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TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Ash of Gods: Redemption



What is this?
Ash of Gods: Redemption is, according to the creators, "a turn-based RPG featuring rogue-like storytelling". Let's hear it from the devs themselves:

Aurum Dust, the developers posted:

Ash of Gods is a mix between a roguelike role-playing visual novel and an online turn-based strategy game. This is a story intending to show all the complexity and ambiguity of moral choice. Good people often become rascals while inhumans behave more human-like than humans. This is the story of ďangelsĒ who after being given free will turned the life of humans into hell in the absence of a god. This is a novel that shows you that no conflict has a right or a wrong side because even your enemies have mothers and children.

We're gonna be coming back to that once we've gotten into the game proper. Put on your pretentious literary hats!

So, visual novel mixed with RPG...is that anything like that Banner Saga game I've heard about?
Lets get this out of the way right now: yes it is. The Stoic crew (Banner Saga makers) were apparently good enough to support it, to the point that you meet the Banner Saga devs in the desert and they make fun of how similar this game is. I feel comfortable saying the story is thematically different than Banner Saga (though there are some glaring similarities that will make themselves evident) but gameplay is similar. Combat is very similar to the Banner Saga with just enough difference to let them say it's its own thing, but the story UI is very similar to the Banner Saga. The devs will tell you the art style is based on old Soviet animations rather than the works of Eyvind Earle, but that's not really enough to disguise the game's roots. And that's OK.

So, rogue-like storytelling? Choices?
Yup. The game is kind enough to overtly flag choices as important, and if you choose wrong you will be in for a world of hurt. I quite literally lost an entire PoV party due to bad choose your own adventure choices on my initial playthrough.

Naturally I will be putting any kind of important choice up to a thread vote. Who better to make life and death decisions than the capricious whims of goons?

Thread rules and spoiler policy.
Use spoiler tags please. Don't do any of that wink wink nudge nudge crap, you're not special for having played a game on Steam before everyone else. Mechanics chat is A-OK, and if you happen to be a developer of this game or of Banner Saga I'd love to hear your input!

Fairgame did an LP of the entire Banner Saga trilogy which is on the archive. It's not at all necessary to understand the plot, and I'm gonna say Banner Saga spoilers for the purpose of comparison are A-OK.

This is gonna be a screenshot LP due to the sheer amount of :words:. You have been warned.

Post Index:

Prologue
Prologue: Divine Retribution

Chapter 1
And now for something completely different
High Fantasy Shopping Action!
Holy poo poo, something is actually happening!
Thorn Brenin and the Curse of the Bad Game Mechanics
Thorn Brenin and the Pimp Hand of Death
Enemy At The Gates
Follow that man!

Chapter 2
Lo Pheng and the Terrible, No-good, Rotten Country of Assholes
Don't Fear the Reaper

Chapter 3
Hopper Rouley and the Totally Not Evil Churchman
Hopper Rouley and the Separation of Church and State
Bonus Update #1: The Goons of Something Awful and What The gently caress Is Going On in Chapter 3
Hopper Rouley and the Party Members Who Don't Do Anything
Hopper Rouley and the Lack of Common Sense
Thorn Brenin and the Soldiers who Absolutely, Positively, Will Not Shut Up
Thorn Brenin and the Crippling Lack of A Lion And A Wardrobe
Thorn Brenin and The Great Fuckup
Lo Pheng and the Insufficiently Distracting Titties
Lo Pheng and the Fear of Casual Intimacy

Chapter 4
Hopper Rouley and the Inexplicable Praise of Thorn Brenin
Thorn Brenin and the HARD CHOICES
Thorn Brenin and the Wonderful Witch of Bullshit

Chapter 5
Hopper Rouley and the Quest for Holes
Hopper Rouley and the Excellent Chance to Make Terrible Decisions
Thorn Brenin and the Crippling Lack of Direction
Hopper Rouley and the Totally Necessary Chapter
Thorn Brenin and the Strong Female Characters
Thorn Brenin and the Pointless Suspicion
Thorn Brenin and the Problem That He's A loving Dumbass
Lo Pheng and the Phantom Sex Offender
Lo Pheng and the Woman Who Really, Really Wanted His Magic Rock

Chapter 6
Hopper Rouley and the Pointless Waste of Everyone's Time
Hopper Rouley and the Writers Desperately Trying To Seem Mature
Hopper Rouley And The Lack Of Pattern Recognition Skills
Thorn Brenin and The Surprising Lack of Grimdark
Lo Pheng and the Opportunity To Please A Lot Of Women
Lo Pheng and the Parade of Magic Bullshit
An aside on Enses

Chapter 7
Hopper Rouley and the Very Mean Man
Hopper Rouley and the Christian Allegory
Hopper Rouley and the Unreliable Narration
Thorn Brenin and the Surprise Witch

Chapter 8
Hopper Rouley and the Plot of this Game
Thorn Brenin and the Magic Jizz

Chapter 9
Hopper Rouley and the Ineffectual Negotiations
Lo Pheng and the Titties of the Great Ancestress
Lo Pheng and the End of the Game


Bonus Updates
Bonus Update 2: The Great Evil King and Fixing Ash of Gods
Bonus Update #3: The Great Evil King and the Elephant in the Room
Bonus Update #4: Fixing Ash of Gods Round 2: The Plot

Characters: Here there be spoilers.
I'm just listing them in alphabetical order. Full and unmarked spoilers, but to be honest I don't respect the plot of this game and neither should you!

: Adna is one of the five Reapers. She shows up in the woods to deliver quality plot exposition and threaten people. No, we don't get to fight her, gently caress you for asking.

: Ake is a supposedly dumb smashman who travels with Hopper. He exists so Hopper has someone to exposit to. I don't know why.

: Alus is a wandering monk rescued by Lo Pheng. He's a pretty cool dude marred by the authors' desire to have some gay tragedy in this story.

: Amma is Hopper's psycho angel/demon/whatever the hell an Umbra is/ ex-girlfriend who uses her powers of clairvoyance to be a complete monster. Whether this is for the greater good or her own selfish whims is left to the discerning reader.

: Andra is a member of Thorn's party who helps break him out of jail before leaving to conclude one of the game's worst sub-plots.

: Bolla is a prostitute who escaped Frisia - the evil country of bad guys run by the Reapers - and hangs out with Lo Pheng to not die. She wants a family.

: Brann is Thorn's brother in law. A rich rear end in a top hat trying to kill the Brenin family to get their inheritance. Part of the game's worst subplot, as at least half the characters on this list dedicate copious amounts of time to explaining how bad he is.

: Brett is an archer with mysterious origins who travels with Thorn. Actually the son of Drooket/Qarbarph/Mabok who was raised for a special purpose, which is giving people a Reaper-killing knife.

: Chila is a mysterious witch who starts the game vaguely manipulating Thorn and Hopper from the shadows and then comes right out and does it blatantly. Actually the Reaper Childao trying to prevent the rise of the dark god for...reasons? Hell if I know. She seemed like an Aslan style Jesus stand-in until the end revealed she had no idea what she was doing and just kind of rebelled against her god. It's less interesting than it sounds.

: Coronzon is a cardinal who also an Umbra. He is an evil bad man working with the Reapers to do evil bad things who is so evil the game plays the bad guy music when you talk to him. Despite this almost all he does in the game is deliver exposition in a way that would make the Gazel Ministry jealous of how little he communicates.

: Dorpkhal is the first Reaper we meet in the game. He kills Thorn's wife and hometown, then just kinda disappears, leaving that plot thread never to be resolved.

: Drooket is a random warrior who worked for Hederlig. He was looking for Mact Brenin after Mact got kidnapped by cannibals. Actually the Umbra Qarbarph who is an immortal angel who goes around having kids - including Brett - with random women.

: Dume is a Frisian mechanic who joins Lo Pheng after Lo Pheng spares his life to fix a steam train. He then kinda hangs around.

: Fisk is a drunken fuckup spearman who used to be a hero but got PTSD and became incel. He also stalked Thorn's wife in a failed attempt at pathos.

: Flitt is an archer. He delivers exposition in the first few chapters and then the writers forget he exists.

: Foshta is Andra's twin sister who helps Thorn for a bit before they disappear. Unlike Andra, she hates Thorn nearly as much as I do.

: Gleda is Thorn's daughter. The game would have you believe she's some kind of special inspiration to everyone with latent powers, but in actuality she's one of the game's worst fighters and has no consistent character to speak of. She was conceived with Thorn's magic jizz and thus can host the dark god. Seriously.

: Hederlig is a prince stationed at Friga who is desperately fighting the Reapers so refugees can escape. This makes him one of the game's better characters. In a relationship with Lon.

: Helm is a mercenary who joins Thorn's party before they cross the Ashen Wasteland. Despite the idiotic subplot about how Thorn arbitrarily doesn't trust him, actually a trustworthy dude. Tricked into joining by Chila.

: Hode is a random assassin in Albius' town guard who joins Thorn when they try to escape the Reaping. Is actually Prince Ho, grandson of a never-named king and son of Treeg.

: Hopper Rouley, also known as Blance, is one of the game's three protagonists. An immortal angel or demon who used to work for gods in another world. Is now wandering the world trying to stop the Reaping and atone for his failure to kill himself to set off a magical explosion. Cursed by Chila and sent on a random quest to do riddles to learn a spell to seal the dark god and get the game's good ending.

: Kendi is a lesbian Battle Prostitute Gladiator who joined Lo Pheng's party to not die. She had her own gay tragedy story and is described as "a warlord" and then immediately sidelined in favor of Reet's Weird Mysticism Show.

: Khama is an Ense, one of the masked servants of the Reapers. He was mind controlled or something but Reet did some magic and now he hates the Reapers. Joined Lo Pheng's party to kill Reapers and dump exposition, and the game's all out of Reapers...

: Krieger is a bad leader who made Thorn do all the leading because Krieger was in over his head. If you don't get him the magic hankie he turns into a monster and you have to kill him. Seriously.

:iiam: Liki Brenin is Thorn's dead wife and the mother of Gleda and Mact. She is killed in the first chapter to provide pathos for Thorn and an object lesson in what to avoid as a refrigerator salesman.

: Lon is Hederlig's boyfriend and a riddle dispenser. That's about it!

: Lo Pheng is a fearsome Eikon warrior who is the best character in this game. His plotline is actually intelligible, he has a clear story arc, and he's a legitimate badass who can go toe to toe with Reapers and win. He's the leader of our second protagonist party, and unfortunately the one with the least screen time.

: Mabok is a random cannibal with a mental age of 12 who tries to eat Mact and gets killed by Thorn for it. Then he gets possessed by Brett's dad and shows up to deliver exposition. Adna finally kills him for us.

: Mact Brenin is Thorn's son who became a soldier on the border only to be captured by cannibals. He is rescued and joins our party only to be permabenched. Such is the life of RPG characters.

: Mushom follows Hopper around so the authors could write more dialogue. He contributes his bullshitting skills and his desire to get his dick wet.

: Nakoma, also known as Atraakh, is one of the five Reapers who are out to destroy Terminum and awaken a dark god or something. Atraakh leads the Temple of Divine Wrath disguised as a human, then fights Lo Pheng three times and loses every one. The last is fatal.

: Orkan is a magic man who lets people teleport with a giant magic rock if they have a certain redhead in tow. Seriously.

: Padagang is a traveling merchant who sells us a magic hankie that protects from dark magic, then appears at the end of the game to deliver pointless exposition.

: Pelko Soturi is a rich yet inept nobleman who hired Lo Pheng at the beginning of the story. According to heroic goon fluffyDeathbringer, his name translates to "fear warrior". This is probably a result of the devs' admitted practice of picking random foreign words to name characters after. Seriously! Check their Twitter.

: Philia is Chila's daughter. A magical person who is or is not a witch depending on which intern wrote the dialogue that day. One of the hosts for the dark god.

: Ramlin is an actual practicing warlock who joins Thorn's party and is then completely forgotten for the rest of the game, even when people run into magic stuff where a professional warlock's opinion might be helpful.

: Rask is an Umbra merchant who's old friends with Hopper and thus gets to reference all the mystic exposition.

: Reet is a magical woman descended from Enses and Terminum denizens who sings, fights, and does magic. Lo Pheng rescues her from execution after hearing her sing and she follows him first to not die, then to avoid being possessed by the dark god.

: Ruor is a not-Viking we tried to kick out of Lo Pheng's party for being a sex offender, but he literally glitched back in and revealed he's just a creep and not a full on rapist. Ash of Gods, folks!

: Scheck is a guard captain and the right hand of Prince Treeg. He gets killed as part of Brann's terrible subplot, which we never resolve because we see Lo Pheng's ending instead. Trust me, it's not worth it.

: Shannet is a Prostitute Assassin who escaped execution and is following Lo Pheng. She's kind of nuts but also more interesting than everyone in Thorn's party.

: Skoor is a heretical cleric kicked out of the church for learning sorcery. He joins Thorn's party to guide them across the Ashen Wasteland. Despite being a heretical wizard cleric, has exactly the same moveset as Vai and Alus.

: Sopp is an elite royal guard disguised as a teenage dumbass. He is Hode's bodyguard and joins Thorn's party to cover their escape. Despite being an elite royal guard hand-picked by the prince, he has a similar sprite - and an identical butt-scratching animation - to the generic warrior enemy.

: Stakhet is Thorn's father-in-law and Brann's biological father, who is known for being a legendary commander and awful parent who lets Brann get away with so much bullshit.

: Stein is a guardsman who joins Hopper's "party" until the writers realize they don't know what to do with him and write him out of the story.

: Swarty is another of the, erm, loose ladies who follow Lo Pheng after he saved them from a Reaper. A skilled archer and hunter's daughter who enjoys teasing The Phengster.

: Tenner is Thorn's old manservant the thread voted to beat to death.

:iiam: Tibibar is the most powerful of the five Reapers, a direct servant of terrible gods who destroyed a world. Khama describes him as the most fearsome of the five, which is why he only gets one line in this game.

: Thorn is the last of our protagonist leaders, and the least. A retired royal guard captain and family man, Thorn is driven from his home by Dorpkhal's attack on his village and murder of his wife. The game wants to present Thorn as a living legend who is also a regular person, but he comes across as an easily manipulated aggressive moron. He has magic jizz from rescuing his father in law from some magic veil thing, and yes, that is a plot point.

: Prince (later King) Treeg is a man of contrasts. On one hand the narrator and the characters describe him as a wise and just ruler. On the other hand, his actions in the game prove him to be a shortsighted and ill-tempered moron.

: Trobbel is the burgomaster of Albius and gets killed five minutes into the game by Dorpkhal to show how evil Dorpkhal is. He is then brought up in exposition because the writers believe you have formed some sort of attachment to this character.

: Vai is a pious monk in a world gone mad who follows Thorn around because he's a healer in an RPG.

: Vegen is Thorn's old friend - a soldier stationed at a menhir fort who delivers us that exposition we didn't know we wanted.


Fanart

I had a fanart contest in October, and here are the entries!



professor metis depicts Thorn trying to figure out if Chila is manipulating him or not.



fluffyDeathbringer depicts Fisk reaching out for support to an appropriate corner of the internet.



bruceski accurately portrays the process of selecting a dialogue option in this game.



solitair reconstructs the moments leading to the death of Tenner



Also from solitair, the feared Thorn Brenin doofus jump.



TheGreatEvilKing fucked around with this message at 07:12 on Dec 3, 2019

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TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Prologue: Divine Retribution

Watch this video, it's much better than my screenshots!



The game opens with this man. He will be important.



The camera shifts to the side and we see a diverse crew of warriors from all around the world.



The man walks up to the head of the host, to his similarly attired companions who nod in approval.



Those...aren't normal eyes, are they?



I wasn't quite fast enough with the screenshot here, but our mysterious man's eyes turn all black like his comrades. It's rather reminiscent of the black oil possessed in the X-Files.



The enemy. A bunch of shirtless masked weirdos and men with halberds. We're gonna be seeing a fair amount of both over the course of this game.



They charge our mysterious man and his comrades, who run out to meet them.






No shirt, no service!



The halberd guys aren't doing so hot either.



The battle is a mess, a vicious melee between the people of the world and...whoever these other guys are.



Suddenly people start collapsing and dying. It's hard to capture in screenshots, but these guys were in the middle of fighting, stopped, and dropped dead. The camera pans to reveal...





The mere presence of whatever these guys are has a devastating effect on our heroes.



They get better, and come to a resolution.




They kill themselves, releasing their inner light to turn into a pillar of stone.



Someone is not impressed.



Contempt quickly turns to hate as the light seems to have an effect.



The archer lets her arrow fly.



It strikes down our protagonist just as he is about to perform his sacrifice. Fade to black.



The face of a man who survived while all his comrades died.

Now, the game proper begins.





:words:: The Vale of Mercy, Foothills of the Milky Mountains



:words:: A month ago, you met a Temple servant in the town of Gordinn. There was something peculiar about him. Feeling a long-forgotten sense of dread, you realized it was an Umbra Reaper in disguise. He noticed you too, but chose not to pursue. Bowing in jest, he merely winked at you.

A lot of the writing in this game is somewhat odd, being translated out of Russian at the behest of Russians who don't speak English very well. This is after the devs realized a huge translation patch.

Also yes, despite the change of clothing this is in fact our mysterious survivor.

:words:: The return of the Umbra forewarns of an impending Reaping, so you head to the Milky Mountains, seeking the local seeress. You hope to learn the time and place of the coming Reaping - and prevent it.



The game throws us into combat immediately. It's a scripted tutorial battle where the game forces you to move.



So combat looks..very similar to The Banner Saga, actually. Instead of armor, we have a stat called "Energy" (the orange bar above Hopper's head). Energy is used to pay for moves, but can also be directly attacked by characters. If the character loses all their energy, they take DOUBLE HP DAMAGE.

Hopper here has two moves right now, a single target melee attack named Quick Strike and an aoe whirlwind slash named Circular Hit. Each of these moves can attack a target's energy bar or HP bar. Hitting a target's HP is fairly simple - do damage, when it hits 0 they die. Hitting energy is weirder. Let's say Hopper has a 10 damage attack. If he hits a target for HP damage, they will take 10 damage. If Hopper hits an opponent with 2 energy, they will take 2 of that damage as energy damage and 16 points as HP damage from the remaining damage. However, if you order Hopper to do HP damage to a target with 0 energy, he will only do his normal damage. You have to select the energy attack option for double.

I'll go into more detail about Hopper's skills as we get to use him more out of the tutorial. Suffice to say he gets some absolutely broken poo poo.





: (Bitterly): Please, call me Hopper. I'm already used to the name. I was called Blance when we were together. I wasn't hiding in that battle, you know. I was wounded. Pierced by arrows. That's why I didn't complete my task.

: (Nodding): Yes, I've heard the legend of the twelve brave ones - they who cast an enchantment on themselves and turned to stone. They achieved their goal. The land they called home was free from plague and Reaping. A price too high though, by my reckoning... Why did you come in search of me again?

: I wasn't looking for you but for the local seeress. There are signs... Beasts are leaving the Forest of Datura. The Vandil witch has been sighted on woodland trails. I ran into Atraakh while in Gordinn myself. They have returned. Is another Reaping upon us... [sic]



: What do you mean by "tied"?

: One day, the final Reaping will come. The question is, will anything be left in this world afterwards. [sic] Besidesof , what concern is it to you? Are you not immortal?

: I'm the same as you, Amma. Even if we are both Umbra, we have long embraced the human way of life. I care about the fate of Terminum.

: To the Reaping, we are no more than specks of dust. This time, we don't have twelve comrades willing to sacrifice themselves. Among those still living, some will succumb and become Reapers. Do you really wish to involve yourself?

: I need to stop the Reapings. They're happening again because of me. It's my fault.

: (Irritated) Still thinking of yourself? We are maggots. The lowliest of servants, lucky enough to have a seat at the table. Are you looking for the forsaken gods of this land? I have a book that describes the life of one. Here, take it. I had a good laugh reading through the nonsense.

: (Receiving the gift) Thank you for the book. I've been searching high and low for similar records. But still... when and where will the Reaping begin? That's where I'm needed - I know it. Seven hundred years the dead have blamed me! I need your help.



: (Passing the bundle) Pity. I'd really hoped to use it. I doubt anything else can kill a Reaper. Well, here you go...but why do you want it?

: (Taking the knife) The Reaping shall begin on the day of the vernal equinox, both in the North and the South - in the towns of Wodan and Albius. I wouldn't waste time if I were you.

: Sadly, I don't have time to reach the North. Farewell. I hope our paths cross again, though you still haven't told me why you need the knife.

: I saw you kill me with this very knife, Hopper. So, I hope our paths never do cross again. Farewell.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





And now for something completely different

So that was pretty ominous. Plague, Reapers, killing the woman you love...naturally, we're not going to address any of that right now and instead go meet some new characters.





The Reaping being scheduled for the Millennium is a nice touch - it parallels medieval millennial panic, and the plagues and demons shown in the intro could come straight out of the book of Revelation.



Well, Amma just told us the reaping is going to start here. I'm sure nothing will come of that.

:words: The Spring Equinox

:words: 8th Year of Peace Since the Last War





This must be the daughter, but who is that woman?







Meet Thorn and Gleda Brenin. They may remind you of some other characters from a different game.

: (Quietly) Gleda, are you daydreaming again?





: Yes, how did you know?

: (Patting you on the shoulder) Albius is far from the largest town. There aren't too many captains of the royal guard here. And even fewer captains' wives.

: And only one of those wives celebrates her birthday on the day of the spring equinox. Please, give her my regards.

: (With gratitude) I will, Burgomeister, though you are most welcome to stop by and do it in person.

:words:: The Burgomeister is eager to carry on, but one of the citizens calls his name. Trobbel gives you a nod and attends to matters.



: (Smiling) I've heard he's a distant relative to the king himself.

Yes, I'm aware in the storyline we haven't seen yet that there's a red-haired archer girl who wields magic powers. Shut up. We're not there yet.

:The distance of their relation may be the secret to his longevity.

Despite being an ex-royal guard, Thorn isn't above breaking a few lese majeste laws now and then.

: Well, looks like we got carried away and aren't any closer to picking a gift for Liki.

: What are we going to get her?



Decision time!

What are we getting Thorn's wife? This has decisions for down the line, so choose wisely!

Rook and Alette portraits are from FairGame's Banner Saga LP. Check it out!

Tongues
Aug 28, 2009

But I think those are eyes...
(source)
I don't know anything about anything but this looks unreal and I hope you can show us all the cool poo poo that no doubt happens.


So uh get your wife a jewelry or whatever, I gently caress this up in real life so I might as well recreate that here

GrandmaParty
Jan 31, 2003

My LPth are Hot Garbage
Biscuit Hider

TheGreatEvilKing posted:


Decision time!

What are we getting Thorn's wife? This has decisions for down the line, so choose wisely!

Rook and Alette portraits are from FairGame's Banner Saga LP. Check it out!

Maybe we can get her a nice skort or perhaps some culottes. Not vikings love culottes. Clothing, please.

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User


Wow, this game is just an expy, isn't it. Good on the Banner Saga team for being nice instead of telling them to quit it, I don't know I'd be so forgiving when it's that blatant. Hope at least the narrative is as good quality.

Also,

GrandmaParty posted:

Maybe we can get her a nice skort or perhaps some culottes. Not vikings love culottes. Clothing, please.

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It's okay if you have any questions.
:fart:

Can't go wrong with jewelry.

fluffyDeathbringer
Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it
I for one want to see the significance of this Mact fellow

DentD
Aug 13, 2015

I can predict the future! And you're going to be OKAY.
I'm guessing Mact is the son, stationed somewhere else for the time being? Or left due to a fight? Let's bring that boy home.

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER
I dunno, maybe the dude left for a reason?

...

All the more reason to bring Mact home, then!

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





It looks like that mysterious Mact has won! Voting, though close, is now closed!

Going to start working on the next update.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





High Fantasy Shopping Action!



Mact won by one vote, so let's see what he's up to!

: There's talk of trouble on the borders, your brother could be rather busy. I hope he finds the time to send his mother a letter at least.

: I hope so too. He would have known what gift to get for her birthday!

: I'm sure you can manage on your own.

Thorn, you are literally going shopping together. What the hell are you talking about?

The camera pans through the town...



...to reveal a familiar looking scene.



Click on the portraits to talk to the person. It's literally the same UI the Banner Saga uses for when you're in camp and you want to ask all the heroes how they're doing. I hate to keep bringing up these comparisons, but you guys could have at least made a different looking UI or something to disguise what you're ripping off of. Now you have to have a FAQ on your website that you're just "heavily inspired" by Banner Saga. Come on!

There's more to this game, I promise.

Anyway, from left to right, we have Padagang, a clothing merchant, Gleda whom we know, and Rask, a jewelry merchant.

We'll start with Gleda.



: I know what Mother really needs-good health, for her ailing heart.

: (With hope) Is there any way to mend it? Magic? Help from the gods?



: The Temple of Divine Retribution! Only fools expect any help from them. I wish we knew why they had to exact this retribution on your mother...

: (With a sigh) Then we should be content with what the market has to offer. And I'm going to win tomorrow's fencing tournament in her honor!



: Mom used to fence when she was younger!

: (Bitterly) I never could understand that. Thank the gods she never had to use that skill.



Now normally I'd base this on the votes for clothing and jewelry, but you guys tied, so I made a decision to talk to Padagang. Sorry, jewelry fans, I'll try to show off Rask on the next run.

We get a little encounter on the way to the stall.



We greet her politely.





: Not every fortress is worth the siege.

We could keep making fat jokes, but why bother?

: There is truth in what you say, friend. However, since you've rid me of a client, perhaps you'd like to buy something yourself?

: Help me pick a gift for my wife.

: Different things can make a woman's heart sing, friend. For some, the best furs are nothing, while others are content with shawls. Even a mound of gold would not be enough, yet some treasure a mere glance.



: (Shaking his head) Enough about that...you were also talking about shawls. Let us choose one.



Remember that icon? It's decision time again!

Before we do that, let's milk Padagang for information about what this stuff is.

: Show us the wool.

: (Smiling) Friend, if the beautiful young Gleda would allow me to borrow the ring she bears on her little finger, I will spare you the speech.

:words:: Gleda removes the ring from her little finger and hands it to Padagang. He takes a fluffy woolen shawl from the counter, and, in the blink of an eye, pulls it through the tiny ring.

: (Impressed) I didn't think it possible...though... would this shawl be warm enough?



: Show us the silk.

: I have just the thing you're looking for, my friend! This handkerchief has a strand of silver woven into it-the so-called Thread of Life. It's said that it protects the bearer from dark magic...but you don't have to believe in magery to appreciate its beauty!



: Dad, look! This is gorgeous. Imagine Mom wearing it!

Uh, Gleda? It's a handkerchief. I'm pretty sure that just goes in your pocket and gets covered in snot. The internet says ladies can wear it as a headband, I guess.



DECISIONS LIE BEFORE US!

Do we purchase the extremely light woolen shawl that protects as though it were heavy wool? Or do we purchase the gorgeous silk handkerchief embroidered with silver that is maybe effective against sorcery?

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User


Gee, I wonder if maybe she'll be at risk of cold and/or dark magic sometime?????

I figure there are other ways to keep warm. Take the magic handkerchief.

fluffyDeathbringer
Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it
we have no idea about the extenuating circumstances, though. let's take the wool shawl

ultrafilter
Aug 23, 2007

It's okay if you have any questions.
:fart:

Black Robe posted:

Gee, I wonder if maybe she'll be at risk of cold and/or dark magic sometime?????

I figure there are other ways to keep warm. Take the magic handkerchief.

I find this convincing.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009



ASHERAH DEMANDS I FEAST, I VOTE FOR A FEAST OF FLESH
Cold is always, dark magic only sometimes. Wool

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land




Are we sure this game isn't made by The Banner Saga guys

Or at least their artist?

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Nissin Cup Nudist posted:

Are we sure this game isn't made by The Banner Saga guys

Or at least their artist?

ashofgods.com faq posted:

Are you related in any way to Stoic Studio and The Banner Saga?

Answer
No, except for the fact that this game was one of our inspiration sources. Moreover, we respect the Stoic guys very much.

Hypocrisy
Oct 4, 2006
Lord of Sarcasm

I vote style over substance. Silk handkerchief.

Mechanical Ape
Aug 7, 2007

But yes, occasionally I am known to smash.
I returned this game after ~20 minutes because it wasn't my jam, so I'm stoked to see someone LPing this.

EDIT: Also, buy the hankie.

Mechanical Ape fucked around with this message at 20:50 on May 28, 2019

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Voting is now closed, the silk won.

I will try to get an update out tonight.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Holy poo poo, something is actually happening!

I'll be the first to admit too much hasn't happened these last few updates. Our major decisions were what to buy our wife, and whether or not the merchant was telling the truth about a pretty handkerchief. Well, today we get to make a major decision.

We get to decide how hard Thorn Brenin gets bitch-slapped by one of the greatest evil beings of the game's setting.

Unfortunately, before I can get there we have to get through a few misadventures first. You all decided by a 2 to 1 margin to get the possibly magic handkerchief over the the wool shawl. Was that the right choice? We shall see in...about 2 chapters.



:words: As you are about to leave, the low tolling of a bell fills the market square. Bewildered, buyers and sellers alike fix their eyes upon the town hall...


: If only you had seen the fair lady I had spotted earlier! Why, she was...almost as beautiful as your daughter. Went straight to the town hall she did. Perhaps her beauty drove the chimesman mad? Or did he drink himself silly again?

: The chimesman has outdone himself... He isn't late this time, he's started early. It isn't even midday!

: (Nodding) Doesn't the bell sound strange to you? Almost like it's screaming...



Thorn Brenin: offscreen action man.



What is it with this setting and shirts? Did he get lost on the way to the BDSM club?



Something tells me the cutscene showing Baron Trobbel dying was added after this sequence. I think that's the most unnecessary caption in the game, but it kinda blends with all the times they use stage directions because they don't want to animate Hopper handing Amma a knife. This is one of the sequences where they nail the visuals - look at Gleda's face! - and gently caress it up with :words:.

: (To no one in particular) Resilient...

Again, I think the visuals do a fine job of setting up what the hell is going on. Thorn is protecting Gleda, who is terrified. Dorpkhal has trivially massacred the town for reasons known only to him, dropped the dead body of the town's leader at our protagonists' feet, and is just standing there musing what to do with these two idiots who just ran up to him like chumps. While I do understand this game was translated from Russian, whoever translated it seems to have fallen into the trap that more words are better.



And we go back to the weird mismash of stuff they are unwilling or unable to show and that stupid owl from Ocarina of Time.



: What do you want?

(The "who are you" option isn't particularly interesting, he just laughs at you, refuses to give you his name, and calls you a dumbass.)

: (Cocking his head) Nothing. The Burgomeister decided for you all.



: (Smirking) Ritual... A tribute to memory.

:words: You use the last of your strength to keep standing. Your heart, pounding, is about to leap from your chest. Your throat tightens.



Decision time!

How is Thorn gonna get owned?

Next time: Women in refrigerators! Actual gameplay! Bad game design decisions! Murderin some dudes!

Also leave feedback on whether you'd prefer me to have fewer votes but on more important issues.

Chubby Coffee
Sep 3, 2011
3 - Let's not give up the ghost this early in the game.

And for the sake of having more discussion at important plot points while still keeping up the pace, I'd prefer to have fewer votes.

EponymousMrYar
Jan 4, 2015

The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.
Gotta go with 3.

It's a good line.

Mechanical Ape
Aug 7, 2007

But yes, occasionally I am known to smash.
I guess the magic hankie really works!

Please, donít... because even though they said heís captain of the guard I donít feel like Thorn is a particularly heroic character at this point. To me heís just some dude who bought a hankie. We just met this character, he hasnít earned the right to tough-talk the villain yet. You hear me, Thorn? You have to work for it.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009



ASHERAH DEMANDS I FEAST, I VOTE FOR A FEAST OF FLESH

Mechanical Ape posted:

I guess the magic hankie really works!

Please, donít... because even though they said heís captain of the guard I donít feel like Thorn is a particularly heroic character at this point. To me heís just some dude who bought a hankie. We just met this character, he hasnít earned the right to tough-talk the villain yet. You hear me, Thorn? You have to work for it.

Agreed, good thinking.

Please, don't....

Mechanical Ape
Aug 7, 2007

But yes, occasionally I am known to smash.
By the way, Iím assuming that Dorpkhal is the guy from Planescape: Torment in one of his past incarnations because the resemblance is uncanny. Heís got a ďDonít trust the skullĒ tramp stamp, Iím certain of it.

Xander77
Apr 6, 2009

Fuck it then. For another pit sandwich and some 'tater salad, I'll post a few more.



TheGreatEvilKing posted:

The devs will tell you the art style is based on old Soviet animations rather than the works of Eyvind Earle

Maybe, but it'd have to be some damned obscure animations, because I can't think of anything similar offhand.

...

The FAQ on the game's website states that one of the writers is going to release a novel based on the game / gameworld, and given the state of the Russian fantasy market, I can confidently state the prose was probably terrible in the original version as well.

fluffyDeathbringer
Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it
maybe we've impressed mister Fashion Souls: BDSM Edition enough that he'll let our daughter go

speaking of, interesting that she's apparently suffering none of the ill effects everyone else is

GrandmaParty
Jan 31, 2003

My LPth are Hot Garbage
Biscuit Hider
Be a good dad! Let our daughter go!

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Vote closed! Let her go has it!

Update tomorrow, hopefully.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Thorn Brenin and the Curse of the Bad Game Mechanics

When we last left our hero, he was debating whether or not to mouth off to a Reaper. You all picked that he should politely ask for the release of his daughter, and now we get to see the consequences of that decision.



:words: The towering monster looks at you for a moment, then extends its arm and points to your pendant.

:words: The monster grabs your captain's insignia, clenching it in its fist. Hissing, the strix in the pendant shrinks.

The what? We've been carrying around a flesh eating mythological bird this entire time?



:words: The monster vanishes. You shake your head, before coming to your senses.

: (Exhaling) Oh blessed gods...

: Did you hear what it said about our family? Quick! We've got to get home!

:

This is the loading screen - the skeletons are animated and do their little musical thing. I kind of like it, as it hearkens back to medieval plague images. Unfortunately, you'll see it a lot playing the game.



Welcome to our first real combat, and we're gonna see one of the game's big gimmicks: Battle Cards.



From left to right:
Touch of Chaos: Deals 5 damage to a random enemy, increases energy by 2 to all party members, and increases attack by 2 to a random party member

Spirit Armor: Increases target's defense by 10 for a round

Cure: Heals target 10 hp

Chokehold: Deals 10 damage to target unit

Rancor: Reduces target attack by 5 and increases target attack by 1 to all surrounding units.

:words: The magical plaques are hot to the touch, almost burning your fingers, yet they fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. You feel as if you could, but with a gesture, sling spells at any foe. Could they be regaining their power because of the Reaping? You wonder where Rask came by these cards, but you remember seeing them peddled as curios and souvenirs at many Berkanian markets.



:words: With a swift motion, you draw your sword, but the thugs are unimpressed. You look closer and notice the vacant eyes and foam at their mouths. Your opponents are either very drunk or insane. You step in front of Gleda. "I'll beat some sense into them. Stand back!"

:words: In response, Gleda steps aside and draws her own blade. "Did I practice with a sword all these years just to cower behind your back? Together we can deal with them faster!"

Gleda, we all saw you hiding from that Reaper.



This begins our first real battle of the game, and thus my long-winded and boring explanation of the battle mechanics. I could encourage you to skip this, but these mechanics are stupid and I'm going to spend more time making fun of them and less time doing boring blow-by-blow combat.

So, let's start with Gleda.



What.

So welcome to Ash of God's battle system. It is extremely derivative of The Banner Saga (of course) but also manages to include its own innovations that make everything worse and dumber. Remember when I introduced health and energy in Hopper's tutorial battle? You'd be forgiven for thinking that energy was basically your mana bar and the double damage thing was an incentive to not go spamming skills.

Skills will gladly eat up your entire drat health bar as with poor Gleda up there. Now, this will one-shot the two guys in the front, but that back guy is going to be able to unload all over Gleda's 9 remaining health and murder her. Now, this isn't her only attack. She has another attack that only eats 14 health but will one-shot these guys, and a pathetic auto attack that deals 9 damage.

This applies to the enemies as well. Human enemies use mostly the same classes you do and thus you get absurdities like archers blowing off half their health to use a bow attack. Unfortunately you really don't have the health to tank the enemy's super moves, and damage reduction is extremely rare and only gotten in significant amounts by two characters.

Fortunately, the turn system blatantly ripped off from the Banner Saga comes in to save us here. It's an IGOUGO system where the player gets to move a unit, then the enemy, then the player etc. Notably if you show up with 1 guy, and the enemy shows up with 5, you get to take 1 turn for each guy while they can't move their first guy until their last guy has gone.

The protagonist units (Thorn, Hopper, and our third PoV character we haven't met yet) also get powerful AoE attacks that don't cause health (well, much in the case of #3) to use.

This means that the optimal way to play Ash of Gods is to bring your lone protagonist and his AoE attacks, and run around gibbing dudes like the Doomguy while the enemy tries to play a crappy knockoff of Final Fantasy Tactics.

Anyway, a quick unit rundown.

: Unlike most other characters in the game, he gets two basic attacks: FIghtback and Parry. Fightback puts him into a counterattack stance where he will counterattack attackers with a basic attack. It's best early game, until it's outclassed by Parry which gives him damage reduction equal to a third of his attack stat. RIght now, that's 2 damage reduction, but most Thorn strategies involve buffing his attack into the stratosphere then yeeting him into the enemy forces. His third attack is Knockback, where he jumps into the air like a doofus, does a ton of damage to all surrounding units, gets 3/4 of his attack as damage reduction, and knocks everyone back 2 squares. WIth enough attack buffs you become a crazy invincible man AoEing everyone to death. He's got 2 support abilities you never use: one that grants defense to another party member but wastes his turn, and one that deals health/energy damage to himself for a battle-long attack boost and 1-round defense boost. He has a passive that gives the party a buff if he goes down, but if he goes down you probably hosed up.

: Gleda suffers acutely from the fact that she sucks. Yes, her powerful attacks can kill people and you can upgrade them to be less self-harming. Yes, she has a passive that gives her health when she kills something. Unfortunately, her attacks all have fairly long cooldowns and her autoattack sucks without massive upgrades. She also suffers from the RPG Girl Problem where she gets kidnapped out of the party, and this is weirdly key to using her because when she returns she gets a level to match Thorn's. She's best used to pick off stragglers, then you have her wander around aimlessly because she's blown her own health into critical territory.

I may as well mention the battle cards while I'm here. Battle cards by and large suck, but have a bunch of unintended uses that ensure you'll use at least a few. First, casting a battle card doesn't count as ending the turn for all the buffs that end at the end of a characters turn. Second, if you're only using the protagonist to fight the "random character gets buffed" cards become a lot better. There are some really loving awful battle cards (sacrifice a character is always bad) but all in all you may as well use a few.

TL;DR: The battle system sucks due to everyone needing health to use their attacks, the optimal way to play is to field as few units as possible and 1-shot AoE everyone to death.

On to battle!



Thorn goes up and puts up fightback. The guy striking Gleda gets one-shot by her 14 health attack.



These guys pair up with Thorn and Gleda and get attritioned to death, ending the fight.

These fights never get better, by the way. It's always a big open field with no terrain or chokepoints and no goals other than "kill all those guys". Unless there's a massive demand from the thread, I'm not going to go too deep into individual battles.



:words: You are proud of your daughter, but even more so, worried about your wife - Liki. There is no time to lose. You need to get home as soon as possible. A couple of side alleys later, you open the familiar gate.



Reapers 2, Thorn 0. I probably shouldn't make light of this scene, but it has the same flaws as dead Trobbel. We didn't know Trobbel at all. We, the players, never even met these women but here they are dead. This is a pretty horrifying scene, but it doesn't hit us as hard because we don't know any of these dead characters. The game is about to show its effect on Thorn, but as Mechanical Ape pointed out Thorn is just some dude who bought a magic hankie. I'll be going more into story details at the end of Chapter 1.

: Tenner! What happened here?

:words: Gleda is trying to say something, but cannot speak through suffocating sobs.

:words: It takes all your willpower to retain composure, managing to speak is a struggle. With jaws [sic] and fists clenched - nails dig deep into the flesh of your palms and your teeth feel as if they are about to crack.

:words: Gleda is stroking her mother's hair and whispering to her



Thorn is not taking the loss of his wife well. Unfortunately no one gives a poo poo about poor Quina except Tenner.

: (Weeping) Such a tragedy has befallen us! Oh, such grief... First, both Liki and Quina screamed in pain. Then my daughter seemed to lose her mind. She went at mistress Liki with a knife. Mistress defended herself, but...

: Gleda, give me a hand.

: Take a sheet from the bed and cover Quina's body.

: (No longer sobbing): I will... in a moment

: Oh, the horror, the horror! His Excellency Count Vichti and his young son Brann always said it would end this way.

So I'm not sure if "the horror" is supposed to be a subtle hint that Tenner went mad and stabbed one or more of the the women or not. It's a reference to Kurtz from Heart of Darkness and are his dying words after he goes nuts. It'd be in character for this game to reference Conrad, as the Reaping evidently drives people insane and they kill each other.

Or I'm just overanalyzing a cliched scene of "wife dies to motivate hero", take your pick. It's super flimsy, I know, but what more is there to say? Do note that Tenner is somehow completely unscathed while both these women are dead, Quina with a knife wound to the side despite supposedly using it to attack.

: Oh Liki, this shouldn't have happened.

: Dad, I need you. We have to do something. Tenner, you saddle the horses while I pack.

: (Coming to his senses) Yes. Understood...



: (Scared) This is right out of an ancient manuscript! The same thing happened seven hundred years ago. A pain pierces your neck and turns into a fiery noose. It strangles you and you die in terrible agony. They called this plague "the Reaping". Dad, the back of my neck is burning!

: Let me see. drat it! You've got the same mark. Take a look, do I have it?

: Nothing? How come... why did the plague spare me? Wait... I don't believe in luck. There must have been something else, something that protected me. But what?



As you may have guessed from that "strixes lost" message, this is a gameplay mechanic. More when that becomes relevant.



I just want to point out the art doesn't match the words again, at all.

:words: You walk into the front yard and look around. No, you shouldn't bury Liki here-better do it in the back. Gleda follows you. "Get Tenner and bring the bodies here," you tell her. "Be quick about it. Our time is short. Just...wrap them in something, alright?"



:words: You lay Quina's body beside that of her mistress. They used to play together as children. You lift the shovel. Gleda remains still. Tenner mumbles one of the Temple hymns. What could he be asking of the gods, you wonder. What use are prayers to his daughter now?





Let's talk to Gleda first, then see what Tenner's up to. The gate advances the plot, so I'd rather not do that for a bit.

:words: Gleda loads her horse up, weeping over the tack. "Oh, Mom... how are we going to live without you?" she whispers.

:words: You embrace your daughter. She presses her face, wet with tears, to your chest. "It's over for Liki, my dear. But for you and Mact - it isn't. Remember this, no matter how much it hurts."

:words: Gleda nods and tries to steel herself. No longer sobbing, she starts strapping the saddle bags. "It's not over for you either, Dad-no matter what you think. I'm nearly finished. Just got to pack Rask's scrolls. Maybe I'll get a chance to return them.



We keep the scrolls, because why not?

:words: Gleda buries her face in your shoulder. "Thank you. Mom's dead, we've got to run from the Reaping-and I'm still fussing with this package."

On to Tenner.

:words: You enter the house and see that Tenner has packed your things, but it seems he is in no rush to leave. "What's keeping you, Tenner?"



We ask about his intentions.

:words: Tenner's face darkens. "I must write a letter to the count. I won't lie-I've been keeping him informed of the comings and goings about this house. It's time I sent him a final letter. I will inform His Excellency that you failed to protect your wife, just as I've failed to safeguard my daughter..."



Decision Time
Is Thorn gonna smack a bitch?

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009



ASHERAH DEMANDS I FEAST, I VOTE FOR A FEAST OF FLESH
Hit him

fluffyDeathbringer
Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it
just punch. it's the reaction that makes the most sense in this current situation

Nick Buntline
Dec 20, 2007
Doesn't know the impossible.

This seems like a trap. Don't punch.

Decided to get the game myself after finding out about it from the thread (didn't see this choice, but I'll try to avoid voting on ones I know), and I have to say I actually like the combat more in this than in Banner Saga. Despite the buffness of the protagonists, there are still reasons to use larger parties ("til next turn" buffs last way longer with 6 people than 1, obviously), and the other characters can absolutely pull their weight. Ultimately though I guess I'd rather have an "optimal" battle looking like an action movie, because then at least something's actually happening every turn, instead of in Banner Saga where "optimal" fights involved trying to keep as many useless 1 hp enemies around as possible.

Dirt Road Junglist
Oct 8, 2010

We will be cruel
And through our cruelty
They will know who we are
Jeezus, smack that jackass

Xander77
Apr 6, 2009

Fuck it then. For another pit sandwich and some 'tater salad, I'll post a few more.



I'm pretty sure "strike him" means "hack his head off".

Stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirike!

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





By a 4 to 1 margin, you have voted to strike

Voting is now closed.


Nick Buntline posted:

didn't see this choice

Incidentally, you don't see this choice unless you ask Tenner about his intentions.

TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Thorn Brenin and the Pimp Hand Of Death

By a nearly unanimous margin, goons voted to smack Tenner.





That's probably not good...



:words: You look out the window to make sure Gleda is still in the stable. Hunching over a water barrel, you splash your face. You then take your things, close the door behind you, and return to the yard.

Yup. Not only do we outright murder Tenner, we just kinda leave his corpse laying around for the vultures if they can get into the house. I'm sure absolutely nothing bad will come of this decision.



:words: You leap aside to make way for the riders galloping through the open gate. You recognize your old friend Captain Krieger, several young Albius soldiers, and Fisk-a guardsman.



You're off by one letter, Krieger.

: (Enraged): Shut up, I do know. Tenner just lost his daughter! Do you understand? And I lost my wife! Curse this damned town!

I believe this line is the same if you don't kill Tenner, but with Tenner dead it seems more dishonest somehow.

: (Turning to face you) Liki? Gods, I'm sorry... Real sorry. drat me if I upset you, Thorn.

: You'll die, so don't worry about it. At this rate, all of us will. What happened to you?

: (Wiping the sweat from his face) When that monster came to town, everyone went berserk. Have you seen the sign it left on the gate? What do we do now? I wanted to ask the Burgomaster, but I didn't think I could make it through. Besides, I had the lads with me.

: (Turning to face the rest) Hey, you pansies! C'mere! You all right? Ah, looks like you didn't even poo poo your britches! Take care of the horses while we figure something out.



Our murdering Tenner has glitched the game so bad his face will never disappear from that house. We can't click on it, so we click on the left dude instead.



: No, just coming to my senses... Thinking what to do.



The bottom option causes Brett to lose loyalty, which lowers his stats, so we call him a coward I guess?

: Cower, what else?

: Maybe this is the will of the gods? Maybe it will be alright?

: What do you suggest? Should we just kneel and ask forgiveness? The gods wouldn't let women and children suffer a blade. Get a grip, whelp! I'll take your sword away if you don't.

Krieger is in over his head and he admits it. He's keeping up a tough facade with his men to disguise the fact that he has no idea what the hell to do and showed up at our gate in the hopes that Thorn has some ideas to get them out of this mess.

: I'm not giving up my sword that easily... or my life. Not that it would change much...



Here we see Thorn stepping up and being a leader. He's not so much a compassionate and empathetic man like Abraham Lincoln but rather one of those men who sets a high standard and expects you to step up to his example instead of sitting around whining about how bad it is.

The converse is that Lincoln's soldiers absolutely loved him, while Thorn can absolutely lose the loyalty of all his troops by being a raging rear end in a top hat.

Let's go over to that other guy on the right.





: (Taken aback) But, Hode! Aren't we... friends? Don't you see what's happening in Albius? Don't drag Gleda into this. I worry about you!

: I'm not raw dough and you're not a baker! If you want to look after me, do it from farther away!

: (Looking at Hode as he storms away) That's what distress does to men! You look as stiff as a prick in a bathhouse, Sopp. Don't worry-he'll cool off and you'll be good pals again. Thorn, what else did you want to ask the lad?



I can go through all these dialog options. Stand by to repel :words:!

: Why are you staring at the gate?

: Well, I mean... It's a really nice, sturdy gate! We could just stay here and wait for this mess to clear up. Let's not ford a river of poo poo.

: We're already knee-deep in it, Sopp! What do you think this gate's going to stop? That monster? Or maybe the plague? What's next, crawlin' under the sheets?

: Will it help? I want to do the right thing! What if the madmen come to their senses? Then everything will be all right!

: Why the sour look?



: All you care about is stuffin' your face! If the entire Jeranan army loses their minds like the Albius guards, Ursus will be good for nothing!

: Well... I mean... We haven't been afflicted with madness, so there must be someone sane in Ursus too! Let them deal with this mess...

: How are you holding up?

: (Worried) I'm trying my best... My knees are shaking. I don't like this one bit... I'd rather have a war.

: War doesn't keep men waitin'. You'll find that your knees shake less when you're marchin'. Let's see what lies ahead!

: Then point us in the right direction, don't just talk. You're our superior, ain't you?

: All right, enough talk.



So if you go through the dialog options in order, this looks like Krieger's response to insubordination. If you don't he looks like an rear end in a top hat. Do note that Krieger doesn't tell Sopp to shut up and get back to work after that blatant insubordination, but just ribs the men.

: If you could hide from this mess in a tavern, I would be there already! Krieger, do something! We didn't join Brenin's company by chance, did we? I mean no disrespect, Captain!

Here it is again. Note that Sopp applies the Captain title to Thorn rather than Krieger, even though he is first introduced as the captain of the Albius guard.

: Then respect my decisions. First, we need to leave town, we'll ride to the nearest menhir to be rid of the plague. We'll see where we go from there.





: We're up to our belts in poo poo. What do we do now?



More menus? :words: for the word god! LET THE INTERNET BURN!

: What's the sign on the gate?

: How should I know? I was standing guard by the northern gate with Fisk-may the gods punish him with sobriety! Suddenly, a monster appeared!



New characters!

: I've got no idea, and frankly, I don't loving care. I just know what I saw. Such a sight, you'd poo poo your britches. Many did, in fact... They all fell to the ground. The monster drew some kind of mark on the gate and let out a screech.

: The Reaper said that the gate was sealed and death would come for all. It spoke in the Temple tongue, and then in Frisian...

: (Beginning to shout) Shut up already, you loving witling. You've been prattlin' on and on! If only you waved your sword around with as much bravery as you wag that tongue! Snot-nosed brat.

: (Voice quivering) Have I ever given anyone a reason to call me a coward?



We make the decision to tell Krieger to shut the gently caress up. Flitt obviously knows what the hell he's talking about, we need the information desperately, and Krieger is loving losing it. This decreases Krieger's loyalty but raises Flitt's.

: Hold your horses! You too, Flitt. Calm down. How come you know so many languages?

: (Still tense) Just had to learn them. Many records exist only in Frisian or in the Temple tongue.

: Knowledge is never useless. As for courage... you either have it, or you don't, and you can't know if you do till there is need of it.

: Check the back of everyone's neck. The plague leaves a mark.

: We figured that out already. None of my lads are marked. Checked 'em myself. Townsfolk have been clutching their necks though...

: The gods showed pity on us, spared us from this plight. Why, we'd be squirmin' on the ground without 'em. Thank the gods!

You just said that to Terminum's equivalent of DIck Dawkins.



: What do you mean? I have a spear... and armor, though they aren't of the highest quality, I admit.



: Perhaps' I'm not making myself clear...

: A bit slow on the uptake, aren't you? I'll explain, but I won't repeat myself-strixes protect you from the plague. Krieger and I have our captains insignias. These lads have earrings with flecks of the stone. Where is your strix?

: (Showing you a piece of jewelry) I've got a small one in this pin. Used to be my mother's. I've kept in memory of her, though I don't wear it, it's a lady's pin after all.

: So she protects you, even in death. Pray to your dead mother, FIsk, rather than the gods.

: You said something about going berserk, Krieger?

: Well, you see... the monster just etched a sign on the gate and vanished. Then the bell started ringin' and everything went to poo poo. The people got to their feet and starter[sic[ beatin' the living daylights out of each other. Some scampered off, others took up arms... Some folks used their bare hands...

Bellum omnia contra omnes, Hobbes' war of all against all.



: I see. It's starting to make sense. The plague leaves a mark, and it makes you go berserk... but not always. Perhaps some possess the fortitude to resist. Or do strixes have aught to do with it...

: (Smirking) The mark's not a death sentence then, if you can resist it? Things are looking up, lads! Something to drink to!



Time to break this update, I think. The second part will go up soon, as we have more :words: to get through.

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TheGreatEvilKing
Mar 28, 2016





Enemy at the Gates

Continuing right from where we left off.



: He turned the handle on the winch, slid something between the gates, opened 'em up and off he went. All by himself! And here I thought he was a good-for-nothin' milksop. Surely, you know him? Short beard, always smilin', shop near the town hall? Doesn't shy away from drinkin' either!

: Rask?! So, he managed to get out of town... Is the gate still open then?

: No. The townsfolk were already goin' berserk. Some of the guards went after this Rask fellow by the way. Then the gate slammed shut, no one was holdin' it open.

: So it's possible to open the gate after all. Krieger, gather everyone, let's go! We're leaving town.

: Tenner decided to stay, so we're all ready now. Sopp, open the gate! Everyone, behind me and Krieger! Onward!

Tenner deciding to stay is technically true. We just didn't give him a chance to change his mind.



:words: The incessant tolling of the bell makes you squirm as you examine the gate. There is some kind of glowing sigil on it. The square is filled with abandoned carts, baskets, crates, and corpses. There is no way you can ride through. You have to make a decision.



Oh boy, another dialog menu. Down the line, in order.

: How come these madmen don't scatter?

: Maybe they serve the Reaper now and are bound to its will?

: Ancient manuscripts make no mention of it.

: However, it's said that the Reaping is different each time. The Reaper could've thought up some new trick. Rask mentioned something like this too.



: You discussed the Reaping with Rask?

: Sometimes. You don't know anything of history if you don't know the Reapings. They drive it, even though there have only been two.

: Who knew it would come back?

Amma, for one.

: Alright, since there's no other explanation, we'll go with this.



: Why did the monster seal the gate?

: Those Reapers are like children. Very cruel children. Pitting people against each other, just to see what happens. Like playthings. It's what Father said.

: Is your father a Temple servant by any chance?

: A royal scribe. But I didn't want to be a scribe, I wanted to become a warrior. So I fled from the capital.

Buddy, you can read and write three languages in a society where most people aren't literate. If that's not the mark of a scribe I don't know what is.

: Consider your wish granted. I'd hoped it had lost its charm. It soon will, in any case.

: Shall we try breaking through?

: (Taken aback) What do you mean, "break through"? Are you out of your damned mind, Thorn? I know those lads-every single one of 'em. See the red-haired one? You know him too! He was a boy when he came to me, what, fifteen years ago? He wanted to become a guardsmen. And he did!



: (Quietly horrified) Well, I'm not quite myself when I drink either. Should I be killed for it? How do you know this can't be undone? Do what you will, Captain, but I won't lead an attack on my own men.

: (Firmly) You see the corpses at their feet? Those are our lads... drat it. I'll give the order.



I've been pointing out through these last two updates that Krieger is in over his head and isn't doing a good job of leading his men, and this is why. Krieger knew somewhere deep down that they were going to have to fight the local militia to escape the town and didn't want to be responsible for giving the order to kill his own men. Thorn (for reasons we can debate) is able to see past that and give the order to kill the guardsmen because they're insane. Krieger's loyalty is going up because now he can rationalize away having to kill the madmen as just following orders and also because he doesn't need to shoulder the burden of leadership when nobody has any loving idea what the hell to do.

: Why split? There's strength in numbers.

Because the game has an arbitrary 6 combatant party limit, that's why.

: And what if more madmen turn up? I'm not here to win a fight. I just want us to get out of this alive!

: How do we open the gate? It's sealed by the sign!

: If Rask managed, then so can we. On your guard! You there, follow me... the rest-to the gate!



Time to battle! Or rather, let's talk about all these new characters we picked up. What do they do? Are any of them any good?

; These guys are identical and have the same class, Warrior. They get 52(!) hp to start, an autoattack that raises their attack stat, a health-eating attack that pushes people back and stuns them, a free action counterattack stance, and free action damage reduction. I am still not sure what stuns do in this game, but they have a lot of HP and are best used to bait out the enemy. They can't actually block people from getting to the back line, what do you think this is, Tactics Ogre?

EDIT: Nick Buntline is a hero for our times.

Nick Buntline posted:

Stunning! Had to find that out through trial and error, since yeah it does not in fact appear to be mentioned anywhere in the game itself, but if an enemy unit has not yet gone during their round, stunning will remove their turn and prevent them from going (until everyone on the enemy side goes and the next round starts, of course). If they've already gone this round, then it does nothing. Still, can be very useful if you want to lock a specific unit down and can finagle the turn orders to do so..

: Hode is an Assassin. You guys might be freaking out and going "oh poo poo, a usually evil class, is he going to betray us?" No. You might think he has stealth, backstabbing, or poison abilities. You would be completely wrong. He has a health drain ranged attack, a melee move that blows off 14 of his 20 health to do 28 damage to an enemy, a free action defense/energy buff, a free action buff that makes him only take energy damage, and a move speed buff. He's not a terrible unit per se, but having to close to use his super move kinda sucks. You can buff up his health by having him snipe for a few turns.

: Fisk is a Spearman. He has a whopping 12 attack compared to Thorn and Hode's 7, or everyone else's 6. He compensates for this by being a glass cannon who has to close to melee and relies on blowing off his own health to do damage. His heavy move deals 12 damage to himself - bringing him down to 9 hit points - to push people back 2 squares and deal 24 damage. If there is another enemy nearby you are basically trading Fisk to do this, in a game where going down in combat dishes out semipermanent injuries. More on this later.

: These guys are Archers. They have a melee attack you will never use, a basic ranged attack, a Dead Shot which blows off 12 of their 26 health to deal 15 damage to a target, and a shot which reduces enemy attack power and deals a bunch of energy damage for 14 of their 22 energy. What immediately makes this more tolerable is that these are all ranged attacks in a game where most of your enemies are melee. You're not flirting with instant death in a way that violates workplace sexual harassment guidelines, so go nuts with these guys!

The corollary is that if the enemy is fielding their own archers, or a certain enemy mage unit these guys are hilariously hosed. (I am going to have a lot of words to say about that mage).

Anyway despite my rant about only using the protagonists, we're bringing a full crew. Thorn doesn't have the same solo power the other guys do, and he needs both to level up a bit and 1 support unit we don't have to make him good.



Krieger goes up to bait out the enemy. Perhaps you could even call him a master.





The sigil on the door. As you can see, I did something very stupid with Fisk. Also note the little door in the gate. There's no sigil on that! Just open the loving door!



Thorn tanks for our heroes.



Hode assassinates a dude.



Fisk takes one for the team. Now, I could reload the battle and save him, but I wanted to show off the injury system and totally didn't gently caress this up.



After a brief scuffle, Hode decides he's as sick of :words: as I am and ends the battle with his super move.



:words: Krieger kicks the sealed gate in anger. "poo poo! That damned Rask made it through somehow. Think! What can we do?"



:words: You pull the silver trinket from the bag and toss it to Krieger. He shrugs and slides it across the gap. The Reaper's sigil fades away and the gate creaks open.

:words: Krieger laughs hysterically. "I'll be damned! Silver! The silver worked! Turn the winch, NOW!"

:words: You and your company rush out into the open. As soon as you close the gates behind you, the Reaper's sigil seals them with a hiss. Soon ehough, fists begin to pound at the other side. The bell still tolls over Albius.

:words: You look at your companions. "I must save my daughter... and you, since you've decided to join me-at least those who've still decided to carry on. We'll try to make it to the nearest menhir. It might help. Onward!"



Yup, the world map has its own set of mechanics. We'll cover those in full next update.

:words: Krieger scratches his head. "I can believe that. I saw him open the sealed gate. He definitely knows something. We can still catch up with him, but this road doesn't take you straight to the menhir. Rask's got a head start, but his horse is no prize. We can go after him, but we'll lose an entire day, if not more.

:words: You start having doubts. "And we may lose him, he's still got those nutty guards on his tail. They could have finished him off already... I have to make a decision now."



Welcome to the world map! We are in the town of Albius with the little circular icon, and our destination is the Dynford Menhir in the upper center.



Decision Time!

Which way do we want to go? Also, some more decisions.

How do we feel about robbing merchants?

How aggressive should we be to randos?

The game does not tell us this, but we are on a timer.

TheGreatEvilKing fucked around with this message at 23:26 on Jun 2, 2019

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