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[Let's Play] Virtual Reality Adventure Book: Heart of Ice
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SlyJohnny
Knight-Baron


Joined: 23 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

From memory, I think it's to check whether you picked up radiation sickness earlier, and are therefore going to die if you don't either take the power now or freeze yourself in time.
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Starmaker
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Isn't radiation sickness Hourglass?
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Omegonthesane
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Joined: 26 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Godhood go!
_________________
Kaelik wrote:
Because powerful men get away with terrible shit, and even the public domain ones get ignored, and then, when the floodgates open, it turns out there was a goddam flood behind it.
FrankTrollman wrote:
As far as death and human misery goes, Tobacco is basically World War II grinding on forever with no real sign of stopping in our life times. Death camps and nuclear bombs and stuff are certainly dramatic, but public health crises are always and forever bigger than wars on the global scale.

FrankTrollman wrote:
White people are basically just horrible...The entire Reagan Revolution is just white people voting to destroy their own social safety nets because they'd rather fucking starve than let black people eat.



Zak S, Zak Smith, Dndwithpornstars, Zak Sabbath, Justin Bieber, shitmuffin
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SGamerz
Duke


Joined: 16 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Starmaker wrote:
SGamerz wrote:
turn to [s]354 if you have the codeword Focus

This option doesn't exist either in my crappy electronic version or (if I recall correctly) in the Virtual Reality paper version.


Well, in my copy, you get the codeword when you

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Starmaker wrote:
Isn't radiation sickness Hourglass?


Yep, although surprisingly that codeword isn't checked at the endgame.

Anyway, Team Godhood wins the vote in overwhelming fashion.

ALL SHALL LOVE US AND DESPAIR!

....well, not really, since everyone would be dead, unless we decide to create more lifeforms for our amusement.

Quote:
You kneel beside the huge gem and embrace it, feeling its power surge through you.

Coruscating bands of energy blaze from the depths of the unearthly gem, swathing you in an aura of blinding violet light. The fabric of reality is ripped apart and you feel weightless. A vortex spins up through the dome, sweeping away rock and air, rising up into space, out past the moon and planets. In what seems like seconds, all of creation has been swept away, replaced by a new universe of your own making.

You are immortal and all-powerful now. Your adventure has culminated in godhood.


Congratulations for achieving Godhood! We win!

Well, actually, there wasn't really any bad options in that last section. That's one of the unique things about this book. There isn't just one single "good" ending. There are up to 4 endings that can be legitimately seen as successful:

1) You destroy the Heart with Golgoth (who is the ONLY of the other 3 willing to help you on this) but are killed in the process. You both die as unsung martyrs.

2) You take the power and destroy the world.

3) You freeze yourself with the stasis bomb and become an undying guardian for the Heart, ready to take on whomever that comes next for its power.

4) You walk away reflecting on the how the lust for power have caused this much senseless waste of lives.

For all the other VR gamebooks, the "good ending" is in the very last section. For this particular book, the last section is the 4th ending I listed above, so it may be that the author considers this to be his favourite ending. But I'm sure most players would prefer being God anyway! Either way, though the player gets to pick the ending as he sees fit for his character as long as he survives till the end (except for destroying the Heart.....that's more difficult to achieve because you need another person's to fire a second barysal gun at the Heart).

Anyway, I'll be posting some of the other things we missed (probably along with the alternate endings) in a couple of days. As usual, any questions/requests welcome. Thanks for playing!
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Starmaker
Duke


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Wow, congrats. The book isn't actually as easy as it might seem. The trek over the ice drains health like nothing else, Siriasis is hard to kill, and the final fight can go either way depending on health, skill selection and choice of ally.

SGamerz wrote:
Well, actually, there wasn't really any bad options in that last section. That's one of the unique things about this book. There isn't just one single "good" ending. There are up to 4 endings that can be legitimately seen as successful:

Also, not quite legitimately successful in the metagaming sense, but doing nothing (or, in retrospect, dying on the way to the place without pissing off Gaia) isn't all that bad in-universe -- in this case, Vajra Singh wins. He's a legitimately good guy and he also picks godhood. (As an ally, he's meh: really tough but not much help against the others).

SGamerz wrote:
As usual, any questions/requests welcome.

The Siriasis fight and the space station.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So...was Gaia totally unconnected to Volent, beyond making it hard for people to travel and find it, and talking about it?
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Starmaker
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes, the Gaia problem and the Paradox War are separate events. Gaia gets infected in 2037, the Heart falls in 2095 and is stolen by one of the many cults. Soon after the cultists gain reality-warping powers from exposure, build Du-En, bombard the world with Heart radiation wrecking habitable places and creating psychic lifeforms, then go nuts and riot. Novak is stuck in the stasis field for close to 200 years until we free him in 2300.
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Darth Rabbitt
King


Joined: 05 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Huh, missed this somehow.

That was a pretty cool ending; usually taking those kinds of choices in gamebooks results in you getting fucked over.
Sgamerz wrote:
As usual, any questions/requests welcome.

In addition to what Starmaker asked:
What happens if you try knifing Boche, or for that matter bridling at the baron's orders?
How do the different alliances (Vajra Singh and Golgoth) play out?
Does Thadra Bey do anything interesting on other routes, or do we find out more about her? Same goes for the twins.
What does Golgoth say if you ask him about his crossbow?
How does Boche take it if you can't/won't pay for his ticket on the boat?
What happens if you visit one of the other two hotels?
How differently do things turn out if you don't choose to travel with Boche in the beginning, if you pick the jungle route, or both?
How do you get the Manta sky car, and how many cool things can you do with it?
How do you get radiation sickness?
How many different illustrations are there in the book? I think we came across like one. Is the book sparsely illustrated, or were we just unlucky in that regard?
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SGamerz
Duke


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'll give the short answers first, the rest will be summarized in a longer post:

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
What happens if you try knifing Boche


We still win. It's just an alternate way of winning. We throw our knife and skewer him through the throat, but he gets off one parting shot at us before he falls. If we didn't have our jacket, then we lose an additional LP (3, compared to using PARADOX, which costs us 2), but since we did have the jacket, the end result is exactly the same (losing 2 LP).

The best way to defeat him is SHOOTING, which doesn't cost us any LP (we're much better with the gun than he is and plain out-shoot him).

If we don't have any means to beat Boche, though, we suffer a fate that is arguably worse than death: like most fictional arch-villain, Boche is a show-off, and instead of killing us outright, he wants a witness to his achieving Godhood, and forces us to watch him take the power. At least it doesn't last too long, since we dies anyway once he unleashes the power.

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
What does Golgoth say if you ask him about his crossbow?


He responds that it's a reliable weapon against unarmoured opponents, and he uses it as backup because barysal are limited by their charges and sometimes malfunction (a fact that we took advantage of against Boche in our playthough). The conversation with him doesn't reveal anything terribly important.

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
How does Boche take it if you can't/won't pay for his ticket on the boat?


Obviously he's not pleased by it, but nothing much changes. He argues about how he paid our tab earlier at the inn (grand total of 3 scads! Totally fair exchange!) We point out how useless he's been to us and leave him behind...but then he shows up outside Du-En when we reach there anyway. Seriously, outside of some flavor text he's more of less irrelevant during the rest of our trip to Du-En after we stole that 60 scads off him.

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
How do you get radiation sickness?


By resting in that oasis that Gilgamesh warned us about without any gas mask. Basically, we gain the "Hourglass" codeword which will slowly sap away at our health (causing us to lose Life Points at various points). It is also implied that we'll eventually die from it if we don't find a cure, but strangely it was never checked at the endgame (as far as I'm aware). Also, if we have some antidote pills with us we can use to get rid of the sickness, but it will force us to lie sick (and recovering) during the first day of our arrival at Du-En (and thus we won't be able to explore the ruins on that day....although we chose not to do it anyway).

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
How many different illustrations are there in the book? I think we came across like one. Is the book sparsely illustrated, or were we just unlucky in that regard?


Yeah, that was partly my fault. We didn't come across too many pictures on this path, but I also left out a few because I was posting from places that didn't have a scanner or it wasn't convenient to link pictures, and somehow never got around to posting them later. I will post some that we missed, and some on other paths that we didn't take.


Last edited by SGamerz on Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lots of content we didn't get to see and I think I'll go backwards, from the end....

Alliances and the endgame:

Alliance can only be forged if we had the "Nemesis" codeword, which can be gained in various way, all of which involving Gaia giving a warning that releasing the Heart's power will destroy the world (in our case, she was warning the Baron, but we overheard it through our recording device). If we don't have that knowledge, the PC won't look for allies.

Anyway, here's a breakdown of each potential ally and what they bring:

Vajra Singh:

Gaining an alliance with this guy is harder than the other two. As you saw, there was no way to directly approach him. In fact, it was impossible for us to gain his alliance in the particular path we took.

I mentioned that there was a possibility that Janus Gaunt could be dead by the last day of the game. Basically, if we chose to confront Gaunt about his "weakness" (that he wasn't as ruthless as the other contestants), he will order his xoms to seize us and try to murder us. His theory is that since he sees you as a friend, by murdering a friend in cold blood he will expunge this "weakness" in himself. He admits that he's probably mad (and that one has to be mad to pursue the Heart's powers).

.....Or at least, that's what he'd do if we didn't have Gilgamesh with us. Apparently, he's not mad enough to mess with us if we have a bodyguard, so he simply disappears that next day (probably realizing that he's not going to win).

If we didn't have our robot bodyguard though.....Gaunt still won't win, because Vajra Singh arrives and saves our ass by killing Gaunt. Not out altruism, but because he's pissed off that Gaunt broke the truce (he's a stickler for rules like that). That is our only opportunity to gain an alliance with him. So we never had a chance, with Gilgamesh on our side. Not that it's a bad trade-off, since Gilgamesh is certainly more useful than any human ally (without him we would have died to that phantom thing).

Anyway, as Starmaker mentioned, he's the most powerful opponent, but he's surprisingly not that brilliant as an ally. But at least he's a trustworthy one, since unlike Boche he won't try to cheap-shot us (but we can choose to cheap-shot him!).

Golgoth will be our biggest opponent in this scenario (Boche is a non-issue if we ally with Singh.....he dies immediately from the mantramukta cannon when Golgoth uses him as a meatshield to eat the first shot). He lacks the sheer firepower that Singh has, but he's more cunning and resourceful. If we choose to stay out of the fight, he will hide himself with a gas grenade, set up his gun to remote-control fire from a different spot as a decoy, and shoot Singh in the eye with his trusty crossbow.

We can choose to help our ally here, but there's a good chance that we'll become the target of the crossbow bolt instead! There're a few ways this can play out depending our skill and options, but basically Golgoth is the most tricky opponent to defeat. Alternatively, we can turn on Singh and kill him easily (because he doesn't expect us to turn on him). We then have the option to use his cannon to blast Golgoth and become the last survivor, or choose to stop the fight, in which case the story proceeds as if we'd allied with Golgoth.

While not an awesome ally, Vajra Singh is honourable to a fault. Once the fight is down to the two of you, he makes it clear that he has no intention of destroying the heart, and offers you a fair fight by putting down his OP cannon. If you don't even have a gun, he drops his as well and fights you hand-to-hand. Not that it'd be an easy fight even then - you lose 9 Life points in the ensuing fight if you don't have CLOSE COMBAT (and 5 if you do), so there's a good chance that you can die from that!

If you out-shoot him in a fair gun-duel, the text mentions he could have hit you with a dying shot but chooses not to do it - he takes his loss like a man.

Chaim Golgoth:

Not as honest as Vajra Singh, but not quite as treacherous as Kyle Boche, Golgoth is the ultimate pragmatist. When you reveal what you learnt from Gaia to him, he agrees that destroying the Heart is a top priority because it's a threat to his employer, the US government (he doesn't care about the Universe.....the Universe doesn't sign his pay cheques!)

There's one thing he certainly does better than us: finding the best possible use for Kyle Boche. We joked about using him as a meatshield at the beginning of the story but never got around to actually do it. Golgoth does it in more than one scenario. If we teamed with Singh, he immediately grabs Boche and throws him straight into Singh's first cannon-shot. In the scenario where we're allied with Golgoth himself, the first thing he does is to grab Boche, hold him in front of himself as a human shield, put a gun to his head, and order him to shoot Singh. The shot isn't enough to kill Sing (who's heavily armoured), but once Boche has weakened Singh with the shot, Golgoth coolly shoots Boche in the head before proceeding to continue his attack on Singh. If we join the fight, Singh goes down quickly. If we chose to stay out of the fight, the 2 of them eventually kill each other and you are left as the last survivor (again , Singh gives up the chance to shoot you before he dies).

When it's down to you and Golgoth, there's minor continuity error: the book automatically assumes that you are willing to destroy the Heart with him (even if you didn't have "Nemesis"). As mentioned, Golgoth is the only one who will help you destroy the Heart, and if you have the means to do so (you just need a charged gun.....Golgoth has his own), you will destroy the Heart, which bursts and kill you both in the process.

Unfortunately, if you don't have a charged gun (or a battery unit to charge Boche's empty gun), Golgoth, who realizes that you can't destroy the Heart, quickly re-evaluates his priorities, and comes to the conclusion that the next-best option is for him to take the power himself (he doesn't want to just leave it lying around for someone else). In this case, you don't stand a chance: he doesn't waste time showing off like Boche, and just "regretfully" shoots you before unleashing the power.

Like I said, a most pragmatic guy.

Kyle Boche:

Despite me continually ragging on about how useless he is as a companion, he's actually the best ally for the endgame if you don't want to destroy the Heart, simply because he's the easiest to beat once it's down to the two fo you, and he manages to manipulate Singh and Golgoth into killing each other right away without you having to do anything. I still stand by what I said about him as companion though: other than providing a means for you to steal 60 scads (which is the biggest pile of cash loot we can find in this book), every other useful thing he does happens automatically as part of the plot (getting rid of Siraisis, and the other 2 rivals) whether he's your companion or not. So if you don't have ROGUERY there's absolutely no point in accepting his companionship. If you DO have the skill, you should kick him to the curb at the first opportunity after you've looted that 60 scads.

And as you can see, he never intended to help you destroy the Heart despite his promises (at least Vajra Singh doesn't pretend to want to destroy it; the text makes it clear that he isn't interested at all in Gia's warning. He accepts the alliance only because it gives you both better chances to make it to the end).

No allies:

If you didn't make any alliances, you are given the option to strike first with a list of available weapons. If you choose not to make the first move, the scene plays out exactly as if you allied with Boche (with him manipulating Singh and Golgoth into killing each other).

If you make the first move, you have to deice on the weapon (and if you don't have any, you can't attack first). The stasis bomb is the most powerful, taking out all three of them and freezing them, leaving you open to the Heart. But that means you are denied the option of using the bomb to make yourself the Heart's guardian after that.

There's also a stun grenade listed as a trap option: it knocks out Golgoth and Boche, but Singh is protected by his armour, and promptly blasts you out with his cannon since you're the only threat left.

If you choose to use a barysal gun, you need to pick your target. Golgoth is a death option: you need him to help take down Singh, who's got superior firepower and arms. If you shoot Golgoth down first, Singh blasts you immediately. Shooting Singh or Boche are both valid options, and leads to one of the above situations described - Singh and Golgoth killing each other.

Anyway, here's one of the pictures I left out - finding the room with the Heart:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


The other rivals:

Janus Gaunt has more or less been summed up above. During your journey, you can actually learn about him in various ways, but I don't think you actually meet him in person until Du-En.

Thadra Bey can be encountered if you chose the most expensive hotel in Venis. She apparently from some space-colony named al-Lat in the Earth-Moon orbit and was looking for a contact for some information on genetic engineering and retro-viruses.. If you have STREETWISE (or and appropriate item that temporarily give you that skill....more on that later), you can provide her some information that she was looking for. She will give you some antidote pills as a way of thanks (and those can save you from radiation sickness). If you were looking for information about the Heart in Venis, STREETWISE will also tell you that both Janus Gaunt and Tharda Bey are looking for similar information.

The Gargan Sisters can only be encountered on the jungle route:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


They were apparently terrorizing the local inn, and you have the option to fight them, outwit them by drugging them (using CUNNING) or just keep a low profile and snoop. We can use either ROGUERY or ESP to find out more about them. If we overhear their conversation, we learn about Gaia's warning (another way to pick up "Nemesis") about the Heart's power destroying the world, and also that Vajra SIngh and Janus Gaunt are looking for the Heart.

If we fight and win their respect with CLOSE COMBAT, they will offer to travel with you.....except it doesn't lasts, and at the first opportunity they steal your supplies and bail while you're asleep. There's no way to part with them on friendly terms.....

......which is a pity because they're the only other people besides Golgoth who actually want to destroy the Heart instead of taking power for themselves. There's never an opportunity to forge alliance with them, because they always die before the end.

If we chose to explore Du-En on the first day, we'll be going with Golgoth and the Gargans. The Gargans will object you bringing Gilgamesh ("no-servant" clause in the truce). You can agree to leave Gilgamesh behind or insist on bringing him along. If instead you decide to go find Vajra Singh to be the judge, he tells you to go sort out your own arguments, and Golgoth takes the opportunity to disable Gilgamesh with a bullet to the head while you're away.

If you manage to bring Gilgamesh along, he helps you get past some obstacles with ease, but you also risk losing him (which leaves you defenseless against the phantom-creature later), so it's probably better to leave him behind. Anyway, Golgoth will eventually goad the Gargans into attacking by revealing that he's the one who killed the rest of the brood of their sisters (there were 12 others) many years ago. The Gargans will take him down, and he will play dead. When they turn their attention to you, Golgoth will surprise them with poison needle a kill them both. Before that you have the opportunity to interfere and try to save Golgoth.....but he doesn't need you, and you shouldn't try, because you might get hurt. And if Gilgamesh is there, he may die too (he had to take off his outer armour to traverse some narrow tunnels, making him more vulnerable to attacks). After the sisters are dead, you can loot some supplies from them, including a stun grenade.

Baron Siraisis deserves a post by himself, so I'll continue tomorrow (and also the other questions I haven't yet answered.
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Starmaker
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

SGamerz wrote:
Vajra Singh arrives and saves our ass by killing Gaunt. Not out of altruism, but because he's pissed off that Gaunt broke the truce (he's a stickler for rules like that).
...
Not as honest as Vajra Singh, but not quite as treacherous as Kyle Boche, Golgoth is the ultimate pragmatist. When you reveal what you learnt from Gaia to him, he agrees that destroying the Heart is a top priority because it's a threat to his employer, the US government (he doesn't care about the Universe.....the Universe doesn't sign his pay cheques!)

While this is indeed whan the book literally says, I think taking it at face value kinda sells these characters short in the context of the recap.

Vajra Singh wants the best person to become a god. Him being consistent, the top contender is of course himself, but he doesn't mind if we beat him fair and square, because we'd thus prove to be a better god. When Gaunt disqualifies himself, Vajra Singh makes sure the disqualification sticks.

Golgoth is joking about paychecks, he knows full well success means he's going to die and makes a good-faith effort to destroy the Heart nevertheless. I'd say he's as much of an idealist as Singh. (He also gets crap for being an assassin, but that's actually a normal job in a world with individual superpowered threats.)

Thadra Bey is a dumbass. She's an ass who's also dumb. Her people arrested Picard (the Volentine high priest and the source of the password leak) and she's the only one who doesn't know the damn password. For shame.
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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Baron Siraisis:

The first chance we can get to learn about this man is probably in Venis....if we had picked the cheapest hotel. We'd get attacked by some thugs who may appear to be simple muggers, but if we overpower them, ESP can tell us that they were hired by Siraisis. It is not known exactly how much he knows about us or the rest of the competitors.

Possibly the most powerful psychic in the world, if we'd tried to eavesdropped on him using ESP (instead of using ROGUERY or Little Gaia like we did), he'd have caught us immediately and use his power leave us frozen there for the rest of the night (although at least he doesn't kill us). The same thing would have happened if we'd just walked in on his tent uninvited. (But strangely he's still willing to team up with you and Boche the following day).

In a way, we took the "easy" way by agreeing to scout ahead. If we'd refused to obey him, Boche will use his grenade during our argument. We will take some minor damage from it, but more importantly, the Baron doesn't die immediately. His physical shell is destroyed......but he'll come after us as a big floating brain and try to take over our body:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


So why doesn't Boche have any trouble with him on his own? Apparently, because Siraisis didn't understand how Boche managed to hide the grenade from him, and therefore didn't there to target him, fearing that he might have some unknown power.

Captain Novak, if freed by us prior to that, also dies from the grenade, so the Baron has to target us for a new living body (so yeah, Novak is doomed no matter what).

Speaking of which, the whole deal with Novak basically serves 2 purposes: one is for you to gain the stasis bomb, the other is to provide an alternative method to survive the encounter with Siraisis (because as Starmaker said, he's very hard to kill).

Basically, to kill the floating brain, you can't just use one skill, you need a combination of 2. He's such a powerful psychic that you need both ESP and PARADOX to resist him. Even then you don't actually defeat him, you just barely hold him at bay long enough so that the remaining oxygen in his brain is used up and he finally dies for real. Alternatively if you have a gun, you can use PARDOX to disrupt his psychic shield long enough to score a lethal shot (a gun alone is ineffective).

If you don't have the appropriate skill, a stun grenade works too, if you managed to get one. Failing all that, you can retreat all the way back to the cavern where Novak is frozen....but this only works if you didn't free Novak, which means the stasis bomb is still in effect in that area. Since the stasis distorts the vision around it, you're able to use that zone to confuse the brain (which isn't thinking too clearly since it's working on limited oxygen), fooling it into thinking that you're still in front of it while you circle behind and crush him underfoot.

Overall, there's no real benefit to freeing Novak if you didn't have PARADOX to gain the stasis bomb. Even with the route we took (scouting ahead), saving him just means we get hit by Boche's rebound shot. We actually take no damage if Novak was left stuck in stasis.

Now, here's a couple more pictures that we should have seen on our playthough:

The bometh that Gilgamesh turned into steak for our consumption:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


And here's Gilgamesh himself:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Speaking of which......the phantom thing that Gilgamesh sacrificed himself to save us from is apparently the "victim of a teleporter accident which leaves it eternally out of phase with the rest of the world". That's what we'd learn if we had the LORE skill. Their touch drain all life, but with the knowledge we could wrap it up in our jacket to get rid of it.

Without Gilgamesh or LORE, there's only one other way to survive - via the Talos codeword, which is actually pretty obscure and not easy to gain.

Via the jungle route (which Boche will refuse to travel with us....so he won't be our companion if we take that route), we will come upon an abandoned city with its sole remaining resident, who's enjoying being the only one living in a city that still has its own functioning energy generators that is independent of Gaia (and thus unaffected by it's madness), able to sustain a comfortable climate and more than sufficient resources for its one living inhabitant:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


When we leave, we can access its old underground transit tunnel, which still has a partially-functioning subway transport system. If we try to travel to Giza via the subway, we find out that it's restricted area, and the train automatically brings us to Maka. If we alight there, we will spot a flyer about to take off. If we rush for it, we inadvertently get caught by the blast from its jets. If that doesn't kill us, we will wake up in al-Lat. It turns out that we were so badly burnt by the jets that the people on al-Lat had to replace half of our body with robotic parts, essentially turning us into half-cyborg.

That's why with the codeword we can survive the phantom....it only affects living flesh, so our cyborg body had partial immunity to it, allowing us to pick the phantom up and throw it off the cliff.

Anyway, the people of al-Lat will send us back to Earth safely. We can also persuade one of them for help with the right options, and he may give us a copy of Little Gaia. We can also use its resource to research on the Heart of Volent and the Volentine cult. But there's one danger: al-Lat, like the jungle city, has a computer system that's independent of and unaffected by Gaia's influence. Because of Gaia's madness, they take extreme care to maintain its security system to keep out all threats of the virus. So if we risk using their computer system to contact Gaia (which can only be done without their consent) and are caught doing it, they sentence us to death immediately for endangering their entire community.

Just one more post to wrap up the rest of the stuff, which I'll continue tomorrow.....
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SGamerz
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Joined: 16 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Like most gamebooks, the early portion of the adventure involves picking up information/exposition or loot. With regards to information, there're mainly 3 codewords that give us important information, and all 3 can be gained via several venues:

1) "Humbaba", which gains us entry to Giza's pyramid.

2) "Lunar" which gains you access to the Heart's chamber. This is basically the Q&A that with the computer that we managed to learn by lip-reading Boche. It's apparently also part of a recorded transcript of an interview with Picard after he was caught (which is presumably how most of our other rivals gain the information, and also how we could have gotten it via some research).

3) "Nemesis", which warns us about the world-destruction danger of unleashing the Heart's power.

Most of these info can be gained via research (LORE), asking the right people (sometimes involving STREETWISE) or via talking to Gaia (when she's sane and you usually need CYBERNETICS), but since there's multiple places you can gain those codewords they're not hard to find. The former 2 can also be substituted by the right skills (like how we used PARADOX and ROGUERY to gain entry in our playthrough). So generally there isn't too much "can't-miss" exposition in the book. For the most part, LORE, STREETWISE and to a lesser extent CYBERNETICS serve as the info-skills in this game, while the ones we picked (ROGUERY, CUNNING, AGILITY & PARADOX) are of the encounter/problem-solving type. SURVIVAL predictably protects you from LP loss at various points in the book when you're travelling through uncivilized areas (and if you can't afford to buy supplies for your trip to Du-EN you're going to NEED it).

PILOTING is mostly useful for the Manta Sky Car (although at one point we can use it to get to Kahira if we can't afford the ticket - we can get ourselves hired as a pilot!). The Sky car is actually accessible during your stay in Venis......if you try to find a way to contact Gaia without Cybernetics! A local will tell you about some secret vault where you can contact Gaia, and bring you to an abandoned building outside Venis (which is thought to be haunted) for a fee. You can indeed contact Gaia there, and that's one of the places where you may learn about Giza and Gilgamesh. That's also where you find the Sky car.

Even without PILOTING, there's some useful loot to be found inside the car which you can take, mostly the usual supplies like rope, flashlight, medkit, cold-weather suit and lots of food pack (of course, if you have PILOTING you won't even need most of the food, since you can save a lot of time and resources flying from place to place). Having the sky car mostly save you a lot of travelling time and shopping money and you can fly to Kahira, Giza, or even straight to Du-En (although of course you miss out on stuff if you take that route). You will also be given the option to just abandon Boche and fly off on your own (although mysteriously he somehow always manages to reach Du-En when you do).

Speaking of which, if you try to find out more about Boche while in Venis, you will find some guy who apparently was betrayed by him previously and is looking for him for revenge. You have the option to sell out Boche by giving away his location for a small fee and get rid of him as a companion (but again, he always makes it to the endgame, so that guy probably failed to catch him anyway).

If we rejected Boche's offer to travel with us but still travel via the Venis route, we actually run into the owner of that mysterious ID card (who has 3 bodyguards with him). He will invite you to travel with them too, and seems to be a genuinely nice guy (although not too much is revealed about him). You will encounter some strange body bearing a sword encased in ice and have the option to liberate it from the ice (to loot the sword). The thing turns out to be some supernatural/undead thing that comes after your party and kills the rest of your companions (and you too if you don't have the skill to defeat it). That's when you may also loot the ID card. Alternatively, if you persuade him to not loot the sword and reach Venis safely, he can give you an item which is something like a portable digital encyclopedia of Venis, which temporarily gives you STREEWISE while you are in that city.

If you stayed at the Marco Polo inn with the ID, you will find out that the owner of the card belongs to some high-class gentlemen/traveler club called the Society of the Compass. Later, in Kahira, you will be given the opportunity to take advantage of it, either by altering the photo on the card if you have the right contacts (STREETWISE) or disguising yourself to look like the existing photo (ROGUERY). The club's building in Kahira gives you free access to lots of normal supplies (travelling gear and food), weapons (crossbows, knives, guns, grenades), and also medical services (though you can miss out on that if you go there too late). But if you stay there for too long, one of the bodyguards of the card's owner shows up and exposes you as an imposter, potentially leading to your arrest!

The book has a couple of shopping lists, but unlike standard FF books none of those are vital and most items can be gain in more than one way. Even Little Gaia, as I said before, can be found on 2 different routes (and surprisingly not checked all that much. Other than using it to record Siraisis conversation with Gaia you can use it in combination with CYBERNETICS to hack your way into the Heart's chamber without "Lunar"....and that's it). There's a pretty cool shop in Venis where you can purchase "retro-viruses" to unknown abilities/properties. One of them gives you night-vision (the codeword "Scotopic" which was checked when we encountered that giant centipede), and another one allows us to alter our appearance (another way to disguise ourselves to use the ID card). But again, none of these are too important.

Finally, before I end this I'll post the two version of endings that occur if we walk away, since apparently one of them isn't the older copies:

With "Focus" codeword:
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Without the codeword (presumably the one in the original version):
Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


And as mentioned, unlike most gamebooks, there's no "fairy-tale ending" where Gaia is fixed and the world is saved and everyone looks forward to a brighter tomorrow.....

Hope you guys enjoyed this book! Thanks for playing. My next game will probably start some time next week. Hope you'll still be there!
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