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Completed In the grim darkness of Fantasy Poland, there is only potato. (Thea: The Awakening LP)

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by Kayerts, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    What the hell is Thea?

    Thea: The Awakening: Superfluous Subtitle is a roguelike, turn-based, 3X (more on that in a bit) strategy game in a setting based on Slavic mythology. It's got a number of weird ideas that work unexpectedly well together, which for me usually means "this is a good game to look at 'later,' i.e. never," but I made an exception here. I'm glad I did, so I thought I'd show it off here and hopefully encourage some other people to play.

    [​IMG]

    Details (open)


    The game takes place in the grim darkness of fantasy Potatoland. There's been a catastrophe that destroyed civilization and covered the world in darkness, and the player's job is to guide a tiny village of survivors to grow strong and eventually repair the world. The world is full of roving bands of monsters and grows more dangerous as distance from your starting village increases. Thea is grimdark in a very literal way; after sunset, impenetrable darkness falls on the world, and enemy bands become much more belligerent. It's the first game I've played where the design seems to encourage your brave heroes to spend each night at home, hiding under the bed.

    Thea is thematically grimdark, too! For starters, since the catastrophe, the gates of the underworld have been slammed shut, with the consequence that in addition to general hostility from the living, Thea is technically a zombie apocalypse game. Beyond that, the world loves to inflict random cruelty on its inhabitants. Demon witches that murder children. Ancient evils that come unbound if you sneeze at them. Roving bands of murderers that carry off your children. Striga who will saunter up to your party and permanently mindfuck a member away from you. Dragons that fly over your village and roast your children from low orbit. Evil spirits poisoning your water supply for jollies. Slavers kidnapping children. (Thea REALLY hates children, bros.)

    You advance through the game across several vectors: you recruit more followers, you level up those followers, you acquire better resources and means of production, you craft better equipment, and eventually you become strong enough to face the endgame challenges.

    You're limited to a single village; hence, the eXpand element of the 4X genre is absent here. It's an interesting design decision; it seemed lame at first, but it contributes to the besieged atmosphere of the game. (You can't realistically defend multiple settlements on higher difficulties, anyway.)

    In terms of similar games, the nearest match in my experience is Eador, which I also liked. Other comparisons that have been made are a cross between King of Dragon Pass and Master of Magic, with economy out of Sid Meier's Colonization.



    What's interesting about this game?

    Show Spoiler

    * Atmosphere: It's very good! The art style is completely beautiful, and the music's pretty good, but where the the game really shines is in creating an oppressive sense of foreboding. Thea is a hostile world, and it grows more hostile at an alarming pace, which puts pressure on the player to take any advantage they can get. But Thea's also very punishing of overextension, so the player's frequently in the position of having to determine which risks are acceptable and which aren't.

    * Gameplay: Thea is a strategy game with survival elements; one of them's that you try to spend the minimal possible time in combat. It's usually preferable to try alternatives to man-fighting enemies, e.g. sneaking into the enemy camp and murdering them in their sleep. Open battle is truly the last argument of boyars.

    Moreover, a major goal is to get to the point where battles are decided before they are joined, which translates to gathering precious materials and crafting quality equipment from them.

    * Setting: Most of us are jaded dicks, so Slavic mythology is more interesting to see in games than generic Tolkienesque fantasy. Thea does see the entrance of Tolkienesque races, but the Thean incarnations are closer to their roots in Norse mythology. E.g., there are elves and dwarves, but they are rare and generally very powerful. Recruiting a dwarf in a lot of games feels like enlisting an ambulatory footrest that can absorb punches and occasionally even punch back; here, they're stumpy murder machines. The one named elf you can run into used to be worshipped as a god.

    * Relatedly, the setting isn't low-magic, but the application of magic is as a ritualistic force rather than something you use to produce instantaneous effects. It's usually hard to get any magic-capable units on your own side, and when you do, the uses are pretty limited--mostly, you gain the option to break hexes during events. Magic is primarily what it is in folklore: a weird force that explains the otherwise inexplicable, and a way of dealing with antagonists who are otherwise untouchable.

    * Difficulty: Thea is pretty hard on max difficulty. Significantly, you will run into things that can kick your ass, which you must avoid until later in the game. If you're like me, you will also find yourself weighing the risks and rewards of running through dangerous territory to reach a particular goal, hoping that the unstoppable army of undead you'll have to sneak past doesn't decide to break camp and chase you down.


    What sucks about this game?
    Show Spoiler

    * Card-based combat: Large numbers of our prestigious readership are triggered by card-based combat. I personally was skeptical, but it works reasonably well. Is it as good as tactical combat in your favorite tactical wargame? No; I don't think Thea's combat is anyone's favorite. But it's not bad, and it's a workable way to force you to care about how your characters are geared while constraining variance in outcomes. I.e., optimal tactical play isn't going to let you tackle too many encounters that merely competent play would lose. Optimal play might help you escape unscathed in an encounter that'd otherwise injure a few villagers.


    What's ambiguous about this game?
    Show Spoiler

    * Randomness. Regardless of which deity you choose, there is one supreme god in Thea, and that is the dread Lord Arengee. Random events are a large part of the game, and the advantages you end up with are largely determined by how you exploit them. You will also end up getting unavoidably screwed by the RNG quite a few times.

    * Pacing. Thea has a great beginning, a fantastic midgame, and a kinda bad endgame. The beginning is great because the world is full of things that want to kill you, but you have to explore it and are rewarded if you do. By midgame, you generally have the world around your village mapped out, and your job is to find a way to gain an advantage. Unless you're either lucky or significantly better than me, you'll have to make hard choices. The endgame sucks because, once you hit a certain threshold of power, little can keep you from snowballing out of control, and the challenge goes out of the game. This is somewhat mitigated because the main quests are straightforward and quick to complete, once you're powerful enough; if it gets too easy, there's little to keep you from just winning.


    What's the deal with this LP?

    I play, getting audience feedback when there isn't a clearly optimal solution. That means I probably won't ask your opinion when the choices are "accept free loot" or "die fighting against hopeless odds," but will try to when the choices are more interesting. The audience is free to yell suggestions at me at any time.

    Thea is a roguelike, so in the spirit of that, I'll be playing this ironman-style; i.e., if I make a mistake, I live with it, unless the mistake proves fatal, in which case I die with it and start over. (Because GAM3R HONOUR, you see.) Also, note the "man" in "ironman;" I'll be playing like one, so obviously I'll be selecting the maximum possible difficulty settings.

    First decision: In Thea, you are told in the intro that you play as a deity who's recently woken up. This isn't a particularly meaningful conceit, because the game immediately forgets about this and doesn't mention it again until the ending. For all intents and purposes, you are actually playing as that deity's tiny village of remaining followers. (There's also a part where you're required to defeat an avatar of your deity (i.e., of yourself) and thereby get some critical information from said deity, which doesn't make a ton of sense within the narrative frame.) In gameplay terms, deity choice affects the bonuses your villagers receive, some events, and one part of the main quest. Your options:

    [​IMG]

    A) Veles, Master of Magic and Lord of the Underworld. Low power, has one of the more fun gimmicks.
    B) Svarog, God of Heavenly Fire. Mid-tier power, fun-ish bonuses.
    C) Zorya, the Twin Guardian Goddesses. Mid-tier power, potentially fun gimmicks.
    D) Horos, Lord of the Night and Master of the Moon. Mid-tier power, most fun playstyle in the game
    E) Mokosh, Mother Earth. Mid/high power, boring playstyle.
    F) Morena, Goddess of Death and Rebirth. Low power, boring playstyle.
    G) Lada, Goddess of Hope and Beauty: Very high power, mid-tier playstyle.
    H) Perun, God of Thunder and Head of the Pantheon: New Game+ option; intended to be the most powerful in the game. My experience is that you get fewer cool events than the other deities, but that could just be limited sampling.

    I'll heed the will of the people, but I'd advise against Morena (she's the least interesting) or Perun (overpowered by design).


    CONTENTS:

    LIGHTBRINGERS:
    You have chosen to enter the world as the last seven disciples of Svarog, Lord of Heavenly Fire. May the Sacred Flame burning in your village's Holy Pooptower spread and eventually light the whole of Thea.

    I. DAWN OF THE CRUSADE
    II. THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF TERRORS
    III. DOGS OF THE SUN
    IV. LUX PERPETUA
    V. ETERNAL SUNSHINE
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
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  2. tindrli Arcane

    tindrli
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    then , let it be A
     
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  3. Echo Mirage Arcane

    Echo Mirage
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    Typical. The most interesting sounding and most visually impressive goddess is the least mechanically interesting overall. But I will stand by F) Morena as my first choice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
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  4. Nekot-The-Brave Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Nekot-The-Brave
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I choose F, so that you can feel the pain.
     
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  5. Commissar Draco KKKodex WCDS Commissar Patron

    Commissar Draco
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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    B) Svarog; lets burn the L1bruls Spawn of Darkness with fires of Heavens!
     
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  6. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Very interesting game, thank you! :love:

    I'll go for Horus D) Horos, but if that stretches the votes too thin, I can flop to either A or B.
     
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  7. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    Yeah, she's cool looking and interesting in both the lore and the real mythology that she's based on, and her quest isn't the worst. But she's portrayed as an apathetic goddess of knowledge and doesn't have any meaningful special options for events that I know of. Her bonuses mostly improve noncombat skills, which are generally pretty strong in this game, but which will probably be represented here as me pushing the button to select the "use smartboy option for murking skeletons" option.
     
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  8. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    I only know of "Lada" as a car brand. So take her. Plus, boobies.
     
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  9. MZeta Educated

    MZeta
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    Go with B) - Svarog. Power of the sun!

    I am curious how this game plays out, carry on good sir.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
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  10. FCVanillaIce Literate

    FCVanillaIce
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    Svarog. Gotta praise the sun.
     
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  11. PocketMine Savant Patron

    PocketMine
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    Serpent in the Staglands Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    B, Svarog

    Thanks for awareness. Eador was great would like to play something like that.
     
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  12. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Svarog takes it. Praise the sun! This first update will be heavy on explaining game mechanics, with lively digressions into explaining exactly how shitty the lives of our villagers are; later ones will try to be more about RP-elements.

    I. DAWN OF THE CRUSADE

    1. The Children of the Sun
    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack

    Greetings, friends. Have you come seeking the light?

    [​IMG]

    Svarog's deal is that he makes your people pretty, far-seeing, and quick. The only bonus he has that's particularly significant is the +1 move point, but that's one of the better perks in the game.

    [​IMG]

    Here are the difficulty settings; if I recall, "godlike" is at 250%. Most of these are self-explanatory except for realism and group limits. Group limits' impact that if you have more than the specified number of units in your party for an encounter, the excess units don't actually engage. Realism's impact is to piss me off endlessly; I'll talk about it when it's relevant.

    The backstory of the game is that the world went to shit when someone set fire to the Cosmic Tree. This threw the world into a hundred years of darkness. For unknown reasons, the darkness has just receded, and the world of Thea has just had its first dawn in a century.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We are immediately accosted by a tutorial. "Ha ha! The fact that you're supposed to be a god makes no sense at all! Oh well!", say the devs.

    [​IMG]

    When you start the game on max difficulty, you have 7 villagers, the least talented 3 of whom are stuck in the village slaving away for you. The rest form your adventuring expedition.

    [​IMG]

    You'll note that in this screenshot, I'm loading up the children into the expedition's backpacks, so that they can carry them with them on their journey. There are two reasons for this:
    1.) Thea expects you to leave your children in the village.
    2.) Thea hates children.

    Kids are disaster magnets. There are at least three pretty common random events that can only happen if you have children in your village. All of them are bad, and one of them is probably the worst event you can get in the midgame. There are also a number of village events that result in unavoidable child murder. This frustrated me in my early playthroughs, until I hit on a solution: take the little shits with you! I like to imagine the main squad is explaining that they're providing Valuable Professional Training by punting the interns in front of any pursuing undead hordes as a distraction. As an added bonus, the way puberty works in Thea is that children have a small, random chance of growing up each turn. If one of them spontaneously decides to hit adulthood and become useful, he's immediately drafted into our child soldier brigade blessed expedition of heroes.

    On to some analysis of our starting position: It's pretty good! On the upside, nearby plains allow quick access to the rest of the world, while the nearby water shields the village from attack on one side. Our team's a little stronger than average, and we actually get some armor and a pitchfork among our starting weapons.

    :mob:

    The rest of them have wooden swords. Our villagers assigned to gather food and wood in our home base are both decent at what they do, and the one who's probably going to end up making most of our equipment is slightly better at that than average. Our warrior is actually strong enough to wear the armor we've been given without passing out from exhaustion, which often isn't the case. Lastly, our total population is 6 women and 1 man, so if our one dude manages to ever clean off the massive amount of dirt caked around his penis,* we will unlock the Harem Route for Thea.
    *Spoiler: He won't.

    On the downside, we don't get any special gear, our starting resources are all pretty useless, and the "advanced watchtower" we were promised when we signed up for the Svarog Cultist Starter Kit looks less like the lofty marble structure featured on the brochure and is actually just a pile of poop covered with a pile of mud, with a particularly large pinecone that we can stick in the mud and stand on if we need advanced reconnaissance. (The basic version of this tower featured no pinecone or mud.) It gives us the minimum possible bonus, a +1 extension to our vision radius, and jack shit of anything else. Also, the two suits of armor I mentioned earlier are both made out of wood, and one of them is held together by tree sap. In short, the loot we've been given to start with is optimized for fighting enemies who don't carry weapons, or who are depressed by the general state of the world and commit mass suicide before we engage them.

    In Thea, human villagers each have a class. The three most common classes are warriors, workers, and craftsmen. When a child comes of age, they can always select one of these three. There are a few special additional classes which might be options if the dread god Arengee smiles on us; I'll cover the others as they become relevant. Warriors are good at fighting and carrying heavy objects, which is really handy if you have a large pile of mud tower you need to move. Workers are of average strength and are good at hunting and gathering resources. Craftsmen are the weakest main type, but tend to have the most developed intellectual, social, and sneaking skills. Additionally, they can craft equipment.

    Of our seven villagers, the six ladyfolk are all from the three main classes: we've got three craftsmen, two workers, and a warrior. Lastly, our man is the hunter. Hunters are one of the better classes; they tend to be hybrid worker-warriors: sneaky, good at gathering resources, and somewhere between a worker and a warrior in a fight.

    I'd reiterate at this time that I wasn't being ironic when I said I got a lucky start with these guys; Thea usually isn't so generous. Let me refer you to a line from the Thea website:

    A lot of games claim to start you off with a ragtag band of survivors, but Thea actually delivers. Everyone who's joining us except the hunter and the warrior is pretty incompetent, and most of them would fall over if I asked them to wear armor! Let's roll.


    2. A New Day
    Show Spoiler

    The tutorial is skippable, but I figure that doing it will force me to explain some mechanics.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I walk off to meet the tutorial dispenser. He tells us to chase down some wild boars. I start to do that, but then I get an event:

    [​IMG]

    Cool! All of my villagers just got a blessing of health. Blessings increase a major stat by a large amount (usually +5), and they last for the number of turns denoted by their number (in this case, 15). Anyway, I walk over and find the boars. Wild boars are actually one of the toughest enemy types you'll willingly fight in the early game: they're tanky and hit really hard. Some of our dudes have hunting skills (measured as a composite of trapping and gathering stats), so we have the option to try to catch them that way instead of killing them. I go for this option, and it works out:

    [​IMG]

    We return to the annoying little imp:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    He tells us to chase down a demon and ask him for some gold. We can beat him up and take it, but talking is easier and gives better rewards:

    [​IMG]

    On my way back, I run into an old city (denoted by a treasure chest on the map). Treasure chests are usually pretty difficult encounters for the early game, though sometimes they give away lesser loot for free. Bolebor the Mighty Hunter strides into the city. He is clad in Wooden Armor of Svarog and knows no fear. He searches the city and prepares for battle.

    [​IMG]

    As it happens, battle doesn't happen. Instead, I get a wooden sword that's better than the other wooden sword Bolebor was using. (I wish I were kidding.) (As for why Bolebor was not given the fearsome pitchfork of heaven, we have placed our superweapon in the hands of our strongest warrior, Karina the Hayslayer.)

    [​IMG]

    We return to Theodore, who thanks us by fucking off and leaving us alone. He does ask us to make some soup for him, which we're going to ignore for now; he also points out a mid-level dungeon for us, which we're definitely going to ignore for now. Instead, we're going to explore the area around our village.

    [​IMG]

    While we're looting another treasure chest, we run into some rats backed by a skeleton. I'll explain combat mechanics here, for anyone who's interested:

    Show Spoiler

    Each round, cards are randomly split, with half in the offense deck (on the left) and half in the tactical deck (on the right). Cards on the left can immmediately enter melee. Cards on the right can enter melee, but will miss the first of the two combat rounds. Alternatively, they can employ non-combat actions. You get to play a semi-randomly chosen number of cards in alternating phases with the AI opponent, until you have no cards remaining.

    Cards entering melee combat (the center) are normally placed to the right of the last-placed card. During the combat phase of each round, there are two phases. In each phase, every card that can act attacks the card to its left or right with 50% probability, unless one of those does not exist. If there are no cards left in melee, the cards will target any unused cards in their opponent's hand; if the opponent is completely out of cards, they lose.

    Battle mechanics are pretty simple: units act from left to right. Each unit has armor (hp) and an attack score; when attacking a unit, the attack score is subtracted from their armor, and if armor hits 0, the unit is knocked out. Shielding is like armor, except the full amount of shielding is restored to full at the beginning of each round; additionally, units with shielding in the tactical deck can shield an ally from harm. There are a few special damage types:
    PIERCING: Comes from spears and staves. If an enemy unit is the rightmost in the melee stack, you enter combat to its immediate left and immediately deal half damage to it.
    BLUNT: Comes from clubs and hammers. If a unit with bashing damage kills its first target in combat, any damage beyond the amount needed to kill its target spills over to a second target. It's like cleave, except with the single weapon type least well-suited for cleaving.
    LEECH: In addition to the base damage, damages target and heals attacker by the leech value.
    POISON: In addition to the base damage, poison damages target for *twice* the poison value if the target is not at 100% armor; otherwise, it adds the poison value to its damage value.

    Tactics are also pretty straightforward:
    Confuse: Find the rightmost enemy unit beneath your Confuse level who would act in the first phase of combat; cause them to not act in the first phase of combat.
    Counter tactic/offense: removes a given unit whose level is below the ability's power value from your opponent's hidden tactical/offense hand. If there is no such unit, this does nothing.
    Shield ally: already discussed.
    First action: takes the first unit from the right (i.e., the last friendly card played) whose level is lower than the ability's power value, and moves that unit to the front of the melee stack (so that it acts first).
    Get closer: enter combat, though you cannot act until the second phase of combat.


    Most battles in the early game have one hard-hitting boss monster and a lot of weak chaff. In this case, the boss is the skeleton. The ones you see in encounters like this tend to be glass cannons. I actually manage to take this one out of the fight for this round by Counter Offense-ing him. I then easily win the fight. The loot is unremarkable, but a bit after walking away, I find this:

    [​IMG]

    A small demon wants to play hide and seek. I oblige him:

    [​IMG]

    And get free wicker! This is awesome. Wicker is the most common material for making good gathering tools, which will be needed in the midgame to get our economy going.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We proceed to the northwest of our village and hunt down a few bands of monsters and track them to their lairs. We manage to take out these guys in noncombat challenges, until:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We hit this event. The spider queen event can be tough for starting parties, but the rewards are usually quite good, and our band's been doing pretty well, so we go for it.

    Also, at this point I'll point out the skull ratings. Ratings go from 1 to 5 and indicate the expected difficulty of the encounter. A starting party can handle most one-skull challenges without injury. A little gear or a few levels lets you tackle two-skull encounters safely. Most three-skull groups would slaughter us. Anyway, fighting:

    [​IMG]

    One weakness of the boss+chaff encounter in Thea's system is that if the boss starts out in the enemy's tactical deck, you should be able to take it out before it gets the chance to act, making the fight a cakewalk.

    [​IMG]

    The above is the sort of deployment I usually aim for: each of my units is guaranteed to kill the unit on their right before it can act. I've held the tactical deck in reserve because spiders usually like to use First Action tactics to move their units to the front of the melee, which is the easiest way to lose this encounter. If they surprise you with this, then the unit you'd been counting on to take out the spider queen might instead waste its attack on some chaff. Anyway, these particular spiders line up meekly for death, so I have my tactical fighters focus on shielding the chick in front. This lets us win the fight without taking a scratch.

    [​IMG]

    We get quite good rewards. The amulet speeds up gathering slightly, and the second item is enchanted bones, which are one of the few resources that can be used to craft equipment that boosts your magic stat. With 22 enchanted bones, you can craft a suit of armor that turns a warrior into a buff wizard, and we're halfway there.

    Our team continues to clear out nearby ruins and monster lairs. Meanwhile, we get a nice event back in the village:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Whereupon our villagers are corrupted by the forces of darkness and commence sacrificing some wheat to demons. In return, the Ruinous Powers grant one of them the superhuman ability to pick vegetables more quickly.

    This was a very good perk--if we give that villager the amulet we nicked from the spider queen, that will put him at gathering skill 7, which is the breakpoint at which he can harvest a crop of cabbage every day instead of once every two days.

    [​IMG]

    We also get one of the few events that triggers every game: our ancestors show up. They give a slight boost to one character's folklore and act as a method for removing any curses we get. Anyway, our expedition proceeds from the northwest of our village to the southwest:

    [​IMG]

    Our village is just beyond the patch of green to the northeast. As you can see, it's after sunset. It would normally be a terrible idea to be this far out after dark, because we can't protect the village from any marauders who wander up to it. Also, at night, enemy monster packs turn from aimlessly meandering groups to rabid murder squads whose aggro range exceeds your night vision's, with the consequence that if you're exploring at night, you stand a decent chance of being rushed by 3-5 packs of enemies that you didn't know were there. We're about at the range from our starting village where we could expect to run into 2-skull packs, some of which can ruin our day, so we probably don't want to go any further. The only reason I came out this far at all was that the first night is something of a freebie: the world hasn't leveled up yet.

    [​IMG]

    While backing off, we run into this treasure chest; we probably can't handle two-skull treasure guardians right now, so I leave it alone.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We get another spider queen event! These happen fairly frequently, but twice within the first 15 turns is lucky. There are three interesting things about the second screen. First, I collected 10 units of dragonbone, which is one of the best crafting materials in the game, because it's extremely tough and grants mid-level lifesteal powers. This is enough to act as the secondary material for some very good weapons, if we manage to find a primary. Second, the Great God Svarog has seen fit to bless us with a second pitchfork:

    :mob:

    Soon, not even the foulest creatures of darkness shall be able to keep us from getting the truth out about Pillars of Eternity.

    Lastly, Karina the Hayslayer has been lightly injured. The injury system in Thea's pretty cool: if a unit is ever reduced to below 30% of your health, it has a (30 - RemainingHealthPercentage)% chance of dying at the end of your turn. Hence mild injuries usually won't kill you. At this point, losing even one villager is crippling, so all injuries are concerning.

    Karina's injuries here are mild, but we wander by another spider nest, and a second attack takes her down further:

    [​IMG]

    And things are looking dicey. At the same time, our village is attacked by a small band of vermin. We survive, but one of our workers is lightly injured:

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, Arengee has mercy on us, and we camp and heal during the night. In the morning, laden with loot from our expedition, we make it back to our village:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The wicker we got earlier and the spidersilk we farmed from the queens can be combined to make very good baskets to help us gather resources, so we set our village crafter to work on that immediately.


    3. The Neckbeard Avengers
    Show Spoiler

    Also, the previous night, our village had been cursed by a ghost:

    [​IMG]

    The particular curse makes the women at home in our village vastly less attractive. We're going to send off the party to investigate the haunting and hopefully lift the Curse of the Neckbeard. On the way there, one of the children that's been rattling around in our backpacks climbs out, having suddenly grown up:

    [​IMG]

    We only get the three basic options for this one. Our adventuring party's pretty weak at the moment, so we'd ideally like someone who could boost our combat effectiveness. As it happens, one of the two workers we have back in the village is as strong as the average warrior; I think she spends all day bench-pressing baskets of turnips. Hence the logical move here is to make the kid a worker, so that he can rotate in and replace the musclechick back in the village, and then musclechick can come with the party. Anyway, onward to confront the ghost!

    [​IMG]
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    TLDR: Bro's village got attacked by a striga (vampire), and its populace was beginning to turn into striga themselves. Bro is more competent than the average zombie movie bit character, so he manned up and murdered the shit out of everyone there before they could turn. He felt himself starting to turn, too, so he committed suicide. He left behind a daughter who he's worried about, and cursing our village is his way of getting our attention so that we help him. The location's nearby, and Karina respects him for being hardcore, so we agree.

    [​IMG]

    Along the way, we find a chest:

    [​IMG]

    The last type of wood there is dryad wood, which is one of the better types. Onward to the site where the ghost told us to look!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    "Hey Hanged Bro, about your daughter."
    "Yeah?"
    "On the downside, we didn't find her. On the upside, she was abducted by a murdering gang of rapists."
    "WHAT! How is that an upside?"
    "I'd like to answer that question with a question. What do you think it does to our sense of sympathy when you request assistance via the mechanism of giving our women beards?"

    Anyway, we should run down the murderous slavers. However, game knowledge tells me that the slavers are pretty strong, so we'll probably want to conscript another farmhand from the village to help out. Also, it's almost sunset already, so this will have to wait until morning. Back to town for now!

    [​IMG]

    En route, we kill some more skeletons and rats and acquire a small amount of steel. Combined with the dryad wood we found earlier, we can make a very good forge-hammer, which will drastically speed up our main craftswoman's efficiency:

    [​IMG]

    From the second night onward, our village is likely to be attacked. For most of the game, we won't be strong enough to reliably defend the village while also fielding an expedition, which means we should aim to be home by sunset. Our mud watchtower vision range is low enough that we aren't guaranteed to have a turn of warning before we're attacked, which means that we should try to end each night turn with our expedition in the village. Simply sitting still isn't recommended, though. Events have a chance of triggering any time you move onto a hex, so for now, it's best to run laps around the village during the night.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    We run into a friendly demon who tells us of a house with a possessed chick. It's good to know, but reading between the lines, this chick is way too scary for our current band of pitchfork- and wood sword-wielding heroes.

    [​IMG]

    I also meander over to a nearby tomb and murk all the undead in it. This nets me something we haven't seen before: a suit of rusty iron armor! Yes, indeed, we now have a piece of equipment that would be widely agreed to qualify as combat gear by most people!

    Next turn, we celebrate this unprecedented event with a festival:

    [​IMG]
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    The festival also celebrates midsummer; as Svarog's the god of heavenly fire, we choose to celebrate with purifying flames.

    [​IMG]
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    In the sacred fire, the accursed neckbeards that had bound our women are burned away. Several of us gain dexterity and will bonuses for our efforts, and Svarog tells us to go look for some fire demons. I've never actually seen the Svarog-specific event before, so this could be good! Or it could be really bad; fire demons are very powerful enemies.

    We can worry about that later. It's dawn, now, and it's time to hunt down the slavers. (Yes, even though the Curse of the Neckbeard has been lifted. Trust me, it'll be worth it.)

    [​IMG]

    It's a long trek. We pause along the way to sack the tomb you see midway. Even when you're striving for an important goal, even when people's lives are on the line, it's important not to lose sight of your core values. Specifically, the core value of graverobbing. Presently, we find the slavers:

    [​IMG]
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    There's an option to devise a cunning plan to steal the slaves, but it turns out that violence is the vastly superior option here.

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    wellshit.jpg

    Deployment was going well until one of the enemy's wolves confused Bolebor. The plan was for him to take out the orc, who hits like a truck but is only moderately tanky. Now we have no way of doing that, which means there's no way to prevent Bolebor from having his head punched into his ribcage. Sorry, bro! Despite that, we manage to win the fight.

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    And are immediately healed of our wounds, given a mid-tier one-handed axe (read: much better than anything we have), and rescue three children. Best of all, the ghost's daughter is a powerful witch who joins our party. This is why the hanged man questline is one of the best early game events you can get. Let's take a look at the ghost's daughter:

    [​IMG]

    Witches are one of the special classes. Like most of them, this one is as weak as a kitten, has a little magic, and has moderately strong gathering and medical skills. Unlike most, she's not smart at all, but she makes up for it by being weirdly tanky. The Indomitable Retard Granny will be a valuable addition to our band!

    We head back to the village to drop off our loot and release one of the workers we conscripted back to her farmlands, but on our way back:

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    Theodore appears. He's been upgraded from a tutorial dispenser to a main quest dispenser. He wants us to seek answers about what happened to the Cosmic Tree from a guardian at a quest location. Said location's on our way back to town, so we might as well swing by.

    However, before we get there:

    [​IMG]
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    We run into a pack of wild boars. Boars are solid midgame enemies: they're tanky and hit pretty hard. I've lost a few games by trying to fight them before I was ready to. We definitely couldn't have handled them at the start of the update, but our band has almost twice as many people now. It ends up being a pretty easy encounter.

    [​IMG]

    Pictured here: why the boar event is so good. Beating the boars is one of the few early game sources of the wicker we need to get our economy going, so it was quite lucky to run into them. We also get some more enchanted bones and are getting pretty close to the number required to create a musclewizard.

    [​IMG]
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    On the way back, we run into the main plot of the game. Looks like there's an elf interested in reversing the apocalypse, and a human who wants to stop him for unclear reasons. The human's holed up in a tower not far from where we found the slavers, but the elf's grove is far to the south. It's a pity, because the grove gives far better bonuses if found. Anyway, right now, we just want to head back to town:

    [​IMG]
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    And discover that some Batman-esque villain has poisoned our water supply. The poison is mild, so the two villagers will lose a little health each turn until they're cured. This is less than the amount of health they regain at the end of every turn by virtue of having food to eat and warm beds to sleep in, but it does mean they'll be weaker and less able to fend off attacking monsters. This isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's definitely annoying.


    4. New Horizons
    Show Spoiler

    We've completed our first real quest and returned safely home. If we were a Roman general, we'd be entitled to a triumph. We're actually a mob of scrappy villagers with pitchforks, so the head gatherer gives Karina a particularly large carrot for her valor, considers cooking it but decides not to, and calls it a day.

    I'm going to end the update here. We've had a pretty successful early game: we have two more villagers than we did when we started, we found three children, we've acquired some pretty good early game loot, and we have broken the Curse of the Neckbeard. We've got a few options for what to do next.

    1. It's getting late, but where should we go next?

    [​IMG]

    A) Go north to the city ruins and see if the water spirit there can provide a cure to the poison our villagers are suffering from.
    B) Go far north to find the fire demons.
    C) Go east and see if we can track down the human that wanted to stop the elves from doing whatever they were doing.
    D) Go far south and find the elf's grove; it's far away and probably in hostile territory, but it's bound to be quite rewarding.

    2. Now that we have good gathering and crafting tools, we should think about what we should focus on economically. We don't get many points to spend on technology in high-difficulty games--I can usually only buy 10-15 techs for an entire game--so the ones we choose will be important. Generally speaking, equipment you can make is significantly better than anything you can buy. I've been hoarding points like a filthy Age of Decadence player and now have four of them, which is enough to commit to a research branch.

    A) A cabbage patch. In Thea, people don't reproduce normally. Children are never born; they're either found in events, or one day you'll be wandering through your village's cabbage patch, and there will inexplicably be a baby there. Yeah. It also increases the chance of a useful adult wandering into our village.
    B) Weapons. Philosophers and alchemists believe there are weapons that are not entirely made out of wood. Choosing this option will cause us to explore this path. (Note: one of the options for part 1 will get us some top tier weapon-crafting materials, so I'll adjust accordingly if either this or that choice wins.)
    C) Armor. The best lightweight armor in the game is made from dragon leather, which can usually be found within a reasonable distance of the village. Dragon leather is ideal for armor due to a number of amazing properties it has, such as not being wood.
    D) Magic armor. We have almost enough enchanted bones to make a suit of magic armor. It's not particularly good protection--it's heavy, and some of the wooden stuff we're wearing does as good of a job at absorbing blows--but wearing it boosts your magic skill, which might end up being useful if we get the right events.
    E) Whatever seems best, based on the first choice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  13. rogozhin Cipher

    rogozhin
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  14. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Codex 2012
    A
    E
     
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  15. MZeta Educated

    MZeta
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    +1
     
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  16. SerratedBiz Arcane

    SerratedBiz
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    A/B
     
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  17. MotherMachinae Arcane

    MotherMachinae
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    Location:
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    I know Veles and Svarog from Stalker: Call of Pripyat, that was the name of artefact detectors, Veles was the best one.
    There was a Bear too, obvious reference to...you know what.

    A/A
     
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  18. PocketMine Savant Patron

    PocketMine
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    Serpent in the Staglands Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    A/D
     
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  19. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    What does the curse actually do? No, seriously?

    Show Spoiler
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    You sure there weren't any screenshots skipped there? It looks like it goes from speaking to the ghost to reading the man's final lettter.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    Was it possible to save more people by stealing the slaves as opposed to killing the guards? Does the daughter survive?


    I can't help but notice you took most people out of the village to hunt slavers. Can you take everyone away and leave the village undefended?

    Also, can you leave a single child home just to see how much Thea hates them?

    Great game, very fun to read about. Slav mythology doesn't get enough love. :love:

    A/E
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2016
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  20. Karwelas Dwarf Taffer

    Karwelas
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    A/B
     
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  21. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    879
    A/A takes it, and since A/B was the runner up, I'll research weapons as soon as possible thereafter.

    I actually wasn't kidding; it's a curse of deformity. Its ingame effect is to make its victims less attractive. This makes them significantly less effective in social challenges. Curses persist indefinitely unless lifted. Sometimes the event that gave you a curse will suggest a way to lift it; for everything else, you can give the old men at Dziody 50 food and pass a 2-skull challenge.

    Good catch! Historical reenactment of the missing screens:

    Show Spoiler

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    (Basically, he asks you to read his diary.)

    Surprisingly, no. Usually, using alternative skills gives a better outcome, but in this particular case, combat's the way to go. It's been a while since I tried it the nonmurderous way, but I believe the reward is 1 child and no equipment. The curse is lifted at the end, and I *think* the daughter survives, but she definitely doesn't join you. If I'm remembering correctly, the rationale is that while your stratagem is effective, you don't have time to get everyone out before the slavers notice that something's up.

    You can! However, the loss condition for the game is a hostile unit moving into the village without a single unwounded defender being there to stop them. So if an enemy stack wanders up out of the fog, game over. There are also some events that spontaneously spawn hostiles in the village, so there's a random chance of just losing the game every turn.

    It's usually fine to leave the village lightly defended during the day. The only time I normally go below 3 at night is when the village is threatened by a sufficiently dire threat that all-out war is necessary, at which point the farmers lay down their farming pitchforks and pick up their fighting pitchforks. We'll see this in the next update! Get hyped!

    Later in the game, sure. :) Right now, one of the events is bad enough that it's either an instaloss or pretty close to one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  22. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
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    II. THE NIGHT IS DARK AND FULL OF TERRORS

    1. Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
    Show Spoiler

    Soundtrack - Emperor of the Sun

    [​IMG]

    You bros voted to cure our villagers from a bad case of water supply-poisoning, which was clearly the right thing to do. The water spirit who can help with it was spotted in city ruins barely a turn away from our village. It's almost sunset, but there's no one around our village, so we can probably chance leaving straightaway.

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    Craftsmen and hunters are both expert sneakers, so this challenge is easy for us. While I'm on the small peninsula to the northwest, I pick up a treasure chest:

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    And get a moderate amount of gold. Trade in Thea doesn't really exist, outside of specific events, so currency has no currency. Gold is good for three things:

    1) It's a mid-tier metal and can be used for equipment.
    2) Building structures out of massive amounts of it gives a small chance each turn to attract dwarves to join your village.
    3) You can apparently use it to distract dragons.

    Speaking of trade, scouts have spotted a goblin village nearby! Let's broker a commercial agreement.

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    We decide to opt for aggressive negotiations.

    Sorry, goblin bros! If anyone's going to have a shitty village around here, it's going to be me.

    Shortly thereafter, we spot a lone house in the distance.

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    Wait, where is that?

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    So a hut labeled "suspicious house" mysteriously appears directly outside our home village. I bet something normal is going to happen!

    In other news, per the Will of the People, I build a cabbage patch.

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    I don't have very good materials to build it out of, so it gives +1% to produce a child every turn and +2% chance to attract an adult villager. I also built a pasture earlier, which gives another +2% chance to attract a villager. Mean time to a new villager should be about 17 turns.

    Anyway, onward to the suspicious house:

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    Karina: Hm, strange, isolated house that appeared directly outside our village. Seems legit!
    Bolebor: Should we go into the basement? I think I read somewhere that that's a really smart thing to do.
    Karina: Is wood the best armor material, as far as we know? :bro:
    Bolebor: :bro: Basement hoooooooooooooo!

    Looks like a group child-murder/suicide. (Thea hates children.) So, I may have screwed up here. If you have a few people with magic, you get the option break the curse on the ghost here and thereby recruit her into your band. Ghosts are very strong, so that would've been nice. However, we probably aren't going to have a strong magic-user for a while, and the curse-breaking challenge is pretty tough. Instead, we fall back on the stabbing-based school of exorcism.

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    Stabbing: you can never go wrong with stabbing. For our trouble, we get a load of monster bone, some rubies, and a large intelligence boost for a few characters.

    Normally, I wouldn't explore at night, but we just did a sweep of west and south of our village, so we can be reasonably confident there aren't any enemies in the vicinity. There was a tower full of topaz a few turns to the east, and I think we can make it there safely.

    [​IMG]
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    Topaz isn't terribly useful in itself, but the +3 dexterity bonus I got on one of my craftswomen definitely is. (Each point of dexterity also boosts your stealth, which is a fantastic stat to have for hunting, sneaking, and combat. Those are the three most common challenge types, so dexterity is pretty good!)

    I head back to the village. At this point, it's near the end of the night. Per the thread's request, I'm trying to develop better weapons, and the elven grove to the far south can help me get a large stock of top-tier materials. I decide to set off! My bold band of bros declares themselves the Lightbringers of Svarog and sets out to win glory for their god!


    2. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.
    Show Spoiler

    The march south starts off well!

    [​IMG]

    It doesn't stay that way!

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    It's the end of night, but still technically night. We get ambushed from out of fog by one of the nastiest three-skull groups in the game, the Abominable Army. The most annoying thing is their numbers. With group limits on, the AI gets to deploy 16 out of the 18 units in combat. Things look grim; my band of 6 will have a very difficult time fighting through that many of them, especially with three spider queens and a troll. We must employ a cunning stratagem.

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    The best defense is a good offense, but the second best is to run away. One of our craftswomen catches a pretty bad injury, but it's better than the total party wipe we'd have faced if we'd stayed.

    We flee, but flee south, the undead horde pursuing. We can't win this fight, but we aren't about to abandon our mission, either. We limp down the coast of this lake and make camp.

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    Our craftswoman makes it through the night and will live. Day breaks, so we are granted a reprieve from the attacks. We proceed down the coast of the lake, drawing closer to the grove.

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    En route, our people have a vision of the Lord Svarog, telling us to seek a ruin to the southeast of our village. Good to know, bro, but we're kind of busy at the moment.

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    We arrive just outside the grove to find that a three-skull horde is camped inside it. Shit! We can't fight them; if they don't clear out soon, we'll have to turn back empty-handed.

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    They move out; we move in.

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    TLDR: The grove is occupied by an awesomely creepy leshy (forest spirit). He's holding the elf captive in the earth beneath him and won't give him back unless we find and kill his brother. We do have the option to fight him, but it won't end well for us.

    Awesome! The next leg of the journey is the one where we pick up our loot. We'll just--

    [​IMG]

    Welp. There are some quests that end with narrow victories and see the heroes scrambling away, bloodied but laden down with loot. This is one of those other quests! In this one, I go for a bold alternative to the established formula, wherein I realize I'm out of my depth and get the hell out of Dodge. The Lightbringers are immediately renamed the Fuck It Brigade and make for immediate return to Ostoya.

    (The quest target is far enough away from our village that if our team leaves at dawn, they won't be able to make it back until long after dusk. It's also likely surrounded by bands that would destroy us if they caught us. We can't do it now and likely won't be able to for quite a while.)


    3. I am the wooden sword in the Darkness. I am the bone shield that guards the realm of men.
    Show Spoiler

    We just spent the better part of a day on this, and we're quickly approaching the point where we're going to need stronger weapons to deal with what Thea's going to throw at us.

    We're out of options. On the expedition's way home, I spend research points unlocking the ability to gather the best weapon material in the game: a really badass type of wood.

    [​IMG]

    Ancient wood (denoted by the golden log) is great for a few reasons: it's reasonably common (meaning, there's a good chance there's some near our village), it's quite strong, and it grants the most poison damage of any weapon material in the game. We luck out, and some spawns a two turn's journey from our starting village, not far from where we met the water spirit.

    Elven wood is a prereq for ancient wood. It's normally not that notable, but in this case, it spawned directly outside our village. Potentially interesting!

    The gist here is that while we don't get 30 free units of wood, we should be able to gather a comparable amount in 2-3 game days, which should be okay.

    In good spirits, the Fuck It Brigade tromps home. They nearly run into the Abominable Army again on the way back:

    [​IMG]

    But the last rays of day shield them from sight, and they pass on untouched. The Fuck It Brigade returns home victoriously with minimal failures, just after nightfall!

    [​IMG]

    Thea has prepared a welcome for them.

    [​IMG]

    The three skull encounter you see there are four mamunas. In real mythology, mamunas are female swamp demons known for kidnapping children, and they can be driven back only with red ribbons. In Thea, they are absolute fuckers, and they can be driven back only with great suffering.

    They are toward the high end of 3-skull enemies. They were actually nerfed since release, and they're still terrifying, partially because of their tendency to show up near your village early in the midgame. They're very tanky and hit like trucks. The main issue with them is that there isn't really a specific counter against them; you either need a lot of villagers, or strong gear, or luck.

    There's a chance they might turn back without trying to kill us. There's also a chance they just want to give a big hug to their new human neighbors and buy the world a Coke, but I'm not betting on that, either.

    Soundtrack

    Bolebor: We can run no further. It is hours until dawn. We are too few. Will Svarog save us?
    Karina: Svarog's not here. It's just the six of us . . . or perhaps not.

    Karina climbs to the top of the Holy Pooptower and sets ablaze the watchfire's wood, which is different from her armor's wood or her sword's wood. "Come, lads," she yells, "let us march out and face death on our own terms." The farmers of Ostoya drop their hoes in the fields and pick up their Hoes of Destruction. Enflamed with the fire of Svarog in their hearts and howling in fury, the entire village marches to war.

    This starts out badly! I didn't screenshot it, but apparently howling in fury is a bad way to start an ambush. I bungle my sneak attack on the Mamunas, and one of our craftsman is taken out of the battle before it's even joined.

    [​IMG]

    Despite that, our numbers, spears, and pitchforks mean that we get to throw enough of our vastly inferior fighters at them, and we generally get the first strike.

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    We escape with only two wounded, both of whom survive the night. The loot we get from this encounter is better than anything we've seen: we get some strong armor that makes the wearer prettier, the best spear we've found, some light armor, a golden sword (HEY! At least it's metal!), and a trinket that boosts our traps skill. The spoils of war are pretty good this time, the scourge has been lifted, and like Cincinnatus, our villagers are released to return to their fields.

    [​IMG]

    With the threat of a loss lifted, we clear out the spider nest that's spawned north of our village. We also have two children grow up in rapid succession. We make one into a worker; she seems like she'll be reasonably competent at it. The other . . .

    [​IMG]

    Is a warrior, theoretically. We have two craftswomen who are strong as she is. She's too weak to wear heavy armor, though I guess her tactical knowledge and speech skills are okay. She is named the official diplomat of the heroic Fuck It Brigade.

    [​IMG]

    We spend most of the next day harvesting ancient wood. What are we planning to make with it?

    [​IMG]

    One of the best weapons in the game. Much like in real history, spears in Thea are overpowered, and this is the best spear you can make. Leshy hair pikes with dragonbone don't have the biggest numbers, but they're awesome. They only do a base damage of 13, but they get an additional 8 + 5 from poison and leech, plus an extra 8 if their target is wounded, plus 6 on their starting turn. So they end up doing 32-38+strength piercing damage, which is ridiculously good; for comparison, the spear we just found--which is the next best weapon we have--does 13+strength. We have enough dragonbone to make three of these, so we'll gather the wood for three spears (takes 9 turns) and be on our way.

    On the way back, we run into a curious event:

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    TLDR: The girl was the cruel Princess Zuzanna. She had two suitors and tasked them with bringing her a treasure from a mythical icy tower. They failed, so she drowned one. The other was a wizard and cursed her and her guards to seek the treasure forever. (Bad move, sis! Everyone knows you always kill the wizard first.) The guards are now wraiths, and she is . . . something else entirely. She claims to be finally on the verge of finding the treasure and tells us to meet her at the tower to the east.

    This is one of the few once-per-game quests in Thea. If we had a few high-level magic-users, we'd have the option to attempt to break her curse; since we don't, we can only meet her in the tower. The reward for breaking the curse is enormous, but the failure route is one of the best-written parts of the game, so it's win-win.

    [​IMG]

    The next turn, we get an event that temporarily buffs three villagers' magic skills, which might've been enough to break the curse. Arengee is trolling us!


    4. I am the watcher on the walls.
    Show Spoiler

    Disgruntled, we return home from our wood-gathering expedition, when suddenly:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Holy shit. I take it back, Arengee.

    With the blessing of magic on us, we narrowly win the hex challenge and break the curse:

    [​IMG]
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    Breaking the hex on the Elven Wanderer is one of the best events you can get in the game. It's pretty hard to pull off, since magic is usually hard to come by, and it's a random event. Let's take a look at ol' Twinkletoes to see what he brings to the table:

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    So, most obviously, tits. The game clearly refers to this elf as "he," but I'm pretty sure those are boobs. Possibly a bug, or possibly this is the devs' way of telling us that elf gender is a social construct. Regardless of what's going on with his genitals, Twinkletoes is an overpowered piece of shit. He's tankier naked than most of our warriors in armor, he's superhumanly strong, he's a sneaky motherfucker, and he's charming. Most significantly, elves gain automatic piercing damage as a racial ability. This means that you can arm him with an axe for massive damage, and he'll still gain the first-strike ability and deal half his base damage when he enters combat. Believe it or not, the version we got is actually one of his weaker incarnations, and he still does almost everything better than everyone else.

    *

    As a sort of road test, we take him out to catch some slavers:

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    Slavers: What do you want?
    Bolebor: Everything.
    Slavers: We could be persuaded to part with half our goods.
    Bolebor: The thing about half is that it's only half as much as everything.

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    Between Twinkletoes and our new spear, they never stood a chance.

    While we're out, we head to the old tower, in search of the sage who was attempting to stop the elf from reaching the grove.

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    He tells us that magic is stifling humanity and that restoring the Cosmic Tree would be a grave mistake, since without it, we are free to pursue a glorious existence absent of the influence of dark magic. Bolebor glances at Karina, who still has demon blood caked in her hair from the mamuna battle. Karina in turn glances back to the glorious pooptower of Ostoya, monument to what man can achieve without magic. Granny mutters something about "and they call ME retarded."

    Milo the Diplomat says, "We don't think your plan is very good. See you!"

    And we head home. En route, we get an event reporting a silver statue, far away:

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    That's the end of our update. Let's review the state of Thea:

    We're becoming powerful. We're currently fielding an expedition of 9, out of the maximum size of 12. We've crafted three of the death-spears, and almost all members of our expedition have some sort of piercing weapon. They're also all pretty well-armored, aside from Indomitable Retard Granny, who's barely strong enough to hold her sword. Overall, we're doing quite well, but having to shell out two research points for ancient wood may end up slowing our development.

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    The world of Thea levels up over time, though it can be slowed down by destroying monster lairs. We've been doing a reasonably diligent job of that, but we did spot a 4-skull army in the field during our abortive expedition. Right now, the north and east are secure. The south is overrun with high-level packs and is likely to remain so for a while; even with our elf, clearing that out is an uncertain proposition.

    Here are your choices!

    CHOICE 1:

    Where should we go?

    A. Dealing With Demons: We've had two potentially very good quest locations spawn half a day's journey to the east: the Icy Princess's tower, and the Altar of Silver. Each of them has two approaches: the good way, and the fun way.
    A1) Choose the boring, goody two-shoes path. (Moderate bonuses.)
    A2) Choose the awesome, messed up path. (Good/great bonuses, some potential to backfire hilariously, potential for two of the best-written events in the game.)

    B. The Path of Light: Svarog appeared to us in a vision and asked us to seek the origin of his affliction. He pointed us to a location not far to the southeast.

    C. Spears of Destiny: Alternatively, we can send our expedition up the peninsula to gather ancient wood for the remainder of the day; we'll probably have enough for another two spears before we have to turn back. We've run out of dragonbone, but even lesser secondary materials will still be quite strong.

    CHOICE 2:

    We've got two research points. What should we make?

    A. Armor: The most logical thing to research right now; we currently don't have the materials to build anything great with it, and gaining the ability to gather those will end up costing us at least another two points, but that means we should start now.

    B. Elf Traps: Elven wood buildings attract elves, and we have the easiest possible access to it.
    Caveats:
    1. The chance of attracting an elf with a building is very small, i.e. around 2% per turn for a building with 50+ units. Basic math says that the mean time to get an elf with those odds is about 35 turns, which is a long time from now.
    2. Twinkletoes is not representative of his race; the ones we attract won't be this strong.

    C. Amulets: Ancient wood makes for some pretty good amulets, including some that give you +3 to your magic skill. This isn't as good as the +7 you get from a suit of enchanted bones, but we'll probably get it sooner.
     
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  23. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    10,655
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Show Spoiler
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    Missed a screenshot again? Or are you intentionally cutting to the chase?

    So, uh... what happens if you lose?

    Is goblin diplomacy possible and reasonable to pursue?

    Are they moving at random during the day?

    So... do you have any men on th team except Bolebor? :lol:

    Wait, who is Chabor? Don't remember him...

    By the way, how are the challenges resolved? Do they take the best stat in the expedition, or the sum of skills, or the average?

    ---
    A2. Dealing With Demons, the fun way. Choose the awesome, messed up path.
    A. Armor: The most logical thing to research right now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
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  24. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    7,807
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    A2>B
    A
     
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  25. Kayerts Arcane

    Kayerts
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    879
    Good catch again!

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    The challenge is particularly easy, but it is possible to fail it. If you do, the poison is replaced by a dark curse that gives your people wounds every turn--so, basically the same thing, except more expensive to cure.

    The more difficult scenario comes if you don't qualify for a sneaking challenge at all; in that case, the water spirit attacks you if you try to press your point, and she's no slouch in a fight.

    (Incidentally, you can bypass this challenge altogether if you go to the herbalist who spawns near your village every game; she cures poison for free, although you have to pass a more difficult challenge.)

    Sometimes! Goblins are humanoids, so if you initiate the encounter on your turn, you can try to solve it using social skills. Social skills are usually the best way to win a fight, if you can, because properly intimidated enemies surrender all their equipment before they go. Goblins are uniquely difficult to negotiate with, though, probably because they're ornery dicks.

    There's also a goblin village event you can get that allows you to engage in trade that isn't based on murder or extortion. (!!!)

    Not entirely, I don't think, but they're far less aggressive, and you generally only get attacked by stronger stacks. (You see far fewer 1-skull stacks committing Suicide By Karina.) Their aggro range is also a lot less.

    Twinkletoes is allegedly a man . . . :)

    Chabor is a dude. He was the first worker to reach adulthood. I immediately rotated him into the village to replace one of our starting workers, who was a complete badass and thus was redeployed to our expedition. The worker who grew up in Update #2 was worse than him, so he in turn was rotated into the expedition.

    Gender's random, by the way. (For the most part. Witches are always female, and sages are always male.)

    Oh, I've been glossing over this. They're resolved similarly to combat, but they use different stats. So e.g. for a social challenge, your speech score acts as your attack value, your will score acts as your armor, attractiveness is used for First Action and Counter Offense tactics, etc.

    I autoresolve most challenges that aren't game-changing. (I wanted to make sure we got the Elven Wanderer, so I played that one out manually.) The reason for this is that the downside of losing most challenges is that you fall through to fighting. (Unlike in fighting, where losing means that most of your expedition dies, and autoresolving fights can often result in wounds that a competent player wouldn't actually get.) So autoresolving alternative challenges can be a quick way to move through lower tier enemies. (Or equal tier, depending on your bonuses.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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