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Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a short but very atmospheric horror adventure game created by Polish developer The Astronauts and released in 2014. We take on the role of paranormal investigator Paul Prospero as he follows up on a letter he received from Ethan Carter and explores what happened in the boy’s small, ramshackle mining village of Red Creek Valley, Wisconsin. The horror is subtle, mostly looming and hinting, and the main draw of the game lies in gradually uncovering the story by solving puzzles, piecing together past events through both ordinary as well as paranormal detective work.

Spoiler Policy
This is a zero spoilers zone, please. Unless they’re really well veiled, no sly hints either by people who have already played the game. I do, however, invite speculation. The majority of the game consists of discovering the story and figuring things out is most of the fun.

Thread participation
The puzzles in the game involve two parts. One is the traditional adventure game activity of exploring areas, inspecting items, and collecting stuff. The second part revolves around putting it all together, weaving the fragmented evidence into a coherent narrative that gives us a glimpse into what happened.

Well, that sounds grander than it actually is, but it’s an interesting way of telling a story. Moreover, it allows for some thread participation. I’ll make sure to collect everything and put the parts in their proper spots, but I’ll leave it up to the thread to tie it all together, which means coming up with a rough theory and figuring out the chronological order of various scenes.


Index







Fleve fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2016 around 17:41

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Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





In the first part we’re introduced to pretty much all of our paranormal abilities. Some items are part of a larger story and give us a vision. Inspecting other items simply makes us speculate. And then there’s the murder mysteries.

Our first murder consists of 6 scenes and to figure out what happened we need to put them in the correct chronological order.


A. Old man with hat picking up stone.


B. Old man with hat (and stone) talking to black haired, middle-aged fellow.


C. Old man (with crank) standing over black haired, legless fellow.


D. The only scene with all three persons. Ethan Carter, the legless fellow, and cranky old hat man.


E. Fellow with black hair, but legs still attached, crouched in front of the railroad.


F. Ethan, tied to the railroad, with black haired fellow crouching nearby.

So how does this story fit together?


Stories, Texts, and Articles



Sap, by Ethan Carter

An old man came to the forest every day to drink sap from the trees. To get there, the old man had to step around many dangerous traps. The villagers believed this old man have had hidden a jade amulet in the forest. But the old man wanted the villagers to believe this, because then they would search the forest for treasure and not drink his sap.

One cool fall night someone set fire to the forest, and the fire spread to the village. The old man escaped the fire by covering himself in sap. When he returned to the village, he found all the villagers’ bones. The old man sat down and cried. Then he found more sap to drink.

// The Steam achievement you get for finding all the traps is called, unsurprisingly, ‘Sap’. But the subtitle of the achievement is more descriptive. If you like speculating without hints, skip the next spoiler. The subtitle reads Survivor´s Guilt




ONE DEAD IN HOUSE FIRE By Jeff Jurmu
BAYFIELD COUNTY - - Fire damaged a historic home in Red Creek Valley Wednesday morning, according to officials from the Bayfield Country Fire Department. A family of six was asleep when the blaze broke out at the remote house once owned by Albert Vandegriff, by the Ogden Lake in Red Creek Valley. Gayle Carter, 58, was pronounced dead at the scene. Remaining family members were able to escape. Carter’s husband, Edwin, 62, told investigators he may have fallen asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 1:22 a.m. and remained at the scene until around 5 a.m Wednesday. They returned to the property four hours later to extinguish hot spots which hand rekindled.




AFTER HEATED PUBLIC HEARING, NO ANSWERS FOR VANDEGRIFF HEIRS by Tom Auten
BAYFIELD COUNTY - - Members of the Vandegriff family again gathered in the Bayfield County Courthouse today to debate the fate of the Vandegriff fortune, which has remained in escrow since 1961, when family patriarch Albert Vandegriff, 71, died in a mine accident, the aftereffects of which nearly destroyed Vandegriff Industrial and severely damaged the local economy.

James Vandegriff, 38, of Chicago, argued that his father’s demands were “unreasonable,” and that many Vandegriff family members have “personal reasons” for wanting to avoid living in Red Creek Valley on the Vandegriff estate, as stipulated in the elder Vandegriffs will. The recent fire in which the Vandegriff home was damaged, he said, only underlined his family’s concerns.

Fedule
Mar 27, 2010


No one left uncured.
I got you.


I bought this game on a total whim, knowing nothing about it other than that some people thought it was going to be kind of cool. I was blown the gently caress away.

It's not without the odd issue - notably I got stuck on an early problem for ages due to not clicking the right goddamn pixel - but overall this game is an achievement.

I also really like how good the game looks. Photogrammetry is a hell of a thing.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



Yeah I got stuck as well once when I left a 'blue' area without finishing it because I thought there must be another scene elsewhere and then things just stopped working until I restarted.

I didn't know photogrammetry existed before this game came along and impressed the hell out of me. It looks like an insane process to build the graphics of your game by considering that, for example, it took 26 photo's of a rock to produce, well, a rock, but it definitely shows. I'm really glad YouTube didn't screw up the quality of my recording too much, 1080p is my max and I was considering upscaling so as to make use of the higher bitrate, but things turned out alright.

Carbon dioxide
Oct 9, 2012



I am wondering what happens if you do things that don't correspond with the game's plot. What if you try to walk out of that circle full of skulls without reading the letter? And what happens if you try to move the train forward, across the bridge?

E: typo

Carbon dioxide fucked around with this message at Jan 15, 2016 around 21:16

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



I never tried actively breaking the game because it constantly auto-saves whenever you complete any kind of task, but as I'm already maintaining manual backup saves for the LP now's a good time to try.

When you ignore the first letter, the skulls remain and you simply don't finish that part of the mystery. Same with the train; there's some junk on the bridge and rubble at the other end of the tracks, neither of which allows you to drive your train through. I've never tried ignoring everything and doing sortof an Ethan Carter speedrun, which sounds like a terribly odd idea. But I think you could get pretty far by just walking, the world is wide open and there's very few puzzles that bar your way.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

I think you can speedrun your way through most of the game simply by knowing where to go and doing the - I think two - mandatory puzzles. There's a lock right before the end that requires you to do them all though (although I vaguely seem to recall reading somewhere that they patched that out because people complained about being forced to backtrack - but maybe that was only in the redux version).

Anyway, I love this game almost unconditionally. The walking speed could be a bit faster but this way you get to enjoy walking the countryside with horror lurking within. Then there's the stupid hidden achievement. But apart from that, it's pretty much a perfect walking simulator.

Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

I think the story goes: F, A, B, E, D, C.

citybeatnik
Mar 1, 2013

You Are All
WEIRDOS


Mraagvpeine posted:

I think the story goes: F, A, B, E, D, C.

Same here.

Weird dude ties up kid. Old man notices and picks up the rock. Old dude goes to where weird dude is getting ready to run the kid over, rock in hand. Weird dude is sprawled on the ground after being hit by the rock (I assume this is also where old dude runs him over). Old dude has released the kid after running over weird dude, who has tried to crawl away where the two join him. Old dude standing over corpse of weird dude.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



anilEhilated posted:

I think you can speedrun your way through most of the game simply by knowing where to go and doing the - I think two - mandatory puzzles. There's a lock right before the end that requires you to do them all though (although I vaguely seem to recall reading somewhere that they patched that out because people complained about being forced to backtrack - but maybe that was only in the redux version).

Anyway, I love this game almost unconditionally. The walking speed could be a bit faster but this way you get to enjoy walking the countryside with horror lurking within. Then there's the stupid hidden achievement. But apart from that, it's pretty much a perfect walking simulator.

The redux version doesn't fix the lock but, from what I've read, it gives you portals to earlier areas so you don't have to walk back when backtracking. I'm not entirely convinced that was necessary, but as I won't skip anything I doubt we'll need them. Well, I'll probably skip that secret achievement, it just doesn't feel like it fits into the game. Oh and was it possible to run in the non-redux edition? Cause it's possible to run now, which isn't a whole lot faster, but it's nice.

I was never big into walking simulators or horror games, but this one really drew me in with its environment and story building. And turns out I kinda like horror when it pits me against my own imagination and makes me dread things, rather than just straight-up showing it.

SlimeSanction
Oct 21, 2008


Mraagvpeine posted:

I think the story goes: F, A, B, E, D, C.

Thirding this. Fleve, you have an amazing voice.

Shinarato
Apr 22, 2013


Both the portal thing and running were in the original version of the game. (the portal thing may of been patched in later)

Mr. Highway
Feb 25, 2007

I'm a very lonely man, doing what I can.

SlimeSanction posted:

Thirding this. Fleve, you have an amazing voice.

Just to be a contrarian, I believe the correct order begins with C and D. Since this is game has paranormal properties, I can only assume that the old man has the power to reattach severed legs. The younger man thanks the older man by showing off his fancy train car. The kid being tied to the tracks is just incidental.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





I like making this LP. It feels like I’m producing story-time with grandpa Fleve.

The reasoning for the last puzzle was correct. No new puzzle for now, but we do get another somewhat cryptic story. Every one of them seems to focus on one of Ethan’s family members; his grandfather’s penchant for drinking ‘sap’, his brother being a dick. I won’t draw (too much) attention to details that will only matter later on though, and some things might not make sense at first sight.

The achievement we get for solving the death of Travis is titled Depression


Stories, Texts, and Articles


“Fangs”
The beast had fangs, but was heavy and slow. So when it saw the light in the sky, it waited, thinking the light would go out, like the others before it. When it did not, the beast rose up on its legs and went to the place where the fire was still burning.

As the orange light died, another took its place. This one was blue, a bright and pure blue that the creature had only seen along the edges of the stars. The beast showed its fangs and the light vanished.

A moment later, the light appeared again between two distant trees. The beast wanted to go home, but could not ignore the light. So it chased it deeper into the forest.

When the light stopped, it did so in a clearing of trees. The beast entered the circle, feeling no fear. The trees turned toward the beast pointing at it like needles, but the tops of the trees lowered and dug into the ground. The trunks and roots were raising into the air and closed around the beast like walls.

As the ground disappeared, the beast realized it would never use its fangs again.

// The achievement for this story carries the same name, “Fangs”, subtitled “A beast outsmarted”

Carbon dioxide
Oct 9, 2012



I wonder if the land, with the lake and hills and dam, is based on a real place. It certainly looks inspired.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



Carbon dioxide posted:

I wonder if the land, with the lake and hills and dam, is based on a real place. It certainly looks inspired.

Yep. Because the graphics of the game relied heavily on photography, almost everything actually exists.

The dam and the surrounding area is part of the Krkonoše or Giant Mountains in the south-west of Poland. I can't seem to find an English name, but the dam seems to be the Jezioro Pilchowickie, or Bobertalsperre in German. Both of those wiki pages have images at the bottom that should be rather reminiscent of what we've seen so far. Working from Google maps provides better results. Well, prettier images at least. It looks like a gorgeous place to visit, and quite a bit less haunting and ancient than in the game.

There's also a kotaku article that shows various locations and their real-world equivalents, but that includes areas we haven't seen yet. So it's a bit of a spoiler: here's a link

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Hrm, thought I had this game, but it must have been another occult minded mystery adventure game. Shame, this seems rather interesting! Lots of lovely references here to the material that's quite obviously inspired it. Paul Prospero's speeches are somewhat similar to those of not only the protagonists in Lovecraft stories (With the concept of an uncaring universe that is rather larger than our little lives), but Sherlock Holmes (Who was at least once, in The Speckled Band, noted to dislike the countryside more than the cities, because the isolation breeds secrets), while Abstruse Tales is... Well, quite a few of the magazines of the period, and probably intended to be such. Weird Tales would be the most obvious link.

...And then there's the protag himself: Paul Prospero. Well, of course he would be Prospero, the somewhat gloomy, isolationist sorcerer (The Tempest.) As to what he does? Well, two possible names for what he's doing would be psychometry (The reading of information about a person, place, or past period from objects with sensed/assumed emotional significance) or postcognition (Where precognition is basically meant to be visions of the future, postcognition, obviously, is the past.)

Either way, looking forward to the next part!

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

JamieTheD posted:

...And then there's the protag himself: Paul Prospero. Well, of course he would be Prospero, the somewhat gloomy, isolationist sorcerer (The Tempest.) As to what he does? Well, two possible names for what he's doing would be psychometry (The reading of information about a person, place, or past period from objects with sensed/assumed emotional significance) or postcognition (Where precognition is basically meant to be visions of the future, postcognition, obviously, is the past.)
For a moment there I confused psychometry with psychometrics and was really confused.

I'm not sure the writer thought that far but that name is definitely both curious and foreign. His first name has significance too: Paul, the unbeliever who saw the light. This game is loaded with symbolism and works it with it in pretty interesting ways.
edit: Actually, screw that, the writers probably realized the significance. See, the other thing about Prospero: he had a bit of a revenge plot, a lot of power and a desire to make things right.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at Jan 17, 2016 around 18:53

GamesAreSupernice
Jan 3, 2014

by R. Guyovich


I'm not going to directly participate, since I'm more of a spectator kinda person, but your let's plays are wonderful and this is no exception.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



Part of what I like about the game is that it leaves a lot open to interpretation. Not because there's little to work from but because the references as well as the story are subtle, it's a web of hints that allows for plenty of ways to draw connections. According to the guy credited as The Astronauts' game designer and one of three founders, Adrian Chmielarz, Prospero was indeed inspired by The Tempest, as well as Prince Prospero from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death". I really like Chmielarz’s approach to storytelling. He’s got a long blog-post up on their website about the ending, but I’ll reserve that for once we get there.

Also, I’ll have another episode online later today.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





Lots of additional material this time. I’ve added a few notes below on some of the texts, marked with // in front.

Stories, Texts, and Articles



I invoke the Boneless One, the One of Voids, Destroyer of Ships and He who is feared by the Wind. Hear me!

Great Minister Focalor, I wish to make a pact with you to confound my enemies and protect my possession! Use the Doors of Confusion to cloud their judgment! Seal the path with Falsity and Guile, and permit only those who can discern every True Interior to pass!

Aglon, Tetragram, vaycheon stimulamaton esphares Tetragrammaton, olyaram irion esytion existion eryona onera orasim mozm messias soter Emanuel Sabaoth ADONAY, te adoro et te invoco. Amen.

// Focalor seems to be a Duke of Hell with power over wind and sea, according to the 17th century Lesser Key of Solomon. According to The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca, the string of strange terms at the bottom also comes from the Key of Solomon and are used to conclude the conjuration of demons.

// For solving the portal house we get an achievement titled ‘Behind the Veil. Discovered the magic behind the potions’. Exploring the other house confirms it’s the Carter residence as we get the achievement ‘Home. Explored the family house’.



A magician once lived inside an old house and made potions that let him see the future. People from the village came to the magician’s house and demanded he share his potions with them. “We want to see the future too,” they told him. But the magician said no.

The people from the village grew angry and burned the magician’s house. But the magician knew this would happen. He had already cast a spell on his potion room. The house burned, but the room did not. The people from the valley waited but the magician never came out.




BLAZE REVEALS MOONSHINE OPERATION By Daniel Josefson
BAYFIELD COUNTY - - Ashland Township volunteer firefighters discovered an apparent moonshine still while battling a blaze in the woods off Old Ogden Road.

According to authorities, the still comprised a propane stove and four-gallon stainless steel pot, which was used to hold the whiskey mash. Based on the size of the still, Bayfield County Sherriff Hank Shafel believes it may be part of a small operation, though he admitted “there could be other stills” in the county.

Officers on the scene recovered a half-gallon of apple pie moonshine and one gallon of unflavored moonshine. Apple cider and cinnamon sticks were found adjacent to the still. The police have been unable to determine who owns the still. Sherriff Shafel said a cigarette butt tossed at the scene likely caused the fire.




NASA LAUNCHES ATS-6 SATELLITE By the Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - - NASA launched what has been called the world’s first educational satellite in Florida today, giving the United States a powerful edge in tele-communication technology. The Applications Technology Satellite-6 will directly broadcast educational programming to several countries, including the United States, Canada, India, and Australia. NASA believes the satellite will remain in constant contract with earth for at least the next five years.

// This satellite, incidentally, was quite real and was launched on May 30, 1974.




From left to right: Ethan Carter, Edwin (grandpa), Travis (brother), Mom, Dad, Chad (uncle)

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

Ugh. I'd love to make some notes here but it's all loving spoilers. I imagine most of the discussion here will start after we actually wrap the game up.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Yeah, I figured that was Goetic from the sigil at the top, and looking up Focalor confirmed it. Forty First Demon of the 72, a Great Duke of Hell, commanding the winds and the ocean, looks like a bloke with Griffin Wings, and is rather pissed that when his hopes to return to Heaven after 1000 years were dashed. But wait, what's Goetia? Well, let's talk magic!

Magic comes in many, many forms, and even within "schools" of magic, there are different subschools. Goetia, for example, was originally a more evocative (As in, used Evocation, the summoning of entities/energies to affect the outside world) ars magica, but, post Crowley, the evocation end of things was more mental than physical (So more invocation, the practice of summoning entities/energies within a person to achieve a goal.) Its believed "opposite" was Theurgy (A Hermetic discipline), which summoned Deities, as opposed to Demons. So you have your Weyerians (using the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, your Goetics (Lesser Key of Solomon), your Golden Dawn Goetics (The Book of Goetia Of Solomon The King), and none of these are to be confused with Diabolists (A variety of texts, including pre-christian deities), Satanists (Generally Christians who got the wrong end of the stick), and LaVeyans (Using the works of Anton LaVey). Theurgy, similarly, is not to be confused with Enochian Magic (meant to summon angels, and created by John Dee in the 16th century)

Of course, confusing the matter is that many modern occult forms come from Christianity (Specifically, Gnosticism, a second century belief system where the "Creator God" is merely an imperfect emanation or reflection of the actual God, which is why the material realm sucks compared to the spiritual realm), and so, anything that uses demons or "heathen" spiritual entities is deemed "Low", "Black", or "Left Handed" magic, with the few that use angels as "High", "White", or "Right Handed" magic... Despite also having been considered heretical.

But all of this just confuses the matter, what's important are the three core "ingredients" of magic, and the various kinds of usage and belief you can put into them.

Magic uses Energy. Doesn't matter where it comes from, so long as it comes from somewhere. Spiritual realms? Sure, why not? Deities? Spirits? Fair game. You? Mostly only for Invocation, it's generally agreed across occult texts that if you were to try to physically affect the world with just your own energy, you would die (Although, obviously, details vary.)

Magic uses Willpower. Whether Invocative or Evocative, magic is meant to be sticking two fingers up at material concerns, using the spiritual to over-ride the material. Or, put more bluntly, magic is telling the universe's laws to gently caress off and mind their own business for a bit. Lacking in will, you can't do that.

Magic requires Visualisation. If you don't know what you're affecting, or can't somehow sense it, you can't affect it. Some magics are meant to extend the senses, but they are considered less reliable than either directly sensing, or having some connection to whatever it is you're affecting.

These three basics are the only real commonality between nearly all types of magic, and many occult practicioners consider these the core elements. After that, of course, everyone disagrees, and, for a number of reasons, everyone has some sort of beef with everyone else... At least partly because magic requires strong egos, and strong egos have a bigger tendency than usual to clash. But they can be roughly divided by what ritual elements they favour, where the energy is meant to come from, and whether they're mostly Invocative or Evocative.

Symbols, for example, are pretty common. So they should be, we think in symbols and ideas. Writing, in the case of Qabalism. Mathematics, in many Hermetic beliefs. Sigils, Seals, and Holy Symbols, in the case of things like Chaos Magic, Enochian, and Goetia. I use Symbols as a category because there's actually a fair bit of overlap (Magic Circles, that sort of thing.)

Sympathetic magic is generally found in more animistic/pantheistic belief systems (such as Shinto Buddhism, Santeria, or Vodun), the idea being that you create a representation of someone, preferably using at least their name, to create a link through which you can affect them (Despite most media, this can be for good or ill.)

Meanwhile, some beliefs use spirits, others take energy from the surrounding area, others still claim to take from other dimensions (usually a spiritual realm), while some, yes, claim that taking energy from other, fellow human beings is the way to go (Although, again contrary to many folks' beliefs, this doesn't always involve blood sacrifice.)

Finally, there's Invocative and Evocative. I've already explained those a little, but let's give two examples. Attempting to cast a spell to summon aid in perceiving things is Invocation, while attempting to cast a spell to cause someone to physically trip over something that wasn't there previously is Evocation.

Notice I didn't divide into good and evil or any such trite bullshit here myself. There are Theurgic spells to harm, just as there are Goetic spells to protect. Magic, like Science, doesn't really have a moral element outside of what we put in. So there's your brief summary of Magic.

Crane Fist
Jun 5, 2012

Flowers grow best
on top of mass graves

c o m e
and
s e e


SlimeSanction posted:

Thirding this. Fleve, you have an amazing voice.

It's like going for a pleasant walk through the woods with Bane

I'm going to follow this and contribute nothing, so there

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



JamieTheD posted:

Yeah, I figured that was Goetic from the sigil at the top, and looking up Focalor confirmed it. Forty First Demon of the 72, a Great Duke of Hell, commanding the winds and the ocean, looks like a bloke with Griffin Wings, and is rather pissed that when his hopes to return to Heaven after 1000 years were dashed. But wait, what's Goetia? Well, let's talk magic!

When I was going through google and google scholar to find out whether that text was based on anything I was already surprised at how much background there seemed to be, I didn't know there'd be that much though. Fun to discover that words which I previously only knew as specializations of magic in my Baldur's Gate manual (in- and evocation) actually have a history to them.

Most of it seems to be post-Reformation? The closest I've come to the topic was when studying medieval heresies, but those revolved more around different interpretations of faith.


anilEhilated posted:

Ugh. I'd love to make some notes here but it's all loving spoilers. I imagine most of the discussion here will start after we actually wrap the game up.

Yeah that's a bit of a problem with LP'ing this game. There are plenty of things that, in the end, I still don't quite get, but a lot of it depends on later information first. Still, some of the stories we find are on their own little mysteries as to what they mean. After I posted the Fangs story it struck me that Travis' interpretation of the story led me to, possibly, also interpret it differently and perhaps wrong. The rocket could be a fantasy unconnected to the Fangs story, and neither Travis nor the beast actually 'get away' at all, and they could just as well be said to be caught.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


Oh, man, I really like this game. There have been a lot of games people have snarkily called "walking simulators", but this is a game I think not only fits that label, but does so in a way that's totally great and not at all derisive. The environments, especially the natural vistas, are so fantastic-looking. This is the game that first made me excited for VR headsets, actually - I don't know if they have any plans on adding that, but I'd totally go back and play this game again when that time comes if they did, just to look at all the scenery. What's more, the story actually ended up blindsiding me, which is a nice change.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.


Grimey Drawer

Fleve posted:

Yeah that's a bit of a problem with LP'ing this game. There are plenty of things that, in the end, I still don't quite get, but a lot of it depends on later information first. Still, some of the stories we find are on their own little mysteries as to what they mean. After I posted the Fangs story it struck me that Travis' interpretation of the story led me to, possibly, also interpret it differently and perhaps wrong. The rocket could be a fantasy unconnected to the Fangs story, and neither Travis nor the beast actually 'get away' at all, and they could just as well be said to be caught.
I think the rocket is connected alright - although not on the literal level, it's not a part of the Fangs story apart from being lifted from the magazine Travis wrote on. But it's a story about being trapped and rockets are the ultimate means of escape: break gravity, break space, break free. In Ethan's imagination, the beast (Travis) is trapped and rocket (Ethan - or his love for schlocky SF anyway) flies free - but the actual rocket didn't, it waits for Paul - the one who comes to make things right.

Not sure how comprehensible that was - I think it's about both of them wanting to escape and failing.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Fleve posted:

When I was going through google and google scholar to find out whether that text was based on anything I was already surprised at how much background there seemed to be, I didn't know there'd be that much though. Fun to discover that words which I previously only knew as specializations of magic in my Baldur's Gate manual (in- and evocation) actually have a history to them.

Most of it seems to be post-Reformation? The closest I've come to the topic was when studying medieval heresies, but those revolved more around different interpretations of faith.

As stated, in Europe, at least, most of it had its roots in Gnosticism (2nd Century), but the flowerings happened in the 16th century, the 19th, the 1920s, the 1960s, and, arguably the 1990s (There's still a heckuva lot of debate on the matter, so I don't expect we'll really know until the next one. :P ) Anything before Gnosticism was usually intimately tied with the religion, and pretty much everything past the 60s can be put into one of three categories: The schools that came from the Egypt and Orientalism crazes, the New Age movement, and Syncretism (The practice of mashing bits from religions or philosophies together... A modern example of that would be the American conflation of ghosts and animistic spirits with Christian Demons. Ghost? DEMON. Shadow? DEMON. Jungian Shadow? DEMO- Wait, wasn't he a psychiatri- DEMON. :P ) In Japan, one of the earliest known occult traditions (Also a belief system) would be Shinto (Possibly 6th Century), while Buddhism also has its esoteric elements, and pretty much every religion out there has spirits of some description, the dealings with which (Whether sending them off, protecting against them, asking them for help, or dealing with them as potentially dangerous equals) blur the line.

And yeah, a lot of the DnD terms are actually based on occult terms, such as Abjuration (The practice of barring or returning spirits), Conjuration (The creation of matter or summoning of spirits), Transmutation (Alchemical term... A fair few Alchemists were Qabalistic or Hermetic)... Pretty much all of the schools of magic are based on some form of magic. A good source for further info would be David Katz's The Occult Tradition: From The Renaissance To The Present Day.

Amusingly, the spread of the internet has made it harder to spot up and comers in occult thought, or new practices, at least partly because, as I said, strong egos are a big problem (Try and tell a Hermetic and a Chaote that their practices may well have come from christianity, for example, and odds are high one or both of them will say some variation of "gently caress you, no, and I'm not like that douche! [points to the other one]") Add in a healthy dose of skepti-trolls (Not proper skeptics, who try to actually apply scientific method, just the assholes who go "Well, James Randi said it doesn't exist, so you're all wrong, unhealthy, and stupid."), the usual internet fuckwittery and snake-oilery, and a general lack of education about such things (Mediumship, for example, is not the same as "Second Sight" (A much more loose category), or "Spirit Sight", but "Medium" is used as a catch-all term by many for any kind of communication or sensing of spirits/ghosts/whatever the gently caress, despite the fact it pretty specifically refers to a human who claims/happens to have a spirit of some description hitchhiking or in the general vicinity who passes on messages), and... Well, I think you can understand it's somewhat hard to pin things down.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



Hyper Crab Tank posted:

Oh, man, I really like this game. There have been a lot of games people have snarkily called "walking simulators", but this is a game I think not only fits that label, but does so in a way that's totally great and not at all derisive. The environments, especially the natural vistas, are so fantastic-looking. This is the game that first made me excited for VR headsets, actually - I don't know if they have any plans on adding that, but I'd totally go back and play this game again when that time comes if they did, just to look at all the scenery. What's more, the story actually ended up blindsiding me, which is a nice change.

Well, there used to be VR support in the Redux edition, but according to the developers that was accidental and they removed after a few days. They did say though that they'll work on VR support in the future, but that it'll probably be released as a separate game or DLC. If ever there's a game that I'd like to play in VR, it's this. Heck, for all I care they release a hiking simulator in the same environment and I'd play that too, I already enjoy Euro Truck Simulator.

Fedule
Mar 27, 2010


No one left uncured.
I got you.


Apparently you're supposed to solve this puzzle by exploring the other house (the one whose window you are looking out of during the sequence) and memorising its layout. But I didn't know this and managed to solve it the other way - by just flipping through rooms and seeing what does and does not break the rules of Euclidean geometry.

BTW this game's soundtrack is available on iTunes and it is incredible. I don't think the tracklist contains any huge spoilers but if you're on red alert for that poo poo then maybe don't look it up until the thread's done or you've finished the game.

Fedule fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2016 around 01:09

Mr. Highway
Feb 25, 2007

I'm a very lonely man, doing what I can.

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

Oh, man, I really like this game. There have been a lot of games people have snarkily called "walking simulators", but this is a game I think not only fits that label, but does so in a way that's totally great and not at all derisive.

Having only played Everybody's Gone to the Rapture and seen LPs of this game and Dear Esther, I must say I like how this game has more gameplay. My big problem with EGttR, is that other than walking around, there is nothing else for the player to do. The graphics are nice and the art direction works well, but I don't feel like I gain anything from playing the game rather than watching it being played. So far this game has actually had problems and puzzles as a nice middle ground between walking simulators and adventure game. There is more interactivity than walking simulators, but the puzzles are not the main method of forwarding the game.

Mraagvpeine
Nov 4, 2014

I won this avatar on a technicality this thick.

Every time I hear someone say "sleeper", I can't help but think of this.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





I love alliterations, I fondly use them in my titles wherever I tastefully can. Alliterations, incidentally, also featured prominently in Edgar Allan Poe's poem ‘The Raven’, which fits the imagery of this episode quite well. Some Scotsman uploaded a pretty decent reading of it to Wikipedia.

And there’s also a new murder mystery. This one can be a bit tricky, but I think you can reason your way through it.


Stories, Texts, and Articles



Scene A: Missy with dagger and lamp standing over Chad, who is choking dad.



Scene B: Dad stands a bit back, Missy with lamp, standing near Chad who is holding his head/face; close to crypt.



Scene C: Dad, Missy with lamp, and Chad, next to crypt entrance.



Scene D: Dad and Missy, near the church.



Scene E: Missy looking around, with lamp, and Travis.




A beautiful woman sat by a river. A witch approached and told the woman she was to have a child. The woman began to cry with joy. But the joy turned to fear and she could not stop crying. Fear turned to sadness; the woman continued to cry. She cried for months, hardly sleeping, until the child was born. But the crying had aged the woman and she was no longer beautiful. When he was old enough, her son climbed the mountain to find the home of the witch. He asked her if she could make his mother beautiful again.

The witch asked the boy many questions. After hearing the answers, the witch told the boy she had lied to the mother about her child. The boy disappeared and the mother was beautiful again.




Ethan, honey - - I’m sorry I yelled at you. I want you to keep this note and read it every time I lose my temper. I don’t mean it, and know I got a snake’s tongue. You’re my little guy, my precious bean. You just gotta pull your head out of them clouds, okay? Love, Mom


// The achievement for the witch’s puzzle reads: The wish. Wish come true.
// Might be nice to have the witch’s monologue as well:

People come here for many reasons. They want to ask me questions about the future. But I can see the future. So it is the past that interests me. If you want to find my house, you must answer the questions I ask of you. Does death bring peace or suffering? Would you prefer anonymity over notoriety? Do you feel victory when your words cause pain? Do you take that which you know you will not return? Is betrayal caused by inequality or injustice? Does sin come from the heart or the mind?

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Oooh, this one's a toughie. But let's say that the lamp represents the latter portion of things, because we can be pretty sure the lamp happened later. But this presents something rather confusing... Why would Chad be choking Dad in the latter half of things? Nonetheless, we know that there were no lethal injuries to the front, and so we can safely assume that Chad his clutching his face because of this lesser injury, and that the backstabbing, whether it is or isn't the last event, is definitely in the latter half. So let's make some educated guesses.

Pre lamp, Missy and Dad are talking. Chad is doing something somewhere else, which is of interest to them. They find Chad in front of the crypt, and interrupt his work, because he's the only person who could have been interrupted. Something happens to Chad's face, which somewhat upsets Dad (Hence the hanging back), and, presumably, dad runs off. Chad chases dad, and attempts to choke him, causing Missy to stab him in the back. Considering how Dad is among the only people seemingly not affected by the weirdness so far, he would understandably bug out. And then it's a meet up with Travis, who, as I recall, later came to a sticky end due to Gramps.

So, rough guess would be D, C, B, A, E. Of course, there's a couple of important questions: Who was Chad attempting to pull an Amontillado on, and why the hell did Missy hang out with Travis afterwards?

As to Klepoth, he's an interesting one in that, like many demons, there's really not that much information out there on him or his master (Syrach, an alleged Duke of hell), and what info there is is rather suspect, as both the author and date of the prime source are fraudulent (The Grimoirium Verum... Book of Truths, hehehe... Was not written in 1517, clearly originating from France or Italy in the 18th century, and, although the author is unknown, it is highly doubted it was "An egyptian in Memphis") Like every other "Servant of Syrach" in the book, no physical description is given, but he is one of those who deals with "Dreams and Visions"... Not exactly unfitting for a storyline where visions appear rather prominent.

Either way, more Goetia, which has traditionally been associated with not nice folks. :P

resurgam40
Jul 22, 2007

Battler, the literal stupidest man on earth. Why are you even here, Battler, why did you come back to this place so you could fuck literally everything up?

Oh yeah, this little gem. I got it on a whim a little while ago when I was in an adventure game mood, and I flew through it in a couple days. While I can see the criticism of being a "walking simulator", I don't agree; like Mr. Highway said, you actually solve puzzles and affect the environment, and it feels like you're actually, you know playing, rather than watching, like the Chinese Room games mentioned. (And I don't really mean that as a flaw, as I generally liked A Machine for Pigs and have heard good things about both Dear Esther and EGttR; they just... weren't really games.)

... And that's really all I can say now, as I really want to talk about the things we've seen, but can't, since it all relates to what we haven't seen yet. As others have alluded to, this is a great and pretty game, but one you can't really talk about at all until you've finished, so I'll just shut my yap and enjoy the lovely scenery and Fleve's awesome narration. (Also, I can't really contribute to puzzles either, since I know the answers already, but I enjoy other people sussing them out).

FluxFaun
Apr 7, 2010




I think it's D, E, B, C, A.

Missy and Dad were talking about... something. Missy picks up the lamp and is looking for... someone? She finds Chad and Dad by the crypt. Judging by the way Chad's acting, I think there must have been a disagreement, and the same disagreement is continued by the crypt. Maybe they were trying to seal someone/something in? Then Chad goes nuts and tries to choke Dad, leading to Missy stabbing him in the back. Then they take him down into the crypt...

Thesaya
May 17, 2011

I am a Plant.


I really have no idea but I think DEBCA is more logical.

Fleve
Nov 5, 2011





No new texts, but we do get another puzzle.

I seem to have not made the appropriate sacrifices to the dark gods of electronics. A few days ago a fuse blew somewhere down the street and we had to call a guy to fix it. Now my external hard drive seems to be on the fritz and I had to do the encode twice. Anyway, solving the death of Chad gets us the achievement Denial


Stories, Texts, and Articles


Scene A: Missy and Dad entering the scene of the crime.


Scene B: Dad picking up a pickaxe.


Scene C: Missy inside the lift, Dad standing in front of it. Neither of them have any props.


Scene D: Dad in front of the lift controls, but without a pickaxe.


Scene E: Dad carrying a pickaxe, ambling about around the lift controls, off to the side.

JamieTheD
Nov 4, 2011

LPer, Reviewer, Mad Welshman

(Yes, that's a self portrait)

Oh hey, pretty sure I got that right, cool! Well, some interesting stuff here, including a brief mention by Paul Prospero about another thing magical traditions agree on... All of them have a price... And usually, that price is embedded within magic itself. For example, Paul specifically mentions other worlds, and leaving parts of himself there. That's not always metaphorical, and a good mythological example would be the price Odin paid to have his magical abilities (He plucked out one of his own eyes for the power of visions.) But it varies from tradition to tradition. One common thread is that visions are not really the gift people think of them as, since, as you can see, so you can be seen, and you can never unsee... Basically, once you learn how to see other realities, and other worlds, that's it, there's no going back, and you're forever going to have to deal, not only with the problems of the "real" world, but also those of the "magical" world. Which, if you believe the folklore and anecdotes surrounding various traditions, is just as likely to kill you.

As to the scene, this appears to be another tricky one, but my guess is as follows:

A, B, D, C, E . Missy and Dad enter together, but split up. Dad, while Missy is distracted, sabotages the elevator controls. They have a conversation, and he pushes the Down button.

Definitely guessing here, though. :/

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Fleve
Nov 5, 2011



It’s about as old as to have become cliché, but I still quite like duplicitous prophecies as with Greek oracles or MacBeth’s witches. How knowledge can be so destructive simply through the knowing. Reminds me of the proximity between madness and magic in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell which I recently read. I’ve never actually read anything from Lovecraft but playing through the game again is also making me interested again. Perhaps this time I’ll actually follow up on it and pick up some of his books.

The puzzles are a bit unfair sometimes, especially if you have to do without the trial & error. The last puzzle showed that the scenes aren't always complete either (Ethan wasn't, but still ended up appearing in some of them). Items like the lantern or the pickaxe are quite reliable though; probably on purpose.

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