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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    So at long last, I have finished my completionist playthrough of the first PoE, complete with the White March, and I am ready to begin the sequel with fresh eyes and a character who is fully prepared for it.

    I am playing Ryndara, a (breathes deeply) female Vailian aristocrat moon godlike wizard. I had originally intended her to be a cruel, violent sort (which is why her name sounds like "render"), as she was my second playthrough with PoE and I wanted to change things up from my default good guy style of play. However, my default is my default for a reason, and I rapidly shifted towards an understanding, methodical, principled viewpoint, always eager to help others. In particular, the principle of openness and the value of knowledge is something Ryndara appreciates. She convinced Grieving Mother that her deceptions were unethical, opposed Llengrath on the subject of whether to bury Concelhaut's research, and steadfastly maintained to both friend and enemy that the Leaden Key and its methods were both unethical and counterproductive.

    The events of the previous game considerably soured Ryndara's disposition regarding the gods. The more insight she was afforded into their behavior during her travels, the more it became clear that the gods were fickle, self-serving, self-contradictory, and uncaring about the lives of mortals. This, however, just seemed to be the way of the world. The universe was fundamentally cruel and uncaring, as were the gods that defined it, and one simply had to make the best of it.
    Iovara's revelation in the depths of Breith Eaman, however, turned jaded acceptance into horror and outrage. The gods, with all their flaws, were not what had to be accepted on account of being the only gods. They were not inevitable. They were the creations of men, and all their shortcomings were the failures of a people so in denial of the truth of the universe that they were willing to commit unspeakable atrocities to avoid having to face it. Because of their stubbornness, we were cursed with a whole pantheon of gods, each demanding of the worship of kith but unworthy of it in their own way. The gods' creators had wrenched the souls from a civilization's worth of people to build their idols, and Thaos, their emissary to the future, committed countless atrocities to cement the supremacy of heaven. Not only had they belied their own motives by inflicting so much suffering in the name of their gods, just as the long-dead heathens did in service to theirs, but all this was done to serve gods who were incapable, both individually and collectively, of providing the justice and moral guidance they were created to give the world. We have:
    • A goddess of all the worst aspects of nobility, who uses her subjects as chattel while claiming to work on their behalf, who steadfastly calls for laws to restrain others while disregarding all laws which would restrain her, who is cruel and spiteful and vindictive;
    • Not one, but two deities associated with natural processes that would occur without them (seriously, who needs a god of entropy? It's the one "thing" that is so utterly assured that it needs no advocate);
    • A god of rebellion, but of rebellion in the worst ways, bloody and cruel, inflicting harm upon the innocent, with no real chance of changing things and only serving to justify the oppressor's lash;
    • A goddess of the ocean who also serves as the goddess of not dealing with grief in a healthy way, and who uses forgetfulness as a tool to prevent people from understanding her transgressions against them;
    • A god of the hunt and nature, of the primal war of all against all, who therefore doesn't offer much of anything helpful to his worshipers and certainly doesn't offer the moral clarity that was supposed to be one of the reasons the gods were needed;
    • A knowledge god who doesn't believe in actually accumulating knowledge, presumably because that would pose a threat to the pantheon;
    • A goddess of motherhood who won't do a thing to protect her children;
    • A goddess who abandons or kills her followers distressingly often;
    • A god of light and mercy who leads campaigns of destruction and war through peaceful neighboring countries.

    (Abydon seems to be all right, from what little we've seen of him, and Hylea isn't terrible, merely ineffectual, but they still do little to redeem the pantheon as a whole.)
    Moreover, collectively, the gods fail at their intended purpose of providing unity and moral clarity to the mortal world because they have different values and value systems. What one god commands, another despises. Their mortal followers make war upon one another as they advocate for the worship of one god or another, and almost any act (save those which collectively threaten the pantheon's security) can find a deity to sponsor it. If the Engwithans were going to go through with the plan of god-making, they should at least have done a better job.

    All in all, Ryndara has come to one conclusion: the gods must die. Ideally, all of them would be unmade, but there's definitely an ordered list. Woedica and Skaen are near the top, as is Ondra, but after the events at the start of the game, the number one candidate for destruction seems to be Eothas, since Ryndara is bound to follow him anyway, he continues to exist in an accessible physical form, and he's made things personal by destroying Caed Nua after she put so much time and money into fixing the place up, in addition to killing her and hundreds of other people.

    Part 1:
    Having awoken after a death experience, the destruction of one's castle, a pirate attack, and a shipwreck, Ryndara is beginning to sense that having specifically angered the goddess of the sea, though seemingly prudent while inland at Caed Nua, might end up becoming a problem in the days to come. She meets up with Eder, who is strangely as weakened as she is; Ryndara had assumed that the journey from a powerful arcanist on par with the archmage Concelhaut to a level 1 novice was the result of trauma from being killed and then resurrected by divine fiat, but it seems that her fellows have similarly weakened over the years. Apparently, life in Dyrford was a softening experience. The two explore the island they have found themselves on, coming to the town of Port Maje, where they find Xoti, a Readceran priestess of Eothas whose curious accent is only slightly more apparent than her fixation on Eder. Ryndara is rather torn at this point. Eder was already going to be an issue as they caught up to Eothas, whom Ryndara was committed to slaying. Having another Eothasian, one with no personal history or loyalty to balance against religious upbringing, in the group could be an issue, but at the same time, the party is rather small at this point, and additional martial power is desperately needed at the moment. Therefore, Ryndara resigns herself to being surrounded for the moment with a series of monophthonic drawls and sets out to hear the governor's request, hoping to negotiate her way into getting her ship repaired.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    We have:
    • A goddess of all the worst aspects of nobility, who uses her subjects as chattel while claiming to work on their behalf, who steadfastly calls for laws to restrain others while disregarding all laws which would restrain her, who is cruel and spiteful and vindictive;
    • Not one, but two deities associated with natural processes that would occur without them (seriously, who needs a god of entropy? It's the one "thing" that is so utterly assured that it needs no advocate);
    • A god of rebellion, but of rebellion in the worst ways, bloody and cruel, inflicting harm upon the innocent, with no real chance of changing things and only serving to justify the oppressor's lash;
    • A goddess of the ocean who also serves as the goddess of not dealing with grief in a healthy way, and who uses forgetfulness as a tool to prevent people from understanding her transgressions against them;
    • A god of the hunt and nature, of the primal war of all against all, who therefore doesn't offer much of anything helpful to his worshipers and certainly doesn't offer the moral clarity that was supposed to be one of the reasons the gods were needed;
    • A knowledge god who doesn't believe in actually accumulating knowledge, presumably because that would pose a threat to the pantheon;
    • A goddess of motherhood who won't do a thing to protect her children;
    • A goddess who abandons or kills her followers distressingly often;
    • A god of light and mercy who leads campaigns of destruction and war through peaceful neighboring countries.

    (Abydon seems to be all right, from what little we've seen of him, and Hylea isn't terrible, merely ineffectual, but they still do little to redeem the pantheon as a whole.)
    Taken collectively the gods of Eora strike me as tragic more than anything. Their natures were fixed by what the Engwithans thought gods should be like thousands of years ago, they're prisoners of that nature and they just don't have it in themselves to change because they weren't built to. To reforge them they have to break first as Abydon did and then as Eothas did.

    The gods being prisoners to their nature is most evident in Skaen. At the end of the first game Skaen's offer is for you to empower Woedica, the authority against which he represents bloody rebellion, because without her authority he is lessened as well.

    He can't not want her in charge, even though he is the spirit of rebellion against authority, because he's a prisoner to the need for something to rebel against.


    Of note though, Wael isn't really the god of knowledge itself but secrets and the search for knowledge. He's the god of searching not of finding.

    Also Galawain absolutely does offer more than you give him credit for, because although he's the god who believes in the triumph of the strong over the weak, he's also a granter of strength (his option for what to do at the end of the first game is spread strength to those who need it, and is one with consistently positive outcomes) and he's not picky as to what kind of strength one has, wits and patience are as valuable to him as screaming and leaping.

    Magran is the god of trials but she's disinterested in the result, if you break you break and it's not her problem. Fire doesn't care what it burns. Like the sea doesn't care what it washes away (making Ondra the god of forgotten things).

    Abydon can be terrible, depending on the outcomes of White March. If he's restored unchanged then he's a bulwark against progress, he can't let things change because he's the god of preservation but that means he can't let things get better.

    Hylea is an idealist, her choice at the end of the first game is what she thinks fixes the problem but ignores the detail (that many hollowborn will have died, and the parents of the ones who did now have to face the unnecessary deaths of their children if they'd just persevered with a soulless vegetable for a decade and a half.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Morty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    The returning companions' reduction to level 1 really can be a bit jarring if you stop to think about it. The Watcher was reduced by Eothas ripping a part of their soul out; the rest didn't exactly suffer that fate. But then, the game's narrative doesn't really account for the rapid D&D-style power growth.

    As far as the gods go, I feel like they made them too easy to despise sometimes. GloatingSwine makes good points about how they're prisoners of their nature, though.
    Last edited by Morty; 2019-10-19 at 04:47 AM.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    I get that they're prisoners of their nature and that they are the way they are because the Engwithans made them to be so. The larger travesty is that the Engwithans made them to be that way, when they had every opportunity not to. They could have made a pantheon of all kind and just gods. They could have, at the very least, made a pantheon that shared common values and got along with itself, so that they wouldn't cause their followers to fight over matters of religion, which is one of the very reasons the pantheon was created in the first place.

    But the Engwithans are now forever beyond accountability. All that remains is their legacy, which has done its own injustices and needs to be held accountable for them.

    As for Hylea's option, the fact that many Hollowborn died before they could be restored doesn't diminish the fact that many were restored. The Legacy was creating a demographic crisis in the Dyrwood (one which others, like the Republics, were already starting to work to take advantage of), and only restoration really tries to address that.

    Part 2:
    In Port Maje, we are tasked by the governor with investigating a dig site involved in the luminous adra trade, which Xoti chides the governor for taking part in, as the adra is luminous due to being replete with soul essence. While the governor's rebuttal that the essence isn't actual souls may have merit, Ryndara reflects that using soul essence as a mineable resource rather than allowing it to continue through the cycle may be a problem in the long term. Still, she isn't in a position to refuse, so the party heads out, first picking up a rogue at the local tavern to provide mechanical assistance. We journey inland, encountering a group of xaurips, and reach the dig site. (As an aside, I would like to just say how much I enjoy the "storybook" encounters in these games.)

    Fighting our way through panthers and wurms, we find a group of animancers who managed to avoid the soul-draining effect Eothas has been emitting by locking themselves in a particular cage. The fact that a defense can be made against biawacs is heartening to Ryndara, and serves as a reminder of why animancy has merit as a science. Among the animancers is Aloth, masquerading as one Engferth. Ryndara takes pleasure in making Aloth squirm as she asks all manner of questions about his new persona. Thereafter, he joins the party. (The game affords you an interesting choice when you pick up a party member, asking you whether you want them to be single-classed or multiclassed. In this case, since I'm already a full wizard, I decided to make him a wizard/rogue.) We skirt around the dig site, shamelessly looting the ashen bodies of those not fortunate enough to have made it inside the cage. Curiously, Xoti says nothing about this, in spite of her funerary occupation.

    In the heart of the old Engwithan arena is a pillar of luminous adra, and in touching it, Ryndara is able to trace a sort of tether from it to Eothas. It seems that he cut the pillar off from the Wheel, preventing souls from going into the Beyond. Meanwhile, those souls he drained from passers-by, along with a portion of Ryndara's soul, are milling about in his body, wailing and despairing. When the vision passes, other ask about what she saw; Ryndara chooses to explain that Eothas tethered himself to the pillar, but in doing so misses the opportunity to point out the pain he is causing to all the souls he carries. (I hate it when dialogue options work like that.)

    On the way back from the dig site, we meet an old aumaua druid. Initially hostile, when I tell him that we are hunting a god, he gives us an enchanted necklace. (Bonuses to Intellect, History, and Insight? I'll take it.) Then we report back to Clario, help out a bit in town, and head out to the Defiant.
    Last edited by VoxRationis; 2019-10-19 at 11:49 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Part 3:
    No sooner has the Defiant left its beach than it is accosted by a pirate captain who, having heard of our earlier run-in with the Drake and its captain, seeks to give us a course to follow in order to take revenge. Ryndara, having bigger issues to concern herself with than mere pirates, has no particular desire to chase down Captain Benweth, and this offer seems like a childish attempt at using her to eliminate a rival, but with a skeleton crew and no ammunition, we're in a poor position to defy the pirate before her, so she smiles and nods, and even allows him to foist one of his crew upon her (and a cipher, no less!). The whole matter smacks far too much of an obvious setup, but on the other hand, watching the dynamic between Serafen and the captain, the possibility exists that he might be turned against his master with simple forthrightness and respect.

    We stock up on supplies and crew in Port Maje before making our way north towards Neketaka. Then Ryndara was struck with a vision of the council of the gods. She makes known her displeasure at being micromanaged in this way, and on several occasions tries to weigh in on the council, but after it becomes clear that her word is not appreciated here, she quiets down in the hopes of hearing something important. Berath mentions something about Eothas absorbing his children either as an alternative to reentering the Beyond or as something which would prevent it, which seems like a lead worth investigating. Woedica and Skaen both strongly favor killing Eothas, which seems like a compelling argument not to do so. Ultimately, the gods castigate Ryndara for trying to speak to them and for not being quicker to find Eothas (two complaints that apply mostly because they forcibly brought me to this council without consent or warning) and tell her to keep on doing what she was doing before.

    Sailing north, we stop by an arid island for supplies, and happen upon a group of xaurips. We slay them, and rescue an old female xaurip that was being kept in a cage. Trusting us despite the fact that her only experience of us is our killing many of their kind, she tags along and joins the group. Ryndara's acceptance of her makes Eder happy on account of his "Kindness to animals" value, even though a xaurip is a sentient being with culture, tool use, and a social structure. (Aloth is somewhat less pleased with Ryndara because he believes her to be too traditional.)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Part 4:
    We travel to Neketaka. There, while Ryndara tries to negotiate with a stubborn harbormaster, Berath decides to meddle and causes her to release a number of gathered souls in a spectacle of some sort. Berath is proving to be a much more hands-on sort of deity than they were reputed to be. We explore the harbor and talk to a shipbuilder named Zamar, who needs help wresting payment out of one of his clients. While there, Ryndara ogles the plans for larger and more impressive ships than the single-masted sloop she's got now. "One day," she says to herself, "I'll have a galleon worthy of a Vailian aristocrat and a lady of Dyrwood." Since such a ship would cost 100,000 pires, however, that day is far off at the moment.

    On the way through town, we meet none other than Pallegina! Our hopes are, however, dashed, for after losing her job with the Republics, she has come to the conclusion that traveling with us a second time would be bad for her. Somber, we press onward. (This is a real disappointment for me. She was one of my favorite characters in the first game and I was very much looking forward to picking her up again. I think, in all honesty, that Pallegina's being a bit unfair by blaming me for getting fired, as disobeying her bosses was very much her idea and her decision, but it's her call.)

    We explore Queen's Berth a bit, breaking up an impending duel between two scions of rival families, killing the Principi thugs who were trying to shake down Zamar the shipbuilder, and getting a commission for exploring and charting the archipelago. Then we head up the mountain, where we hear of a dispute regarding an old tablet currently in the possession of the wizard Arkemyr. Rauatai and the native Huana both want it, partly because it might provide a method of finding the lost island Ukaizo. Ryndara wonders why they don't simply make a rubbing of the tablet, give it to the Rauataians, and give the original to the Huana, but doesn't stop to interfere too much, as we have important business at the top of the mountain.

    When we reach the royal palace, we find an ongoing argument between the Rauataian and Vailian ambassadors. Apparently a Rauataian colony is destroyed or unresponsive, and they blame the Vailians. When Ryndara tries to explain the situation, she is initially laughed at, but the queen of Neketaka elects to send her as a neutral party to investigate the colony. The Rauataian admiral foists one of her minions on Ryndara, but fortunately, the Vailian ambassador counters this by promising to recall Pallegina and send her along with, as a sort of balancing measure. On the way out, the prince of Neketaka tries to enlist the party in an investigation of the black market, and points us to a watershaper who might be able to help us.

    At this point, the number of factions attempting to use us to achieve their ends is staggering, and Ryndara is beginning to have serious doubts about the viability of the party as a whole. She has on her ship not one, but two worshipers of the god she fully intends on killing and three externally-appointed agents of three different factions with competing interests. Moreover, attempting to chart a middle course and favor native interests against those of pirates and foreign imperialists is likely to anger Aloth (for being too inclined to tradition) and Maia (for favoring the Huana at all). Knowing her luck, this watershaper is also likely to be a partisan of some faction.* Some degree of party manipulation and a great degree of balance through internal tension may be necessary to keep everything together going forward. On the plus side, Pallegina is coming back, after we thought she was gone forever, and it's nice to know that Kana is doing well, even if his sister is markedly different and doesn't seem to like him as much as Ryndara does.

    (One of the interesting choices that crops up frequently in this part of the game is whether or not to make an incoming party member a multiclass character. It's fortunate that I quicksaved before talking to Pallegina a second time, because I had to think very long and hard about taking her on as a paladin or as a paladin/chanter. I'm very fond of the chanter class in PoE, as it operates in such a different way from the other caster classes and all of the abilities are very flavorful. It's also a very attractive option to mix with a paladin for a variety of reasons, because the two classes both offer a mix of AoE support abilities and debuffs, but do so in ways which complement each other's weaknesses. A chanter can continue to use their abilities indefinitely, but can't do much of anything in the beginning of a fight, while paladins have a handful of abilities to pop as a fight starts, but rapidly run out of buttons to push. On the other hand, a lot of the better chanter abilities are higher level, and a multiclass character won't get them in a timely fashion, if at all, and multiclassing will also hinder advancement as a paladin. The question becomes whether I value high-level paladin abilities at game's end more than I value low-level chanter abilities in the short term. Sacred Sacrifice does indeed look extremely fun, and I would have to retrain Pallegina because her starting pick for Invocation is far too situational, but the synergy mentioned earlier, plus the idea of stacking all kinds of AoE buffs at the same time from a single character, leads me to pick the multiclass.)

    We quickly make a stop at the Wild Mare to teach Pallegina a different song, only to learn that Neither Felled By the Axe is a default for all chanters. A chat with Pallegina shows that the two godlike have similar opinions of the gods, which is a breath of fresh air for Ryndara. In typical adventurer fashion, we start butting into people's business, and we are asked by a woman named Kahn to help track down an old family friend who owes her some money. Quickly following up on that lead, we find a journal of his which details his belief that he was being followed. Ominously, the symbol of Woedica is marked there. Ryndara grows suspicious of Kahn (perhaps she is not what she says she is), but her reaction seems honest enough. Kahn points Ryndara to a strange temple a bit west of Neketaka, which brings the current to-do list up to one main quest and three side quests once we leave port.

    We run into a Huana from a small tribe who entered into a questionable contract with the Vailians and want to renegotiate. Ryndara sends Maia and Pallegina away before getting involved, as neither one would appreciate her efforts, and diplomatically solves the issue without much trouble. Doing so draws the attention of an agent of the Royal Deadfire Company (not Maia, but a different agent), who seems to have misinterpreted altruism for actual malice towards the Vailians.

    The party heads back to Periki's Overlook to recruit this mysterious watershaper. This Tekehu, an Ondra-blessed godlike, turns out to be so prideful as to immediately alienate the party, and is, in fact, a devoted follower of Ondra. Ondra, too, is devoted to him, and sends Ryndara visions, explaining how he needs to be toughened and sent on a path to greatness.

    Continuing the pattern of incessant divine interference, a Woedican agent gives Ryndara a book which brings her into yet another vision, this time of an audience with the fallen queen. She explains that the gods are in the process of trying to judge the worth of kith, using Ryndara as their representative. She also mentions that the Wheel has a physical form somewhere, anchoring its metaphysical existence, which could potentially be useful.

    The crew of the Defiant heads out to sea, turning the tables on two pirate ships that attempt to prey upon them as they explore near Maje Island.


    *Possibly a fanatical Ondrite; the sea goddess and Ryndara have no love lost for each other, considering that Ondra tried to set Ryndara up to die and Ryndara very intentionally sabotaged Ondra's relationship with Abydon.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Morty's Avatar

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    I think I have yet to receive Woedica's book and talk to her through it, since it was added in a post-release patch. One of the last ones, in fact, prompted by players having concerns over some parts of the story and setting being too obscure.

    As far as Pallegina's class goes, I found her fairly solid as a Paladin/Chanter, but she needs some time to pick up speed first. She underperformed for a while, but eventually became a very strong support character. If there's one thing that annoys me about Chanters is that some of their abilities are very situational while others are "workhorses" that you'll be using a lot - such as And Hel-Hyraf Crashed Upon the Shield or At the Sound of His Voice, the Killers Froze Stiff and their upgrades.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    I actually kind of like Galawain, in the abstract. Unlike most of the gods, he doesn't really pretend to be anything other than what he is, he doesn't apologize for it, but he isn't cruel about it either. He sets a trial, it gets overcome, he gives out a prize, he goes home happy. He never acts like he's doing it on behalf of whoever is doing the trial, he doesn't pretend that any given challenge is "right" or "good", but at the same time its not personal, and if you win, then you just win. Most of the time its a bitter concession when you beat a godly challenge, and they take it personally that you don't lie down and die. Compared to the other gods, he's refreshingly straightforward and open.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    We quickly make a stop at the Wild Mare to teach Pallegina a different song, only to learn that Neither Felled By the Axe is a default for all chanters. A chat with Pallegina shows that the two godlike have similar opinions of the gods, which is a breath of fresh air for Ryndara. In typical adventurer fashion, we start butting into people's business, and we are asked by a woman named Kahn to help track down an old family friend who owes her some money. Quickly following up on that lead, we find a journal of his which details his belief that he was being followed. Ominously, the symbol of Woedica is marked there. Ryndara grows suspicious of Kahn (perhaps she is not what she says she is), but her reaction seems honest enough. Kahn points Ryndara to a strange temple a bit west of Neketaka, which brings the current to-do list up to one main quest and three side quests once we leave port.
    Pallegina isn't best positioned to make use of Sacred Immolation and its upgrades.

    In my current playthrough I'm using a highly defensive Paladin who can walk into the middle of a group, pop an empowered SI and burn down to ~25% health without fear because nothing can hit me (plus with the combination of Fire Godlike, Cloak of Nemnok, and Maker's Own Power my armour rating spikes to about 25 and regeneration pulls me back without spending a heal).

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Does anyone find it odd that the dialogue options don't ever really give you the opportunity (at least so far) to discuss the fact that the gods are artificial? The party got this world-shattering revelation at the end of the last game, and everyone's acting like it didn't happen. I feel like telling everyone who will listen about it is a course of action the writers could have anticipated. I could see them building something in to prevent you from doing so (maybe Berath warns you the first time you try that if you say something to that effect again, she'll kill you summarily), but I don't see it.

    Part 5:
    While exploring a remote island south of Port Maje, we are ambushed by a number of spirits. It's a difficult battle, but we come out the victors. We continue exploring the island and find a bloody temple. Expecting priests, we take the time to enchant Aloth's scepter with Misotheist. However, what we actually find are a group of maddened castaways who resorted to cannibalism some time ago. They're tough individually, but aren't expecting us and didn't set a watch at the door, so we find it easy to pick off the leader individually, but then we get caught out a bit and in a scrap with an ogre and a variety of others. After defeating them, we find the lone survivor of the group, who had been tied to a post as the next meal. He offers to join the crew, and while we are down a crew member after Engrim got shot during a gunnery duel with a Principi sloop, it seems perhaps unwise to have a cannibal cook on board, so we decide to leave him here.

    We depart what we name Bone-Cleaner Island (on account of its arid nature and the cannibals who inhabited it) and sail north, traveling to Oathbinder Sanctum. sOn the way, we stop by a small island for a shore leave of a less violent sort, betting on a swimming race.

    In Oathbinder Sanctum, Ryndara spies a soul in some sort of ritual execution chamber, a lone innocent soul surrounded by the guilty. Xoti harvests the soul, a practice Ryndara is growing wary of. What does harvesting it mean? Is it noticeably different from what a Watcher can do? How does it work? Is it going to benefit Eothas in any way? Should I be curtailing this practice? Thus far, the approach taken towards Xoti has been a begrudging tolerance of a quaint cultural custom, but in matters such as these, it is possible that it may have significance beyond simple symbolism.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    There are a few options to bring it up to various people, but for the most part, its considered A: relatively unimportant and B: extremely unbelievable. As I recall, theres at least one person you can have that conversation with, and their response is something to the effect of "but they still do stuff, right? So what does it matter if theyre artificial? Theyre still here."
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    I mean, Thaos seemed to think it was pretty important; he went to a lot of effort to cover it up. Heck, the Engwithans hijacked an entire culture in order to cover it up by preventing people from poking around too much with their stuff. It's not that important from an immediate practical level, but it weighs heavily on matters like the legitimacy of the gods.
    Last edited by VoxRationis; 2019-10-22 at 02:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    I mean, Thaos seemed to think it was pretty important; he went to a lot of effort to cover it up. Heck, the Engwithans hijacked an entire culture in order to cover it up by preventing people from poking around too much with their stuff. It's not that important from an immediate practical level, but it weighs heavily on matters like the legitimacy of the gods.
    Thaos and the Engwithans were also rather fundamentally incorrect in their perceptions of humanity. The whole reason your soul was so obsessed with the question is because rather than just giving a straight answer of "yes, we ascended them to godhood" to his inquisitor, he tried to be evasive about it. The gods themselves meanwhile don't like people thinking too deeply about them period, because if they did then they might not like what they realized.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Its incredibly telling that their first reaction on hearing that Eothas was going to break the Wheel was "Oh crap. We, personally, are going to be screwed by this, because we cant work with mortals as an equal party."
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Is that a spoiler for Deadfire? Will I have to play the game before clicking on it?

    I have to say, I really love this game thus far. Exploring the archipelago on a ship is really fun, I love the city maps with the quick statistics blocks, and I love things like the ability to copy an item between weapon sets (so as to continue to use a particular shield, for instance, when switching weapons). I'm not a huge fan of the reduced party size, however, for two main reasons. The first is that by reducing the number of party members traveling with you, you necessarily reduce the number of hours spent with each member (assuming that the party size has little effect on the speed at which plot and conversations happen), meaning you see less of each member's interactions with you, each other, and the world. The second is that it makes it harder to body-block opponents, which means that proportionally, you have to have fewer delicate party members.

    Part 6:
    Another level down in the pyramid, we find a charnel house with a couple of recent bodies. We pick up a stray cat in the ruins (I feel like this should earn Eder approval, but I see no note of it) and proceed, finding a group of sporelings and a cluster of dank spores. The majority of the party (Ryndara, Eder, Pallegina, and Aloth) remember how tough those can be, so we lure the sporelings out with ranged attacks first. This tactic works well, though subsequent exploration of the room reveals that the fight was unnecessary. We clear out the rest of the level, sustaining an injury while busting through a wall, and then head down.

    Aloth spies a trap, but is unable to pick it, so we begin to go the other way, but once a xaurip spies us and retreats, Ryndara, suspecting that defenses are being laid, elects to have us brave the trap corridor. An application of thief's unguent allows us to bypass the traps, and we make our way to a chamber in which a number of Woedica cultists are holding Oswald and putting him to trial. Knowing how the trial will almost assuredly progress, we don't give them the chance to finish.

    When the last body hits the floor, we stand triumphant, and Oswald offers us thanks (but no money, claiming bankruptcy). He explains that the Steel Garrote has been after him ever since he took part in the War of Defiance. There's no particular reason to disbelieve him; it fits what we've been told about his background (being an "old family friend" of a descendant of Hadreth) and Woedica being known for keeping a grudge. He gives Ryndara a "ring" (truthfully a bit of string tied in a loop) and offers to join the crew as a navigator. Extra crew are always welcome, especially if Principi raids are going to be as frequent in the future as they were on this voyage, so Ryndara assents. We'll see what Kahn has to say about this momentarily.

    Oswald runs off, but there yet remains work to be done in the temple. Ryndara takes great satisfaction in looting an altar of Woedica. Feeling qualms about our previous violence towards xaurips, Ryndara elects to leave them to their devices, but the group pores over the rest of the temple. In one chamber, we find bloated vessels, "rotghasts." Fortunately, we have initiative, Ryndara knows the Binding Web spell, and we were able to equip ranged weapons, so the resulting fight, though long, is not difficult.

    Once we're back on the Defiant, we return to Neketaka, since it's nearby and Kahn is likely to want to hear of our having rescued Oswald. She leaves in a huff once we tell her that Oswald has no money. Since we're already here, however, it seems like a good opportunity to investigate the watershapers who Tekehu saw heading to the Gullet.

    The abject squalor of the Gullet offends Tekehu, who had not realized it was so bad here. We ask around and learn of an elder who occupies something of an unofficial leadership position among the Roparu and might be able to help us. This man, Enoi, tells us that the Roparu's share of the food is too little to sustain them, and that many are starving. Ryndara pledges to help, first by entreating the Queen to increase the share. (That may have to wait until after we reach Hasongo, in order that we might have standing with the court.) Enoi also tells us of a Dawnstar who preaches here, one Pitli. Perhaps that is Eder's old friend. Immediately, however, we are looking for the black market, so it's time to hit the tavern.

    Once there, we learn that Delver's Row, the current site of the black market, is located in the Narrows, a mazelike network of alleys in the western part of the neighborhood. We're given instructions for how to find it. On the way out of the tavern, the group is accosted by a number of muggers who are seemingly untroubled by our military-style weapons and robust numbers. Ryndara bluffs them into thinking that she had set them up for an ambush, and they throw money at her and run. From there, the party continues its foray into the criminal element of Neketaka, following the (surprisingly valid) instructions to find Delver's Row. A merchant there named Enezzo says that one Dereo is likely involved with the purchasing of items such as the Vailian envoy's badge, and gives us instructions to find him.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Is that a spoiler for Deadfire? Will I have to play the game before clicking on it?
    Yes.

    Aloth spies a trap, but is unable to pick it,
    Something that's changed since the first game is that you now spot traps and hidden items with the Perception stat instead of the Mechanics skill. So Aloth will always spot them, but whoever you're building mechanics up on wants to go over to disarm them (I specced Eder as a Rogue so he was the locks and traps man)


    Oswald has a friend looking for him in Queen's Berth by the way.

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    Something that's changed since the first game is that you now spot traps and hidden items with the Perception stat instead of the Mechanics skill. So Aloth will always spot them, but whoever you're building mechanics up on wants to go over to disarm them (I specced Eder as a Rogue so he was the locks and traps man)
    Which is all well and good until the late-game DLC, where you've got traps that require 17 perception to spot, or something like that. If no one in the party has it, you won't see them, no matter how high your Mechanics are. Traps are even more annoying in Deadfire than they are in PoE1, somehow.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    Which is all well and good until the late-game DLC, where you've got traps that require 17 perception to spot, or something like that. If no one in the party has it, you won't see them, no matter how high your Mechanics are. Traps are even more annoying in Deadfire than they are in PoE1, somehow.
    Traps are worse in Deadfire because they tend to directly apply injuries, whereas in 1 they were just damage. Also some buffs are now in-combat only so traps will hit more as your defences are lower out of combat.

    Fortunately though, multiple sources of +Attribute stack in Deadfire whereas in the first one you only got the best, so it's quite easy to boost a character to spot them.

    Also, if you can physically see the trap like with visible tripwires or spike traps you can disarm them without a character needing to spot them and turn them red.

    Spoiler: Later Companions
    Show
    Especially Vatnir, Ydwin, or Maia, who start with 15, 16, and 17 Per respectively.


    Sidenote on multiclassing in Deadfire:

    I found that it's kind of best to bias one way, to pick one of the two classes and focus on it, whilst picking abilities from the other one that enhance the first.

    Like I chose the Witch mutliclass for Serafen, and went mostly for Berserker abilities with a few chosen cipher spells and passives that let him reduce enemy defences and buff allied ones so he can frontline harder whilst he gets stuck in with a pair of hatchets.

    Spoiler: Companions again
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    Likewise Vatnir I chose Celebrant and specced him as a summon focused chanter with a few priest buffs, so he can pop out extra bodies and enhance them along with the party.
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-10-23 at 09:39 AM.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Speaking of Serafen, while he starts out dual wielding a gun and an axe, you don't ever really want to do that. He takes all the dual wield penalties, but he only attacks with one of the two weapons at a time, even if both are in range (ie melee). If you want him to be proper melee, have him use a pure melee setup, with his grenade launcher in a weapon swap set.

    In RTWP mode, I believe dual wielding gunpowder weapons is also lackluster because you need to reload each one individually, so all youre really doing is giving yourself some better burst on the first attack. In full turn based, they reload both weapons in between every round, so youre actually getting more damage from dual wielding them.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Well, now that there's no health/endurance split like there was in 1, inflicting injuries is necessary in order to create a persistent penalty for "mistakes" made out of combat.

    As an aside, did anybody else noticed in 1 that sometimes health would take more damage than endurance? I remember that in the vampire level of Caed Nua, characters would sometimes have high Endurance but lose large portions of their health bar over the course of a fight.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Yeah, late on in PoE1 very often the best thing to disarm a trap wasn't a high mechanics skill, it was Eder's face.

    (Though in my last playthrough as a tankadin I did it myself, because with ~120-130 in all defences most traps just miss).

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Part 7:
    We navigate through the Narrows to Dereo's lair. Tekenu quickly emerges as the weak link in our party, as far as pretending to be criminals goes, which is something of an issue, as he is important to our infiltration of any watershaper-based wrongdoing. Ryndara does her best to cover for him. When Dereo asks her identity, she answers honestly, feeling that as a moon godlike in particular, she sticks out too much to really cover up who she is; at best, she can misrepresent her values and beliefs.

    Dereo asks us to retrieve an artifact of Ondra, known as the Cornett of Waves, from the estate of one Takano. He also mentions a counterpart to the instrument, the Cornett of Depths, which was lost in the Old City. Considering what Dereo is suspected of being involved in, giving him an item, probably of magical power, that relates to the ocean seems unwise, but it wouldn't hurt to do some reconnaissance of this Takano.

    (Quickly regarding the Old City and the cataclysm that hit the Deadfire long ago: I'm a little confused as to the chronology here. Some of the information, like the mouseover text regarding Rauatai and the Deadfire Archipelago, speaks of this cataclysm as an ancient and mythical event. Other mentions of it, like Tekehu talking about losing one of the four watershaping forms, speak of it as a distant but firmly historical affair, like the fall of Rome or even Constantinople. I suspect it's related to the moon dropping Ondra did to cover up Engwith. We know, or Kana has at least concluded, that there was a connection between Engwith and Rauatai.)

    We head up to Serpent's Crown, hoping to speak with Takano and Prince Aruihi. Takano, we learn, is indebted to Vailians, which we could potentially use to our advantage, should we decide that we desire to steal the Cornett. Voti, our thief, is able to sneak around and locate the item without difficulty. When we speak with Aruihi again, we find, to our great surprise, that he is both aware of the food shortage (and of its ultimate cause, the disconnect between life in a large city and the caste system and prize-share traditions that originated in small tribal villages) and easily talked into helping. We bring the good news to Enoi, pick up Eder at the local tavern, and prepare go and talk to the Dawnstar in town. However, we run into the Mataru punishing a Roparu man by lowering him into the Old City. We investigate, talking to Biha, a woman who was protesting his punishment. She talks about trying to buy passage out of Neketaka with one Captain Seduzo of the Royal Deadfire Company. Ryndara offers to help, but first to try and look for the man in the Old City. Ryndara talks the guards into letting her down, claiming an interest in the city's history (which isn't entirely untrue; she has interest in it both intellectually and in possibly finding the Cornett of the Depths).

    We explore the outskirts of the Old City, seeing items like essence batteries and statues which seem vaguely Engwithan in their stern monumentality. Not a stone's throw from the elevator do we find, in an old pool, the Cornett of Depths, but we are overwhelmed by skeletons after taking it. (That was cheating on the game's part, though; my characters refused to cast their spells and the skeletons, despite all being hit with confusion, continued to focus my party down unhindered.) The second time round, we still have trouble getting people to follow orders, but manage to overcome it through better positioning.

    Progressing through the Old City, we come across a group of guls feasting on what we dread to be the condemned man from before. We ambush them with Confusion (which again doesn't work like it should, as they all immediately attack the party instead of each other), only for a pestilent rotghast to emerge from a shallow pool behind us. Pallegina's chant of paralysis fails to take hold, but we manage to fight the group off anyway. Tekehu's ability to drop a foe-only blind and cold spell on the front lines is terribly useful.

    The spirit of the dead man, Botaro, still lingers about his corpse, and there we learn many things that would have perhaps been more useful some time ago. We learn that he misappropriated money given to him by Dereo to pay for a package, we learn where he stashed the money (we knew that already), we learn the directions to get to Dereo (a bit late for that), and we learn that Dereo's agents are given marked coins to allow them passage to the Undercroft. If we can find one of those coins, we might be able to get down there without giving the Cornett to Dereo.

    Back in the Gullet, we try to book passage for Seduzo, only to learn that there is not enough space for Biha and her whole family, on account of one Orron and his men taking up the berths. We head up in order to persuade him to relinquish his space. Orron, a dwarf with the Goldpact Knights, appears to be obsessive compulsive, and is meticulously arranging his food in a ritualistic way when we arrive. Ryndara gets his attention by disturbing the arrangement. Ryndara then points out that if he doesn't relinquish his berths, Biha and her family will be split, and he'll be stuck traveling with only part of a set. Disturbed by this possibility, Orron immediately sets out to find a different ship. (Initially, I messed with Orron repeatedly, goaded them into a fight, and killed them, but I didn't think violence was an appropriate answer to this, so I loaded.) Ryndara brings the good news to Biha, who sets out, and the party then goes back to the Narrows to try to find a way down.

    In the narrows, we find a vithrack merchant, "The Spindle Man," who discusses some of the secrets he's prized from the minds of the other watershapers who come here. He asserts that they know secrets from the Old City, secrets that he desires even more than those of living kith, but will not tell him willingly. All he mentions that he got from them are memories of "a damp cave, a hateful glare beneath a stagnant pool," and "a dead woman's regret." Most of the party reacts with revulsion and distrust of this creature, but most of the vithrack we have met have been reasonable individuals who just want to be left alone, so Ryndara is willing to trade information. In particular, she hopes he will seize upon the memories of Iovara and Thaos, but this passes without comment. The secret The Spindle Man gives, however, is underwhelming. He merely hints that the Old City contains a temple of Ondra, which we knew already. (I can't help but feel like I'm going through these quests in the wrong order.)

    Ryndara's attempts from this and other merchants to find one of the marked suolenets that can open the way to the Undercroft fail, so we go to Dereo and give him the Cornett of Depths. He then gives it back (which comes as a huge relief to Ryndara; her decision is not yet irrevocable) and tells us to bring it to the Undercroft. We are to explore the Old City through a passage there and find a mosaic, keeping any treasure we can find. Dereo doesn't come across as an academic type, eager to give away vast sums in order to acquire knowledge for its own sake, so Ryndara assumes that this mosaic contains information that would be useful to Dereo. Perhaps, like that Rauataian ambassador with the tablet, this relates to the search for Ukaizo.

    When we get to the Undercroft, we learn the dread secret: the watershapers are... calming the water in a hidden sea cave, so as to allow ships to move in and out easily and safely. I was expecting something a little more sinister, like wrecking ships and salvaging their cargoes. Tekehu is indignant at the use of his craft in so utilitarian a manner, but brings up an excellent point: is it for the best if the prince shuts down Delver's Row? Does the harm done by the criminal element outweigh the good that this business brings to the impoverished Roparu? As Tekehu himself says, there are no simple answers. Certainly, this is a source of income for the Roparu, and some of what goes on here is essentially victimless. On the other hand, very real and very harmful crime is associated with Delver's Row. Many of the goods smuggled in here might be harmless, but if they come from plundered ships, innocents are definitely coming to harm as a result of the trade. Hired assassins, pirates, and other cutthroats abound here. Their presence informs badly upon the rest of the Roparu and thus causes them indirect harm as well. Moreover, having a criminal element which works to undermine the Crown's laws weakens the city when it is under threat from two imperial powers.

    (I'm starting to like Tekehu more. He's superficially prideful and arrogant, but in truth, seems fairly aware of his shortcomings and furthermore shows more compassion and sense of justice than most of the rest of the party.)

    Dereo's henchman takes us to an old chamber, seemingly a better-kept version of the room we got the Cornett from. Placing a horn in a statue's hand opens up a door, but the mosaic we're looking for isn't there, so the henchman sends us ahead to find it. We creep through the ruins, spotting tough-looking skuldraks. We steer clear of them initially. (One of the things I like about #2 is that stealth seems a lot more viable than in #1. The first game had a point of not having XP tied primarily to combat, so you theoretically could complete the game without much killing, but in practice, only a highly-specialized stealth character could get through a level undetected, and there was no practical way you'd get a party through, so you had to fight anyway.) We scout out much of the area and find where we could have entered from the other side, had we chosen to, before we are forced to commit to a fight with a few skuldraks. We see a few greater earth blights patroling in one area and elect to avoid them for the moment, instead progressing to the old city proper, some distance to the north.

    One of the odd things about the Old City is the fact that it's carpeted with corpses. I understand that people are sent down here fairly frequently, but a) unless they're being shoveled in at an industrial rate (and we don't see that they are), there are enough things down here that eat kith flesh that there shouldn't just be corpses lying around, and b) there are the same piles of disembodied limbs in the areas that aren't close to where people enter.

    The creatures seem to be growing fiercer as we progress; the rabid flesh-eaters are two levels above us and we just passed a burrow that could only have been left by the mother of all cave grubs. The party sneaks through without combat, eventually finding what we hope to be the place we're looking for. Considering it's one of the few places here where the masonry is fairly intact and the walls are a color besides slime green, it had better be the right place, or we'll be in trouble.

    Sure enough, we find a statue that the Cornett can activate, opening a door and admitting us into a temple chamber. However, it appears as though the creature that made the burrow was not so polite as to wait for such a means of entry to become available. We send Aloth to scout out the room. Here he finds another set of receptacles, but this has space for two conches, and we only have one with us. We'd need to come back with Takano's shell in order to activate it.

    Fortunately, it doesn't look like we strictly need to do so in order to achieve our objective. Some careful scouting (using bow fire to take out grub burrows along the periphery of the room) reveals that a suitably large and impressive mosaic stands on the far side of the room. It seems to depict waves curling up to overwhelm a building, vaguely pyramidal in structure with a wall at its foot. Ryndara is reminded of the panels in front of the Abbey of the Fallen Moon.

    In order to really get a good look at this, we need to have the room secure, so we send Pallegina up to trigger the creature to attack. This turns out to be a poor decision, as it is extremely tough and has a ranged attack that does somewhere between 50 and 60 damage in an area of effect. Fortunately, it also appears to be immobile, Pallegina has a healing chant, and we have a space to retreat to, so we spent a while playing peekaboo with the monster, using Two Fingers of Daylight to top off the party between rounds of running out to take potshots. This eventually brings the creature down, and we're able to take a closer look at the mural. More seasoned members of the party recognize it as Ukaizo, which is said to be surrounded by storms. Ha! So Dereo is after it, too! (There are enough hints about it by this point that one suspects it'll be central to the main plot.) Perhaps it was a mistake to kill the giant cave grub. We could have found the mural, reported back, "forgotten" to mention the grub, and let Dereo get his retrieval team killed. There's a decent chance he'll try to kill us when we exit, and our party's not doing terribly well at the moment. With this line of thinking in mind, Ryndara leads the party back to the Gullet entrance, just in case the cage is available (it probably won't be, but it won't hurt to check). If it is, we'll be able to run up to Serpent's Crown, take the other Cornett from Takano, head back down, and claim whatever's behind that other door without letting Dereo get ahold of the mosaic.

    No luck in that regard. We find our way back to the Undercroft entrance and find that we can slip past Dereo's minion without saying anything. That leaves us in an interesting position. We could go straight up to Serpent's Crown and call the guard on Dereo without giving him information on the mosaic. However, that would only be acceptable if we were already committed to shutting down Delver's Row, which is still up for debate. We could finish the task and report to Dereo, hope that he doesn't try to kill us after giving us our reward, and then, if we still want to shut him down, report to Aruihi, hoping that Dereo won't have enough of a head start to make use of the information we've given him in the time we've given him. Ryndara is torn on what to do here.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Part 7:
    Progressing through the Old City, we come across a group of guls feasting on what we dread to be the condemned man from before. We ambush them with Confusion (which again doesn't work like it should, as they all immediately attack the party instead of each other), only for a pestilent rotghast to emerge from a shallow pool behind us. Pallegina's chant of paralysis fails to take hold, but we manage to fight the group off anyway. Tekehu's ability to drop a foe-only blind and cold spell on the front lines is terribly useful.
    Blind is a fantastic status in PoE2, because any blinded enemy also becomes flanked if they're in melee. Letting rogues especially chew them up with sneak attacks.


    Also of note is that because spells are per-encounter they refresh instantly out of combat, which means that smashables like curse totems can be dealt with at range by spells like Rolling Flame or Overwhelming Wave.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Doesn't any affliction proc sneak attack now?

    Spells being encounter-based took some getting used to. I spent a lot of time in 1 hammering out strategies that would only use per-encounter powers, with maybe one spell to neuter the enemy group and allow my fighters to do cleanup (Blinding Fog was my go-to for that). Instincts to never touch spells were difficult to overcome at first when switching to Deadfire.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Doesn't any affliction proc sneak attack now?

    Spells being encounter-based took some getting used to. I spent a lot of time in 1 hammering out strategies that would only use per-encounter powers, with maybe one spell to neuter the enemy group and allow my fighters to do cleanup (Blinding Fog was my go-to for that). Instincts to never touch spells were difficult to overcome at first when switching to Deadfire.
    Almost all of them. I think the criteria isn't quite broad enough to include literally every debuff, but all of the really common and readily available ones do.

    Ydwin in particular can be rather beastly at sneak attacking people if you build her for it.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Part 8:
    Curiosity gets the better of Ryndara. She wants to hear from Dereo's mouth what this is all about, and then turn him in to Aruihi. (This is a fairly significant decision, so I'm making a full save here in case I want to play through again where I don't do this.) We've talked the prince into helping the Roparu, so hopefully shutting down Delver's Row won't make things too hard.

    We talk to Dereo, who tells us little, but gives us a nice blunderbuss and a hand-knitted pirate flag. We then proceed to the Kahanga Palace and explain everything to Aruihi. He reveals that he is also looking for Ukaizo, and that he has sent an expedition to a remote island where he had hoped to find clues as to where it is, but that they have not yet returned. He somehow got a scrap of clothing back from one of them, and essence which clings to it tells Ryndara that the group is almost certainly dead, having split up and been chased through the jungle. Aruihi tells Ryndara to go to the island and find a cartographer there.

    Ryndara now regrets telling Dereo about the mosaic, but there's no time for that now. We have much to do. The first step is to steal the Cornett of Waves from Takano. That's trivially easy. The second step is to pick up Eder and find that Dawnstar. We don't find her, but we do find someone who knows her. Apparently she has a son of some age (something which amused Aloth and Ryndara to no end) and is in Hasongo.

    Step three is to go back to the Old City and open that door, now that we have both horns. That allows us access to a treasure chamber in which we find several good-quality weapons and such, including an enchanted shield for Eder. The accuracy trade-offs for larger shields pose an interesting dilemma when equipping shield-users like Eder. Also, one of its abilities is keyed to the Metaphysics skill, and no shield-user in the party, I believe, uses that skill (maybe Xoti, but she already has her lantern).

    After that, it's off to Hasongo, where we should probably have sailed some time before, and then we'll see about that other island.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Rogues also get a trait that makes their sneak attacks better the more qualifying effects an enemy is suffering from. So it's always nice to be able to drop extra effects.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Incidentally, the next playthrough I do of this game, I kind of want to make a roguish character with the conceit that he was blackout drunk during the entire first game and doesn't remember any of this nonsense.

    Part 9:
    We go to the Wild Mare to rest off some of the injuries we suffered in the Old City before heading out, but learn that Tekehu's escapades here have won him the ire of the bartender. Tekehu's refusal to take responsibility for any of those misdeeds earns him stern looks from Aloth. Ryndara also uses this time to select the party she wants to first see Hasongo with. Maia and Pallegina are there as representatives of their two factions, of course. It's something of a question as to whether I want Eder or Xoti to be with the party at first. Hopefully, seeing Eothas' destructive rampage firsthand will shake their faith in him. However, I don't want both of them here at first, as that will leave the party under-rogued. I decide to start with Xoti and switch to Eder later.

    We reach Hasongo and see only destruction and Eothas' footprints. Our ascription of the carnage to Eothas is muted, however, by our having been set upon by naga as soon as we got off the ship. (I'm a little sad that naga aren't at least sometimes open to diplomacy, according to the bestiary. I think there need to be more good or neutral snake-people in fantasy. In particular, I kind of expect more nuance from the studio that gave us telepathic spider-people who can be perfectly reasonable, but are sometimes hostile, according to their individual agendas.) The wilder falls before us rapidly, attacking us by itself, and Pallegina picks up its greatsword, since she's been hurting for an upgrade in that department.

    A quick scout around the docks shows a mixture of normal corpses, presumably slain by the naga, and the ash-statues typical of biawac victims. Perhaps those who came to investigate after Eothas passed were set upon by the serpents. This story, with one exception, is confirmed by a few shell-shocked survivors hidden in a tower. Apparently they were support personnel who were put on the lower levels when the titan came, and being sent below ground was sufficient to save them from Eothas. They also say that the Dawnstars they had hired as farm workers left shortly before Eothas showed up, so it's likely that Eder's old flame is still around somewhere.

    We creep around the fort, fighting naga and looters, attempting to get a bombard back online in order to shell a concentration of naga in the center of the fort. While doing so, we learn that the Rauataians are experimenting with explosive shells, and a manifest we find in the engineering workshop shows that the fort had been manufacturing large quantities of gunpowder and shipping it to the Brass Citadel in Neketaka. Ryndara eyes this suspiciously.

    We use the bombard, clear out the center of the fort, and continue methodically working our way through the survivors, and as we survey the fort, we soon learn that the bombard was almost completely unnecessary; that by the time we got the ammunition for it, we had a viable path to the lighthouse that circumvented the major concentrations of naga. Still, the loot's good. We find large amounts of ammunition for the Defiant, plenty of high-value weapons to sell back home, reptile-based enchanting ingredients, and provisions to keep the crew fed.

    We finally enter the lighthouse, and there we find the leader of the naga. Contrary to the bestiary's comments, he is not automatically hostile, merely accusatory. Ryndara listens to him, and learns that he believes that building around adra pillars is defiling "the tree of the gods," and that the destruction brought by Eothas was appropriate punishment. Ryndara treats with him peacefully, and demonstrates that his perspective is not wholly true as she reilluminates the pillar.

    The process of doing so brings her once again into a confrontation with Eothas. He admits to devouring the souls of mortals for power in order to travel from pillar to pillar; supposedly, Ryndara's previous efforts at cutting his tethers have forced him to do this more frequently. He also says that he did not make his intentions clear enough during the Saint's War, and that he intends to explain himself, but refuses to actually do so at this time. He does explicitly give us his next intended destination, stating that it is some place called Magran's Teeth up in the north of the Deadfire, and inivites us there to talk things over, claiming that once he's strengthened himself there and moves on to his final destination, we will not be able to follow him. (I rather suspect that he intends to go to Ukaizo, which will turn out to be located in the east, protected by the permanent series of storms known as Ondra's Mortar.)

    When all is said and done, Ryndara, over the protests of the vengeful Maia, allows the naga to leave in peace as they question their mission. (The bestiary seems to be misleading regarding the naga. They are willing and able to negotiate with kith, to entertain other points of view, and to change their intended course of actions when presented with evidence that contradicts their earlier mindset.) We then talk with the survivors of the attack. We find one Bearn, the child of Elafa, who explains that she died some years back, and that he knew his father as a follower of Eothas who was killed in the Purges. Eder is, naturally, disappointed at these tidings. Bearn seems strange, and shows a disquieting devotion to Eothas in the wake of a direct attack by him. He says that he is a member of a group known as the Partisans of Light (or something to that effect), led by one Bosc, a charismatic leader who received visions of Eothas a bit before it happened. His descriptions of the group ring eerily of a cult, as does his initial intent to mislead those outside of the group.

    We set out from Hasongo and are immediately set upon by an RDC armada. Their admiral explains that our actions have won us the gratitude of the RDC and that we should speak to the hazanui in Neketaka if we wish to work with the company in the future. Shortly thereafter, we receive a messenger bird from the queen, making similar gestures. Ryndara is more inclined to help the queen than either of the company powers, in spite of being of Vailian extraction. Helping the queen is likely to strengthen, rather than tip, the balance of power, and she is, after all, the native authority.

    Shortly after this, Ryndara receives another vision from the gods. She trades some choice words with Berath before being forced by a lack of other dialogue options to reveal Eothas' destination to the council of gods. The gods seem to believe that whatever Eothas is doing is an existential threat to them. Wael shows up and steals a bunch of Ryndara's scrolls because she returned a lost scroll to his priesthood against Wael's wishes. Ondra calls the other gods to action.

    We take a detour to Tikuwara, in the hopes of doing a little exploration, before our intended trip to the northeast to investigate the Ukaizo lead. However, no sooner do we get off the ship in Tikuwara than we are greeted by a desperate and fearful Vailian trader. This man, Vektor, says that his crewmates set off to find luminous adra on the advice of the local Huana chief, and have yet to return. He also believes that the local priestess of Ondra has turned the villagers against the Vailians. Vektor clearly fears for his life, and though his attitude towards the locals is a little unsavory, it's perhaps understandable under these circumstances. Ryndara commits herself to figuring out what's going on before heading north; leaving this man stranded on an island filled with people who might mean him harm would be cruel.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    As an aside, with Eothas sitting on his hands a Magran's Teeth for a while, now is a good time to spend some time driving around the Deadfire finding interesting uncharted islands and nicking all the stuff on them, tidying up quests for the factions and taking some bounty prizes.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Yeah, I was getting that kind of sense. One of my few critiques of this game, like of the one before it, is that it falls rather fully into the trap a lot of RPGs do where you're given quests, particularly in the main storyline, that seem like they should be handled urgently, but aren't really meant to be. Eothas is supposedly moving this entire time, and my character literally dies if he gets too far away. That's a pretty strong impetus to keep going on the main story and pretty much ignore everything else. Certainly, most people under this circumstance would be reluctant to sail south at all. Most of the side quests seem fairly time-insensitive by comparison. The same was true of the main plot of 1, as well; when you get to Twin Elms, you're hot on Thaos' heels, he might complete his plans any minute now, and you're also racing against your own deteriorating mental faculties. All those random errands you've heard about, including several party member's personal plots, seem like something that can wait. My first playthrough, I didn't realize that completing the main story would end the game outright and so missed a few opportunities.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Play Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Yeah, I was getting that kind of sense. One of my few critiques of this game, like of the one before it, is that it falls rather fully into the trap a lot of RPGs do where you're given quests, particularly in the main storyline, that seem like they should be handled urgently, but aren't really meant to be. Eothas is supposedly moving this entire time, and my character literally dies if he gets too far away. That's a pretty strong impetus to keep going on the main story and pretty much ignore everything else. Certainly, most people under this circumstance would be reluctant to sail south at all. Most of the side quests seem fairly time-insensitive by comparison. The same was true of the main plot of 1, as well; when you get to Twin Elms, you're hot on Thaos' heels, he might complete his plans any minute now, and you're also racing against your own deteriorating mental faculties. All those random errands you've heard about, including several party member's personal plots, seem like something that can wait. My first playthrough, I didn't realize that completing the main story would end the game outright and so missed a few opportunities.
    Well yeah, you've got to put a pause on that quest to make sure you can kidnap an orlan baby.

    More seriously though, there is a specific game setting you can toggle on at game creation to actually enforce a time limit on each stage of the main quest, where you have to keep chasing Eothas in this time frame or you just lose.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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