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Mar 28, 2016

Torment: Tides of Numenera

TheGreatEvilKing, what is this?
In the 1990s, an RPG by the name of Planescape: Torment came out. It was generally well-regarded because it was thought to have deep writing and attempted to explore a central question: What can change the nature of a man? Set in the Planescape campaign setting of Dungeons and Dragons - known for either innovative takes on fantasy or disappearing up its own genre rear end depending on who you ask - it centered more around philosophical exploration and themes rather than a straightforward power fantasy.

Naturally, the game being a cult classic spawned a "spiritual successor" in 2017, a game which seeks to answer the question "What does one life matter"?

So you've played a lot of Planescape: Torment and are going to be comparing the two?
No. I picked this game up the day after it came out because I'd heard a lot about Planescape Torment and have a weird love-hate relationship with these kinds of isometric RPGs. I have never played Planescape in my life (though I have read the LP on the archives) and thus we will be judging this game by the harshest metric possible: its own merits.

Full disclaimer: I have not actually beaten this game either. I got to part 2 and bounced off hard because of the abysmal combat and writing that is desperately trying to be strange for the sake of strange. I've had a request up since April for someone knowledgeable to LP this thing, and since no one has taken me up on this you're stuck with me. Sorry.

Edit: About 4 updates in I went and beat the game.

What's this about the writing?
As far as I can tell the "spiritual successor" business means that things need to be vaguely like the original, where both games feature a nameless protagonist who is unkillable searching for answers. OK. Unfortunately, when I first played this game, the writing came off as a stoned high school student who just read Plato ranting about "the cave, mannnnnn" while also crossing it with his time travel Gene Wolfe fanfiction. Oh, and Patrick Rothfuss is credited as a story director, so you know this is not going to be good.

That said, I'll do my best to keep an open mind and hopefully we can get some interesting discussions going.

What the Hell is a Numenera?
Numenera is a tabletop game setting made by Monte Cook after he left Wizards around the era when 4th edition D&D was coming out. It is a vaguely sci-fi setting set in "the Ninth World" where the ancient remnants of technology are everywhere but poorly understood so they seem like magic. That's...all I know about the setting really. I don't think it really went anywhere and as far as I remember it got swept away in the Dungeons and Dragons Edition Wars. Certainly I've never heard of anyone playing the tabletop game, especially as when you leave Monte Cook alone without editors, you get evil nipple rings.

Are you sure you're qualified to do this?
So I can't speak to the game and setting, but oh boy do we have some wacky kickstarter stuff to talk about. Also, the writing. We can analyze the writing. Get those pretentious literary hats out again, goons!

We can also make fun of the combat system, but it's not so much actively bad (a la Ash of Gods) rather than just excruciatingly boring.

If people want I can do dialogue summaries again too!

Characters: Spoilers Below!
: The male version of our protagonist. He was voted out of existence after the first update, but showed up for a tedious endgame puzzle.
: Our (female) protagonist, a clever jack. Currently recovering from falling out of a space station. Has a mysterious curse where NPCs vomit exposition all over her like she's the toilet at a cheap bar.
: This is the game's narrator, which I have chosen to personify. When you see him this is text in the game. Text not preceded by this guy is my commentary. You will see him a lot, I hope you like bad metaphors and execrable prose!
: Aligern is a man who confronted us after we fell. The Changing God killed his family with a magic picture frame that unleashed shadows everywhere. It turned out the picture frame actually turned them all into his magic snake tattoos that he used to kill people. Really! The Changing God pranked him, bro! Also he used to be in a relationship with Callistege before we used Tides powers to make them break up. Really!
: Callistege is a woman who confronted us after we fell. Dislikes Aligern, likes technobabble. Accompanied by versions of herself from a parallel universe. Used to date Aligern. She is seeking immortality, which the game frames as bad when it remembers the sins of the Changing God and then it's good when anyone else does it.
: Erritis is a glaive who used to ride the short bus before we took him along for his heavy weapon skills. It turned out he was a shepherd boy possessed by nanomachine demons who demand stunts. Really. Don't look at me like that, this isn't even the most offensive PC backstory. We kicked him out of the party for being obnoxious.
: Tybir is a jack who joined our party after offering us a sidequest to let his friend escape execution, then proceeded to be irrelevant until Act 3 when we did his sidequest. Turns out that he had a boyfriend he loved very much, but the boyfriend kept being temporarily inconvenienced by the Endless Battle and Tybir was too chickenshit to dump him, so he tried to kill a bunch of kids to dump him. Really. Then Steven Dengler the kickstarter backer character trolled him into discovering his boyfriend was dead and that he really sucked. It was dumb.
/: Rhin is a small child written by Patrick Rothfuss, who invents gods or something like that. Despite the game being about divinity vaguely we're just not going to talk about that at all. She is supposedly useless in combat but is actually really powerful because she gets infinite grenades and turrets. Her sidequest involves the player character being sexually harassed by a date rapist to open a portal to send Rhin home. I told you she was written by Patrick Rothfuss. She then comes back as an adult to help us out in the final dungeon and kiss us. Rothfuss.
: Oom is a nanomachine robot dog who teaches children how to use the Tides, an incoherently written powerset that lets you mind control people and build buildings. He has a traumatic backstory where the Sorrow blew up his home planet and then he was tortured by the Changing God so the Changing God could use the Tides.
: Matkina is an assassin and another castoff of the Changing God. She is simultaneously a ruthless edgelord murderer and a person who lectures the Last Castoff for killing indiscriminately, because saying this game was written by monkeys with typewriters would be an insult to monkeys with typewriters. Her personal trauma is part of the main quest, which has us go back in time to unrape her. Really. I'm not making that up! Someone at InXile looked that this plot twist and OK'd it.
/: The specter, a random ghost who lives in our head and delivers exposition. He has two big plot twists: one where he reveals he's the Changing God, and one where he reveals he's actually an AI clone of the Changing God. He dies because we all yell at him that he sucks.
: The "mysterious" antagonist we are supposedly fleeing. The game portrays her as a mysterious divine entity hunting the Changing God for his sins, but she's really just a robot built by some rich assholes to commit genocide. Really.
: The first castoff body of the Changing God, a woman named Maralel who got pissy that he wouldn't teach her how to body-hop and started an endless war where no one ever dies.
: The Changing God, a powerful not-wizard who became immortal by body-hopping. As a side effect, his old bodies became sentient people. He never appears in the game but is the driving force behind all the incoherent bullshit that happens to our protagonist.


Sagus Cliffs
Help Me, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!
Are We Tormented Yet?
A World of Wonder And Mystery But Just Things We've Seen Before
404 Interesting Abilities Not Found
Divine Incoherence!
Easy-Bake Riot In Four Simple Steps!
I Don't Know Kung Fu
Space Calamari - It's What's For Dinner
The Psychics that Wouldn't Shut Up
I Fought The Devil, and The Devil Won
Horny Devils Are Waiting For You Now!
One Weird Trick To Solve Any Moral Dilemma! Ethicists hate her!
Our Twelve Year Old Intern Spent All Night Creating This Character!
Daddy Issues!
Daddy Issues, part 2
Daddy Issues, Part 3
I picked Silver Tongue, I swear!
I am the cyborg. I am the walrus.
One Weird Trick To Get Rid of Stalkers! Stalkers Hate Her!
The Tides Matter, We Swear!
Choose Your Own Terry Goodkind Adventure!
Emotional Blackmail By Way of Goon
The Tragic Tale of Tides Dog
Bonus Update #2: Part 1 Postmortem

The Necropolis
The Revenge of Kickstarter
Negotiations Go...Poorly
Welcome to Hell - It Has No Spiritual Significance
Three Million Dollars for THIS?
I Don't Want To See What They'd Do To David Bowie
The Fart of Destiny
What Does One Life Matter?
The Trolley to End All Trolleys
Bonus Update #3: Part 2 Postmortem

The Bloom and Endgame
Relationship Issues
The Magical Land of Trolleys
The Worst Prophet
gently caress this game
The Game Doesn't Respect Me, I Don't Respect It
The Not-So-Great Space Robbery
Even The Killer Robots Can't Shut Up!
It's Just A Prank, Bro! The Changing God Pranked You, Bro!
drat, Tybir sucks!
The End of Sidequests
The Butthole of the Bloom
Awkward Tentacle Action
The Endless Trolley Battle
Face Your Torment! Bring Booze.
This Game is A Joke
Our Long Numenera Nightmare Is Finally Over

Bonus Updates
Bonus Update #1: How Did We Get Here?
Bonus Update #4: Damned From The Start

Fan Art
insanityv2 offers insight into the writing process.

FluffyDeathbringer explains sidequests in this game.

TheGreatEvilKing fucked around with this message at 03:46 on May 30, 2020


Mar 28, 2016

Help Me, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

The game opens with this, proving that they met their 1.2 million dollar kickstarter goal to allow you to play a woman. With girly parts!

Naturally I ignore this and click "Male".

This is probably bad, but set to a dull clinical tone by the narrator's use of passive voice.

: Your first emotion is an involuntary and formless panic. You feel you have forgotten something - something important, as if it once meant the world to you... but the details slip away as you grasp at them.

Describing supposedly traumatic events in clinical tones is really a good way to make the reader get involved.

We don't actually know what we look like, though we know we're male. However, as it gets revealed in this update I don't feel bad about doing this.

: Look around.

: A white-pink, fleshy cocoon surrounds you. Even as you look, a minor rent in its side tears open, and the howling wind forces its way inside.

: Dive toward the ground.

Maybe if we go faster we can actually play the game.

: Keep diving-the faster the better!

Oops. Look, we're slowing!

What loving veils? It's the empty air, in atmosphere, that we are going down through! Also, we died.

LP over! That's all folks!

Let's try this again.

: Flatten out to catch the wind.

: Instinctively you spread your arms and legs, and they respond sluggishly. You stop tumbling head over heels. Though you are still spinning laterally, that motion has calmed as well, and you have space to assess your situation and perhaps to understand the predicament - and the body - in which you find yourself.

: Try to remember what happened.

: It''s hazy. You were in a tall passageway, its side slicked with dew, the air warm and moist, as if you were caught in the breath of a giant organism. You remember fleeing in fear and exhilaration, laughing through the terror. What was it that pursued you?

Oh god, a proper noun!

: Try to stop the fall one last time.

: You're still plummeting. If it's any consolation, the dizzying fall will be over shortly.

Thank you, random wizard man!

Actual gameplay! Yes, this is the mandatory tutorial dungeon that game devs never seem to put a drat skip function in. Well, you can suffer with me! Let's click on the bowl.

Ignoring the disconnected hunger -> reflection metaphor, we get to see our character for the first time. The little numbers in circles are his Might, Speed, and Intellect pools (we'll get there) and he has full health.

: Examine the bowl.

Not pictured: any of that poo poo on the bowl. There is light dripping from the ceiling I fail to capture. Anyway, let's click the [Might] option.

: [Might]Carefully move the bowl beneath the liquid.

Blah blah blah. Anyway, periodically the game throws these challenges at you where you can spend energy from the three pools - Might, Speed, and Intellect - to raise your odds of success on a skill challenge such as the above. I burn two points of Might here to succeed in moving the bowl.

: A clear radiance spills across the segmented floor, washing away the nearest shadows, and pouring into your mind, melting the ragged edges of your fragmented thoughts. You are not whole - not yet - but you have begun to heal from the damage done in your long fall.

: A voice calls out from somewhere high above, beyond the reaches of the spreading light.

The floor actually shifts up here in a neat effect I don't catch in my screenshots.

Click the light!

: As soon as you touch the orb, a memory floods your mind...

Astute readers might figure out that this is the game's way of generating a preset character for you.

: This is taking too long. Cast a spell - an esotery - to fix the device yourself.

See this isn't really magic its science Arthur C Clarke worldbuilding blah.

: Use a device to stop them - one of the cyphers in your belt.

As far as I can tell cyphers are scrolls from Dungeons and Dragons that are vaguely technologically flavored.

: You run urgent fingers over the devices fastened to your waist, a fog rising in your mind. A few can be used against the guards, but will also turn your skin to synthsteel, or the surrounding water to boiling wax. Hardly ideal.

: Finally, you find a small silver sphere. Setting the sphere in place, you kick desperately for the safety of a nearby alcove.

: The sphere whirls and unfolds into a spiraling vortex. The sphere at its center speaks a few polite words in an ancient language, then begins draining the surrounding water into itself with alarming speed. The approaching guards shout, then scream as they, too, are sucked into the whirlpool and ripped to pieces.

: You allow yourself a fleeting smile, but are all too aware that more alarms are going off in the distance.

: The memory begins to fade, as if you were being drawn backward through a tunnel, and you hear more pylons rising from the pit.

: Something is wrong. The events within the orb have settled into that gap in your mind, but the edges of it are rough, as though the memory itself is not truly yours.

: There's something else - a gust of sour air pulling at you, like a predator inhaling the scent of its prey at the far end of a dark, whispering field. not the metaphor I would have used. It literally and figuratively sucks.

We are thus granted another light to click on.

: Use your charm to persuade her of the merits of the site, and to remind her of the time constraints.

: She waits for your affirmation, and says "All right, I'm convinced." The two of you sketch your plans for the sanctuary, drawing schematics and architectural diagrams. Then you descend onto the plateau to examine the open ground.

A schematic is short for "schematic diagram" Jesus Christ.

: Look for a deeper solution - perhaps it's an effect of the metallic disk itself.

: A mist falls onto the plateau as you wrap a fiber shielding mesh around the construct's skill. The mesh powers up, protecting the construct's mind from any transdimensional emissions that might be in the area. Taking a deep breath, you repeat your command.

: "ACKNOWLEDGED." It obediently trundles to the site of your new shelter.

This is probably bad.

Fortunately we are distracted by this clicky.

This is a surprisingly tame description of bloodlust. "As if your destruction were demanded of them" by whom? Isn't it demanded already because they are coming at the city to kill? Why is there an if?

: Duck under the giant's swing and attack before he can strike.

: You roll under the blurring arc of his axe. He's overconfident, testing you without committing to the attack.

: Yes, he's fast, but not as fast as you are... and when he raises the great axe above his head to finish you, you're able to bury your blade under his breastplate. The blade emerges from the back of his neck and his life's blood washes over your hands. He falls, taking your weapon with him, and his companion attacks!

Never let it be said that the Last Castoff doesn't know how to show a lady a good time.

: Charge through them, counting on your defenses to protect you.

: You charge through the dim shadows and burst through the doorway, ramming into the nearest soldier. He falls, and you rebound nimbly off him only to take a direct hit from his companion's blade. The impact launches you down the hall, just as you'd hoped, though the blows[sic] makes your ears ring.

: You come to your feet and race on, ignoring the mild ache in your chest. Projectiles skip and spark off the walls around you, and you barely feel the single, desperate bolt that deflects off your reinforced backplate.

Wonder what that mirror does?

: Point at the doppelganger with the mystical symbol on its brow.

...but they all have "intricate pentagonal tattoos" on their heads?

Anyway, the other choice just traps us in the Pylon Zone until we go back to the mirror.

The second option just traps us in a But Thou Must loop, so...

: "Yes, That is who I am."

This is the game's way of telling you to play a mage, sorry, a nano. The descriptor is a little trait that gets tagged for roleplaying purposes, but is actually just a min-maxer thing. Sorry! I call them like I see them!

: The mirror fades, leaving a dark, open doorway. You take a deep breath and step through.


We have a few choices here. The ones I want you guys to focus on are class and descriptor. We have the choice of three different classes:

Glaive: It's a fighter from Dungeons and Dragons. They can train in weapons unlike the other two classes.

Jack: It's a D&D thief. You get more skills and maybe some other stuff?

Nano: You are a wizard, but you don't really use magic except you do because the writers of this game don't realize sci-fi and fantasy get thrown in the same corner of the bookstore for a reason. See above.

Where things get more interesting are the descriptors. These are all roleplaying tags that have distinct bonuses and penalties, meaning that it really just serves to give you bonuses while you try to match the penalties to things you wouldn't ordinarily do.

Naturally I'm not listing that poo poo to make this playthrough more entertaining. Our options are:

Cautious, Charming, Clever, Graceful, Intelligent, Learned, Mechanical, Mystical, Observant, Rugged, Slick, Strong-willed, Swift.

Decisions Lie Before Us!

I need a vote on what kind of character to create. You can pick gender (male or female), class, and descriptor.

Choose wisely, goons! We're stuck with this Castoff for the rest of the game.

Dec 30, 2009

drat, that's a serious dedication to completely squandering the art budget. Maybe it could've been used to complement/shore up the already flagging writing? Nah, better to just imitate the old Infinity Engine games at double resolution without even a sense of twee. (For those unfamiliar with Monte Cook's recent work, anything since Numenara is just too clever for its own good.)

As for our character, well...I dunno. RNG says Male, Glaive, Clever. Which, knowing how the original system tried and failed to work, is probably a secretly poor idea.

Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.

Grimey Drawer

I keep trying to convince myself to get back to this game but it just doesn't have the charm and intrigue PS:T did. Will be watching with interest.

Let's play a Female Clever Jack.

e: Actually, to add some hope: I remember reading that Rothfuss' influence was actually pretty minimal, he only wrote one or two characters. So it might be less insufferable than it seems.

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User

Being able to die in the introduction is always a sign of good things to come. Including player choices just to gently caress you over instead of just letting you scroll past the weird 'the sky gave birth to you' rambling was a great idea.

I say Male Strong-willed Glaive because avoiding female and all flavours of clever/magical seems like the best option to minimise the awful writing that's probably waiting for us. Anyone gating the female option behind a high Kickstarter threshold has clearly done something really bad with it, and the game pushing you towards magic means they're going to be very smug about it.

Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it

Black Robe posted:

Anyone gating the female option behind a high Kickstarter threshold has clearly done something really bad with it

I vote Female for this exact reason (also Rugged Glaive)

Dec 3, 2011

anilEhilated posted:

I keep trying to convince myself to get back to this game but it just doesn't have the charm and intrigue PS:T did. Will be watching with interest.

Thank god we got a far better realization of the genre in the form of Disco Elysium. Going to vote Glaive so we get to experience as much of the wonderful combat as possible.

The Flying Twybil
Oct 20, 2019

So what? You can't prove I posted that.

That intro was needlessly long and self-indulgent for a character pre-gen system. I don't usually like these systems because I'd rather just pick what the heck I want and get on with it. Ultima's always insisted on it since the fourth game, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon insisted on it. If you want me to get immersed in the game's story and worldbuilding, then I'll need to actively make choices to ensure combat isn't going to be a slog when we get there. It doesn't even seem like it needed something that long to determine three things about the character.

The game gives you the choice to pick what you want, which is nice...but you have to go through the process every time. You have two gender options, which is nice...but that was gated behind a kickstarter for no reason. Every step we've taken forward is also a step back.

Hell, I guess I'm on ground floor for this trainwreck too. As for character choices...

anilEhilated posted:

Let's play a Female Clever Jack.

I'll second this. Female, because I want to see what terrible reason they had for gating a very basic and usually mechanically meaningless option and how badly they hosed it up story-wise. If combat is a slog, I'm voting Clever Jack for your sake since you just finished Ash of Gods and it's awful combat. This way, we'll be able to see both sides of the game, and you'll probably have a better time being able to use something that isn't just a weapon.

Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!

I want to write stories with a similar aesthetic to this game, so this will probably be a good lesson on how not to do it. I also vote for Female Clever Jack.

Ace Transmuter
May 19, 2017

I like video games

I'll be the goon who admits that I loved this game and will defend its awful pretentiousness to the grave.

The gameplay is mostly boring but there's a few non-combat "combat" scenarios that are actually pretty fun to play out and I enjoy the way all of the various plot threads tie together towards the end (though not the very last encounter & ending, which... I mean at least they aren't KotOR 2 terrible). The writing of course isn't anywhere near as good as either of those games, and most of the side quests are depressingly mundane, but again, the central plot works well for me.

I also find the worldbuilding (in the game and the setting at large) pretty interesting and wish it wasn't attached to gameplay that Monte Cook designed (see also, Ghostwalk). I'd read any worldbuilding Cook puts to paper but somebody needs to keep him far away from rules; the actual gameplay of Numenera is an absolute mess, and this game doesn't really do much to improve upon it.

The payoff at the ending (sans the last 5 minutes) was pretty awesome, though. Of course, I actively avoid trying to solve mysteries in pop culture I consume so I imagine this thread will figure it out ahead of time.

I'll say this at least; I did beat this game, which is more than I can say about Pillars of Eternity

Mar 10, 2013

This game wants to be disco elysium so, so bad. Speaking of: Disco Elysium is being LP'd here and represents an actually successful run at what this game was attempting to do.

Mar 28, 2016

For all you voters:

The kickstarter goal also included people specifically reacting to your gender. I'm excited, are you excited?

Feb 20, 2013

So, they included charging you -extra- to do a 'select and replace all' cut and paste through all the game text?

Ace Transmuter
May 19, 2017

I like video games

Oh, I forgot to vote.

Female Clever Jack

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

For all you voters:

The kickstarter goal also included people specifically reacting to your gender. I'm excited, are you excited?

Since nobody is following my sane vote, I reserve the right to say 'I told you we shouldn't have picked this' at any time. Now bring on the dumpster fire.

New Super Metis
Aug 1, 2014

Hey cool, I just played through this a month or so ago! All praise to $1 gamepass. I had no idea that the female character was a kickstarter pledge, that's really funny. I played a female nano (I have no memory of what quality) in my game so I'm going to vote for:

Charming Male Jack

It's fun that this is starting up at the same time as the Disco Elysium LP, they're going to be interesting to follow at the same time.

Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.

Grimey Drawer

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

For all you voters:

The kickstarter goal also included people specifically reacting to your gender. I'm excited, are you excited?
Oh now I'm looking forward to the Rothfuss.

Nov 14, 2010


Planescape Torment began with you waking up on a mortuary slab with post-autopsy stitches. A floating skull jabbers at you in slang that you can decipher from context. The staff are zombies being used like machinery. As you explore you learn how you came to be there.

The 'spiritual successor' is white text on black telling you you're falling and despite playing as an immortal, if you fall wrong you die. Then you're in a black-and-white room of generic scifi hexes and get more all-text flashbacks.

Mar 10, 2013

In disco Elysium, you are greeted with white text on black, telling you that you do not exist and begging you to continue not existing. Warning you that existing will only lead you to a ball full of apes "duking it out" and "ex-somethings." Then you wake up without clothes in a trashed hotel room and give yourself a heart attack reaching for a tie.

Perhaps a hamster
Jun 15, 2010

NewMars posted:

This game wants to be disco elysium so, so bad. Speaking of: Disco Elysium is being LP'd here and represents an actually successful run at what this game was attempting to do.

Haha, I love both games, but I do think it's unfortunate for both LPs to start at the same time, because yeah, DE is the true PS:T spiritual successor, and having its LP go parallel with this one probably won't do Numenera any favors.

FWIW though, I think taken for what it is instead of compared to what it could have been or even for what it was trying to be, Numenera is a perfectly fine game with, yes, some flaws and some purple prose and some missed potential, but also some intriguing characters, some genuinely compelling bits of writing, some strong reactivity (although a lot of it too subtle or hidden to be noticeable on the first playthrough) and some obvious love and passion put into it. Just... don't expect it to be on the level of either PS:T or Disco.

E: And I do still think it was one of the better Kickstarter-era RPG revival games. For comparison, I found PoE overwritten and soulless to the point of being a chore to finish, and had a similar experience with Deadfire too, though for somewhat different reasons.

Perhaps a hamster fucked around with this message at 15:43 on Dec 5, 2019

Jul 20, 2012

Good ideas generator

I'll jump on the bandwagon.

agradine posted:

Female Clever Jack

Apr 8, 2009


I liked Numenara, legitimately. If you want the genre of "one of those top down baldur's gate clones but where you can skip the awful combat" then your options are:

1. Original Planescape, except there's still tons of awful combat
2. This, after years of nothing
3. Disco Elysium, only just quite recently

I ended up buying Pillars of Eternity after enjoying this one and realising that I loving hate the combat in these styles of games and I wish there were more than two of them ever to have non-combat options

Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.

Grimey Drawer

Even today, I don't mind PS:T's combat half as much as the one here. Once you get a couple of AoE spells, you can clear out anything PS:T throws at you safely and - most importantly - quickly.
This has the slowest fighting I've ever seen.

Nov 1, 2017

it's not what you've got, it's what you make of it

TheGreatEvilKing posted:

Oh, and Patrick Rothfuss is credited as a story director, so you know this is not going to be good.

I don't, actually? what's his deal

Dec 18, 2005

Well well, mister fancy-pants, I hope you're wearing your matching sweater today, or you'll be cut down like the ugly tree you are.

fluffyDeathbringer posted:

I don't, actually? what's his deal
Dude wrote The Name of the Wind in 2007 and The Wise Man's Fear in 2011, two wildly popular books in a fantasy trilogy he still has yet to finish. He has some... issues writing women.

To wit, in these two books, the main character is supposedly a super-genius hero who eventually retired into obscurity due to an incredibly staggering fuckup, though the books so far have only been about how awesome the main character is and have yet to mention how he hosed up. Said main character has:
  • Met a young woman who talks about how she hates the idea of women being damsels in distress, only to eventually be rescued by the main character from a science accident. She then falls for him.
  • Met a literal sex goddess, whose charms are described as being so powerful that no man has ever met her and not gone mad. He fucks her and she is astonished by his skills, and it's later revealed that he was a virgin before meeting her.
  • Traveled to a matriarchal nation with a proud warrior culture, where much attention is paid to the fact that this culture basically doesn't have any taboos about nudity and sex. You can probably guess what happens next.
  • Spent a book and a half doing all of this while pining for one particular woman who keeps popping up throughout, for reasons that don't really make sense.
  • Made a really awful spiel in The Wise Man's Fear about how women are like music and loving each one is like playing a different instrument. He then caps this shitshow by suggesting that some people might find this idea demeaning to women, but "those people don't understand women, or music, or me."

This is all compounded by the fact that Rothfuss is the type to write poo poo like the above while loudly proclaiming that he's a feminist ally. So, yeah. This should be interesting.

TheOneAndOnlyT fucked around with this message at 22:27 on Dec 5, 2019

Dec 3, 2011

Name of the Wind was terrible even in the first few chapters. I only got half-way before tossing the book in frustration, never even having encountered any of the above mentioned stuff. That being said, I believe I know one party member in this was written by Rothfus and she isn't that bad. Her MECHANICS on the other hand...

Perhaps a hamster
Jun 15, 2010

Rothfuss is a bad writer when it comes to his books, but all he wrote for Numenera is one companion, and she's supposedly really good. (Can't confirm though, as haven't had her much in my party.)

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land

CountryMatters posted:

I liked Numenara, legitimately. If you want the genre of "one of those top down baldur's gate clones but where you can skip the awful combat" then your options are:

1. Original Planescape, except there's still tons of awful combat
2. This, after years of nothing
3. Disco Elysium, only just quite recently

I ended up buying Pillars of Eternity after enjoying this one and realising that I loving hate the combat in these styles of games and I wish there were more than two of them ever to have non-combat options

Age of Decadence doesn't quite have the same underlying mechanics as some of those games, but you can legit talk your way through the entire game and not fight anybody. Which is nice as AoD combat is ... rough

Mar 28, 2016

Yes and no.

It's real easy in AoD to gently caress yourself over and have to fight, forcing either a restart or just giving up.

I'll have more to say on this when we get there.

Nov 14, 2010


I can't stop thinking about the falling intro, and not in a good way.

The point of an amnesiac protagonist is to make the initial scene "How the hell did I get into this mess?" Whether it's waking up on the slab, in a hosed up hotel room, looking at a photo captioned 'Don't believe his lies' they all lead in to that story.

I wonder if they actually wanted to start the game in the hexes room, and the falling bit was added later? We get a tell-don't-show of us escaping a space station as it's wrecked by a monstrosity, ending up falling in a cocoon of some sort fully dressed... Even a static image of any of this would have been worth a few thousand words, launching us into the weird science setting.

Instead we get 'immersive choices' to quickly pick our class by touching orbs and magic mirrors and I can already tell we're going to get exposited at by old men in robes for the next few updates.

Imagine if instead of that, we opened with the protagonist in an impact crater, armour shattered, rifle snapped in half, sword bent, clothes covered in boood, chunks of space station crashing and burning next to us. As we explore, our HP slowly refills, establishing our unusual healing dynamically.

Oh well, enough complaining. For now. Let's do some speculation. (I haven't played the game, so this is genuine spec.)

Our character can draw schematics, commands a horde of robots, knows the difference between a stratosphere and a thermosphere, and was on a space station. We're clearly some kind of science engineer. Maybe we built the station?

We also remember exploring Rapture, being some kind of king, swordfighting a jedi and most interestingly, living decades in a water-breathing body. Maybe we're not classically immortal, but clinically, having our mind put in different bodies as needed. And with the destruction of our space-base, our backups were also destroyed, which is why the fall could actually kill us? If we didn't recall jumping into the membrane we were falling in, I'd suspect we actually died in the attack and woke up in a fresh clone, something about the destruction affecting our mind-transfer. As it is... Maybe we were stupid enough to keep all our clone-eggs in one space-basket and don't have backup facilities elsewhere?

Ace Transmuter
May 19, 2017

I like video games

Combat in this game actually moves at a decent clip for a turn-based game, as long as you're willing to be liberal with your stat pools and Numenera. You just have to fight the hording instinct. The game's pretty short as far as these types usually go, and there's never any point in hording anything. Hell, the decision to mechanically incentivize not hording is basically the only good mechanical idea in the game system. But then, Monte Cook, so naturally the execution is borked.

I had no idea Rothfuss wrote that character. He sucks and his books suck, but she's actually one of my favorite party members. Even mechanically, you just gotta know how to use her properly (hint: see above). In any case, Jack is proper PC class because the NPC Jacks are the most boring party members.

Nov 19, 2010

I've always had a bit of an issue with jacks in the tabletop version because their stat allotment adds up to 36 points instead of 34 like the other classes types. Then again, when you're supposed to be a little bit competent at everything, I guess that makes sense.

If I remember right, I think this game came out around the same time Character Options 2 did, which introduced two new character types: the glint, who was responsible for spreading hearsay, conjecture, white lies, rumors, half-truths, and the occasional true story across the Ninth World; and the delve, which was pretty much a fighting exoarchaeologist. (The current edition of the game also has the wright, who's pretty much an alchemist, except they make numenera from busted pieces of numenera.)

I've been meaning to play this again, so I guess it's too late to steer the vote towards "The Last Castoff is a female Rugged Glaive who Has No Focus?"

When it comes to training skills, I was a bit pissed off when I trained in Heavy Weapons. If the wiki's right, there's exactly one heavy weapon in the entire game. I went with trained in Melee Weapons instead, because given the choice between "15% better with one and only one weapon" vs. "15% better with every single melee weapon in the game," it's a no-brainer.

Ace Transmuter
May 19, 2017

I like video games

Snorb posted:

I've been meaning to play this again, so I guess it's too late to steer the vote towards "The Last Castoff is a female Rugged Glaive who Has No Focus?"

Can you choose to not have a focus?

If there's to be one serious knock for this game that even fans would have to agree with, it's that the limited number of foci is terrible.


When it comes to training skills, I was a bit pissed off when I trained in Heavy Weapons. If the wiki's right, there's exactly one heavy weapon in the entire game. I went with trained in Melee Weapons instead, because given the choice between "15% better with one and only one weapon" vs. "15% better with every single melee weapon in the game," it's a no-brainer.

There's actually several heavy weapons, both melee and ranged, all of which benefit from Heavy Weapon training. If you're not going to both using ranged weapons at all, though, then yeah, Melee Weapons is better

Nov 19, 2010

agradine posted:

Can you choose to not have a focus?

If there's to be one serious knock for this game that even fans would have to agree with, it's that the limited number of foci is terrible.

Every character in Numenera gets a Focus; I just put "Has No Focus" in because, well, we don't have one yet. You choose the Focus later. (I am disappointed "who Needs No Weapon" is not available as a Focus.)

Mar 28, 2016

Snorb posted:

I've been meaning to play this again, so I guess it's too late to steer the vote towards "The Last Castoff is a female Rugged Glaive who Has No Focus?"

Voting will be open till Sunday when I'll have time to sit down and make the next update, so go nuts!

Apr 2, 2011

I played only a little of this game, but I could hardly get past the fact that my computer cannot run things that were made past 2010. It runs slow as molasses and I'm eagerly awaiting the day I can pay off my loans, buy a new computer, and actually finish this game, because beyond the pretentiousness of it, I really did like some of the mundane, day-to-day living of some of the side quests. They didn't feel ground shaking, but they helped flesh out the world a little more, and I wanted to see more and more of the game the more I played it.

Sure PS:T is by far the best game around, but this wasn't a bad attempt at spiritually succeeding it, I feel.

Sep 20, 2011

By the word of Zoroaster, no business decision is poor when it involves Ahura Mazda.

Rugged Female Glaive

I just finished this and the first act seemed to have promise. I'll leave the rest for the LP.

Dec 11, 2013

"I'm Jack Frost, ho! Nice to meet ya, hee ho!"

I remember playing this when it released, but don't remember much about the game at all. I remember it was "okay," but I never finished it. Beyond that, all I remember is that I didn't like the orb usage mechanic thing and learning what the word "autochthonous" meant.

anilEhilated posted:

Let's play a Female Clever Jack.

Going to continue down this train

Mar 28, 2016

Voting is now closed!

Male: 3
Female: 9

Glaive: 6
Jack: 7

Clever: 7
Strong-Willed: 1

Looks like the Female Clever Jack won, though we nearly became a glaive.

Now to go write this update!


Mar 28, 2016

Are We Tormented Yet?

The thread voted to make us a Female Clever Jack. Despite the game heavily pushing us toward Nano, being a mage got 0 votes.

We fall, but something different happens when I fail to move the bowl:

I seem to remember being promised "interesting consequences" on failure, not "ha ha you take damage"

A red filter, oh boy!

This is how I set the stat pools. I'm sure half the people in the thread will tell me I'm making bad decisions here, but this wouldn't be a Monte Cook game without the opportunity to lose super hard in character creation.

We have 5 abilities to choose from.

Trained Without Armor gives us +10% Evasion and Willpower when in no or light armor.

Sucker Punch gives us the ability to do an attack that does 3 extra damge and inflicts the Dazed condition (penalties to attack and willpower) if the target has a debuff.

Practiced in Armor gives us reduced armor penalties and apparently lets us cast spells in armor better because D&D.

Hedge Magic is a spell that lets us autopass Quick Fingers and Smashing checks, which seems pretty great for not burning our stat pools on stupid poo poo. 1/day unfortunately.

Infuse Weapon is an attack that lets us attack with one of the game's damage types that has "bonus effects" based on damage type. No, the game doesn't explain and I don't know either.

I go with Hedge Magic and Infuse Weapon, as I don't know whether or not we can get good heavy armor quickly or if the defense buffs from Trained Without Armor are even worth noting.

Now we get to skills, and the skill system in this game is weird and not good. The highlighted skill is a Last Castoff only skill that lets you get more exposition by remembering poo poo. Then you have skills that are straight up combat number boosts, like Initiative (go first), Running (move faster), Endurance (more health), and Healing (increase the power of healing spells/abilities). The Jack gets the ability to arbitrarily declare a skill as trained 1/day for the rest of the day, so I'm not too worried, but I end up grabbing Stealth (which can only be used in combat) so I can make more effective attacks coming out of cloaking and also just sneak out of combat if it sucks too hard.

Here's what Clever does. Ignore the dot in Persuasion, I go back and change it out for Stealth.

Once we're done with that, we escape into Final Destination from Super Smash Bros.

It's amazing how much the writing thinks its communicating when it's really not. I don't know what "stylish" means in the era of space stations and wizards, nor what is considered "well-cut" for men. The first sentence could be cut entirely as the text goes on to describe a hazy specter.

Of course, the ultimate sin of the text is that it is providing a visual description for a character who we can see being portrayed in a visual medium. Only the last sentence provides anything we wouldn't get out of a blue ghost in... I dunno, a pimp hat or something.

Oh boy, are we going to be asking the questions.

: Before I met you it felt like something was hunting me. Do you know what it was?

: You said I had to 'finish the process'. What do you mean by that?

Christ already this random blue ghost is descending deep into genre technobabble. That has a very clear literary meaning, and that meaning is "read literally anything else".

: What do you mean, attune to the Tides?

Ohhh, it's the weird and incoherent Dungeons and Dragons alignment system, where you're actually aligned with "Good" supernatural forces and shoot gold lasers while the "Evil" supernatural forces shoot red lasers which have the [evil] tag because they're bad guys.

Remember, Monte Cook worked on the D&D 3.5 Book of Vile Darkness, which, among other things, exposited that poisons were evil because of their game mechanics. The sequel, Book of Exalted Deeds for good characters, introduced a whole new series of "good" not-poisons that worked mechanically the same as poisons but also turned you into an endlessly horny nymphomaniac. Really.

: What's a resonance chamber?

I see that "what does it do" or "what happens when the process is complete" are not questions our supposedly intelligent character is going to ask. Oh well.

: Who are those other people? You called them reflections?

We'll cover the codex at some later date.

: If this place is my mind, why don't I remember any of this? Any of you?

Sure. Whatever.

: Who are you?

So everything up to this point has been the intellectual equivalent of masturbation. I blame the Last Castoff's terrible haircut.

: How do you know all this, all that you're telling me?

: So how do I get back to the real world?

For people who are supposedly part of us and a place supposedly part of us this is certainly alien and external-seeming.

TheGreatEvilKing summary posted:

Hey we did some magic poo poo that woke you up from...whenever you went to sleep while falling to your death. Anyway this is one big hallucination. Would you like some exposition?

: Wow, a pimp ghost. Oh god yes, I have no idea what's going on. What is this thing after me?

: That's the Sorrow. It is very bad.

: What is this "finish the process" with the resonance chamber you were talking about?

: It's the technobabble that does something about the Evil Proper Noun. Just like the Tides.

: The what now?

: The Tides. It's like D&D alignment, but completely divorced from the psuedo-ethical construct that game espouses. Look, Planescape loved alignment and this is a spiritual successor OK?

: Ok, sure. What's a resonance chamber, exactly?

: It's a magic robot sarcophagus. We were trying to fall to it.

: Ok, fine, who are the randos?

: They're just more weird hallucinations. This is all in your head, remember?

: Can I go now?

: Door on your right.

Oh no! An uninspired tentacle monster!

Not a proper noun!

Rest in piece, random person we vaguely remembered who dressed like Hopper Rouley from Ash of Gods.

Wait, why do our hallucinations have power?

: We have to get rid of them! Destroy its anchors or else the Sorrow will erase us forever!

This is the game's combat tutorial. Our goal is to kill the random hallucinations the evil Proper Noun has impaled on its tentacles in a totally nonsexual way, because this will somehow determine whether or not we get erased from existence.

Anyway, we get an action per turn (attack, etc) and a move.

This is very much a scripted fight, so we get highlights on all the recommended actions.

Anyway, we have a whopping 65% chance at punching that reflection to death.

So, attacking people is weird and dumb where you can ineffectually autoattack for poor damage or burn your stat pools for extra damage and being able to actually hit the enemy.

Let's see what happens if I attack burning no stat pools.

Ok, fine.

Every turn the tentacle monster shoots black sperm into the void which is supposed to represent it hiding itself inside our Castoff's mind here. I have no idea what this is supposed to represent or be about - maybe it's a PTSD allegory? If we're feeling generous this is representing us suppressing traumatic memories to avoid PTSD triggers? I'm no mental health professional.

Alright fucker, have some magic damage!

These are some of the damage types in the game. I vaguely remember Nanos being able to throw around "Relativistic" damage. Supposedly there are secondary effects, but if they're explained yet I missed it.

We go with Mental damage.

So for a 100% hit chance I burned three of the Last Castoff's speed pool. We started with 8. You can probably see where this is going.

Once we kill the second reflection a scripted event fires to teach us about buffs and debuffs. This guy gets a buff that increases his armor so we need to find a way around it.

Now I have no idea whether armor applies to those 4 damage types above or not, but I'm gonna do the scripted thing.

Picking up the mirror lets us shoot a laser at the last memory that banishes the tentacle hole to the anime from whence it came.

Does anyone actually list off synonyms when actually talking? "I have to go to the grocery store, the supermarket, and buy some bread, baked goods."

But wait! I thought we were symbolically destroying our memories - ah, gently caress it.

: The portal to your body is that shimmering dome there. Go! Now!

I make no secret of my dislike for "worldbuilding" and things like replacing normal words with made up fantasy bullshit is why. "Dust" or "pieces" would be fine.

Lady, what the hell are you talking about? Also she has a weird effect going on where several outlines of her are flickering through her model.

: Will you look at...wait...I know that face!

Upon hearing this, we emit an energy blast that knocks them both to the floor.

Again. Visual medium. Put some tattoos on the model.

: You blame me? She emitted an internal physiological reaction in response to the fall - probably related to that fantastic healing process. Obviously, Aligern.

It occurs to me that "physiological reaction" could easily be "a giant fart" so that's my immature interpretation.

: Her voice rolls and hisses, and you have to rub your eyes to be sure that you're not seeing double. Faint echoes of her actions trail from her, each nearly mimicking her, though some act and react to stimulit that you can't perceive. Her vivid hair and outrageous clothing remain constant through these shadows.

: Who are you?

Yea, it's D&D alignment but sillier. Get used to this.

: You know she's not the Changing God, Aligern.

The what now?

: It's her face! I've never seen any other people rebuild themselves like that. Only the Changing God could have healed so quickly.

: He sighs and rubs his face, trying to regain his composure. "Maybe you could help me for a change. You know what this means to me."

: "You're familiar with the word changing, Aligern? It implies inconstancy. Thus, the Changing God may well have...changed."

: Several versions of her shrug, and she addresses you. "You'll have to forgive him. He believes you're someone he once knew, even though it's painfully obvious to anyone that you are newly born."

We remember a city ablaze and an army of robots we used to impress a lady.

: Where are we? What is this place?

: Who is the Changing God?

1.2 million dollars, folks!

: If you know the Changing God through my body, why do you keep referring to my sire as "he"?

: "We know your creator through legend and research. He's taken the form of men, women, visitants, and... other things. His form is fluid, as his name suggests. But the stories about the Changing God always refer to him."

: Are there other castoffs?

: "Dozens. Hundreds. Who can say? Your sire has been doing this for several centuries."

: So you say I was born when the Changing God left, but why am I not dead?

: I used a cypher to slow your fall futher, but the damage still would've killed an ordinary person. But think about it. If you're the kind of person who can make your body into anything you want, what do you do? If you've constructed bodies for centuries, you want to make each one better than the last. You want to live forever - you're not going to let your life end by accident. No, you'll make strong bodies - fast, powerful. Maybe throw in regeneration while you're at it."

: If the Changing God abandoned my body, where is he now?

: "If. If he abandoned your body, then his consciousness fled to another."

: He eyes you keenly.

: What was that blast of energy when I woke?

: As I was telling my 'colleague', it was obviously a physiological reaction of some kind. I've never witnessed the birth of a castoff, but yes, it could very well have been caused by your nascent consciousness. Don't worry. I don't believe it caused any real harm. Not to me, at least.

My God, you two, just gently caress already and get it over with.

: Are you sure that surge didn't hurt you?

: If it did, it was damage in our minds. Though how you'd check if it carked her, I couldn't say. Tough to find normalcy there."

: Do you know anything about the Tides?

Well that was helpful and I'm surprised Aligern didn't cut in to call her a dumbass.

: I want to ask about something else.

: Before I woke, I was in some kind of dreamlike labyrinth with a glowing specter.

: If falling from the sky didn't kill me, is there anything that can?

Make your own "bored to death by technobabble" joke, kids!

Wait, conflagration? All you'd need to do to kill us is just set us on fire? What kind of invincibility is that? This is a videogame, everyone and their mom uses fire attacks!

...what the gently caress is a temporal barrier?

Please don't be a time travel story.

: With a series of gestures, you bring up an image of a crystalline pod. "If the resonance chamber works, it will give us the powerto stop the Sorrow's hunt once and for all. We just need the right focal point, a catalyst..."

: The memory fades. Callistege is still talking. You realize that the device you saw in the memory is identical to the one behind you now. It looks just like the Specter had described it - a transparent sarcophagus inside a crystalline dome, with mechanical arms arrayed around it on a metal ring. Unfortunately, the dome is shatter, the sarcophagus is cracked, and one of the arms is in pieces on the floor.

: Whatever its function, it clearly needs repair.

I elect to skip question #1 because...we still don't know these people, even if Aligern maybe saved our life.

: Do either of you know how to fix that crystal chamber there?

: Aligern chuckles. Then, firm and certain, he says, "Not likely. Though it might not be impossible. You need people with the appropriate knowledge. I'm sure the Cult of the Changing God will hold the answer.

: What's the Order of Truth?

: Knowledge seekers, the learned who try to wrest secrets from the hearts of the prior worlds. They gather in the city to exchange their findings and help humanity to build a brighter future.

: She smiles brightly.

: Our friend Aligern here was once one of them.

: Frauds, quacksalvers, and charlatans. They don't have all the answers, and I'd not trust them with the Changing God's secrets.

: What's the Cult of the Changing God?

Decisions Lie Before Us!

As you may have guessed, Aligern and Callistege here are party members. Unfortunately they do not like each other and will not both join your party. We are also being pointed in two different directions - and this is independent of party member, we can take Callistege to the Cult of the Changing God if we want.

Are we inviting Aligern, Callistege, or neither to travel with us? And do we want to go to The Order of Truth or the Cult of the Changing God?

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