Enderal first time, impressions

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badgesareus
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I don't mind the bandits and undead, they are just something to get past to see the sights. In a game like this, I am a tourist, wanting to see it all, inside and out.
dyslexicfaser
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- So I meet up with Jespar in Duneville.

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Look at that poor bastard. Like his world is ending.

- The music is, as ever, on point. Arabian Nights-esque violin and some kind of wind instrument, like wind across the sands, a mournful piano creeping in… and here and there, a strain of pure, slithering menace.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXF5Pg6 ... uGiATi_tYY

- So I head out into the desert with Jespar at my heels… and immediately get distracted by a ruin called Old Ishmartep.
That resolution to ignore the side stuff and finish the main quests lasted long.

- The Tomb Guardians inside are using the models of Skyrim’s mid-level Falmer: needle teeth, nonexistent nose, pointed ears, near-blind pink eyes, blue-green veins shining through translucent skin. Loincloth, greaves, gauntlets, the multi-eyed masks. Creepy as shit, in a phrase.

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It’s a much different feel than exploring a Falmer-infested ruin, though. Fighting the Falmer always felt like putting down some piteous creatures. Fighting the Tomb Guardians feel like fighting a small army.
Part of it’s the lighting;
The tomb isn’t well-lit exactly but there are cracks in the walls here and there letting in natural light. There are lit fire braziers. No bioluminescent green glowing fungus to be found.
Part of it’s in the fighting itself;
Falmer tend to chitinous equipment and armor and domesticate chaurus bugs; the Tomb Guardians are dressed in simple cloth, but well-equipped with silver-steel swords, shields of bone and bows of wood and horn. It’s not like hideous pus beetle animal husbandry would be easy, probably! But fighting with well-forged swords and shields makes the Tomb Guardians feel more civilized.

- Most of it is in the wordless storytelling you get from exploring the tomb, though.
You can find bags of gunpowder. Mining equipment. Maps.
I don’t know if Old Ishmartep wants to conquer the surface world the way the Falmer do, but they already feel like they’ll have a better shot at it than the Falmer.
There’s a zone in the dungeon called the Nest, and I figure, “Oh, here’s the spider section.” There’s usually a spider section. Agnod, ancient crashed spaceship, had a spider section.
Well, not exactly; this zone involves the Tomb Guardians fighting off an encroaching sand spider nest. Within a minute the spiders are dead and the Tomb Guardians haven’t lost a fighter.
I have to murder spiders all the time too, they get everywhere! It feels like we have so much in common!

- After completing the simple fetch quest to unlock the door to his ornate tomb, Ishmartep himself emerges from his coffin in beams of light, a shriveled king complete with a golden crown upon his head.
Given the way he one-shotted my ice elemental, I assume he’s probably at the level of one of the Lost One Lords, but popping the timestop power and double power attacking him a couple times meant I didn’t have to find out.
That power is honestly the most ridiculous so far; I leveled twice in this dusty dungeon, and put both points into taking it to Level 3 (12 seconds, Dio Brando ain’t shit in comparison)

- Well, a quick teleport back to Duneville to sell an armory’s worth of silver-steel later:

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Surmak Saltblow looks ridiculous with his mouth hanging open, you’d think no one had ever jumped up on his counter to talk to him before.
Actually, he just tends to leave his gob open in general, giving him this constant look of gormless surprise, it’s kind of funny.
It’s also pretty nice that everything in Duneville (except the jail) is in one zone, so you can hear the bard from the tavern as you shop.
Anyway, that over with, I can get back on the road to Jespar’s meetup with his sister.

- The old Dal’Varek estate is in the midst of an oasis in the desert, more of a jungle biome than anything. Not what I was expecting.
Aside from being attacked by panthers and lions, I also have to fight some Marauder-type bandits. One of them steps up the usual Enderalean insult game by calling me a ‘fucking bitch.’
Welp.

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Jespar also has this line when he watches me tear the soul out of a bandit and eat it to refresh myself. His reaction is:
“Who needs potions when he knows Entropy?”
Jespar’s good people. I mean, for an undead ghost-summoning swordswoman such as myself. It’s probably for the best that the game doesn’t have Calia react to the Entropy thing, although that would be pretty interesting in its own way.

- Jespar and Adila’s meetup spot is in their old kids’ hidey-hole, which turns out to be an abandoned shadowsteel mine.
Well, ‘abandoned.’
Miners moved in at some point, and were then massacred by Lost Ones when the, you know, Red Madness and everything happened.
Jespar’s childhood hideout was built on top of a mine, which was built on top of a crypt.
Welcome to Enderal.

- In fairness, it looks totally sweet, and I'd want to explore it if I were some stupid kid, too.

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- So the plan is for Jespar to take the lift down to meet her, and I’m going to have to fight my way through the crypt to come out in the bushes and spy on them.
I’m not even surprised.
Gives me a chance to try out the new Za Warudo power, and wow. Timestop, where have you been all my life?

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It was pretty neat when the Lost Ones heard me walking around, opened the door and waltzed out of the crypt and into the mine area. But otherwise the crypt is surprisingly small and easy to get through, which I appreciate.

- Anyway! Adila has a new victim – because of course she was the one murderin’ dudes, nobody except Jespar believed otherwise for a second – and this one’s a little special. One of the guys who killed their parents and burned their house to the ground.
Now, I’m not entirely sure if that means he’s from the Relata – the mob – or one of the corrupt judges that Jespar’s dad tried to bring down, or what. It doesn’t really matter in the end, I guess. He’s just a prop in this tale of sibling… whatever.
He tries to talk her down for a few minutes, while I wonder when exactly I’m supposed to pop out of the bushes and shank her in the back.

- Jespar tries to get her to give him the Stone and then leave free, but anyone who’s ever seen Gollum and that ring knows that wasn’t going to end well, either.
Adila summons up a blast of flame that sets both the victim and Jespar on fire.

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Welp.

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Adila’s pretty good, but she’s no… well, me.


The Takeaway:
It’s kind of shocking, how quickly that was over. Constantine's death I saw coming, with the chanting in elder tongues and madman ramblings; Jespar's I didn't. Which I guess is the point, right? Jespar isn’t a Capital Letter Emissary, he’s just a guy. And when you play with fire, when you involve yourself in big events… sometimes you get burnt. Luck runs out.
I don’t think there was any way to avoid that; that would be a pretty enormous story beat going completely differently if I could walk up and shank Adila in the back while they were talking.
But I think it says something that I kind of want to reload and try it anyway.
Ragnarok
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Thank you for another episode!

Don't bother reloading. Simply load the game and walk away from where his body lies and towards the exit. Things will answer themselves. :-)
Buccaneer
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Thanks dyslexicfaser!

Actually, that was exactly what I did - reload and tried it again. But as Ragnarok said, let the story play itself out, you are an observer to this harrowing scene.
badgesareus
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Well, a quick teleport back to Duneville to sell an armory’s worth of silver-steel later:
I hope you didn't sell the golden statue you got from Ishy, it's a quest item if you happen upon t\a certain side quest.
dyslexicfaser
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- On the way out, the torch flames turn blue and who should appear?
Not a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

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I suppose it’s possible for her to sound more like a devil looking to strike a deal, but I’m not sure how.

- Now, the Veiled Woman is here to lay some facts on us in the way of all Oracle-type supporting characters, but trying to figure out what exactly she’s copping to is tricky.
Presumably part of that is, you know, fifth-dimensional being trying to talk down to a third-dimensional hairless ape. But also she just sounds suspicious as a fox trying to explain why she’s in this particular henhouse, but it’s okay, she’s on your side.
So I’m going to put on my critical reading glasses and examine every word.

- First off, she recognizes that maybe I’m a little peeved about that whole ‘getting Sirius and I discovered as stowaways, tied to a big rock, and dumped overboard’ thing from the start of the game.
She claims this was necessary, because of course.
She tells a tale where we made it to Enderal only to be found creeping overboard in the dead of night, only to be caught and killed in hopes of a promotion to Petty Officer First Class or whatever. That’s what would have happened without her interference, she said.
That could be true. Those of us without extra-dimensional future-senses can’t exactly check one way or the other.
But how exactly was getting us murdered faster any better? Why did it need to happen that way? Did I need to doubt my own survival (dumped overboard rather than stabbed through the head) to get this undead Prophetess thing to work? Is it something to do with the tower I found myself washed up on the shore next to? Is there someone or something with their eye on Enderal, and the little life-death switcheroo had to happen in open waters?
Give me something to work with here, lady.

- Aside from killing me (and, to be fair, bringing me back as a sword-swinging, magic-slinging badass... that still dies to the occasional snow wolf), of course, there’s also the bit I just learned:
That the Veiled Woman killed Dal’Galar and took Calia to that village she murdered like a chess player setting up her pieces on the board.
I appreciate that the game lets me call her out on it; presumably that’s why one of my readers suggested I do Calia’s quest first.
Her response is pretty interesting. “You claim I took part in the death of the grieving man… But was that really me, I wonder? Or only a splinter of what I really am? I have many forms, Prophetess…”
Now, aside from being a pretty piss-poor excuse (Was it really me that shot you, or should you really be angry at my right hand? Hmm? Think about it), this suggests that maybe all of the pieces here, at least on the Emissary side of things, have their own Veiled Woman? And this one is mine.

- There’s also some talk about the Cycle threatening all parallel realities, what she calls ‘branches’ of reality, of which this is only one. But that doesn’t really hit home; I mean, I have enough trouble looking after this branch. Those other branches’ Prophetesses can pull their own weight, thanks. The slackers.

- One particularly noteworthy line is, when asked if she is one of the High Ones, that “High Ones, humanity, the Emissaries, ... are all just pieces of the same game.”
It’s said in a tone that suggests the Veiled Woman is above it all. A player, not a piece of the game.
I imagine she’s trying to suggest she’s the player on ‘our’ side, but frankly for all I know she could be playing this game against herself.

- But she “doesn’t like being seen as a destroyer … Which is why I will wipe away my debt, which was never there to begin with.”

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Boom! Jespar, back to life.
So apparently for every two people she has killed, she can be talked into bringing one back! Or maybe I hurt her feelings?
So she refuses to take credit for that other Veiled Woman that killed Dal’Galar, but on a whim she decided to make good on it anyway. Pure whimsy.

- Hey Jespar, you doing okay buddy?

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He’s fine.
He asks after his sister first thing, and… yyyyeah, I killed her really dead.
So Jespar gets his alone time, while I head back to Duneville and sell off all his sister’s worldly possessions. Her robe is pretty sweet-looking, with a design like a hand grabbed the red tabard bit and charred an imprint into it.

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I give it even odds whether that will turn out to be important – the sign of the High Ones or something – or just something to give a little flair to her character model. Of course, I sold it away immediately.


The Takeaway:
As quickly and senselessly as Jespar died, the man’s back in the saddle. I wonder if he got superpowers from it like me and Calia did? We could be like, the Three Amigos! Sounds better than ‘those three freaks’, anyway.
So that makes two Black Stones accounted for. A quest popped up to track down Calia, and I’m thinking I’ll do that before turning these stones in to Arantheal, in case she wants to try using it to heal her demon after all.
I mean, it’d probably be a terrible idea and result in horrible consequences for everyone involved, but everybody’s free to make their own mistakes. I know I make enough of them, starting from coming to Enderal in the first place on down through things like getting sucker punched and trapped in a rapidly-flooding Agnod, down to today when I let Jespar go up like a Roman candle.
draneiwow2
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for the sake of curiosity would you prefer to romance calia or jespar? both are up for grabs regardless of gender and quite personally regardless of what gender i play as i always went for calia............... either way the "romance" quest will trigger a decent while after you get the 3rd black stone which mind you is the creepiest of the bunch i must say
dyslexicfaser
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19.01.2018 04:59draneiwow2 hat geschrieben:
for the sake of curiosity would you prefer to romance calia or jespar? both are up for grabs regardless of gender and quite personally regardless of what gender i play as i always went for calia............... either way the "romance" quest will trigger a decent while after you get the 3rd black stone which mind you is the creepiest of the bunch i must say
I'm inclined to say 'Jespar' if he doesn't let this thing with his sister entirely bring down his snark. The kind of life my Prophetess lives, I need someone who can laugh off finding their own waterlogged corpse.

Calia's cute, but kind of a doom n' gloom type of girl.
badgesareus
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I am embarrassed by your "impressions," by how much I missed by not thinking deeply about some of the dialogue such as your analysis of the veiled woman's remarks. There are so many little details you discuss (and some larger ones as well) that I just glossed over -- do quest, sell, boost stats, do next quest, etc. I feel like you could turn this into a PhD dissertation! (Or maybe a black & yellow "Enderal for Dummies.")
(Was it really me that shot you, or should you really be angry at my right hand? Hmm? Think about it)
Or like "swords don't kill people, people kill people" to misquote the NRA.
Ragnarok
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Jespar is back from the dead. But are you, Prophetess? :wink:
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