since my Memory stat is so high, I probably would have died before getting to it anyway.


Kopijeger posted:

One strange thing about the setting is the mixture of Nordic and Finnish names. Seems like the developers either did not realise or did not care that these languages belong to completely different language families and would be unlikely to be mixed together in the way we see here.

This is a completely alternate world from ours, so maybe they did mix together here. Out of curiosity, which ones are Nordic, and which ones are Finnish, for example? Maybe there's something in the characters' backstories I know that can help explain it.

Klingon w Bowl Cut
Apr 1, 2009

Q'pla!

Chapter 3

(Along the way to Botka the Hunter's house [not really, but I wanted to include this somewhere], Frida overhears two young women talking.)



Ruusu: In any case, if she's so happy staying alone for the rest of her life, we can't prevent her, can we?

Ilse: Maybe she needs a little more time.

Ruusu: She's eighteen, she should have been fianced for two years at least. If she's like that at eighteen, she'll end up like the other daddy's girl...

Ilse: Maybe she prefers women?

Ruusu: Oh, she can choose whatever she wants, as long as she gets kids.

Ilse: You'll keep seeing me even when you have chilr... Oh, hello, Frida!

Ruusu: Oh, hello there, Frida. Condolences on the death of your father.

Frida: Thanks. I don't mean to butt in, but what were you talking about?

Ilse: Err, well...

Ruusu: Intimate things. Between me and her. We weren't finished, actually. Let's return to our discussion. Good day, Frida.

Frida: Well then, good day.

Ilse: Oh... Have a good day then!


Frida: Good for them, I suppose, though they could stand to be more respectful to their future Volva... I hope Ilse will decide to marry too. This village will die out without more children.



Frida: Hello Botka... It's been a while. We haven't chatted.

Botka: You know, we all feel sad for what is happening to you. Suho lost his father, and it took him months to get over it. [In case you didn't notice, there's no one else in the house; Suho is Botka's imaginary friend.]

Frida: It was a little... sudden, you know.

Botka: Bah, life goes, you know. A little booze and some optimism. And friends. Friends are important. You got someone your age that you can talk to?

Frida: ...(She takes a large gulp of the wine Botka has poured her.) Tell me about my father.

Botka: Well, listen, I am not going to lie to you: your dad wasn't the talkative kind, and that's an understatement. Even Suho, who's always there to cheer people up, he never got a word out of him. So an old hunter like me, who can't even line up three words in a sentence when he's sober...

The truth is, I mostly remember his silences. When we would sit at the table, with a drink, here or in the community house. When he would walk by himself in the village. When he would glance with a blasé air at the produce of a hunt, at two love birds making out, or at a wild boar as it charged... It's as if nothing could ever move him, really. Even alcohol didn't make him any more cheerful.

So that's that. It's true I would have liked to talk a bit more. But the past is the past. Doesn't do us any good to mull over it. Like I always say, you have to look towards the future. Want a refill?

Frida: No, I think I have drunk enough like that. Thank you Botka. And, err... you too Suho. See you later.

(The flush of the wine keeps Frida pleasantly warm as she finally begins the march to Olov's house, at the northern edge of the village. Along the way, she notices Valdemar Lisakki carrying the results of his hunt into one of the common houses, and decides to give him and his catch her blessing.)




Valdemar Lisakki: Listen, Eija, could you please let me unpack my catch peacefully?

Eija Lisakki: But I'm bored! There's nothing to do here!

Valdemar: Why don't you go sing a song to daddy?

Eija: Are you kidding? He is deaf as a post!

Valdemar: (Sigh)... Oh! Hello, Frida... My condolences on your father's death.

Frida: “Hail to the all-giving earth.” (She makes a rune-sign with her hands over the carcasses.)

Valdemar: Er, yes. Hail.


Eija: So, are you unpacking your hunting prizes?

Valdemar: Eija! Could you be polite and say hello to Frida?

Eija: Hummm... (The young woman gives you an annoyed look.) Hi.

Valdemar: ...Sorry, Frida, you know how she is. She'll grow up.

Eija: Why should I greet this girl anyway? She's only causing trouble!

Valdemar: Eija!



Frida: (Her hands twitch, almost clenching into fists, but she takes one long, deep breath and speaks instead.) I had forgotten how much teenagers are ungrateful...

Eija: (The girl turns red, looking enraged, but stays quiet.)

Valdemar: (He smiles, embarrassed.) Thank you for taking it lightly, Frida.

Frida: (She turns around to go, muttering a verse.)
“Too early to many homes I came,
Too late, it seemed, to some:
The ale was unfinished or else un-brewed,
The unpopular cannot please...”
[From the Havamal]

What “trouble” could I possibly be causing? No matter. Onward.


Frida: Hello, Olov. Thank you. My father and you talked often, didn't you?

Olov: Yes, that's right. I am the only one in the village who owns books, and your father liked to read.

Frida: Really? I didn't know that.

Olov: (He softly laughs.) He must have read my entire library twice. Even though I order new ones frequently. I think reading was what he missed most from his past life.

Frida: His past life?

Olov: The time when he lived in Sapphire Bay. The time when he... travelled. This era when life for him was expanding beyond this little horizon of grey trees and snow.

Frida: He travelled?

Olov: Yes, I think he was a sailor. I am not sure. He never told me the reason for his travels, but he was often at sea. That too, I think he missed.

Frida: Do you think he regretted that?

Olov: That is a difficult question. I think your father was not someone who has regrets. He chose his life clearmindedly. Two options presented themselves to him, and he chose the one he thought was right. Perhaps it is the one that hurt him the most.

You are the only one who can tell if the choice was the right one. I think his life here made him immensely sad. I think he had to renounce a lot of things. I think he also knew the price of existence, and of giving birth. He was a smart and responsible man.

That is all I can say, for that is all I know of him. I am not the one privy to the rest.

Frida: The rest is in Sapphire Bay.

Olov: Maybe.

Frida: You are definitely a fascinating man, Olov.


Frida: They may still consider you a foreigner, even after ten years, but I don't.

Olov: Your father too was a foreigner. A foreigner... more than I am, since I belong to the kingdom. At the time he came, there was no kingdom. He was just a foreigner, a man who came from far away. Yet, from what I know, he was never considered a foreigner. Interesting, isn't it?

Bearing the burden of your mother, bearing his history and his defeat, he also gained his roots, and their recognition. He is the one who returned to the land that gave him birth. No one ever thought of treating him like a foreigner. He made the same sacrifice as everyone here. He paid the same respect.

These are our roots. What gave us birth, who we are and what we give birth to, all in one, respected. Our country is made of it. Our land is made of it. What do you think about it?

Frida: I think you sound like a a bit like Inkeri.



(Frida's eyes widen as he finishes the verse perfectly.)

Olov: This gigantic ash rising in the north of the world... according, at least, to what our Volur say... together a source of life, a whole being itself, and a gallows... Representing in itself this entire way of life. We have duties, which are neither divine, nor forced. We are free to respect ourselves.

Frida: That is very true. (She nods solemnly.)

Olov: In the end, these are the imaginings of a foreigner who has read too many books. Don't pay too much attention.

Frida: No, this was truly interesting, Olov. You are an astonishing man.

(Olov seems to think for a moment, then walks over to a shelf. He picks up a book and hands it to you.)

Olov: Here is a book that could interest you. It's a gift. I have largely enough of them. Take care of yourself, and... come back and visit sometimes.

Frida: Thank you, Olov. Goodbye. “Hale go forth, hale return, hale on your ways.” [From the Vafþrúðnismál... No, I don't know how to pronounce that either. I just know the little p-looking thing is a "th" sound.]

(As Frida exits, she leafs through the book. It appears to be a written collection of songs Inkeri has already taught her to memorize. [There's no inventory, and the game doesn't tell you what the book is, so I had to make this up.] Yet there are differences. Before she can spend time analyzing them, however, the shadows grow longer, and the strange-looking crow alights nearby...) [Out of range of my screenshots, of course.]


[This fight is pretty much the same as the last few, just a chance to use different abilities if you've been leveling up. Betrayal, then Repulsion or Minor Oblivion on any memory that closes in, in my case.]

(Frida realizes that she cannot learn any more from these memories. They are too faint and distant. Like they are written in a book, but the ink has faded to illegibility. It is time to see Volva Inkeri again.)


Frida: I spoke to Veikko... I am not sure what to think.

Inkeri: Really? How come?

Frida: Veikko and Anna-Liisa are worried about me. But regardless, I feel like I am bothering them. And, even paying them a visit is unpleasant.

Inkeri: Unpleasant? How so?

Frida: Like everything else, I often walk through the village, overwhelmed by unpleasant memories. In front of their house, it's worse.

Inkeri: (She looks lost in thought.) Maybe you should rest a little.

Frida: I can't seem to rest. When I try to sleep, I feel like the shadows are about to... swallow me whole.

Inkeri: Swallow you? You can't sleep? That's unpleasant... Have you talked to Veikko? What does he think about it?

Frida: Yes. I told him that you told me I should get a breath of fresh air. He seemed reassured.

Inkeri: Indeed. I think you really need to speak to people. Grieving, my sweet, begins in such ways.


Frida: I spoke to the Einaris... I learned a few things.

Inkeri: Really, my sweet? Which ones?

Frida: My father lived in Sapphire Bay. He is supposed to have left his last wishes there.

Inkeri: These are speculations, aren't they? Did Tilia tell you that?

Frida: Yes. She also told me he had bequeathed something to me... my freedom.

Inkeri: (The old Volva looks at you sadly.) I am not certain one can bequeath such a thing.

Tilia talks a lot, and doesn't always know what she is talking about. You shouldn't pay too much attention to her. To presume a dead man's wishes or opinions is a rather hazardous thing to do, even for a friend.


Frida: I also spoke to Olov. He is an interesting man.

Inkeri: Indeed, Olov is an interesting man. Sensible, smart, with a certain wisdom. Many in the village should take example.

Frida: From what he's told me, my father read a lot. And he travelled a lot too.

Inkeri: I am not surprised. Your father was a man who was curious about things.

Frida: According to Olov, he was sad, but never regretted he came here.

Inkeri: (She smiles.) Who could say? I wouldn't know myself. But, true, your father did not seem to be a man who has regrets.


Frida: Well, I think I spoke to everyone. At least, everyone I encountered.


[This is your last chance to get some xp before a gauntlet of relatively tough battles. It's a good idea to talk to everyone in town before continuing. There are honestly a few villagers I left out, but I believe I got the most interesting/relevant ones.]

Frida: Honestly... I don't feel well. First, at Veikko's, I felt dizzy. Earlier, walking in the east of the village, I almost threw up. I thought I was being attacked. I have had strange visions since last night.

Inkeri: (She seems worried.) Well... I would say you are simply tired, my sweet. You won't recover that easily from all that is happening to you. Go get some rest, and we'll talk again tomorrow, shall we?

Frida: I... I don't really feel like it, but I'll try.


[You actually get this message whenever you try to go back to your house, and doing so before now can save you a trip and get you straight to the next dialogue option with Inkeri.]


[Level up! I think we deserve the Persistence skill for making it this far! Plus, another hundred HP is always good.]


Frida: I... I have tried to go back home, but... I can't. Every time I try, I see my father. The shadows... I can't even walk up the hill.

Inkeri: I... I see. (She has a sad smile.) It's going to be fine, my sweet. Sleep here tonight, and we'll see if you feel better tomorrow.

Frida: Thank you, Volva Inkeri. I don't know what is happening to me.

Inkeri: You're not well, and that's understandable... Listen, sweetheart, I may have a solution. Actually, it's more like a tool. But you have to be courageous.

Frida: What are you referring to?

Inkeri: The Seid, my sweet. You know it well. I aught you its use when you became old enough. I think you should enter the world of the spirits.

Frida: I am interested, but it's a little old-fashioned for a religious practice... You don't even use it yourself, do you?

Inkeri: People don't do this much nowadays. I have never used the drug for divinatory purposes myself. I'm not sure it will work, actually. However, to take some before sleeping can sometimes make dreams more... interesting. It also helps sleeping for sure.

Frida: Well, I've got nothing to lose. What do I have to do?

Inkeri: Because you are yourself a Volva, I can give you a full dose. Stay here, let me go get what you need.

[Normally there would be a choice to vote on here, deciding on a half or quarter dose, which in turn allows you to decide later how deep to go into the Seid. But Frida is experienced, as Jimi Hendrix would say, so Inkeri just goes ahead and makes her the good stuff. Anyway, sorry this Let's Play is rather light on the Us at the moment. There should be a choice to vote on in another couple updates though.]

(The old Volva disappears in the basement for a moment. You hear noises of someone concocting a beverage. After a few minutes, she returns with a cup of tea, with an unusual scent and a slight hint of alcohol.)

Inkeri: There. I leave you the cup here. When you feel like sleeping, just drink it. As for me, I am going to bed. Good night, Frida.

Frida: Good night, Volva Inkeri.

[Note: To actually sleep in this and most future instances, you have to click the (overly) stylized eye icon under the character, skills, etc. menu in the upper left of the screen.]

(Frida is deliriously giddy. She has only ever seen glimpses of the Seid before, through training in deprivation, mind alteration, and meditation. To actually, fully enter it...

One moment, she is lying in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling and clutching her blanket with anticipation, and the next...



She is standing on warm, wet ground that yields slightly to her feet. Cave-like rock formations surround her, with dark fungus growing on them. There is a hot, rhythmic breeze blowing through the tunnel she finds herself in, as if some enormous beast were breathing steadily in the distance.

There is no apparent light source, and though the tunnel is quite dark, Frida finds that she is able to see well enough. She stoops down to examine a mushroom, trying to memorize its every detail so she can record it as soon as she awakens, when a shadow moves mere inches from her face. She backs away and prepares to defend herself, but this is not the blazing flame of one of her memories. It is hard to tell exactly what it is, in fact. Whenever she tries to examine it, her gaze slides off of its true form like water slides off a stone.

Suddenly, it speaks. There even seems to be more than one speaking, at times.)




Cave Shadow: What we can perceive of reality is only but the shadow, which is cast by a sun that is not ours, but is awaiting. The shadow of a sun, which is so personal to us, so childish, so intimate, that we sometimes refuse to admit we share it with so many thieves and drug merchants.

Cave Shadow: Do we share it? It carries within itself so many shadows, so many nights that we have made ours. And our shadows... our shadows remain so different...

Cave Shadow: Daddy, do our shadows resemble each other? Are we made of the same sun, of the same poetry? Are we made of the same drug, the kind you used to dope on in the holds of the ships, when your eyes would get lost at sea, simulating new latitudes...

Cave Shadow: In the shadow of your eyes, your bursted eyes, poured towards the black sky, there was a taste of lassitude I had never known. A taste I can't understand. I, who have slept so long in the shade of your ships, in the shade of your sorrow, I have learnt to love it, like one loves a mother.

Cave Shadow: I, who grew in yearning and wilted in orgasm, could I ever understand? Or am I, like my mother, destined to die forgotten, guilty, for having fled what I could not fight?

Frida: No, spirit. That is not my destiny. I will not flee.


[Our character sheet as we enter the Seid...]

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.



Clapping Larry

So instead of our own traumatic memories, we just have to endure a bunch of strangers'? I... suppose that's an upgrade.

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Readingaccount
Jan 6, 2013

Law of the jungle

Time to protect someone useless with 4-5 times her hp!

Readingaccount fucked around with this message at 08:19 on Dec 21, 2014

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