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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Albion LP



Welcome to Albion! It's a 1995 PC-DOS game released by Blue Byte, who are probably better known for their Settlers and Battle Isle strategy game. Blue Byte used to be an independent German studio/publisher, but these days they're a Ubisoft subsidiary and Settlers and Anno XXXX games are their main products.

Albion has been attempted LP'd on the forums once or twice before, but never been completed(and frankly never getting particularly far either), so rather than complaining and begging other people to LP it, I went: "Heck, I'll LP it myself! How hard can it be? It's just some screenshots and text! Maybe a bit of video!" And I'll tell you right now, just doing the first post, I learned a lot of respect for the people who do big LP's, just getting everything sorted and ready to produce content for this first post almost made me give up until I got the hang of it.

Why Albion, though? It's not exactly a classic, or a cult classic even, I feel like few people remember it, but I played it as a kid/early teenager and got really drawn in by it. It has a decent combat system, okay RPG mechanics, alright writing and demands some amount of thinking from the player. In traditional 90's Eurojank style, it's also perfectly possible to paint yourself into a corner at several stages of the game, not technically being unable to progress but in practice having softlocked yourself out of progress, since the game features semi-limited resources.

Albion? What the Hell is Albion?

As mentioned, a 1995 PC-DOS RPG. The concept is that we are in the future aboard the Toronto, a massive factory space-ship that has travelled by FTL speeds to a distant planet, nicknamed "Nugget"(as in a gold nugget), which promises to be extremely rich in valuable ores as well as completely void of life. Our main character is Tom, one of the ship's pilots, who is tasked with making an exploratory flight down to the surface of Nugget with a scientist in tow to confirm that all the remotely gathered info is actually correct before the Toronto itself touches down and becomes a permanent ore mining/refining facility on the planet's surface.

Even the back of the box, and let's be frank, even the front of the box, spoils that things won't go quite to plan. That's definitely not what a Mars-like planet looks like...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt4blwPKr7o

Cast of Player Characters


Tom - A pilot aboard the Toronto factory spaceship. He's generically heroic and will do a lot of things just because they seem interesting. In other words, he's an RPG protagonist.


Rainer Hofstedt - A government xenobiologist and scientist aboard the Toronto, one of two government officials intended to keep an eye on the DDT's activities away from Earth. Tends to get very excited about science.


Drirr - A "Stiriik" or police officer among the Iskai. Despite his job, Drirr most definitely isn't a bastard. A genuinely nice and helpful native, only slightly sabotaged by being more enthusiastic and occasionally naive than is good for him. Probably too nice a person for this adventure.


Sira - A "Dji-Kas" mage, the youngest and least experienced member of the party. She's 12 years old, which in Iskai age is something like early 20's. Somehow more fragile than Rainer, but also more useful. Is in love with Mellthas after he fingered her frontal lobe without asking.


Mellthas - A literal mysterious druid. Deaf and mute, can banish demons to heaven with a magic ion cannon. Is in love with Sira after having touched her brain inappropriately.


Siobhan - Completely unrelated to the plot, entirely in this for the violence and money, has amazing hair and is probably the only party member more bloodthirsty than Tom. Her abilities involve being swole and being swole.


Khunag - A mysterious wizard who has parted ways with a cult of assassin-sorcerers under circumstances he doesn't wish to reveal. Enjoys blowing things up with magic and almost certainly will not cause any future complications for the party thanks to his background.

Audience Participation

Albion is relatively linear and doesn't afford us a lot of meaningful choices, but there are a couple of points in the game where we get to choose part of our party composition or make some minor choices, and since I'm not hard-set one way or the other and those minor choices won't cause massive changes to the way I play, I'll probably ask for a vote on how to handle them.

Upload Schedule

I'm hoping for a post a week.

Spoiler Policy

Albion doesn't have an awful lot of amazing twists, but I'd still prefer it if people kept from talking about stuff that either hasn't come up or can't be easily extrapolated from what we've seen so far.

LP Format

I'm planning to do a hybrid format since some sections(especially dungeons) lend themselves better to video, while many of the non-dungeon areas have a lot of text-based conversations that I feel would be easier to handle as screenshots. But if people have a strong preference for either pure screenshots or pure video, please let me know and I can make the change. All video will be subtitled, not voiced. I also apologize in advance for the number of images, but Albion has, as far as I am aware, no script dump, and tons of text, so rather than annihilating my own brain and hands by transcribing it all, I decided to just screenshot away.

With regards to the video content, please let me know if I should click past text prompts slower or faster(I went on the side of faster for now, assuming that anyone who read slower than I did could pause the video to take it all in), what the subtitle timing is like, whether the audio is deafening, too low, etc. this is literally my first time doing any sort of video LP content, so I'm happy to take critique.

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 23:44 on May 19, 2020

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PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Reserved Index Post

Part 001: The Toronto
Part 002: Jirinaar
Part 003: Basements and Cat Crime
Part 004: Police Procedural
Part 005: Gratogel
Part 006: Drinno
Part 007: Maini
Part 008: An Unsubtle Plot
Part 009: Enlightenment
Part 010: This Is Going To Hurt
Part 011: Incel Deathcult
Part 012: The Finale

PurpleXVI fucked around with this message at 11:59 on Jul 8, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Part 001: The Toronto

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt4blwPKr7o



Tom wakes up in his quarters aboard the Toronto after a trippy-rear end fever dream, and we're instantly given control over the game.



Eagle-eyed watchers(or anyone who's played this game before) may notice that the bottom of the screen is cut off. This is for two reasons: firstly, all it displays is the party line-up and one-line observations on stuff we "examine"(gripping stuff like "this is a chair" for the most part) and secondly because I'm an incompetent goof who couldn't manage to get it properly cut off. This part is only going to be relevant later in the game, for now all it would do is clutter up the screen.

We can walk around either by dragging with the cursor or with the keyboard(good for PRECISION which we'll need in some later sections...) and we can hold down mouse2 to create a little selector we can use to interact with specific environment items. you can see it as that semi-opaque square currently on top of Tom.



On most items it'll give us an option to at least Examine them, but others also have an option to Manipulate. This is a catch-all for opening doors, pushing buttons or looting containers.



Tom's closet contains some food, some shoes, a ring and some drugs. Obviously it's all gonna get yoinked, we have both a weight and space limit but we're well far from challenging either for a good long while yet.




In our inventory some items can be used(like the healing drugs), all that aren't quest-vital items can be dropped and all can be examined. Examining, obviously, tells us the item's stats and also who can use them. This ring, for instance, can be used by everyone, including a vast array of character types we haven't met yet. So, yeah, the game at this early stage more or less just straight up tells you that there are gonna be wizards later on. Awesome.



There are also occasionally items lying around that we can just straight-up Take, but most of these are sadly just pointless decorative items that we can't use for anything or sell. But if we wanted to we could build up quite a collection of ornate pots, jars and boxes over the course of the game.



Approaching the door, the game takes control away from us so Tom can say hi to his girlfriend.














Well, that's certainly a start to the day, what's either a technical accident or sabotage has splattered one of the two government officials aboard this massive corporate-owned spaceship all across the room he was in. Probably just a technical fault, though, nothing suspicious.





Most of the rooms here are people's private quarters and thus not accessible, so we head northwest to find some other people to ask what's going on, and on the way, we find a news console we can hit up for some updates on what's happening back home on Earth.














From this we learn a couple of important things. Firstly, what blew up was our only communications link with Earth, and secondly back in 1995 they had some charmingly wrong ideas about the future of the EU. Also there are clearly tensions between corporations, states and employees brewing. Clearly none of the three groups quite trust the others.






While we unsuccessfully try to strike up a conversation with the red-uniformed security guy, Rainer, the other government official aboard the Toronto, comes sprinting in from off-stage to talk to us.











Rainer is, uh, apparently not too worried about his colleague's demise. "Well, he was an idiot for getting himself blown up. Sucks for him, now I get to go to an alien planet! When are we leaving?" In general people seem remarkably unworried about the government inspector that got himself blasted to gibs just next door.





Alright, let's poke around the dead guy's room. It's not stealing if it's from dead people and also the game generally doesn't care if you steal from people, there are no morality or alignment meters in this game whatsoever.




We raid his fridge and his, uh, ammo locker? I get the feeling that he wasn't supposed to have bullets lying around. Cartridges are the catch-all ammo for firearms in this game, in this case, and rather than reporting this to the authorites we are gonna yoink those sweet shells because they're rare as hell.





The last couple of conversations were essentially cutscenes, but most conversations in Albion will make use of this screen. The first option is like yelling JOB and NAME in an Ultima game, the second is a list of keywords(generally derived from the JOB/NAME interrogation, though we can also enter our own), the third lets us show the NPC an item in case they have something to say about it and the last option ends the conversation. It's pretty straight forward.




As an example.








If we follow the pre-established trail, this guy will mostly tell us about the technical operations of the Toronto, some of which is reasonably interesting. The sci-fi in Albion is relatively hard, we don't have laser guns and lightsabers all over the place.





Huh, so the government inspector that exploded was also doing his job very seriously and being a pain in the rear end for the captain. Nothing suspicious at all about that. Good thing ol' Robert here is a card-carrying Libertarian who's convinced that these government regulations are just because the governments fear the POWER OF FREE ENTERPRISE.



One last comment from Shaw and then we go hassle another guy in the break room, Akira. One of the ship's more technically-minded crewmembers.








This was in response to asking Akira what an "Indi" was, which paints a picture of a future where we're not all amazingly rich or free to do whatever we want, possibly with a slightly worse living standard than the actual present, in fact.



In response to asking him about "Joshi," looks like "Nugget" isn't the first big extrasolar expedition and, uh, it sounds like we're about to learn why there are government inspectors along for this one.




Tom rarely actually says anything in these conversations, but it's implied that he has comments from some of the replies. For instance, I think we can extrapolate that Tom wasn't totally a fan of what happened to the "flop-ears" and also Jesus Christ, humanity. Two sentient species, one of them "accidentally" caught a disease when their rich planet was in the way of being dug up by corporations, and the others were casually shoved into "reservations" by settlers. Yeah, I think it's good that Beegle and Rainer got dragged along on this mission.






And in response to asking him about robots, Akira tells us that we apparently brought battlemechs along. A sensible idea. He doesn't have anything else to say, just recycled dialogue. Generally a lot of characters in the same area, unless they're specifically story-significant, will answer the same prompts with the same questions. For instance, most would say the same things about the Flop-Ears, the Hoika, etc.

Let's go hassle the lady in charge of the break room/canteen.



Most characters with specific interactions, like buying stuff for them, finishing or starting quests, that sort of thing, will have explicit prompts at the top of their standard dialogue selections. In this case we can get Anne to toss us some free rations to go with all the other snack bars we've been hoarding so far.







She seems nice, but she doesn't have an awful lot to say about the mission or game world. Then again, she's not a technical specialist or a politician, so why would she? Let's bail on this place and get moving, we do actually have a semi-soft time limit for this section.




Just walking down the corridor, and what's this? A container on the far side of a wall?




It's a good thing that Tom is apparently psychic and can use his telekinetic powers to plunder it across the reaches of space and time. There are a few other cases we can exploit this including, if I can make it work later in the game, a glitch that permits a telekinetic five-finger discount. Also the contents of this container are lockpicks. Lockpicks are actually reasonably rare, of limited supply throughout the game and you can break them by using them on the wrong containers, so getting more of them is always an advantage and you should always save before using them.




Huh, more security goons. Maybe we can wriggle some info about Beegle's demise out of them.








Everyone else on board the ship has been reasonably nice, but Priver's kind of an rear end in a top hat. Let's see if we can ruin his day by loving with him.









Hahahah is that even a question? Of course we're doing this. This entire little section is actually optional, but it'll both give us some important info about what's happening on board the Toronto and a piece of gear we otherwise wouldn't be seeing for quite a while, and something that's absolutely necessary if you're going exploring on an alien planet.







Alright, enough chatting with Joe, let's get exploring and, incidentally, encounter the most dreadful challenge they could possibly have put into this section of the game. The worst opponent ever conceived by the minds that built Albion.






A loving sliding bar for entering numbers, and this thing goes all the way to like 99999, so good luck hitting somewhere in the neighbourhood of any specific code or number.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o31Z0TryILU

Please turn your subtitles on for this one. There's not an awful lot to talk about down there, but there is some. At the end of this brief "dungeon crawl," we then emerge on the other side of Colonel Priver and his goon, inside the FTL comms room.





Wow, someone really hosed this place up, or the exploding console did. Nothing too interesting, though, so let's head back out and get chewed out by Pri-





Hell yeah, we've got a GUN now. Something(i.e. having played this game before), tells me that bringing it right back out the front door won't go too well. So let's save before we do that, because we're not idiots.







Hm, okay, turns out that Priver is a dick, but not a total idiot. He actually frisks us and takes our gun, even takes all our cartridges, too! Let's reload and not be idiots. Instead of going out the front door, we'll head back down to the dungeon level, to that suspiciously empty wall cabinet and...





We get a level-up and this time that fucker Priver can't find anything on us. Now, the door closed behind us going past the wall cabinet, but as long as we go no farther than the cabinet, we can still go down, reclaim our gun and bullets, and then head back up to Joe.



On the way, we get this message. This is what I was talking about with a semi-soft time limit. We start getting these announcements that it's time to do our job, and after we've gotten a sufficient amount, we can't just ignore them because some sec guys come along, pick us up and haul us off to the hangar. Not that it matters greatly, we may have missed one or two people to talk to, and one or two very minor things to loot from cabins, but once we've got the gun, the lockpicks and the stimpacks we've basically gotten all the really important poo poo.



Oh, we've got everything we want, Tom. We've got a fuckin' GAT.







At this point we can probably also piece together that Beegle discovered something he wasn't meant to, and when he was about to phone home to Earth about it, someone blew his brains out while also wrecking the communications gear so no one else could try pulling the same trick. Considering that we're aboard a ship full of armed security who are probably on the killer's side, considering their surly disposition, and the fact that they don't really care to ask how we found a gun that everyone missed at the crime scene, we might not want to talk too loudly about it.

In fact I don't believe we can even try, Tom is just in this for getting armed.





I ignore the next call as there's one more NPC I'd like to find before we launch. And 30 seconds later I find him, it's Ned, the android body of the ship's AI.







After that, I submit to the next call to go do my work, putting us into cutscene mode again...

BE WARNED. This video contains two(2) nipples. They're presented in a thoroughly unerotic fashion, but if that either weirds you out or you've got a boss looking you over the shoulder while you watch LP videos, keep it in mind!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah9J0LAPGrM

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Ground floor on this one. I've played this as a kid but never managed to finish it.
Wish you a lot of patience.

Anyhow, it should be noted that when the LP says most of this update is optional, it isn't kidding - and that holds true for a lot of parts in the game. Albion comes with this constant awareness of never being quite sure you're doing what you're supposed to and equipped for. This game is all about being lost.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at 19:07 on Feb 6, 2020

Gosts
Jan 15, 2016




anilEhilated posted:

Ground floor on this one. I've played this as a kid but never managed to finish it.
Wish you a lot of patience.

Anyhow, it should be noted that when the LP says most of this update is optional, it isn't kidding - and that holds true for a lot of parts in teh game. Albion comes with this constant awareness of never being quite sure you're doing what you're supposed to and equipped for. This game is all about being lost.

Same same! Oh man, this game was cool as hell when I played it as a kid. But when I saw there were cat nipples in it, I was too terrified to continue playing because I knew my parents would lose their loving minds and probably take away all my computer privileges forever if they saw it.

Now, I can enjoy the amazing story and atmosphere, and the incredible protagonist. "Haha, now this gun belongs to ME"

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

I love this dumb game even if I've never managed to finish it. I love stories about sci-fi and fantasy colliding head-first, and the actual plot and characters are fun. Rainer is an excellent sidekick.

E: Like Rainer is just so incredibly excited to be here and studying all this stuff, it's adorable. It's really neat to see a sci-fi scientist who is open minded, excited, and fully aware of what a wonder it would be to explore a whole new planet and people.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 19:01 on Feb 6, 2020

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

I love this dumb game even if I've never managed to finish it. I love stories about sci-fi and fantasy colliding head-first, and the actual plot and characters are fun. Rainer is an excellent sidekick.

E: Like Rainer is just so incredibly excited to be here and studying all this stuff, it's adorable. It's really neat to see a sci-fi scientist who is open minded, excited, and fully aware of what a wonder it would be to explore a whole new planet and people.

Extremely this.

Rainer is a great sidekick because he's not "hmmm yes i am mr. science no fun is allowed because it isn't logical" instead he's "YOU KNOW WHAT'S RAD? SCIENCE. I SAW THIS MOLECULE DO A KICKFLIP ON A SKATEBOARD ONCE." and I feel is a more accurate representation of an actual scientist than most in fiction, because you don't loving spend ten years of your life getting a PhD in something that doesn't excite you and that you aren't curious about.

lofi
Apr 2, 2018






I kinda-half-remember this from a demo disk, though I think it had a load of content sliced out - the demo went as far as pissing about on Albion, and I don't think they could fit that all on just part of a floppy, right? I think maybe it started with the crash.

I definitely do not remember the nipples, and that feels like something a teenaged-me wouldn't forget.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

I've never played this at all, so I'm in. Also, I'm pretty much obligated to watch given all of your loyal contributions to my projects. I hope you enjoy this one!

Xander77
Apr 6, 2009

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




Oh hey. This game holds the dubious honor of being one of the few I've quit after investing some time into (Edit - Just like every other poster who reported to this thread). Mostly because it's done absolutely nothing worthwhile with its interesting premise.

Following this thread and hoping things pick up from the generic repetitive dungeon crawls that made me give up.

Xander77 fucked around with this message at 14:20 on Feb 7, 2020

Kanfy
Jan 9, 2012

Just gotta keep walking down that road.


I only vaguely know this game by name, seems like an interesting to follow.

(From a technical standpoint you might want to consider resizing your images down to max 900 width to make them archival friendly and also just generally easier on people's eyes, these graphics don't really benefit from being stretched large)

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me


"Guess who's got the strap!"
/

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Kanfy posted:

(From a technical standpoint you might want to consider resizing your images down to max 900 width to make them archival friendly and also just generally easier on people's eyes, these graphics don't really benefit from being stretched large)

Thanks for the feedback, I'll try to keep it in mind!

Xerophyte
Mar 17, 2008

This space intentionally left blank


Xander77 posted:

Oh hey. This game holds the dubious honor of being one of the few I've quit after investing some time into (Edit - Just like every other poster who reported to this thread). Mostly because it's done absolutely nothing worthwhile with its interesting premise.

Following this thread and hoping things pick up from the generic repetitive dungeon crawls that made me give up.

From what I vaguely remember there are some interesting things that happen later once you get back to the ship (spoilers: you get back to the ship), but the dungeons are just ... not that good. Also the extremely narrow FOV used for all the first person stuff ranges from confusing to downright nauseating. I remember I had one friend who couldn't even watch the game being played without nearly vomiting.

The game is completely different from other Blue Byte games because Blue Byte had just hired almost all the staff of Thalion Software after that company went under, and that team wanted to continue making RPGs in the same style that they had before for the Amiga and Atari ST. I know pretty much nothing about Thalion's games, and I say that as someone who in the 90s was a proud owner of an A1200 and a bunch of RPGs with names like Legend of Faerghail. Anyhow, here's the prog-tastic cover for Thalion's final release, the German-only Ambermoon that Albion is apparently a spiritual sequel to:

VictualSquid
Feb 29, 2012

Gently enveloping the target with indiscriminate love.


Ambermoon is the sequel to Amberstar.

Amberstar is pretty well known among elderly German gamers.
Let me tell a story to explain the games approach:
Your main character and 2 party members start without character classes and you can get them to a guild to sign them up. One of the party members wants to be a thief and you find the secret location of the thief's guild after the tutorial rat dungeon.

The manual describes all guilds as pretty equivalent.
But if you want to have your main character as a white or gray mage you need to keep your MC as useless one hit killable dead wight for around an hour. That is if you know the route, if you don't it is more like 15 hours.
To be a black mage you need to go through a very hard dungeon, if you play normally you are appropriately leveled around 30 hours into the game.
To play as a monk you need to be deadwight for more then half of the game. Probably around 60 hours playtime.
The game gives absolutely no clue that those should be considered as unusual choices.

VictualSquid fucked around with this message at 11:32 on Feb 8, 2020

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Blue Byte actually made some pretty good games in the nineties. Settlers 2, Battle Isle 3 and Incubation are the ones I remember having a lot of fun with.

anilEhilated fucked around with this message at 11:45 on Feb 8, 2020

inflatablefish
Oct 24, 2010


PurpleXVI posted:

I'm planning to do a hybrid format since some sections(especially dungeons) lend themselves better to video, while many of the non-dungeon areas have a lot of text-based conversations that I feel would be easier to handle as screenshots. But if people have a strong preference for either pure screenshots or pure video, please let me know and I can make the change. All video will be subtitled, not voiced. I also apologize in advance for the number of images, but Albion has, as far as I am aware, no script dump, and tons of text, so rather than annihilating my own brain and hands by transcribing it all, I decided to just screenshot away.

I'm looking forward to this! I do much prefer screenshots over video, so it'd be nice if you could include a bit of a roundup or brief synopsis of the parts you're covering in video.

If you're having that many screenshots you might want to consider having your updates be links to the test poster rather than putting all the images in the thread.

Xander77
Apr 6, 2009

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




inflatablefish posted:

If you're having that many screenshots you might want to consider having your updates be links to the test poster rather than putting all the images in the thread.
Seriously please don't.

StrixNebulosa
Feb 14, 2012

You cheated not only the game, but yourself.
But most of all, you cheated BABA



Why do I remember this game as having furries in it? I barely played it, how, why...

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

I would guess it's because they're on the box art.

inscrutable horse
May 19, 2010

Parsing sage, rotating time

inflatablefish posted:

If you're having that many screenshots you might want to consider having your updates be links to the test poster rather than putting all the images in the thread.

Please, no, that's seriously one of the most annoying ways of doing SSLPs. It's only marginally better than [timg] tags in the great scheme of things.

idhrendur
Aug 20, 2016


inflatablefish posted:

I'm looking forward to this! I do much prefer screenshots over video, so it'd be nice if you could include a bit of a roundup or brief synopsis of the parts you're covering in video.

But please, this part at least.

Sylphosaurus
Sep 6, 2007


VictualSquid posted:

Ambermoon is the sequel to Amberstar.

Amberstar is pretty well known among elderly German gamers.
Let me tell a story to explain the games approach:
Your main character and 2 party members start without character classes and you can get them to a guild to sign them up. One of the party members wants to be a thief and you find the secret location of the thief's guild after the tutorial rat dungeon.

The manual describes all guilds as pretty equivalent.
But if you want to have your main character as a white or gray mage you need to keep your MC as useless one hit killable dead wight for around an hour. That is if you know the route, if you don't it is more like 15 hours.
To be a black mage you need to go through a very hard dungeon, if you play normally you are appropriately leveled around 30 hours into the game.
To play as a monk you need to be deadwight for more then half of the game. Probably around 60 hours playtime.
The game gives absolutely no clue that those should be considered as unusual choices.
Yeah, I had Amberstar on my old Amiga and that was probably one of the first games that made me go to a BBS to ask for help.

Whybird
Aug 2, 2009

Phaiston have long avoided the tightly competetive defence sector, but the IRDA Act 2052 has given us the freedom we need to bring out something really special.

https://team-robostar.itch.io/robostar




Nap Ghost

That intro sequence... it stares into my soul.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


inflatablefish posted:

I'm looking forward to this! I do much prefer screenshots over video, so it'd be nice if you could include a bit of a roundup or brief synopsis of the parts you're covering in video.

I'll be doing this from here on out, please remind me if I forget to add a synopsis to one of the videos in all posts from the second onwards.

Fish Noise
Jul 25, 2012

IT'S ME, BURROWS!

IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, BURROWS!


PurpleXVI posted:



A loving sliding bar for entering numbers, and this thing goes all the way to like 99999, so good luck hitting somewhere in the neighbourhood of any specific code or number.
oh dear god it's actually real

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Fish Noise posted:

oh dear god it's actually real

It is entirely real and it makes me cry a little.

Unrelated: Huge thanks to poster Alya who has yet to join us in this thread but who has acquired for me what looks an awful lot like a perfect text dump from Albion, which is going to make future updates a hell of a lot more readable since they won't be 90% screenshots of text blocks.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Part 002: Jirinaar

Note: Some of the dialogue in this post is original writing, but I don't think it should be too hard to tell what's my interjections and what's the game's writing. You may notice a certain difference in tone.



Maybe this is a good time to take stock of our situation, you've been bedridden for two weeks and I haven't had a chance to look around much.
Alright, let's see...





These are the three stat screens that all characters have. The reason Tom is slightly injured isn't because of the crash, but because we levelled him up by finding the gun on board the Toronto, which increased his max HP, but not his current HP. On the first screen, age and gender are entirely fluff-related, but "Pilot," Tom's "class" defines which equipment he can use. Levelling up increases hit points and, eventually, attacks per round, but doesn't directly improve any stats, instead it just gives you training points that you can use to improve stats with.

From top to bottom, the stats are: Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Speed, Stamina, Luck, Magic-Resistance and Magic Talent. Stats are very rare to improve, and Strength and Speed are probably the two most important ones. Skills are Close Combat, Long Range Combat, Critical Hit and Lockpicking. Predictably, Tom has no magic talent but is moderately capable of hitting things.

I've also picked up an alien language in just a month's time!

The Combat Positions button determines where every party member starts out relative to each other in combat.





Rainer is older than Tom, for some reason naturally magic-resistant-

My working hypothesis is that my natural skepticism protects me.

-smarter than Tom, better at lockpicking than Tom and less useful in a fight. The blue bars indicate current level in a stat or skill, and the darkened bars the maximum potential, so even with a lot of grinding and training, Rainer would still have a lower skill ceiling than Tom.



I end up putting Rainer behind Tom so Tom will get punched in the face first, since he's better able to take it.

Tallying everything up, we've got a hoard of candy bars, a stock of amphetamines so we won't notice if we get hurt and a gun.
I'm not going to ask how you managed to get a gun off the Toronto.




Hold up, why are we stealing weapons and money from the indigenous aliens who saved us?
Don't worry, if it was a morally dubious action, a voice would pipe up and tell me I wasn't allowed.
...you mean a conscience?
No, I mean a text box.

True to most RPG's, there are no consequences for stealing anything, ever, and no one will ever care about what you take. If there's something you're not allowed to interact with, an NPC or narrating text will yell at you to stop it and Tom will obligingly stop. If no one tells him not to, however, everything is fair game. The game is also built around you doing this, however, you'll need to steal everything not nailed down and convert it to easily-transported cash as soon as possible.



After arming everyone with knives, we find some more meth that Rainer managed to salvage from the crash site. Note that Tom is already at 15kg. of encumbrance, out of a max of 42kg. at his current strength, and keep in mind that both money and rations also have weight. The greatest enemy in this game will soon turn out to be inventory management.




Also a side-by-side comparison of an indigenous melee weapon and a Terran gun, the gun also has a hidden stat boost to long-range combat which means you can bust it out in the early game as a "problem solver" for any fights you're having trouble with, but if you use it too eagerly you'll soon find yourself out of cartridges for it.

Are you done stealing from the natives, Tom?
I've picked up everything in the room that isn't nailed down or decorative so... yes.
Let's get out of here before someone wonders where all the kitchen knives and rope went.



Before we have a chance to have a conversation with her, Giria legs it.

Phew, she didn't notice what I had in my pockets. Hasn't she told us about this sebai-whatever before?
As far as I understand, he's the head of the family, very old.
Not exactly a high bar, you told me the natives only live to be about 40 years old.
Probably explains why they do everything so frantically, you saw how she ran off before we even had a chance to thank her. I suggest we check this fascinating house out.
Good idea, there might be more things to pick up.
...I meant to learn more about the indigenous population and their culture.
You make sure to make a lot of observations, I'll be collecting samples.



I wouldn't have a nudity taboo in this heat either.
For God's sake Tom, keep your pants on, there's a kid just around the corner.



Hi, Sarrin, what do you do here?
Well, I study and sometimes I help cut up the game the hunters bring back. If I can't sneak away, that is.
How old are you?
I'm already four years old. Soon I will learn how to suppress pain. But it will be a long time before I'm mature! I don't know if humans can do that, but we have a way. I guess you can learn to think pain away. I'm going to learn how to do that next. My older brothers and sisters can do that already. I will be ten soon, then no one can forbid me anything.
Ah, to be four years old and revelling in pain-suppression and soon-to-come limitless freedom again.
I'm sorry, Sarrin, my friend has had a traumatic brain injury recently and we should be on our way.





Buddy, you had better get your hands off that Manipulate option, or make Rainer the party leader first.
I'm not the one who keeps putting my hands in every container I can open, and who the hell are you talking to?
Look, there's Giria again!
I probably didn't want to know anyway.




Tom, unlike you, I suspect the locals may have just saved us out of altruistic motives. Also speaking Terran in front of the Iskai will probably come off as rude, so let's try to stick to their language in there.



Dsarii-ma, Tom and Rainiir! I'm glad to see, Tom, that you have recovered from your severe wounds.
Dsarii-ma, Sebai-li Wrinn. You and your clan have saved our lives, and we'd like to thank you for it.
The South Wind Clan is famous for its hospitality. We're glad to have helped you.

At this point you can either say thank you for being saved and ask if there's something you can do to repay the South Wind Clan, or ask why they bothered to save you. As far as I know, there are no repercussions for being a suspicious rear end in a top hat here, but also no benefits to it. So let's say Tom manages to contain his antisocial personality disorder for a few minutes.

Is there any way we can show our appreciation for your generosity?
I am pleased about that, Tom and Rainiir. In fact, I would like to make a request of you. I don't know with what magic your metal boat moves through the air, but it seems to be completely destroyed now. The rest of the metal was recovered because it is of inestimable value for us. Now there is a disagreement about whom the remains belong to. Since I have the impression that your vehicle is no longer of use to you, it would be very helpful to the clan if you could sign the metal over to us. I am sure such a declaration would be accepted by the other interested parties. Tom, you seem to be the leader. What do you think?

The Iskai response to humanity's advanced technology reminds me a lot of the aboriginal aliens from Alan Dean Foster's "The Howling Stones," impressed with what it can do, but still regarding humans as mortals and generally don't pant and beg for humans to please share their advanced technology and uplift them. In general it's kind of a refreshingly mature take on a less technologically advanced alien species, since it feels like a lot of writers tend to fall back on them as being unintelligent just because they're less advanced and generally make them sound like comicbook cavemen.

Again, we can refuse Wrinn, saying we need those funds ourselves to pay for getting back to the Toronto, but as far as I'm aware it doesn't actually result in any extra funds, just in being a dick to the nice aliens who saved you. It may be that it comes later, or you need to find a certain NPC who'll actually buy your trash metal that I never found, or it may just be a cut piece of content. So again, no reason to be an rear end in a top hat to Wrinn. If we choose to be, he kicks us out of the clan house immediately.

Of course, we agree, Sebai-li Wrinn. It's the least we can do for your assistance.
I'm the one who has to thank you. You are helping the South Wind Clan during a time of scarce funds. Please place your name and your mark on this document, Tom.
What do you mean by mark?
Oh, excuse me, how dumb of me. Giria already told me that humans have no scent glands. That is how we normally sign contracts. But, in this case, just your signature will probably suffice. Here, please, Tom. [Tom places his name on a document made of thick, paper-like material.] Thank you very much for your signature. It relieves me of some problems. I can talk more now this matter has been taken care of. Is there anything further you would like to know?

As a kid I never thought much of this little exchange, just again, the Iskai being pretty mature about humanity's biological differences. Except being older, and remembering that the Iskai are described as partially feline in appearance, and knowing that cats have scent glands on their paws and faces, but the most powerful ones are on their butts, I have to wonder if the implications are that Iskai use their paw glands or that they literally wipe their rear end with contracts.

I'm sorry, I have to ask, Sebai-li Wrinn, Giria told me about your old age and yet you seem to be quite young...
Yeah his sprite is the same size as that kid dreaming of power and conquest we met on the way here.
Can it be that no one has explained to you about our holiest ritual? Well. I am actually over fifty years old, an age that no Iskai can reach. I transferred my spirit into the body of a newborn, in this case my own son. The Sebai ritual is the most powerful magical act which we are capable of. It can be performed by anyone, however slight his magical talent. You must know that the Trii of a newborn has very special abilities during the first week. If an adult touches the newborn's Trii against his, he can transfer his entire self into the spirit of the child. He or she can begin life anew; the body of the adult dies at the time of the ceremony. Naturally, it is forbidden to perform the ritual without the council circle's approval. Besides the abduction of a newborn, this is the worst crime there is! According to our laws, the criminal and his entire family are punished by death. Only a few special people, the Chosen, can undergo the ritual. Further, the ritual cannot be carried out without the newborn's mother's consent. Usually it is the partner or sister of the Chosen one. If the ritual is performed, the Chosen one receives the title of Sebai, followed by a number which indicates how often he or she has been through the ritual. Therefore my title Sebai-li means that I have gone through the ritual for the first time.
My god, Driscoll! That is absolutely unbelievable! Fantastic! Think of...
You complain when I steal a knife, but he gets to steal babies and you're impressed? Also we should probably switch back to Iskai before he gets offended.
Ahem, right. NAME? JOB?
As you should know, I am the chief of the Hunters' Clan of the South Wind. The Hunters Clan of the South Wind is one of the oldest in Jirinaar. The best hunters in the city have come from our ranks for hundreds of years. You must know, in our city wild game is preferred to the cattle breeders' meat.
Tell us more of your strange, alien society, Rainer wouldn't let me have a moment's peace if we didn't pump you for information.
...well, we have multi-partner polycules centered around a core couple who are the only ones allowed to reproduce-
Awesome
-and the secondary partners are usually the siblings of the bride and groom.
Oh God that took a swerve I wasn't expecting. Rainer was weirded out by some guy with glowing seeds when I almost died. Do you guys have... wizards?
The art that cannot be performed with the hand, and only few can perform with their head. Only a few have the talent to change things or create things out of nothing with the force of their spirit and the blessing of the Goddess. There are two guilds that deal with magic, the Formers or Dji-Fadh and the Dji-Kas.
I'm sure this is just some quaint local superstition that will have no bearing on our story at all. Tell us more.
The Dji-Fadh, or Formers, are one of the oldest guilds in Jirinaar. They consider themselves to be builders primarily and, with their magic, they can alter plants and convert them into permanent structures. The Dji-Fadh guild house is located in the northwestern corner of Jirinaar. It has continued to grow since the incident with Argim a long time ago. You must know that Dji-Kas is the name of the magician's guild of Jirinaar. You will find them in the southwestern part of the city. Numerous experiments are performed with the magical talents of our people there. The Dji-Kas magic is a art with many facets: it heals, creates, and destroys.
Things usually don't get called an "incident" unless they're an interesting story, tell us more.
Argim was the chief of the Dji-Fadh almost 150 years ago and his life has become one of our legends. At that time, the guild house of the Dji-Fadh was outside the city. It was a magnificent building. Argim had a great talent in his field, but he had a fickle nature. This was the reason his greatest goal was rejected: to become one of the Chosen. When he learned about the rejection, he went completely out of control. He swore he would achieve immortality in spite of everything. In an irresponsible display of his power, he destroyed the entire building and converted it into a strange place, which everyone now avoids. They say that he stamped his spirit on that place.
...that puts a slightly darker spin on the Sebai ceremony, I suppose.
...how can it get any darker than a necromantic post-birth abortion? It's like a pro-Life poster became real. Anyway, if I leave you with Wrinn you're going to spend days bugging him for information, let's get on with our quest.
Before I forget, my friends, here is a key. It opens the doors of the Hunter Clan and, among other things, leads to our supply cellar. Whatever you need belongs to you. Also the remnants of your airship are stored there. Of course you are welcome at any time. Feel free to look around and come again whenever you want. And don't be afraid to get to know the city, almost everyone has heard about your spectacular arrival. <br> And now, the most important thing: the Sebainah would like to speak with you. Please visit her in the council building. It is located in the middle of the city, the entrance is on the south side.




Huh, it's like a plant machine. Gross. Let's go say thanks to Giria before we get out of here.



"Giria! Great to see you. We would like to thank you for everything that you did for us."
"It was an honor for me. After all the scratched and bitten hunters, treating you was an interesting change."

You can, again, be a huge dick and tell her you're just glad to get away from her tyranny. Again, there are no advantages to doing this except pissing off a mildly helpful NPC.

Giria, as a healer, do you know anything about "magic"?
Mainly, I just take care of our hunters' minor wounds. For healing serious injuries, we bring the healers of the Dji-Kas here, or go to their house. The Dji-Kas also sell medicine. The Dji-Kas produce a beverage which strengthens injured bodies and accelerates healing. I think I will give you a little: the bottles are not cheap, but we can certainly spare one. [Giria gives Tom a small bottle with a turquoise-colored liquid in it.]

Healing items in Albion are colour-coded, with green being the weakest, turquoise being mid-powered and dark blue being the most powerful.

That'll come in handy if we're in another spaceship crash.
God forbid... which reminds me: Giria, what kind of religion do the Iskai have?
Most of us believe that after death we will return back to where we came from: the Great Consciousness which is formed by all of our ancestors and is often called the Goddess. They say that the more exemplary one's life is, the more one will remain oneself when one is incorporated into the Goddess.

Most bits of dialogue from any given Iskai that aren't specific to them or their station can be had from any given Iskai, they rarely change much from character to character. In a few cases they even forgot to change it when you ask a character about their own name, or someone who has a specific relation to them that they don't have to the generic characters on the street.

Maybe before we leave, we should stock up on food, let's drop by the kitchens.



This must be where that hellishly hot stuff they fed us came from.
I love spicy food, you can't claim it hurt us.
You didn't spend weeks with a bucket... let's change the subject.

This particular exchange always puzzled me a bit. I never quite got if the implication was that Tom spent weeks in bed with a bucket of fiendishly hot mush, or whether it's something about what it did to Tom's digestion. Either way, Rainer remains the cool guy of the two because he likes spicy food and Tom, a wimp, apparently does not.




A storeroom gets looted of some gear that neither Tom or Rainer can use(being restricted to "Warrior" and "Dji-Kas Mage"), as well as some gold, spare change and Iskai rations.



This is the storeroom under the home of the South Wind Clan which we aren't going to poke at just yet. You're encouraged to go down there by Wrinn pretty much, and it's the closest thing the game gets to a starter dungeon, in my opinion, but even so it'll absolutely kick your rear end if you go down there at this point.

What are we waiting for, Tom? Wrinn said they put the remains from the crash down here, there might still be something useful left. I can't believe you'd pass up a chance to root through some containers.
I was considering it, but then I realized: we've been invited to their seat of government. The stuff there will probably be worth far more. It's not like some minor clan's cellars are going to have anything exciting in them, right?

Before we go, I also loot the other Iskai basement in here, which is mostly just a series of beds full of generic Iskai napping. When I pop back up, however...



Are you yawning? We've only been up and about for a few hours!
Give me a break, I've been bedridden for two months! I just need a chance to recover.

Persisting past multiple warnings about exhaustion will eventually result in stat penalties, so let's just have a Rest, which you can't do anywhere, but which you can do in most locations.



Thankfully this game has no ambushes while resting or similar awful mechanics, your party just chows down on one unit of rations per character and promptly recover hit points. It does not, however, cure conditions, so if someone's poisoned or the like you might still have to hoof it back to a healer.

Now let's get out into the fresh air.




An armed escort? We're getting treated with the proper respect here.
Either that or he just wants to make sure you don't palm any of the potted plants on the way there.




An office with a moat? I like the Sebainah's style.



Dsarii-ma, strange visitors. I am happy you have recovered from your wounds. <br> My name is Janiis, I'm the Sebainah of Nakiridaani and president of the council. During my time in office, I am responsible for the well- being of our people. Although your vehicle almost killed you, the hunters' descriptions of appearance were very impressive. I didn't know that there was such powerful magic. Please understand that I need to talk with you so I can learn more about your people and their intentions.
I see no reason to not tell you the reason for our presence openly, Sebainah Janiis. First, you must know that my people have reached a stage of technical development which allows them to travel between the planets... [Tom relates all of the events, often interrupted by Janiis' questions. Finally, Tom finishes with the crash landing of the shuttle on Nakiridaani.]
An astounding story, Tom Driscoll. The power of the machines of your people is awe-inspiring, although apparently they are not free of errors. At least this explains the presence of your people here. I wouldn't have believed that you came from a different world.
You surely understand that we must return to our ship as soon as possible so we can relay our experiences here. We don't know where the Toronto has landed, but I assume word will get around when such a giant machine lands.
I am quite ready to help you get transportation to the next island. Maybe someone there has heard of your world ship. Naturally, I also hope that you reach your goal so that you can explain that this is in no way a lifeless world.
Don't worry. The people on board our ship are not blind.
I don't know about that, they somehow let you have a gun.
Nah, I stole this one.
You what?
To be frank, it is incumbent of me to have good relations with such an apparently powerful culture like yours. Therefore, let me propose something to you, Tom and Rainer. In two days, there will be a small ceremony here. The occasion is my great-great-grandson's coming of age. At that time, he will be introduced into society as an adult. On the day after the festival, everything will be ready for your journey. What do you think about that?
We are surprised by your generosity, Sebainah Janiis. Of course, we will be pleased to accept your offer.
Very well. Use these two days to get to know the city and our people better. Of course, I wouldn't recommend your leaving the city without an escort, the forests can be very dangerous. Do you have anything else that you'd like to talk to me about?
Do you have anyone really nerdy I could leave Rainer with while I go have fun?
Hey!
Sebai-Giz Frill is a famous history teacher. Of course, he is often away on trips. When he is in Jirinaar, he can be found in his work room in the east wing of the council building.
Alright, thanks for the help, Janiis, we'll roll out and find this Frill fellow.

So again, I love the treatment of the Iskai here. Not MIND BLOWN by human technological prowess, aren't worshipping them or baffled by every concept, they're reasoning creatures that go: "Hm, being friends with the new big boys in town could be real beneficial, they seem like they aren't assholes."

Browsing the Janiis dialogue segment in the files from Alya, I also found that apparently if you get kicked out of the South Wind Clan's place by pissing off Wrinn, Janiis will give you some gold to make up for what you could have looted from their cupboards and basement.



Anyway, now that we've got peaceful first contact with an alien government, let's go loot their cupboards and sit on their strangely comfy-looking plant couches. I'd legitimately want a couch like that in my house if I had the space for it.



Son of a bitch, they're smart enough to lock up their valuables.
What a shame, Tom, I guess we'll just have to not rob them.
Not so fast, I've got lockpicks from the Toronto and you've got a higher Lockpicking score than me.
Tom, I'm not going to rat you out to the Iskai because I'd like to get home, but I'm not helping you steal stuff from them.
We can go see that Frill guy right away if you bust open these locks for me.
...hand me those lockpicks.



When you try to open a locked door or container, you're greeted with this, but unfortunately the game uses the exact same graphic whether it's a door only keys can open or one for breaking open with lockpicks, and no matter what, your lockpicks are consumed in the attempt, and the game has a hard number of lockpicks available in the entire game, just barely enough, as I recall it, for each pickable locked door and container, so savescumming or reading a FAQ is kind of mandatory. All these give us is some spare change, though, honestly not worth it, but it's a principle thing.



Was that guard standing five meters away watching us rob the supply closet?
Clearly the Iskai have enlightened ideas about material possessions.
Or he doesn't get paid enough to care.

Sadly it turns out Frill isn't in his office at the moment, but in the meantime we can harass some public workers, like this lady.



Exactly what does a scribe do? [verbatim from the game's dialogue options, characterizing Tom as suffering from a head injury isn't that far off the mark]
Many decisions are made in the council circles every day. All of them must be written down, which is exactly what I do. It is not a particularly exciting job, but it is highly regarded.
Those are beautiful clothes you're wearing.
I am surprised that you, a human, have an eye for that. Oh, forgive me, I didn't mean to just blurt that out. I'm pleased by your remark. You know, I used to go around naked, but recently I've wanted to be a bit provocative. So now I wear clothing. Clothing has a decorative meaning for us. It is considered very provocative to wear a lot of clothing, for what can excite someone's curiosity more than covering body parts?

Alright, let's blow this joint and check out the city. I've seen enough clerks for one lifetime.



The game has a day/night cycle, but it doesn't do much beyond be annoying when you have to rest till dawn before you can get someone healed, sell junk or continue a quest. I can recall literally one point in the game where the passage of time matters. What follows is a few minutes of me bumping into a bunch of locked doors until I find...



A bar!



That sounds like a challenge.
I'm regretting letting you come in here already.



Someone by the door said to try the Zoomi.
Please don't give my friend a Zoomi, whatever it is.
Yes, we have many different kinds, brewed from different types of fruit, strong and others less strong. Our zoomi is particularly famous. Here, try one on the house! [Zirr gives Tom a small glass with a green, iridescent liquid.]
You've made me curious, Zirr. To your health! [Tom gulps the zoomi down. A taste explosion immediately takes his breath away! he blurts out: "WHOA!" Suddenly, everything swims around in front of Tom's eyes...]



Let's see what the manual has to say about the "Intoxicated" condition...

"An intoxicated character hallucinates and is incapable of any mental actions." Sounds like business as usual, then. Let's get going.



Wandering the streets I find one place that apparently never closes for the night.



I could get used to being treated with this kind of respect.
It's definitely different from being back on Earth doing government work. Please, give us your tour.






Please don't give him permission to look around.
No takebacks!

I always liked the Iskai organic architecture in Albion, it's creative and cool without being too... magical. It just feels like a different way to accomplish what we can already do technologically, with some of its own drawbacks(for instance, you never have to prune your ceramic toilet, and imagine cleaning those moss floors.), so it feels believable.




I also kind of appreciate the generally positive and helpful tone of the Iskai. Too many games, movies and books rely on everyone being an unhelpful rear end for their plot to function at all, or just to add "grit," so it's kind of a refreshing change of pace.

In any case, the Dji-Fadh guildhouse has little of interest as most of the residents only have generic responses to questions. I do however take the chance to loot a bow for Rainer and to steal some of their medicine. I'm sure they won't need it.




But we do meet the guildmaster and tell him we like his architecture, which makes him happy. If we tell him we don't like it he calls us philistines. By the time we get back out, it's dawn, so I take the chance to harass a merchant or two.




Like this weaponsmith.

Let's distract him with dialogue while I figure out how to get behind the counter.



Nice swords you got here.
I am a passionate weapon smith. I love to make things with my hands, especially when I am working with something as valuable as metal.
It is strange that metal is so valuable on a planet so rich in raw materials.
Yes, insignificant pieces from the Goddess' body, that are converted into shining treasures by an expert's hand! Unfortunately, metal very rarely appears on the surface, and burrowing the earth would mean subjecting oneself to the wrath of the Goddess. That, for instance, is why metal from the sky has special powers.
Ah, metallic meteorites.
"When pieces of metal fall out of the heavens and are not burned up in the air before they hit ground, they often contain very powerful metals. The Dji-Kas can forge special powers out of these objects.



So, behind the counter are things I want to steal. The doors on either side are unbreachably locked. My "interaction" cursor only just reaches past the counter so I can talk to Snird.



The magic five-finger-discount trick is that if you hold down RMB to interact just as you stop moving(and let me tell you, getting the timing right for that isn't easy), you can reach two to three squares farther away than usual. Sadly the items on the right appear to not actually exist and I can't steal them, but I can get some free swords!

Let's get out of here before he notices anything.
We've still got some time before the ceremony we're invited to, maybe we could go investigate the Dji-Kas guild?

On the way I do a bit more shopping, unloading some of the generic useless weapons I have, buying more lockpicks for Rainer and finding the only shop in Jirinaar that has some wieldable-by-Tom-and-Rainer armor and weapons in a box in the back.



Tom is now properly armed and armoured for getting into some mild scraps. Rainer remains unarmoured because he's a wimp.



I seem to recall this odd graphics glitch happens in the original game, too, don't ask me why.



Inside we're immediately greeted by Sira, an apprentice Dji-Kas mage.

Your cheerfulness is infectious, Sira. Is there a special reason for it?
Oh, they tell me I have a happy nature. Also, I have recently learned from Sebai Fasiir that I may take the examination for the lowest rank of a Stri-Dji-Kas. I'm so happy about that because I haven't been with the Dji- Kas all that long. I have always looked for something I'm good at. Now it has turned out to be magic, and I'm very happy about that.

She, among others, will comment on it if we manage to get Wrinn to boot our asses out. Instead, she's nice to us. It also turns out that she's the daughter of Akiir, the leader of the Dji-Fadh guild, whose dad isn't in any way happy that she's joined the competing wizard's guild. We bid her farewell in short order because we'll be seeing more of her later anyway, and instead we go visit the guild's nice healer, who shares certain traits with the blind herbalists of Britannia.



No, thank you very much, we just wanted to look around.
How nice! People don't drop by often enough.
Trust me, you don't want him hanging around if you have anything brightly coloured or valuable here.
Let's have a chat, Rejira. [Tom tells a little about what has happened during the journey. Rejira is very happy]
Thank you very much. I love exciting conversations!
We really should be going.
Oh, wait. I believe I have a little present here for you.



So it turns out that when you talk to Rejira she will randomly, when you exit conversations, give you a blue healing potion, the strongest single healing item in the game. I think it rolls out to about a 1 in 4 chance, and is completely unrelated to what you say to her, how long you talk to her, whether you buy anything from her, etc. I've tried to find ways to replicate it reliably, but nothing's come up. The reason I've done this is that she's basically THE way to make sure you're not missing any money during/after Jirinaar, because blue healing potions also sell for a decent amount of gold, as long as you have patience, she has valuable drugs for you.

And it isn't even stealing! Better find a chair, Rainer, we're gonna be here a while.
I suppose there are worse places to be stuck for several hours until he gets bored than a magicians' guild.

Next update: Cat Crime! A cop who isn't a bastard! Action! Not necessarily in that order!

DGM_2
Jun 13, 2012


PurpleXVI posted:

This is the storeroom under the home of the South Wind Clan which we aren't going to poke at just yet. You're encouraged to go down there by Wrinn pretty much, and it's the closest thing the game gets to a starter dungeon, in my opinion, but even so it'll absolutely kick your rear end if you go down there at this point.

Indeed. I didn't have the sense to leave it until later when I played this as a kid and had to spend some of my precious bullets here. Only a few, but I didn't need to use the gun again at all until I met a certain unique enemy late in the game. I REALLY needed the rest of the ammo then, though...

Quicksilver6
Mar 21, 2008




Hair Elf

I really do love Rainer's enthusiasm. He's the first scientist to encounter an alien species and learn their culture and he is LOVING THIS poo poo.

Speaking of which, the bucket thing was probably implying poor Tom had to use one as a bedpan. Meaning that Rainer got to be Captain Picard, learning all about aliens for two straight months whilst Tom laid in a heap eating and, uh... dealing with spicy space chili in a bed.

No wonder Tom is so antsy and prone to hoarding enormous piles of alien space cat drugs.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Part 003: Basements & Cat Crime

Alright, I'm bored now.
Are you sure? You only tricked the senile old alien into giving you five bottles of expensive medicine.
Absolutely, imagine if the next native is handing out something even more valuable? We might miss out.



I don't think I'll ever stop being impressed by Iskai architecture.



I don't think I'll ever stop being impressed by Iskai store rooms.




What the hell is going on? There's no one here!
I told you about the voice.
I'm going to put this down to mysterious Iskai abilities.

Oddly enough, despite no present guard, you'll just get repeatedly yelled at if you try to loot these containers. In a more modern game it'd probably be a cue to find a way to sneak in and loot them unseen, but this is Albion, where these containers will solely exist to taunt us forevermore.

If that's the way it's going to be, I know a place we can loot where no one will yell at us.




Wow, we managed to spend an entire day sight-seeing in Jirinaar.
And collecting souvenirs! Time flies when you're having fun.
Speaking of, how are you still drunk 24 hours after drinking a Zoomi?




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75ZvFKF4Lv8

Tom and Rainer explore the basement of the South Wind Clan, stealing their food, recovering some items from the remnants of the shuttle and almost getting killed by first a cave-in and then wild animals. They also find a clock. Rainer gets his rear end kicked while Tom emerges without a scratch. Tom and Rainer also have a short conversation about the Iskai.



Since he appears to be drunk, I hope it wasn't Tom falling down the stairs.
You have a serious vermin problem in your supply cellar, Wrinn! We were-
-looking through the wreckage of our shuttle, far away from any of the South Wind Clan's possessions-
-when we got attacked by wild animals! Of course, being a badass, I defeated them all.
How terrible this had to happen to you! This house is very old and the cellar has just been rebuilt. Apparently, we have now come close to older areas which are animal-infested. Has any one of you been injured?
They kicked Rainer's rear end and broke my hat.
I'm really sorry about that! Here, take this medicine! I'm glad you have survived this adventure, friends. We didn't nurse you back to health just so you could then be eaten by the animals in our house! Don't let it upset your plans any further, but be careful in the cellar! Who knows how long it will take before we find all of the uninvited visitors there?
Don't worry, Wrinn, we'll take care of them.
That's unexpectedly altruistic of you, Tom.
There was an optional breakable wall down there, Rainer, you know what that means.
That we have the option to not cause property damage and endanger ourselves further?
No, that's where the good stuff is going to be. Excuse us, Wrinn, we have some preparation to do.



I can tell you have a plan, what is it and how am I going to regret it?
This is obviously a dangerous world, Rainer, I'm just going to see to it that we're prepared to deal with it.





Unlike in some games, like some of the Ultimas, there aren't really any "trap" choices with regards to trainers, only price differences and some of them have a few additional training options(for instance, some of them can train us in Critical Hit skills). The closest thing you can come to a training trap is overspending on party members that won't be with you till the end, but the game isn't dickish about constantly swapping party members in and out. Almost everyone who joins the party is someone you can choose to bring with you until the final encounters.



Watching you get beat up by an old man was oddly satisfying.
I'm glad you found it funny, Rainer, because you're next.
Oh look, it's time. We should go to the festival the Sebainah invited us to.
Going to a kid's birthday party won't distract me, Rainer.

The reminder to head to the ceremony came up more or less out of the blue, days pass real fast in Albion.



I guarantee you won't even remember it by the time we get there.
Something truly shocking and unexpected would have to happen for that to be the case.





Oh my God, I can't believe it!
I know! That was a human! There are other humans on this world!
-and worse, I'm not the only one with a gun on this planet!
...technically that looked more like a small crossbow.
Phew, false alarm, the Dominion of Tom hasn't been derailed.



This would be emotionally shattering if we knew anything about him other than that he made cool couches.
Sebainah! The murderer has fled through a window! We'll search the city!
We must act quickly! Send for Drirr, the Stiriik for Human Affairs! Everyone, please, go to your homes, the ceremony is at an end. Tom, Rainer, we must talk.
That's an understatement.
Some might believe you had something to do with this crime, simply because you share a race with the murderer, but even though I know little of your kind, I believe you to be just as shocked as I am.
Right now we're trying to get over the surprise that there are native humans on this world.
No one told you? But I thought... you must have misunderstood our earlier conversation, the island we were going to give you passage to is settled by your fellow humans.
"Were going to" seems to imply that offer no longer stands.
That is unfortunately the case. By our laws, should a criminal manage to evade the Stiriik, the responsibility for his capture lies with his family, of course aided by one or more capable Stiriik officers. As fellow humans, you are the closest thing the murderer has to a family here, and will be responsible for his capture.
So what you mean is...
Sweet merciful God no.
...that we're officers of the Law now.
I'm absolutely sure that isn't what Janiis means.
Technically-
Please don't encourage him.
Deputy Rainer, I'll excuse your unprofessional conduct. Miss Sebainah, we're extremely enthused about our new roles and will begin collecting evidence immediately.
Once Drirr arrives, you can begin your investigation.
I suppose we can't violate the law. Is there anything you can tell us to help our investigation?
This was almost certainly a contracted killing, I recognize the murderer as belonging to an organization known for such.



Dsarii-ma, Sebainah Janiis.
Dsarii-ma, Drirr. Have you been informed of the crime?
Indeed! It's a shocking event!
These are Tom and Rainer, our human visitors. As strangers here, they will need your help solving the crime.
They will have my full support. Tom, Rainer, I'm sorry we have to meet under such circumstances.
Dsarii-ma, Drirr, excuse any strangeness on our parts, especially Tom's, this is all a bit overwhelming.
We should visit Sebai-Giz Frill, he's the foremost authority on humans in Jirinaar.




I am trying to help them in any way I can, Sebai-Giz Frill!
Naturally, Drirr. They are in good hands with you. I know you are pressed for time, but just to satisfy my curiosity, I would like you to tell me the story of how you arrived on Nakiridaani. [Filled with a strange feeling of trust towards the old Iskai, Tom tells Frill about their origin, the trip, and the humans' original intentions on this planet] Very astonishing. It's ironic that you knew nothing about the presence of other humans here until you saw this frightful murder. Now, can I possibly provide you with any information?
From your title, I take it that you have gone through the Sebai ritual 20 times. Therefore, are you actually over 600 years old?
Hmmm, yes, we should question Frill. What an odd coincidence, the crime committed by a human, Frill knows about humans, Frill returned just as the crime occurred...
That is true, Rainer. My interest in this world and its history keeps me from getting weary of life, as so often happens with Sebai. And it is my knowledge which keeps causing the council to make me a candidate.
What is the history between humans and Iskai on this world?
Tom! You couldn't possibly suspect Frill! He's a highly respected historian!
I suspect everyone, Drirr, even... myself.
The time when humans first appeared is hidden in the darkness of history even for me. However, unlike many others, I do not believe they originally came from this world: You have confirmed my theory. However, relations between humans and Iskai have not always been peaceful, especially during the early centuries after humans arrived. There were repeated wars with the Iskai. Apparently, these early humans considered it normal to take territory by force. However, as time went on, the conflicts became less frequent...the last altercation was over 156 years ago. However, our race is inclined to forget quickly, while humans, I believe, have changed their ways somewhat over the centuries. They have developed cultures that differ more than is normal for the Iskai. As far as I know, Iskai and humans live fairly peacefully together now.
Do you have any idea who could have ordered Akiir's murder?
I'm impressed, Tom! You're willing to investigate even the most unlikely avenues, you'd make a fine Stiriik.
Thank you... partner, together we're going to bring the law to this town.
A difficult question. A similar event happened more than 240 years ago. It involved a powerful Iskai merchant who became very involved with human affairs. Akiir had no relations with human beings. Therefore, only an Iskai could have given the orders. But why anyone could have had a reason for such horrible behavior is a complete riddle to me.
Tell us more about the other human cultures on this world, Frill.
Tom, is this relevant to the investigation?
It's at the heart of the investigation, Drirr. While Rainer distracts Frill, we'll rifle through his desk and cupboards for evidence.
Beloveno is a harbor city in the south of the great continent far northeast of here. We call this land Trenkiriidan, and the humans call it Maini. Both humans and Iskai live there. Beloveno itself is inhabited mostly by humans, but also some Iskai. The city lives primarily from trading. If I remember correctly, Drirr's mother is from Beloveno. He can certainly tell you something about this city.
In the dry land far to the east live some humans devoted to producing valuable metals. They know rituals for placating the Goddess, who is offended by this digging for metals. They produce weapons, many different crafted implements, and jewelry, and export these all over the world. We also get many metals from them. A long time ago, their monopoly was so strong that regular wars broke out among the humans. Even today there are no great smiths among the humans who are not under the Umajos' influence. It is said that they set the assassins of the Kenget Kamulos against their competitors, but that is only a rumor.
Frill, are you sure that digging for raw materials raises the Goddess' wrath?
You know our language well enough that I can hear the doubt in your voice, Rainiir. This is not a question of belief, my friend. We have tried many times to get valuable metals from the earth. It has always caused catastrophes, earthquakes, or appearances of horrible beings. These are not rumors, but things I have actually experienced. No, be assured that I can tell superstition from reality very well.
Strange, Driscoll, that someone who is as educated as Frill, would cling to such convictions.
Hmm, I agree. He inspires confidence, but somehow I get the impression the old boy knows even more than he tells us. However, we better start talking Iskai again.
Thank you for your time, Frill.



Now that we have Drirr in the party and a moment of control, it may be worth checking out his stats.




Tom included for comparison. Drirr is weaker than Tom, but much faster and comparatively a master of the combat skills. If you were playing "optimally" it would probably make sense to not enter the South Wind Clan basement at all until you had him recruited. He can also equip the Warrior/Dji-Kas-only gear we've been picking up, since it's Iskai-specific. I'm not sure why Drirr has an available training bar for Magic Talent, because as far as I know he can never learn magic, unless that's some extremely well-hidden plot thread I've never managed to find in like 5 or more exhaustive playthroughs of the game. Drirr, like all Iskai, also has a tail equipment slot that can accept small knives for a damage boost.




He goes on the front line next to Tom and then gets kitted out with all our stolen goods.




-without a trial?
Because he is the Law.
Oh thank God we're here before you can poison Drirr's mind any further.



Sira, have you heard of the death of your father?
Yes I... I never even got the chance to speak to him again... have you found his murderer?
We're on his trail right now, miss.
I grieve with you, Sira. Though we haven't found the killer, he was seen near this building.



The murderer was seen near your guild hall, may we look around?
Of course, we have nothing to hide.






https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxa2gZXIM2g

Oh God, my eyes!
That's assault on an officer of the law! Just as soon as I can... see...




How many windows is he going to jump through?



Well, who are you and why have you helped the murderer escape?
And how many more flashbangs are you carrying for us to confiscate?
His name is Kriis, he was a member of our guild. Answer the Stiriik, you miserable skorrek.
But Fasiir! You ordered it yourself! I won't be your sacrifice in this, you paid the murderer!
WHAT? Drirr, he's lying! Don't believe a word of what he says!
But you have a motive for the murder, you had hostilities with Akiir...
I could have taken revenge long before now! Why would-
Stiriik, take them both into custody until we get to the bottom of this!
...I need some time alone by myself, this is too much.
We almost had the murderer-
-if not for that meddling window!
-but we might still be able to catch him on the streets!
I feel like we're missing out, what's the story with Fasiir and Akiir aside from Sira?
Fasiir's sister died on a hunting trip with Akiir, and they've been enemies ever since.
Alright. Let's hit the streets and hunt for the murderer, I already have a hunch on where we'll find him.

Next time: Buddy cops! More crime! More combat!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

One of the other slightly annoying things in this game is that it's pretty committed to things that 'make sense' in character abilities. Tom, for instance, is bigger and tougher than an Iskai and he can become reasonably competent with melee weapons because he's still an athletic guy, but he'll never be as good as people who actually trained to use swords and shields and spears most of their lives up to this point. Despite being the main character he's forever going to be behind characters like Drirr since he only picked up an axe when this adventure began.

At the same time, he can use a gun. That's sweet.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Night10194 posted:

At the same time, he can use a gun. That's sweet.

The guns also have a hidden attribute that raises Long Range Combat by a notable amount, mind you, so being able to use guns does overrule some of his lacking combat skills.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Doctor Rope

I think the gun gives like +40 or +50 to hit, it's crazy. The gun also hits harder than any other physical weapon in the game.

How many bullets do you have, though? Like 20? 30?

Also Tom is at least pretty tough and he can wear good armor and handle some pretty decent weapons, so he's not useless. Rainer...well, you eventually just give Rainer a bow and treat any hits he scores as a nice bonus while your real characters handle most of the fighting. He'd be way more of a load if he wasn't one of the best characters in the game character-wise.

GatesHood
Feb 19, 2011

Improve Yourself.
Help others do the same.
Try to leave the world a bit better than if you'd not been here.


This LP is absolutely hilarious. Keep on keeping on, Purple!

evilmiera
Dec 14, 2009

Status:Perpetually fearful

Ahh, Albion. Was pondering playing it today actually, but then remembered I had No idea where in the plot I was at or what I was doing.

DGM_2
Jun 13, 2012


When I played this, my first thought during the murder scene was "Why is someone from the Toronto running around assassinating aliens with a crossbow?" It made way more sense than the idea that humans were somehow native to Albion. When they dropped that reveal a minute later my reaction was "How the HELL does that even work?!?"

inscrutable horse
May 19, 2010

Parsing sage, rotating time

I'm getting the distinct impression, that Tom is distantly related to one "Steve" who was also known to adventure in strange places Are we going to see cannon-related crime in the near future?

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

inscrutable horse posted:

I'm getting the distinct impression, that Tom is distantly related to one "Steve" who was also known to adventure in strange places Are we going to see cannon-related crime in the near future?
If that is the case, the real question is who is Yolo.

Although I don't think Albion lets you engage in quite as many shenanigans as the latter Ultimas.

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Xander77
Apr 6, 2009

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




"Of course humans were here all along - so you're going to get human party members and equipment, and the whole 'lost in an alien culture' aspect of the game will essentially disappear" is a pretty major warning sign about the game's quality.

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