Enderal first time, impressions

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Buccaneer
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While I wish you chose Calia, I can understand and respect your choice.

I second Ragnarok's comment about your interesting thoughts. But with a name like Ragnarok, he would. ;)
dyslexicfaser
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- The first step in getting to Kurmai’s workshop is taking a teleport scroll out to Duneville in the Powder Desert. How did Kurmai travel to and from Ark and his workshop halfway across the continent? The man must pay a fortune in teleport scrolls.
The Nehrimese are also invading Duneville, but just a little. You know, just enough so one passing adventurer can tip the scales and assist in murdering all the invaders. More of aLuckily they don’t bring the boats they used to invade Ark, since Duneville is built half on stilts over the water of their little cavern grotto.
It is a smuggler town, so possibly it’s really hard to find their hidden cove from the sea?

- Wandering up the coast in search of the workshop, I run into:
1) That little building called the Hollow Hand from ages ago, with the crucified corpses out front to discourage visitors. It turns out to contain two wizards and half a dozen marauders. It appears to be half tavern, half brewery, and half… hookah den?

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They’d probably do better business if they didn’t attack everyone who comes in the door and nail their corpses up outside as a warning to the others, but who am I to oppress the local small business owner?
2) A ship come aground with, for once, non-aggro people in it. They don’t have much to say, but apparently this is Duneville’s Fruit Corporation. I assume this is a polite way of saying ‘smugglers of same’, but who knows? All I really know is that they’re a little confused about how the logging profession works.

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3) Of course, a little further down the coast is the DFC’s warehouse, which will try to murder you on sight. Getting a lot of mixed messages here, guys.

I am digging the jungle biome with dirt brick house motif, though. Looks like it's not just the giant apes that like that building style, everybody's doing it!

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4) A cool little grotto call Kynea Grotto, equal parts shallow water (I appreciate the ripples as I move about), glowing crystal, rudimentary buildings and scaffolding taking advantage of the crystal, and the occasional vein of shadowsteel ore. Also, fire and soil elementals, and a mage hobo.

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After killing the crazed mage, I get to read a tattered diary that sheds some light on things. It seems that all these hidden caves with crystal growing everywhere I’ve been finding are also Pyrean ruins.
If the statue the man has been worshipping can be trusted to be a factual historian, anyway. It’s been telling him stories of the Pyreans, and he keeps the tales tucked away so that he might someday ‘fulfill her wish’...
There’s probably something to it, anyway, since after killing the mage an Oorbaya manifests itself and tries to punch my face in with its hideous hand-fist.
Was that the spirit in the statue, trying too late to save its only worshipper?
Was it like, his ghost or something? I seem to recall mages who reach too far (arcane fever 100%, perhaps?) turn into Oorbayas.
Or… I think in Silvergrove when things came to a head there with Ryneus, an Oorbaya showed up like a mini-boss, do these things come from the High Ones?

- Actually, thinking about it, I’m wondering if all these spooky-ass Lovecraftian statues tempting men’s souls – this one, Kor from that side quest in the tropics, the one that got Constantine, etc. – aren’t just small heathen gods in Enderal’s fucked-up cosmology, but rather Pyreans. I’m suddenly reminded of the temple where Constantine went full cultist, and the old goat telling us how the Pyreans could stick their souls into objects, and how crazy such a being would likely be after thousands of years…

- Kurmai’s workshop is located in a cave amongst pumpkin-shaped cacti grown to huge sizes, and the occasional Red Madness’d individual. I appreciate that they have unique soundbites that make them sound fucking nuts (‘Bring him back!’ and the one who’s just counting prime numbers or something), and how they run the gamut from a level 1 unarmed peasant-woman to possessed bandits with rune armor and axes.
I’m much less enthused about the Myrad sitting on the nearby cliff. I mean, after a while in this game the sight of those creepy cow-bird-insect things is synonymous with safe travel and the bank boxes that let you store loot. I figure, ‘Oh, new fast-travel point!’ and walk right up to it.
This, of course, is a wildMyrad, and it turns out they’re kind of like fluffy black-eyed dragons. They fly around and have a glowing green breath weapon and… well, it’s been a while since the game murdered me, you know? You almost start to miss it, after a while…

- Aaaanyway, Kurmai’s workshop!
There’s a nice little ledge from which you can see the mighty vessel moored, which… appears to be an honest to god steampunk airship. This is what we’re going to be flying into space in?

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The Agnod, that beast of a sidequest crash-landed in the frozen north, was a flying saucer of 100% ancient metal. This one – and to hear one mage underling tell it, a similar ship being built in Anku, the Starling city – is made of wood and a canvas envelope.
We Spelljammer now, lads.

- The Order beat me here and have sent mages and laborers. It’s pretty busy with people down here actually. I’m not entirely sure what the Order folks are doing, because I’m quick to learn that most of the actual work is being done by those little Starling machine critters that look like spiders and are filled with cogs and meat.
They’re underfoot in the walkways, poking around here and there, doing their thing.
I actually meet Kurmai in the middle of an argument with one.

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Cute, right? Any entropy mage that had to brave Agnod is also probably pretty fond of them. As the only beastie in that junker that could be controlled by Entropic Blood, they were extremely crucial in me managing to brute force my way through that horrid place.

- Kurmai needs materials for ‘Gertrude’ (all ships are girls you know), and apparently I’m the only one around here who can go dungeon diving for him. I was kind of hoping it would just be like, shadowsteel or something. But no, there are some very specific old Starling mines and camps I’ll need to hit up.
Most notably, Thalgard, which appears to be the local name for ‘hubris’ and ‘overreach.’ Also, ‘toxic mist.’


The Takeaway:
Questions about why Kurmai built his workshop across an entire mountain range aside (maybe Duneville smugglers have dynamo cores on the cheap or something), I’m liking the quest so far. The possessed people and Nehrimese attacks sprinkled throughout familiar old locations do what they can to ratchet up tension, we knew about his material issues from minute one so the fetch quest follows logically, and ‘sail a wooden ship to the moon’ is at least interesting.
I’m already assuming I’m going to have to do battle with the undead ghost of Dal’Marak in the toxic ruins of Thalgard over that stupid drive core, but I’ve been hearing about Dal’Marak in loading screens and in the hushed voices of tavern-goers for a while so I’m kind of looking forward to the forced side quest rather than dreading it.
I do feel like these nested quest chains can really bog a story down if the links are too tenuous (“So I need the drive core to finish the ship to get me to the moon in the hopes of finding the Ancient Fathers who might know about the Numinos which will let me aim the Beacon to destroy the High Ones? Got it!”), hopefully that won’t be the case here.
Buccaneer
Paladin
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Word of advice. When you get deep into Thalgard, follow the trail down to the quest marker. Do NOT turn left and go up into the city. ;)
badgesareus
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Of course you should turn left and go up the stairs. There is some interesting loot for those who survive. What's the worst that could happen?
a similar ship being built in Anku, the Starling city – is made of wood and a canvas envelope
If you ever play Nehrim, you will see it up close and personal.
Buccaneer
Paladin
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The worst that could happen? You quit the game in anger and frustration. :)

Of course if one plays on an easy level, then it loses its sting, but what the fun in that? There have been quite a few people that gave up on Enderal early on because it was too hard compared to the ease of Skyrim. But as you said, it's worth the struggle because the rewards are great. Some struggles are much greater than others, though. ;)
Zorg
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30.04.2018 02:13dyslexicfaser hat geschrieben:
He asks about my relationship status with Calia, which is presumably the decision point Zorg was talking about earlier.
Yep, your decision was to be expected. Poor Calia, and poor you, now you will never see her
[+] spoiler
dancing :wink:
07.05.2018 05:12Buccaneer hat geschrieben:
The worst that could happen? You quit the game in anger and frustration. :)
Maybe we should have warned her about Agnod, i think that was frustrating at the time, but now she's powerful enough, no need for warnings anymore..
Buccaneer
Paladin
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Yeah, I did it in jest. I was powerful even playing on Iron Path and Thalgard was about the hardest thing I had ever done in a game like this.

Regarding Calia
[+] spoiler
She changes because of her love for you. Jespar is just Jespar.
badgesareus
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it's worth the struggle because the rewards are great. Some struggles are much greater than others, though
But aside from the loot, it is so satisfying when you can finally clear that place out.
Plus it's a twofer,
[+] spoiler
you also get to take out one of the "myths & legends."
dyslexicfaser
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Sorry for the long break, y’all. Got a new job so my priorities have been elsewhere. Let’s continue with gathering supplies for our moon trip, shall we?


- First stop on the old Starling mine tour is maybe a little too easy? Feels like filler.
Work your way through a few spiders (for there are always spiders), a few Starling robots (how else could you know it’s a Starling mine?), grab up a few chunks of ominously glowing metal doo-dads, and Bob’s your uncle.

- Nearby on the other hand, is the ominously named ‘Soulbed.’ This presumably optional dungeon is a party mix of undead types, and some cool set pieces.
Every sort of undead I’ve run into so far, from basic archers to advanced magic-using ancestors, except – funnily enough, considering this is the desert – Sere Lost Ones.

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That's a chest set beneath a beam of light, charred corpses reaching towards the light like it's salvation or destruction or both.
I'm a little disappointed when edging gingerly into the beam of light to click on the chest doesn't set me on fire.
Maybe that's weird? It’s probably weird to be disappointed.
The next zone inside the Soulbed is called the Open Graves, and I work my way through half a dozen middleweight undead before charging headfirst into a Lord of the Lost Ones, who chops me down with his two-hander.
Not like, one of those stubborn hardwood trees like an oak or anything. More like a soft wood, like a soft pine or something?
An inch of balsa wood, maybe.
Welp.

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- So, off to Thalgard. Fairly dim and gloomy, which I suppose is only to be expected from an area supposedly steeped in toxic mist or whatever. Bright green crystal bits dot the landscape, suggesting there’s Pyrean ruins around. Towards the end of the path there’s some lighting in the form of giant… well, they kind of have the aesthetic of paper lanterns, if paper lanterns were round, larger than a man, and shod in iron instead of wood. That helps a bit with the general gloom.

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I was warned that stepping off the path is only for ‘ard bastards, but the instincts of an Elder Scrolls protagonist are strong. There could be treasure in there, you know? I don’t even know what I’d spend money on, considering I’ve already bought the two houses in the game and tear all my gear from the unfeeling hands of double-killed Starling liches and stuff. I just… I just want it, okay?
Maybe I can make a Scrooge McDuckian vault and swim around in my gold pennies when I’m not out saving the world or flying to the moon.
Well, while the Destroyed Abbey doesn’t have an overabundance of treasure, it does have an abundance of are Monks. Contrary to the peaceful, pleasant title, Monks are rough customers. The base form of a Monk is one of those ghostly lightning-and-ice magic user types, like the Alchemists from the plague mushroom sidequest way back in the day. But pile on more Elementalist stats and pour a boatload of HP on top and you have the idea.

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This is a pretty rad setpiece, though. The Monks walk the aisles and man the lectern of this open-air lecture hall that probably didn’t start out exposed to the elements whenever this Abbey was actually in business. The ground is coated in waist-high ferns, and the skeletons posed on their benches appear to be growing antlers or horns or something.
The inside of the Abbey is more vanilla. The main hall and sleeping quarters are do-able with a little luck (and a timestop comboing into Rocksolid to soak up 90% of a magic-user’s ability to drop serious damage on a poor old Prophetess), where the rooms contain at most a Monk or two supported by archers or mighty wisps. I pick up a fair number of skillbooks and a few spellbooks, which is kind of nice.
The library contains no less than four Monks, backed up by at least as many lesser undead archers.
Welp.

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- Clustered around the Abbey – which I find the first time, regretfully, by running off a cliff while being chased by Monks – is the remnants of a small town. Well, actually a pretty big town, for Enderal. Bigger than Arp Central over on the western side of the continent or the weird town-zoo of elemental wolves around Calia’s dad’s old place.
Smaller than Ark, thank God.
Aside from the usual undead types, this place has a monster called an ‘elemental ghost.’ That’s a soil elemental that somehow became undead what.
On the sliding scale of undead threats that tops out at Lords of the Lost Ones, those giant-sized Grotesque Ones and, just below them, Monks, these guys are the next rung down on that ladder. They have tons of HP like Monks and throw lightning (natch), but they don’t tend to run as much and their magic doesn’t seem to have the same punch. Do-able.
I also run into a little door reading ‘Thalgard Crematory’, but I’m still stinging from the Abbey and would rather walk up the normal way thank you very much. With my luck the Crematory would be filled with flaming corpses that throw fireballs or something.
As something of a connoisseur of getting blown up by magic by now, I would rate fireballs as the scariest type of magic in Enderal, since suddenly you just explode and your world is a fiery hell for multiple steps in any direction. Ice meanwhile is the most annoying magic for a swordsy sort of girl, since the mages seem to be programmed to fire and run away a lot, and you can’t exactly catch up when you’re slowed by cold. Lightning hits you in your mana bar, but since I do all my summoning before the fight I could give a shit.

- So I work my way around and up a small hill, chasing the minimap point, and run into a shining white figure on the hill called the Steel Guardian. Turns out he’s one of Enderal’s five hidden monsters. There’s a book series that describes these ‘myths and legends’, that explains he once was Dal’Marak’s trusted arcanist Ibrael. Yadda yadda tried to kill his boss for straying from the path, yadda yadda too late, yadda yadda cursed to roam the land and so on and so forth.
He hits like a truck with his giant axe and has a huge HP bar, which is to be expected of something the size and general disposition of a Starling Centurion like our old buddy Horst/Pahtira. Single enemies are the easiest to bring down with timestop though, since I don’t have to waste valuable time running around. Timestop Power Attacking his face like a lumberjack with a stubborn tree does the trick, and then it’s just cleaning up a couple of his Monk buddies.

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Although I have to say, for being a secret boss the loot is uninspiring. A couple of books I’ve already read and 1000 gold pennies. Why can’t I get that giant glowing white axe as large as my entire body?! Even if I can’t use it I could put it on my wall and tell stories about it to wide-eyed Ark kids.

- Just outside the ‘Starling workshop’ I’m looking for are a handful of ‘Sunborn’ which, going by their armor, appear to be Skaraggs, the local barbarian archetype.
Just squatting in a ruined house out in the ass-end of nowhere, with ruined Viking warships crashed against the shore outside. It kind of looks like they came to plunder Enderal, then spontaneously decided to give up the Viking raider life and become fishermen. Armed with axes and heavy furs.
I wonder. We know there was some unspecified disaster out here in Thalgard. Could it be in response to a Skaragg invasion? Could it have originated out on the water, driving the Skaraggs to beach themselves to avoid worse disaster? Why ‘Sunborn’?
I hope we find out.


The Takeaway:
The Thalgard region is just as tough as advertised, but fighting hard stuff for the sake of difficulty isn’t really my jam. I’m much more interested in the lore implications. I have faith that Dal’Marak didn’t just go mad and poison himself and everyone else in a vacuum, and I’m looking forward to learning just what happened here.
Enderal is a hundred stories of good intentions gone awry and foul. Of love turned to hate, of lovers turned to necromancy, of murder born from fear, of religion turned to blind zealotry and freedom-loving rebels turning to Madame Guillotine to sort out their problems. Well, there’s a few stories of greed and malice and human stupidity in there too, but that’s humans for you I guess.
Buccaneer
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and that was the easy part of Thalgard.
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